What to do about: Sean Casey?

The Tigers have a handful of players whose future is in doubt with the organization. I figured we’d tackle them one at a time.

Sean Casey is one of 3 Tigers to declare for free agency which very much makes his future in Detroit in doubt, but that is just one of a handful of issues.

First there is the fact that Casey, while he did have his share of timely hits, just wan’t that good as a Tiger save for the post season. As Lee points out, Sean’s numbers during his time with the Tigers were worse than Chris Shelton’s awful July (which prompted the trade in the first place). During his stint with the Tigers Casey managed only a 286 OBP and he did it with out power. The lack of power isn’t a surprise really. Casey’s only had one decent slugging year since 2001. What was surprsing was an OBP 80 points below his career average over roughly 200 plate appearances.

Sean Casey has also proven to be pretty injury prone as he’s aged. We saw his calf explode against the A’s and he missed 6 weeks earlier in the season with back problems. We also know he’s had a bad hip, hence the leg raise thing. The older he gets, the more likely he is slowed by additional injuries.

So why would the Tigers want to re-sign Casey? It’s possible that he could come pretty cheap given all the above issues. He also could serve as a one year stop-gap in the event the Tigers can’t come up with another first base option. And by all accounts The Mayor is as good a guy as you’ll find in the clubhouse. He also had a very good World Series, but I’d hope Tiger brass wouldn’t be too swayed by his performance over 5 games.

Surprisingly, Sean Casey is a type A free agent. This means that should the Tigers offer Casey arbitration and if Casey were to sign with another team, the Tigers would receive the first round pick from the signing club (or 2nd round pick if the signing club is picking early) plus a sandwich pick between the 1st and 2nd rounds.

If the Tigers do offer arbitration, they have until December 1st to do so. Now why wouldn’t the Tigers offer salary arbitration? Because Sean Casey may accept. If he accepts arbitration the Tigers automatically have him signed to at least a one year deal (I say at least because the club and player can continue to negotiate a longer term deal). So they may be stuck with Sean Casey, and without draft picks.

Despite Sean Casey’s performance in the World Series, and the fact that he’s an easy guy to root for, I don’t see how the Tigers can resign him. He appears to have not much left in the tank, and that tank seems to be springing leaks with regularity. If for some reason he is signed, I would imagine it would be for a sliver of the $8.5 million he made last year with the understanding he would be a back-up.

38 thoughts on “What to do about: Sean Casey?”

  1. depending on how cheap they can get him, he’s not bad to have on the bench and I would welcome him back on the team.

    I do see him in a backup, DH in certain situations, role.

  2. I think there’s a rule where arbitration can’t cut his pay from the previous year by more than a certain percent, something like 15 or 20. So he’d still be making $5+ million if they go to arbitration.

    I would still do it. If he does sign, money isn’t too big of an issue without a cap and he’s one of the Tiger’s best options at first unless they get a new shortstop and move Guillen there. I can’t see them signing a better or even equal first basemen for less, or trading for an upgrade without taking on a bunch of salary or giving up some top prospects.

  3. If we think someone else will sign him, offer arbitration. If not, don’t offer arbitration. We really don’t want Casey as our starting first baseman next year.

  4. I have to agree with Billfer. Though he came through for the Tigers in theWorld Series, it does seem like him replacing Shelton was one of the two big things that triggered that huge slump in August and September (the other being, of course, Perez replacing Polanco). He just doesn’t seem that reliable. I’m glad he turned out to be kind of a World Series hero but I can’t see him really being able to contribute to a team as competitive as the Tigers will have to be.

  5. I don’t see how you offer him arbitration, especially if that guarentees him $5 million. Since he is type A (and ranked 1 spot ahead of Jim Thome, while Frank Thomas is type B, don’t know how that works), no team will sign him if they have to give up a draft pick.

    I think what will happen is he tests the waters, and if no team offers him significant playing time, he ends up back in Detroit for $2 million or there abouts as an often used backup.

  6. yeah, you don’t sign him to start, you sign him to back up, and you do so at backup prices if possible. If not possible, well, he provides us with a few nice memories at least.

