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2016 MLB roster outlook: Detroit Tigers


2016 MLB roster outlook: Detroit Tigers

2015 record: 74-87, 5th place in AL Central

Manager: Brad Ausmus, 3rd season

Estimated 2016 payroll: $200 million

Key additions: OF Justin Upton, SP Jordan Zimmermann, CL Francisco Rodriguez, SP Mike Pelfrey

Key losses: C Alex Avila, OF Rajai Davis, SP Alfredo Simon

Projected lineup

2B Ian Kinsler
LF Justin Upton
1B Miguel Cabrera
DH Victor Martinez
RF J.D. Martinez
3B Nick Castellanos
C James McCann
SS Jose Iglesias
CF Anthony Gose

Projected rotation
RHP Justin Verlander
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
RHP Anibal Sanchez
LHP Daniel Norris
RHP Mike Pelfrey

Top relievers
CL Francisco Rodriguez
RHP Mark Lowe
LHP Justin Wilson

Biggest questions entering 2016
1. Can they improve their pitching? It was just two years ago the Tigers had Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, David Price and Anibal Sanchez; all on one team. Before that Doug Fister was there with Verlander and Scherzer, as they formed one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. That all changed last season, as they posted the worst team ERA in the American League. For the Tigers to become contenders again, they will have to pitch better. Bringing in starter Jordan Zimmermann should help. He was their first major offseason addition and Detroit hopes he can be the top shelf pitcher he was for years with the Nationals.

2. Will Verlander return to form? A resurgent Justin Verlander could help the Tigers improve their pitching staff dramatically. He has not been the dominant pitcher he once was for three seasons now, but he did post a 2.80 ERA over his last 15 outings in 2015. Verlander was once the best pitcher in baseball. If he can regain that form, the Tigers' outlook will look a whole lot different.

3. Can they match the Royals? The Tigers boast Verlander, Zimmermann, Justin Upton and Miguel Cabrera, but few will be predicting them to win their division. That's because the reigning champion Royals look like the favorites in the AL once again and a team that could go to their third straight World Series. The Royals won 95 games last year, while the Tigers finished in last with only 74 wins. That's a ton of ground to make up for a team that wants to win now.

[Roster info via]

[RELATED: First pictures of Doug Fister in Astros uniform]

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.