Results tagged ‘ Detroit Tigers ’
Yesterday afternoon the Tigers announced they reached a deal with Jose Valverde, signing their former closer to a minor-league deal. A lot of people made a lot of assumptions about why the Tigers would even think about bringing him back, and others felt this was a sign of Detroit panicking about their current bullpen. Personally, I think it’s a great signing.
For a guy who was listed as one of the top-50 free agents entering the 2012 offseason, Valverde found himself without a team during spring training. He was originally supposed to pitch in the World Baseball Classic, but decided against it due to personal reasons. If Valverde did pitch in the WBC, I feel pretty confident he would have found a contract offer somewhere. Instead, he ended up pitching a showcase for several teams in the Dominican Republic.
The Tigers liked the progress Valverde displayed in those sessions (velocity appeared to be back, plus was throwing several splitters), and decided it was worth giving him a chance to prove he can once again be the type of closer he was from 2010 through the first half of 2012. The best part of this contract is the fact that Valverde is guaranteed absolutely nothing besides a spot in Toledo’s bullpen. Worst case scenario, he opts out of his contract on May 5th (which he is allowed to do if he’s not on the Major League roster by then) and it didn’t cost the Tigers a thing. I’d imagine Detroit won’t even be able to sign Brian Wilson (who is recovering from his second Tommy John surgery) for such a low-risk deal.
My only concern with this deal, is how it will end up hurting the development of Bruce Rondon, who I do believe is the future closer for Detroit. Hopefully the Tigers will be smart enough to give both Rondon and Valverde a chance to develop, that way they’ll be able to figure out which (could also be neither or both) of them will be able to make the Tigers a better team. If that means we get a second helping of the Big Potato, I’m not opposed to it.
As I begin writing this, we’re only 21 hours away from the first pitch of the 2013 MLB season. Last year left a sour taste in my mouth (as it did for everyone who isn’t a San Francisco Giants fan), so I’m looking for a chance to change that.
It doesn’t matter which team you find yourself rooting for, everyone feels like this year could be the year (unless you’re an Astros or Marlins fan, you might want to wait a few more years) that they’re team finally wins it all. I normally always try to do a prediction blog before the season begins, and that’s what I’m going to do. If normal predictions bore you, check out my other BLOG where I’ve made a few more wild predictions.
Without further ado:
AL West: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim- Although I do love the diehard Athletics (and I really do hope they support the A’s like they did during October last year), I just don’t see them being able to pull of a repeat this year. This isn’t to say I don’t think they’ll be in contention, but I think they’re looking at a Wild Card. The only thing I can realistically see preventing the Angels from winning their division is if the starting rotation falls apart.
AL Central: Detroit Tigers- The Tigers went to the World Series last year and there’s really no reason why they can’t find themselves back in the hunt again this year. On paper, the Tigers have only gotten better (Torii Hunter in right field instead of Brennan Boesch, Victor Martinez instead of Delmon Young at DH and a full season of Omar Infante at 2B). A lot of critics say that the Tigers will struggle without a proven closer, but I don’t think that will be a big enough issue to keep them from winning their division.
AL East: Tampa Bay Rays- If there’s a division that puzzles me, it’s without a doubt the AL East. Realistically, every team in the division has a legitimate argument that they could win the division. You can’t say that with really any other division, and that’s what makes predicting this so difficult. My thoughts are that the Yankees are falling apart (age and injuries), Boston has to prove they can turn it around with a new coach and Baltimore will likely take a step back compared to last year. You’re probably thinking, ‘What about the Blue Jays?’ No, I didn’t forget about them. The bulk of the players they traded for were from Miami, and the Marlins were pretty terrible last year. I’m not so sure that they’ll be able to win in Toronto, either.
Wild Cards: Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers- The Blue Jays are obviously talented and if they can stay healthy (especially Jose Bautista, Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow), there’s no reason why they won’t find themselves playing in October. They have the offensive weapons, but their pitching needs to improve.
