On the hierarchy of the Detroit Tigers, platoon outfielder Andy Dirks isn’t exactly a high-profile piece to the puzzle, but the team will be forced into an unfortunate position over the next 12 weeks.
Per an announcement from Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, Dirks will undergo back surgery that will sideline him for at least 12 weeks, and as a result, Detroit’s depth in the outfield is suddenly quite shaky. Heading into the year, it was apparent that new manager Brad Ausmus would use some sort of platoon between Dirks and speedy left-hander Rajai Davis, but without Dirks available, he may be forced to use Davis against right-handers.
In 2013, the 28-year-old Dirks got the most playing time of his entire career (484 plate appearances over 131 games), and he was reasonably solid against right-handed pitching. However, some felt as if Davis was the better option overall as a full-time player due to his speed, and only some solid defensive metrics kept Dirks from being the equivalent of a replacement-level player in 2013.
Either way, the Tigers won’t have their full compliment of bats until some time in June, and that is never a good thing for a new manager.