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August 12, 2007 at 1:50 pm
What free agent catchers are available after next year? Posada, but he’s a pretty huge defensive dropoff even from a declining Pudge. On thing that fascinates me about Pudge is that even though he’s only throwing out 24.6% of attempted stealers, only 53 guys have even tried. So, the 40 stolen bases he’s allowed ranks him in a tie for fourth fewest allowed among qualifiers.
Passed balls being called wild pitches is another matter entirely, though…
August 12, 2007 at 2:09 pm
Catchers of note that are FA’s next year can be found here.
I wouldn’t mind Paul Lo Duca for a 2 year deal. Maybe throw in a team option for a 3rd year. He solid behind the plate and he could hit anywhere from 2nd or 6th and below.
August 12, 2007 at 2:13 pm
Also, it should be worth noting that Johnny Bench never played passed 35 years old, but when he was 33 he posted a 141 OPS+ and then he dropped to 98 and 100 for his final two seasons. Pudge posted a 135 in 2004 and has dropped to a 94, 98, 87 in 05, 06, and this season. So decline seems imminent and from the catcher position, and all his games caught, his decline could be fast and brutal to watch for $13 million next year.
August 12, 2007 at 2:24 pm
Lo Duca is also 35, and hitting .267/.310/.355. I think I’d take Pudge’s .426 SLG over the .20 in OBP that LoDuca gives you.
At least in terms of the running game, I’d say his defense is a push with Pudge’s: he’s throwing out 26.5% as opposed to 24.5% attempted base stealers, but more people have tried to run on him.
August 12, 2007 at 3:05 pm
All of the statistics notwithstanding, I think if the team were to decline his option for next year it would have a damaging effect on morale/clubhouse chemistry, and on the fans’ feelings about the team. Unless there is really someone so much better available I would keep him. Which I think the Tigers will do JMHO.
August 12, 2007 at 4:04 pm
I agree cib – I can’t see anything short of a big injury preventing the Tigers from accepting the option. He’s meant too much to the franchise. I just hope the dropoff isn’t too severe, bith defensively and ofensively.
August 12, 2007 at 4:57 pm
Pudge also handles the staff very well and is very good for young pitchers. Its not a coincidence that we’ve had much greater success with young pitching since we signed Pudge.
I remember commenting back then that we werent investing in a big hitting catcher, we were investing in a strong young pitching staff. Pudge is good enough defensively and is strong enough with calling a game that we really should keep him around till he is going to retire. Or until another catcher that can really handle a staff becomes available.
August 12, 2007 at 6:02 pm
Is Jurrjens pitching on Wednesday in Cleveland? I saw that Trahern wasn’t skipped in Erie and media reports previously said that the Wed. Starter would either be Jurrjens or Trahern.
August 12, 2007 at 6:33 pm
Oh man, i don’t think you can pay 13 m to a catcher who has had the defensive drop-off h’es had, has the wear and tear he has, and threatens to walk less in a season than Bonds does in a doubleheader. Pay him the 3m, try to re-sign in for 6. That’s 9m. He’s not a 13m player anymore.
August 12, 2007 at 8:54 pm
A player is worth exactly what a team is willing to pay them. Unfortunately for the team’s OBP, therefore, Pudge will indeed be a 13m player, as there’s little chance he won’t get his option.
I’m okay with this, myself, as the enjoyment of following a team tends to have more to do with personalities and one’s personal remembrance of said personalities than numbers. I wouldn’t want him catching for my Baseball Mogul team, though.
August 12, 2007 at 10:31 pm
They should keep pudge around, remember, Vance Wilson will be back and will be an upgrade over Rabelo.
I think his lack of offensive production puts the team in the position where they have to do something about both Monroe and Inge being everyday players and automatic outs. They can’t have 3 low OBP, 3 high strikeout spots in the lineup (granderson, monroe, inge are all top-10 in k’s), and not expect prolonged offensive droughts. When you’re not putting the bat on the ball things are not happening.