I think Oakland will start off strong, but slowly fade as the Rangers surge in the second half. The Rangers have a ton of talent, and I’m worried about whether or not the Athletics can do it again. The Athletics and Rangers both will benefit from playing the Astros a lot more, that’s why I can’t see two Wild Cards coming from the AL East.
NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers- Hard to bet against Magic Johnson and the newly revamped Dodgers. They’ve spent enough money to win their division (in theory), and I don’t think the San Francisco Giants or Arizona Diamondbacks will be able to slow them down enough to pass them in the standings.
NL Central: Cincinnati Reds- I think the Reds are under appreciated and it’s only a matter of time before everyone figures it out. They have a lot of young core talent which compliments their solid rotation. Oh yeah, their closer can also throw 105 MPH.
NL East: Washington Nationals- Although the Atlanta Braves added the Upton brothers to their outfield, I still think they’re going to go through too many stretches of not scoring runs. Don’t believe me? Look at the Detroit Tigers last year, when they had a similar type of team. When you’re relying on power, you often go through stretches where you’re not scoring runs.
Wild Cards: San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves- Hard to count out the defending World Series champions, especially when you consider the fact they haven’t lost any real significant pieces from their 2012 team. The Braves have enough pitching and offense that they should be able to beat up on the Mets and Phillies, squeaking out a Wild Card in the final week of the season.
AL MVP: Prince Fielder
NL MVP: Joey Votto
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
AL Comeback Player of the Year: Victor Martinez
NL Comeback Player of the Year: Roy Halladay
AL Rookie of the Year: Nick Castellanos
NL Rookie of the Year: Jedd Gyorko
World Series: Detroit Tigers over the Washington Nationals in 6 games
Today is a good day for Tigers’ fans, and an even better day for Justin Verlander, as Verlander has agreed to a five-year extension worth 140-million dollars. It may sound completely absurd, but for signing the best pitcher in baseball (who one could argue is just entering his prime) it’s actually a very fair deal.
After Zach Greinke (6 years, 158 million) and Felix Hernandez (7 years, 175 million) signed huge deals in the offseason, Verlander was very open about his desire to be the first pitcher to sign a contract worth 200-million dollars. I thought he would sign for 8 years and 200 million and it appears I wasn’t too far off.
The extension will reportedly pay Verlander 20 million in ’13 and ’14, plus 28 million for each year from ’15-’19. That puts Verlander at seven years and 180 million, but there’s still a vesting option for the 8th year (have yet to see what it will take to vest) which would be worth 22 million more. All together, the Tigers have locked up their ace for potentially 8 years and 202 million.
Overall, I think Detroit fans should be excited about the news. I know there’s going to be a lot of people complaining that Verlander is going to make way too much money, but when you’re the best in the world at something, you deserve to make the most money. If there’s a downside to the signing, it’s that Tigers’ fans are likely to be paying for this contract for quite a few years.
After signing Prince Fielder last year, ticket prices rose a bit for the 2013 season. To be fair, prices didn’t increase much from the previous year, but seeing my season tickets go up (from paying $17 per ticket to $23) seemed a bit excessive. Will that trend continue for the 2014 season? It’s hard to know for sure, but it wouldn’t be a complete surprise if it does.
At the end of the day, as long as the Tigers are able to continue to compete for a World Series, I don’t think you’ll hear too many people complaining.
According to reports, the Tigers made not one but two offers to the San Diego Padres in an attempt to trade Rick Porcello. Both of the offers were rejected, but it makes me wonder whether or not the Tigers should try to trade Porcello.
Both reported offers would have landed Detroit a late-inning relief pitcher, which makes it seem that the Tigers don’t necessarily have a lot of confidence in Bruce Rondon being the closer come opening day. If that is the case, I can understand why the Tigers would try to trade for Huston Street, but not Luke Gregerson.
