I wish I could have posted this earlier (darn day job), but as everybody has heard Kenny Rogers is a Detroit Tiger pending a physical. The deal is for $16 million over two year, which is line with other contracts. That said, I’m not thrilled.
Rogers has been fairly durable throwing over 190 innings each of the last 4 years. Last year he did a remarkable job preventing homers (only 15) despite pitching in the launching pad that is Texas. However, he also saw his strikeout rate drop to 4.02/9IP. While I expect the Tigers infield defense to be solid next year, that still amounts to a ton of outs left up to fielders. While his 3.46 ERA last year was impressive, his 4.30 DIPS ERA is rather average. I guess the good news is that the Tigers have two of the best pickoff pitchers (Maroth also) in the majors now.
My other issue with this signing and the to a lesser extent the Todd Jones signing, is the age. Rogers is 41 and Jones will be 38. For a team that was severely hampered by injuries last year, Detroit has increased that the chances of that happening again. Luckily the contracts are short term.
In terms of payroll, the Tigers had approximately $18 million come off the books with the departures of Fernando Vina, Bobby Higginson, Rondell White, and Jason Johnson. With these signings the Tigers are $3-$4 million below last year’s payroll. However, Magglio Ordonez goes to $15 million, and the Tigers contingent of arbitration eligible players are inline for big raises (especially Jeremy Bonderman given the starting pitching contracts). I won’t worry about this too much because so far the Tigers heavy investments the last few years haven’t precluded them for investing in scouting and development, or in purusing additional players.
No Offer for Johnson
In what may be the most disappointing move of the last two days, the Tigers decided not to offer arbitration to Jason Johnson. Johnson was very unlikely to have accepted, and even if he had accepted he would have provided similar production at a simliar price as Kenny Rogers. By failing to offer arbitration the Tigers gave up a shot at an additional first or second round draft pick.
There’s another new Tiger blog – Tiger Town.