Contractually speaking, first base is tied up for a while as the Tigers ponder future lineups. Prince Fielder is signed through 2020, give or take a season or two — or more — as the team's designated hitter.

And, at least for the time being, that might be reassuring for an organization that has no guarantees incubating on the farm.

Jordan Lennerton is having a nice season at Triple A Toledo (.294, four home runs in 37 games). Lennerton, though, is 27 and was a 33rd-round draft pick in 2008. So his future is delicate.

James Robbins, 22, is a smooth-hands fielder and potentially lofty power hitter at Double A Erie. But look deeper at that .273 batting average and you see an underwhelming OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of .660 to go with 44 strikeouts in 31 games.

And then there is Aaron Westlake, 24, who was a third-round draft pick in 2011 (Vanderbilt). No one is down on Westlake, not when he is batting .284 in 34 games at Single A Lakeland, and .325 in his last 10 games. Not when he has two home runs, one triple, and 10 doubles.

But he is getting deep into his years to be no higher than Single A, which, in fairness to Westlake, doesn't mean a player two years out of college can't move in a hurry to Double A and into the upper tier of prospects.

It's simply that nothing screams at the moment that the Tigers have a hotshot first baseman/designated hitter waiting to provide a team with future flexibility.

Westlake could change the equation — if a left-handed batter, 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, turns 2013 into the kind of season Detroit expected from a third-round pick.