In his first year as the closer for the Padres, Street posted a 1.85 ERA along with 23 saves. Street has spent all eight years of his career as a closer, only once logging under 20 saves. Although he is a valuable closer, I don’t think trading a pitcher like Porcello (durable starter who cannot become a free agent until 2016) for a closer who is owed 21-million dollars over the next three years.
Gregerson is another interesting trade candidate, as I’m not sure he’d be able to slot in as the closer for the Tigers, especially since he’s only finished 42 games in his career (12 saves). The nice thing about Gregerson is the fact he’s only due 3.2-million dollars this year, which is a reasonable salary for a quality relief pitcher. The flip side of that is if Gregerson isn’t closing, he really doesn’t have much of a defined role on the team.
When it comes to closers, there’s basically two different theories. The first theory is that any quality relief pitcher can be an above-average closer. The second is that not all pitchers have the mentality or makeup to be a closer in professional baseball. More often than not, I’m a believer in the latter. Of course there will always be exceptions to the rule, but a closer without confidence is just a disaster waiting to happen.
So should the Tigers trade Porcello before opening day? In my opinion, I think it’s best to wait until at least the trade deadline. My biggest fear is the fact that outside of Drew Smyly, the Tigers have pretty much no rotational depth, and that’s not a position that a World Series contending team wants to deal with. If the Tigers do trade Porcello, I just hope that they get a little more value than just a relief pitcher.
A few days ago, the Detroit Tigers decided to cut their ties to outfielder Brennan Boesch, giving him his outright release. Fortunately for Boesch, it didn’t take long before the New York Yankees signed him to a one-year deal which could be worth just over two-million dollars.
Now it’s not too often where I feel the need to compliment the Yankees about signing a free agent, but this really does seem like a pretty perfect fit. There’s not too many Yankees that haven’t been bit by the injury bug, and they certainly needed to sign an outfielder before the season begins. Although I’d imagine Curtis Granderson will be back with the team by the middle of May, the Yankees lack any sort of outfield depth.
Although I’m not quite sold on Boesch, his left-handed power swing plays perfectly at Yankee Stadium with their short porch in right field. It was originally reported that the contract was 1.5 million dollars guaranteed with the potential for an additional 600 thousand dollars in incentives, but it turns out that was incorrectly report. In fact, Boesch signed what is referred to as a split contract. If Boesch plays for the New York Yankees, he’ll make the 1.5 million, but if he’s sent to the minor leagues, he’ll only make half of a million dollars (not including the money he received from the Tigers when they released him).
I’d find it hard to believe that Boesch won’t make the opening day roster, because if he struggles, they can always option him back to triple-A once Granderson returns to the team. A change of scenery should do Boesch well, as his struggles in Detroit were doing nothing more than preventing top prospects Nick Castellanos and Avisail Garcia playing time.
Also, you can find out more about my thoughts on Brennan Boesch and his fantasy baseball value by clicking HERE.
When it comes to reports out of Spring Training, I normally don’t invest a whole lot of time or energy into them. As far as I’m concerned, the numbers are often easily skewed based on things like sample size and players working on something specific (like a pitcher trying a new curveball, or a batter working on hitting to the opposite field). However, there is an interesting development in Lakeland this year. Is Bruce Rondon ready to be the closer for the Detroit Tigers?
For those who don’t follow baseball as passionately or religiously as I do, let me preface by saying this. Rondon is one of baseball’s best prospects. As if his 6’3″ 255 pound frame wasn’t intimidating enough, he features a fastball that is regularly clocked near 100 MPH, and has reportedly hit 103 on the radar gun.
When the Tigers decided to not resign Jose Valverde after a shaky postseason performance (not that a good one would have necessarily gotten him a contract with Detroit), fans immediately began to speculate what the Tigers should do. Rafael Soriano was a free agent, but signing him would cost us not only a first-round draft pick, but also a lot of money.
