Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
It will be a strange spring in that not only are there no starting spots up for grabs, there aren't even many bench or bullpen slots available. If Vance Wilson is healthy and heads north with the team, that means the Tigers would likely have to choose between Brandon Inge and Ryan Raburn for the final slot, but if he doesn't, and Inge is willing to catch, that settles the bench. As for the 'pen, there is debate about whether or not certain players have a spot locked up or not, but it's safe to say that Todd Jones, Fernando Rodney and Bobby Seay are all safe. After that, Tim Byrdak seems a safe bet to be the team's other left hander, at which point, the Tigers have three slots remaining; Yorman Bazardo is a good bet to snag one, with Zach Miner, Jason Grilli, Francisco Cruceta and Denny Bautista battling for the last couple slots.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
I really only see two open slots available on the roster, and even those positions are not really 'open' for competition in my mind. One spot in the bullpen seems to be up for grabs, with the likes of Tim Byrdak, Jason Grilli, and Denny Bautista fighting for the roster slot. There are certainly other bullpen guys that need to have strong springs to remain on the roster, but as I see it now, these three are fighting for one spot. On the position side, I think there is one final slot open, and that spot will depend on what Leyland deems necessary to fill out his lineup card on days when his starters need some rest. If Vance Wilson proves healthy for Opening Day, this spot becomes very complicated. If he must begin the year on the DL, then it becomes quite clear in my eyes that Raburn, Thames, Santiago, and Inge head north as the bench guys for the Tigers.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I don't see much in the way of openings. The starting position players are pretty much set, although there will be the annual battle to see who fills out the bench, where someone like Ryan Raburn could get a chance to head north with the team. The bullpen is likely the place where will the most of the action will take place. The Tigers have Todd Jones and Fernando Rodney to close out games, and Bobby Seay and Tim Byrdak are the left-handers, but what about the middle relief? Someone out of Francisco Cruceta, Yorman Bazardo, Jason Grilli, or Zach Miner won't make the team, so that will be something to keep an eye on, not to mention, someone unexpected could step up and put some heat on the incumbents. It will be very interesting to see what develops during spring training.
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