Tigers pick up Pudge’s option

by billfer on October 9, 2007 · 43 comments

in 2008 Season,Contracts

The Tigers announced that they have picked up Pudge Rodriguez’s $13 million option for the 2008 season. That’s one less question mark out there.

I already wrote up my thoughts on the matter.

 
 

{ 43 comments }

Jason October 9, 2007 at 12:04 pm

Great news to all the Pudge Backers out there!

David October 9, 2007 at 1:11 pm

Does Pudge have one last hurah?

Even though I didn’t want him back I think his defense might get better.

NOTEBOOK: Dombrowski reiterated Monday that the team plans for Brandon Inge to continue as the starting third baseman. Some in the industry have speculated that the Tigers would move Inge to another position and pursue Boston’s Mike Lowell as a free agent. …

Interesting I guess “some in the industry” might be thinking along the same lines as some of us here, myself included.

So who are we going to go after or is this just a trick?

Stephen October 9, 2007 at 1:11 pm

ugh.
2008 Stats
Pudge: .274 ba, 288 oba 12 home runs and 59 rbi’s.

in other words, greg zaun.

ron October 9, 2007 at 1:13 pm

double ugh.

Chris in Nashville October 9, 2007 at 1:20 pm

I still think this was the right move. Our window with this current run of older players..hopefully Kenny, Maggs, Polanco, Guillen are all in the late prime of their career, I think we need to spend more money this offseason and try to win it next year. Pudge behind the plate solidifies the postion, especially since most catchers don’t hit anyway. I’d like to see him at the bottom of the lineup for sure though. I would also like to see us go after Rivera for a one year deal and let Zumaya and Rodney set up for one more year then hand it over to Zumaya. We are close, a move like that would put us over the top I think.

Vince in MN October 9, 2007 at 1:45 pm

Well, OK. He’s not worth that much, but what do you do? Definitely though, let’s have an end to this batting 6th nonsense. And by that, I don’t mean hitting him leadoff!

Andrew October 9, 2007 at 2:35 pm

Some random thoughts –

Bat Pudge 9th

Rivera as closer would be so sweet. Oh baby, if Rodney and Zumaya are on their game and you can then hand it over to the Sandman? Talk about shortening the game.

Will this be the offseason we get that mythical Big Lefty Bat? I say mythical because we have been searching for what, 4 straight offseasons now with no luck.

I agree that with this current crop of older players (Rogers, Sheff, Ordonez, et al) that next year needs to be the year we win the world series.

Anyone out there still want A-Rod? Hot in the regular season and cold in the postseason. Perhaps in the less stressful environs of Comerica Park he would not disappear in the playoffs.

Tbone October 9, 2007 at 2:51 pm

It looks like Ilitch won out over Dombrowski on this one. Ultimately, I think its a reward from the owner for being the face of the Tigers resurrection.

Yes, it’s too much money and yes, we’ll be lucky if we can even get 2007 production numbers out of him next year. But he has established himself in the hearts of the fans, and if we’re anything we are loyal to our baseball stars.

Kathy October 9, 2007 at 3:42 pm

Agree completely with tbone.

Kyle J October 9, 2007 at 4:06 pm

The only realistic alternative would be to move Inge back to catcher. And then you’re in the position of having to sign or trade for both a starting SS and 3B.

Right move from both an emotional and a practical standpoint. I don’t see the downside of overspending for a player for a one-year commitment. If Ilitch wants to spend the money, great.

Mat October 9, 2007 at 4:07 pm

One thing that I’ve yet to fully understand is why Guillen is being moved to 1B. I recognize the drawbacks to keeping him at SS, but why not move him to 3rd instead? I would think the physical demands of playing 3B would be less onerous than 1B and Guillen would be a huge asset in the lineup as a well above average hitter at 3rd as compared to a decent but unexceptional bat at 1B. Yes, there would presumably be some downgrade from Inge there defensively, but that is more than made up for by the potential offense made available at 1B (even a platoon of Casey/Thames would be a huge offensive upgrade over Inge).

Inge has some trade value or could return to a role as a utility player and part-time 3B. Solid bats at 1B are relatively available or a more aggressive move could be made for a more established bat like Todd Helton. It seems that this would create the potential for vast improvement offensively. It creates another position where a left hand bat can be added to balance out the lineup.

The only drawback I see is obvious but might not be such a big issue – can Guillen learn 3B in one offseason? Probably not, but he obviously has the physical skills to be a solid infield defender. Moreover, he is learning a new position at 1B anyway. Range and footspeed seem to be the biggest issues, but are not major problems at 3rd base.

Any thoughts on why the move to 3rd base doesn’t make sense?

Mike R October 9, 2007 at 4:10 pm

Well, Tbone, I’d argue that them paying him $37 million from 2004-2007 is reward enough. I just don’t like the thought of paying someone who’s OBP is sub .300 $10 million for a year of baseball.

David October 9, 2007 at 4:32 pm

That sums it up.

David October 9, 2007 at 4:36 pm

One other thing is I hope that this means that Illitch is really going to spend the money to upgrade our SS/3rd, LF and Pen + bringing Kenny back.