Early in the offseason, the Tigers seemed confident in their internal options, especially with having a pitcher like Rondon waiting in the wings. Across three different levels of the minor leagues, Rondon went 2-1 with an ERA 1.53. Although he did walk 28 batters (two being intentional) in just 53 innings, he still managed to have an impressive WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) of just 1.094. So what does that mean? Basically that when the ball is over the plate, he’s not giving up a lot of hits.
Although walks are a big concern for closers, I don’t think that’s the biggest concern the Tigers will have with a guy like Rondon. He might have an electric fastball, but he will need to compliment that with a secondary pitch that he can throw for a strike (or at least good enough to entice hitters). Reports are that Rondon does have a changeup and slider, but has struggled with his command of both during Spring Training.
It’s important to remember that it’s early for players, so it’s pretty uncommon for players to not have a great feel for their pitches at this point. If it’s something we’re still talking about in May or June, then it would be something that should be addressed accordingly. In the meantime, I’m confident that Rondon will not only be fine during his rookie year, but I think he’s going to quickly become one of the most talked about players in baseball.
Although the calendar might say that today is March 1st, I would argue that it already is starting to feel like spring. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact I spent part of last week in Florida, or even the fact that baseball if officially back.
Shortly after my birthday, I decided to book a last-minute flight down to Florida. I’ve never been a fan of cold weather, so it sounded like the perfect time to leave for a mini vacation. So I packed my bags and headed south without any real plans.
After landing, my parents picked me up and we headed to visit with a cousin who lived near Tampa. She decided to show us around town, which included driving by Tropicana Field. I was hoping to be able to get at least a tour, but they weren’t doing any while I was in town. We were taken to one of her favorite spots, the St. Pete Pier. The shops weren’t of much interest to me, but the view from the top was pretty breathtaking.
Once we were done with our tour, we headed back to the condo and relaxed by the pool. After all of the running around for the day, that was good enough for me.
The next day included a pit stop at one of my mother’s favorite locations in Florida. If you’re a fan of ridiculously good (not to mention reasonably priced) desserts, look no further than Parksdale Farms. Located in Plant City, it’s a fruit market and dessert stand. Known primarily for their strawberries, they have an entire dessert menu built around just strawberries. I opted for the sundae.
From there, we headed to Lakeland, where I got my first ever opportunity to watch the Tigers play a game in Spring Training. If I’m not mistaken, I’ve been to Lakeland about five times (my favorite memory coming from when I had to chase David Wells to his car to get his autograph), but I’ve only been able to watch them practice.
Of course I didn’t bring any luck to the Tigers, but I did get to watch top prospect Bruce Rondon pitch, and see both Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder hit a home run.
But that wasn’t all of the baseball I got to watch while I was down there. I met up with a few friends that I met through the MLB Fan Cave, and we headed to Bradenton to watch the Pirates host the Atlanta Braves. Although I wasn’t too familiar with most of the prospects, it was fun to watch Justin Upton, B.J. Upton and Jason Heyward playing the outfield. Not only that, but I was able to root for ex-Tigers Brandon Inge and Gerald Laird.
On the final night, I met back up with my friends for some bowling. I once again proved that I’m a terrible bowler, but at least I can take pride in the fact my score improved after every game. If they would’ve let me bowl til five in the morning, I might’ve been able to break 200 (I doubt it, but you can’t prove otherwise)!
Tuesday morning meant it was time for me to leave, so I was dropped off at the airport at noon for my 2:05 PM flight. Unfortunately, mechanical issues delayed my departure to 4:05. That later changed to 4:30, which changed to 5:00 and eventually switched to 5:19. Knowing that there was a snowstorm back home, I wasn’t exactly thrilled.
The flight was fine, but the drive home was without a doubt the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced in a car. On the commute home, I witnessed three accidents, a semi truck crash through a guard rail, and a car going the wrong way on the expressway. Even though traffic was going no more than 40 MPH, there was still plenty of crazy stuff going on.
Although the drive lasted more than twice as long as it usually does, I was thankful to finally make it home in one piece. Even though it’s currently 25 degrees here in Michigan, knowing that opening day isn’t too far away, it doesn’t seem so bad.
