In two short years the Tigers have gone from a laughingstock to a much improved team talking about contending in the AL Central. Although they didn't get the cream of the free-agency crop, the team's two big signings -- Troy Percival and Magglio Ordonez -- will go a long way toward establishing the Tigers' credibility.
Worth Every Penny
Pudge Rodriguez is one of the greatest all-around catchers the game has ever known. At age 33, he's still going strong after hitting .334 last season, the ninth time in the past 10 years he's reached .300. At a position where any production is a bonus, Rodriguez is one of the elite performers.
About to Blossom
Only 22 years old, Jeremy Bonderman enters his third big league season ready to take off. Blessed with a fastball that reaches the high 90s, Bonderman settled down in the second half and posted a 3.70 ERA. He ranked fourth in the AL in strikeouts per nine innings and led the league with two shutouts. He should be a great value pick for your staff.
In two of the past three seasons, Dmitri Young has had injury problems. When he manages to find himself between the lines, however, he's one heck of a hitter. Eligible in most leagues at first base and DH, Young could also find himself at times in the outfield and third base, making him one of the most valuable fantasy utility players.
Do You Feel Lucky?
You and the Tigers are in the same boat when it comes to the status of Ordonez, although your investment is substantially less. The big free-agent signee says he's healthy and the Tigers believed in him enough to offer a five-year, $75 million contract. He's normally good for at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs, but his knees will scare folks away.
Having jettisoned Alex Sanchez, the Tigers' best hope for speed is rookie Nook Logan, who stole a combined 46 bases in Class AAA and the majors last season. The middle infield combination of Carlos Guillen and Omar Infante totaled double-figure steals last season and should do so again.
If Something Should Happen To Troy Percival
The Tigers are three deep at closer right now with Percival, Ugueth Urbina and 100 mph throwing Kyle Farnsworth. There's a very good chance Urbina will be moved before the regular season begins, so if you really want a backup for Percival, Farnsworth would be a good call.
Don't Forget About
Carlos Pena, Nate Robertson, Craig Monroe, Carlos Guillen
Don't Bother With
Mike Maroth, Bobby Higginson, Vance Wilson
David Sabino is the associate editor in charge of statistics at Sports Illustrated and the author of the book, Dominate Your Fantasy Baseball League (Muska & Lipman/Premier-Trade).