  7. I was wondering if Casey’s better performance in the World Series had anything to do with the career long National Leaguer having a better read on Cardinal pitching and if we could expect better once he’s more familiar with AL pitchers.I agree that $2-2.5 million(of someone else’s money,of course) is the ceiling,assuming they get no more left handed bats through trades or free agency.

  8. What’s the big deal!? Yeah his season with the Tigers wasn’t that great. But, he came through on the big stage when the other Tiger bats went quiet. At least sign him as a back up. But if Shelton keeps having problems at the plate, he’s not the first baseman of the future, as Leyland keeps calling him.

  9. Why? Because we need more power, and what we really need is more OBP, and Shelton is better than Casey on both counts. Nate & Shelton for Adam Dunn, please.

    Casey? Backup or pack up.

  10. A 1B doesn’t have to be a power hitter, but since most of the other teams in baseball have power hitting first basemen, we are putting ourselves at a disadvantage if we don’t have one ourselves (especially if the non-power guy we have also doesn’t get on base or really do anything usefull with the bat).

  11. Offering him arbitration would be suicide because he would certainly accept. The production we can expect from Casey next year just isn’t worth the price. You can’t make the mistake of over-emphasizing his WS numbers. If we did that, you would be saying that Mark Lemke and Scott Brosious were some of the best hitters of the 90s. It’s probably worth giving Shelton one more shot at 1B, but trading for a big DH bat would be a great move too.

  12. I’m willing to bet someone is going to give Casey a multi-year deal and/or offer him a starting job with a one year deal. If we aren’t willing to do either of those things, we probably won’t keep him.

    If someone offered him a two year deal, there is a good chance he’d accept it I think.

  13. It is not that a first baseman has to be a power hitter as much as it is that a big man with power who doesn’t move that well is put at first base.

  14. Not that I favor moving Guillen to first,but his OPS compares favorably to past masters like Cecil Cooper,Will Clark,Keith Hernandez,and Don Mattingly,excepting one or two MVP caliber seasons by those others and considering also the park Guillen plays in(while guys like Ryan Howard could hit home runs in Yellowstone Park,alot of numbers are inflated by a players home field.Palmiero comes to mind-of course,there was that other thing we beat to death on another thread).I think the reason that first base has traditionally been thought of as a “power” position is that,like jim-mt explains, it was the easiest place to hide the defensive inadequacies of the big guys lacking agility who could hit the ball over the fence.The DH has provided an even better hiding place for those guys.

  15. Sean Casey did an admirable job filling for Chris Shelton who struggled. The problem is that the Tigers need more power and more extra base hits in their line-up and the surest shot is first base. You could say the corner outfield spots but Craig Monroe’s stats have been improving, and Mags has that big contract. Getting someone like a Carlos Delgado or Mark Teixera would be awesome and could be what gets us over the top

    Everyone that is saying Carlos Guillen should play first base. Stop it! Just stop it! Guillen is like 5’5″ (sarcasm) and first base requires tall people who can cover a lot of range with their arms and legs from the bag itself. Guillen is just too small to be an outstanding defensive first baseman. He belongs at short stop.

  16. first base requires tall people who can cover a lot of range with their arms and legs from the bag itself. Guillen is just too small to be an outstanding defensive first baseman.

    I’m not advocating the move, but I’m sure his quickness would more than make up for the few balls that get over his head. He could play deeper and farther off the line than most anyone. I doubt anything would get between him and Poly.

  17. I don’t know if a study has been done on this, I’d like to skim it if it has, but I think the reason you’d like a productive bat at first is the defensive contribution isn’t real great, so you need run production to make it an important part of the lineup. Whether or not it’s a power hitter shouldn’t matter as much as the ability to create runs. At the very least, it’s viewed that way. Shelton was the best first baseman for run prevention, but obviously, that didn’t really matter to Detroit.