Although I may not have been chosen as a finalist for the 2013 MLB Fan Cave, this does not mean my supporters should simply disregard the MLB Fan Cave. In fact, I’m hoping that you’ll help support a fellow applicant who is hoping to represent the Tigers this year.
When I went through the list of finalists, although I was disappointed to not find my name on the list, I was pleased to see that Lindsay Beaver from Sterling Heights was able to crack the top 52. I’ve had the joy of following Lindsay on Twitter for a year now, and we happen to have similar paths.
Lindsay is currently going through Oakland University’s journalism program, the same program I graduated from a few years ago. We’ve both been supporting the Tigers through the bad times and the good, allowing us both to have a greater appreciation for their recent success. Not only that, but we’re both huge Doug Fister fans.
So I kindly ask that if you were supporting me for the 2013 MLB Fan Cave, to instead turn that support to Lindsay this year as she hopes to make it to New York to represent Detroit fans everywhere. Why should you support her? Well I’m glad you asked!
Me: Tell me a little bit about your love of baseball and the Tigers. If I remember correctly, your grandfather was a big part of your love for the game, wasn’t he?
Lindsay: My Paw Paw had a huge influence on me becoming a Tigers fan. We shared a birthday and a love for the Tigers, so we had a really special bond. He always had the game on TV and eventually began telling me stories about when he was growing up in Detroit as a Tigers fan. I was a 7 year old kid who knew Al Kaline’s stats. We watched every single game together, even up to the night that he passed away in 2011. He was in hospice care and the last thing we did was watch a Tigers vs. Mariners game. He couldn’t talk or even open his eyes, but the doctors said he could hear me so I broadcasted the game to him.
I’ve been a Tigers fan through everything. I watched all of those losing seasons and I watched them make it to the World Series in 2006. I watched the roller coaster years that followed that amazing season and I’m still here. I’m a Tigers fan for life.
Me: Due to age restrictions, you weren’t able to apply to the MLB Fan Cave last year, but I know that you followed along with it. What about the MLB Fan Cave made you want to apply?
Lindsay: Everything about it made me want to apply! When I first heard about it two years ago, I knew it was perfect for me. It was literally everything I could want as a fan. Then last year, they opened it up to more people but unfortunately I wasn’t at the 21 year age requirement. I followed along with crazy jealousy because I knew this was something I wanted and something I would be good at.
Me: So when MLB initially posted their deadline, you were unfortunately ineligible to apply. As fate would have it, the deadline got pushed back and you were finally able to apply. What went through your head when you found that out?
Lindsay: I honestly squealed. I couldn’t even believe it. I actually thought it was a joke at first because it was too good to be true. I had been bugging the Fan Cave twitter for a couple months about extending their deadline. I’m sure I wasn’t the reason, but I love the coincidence!
Me: Speaking of talking about your thoughts when finding out big news, what was going on through your head when you found out you made it to the top 52?
Lindsay: Again, I squealed. I was at my office at the newspaper I work at when I saw it in my email. I had to read it a few times to make sure I was seeing it right. I’ve never won anything or experienced anything like this before, so it was really surreal. I texted my mom right away to tell her and I posted about it on Twitter and Facebook. It was the best feeling ever!
Me: How is your campaigning going so far? Biggest surprise so far?
Lindsay: The campaigning has been fun! I can’t believe the amount of support I’ve gotten from people, especially from people I don’t even know. It’s been more than I could have imagined. I’ve gotten a few endorsements from people on Twitter which I think is just amazing. My favorite endorsement has to be the picture of Jeff Jones holding a sign that says to vote for me. I was also interviewed on a popular Detroit morning radio show (104.3 WOMC) and that was crazy. I’m used to asking the questions, not the other way around.
Me: If chosen to the Cave, do you have any specific goals or things you’d like to accomplish while you’re there?