August 13, 2007 at 4:57 am
I know Lo Duca is also 35, however, he’d be cheaper and he’s more likely to put up a higher OBP. Lo Duca’s also battled shoulder problems which have zapped his numbers this year. He’s good for .290/.340/.415 most every year and this year he’s only making $6.25 so even if we give him a slight raise he’d still be millions cheaper then Pudge.
And I don’t get this notion that Vance is so much better then Rabelo. Since the beginning of May, Rabelo’s hitting .313/.350/.438. How quickly we have forgotten that Vance Wilson is:
1) 34 years old.
2) Coming off of Elbow Surgery.
3) Just 2 years removed from a .197/.275/.283 season in 05 for the Tigers and that his career numbers are .250/.302/.377 which leads me to believe that his 2006 season was a fluke.
August 13, 2007 at 8:09 am
yeah, I actually prefer Rabelo to Wilson
August 13, 2007 at 8:42 am
first, we gave him the contract, obviously we thought he was worth it. second, i think he’s earned the right to get paid 13m. veterans often get more than what they may be “worth”.
unless you get victor martinez on this team, i dont see any reason not to keep him.
August 13, 2007 at 11:18 am
1) You have to pick up the Pudge option–for intangible reasons if nothing else. As much as Pudge caused the team trouble during the end of the Trammell era, this guy is the closest thing we have to an emotional leader. See, for example, his base running exploits and his role as the guy who came out to control Sheffield when Sheff was wrestling his way through Leyland after being thrown out of the game for throwing his bat. For as much as some critics here recently claimed that DD isn’t committed to making the Tigers a year-in and year-out contender, paying a few extra million to a key team leader, especially when there isn’t an obvious replacement on the horizon, is the sort of thing a big-time contender does.
2) Is it just me, or is this draft slotting thing ridiculous? This is what the commissioner chooses to spend his time and political capital on? No wonder the steroids thing has been such a mess.
August 13, 2007 at 11:37 am
I don’t think Rabelo is ready to be a starter. I think he’s fine at the plate for a catcher. Defensively, he’s, so-so. Pudge isn’t the gold glover he used to be, so it’s not a huge dropoff. And while statistically, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence a catcher actually improves a pitching staff, I think there’s something to being Pudge.
What’s out there? Doesn’t seem to be much. How much would Jason Kendall cost for a year? Not that he’s hitting either, but maybe it would cost less. But that’s probably unlikely too.
Given there are few alternatives, I think they almost have to pick up the option.
August 13, 2007 at 11:42 am
Gotta pay Pudge. Jason is right that as veterans near the end of their careers they are paid more than their last season was worth; just as young players (like Verlander) get paid much less than their previous season was worth. As much as he infuriates me as a hitter (why does ANYONE throw him a strike?) he still has stretches where his AVG creeps close to .300. Defensively he is far from a liability. I would still put him as one of the better defensive catchers in the game. The bottom line though, is that Mike Rabelo is our next in line. Mike MIGHT be able to equal Pudge’s offensive output, but come nowhere near the defense. This is not about BANG FOR THE BUCK. You don’t win your division by having average players for cheap.
August 13, 2007 at 11:44 am
Oh and Kyle J is spot-on. Selig’s priorities do seem to be arbitrary.
August 13, 2007 at 12:12 pm
You don’t HAVE to resign Pudge!!! It’s totally OK to let an expensive, declining veteran walk. Has everyone forgotten Branch Rickey- “Better to trade a player a year too early than a year too late”?
Wait, I have a better idea! Let’s just keep him until he gets 3000 hits! So that way, if he never walks, that just means he’ll get there that much faster! It’ll be great for the fans, and baseball!
August 13, 2007 at 1:33 pm
Agree, agree, agree….keep Pudge. Ilitch loves him, the little kids love him. Look at all the fans who wear Rodriguez jersey’s. He’s the only guy who agreed to come to Detroit and a godawful team. He’s worth 13 million imho.