If he has the funds for Pudge for one more year fine.

On a side note who thinks Pudge will get to 3000 hits? If he gets 140/year it would take him 3.6 or 4 more years… 50/50 odds anyone?

Oh plus if they traded Inge or demoted Inge I would be very upset (they won’t do it).

I bet he comes back and hits like he did in ’06 or better.

Scuba October 9, 2007 at 5:33 pm

Ok, please keep the flaming to a minimum with what i’m going to ask. I’m just curious as to your thoughts :)

If A-Rod were to opt out of his remaining 3 years, would he come to Detroit for the right money and the chance to move back to SS??

Note: I’m not asking if he’d be a good fit or if we’ll go after him. Just curious if you think he’d even consider Detroit.

greg October 9, 2007 at 5:44 pm

If A-Rod were to opt out of his remaining 3 years, would he come to Detroit for the right money and the chance to move back to SS??

Absolutely, he’s great friends with Shef and would probably welcome the chance to be removed from the big apple pressure/scrutiny.

I think it comes down to the best offer and the LONGEST offer.

greg October 9, 2007 at 5:48 pm

The only drawback I see is obvious but might not be such a big issue – can Guillen learn 3B in one offseason?

Of course, from a mental standpoint there’s not much to it. Its the throw that would concern me. Guillen had a TERRIBLE time trying to throw it from SS, things would go from bad to worse trying to throw it from the hot corner. He just might set a record for wild throws from there.

Kevin in Austin October 9, 2007 at 6:17 pm

Bilfer convinced me – Pudge was the best choice in a poor C market, and Illitch’s commitment to him should bode well in the free agent market.

Mark P. October 9, 2007 at 6:43 pm

Given the lack of catcher options this off season, I agree that this was the best move. Now we need to focus on getting a new catcher for 2009 and a SS replacement for Guillen.

I propose a 3 team trade deal:

Tigers- send> Rodney, Infante to O’s & Tata to Mariners

Orioles – send> Tejada to M’s & J.R. House (c) to Tigers

M’s – send> Betancourt to Tigers & Sexson to O’s

Stephen October 9, 2007 at 7:08 pm

Man, the age on this team is really starting to scare me; i.e. see Sheff’s torn labrum. I know we have young guns on the pitching staff, but otherwise we’re starting to look like one of those nondescript Oriole teams from the mid 90s. I know there’s limited free agents out there, but if we mostly stand pat and just re-sign Pudge, Jones, Rogers etc…, after this team’s barely .500 record over the last 212 regular season games; well, that’s alarming. I mean seriously, this team has been mediocre since 8/06, except for a glorious two weeks last October, and we stood pat at the trading deadline? And now we seem content just to re-sign guys? And wait for a 39 year old DH to heal? And pray Maggs’ knees hold up? And dream that Inge isn’t the .240 hitter that he is?
And don’t ask me who I’d acquire. Not my job! That’s why Boy Wonder gets paid the big bucks. He sat on his butt all thru 07 and we gave him a pass based on ’06′s era of good feeling. Well, we drew millions, made the team a fortune, now it’s time to pony up and make this team better. Sorry to be harsh, but that’s what big market teams do.
I know free agency hasn’t really started, but from everything DD has said, it doesn’t seem like the Tigers are really on the market this offseason. Maybe, he’s just playing possum.
Otherwise, me no like.

Mike R October 9, 2007 at 7:29 pm

Given the lack of catcher options this off season, I agree that this was the best move. Now we need to focus on getting a new catcher for 2009 and a SS replacement for Guillen.

I propose a 3 team trade deal:

Tigers- send> Rodney, Infante to O’s & Tata to Mariners

Orioles – send> Tejada to M’s & J.R. House (c) to Tigers

M’s – send> Betancourt to Tigers & Sexson to O’s

Not a single part of that trade seems plausible or realistic. We trade Rodney, Infante, and Tata and somehow wind up with Tejada and Betancourt?

Matt in Toledo October 9, 2007 at 8:01 pm

Actually, he’s saying we get Betancourt and House

Kathy October 9, 2007 at 8:02 pm

Wish we had Kenny Lofton in LF and OMG he’s 40!

Eric Cioe October 9, 2007 at 9:19 pm

This team needs some serious work in its farm system’s infield. We need young players that will be ready to go in 2009 or 2010. You can expect Pudge, Polonco, Ordonez, Sheff, and Guillen to stay at this level for too many more years.

Mike R October 9, 2007 at 9:31 pm

Ahh, gotcha Matt. Re-reading it and I did read it wrong. Missed that “M’s” in the middle of it. Still doesn’t seem plausible. Why would the Mariners deal away a young SS (granted, he was brutal defensively) who they signed through 2011?

I do think that Richie Sexson will be shopped big time. Some rumblings that Raul Ibanez could quit stumbling around in LF and start manning 1st base if they can deal Sexson in the offseason.

Joey C. October 10, 2007 at 12:29 am

God is that a ton of dough.