Lindsay: I do have a few skits already that I think would be really funny to do with certain players. My goal is to bring in a whole new batch of fans. I know a lot of my friends and a lot of people who follow me on Twitter aren’t necessarily diehard baseball fans, so if I’m able to open their eyes to how great the sport is on a scale as big as the MLB Fan Cave, I’ll feel like I did my job.
Me: If you could pick one baseball player (past or present), one actor/actress and one musician/band to the Cave, who would you pick?
Lindsay: Picking one baseball player is so difficult, especially because there’s so many I can think of for both past and present. Oh my gosh. I’d have to be biased and say Doug Fister, since he is my favorite baseball player right now and he’s never done the Fan Cave. I have a skit idea for him too.
I’m going to cheat and choose a past player too, and that would be Al Kaline.
For an actor or actress, I would love to have Jason Segel or Jimmy Fallon because I think they’re both hilarious and I’ve been fans for awhile. For the musician, I’d want Carrie Underwood to visit. I’ve been a huge fan of hers since her first audition on American Idol in 2005.
Me: Why should you be chosen for the 2013 MLB Fan Cave?
Lindsay: I’m more passionate about baseball than anything else. I’m involved in social media (sometimes a little too much!) and I want to be a part of something that connects the players to the fans. I love that the Fan Cave shows their personalities and shows the human side of them. I want to represent Tigers fans, female fans and baseball fans. The MLB Fan Cave literally has everything I was meant to do. It would be a dream!
You can (and should) vote for Lindsay as many times as you’d like until February 13th at http://atmlb.com/VxHTCn. While you’re at it, follow her on Twitter @Lindsaybeavs and give her your support.
As 2011 came to a close, I wasn’t exactly at the highest point in my life. Recovering from the passing of my grandfather was difficult, and it was hard for me to look at the bigger picture. 2012 provided me just what I needed to help move on.
It all began on January 6th, when I received an e-mail from Major League Baseball asking me to sign a form allowing them to perform a background check on me. I had applied for the MLB Fan Cave in 2011, but didn’t hear anything back from them. This year already had a lot of potential.
Through the next few weeks, I learned that I was selected as one of the final 50 applicants out of over 22,000 people. I was one step closer to finally getting a job with Major League Baseball, one step closer to making a dream of mine come true.
It was around this point where I got to start knowing most of my fellow finalists. In a strange turn of events, instead of competing against one another, we somehow became friends. I dubbed us the Fan Cave Family, and it has stuck ever since.
In February, I went to Florida with my family for the least relaxing vacation I’ve ever been on. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun getting to escape the cold and go to Lakeland and watch the Tigers during spring training, but I wasn’t able to sleep. MLB announced they would be cutting the 50 finalists to 30, and those selected would be flown out to Arizona for the final interview process.
When they informed us the day we would be told either way, I didn’t feel like doing anything. Instead, I went to play some putt putt with the family. Borrowing my sister-in-law’s smart phone, I’d periodically check my e-mail in hopes that I would receive some sort of closure. Finally, I received word, I was going to Arizona.
So I flew home from Florida, had one day to prepare myself and then I was off to Arizona. Finally, I got a chance to meet the people who I had spent so much time over the last month getting to know. I’ve never felt so close to a group of strangers, and I doubt I ever will again.
To make a long story short, I wasn’t selected to be a member of the 2012 MLB Fan Cave, but it was still an amazing experience.
In April, I got a chance to go to New York to hang out with the Cave Dwellers (plus a few other finalists who also happened to be visiting at the time), and even got to watch the Tigers play in Yankee Stadium on a Friday night.
Along the way, I went to Chicago twice, and even got a chance to watch the Tigers play the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Several of my friends and family got married, and I was relieved to find myself celebrating instead of mourning. Although life is full of ups and downs, 2012 gave me more reasons to be happy than any other year I can recall off the top of my head.
In October, the Tigers found themselves back in the playoffs, and I got a chance to attend both ALDS games with my father. It was a memorable experience, and hopefully we’ll get a chance to do it again one day.
