Three Biggest "X Factors" For The Tigers In 2010
1. Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen - The Tigers’ player payroll is still relatively big, and it’s because of these three players. Their contracts for this season are worth roughly $48 million combined. Ordonez’s lack of power production last season was alarming. Guillen has been injured a lot and doesn’t have an obvious position. Cabrera has off-the-field issues which have come to light, and has been prone to long dry spells when it comes to producing clutch hits. It’s not like these three haven’t produced in the past, but are Ordonez and Guillen still capable, and can Cabrera get his act together? If the Tigers get more bang for their bucks from these three than they did last season, scoring won’t be nearly as big an issue as it seems.
2. Austin Jackson and Scott Sizemore - This is the great unknown. Neither has played an inning in the major leagues, yet they are replacing Curtis Granderson and Placido Polanco in the Tigers’ lineup. They should be ready. It’s not like they need more minor league time. But expecting them to play at remotely the same level as Granderson and Polanco as rookies is unrealistic and could be the Tigers’ downfall.
3. Alex Avila - He slowed down after a hot start in the major leagues, but it is evident Avila has left-handed power. And it is the Tigers’ greatest need. Manager Jim Leyland will have to weigh the balance of Avila’s left-handed power with the defensive prowess of Gerald Laird at catcher. But if Avila were to hit 15 home runs this season in part-time role, it would be an enormous boost.