    If the Tigers added a nice hitting shortstop like Miguel Tejada, I’d be all for moving Guillen to first. Defensively, I think he’s going to do a better job than most first basemen and can certainly adapt. But short of that, you don’t make the move just to make a move. It’s easier to find a first baseman than replacing Guillen’s SS contribution. I highly doubt the Tigers trade for Miggy or for A-Rod anyway (if he can even play a good short anymore) and it won’t be an issue.

    Hopefully some off-season rest will help Guillen get some of his mobility back and make sure the errors this year was just a one-season occurrence.

  18. The only way it makes sense for the Tigers to move Guillen is if they get someone that is clearly the best defensive SS in baseball (I don’t think this player exists at the moment) or if they add someone like Tejada or a hitter similar to Guillen. Basically anything else and we are hurting our offense without significantly improving our defense, and that isn’t a good idea.

  19. Just thinking out loud here-what about an infield with Guillen at first,Inge back at his original position of shortstop(where his offensive production is a plus),and Aramis Ramirez at third?Doesn’t give us the left-handed bat we need.So instead we make a hard run at Ramirez,and offer the Reds a package of Inge,Thames,and Robertson,Maroth,or Ledezma for Dunn.Too much?And sign Gary Matthews-I want him playing right field in Comerica,dammit.With him in right and Granderson in center,not too many cheap hits dropping in front of our outfield,and even fewer balls going over their heads.

  20. I heard a rumor that Bonds is interested in closing out his career with his “good friend” (his words) Jim Leyland. Would someone please dispell this and ease my worried mind?

  21. Makes sense they’d make a play for Sheffield-they probably miss the sense of cohesiveness that Dimitri Young brought to the clubhouse.Sheffield is another Bonds type 5 tool player-age,injuries,steroids,attitude,big contract.At least in Bond’s case,he’s a lefthanded hitter.

  22. This ought to scare you, but Detroit was one of the few teams Bonds was actually interested in, according to reports this summer. I believe he’d like a ring. Still don’t see it happening.

  23. Hey, why’s everyone totally giving up on Shelton after a couple bad months? I think it’s pretty clear that he can realistically be a guy who hits 280-290 with 25-30 hr a year for the next 5 years or so, why’s everyone in a hurry to move guillen to first or go get adam dunn? Makes no sense to me, at the all-star break he was hitting .282/.348/.508, then went into a funk. Give him a break, he’s only 26, let big red start fresh next year. 1B is NOT a position we have to worry about. Nice to get a big hitter, sure, but why waste shelton?

  24. also, no way in hell bonds comes here. I know the leyland connection and we need a DH, but the management is smart enough to know that the tigers are a Team (good leadership, no huge egos, etc.) and won’t go aftera has-been, side-show, me-me-me primadonna whose body is crumbling. he can kiss my grits.

    Plus, whoever said guillen was too short to play 1B: he’s 6’1″.

  25. Everyone is giving up on Shelton because Leyland put three utility infielders on the postseason roster rather than carry Shelton as a backup 1B/pinch hitter. It seems pretty obvious that the organization has given up on Shelton at this point (though I kinda hope I’m wrong, because I think this would be a mistake).

    Moving Guillen to 1B, Inge to SS and bringing in Aramis Ramirez for 3B has the nifty potential of downgrading us defensively at three different infield positions. Maybe Inge is an above average SS (compared to Guillen, who is basically average at this point in his career), but Ramirez is worse than Inge at 3B and the Shelton/Casey combo was actually very good defensively at 1B for us. I’m not convinced Guillen will be as good defensively as those two were.

  26. No argument about a downgrade at third,but I would guess a wash at short and Shelton/Casey at first are a marginal upgrade from the Hank Greenberg statue.Casey has a good glove if he doesn’t have to move for the ball-Shelton has bad hands and bad feet.Like I’ve said,it’s not a move I favor,but with some time at the position a competent shortstop like Guillen would be among the best defensive first basemen in the league.
    Ramirez is among the better hitting third basemen playing-so the question is,would it be a step forward offensively and two back on defense,or vice versa?I’m inclined toward the latter.
    I’m also intrigued ever since Dunn’s name was brought up.I’m a big believer in right/left balance in a batting order(thus my lobbying to court Matthews)and Dunn’s power is undeniable the last few years.Short of playing first in a reclining chair,I can’t believe his range is that bad compared to who we had there this year.How much is too much for a guy like him-would Shelton/Thames/Ledezma be an opening bid or a final offer?