After a five-game series with the Oakland Athletics, the Tigers swept the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. For the first time since 2006, the Detroit Tigers were finally back in the World Series. The main difference for me being the fact that in 2006 I didn’t have playoff tickets, in 2012 I made sure I did.
I made the decision to go to at least one game, and unfortunately it was game four. The Tigers lost a heart breaker, and the San Francisco Giants were officially the World Series champions. Even though it was disappointing, it was kind of cool to be at a part of baseball history.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving, my favorite day of the year. This year I hosted Turkey Bowl XI, an annual football game played on Thanksgiving morning with my family and friends. Despite nearly blowing a very large lead, my team was able to hold on and claim victory once again. I thought that would be the highlight of my day, but I was so very wrong.
My brother and sister-in-law invited the family over their new house for Thanksgiving dinner, so off we went. Before eating, my brother stated that he had an announcement he’d like to make. Never at a loss for words, my brother went on to announce that he and his wife were expecting their first child, who will be arriving in late May of 2013. For the first time in my life, I was going to be in an uncle.
Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with happiness. Not just for myself, but for my brother, his wife, my parents and the rest of the family. It really didn’t matter what I was going to get for Christmas this year, I got my favorite present a month early.
I don’t know what 2013 will have in store for myself or anyone else, but I can only hope and imagine it will include a great deal of excitement and happiness. So here’s to another year of the unexpected, and hopefully we’ll all find plenty of reasons to celebrate a year from now.
A lot of people in Michigan got a chance to go hunting this weekend, but for the Detroit Tigers, the hunt began weeks ago.
After getting swept in the World Series in a horribly disappointing fashion, Tigers President Dave Dombrowski has the task of hunting for talent that will make Detroit a better team in 2013.
Of course you don’t always get everything that’s on your wish list, but Detroit acted quickly and signed Torii Hunter to a two-year deal for 26 million dollars. Overall, it’s a pretty perfect match, since Hunter can play an above-average defense while bringing a strong right-handed bat. Better yet, Hunter will get a chance to mentor young outfielders such as Austin Jackson, Andy Dirks, Avisail Garcia, Quintin Berry and Nick Castellanos.
Remember, Mike Trout of the Angels gave Hunter a lot of credit for his 2012 season, so hopefully he can do the same with our cast of young and talented outfielders. If so, the 26 million dollars will not only pay dividends now, but well after Hunter leaves Detroit.
So what else do the Tigers need to look for in the next few months? In my opinion, they should look at adding a right-handed hitting corner outfielder who can split playing time with Andy Dirks in left field. Someone like Scott Hairston would make a lot of sense, and wouldn’t cost a lot of money. Not only that, but he was someone who the Tigers were reported to have interest in last year.
Some people say the Tigers should make a hard push to sign Anibal Sanchez, but for the reported six years and 90 million dollars he’s asking for, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I’m usually not an advocate for guaranteeing that much money to a starting pitcher, and it’s hard to convince me that Detroit should spend 15 million dollars on a guy who would be the number four pitcher in their rotation. If Detroit wants to sign a starting pitcher, I’d suggest offering someone like Edwin Jackson a three-year deal for 30 million dollars. If he turns it down, I’d simply stick with the current rotation of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly.
I think the best options to fill our closer vacancy are probably internally, such as giving Bruce Rondon a shot, or even Al Alburquerque. If they decide to sign a free agent, I’d suggest going after Ryan Madson, who missed all of 2012 with Tommy John Surgery.
Detroit will also likely consider adding a bullpen arm, and will need to figure out who is going to be their backup catcher. It’s unlikely that Victor Martinez will be able to catch, but with the added payroll, they might elect to give Bryan Holaday a chance.
It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the unseason unfolds, not only for the Tigers, but the rest of Major League Baseball. If the recent deals have been any indication of what to expect, this could be one of the most exciting offseasons in MLB history.