Bill A \ Kal MI
August 13, 2007 at 4:24 pm
“due to Angel Hernandez’s awful strike zone.”
yeah. I think we are onto a very definite problem.
doesn’t the league provide a guideline for calling a strike? and hopefully these Umps can get a little post-game review with some camera data. Doesn’t Gameday document exactly where each pitch went?
what’s the rule? any part of the ball over any part of the plate or is some of these guys looking for all of the ball over the plate? there’s a lot of difference…
August 13, 2007 at 5:08 pm
I know Lo Duca is also 35, however, he’d be cheaper and he’s more likely to put up a higher OBP.
True. But he’s a good bet to hit for much less power.
Lo Duca’s also battled shoulder problems which have zapped his numbers this year.
Given the speed with which catchers decline, don’t you think he’s a good bet not to bounce back from this injury?
He’s good for .290/.340/.415 most every year
I don’t think this has been true. He’s only slugged above .400 four times in his career. He had a good year last year, but given his performance in Florida since mid-2004, his good 2006 looks more like a late-career fluke due to a high BABIP than a baseline that you can expect him to return to.
and this year he’s only making $6.25 so even if we give him a slight raise he’d still be millions cheaper then Pudge.
This is true. But I think his production would be much worse than you’re making it out to be.
August 13, 2007 at 5:20 pm
Nate, all very solid points. I do think that Lo Duca at say $6.5 million for his production is better then Pudge getting $13 million for his (lack of) production.
August 13, 2007 at 5:42 pm
$10 million Mike R. $3M of the $13M is a sunk cost (buyout).
August 13, 2007 at 5:50 pm
My point remains relatively the same. I mean, I won’t throw an enormous fit like if we were to, say, resign Craig Monroe. That would just be flushing money down the toilet.
August 13, 2007 at 5:53 pm
I guess the question that I have is (and I really don’t know the answer): what percentage of Pudge’s salary is offset by his off-the-field contributions to the Tigers’ bottom line? His actual cost to the team might be much less than his actual salary, because of jersey sales, and other merchandising considerations. I mean, this is a guy who continues to be voted into the All-Star game despite three straight years of decline.
Another question that impacts this discussion (and again, I don’t know the answer) is what limitations are set on the Tigers’ payroll.
Vince in MN
August 13, 2007 at 6:47 pm
As far as offensive upgrades go, for next year the Tigers need to upgrade at C, 3B, 1B (or SS if Guillen moves to 1st), and the bench is weak. Improving at all three isn’t going to be likely, but 2 out of 3 may be doable. Unfortunately, there isn’t much available as far as next year’s FAs for those positions (A-Rod will be back in NY imho). The farm system is also pretty weak at those positions (at least for the next couple of years), so there won’t be any impact position players showing up from Erie or Toledo. Therefore, any changes will have to come by trades, which means dealing from the vaunted pitching depth (Maybin is I think, and should be, untouchable) along with the current cast of underperformers and current bench players. The question will be how much Illitch and DD are willing to give up and will that include some of the big leaguers on the pitching staff (e.g Bonderman, Robertson).
August 13, 2007 at 6:48 pm
This will seem contradictory to my statements on lamenting the cost of Pudge’s option, but I don’t think there should be any budgetary constraints on the payroll. We’re 5th in the majors at 93.7% home attendance (behind Boston, SF, Chicago Cubs, and St. Louis — yes, ahead of the Yankees) and this is the 2nd year in a row we will turn a profit and this year’s profit should blow last years away. We’re setting record highs in ticket sales and with the prices being increased slightly from last years prices, there’s no reason to not have the ability to be top 3-5 in baseball in payroll.
The only thing that I want coming with that, is fiscal responsibility and not just spending money simply because we have it. Smart spending, but not afraid to meet a players salary demands because we have a lot of revenue coming in that will continue to come in so long as the team is a winner.
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