New faces brought in to extend Tigers' reign

Retooled roster allows club to contend while keeping eye on future

New faces brought in to extend Tigers' reign

DETROIT -- The Tigers have spent the last couple of offseasons bringing in new faces as part of their effort to not only better their chances to win, but extend their window of contention. This offseason had a little bit of both.

Detroit felt like it upgraded in the corner outfield with Yoenis Cespedes replacing Torii Hunter, but it had to trade Rick Porcello to make room. As a result, the team had to trade for Alfredo Simon to fill Porcello's spot after trading for Shane Greene to fill free agent Max Scherzer's spot. Anthony Gose filled Austin Jackson's spot after he went to Seattle in the July trade that brought David Price to Detroit to help prepare the Tigers for life without Scherzer. Tom Gorzelanny essentially fills Phil Coke's old bullpen spot.

This offseason was largely an interconnected puzzle. And with Cespedes, Price, Simon and Gorzelanny all eligible for free agency next winter, it could repeat next winter.

Cespedes, Simon to Detroit

OF Yoenis Cespedes: The Tigers nearly signed Cespedes after his defection from Cuba three years ago before Victor Martinez's season-ending knee injury redirected Detroit toward Prince Fielder as a replacement. Had the Tigers known Cespedes would have the impact he did as a rookie, they might have preferred Cespedes. Now, they're hoping he can have the same impact for them in the final year of his deal, which would greatly balance their offense behind Martinez and Miguel Cabrera.

RP Tom Gorzelanny: After years of trade rumors that Gorzelanny could be headed to Detroit, the lefty finally arrived as a free agent on a low-risk, high-reward one-year deal after coming back from injury last year. The Tigers are hoping to get out of Gorzelanny what they got out of Joba Chamberlain, who arguably held Detroit's bullpen together for most of last season in his second season back from surgery.

Tigers trade for Gose

CF Anthony Gose: Five years after the Tigers traded for a center-field prospect and struck big with Jackson, they're hoping they can do the same with Gose after giving up top prospect Devon Travis to acquire the speedster from Toronto. His athletic talent and defensive acumen was apparent in his various stints with the Jays, but he has to prove he can hit. Manager Brad Ausmus and hitting coach Wally Joyner believe he can make that step.

Outlook: Greene, SP, DET

SP Shane Greene: Four months after Greene tossed eight shutout innings against the Tigers in a 1-0 win, Greene became a Tiger, acquired from the Yankees for Robbie Ray. Essentially, Greene becomes the rotation fixture Detroit hoped Ray would eventually be when it acquired him in the Doug Fister trade. He's a sinkerballer in the Porcello mode, but his inconsistent track record in the Minor Leagues raises some intrigue about whether he can repeat his big league success.

SP Alfredo Simon: The Reds ended up trading two of their three starters entering contract years this offseason. The Tigers went for Simon, a 15-game winner who fell just shy of 200 innings in his first full season as a starter at age 33. He's neither a high-strikeout pitcher nor a strong ground-ball guy, but he has allowed a low average on balls put in play, including a .268 clip last year. He gets a bigger ballpark to work with in Detroit.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.