Hey, it's January and I'm antsy. I have nothing better to do than to project the Tigers' 25-man roster on Opening Day, because I'm getting cooped up inside.
We are naively assuming everyone stays healthy through spring training.
Righthanded Pitchers (9)
Miner looks like the weak link. Depending on how much Casey Fien improves, that final spot may differ.
Lefthanded Pitchers (3)
I'm a fan of Fu-Te Ni and his season last year, but with Coke, Seay, and maybe NateRob in the bullpen, they just don't need another lefty — and if they did, Daniel Schlereth would probably get called up first. You can also bank on Dontrelle Willis returning for his annual May cameo.
Not that there's much a chance of it happening, but ex-Tiger Mike Rabelo is a non-roster invitee this year. He was a Miguel Cabrera trade throw-in for the Marlins, and now he's back, perhaps to say "hi."
All signs point to the unknown Sizemore being the starting second baseman, and all I can assume is that his head is less irregularly shaped than Placido Polanco's. Brent Dlugach and Don Kelly may be more versatile and useful in the field, but Larish gets in as the 25th person based on playing the corners and having some lefthanded power.
And your other newbie in the outfield is Jackson, aka Young Granderson. If he's not ready, Casper Wells will likely be the fifth outfielder, and Wilkin Ramirez doesn't have a chance.
Starting Lineup, April 5 at Kansas City
CF Austin Jackson
2B Scott Sizemore
RF Magglio Ordoñez
1B Miguel Cabrera
DH Carlos Guillen
3B Brandon Inge
LF Ryan Raburn
C Gerald Laird
SS Adam Everett
SP Justin Verlander
Gone are the original 1-2 batters, so why not replace them in kind? Jackson is a cheetah, and Sizemore has that high batting average. With Ordoñez's massive unquestionable redemption season ahead of us, he'll be back batting third, and the rest of the order should look familiar.
After that, now I'm really antsy.
(Photo credit: awgreen/Flickr)