Tigers roster and schedule
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Detroit Tigers roster and schedule for 2020 season

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The 2020 MLB season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. Next up: The Detroit Tigers roster and schedule:

TIGERS ROSTER (projected) 

When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.

In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Tigers roster to begin the season, give or take:

Catchers

Austin Romine
Grayson Greiner

Infielders:

C.J. Cron
Jonathan Schoop
Jeimer Candelario
Niko Goodrum
Jordy Mercer
Dawel Lugo
Harold Castro
Miguel Cabrera

Outfielders

Christin Stewart
JaCoby Jones
Cameron Maybin
Victor Reyes

Starters

Matthew Boyd
Ivan Nova
Spencer Turnbull
Michael Fulmer
Daniel Norris

Relievers

Joe Jimenez
Buck Farmer
Gregory Soto
Jose Cisnero
Tyler Alexander
Nick Ramirez
Shao-Ching Chiang
Bryan Garcia
Rony Garcia
David McKay


BREAKDOWN:

The Tigers went 47-114 last year. The good news: they’ll not lose that many games this year because the schedule is only 60 games long. The bad news: they’re not substantially better on a game-per-game basis.

To be fair, they added some actual major league players this past offseason, acquiring C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop, Cameron Maybin, Austin Romine, and Ivan Nova. None of them are game-changers, but in the aggregate that’ll help improve an appalling offense and, in Nova, some innings might be eaten. Really, it’s guys like that who, historically, make rebuilding teams merely bad instead of historically awful. The Tigers tried a year without such players and see where that got them. Having them may help the club improve to merely bad.

Pitching-wise, the rotation has some, actually, pretty talented dudes. Health has been a big problem, of course and one of the keys to the Tigers, again, being merely bad, is the health of Michael Fulmer. Fulmer once figured to be the Tigers’ ace but he missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. For now he’s a fourth or fifth starter but there is at least some hope for upside as he comes back. The bullpen projections up there are, basically, guesses. They will cycle a ton of guys through this year one suspects.

The key story for the 2020 Tigers, of course, is how increasingly impressive crop of prospects mature. That’ll be hard to gauge without a minor league season, but most of their promising young future stars are part of the team’s expanded 60-man player pool and will be working out in Toledo all summer. The best news Tigers fans will get most of the season are anecdotes about how someone like top pitching prospects Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal or Matt Manning or newly-drafted slugger Spencer Torkelson look in workouts.

A final note: future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera is still on this team and will be for some time. Many have likely written him off due to injuries and decline in the past few years, but he did show up to both spring training and summer camp in excellent shape. He hit really well in Grapefruit League games in March. It’s probably too much to expect a Comeback Player of the Year award from the guy, but it’d be nice to see him return to something approximating his old form and to see him pick up his 3,000th career hit and 500th career home run some time, say, next season?

TIGERS SCHEDULE:

Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.

Tigers home stands will be July 27-August 4 (Royals, Reds, Cardinals), August 10-16 (White Sox, Indians), August 24-30 (Cubs, Twins), September 8-9 (Brewers), and September 15-20 (Royals, Indians).

The entire Tigers roster and schedule can be seen here.

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”