Raul-Ibanez-2013The Detroit Tigers don't need to do too much retooling of their roster to remain a contender. While the team does have holes at left field, closer and possibly third base, they have enough to remain atop the American League Central.

The Tigers grabbed some payroll flexibility when they traded first baseman Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for second baseman Ian Kinsler. I'm not in the business of trying to spend someone else's money, but I do have an opinion on what the Tigers should have on the bench. They do need speed, but they also need a bat or two on the bench.

When I look at the current 40-man roster, I don't see anyone who isn't a regular that scares me. There isn't anyone I think that could run into one and maybe be a steady bat off the bench.

Matt Tuiasosopo filled that role last season, but eventually the magic ran out and he was put on waivers. They'll bring back utility man Don Kelly, and even though he's come up with some timely hits, he's not one who I would be afraid of in a clutch situation.

With leftfield up for grabs, either Andy Dirks or Nick Castellanos (if he's not moved to third) will be manning left. This means one or the other will be on the bench.

I'm not calling my suggestions that I'll mention an end all, be all solution, but I do believe they could help in the short term and be cost effective.

Raul Ibanez - The ageless wonder whacked 29 homers playing on an offensive-challenged team in Seattle and playing in spacious Safeco Field. You could plug Ibanez in at DH or platoon him at first with Victor Martinez if you keep Miguel Cabrera at third. His price might be too high, but at 41 years old, you won't be tied to him too long.

Jeff Francouer - The one time hot prospect has fizzled, but two seasons ago showed some signs of life in Kansas City. He could come cheap, since he was released by Kansas City. He could supply some defense with the strong arm. His drawback is that he's a free swinger, and the Tigers don't need that when they need to get a run across.

Mark Reynolds and Carlos Pena - These two players are nearly identical... feast or famine. They'll get you some bombs, but they'll strike out a whole lot. Both players are someone an opposing pitcher would have to be somewhat careful with.

Nate McLouth - Could be a nice, cheap bench option for a contender.

Rajai Davis - If you want a late inning defensive replacement and some speed off the bench, this is your guy.

Eric Chavez - Yes he gets hurt a lot, but maybe just maybe he can hold the fort until Castellanos is ready to take over full time. At the very least, keep him around to teach him a few things.

I'm not saying these are players they should be fully investing time to go after, but maybe take a flier on one of them and see can they catch lightning in a bottle and get a little thunder on the bench.


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