  27. ok I am gong to get blasted but who cares…….ever since I found out Bonds was a free agent I wanted him. Has been??? He had 2 less home runs than our leading home run hitter. Plus with him playing DH not as likely to get injured. Every one is always saying we need a left handed bat well doesnt get much more left handed Bonds. Plus it wasnt like he didnt have a descent batting average to go with the home runs. And I love the idea of Guillen at 1st Placido at 2nd Inge at SS and Rameriz at 3rd with Bonds at DH. Then you sign Carlos Lee and imagine the offense we would have. We would have to say bye to Monroe, but I think we would be better with these other players.

  28. Inge at shortstop? I am curious…when is the last time Inge has played shortstop. In the minors, he was a catcher, and then we he came up with the Tigers he was moved to third base. Which means that he played short stop in…high school. High SCHOOL!!!

    Look…the Tigers just came off the World Series, and you want a High School Short Stop!! Well, I heard Dearborn high school has a great short stop right now, maybe we should bring him in.

    Inge belongs at third, I am pretty sure playing short in the majors is harder than playing in high school, although I hear that there are some great power hitters in the U.P. in high school.

    And unfortunately..its lookin more and more like Barry might be wearing the Tigers colors. I just hope he doesn’t accidentally stick someone with a needle.

  29. Thanks for your uninformed input Jojo,but Inge was DRAFTED(!) as a shortstop/relief pitcher out of Virginia Commonwealth.That’s a college-COLLEGE!!
    Maybe before YOUR(!) time,but the Tigers used outfielder Mickey Stanley AT SHORTSTOP(!) in the 1968 World Series.I mean,WORLD SERIES!!Moving Inge to THIRD(!) is an example of the good things that sometimes result when you think outside the BOX!!

  30. Bilfer,
    you mentioned the possibity of Casey being further “slowed by injury” If Casey gets any slower, time will actually run backward as he goes to first base on a hit.

  31. The Tigers using Stanley at SS during the WS isn’t quite the same as using Inge as a SS for a full season. Maybe he’s comparable to Guillen as a SS, and maybe Guillen is comparable to Shelton as a 1B and maybe the difference between Ramirez and Inge isn’t that big, but wouldn’t it just be smarter and easier to ask Ramirez to play 1B?

    I think you are seriously underrating Shelton as a defensive 1B, and if we get Dunn we definately want him as a DH. He’s a butcher at 1B, and every time the Reds try him at the position they remind themselves why he still plays LF.

  32. You seriously think having 60 some errors on one side of the infield is ok??? With Inge’s range he would make a great SS and for the same reason Guillen would make a great 1st baseman. But without an upgrade at the plate it wouldnt be worth it. And one more thing playing 3rd is a heck of a lot harder than playing SS and I think if Inge keeps the offensive numbers up he would have a better shot at a gold glove at SS because he wouldnt have as many errors

  33. I think that the bar has been set relatively low by a mediocre bunch of defensive first basemen in the league(I may very well be setting the bar too high by my own tendency to rate Shelton against Norm Cash or Darrell Evans).I would argue that there is a tendency here to overrate Shelton as a defensive first baseman.I’m a little skeptical of the use of numbers to prove the case for a player’s defense at this time and prefer to believe what I see.However,it will continue to be a moot point as long as Shelton hits like he didn’t in the latter part of the season.
    I don’t know enough about Dunn to comment on his defense(it’s a shame that I don’t-when I was a kid,my dad would take us down I-75 to see NL games at the old Crosley Field in Cincinnati.Unfortunately,I got out of the habit as I got older).On paper,he looks like an offensive force worth taking a risk on.Additionally,relative to a guy like Bonds,he’s got age on his side plus the obvious lack of baggage.

  34. I have to say, that I could not agree with you in 100% regarding What to do about: Sean Casey?, but it’s just my opinion, which could be wrong 🙂

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