Look at it this way…

Maybe we win the championship next year and we get a hat back in the hall to make up for Sparky going in a Red.

Of course, given the way this team is being handled, I don’t like the chances of that championship.

Is Teixeira so out of the question that we feel it’s necessary to slot Guillen in at first next year? Personally I’d rather leave open the possibility of his playing the left side of the infield and making on run on Teixeira.

To me moving Guillen to first and getting somebody other than a legitimate slugger at short is simply a push.

Jack Wilson? Tell me that isn’t where these guys are headed.

Renteria? Better, but still isn’t exactly the slugging presence I feel we need.

Tejada? Chances of his reverting to his Oakland form seems slim. Looking old at 31.

And looking old at 32 is not what this team needs. I’m with Stephen when it comes to worrying about the age of this squad. Who knows what we get out of Sheff next year. Isn’t he due for a disgruntled melt-down sometime soon? And even if he’s not, what of the injury issue?

I look at this team and it sort of depresses me. Unless we do something significant, I think we can count on a significant drop in offensive production next season. And that places a lot of pressure on a pitching staff that is full of questions following 2007.

Not that any of this relates directly to Pudge. Obviously I’d have preferred to re-work the numbers–even, as billfer suggested, that meant signing him to an extra year–but looking around at available options, he’s as good as it gets. I can’t be too upset with it.

Unless the 13 mil we’re paying him ends up the difference between signing A-Rod or not.

And as far as he goes…

He’ll go where the money goes. But given this playoff performance, if a team matches what the Yankees offer, I think hell take it. NYC is not gonna be kind to him following his latest post-season turd.

Rings October 10, 2007 at 12:34 am

The Pudge resigning is warranted. It has nothing to do with his performance. It’s declining and no one can deny that. It has everything to do with the fact that the alternative was MUCH worse. There’s no other options out there. Inge cannot catch. Defensively, he’s probably better than Pudge at this point, but his hitting is another 40 pts worse. Lifetime avg. as a catcher: .201.

Mat: yes! great thought, as Guillen has played 3B early in his career (with Seattle) and would be just fine there and would be an excellent alternative if we could acquire a 1B instead. Inge would be much better as a utility guy.

David: Inge stinks offensively. Get over it. Most folks have come to realize that he’s been overrated for some time now. He’s not going to “return to ’06″…the only thing better last year was his HR total, which was an abberation. He’d never done that (hit for power) in his career as a professional – except for that one year – and the vast majority of those HR’s were in meaningless situations against mop-up pitchers.

Stephen: you make a lot of sense, but fortunately, this organization has been winning throughout the minors for 3+ years now. We have plenty in the system to slowly start replacing guys or to trade for other teams’ talent…they’re just not ready yet, which is why these “old guys” have the stage for now. It won’t be long, however, as many of these guys played a role this year…more to come!

ron October 10, 2007 at 2:09 am

Glad to see everyone is looking to the future. I’m still really PO about last year.

Mike R October 10, 2007 at 2:30 am

We’re not going to move Inge of 3rd base. Not happening. They committed to him when they gave him $24 million. So even getting excited about moving Guillen to 3rd base isn’t worth it (it’s intriguing and his offensive numbers are good for a 3B).

Joey, I’m not trying to plug my own stuff because it’s mine, but I think it’s really interesting. But I I crunched the numbers and Jack Wilson is actually putting up numbers, combined offensively and defensively, that would be an overall upgrade. All of the options save for Cesar Izturis are an upgrade over Guillen at SS. And since he’s an offensive upgrade over Sean Casey, that overall helps our team. Tejada, Renteria, Wilson, and Vizquel even with their different defensive concerns — Tejada’s diminishing range, Vizquel’s virtual zero range — they all were in the positive in terms of runs defensively where as Guillen was in the negative (+ = preventing, – = costing team runs). I’ve come around on Jack Wilson — even at $6.5 million next year.

Chris October 10, 2007 at 2:36 am

This unfortunate move is an indication of one thing: the Tigers have become committed to spending loads of cash on aging players well into their decline. And this team should get very little from such spending.

A list of 2007 MLB team payrolls(http://asp.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/salaries/totalpayroll.aspx?year=2007) shows no little correlation between money spent and competitive success. Three of the bottom eight spending teams are currently in the final four of the MLB playoffs. And one can argue that all three of those teams should be more competitive than the Tigers next season. They all have young talent on the incline of their careers, while the Tigers have aging expensive big named players.

The problem I have with resigning Pudge is not the money spent. It is the fact that with this money we could have players who could do a lot more. For the price of Pudge plus whatever small-ball left handed hitter that the tigers are likely to get in left field or SS, we could have Adam Dunn’s 40 home runs. And that is a shame because an Adam Dunn inserted into this lineup would make this team the most feared offensive team in the league for ’08.

Jim October 10, 2007 at 8:29 am

I agree with Rings.

don October 10, 2007 at 9:01 am

Few things:
(1) Adam Dunn is not an option right now. He’s going to have his one-year option picked up by the reds, which triggers a no trade clause until next summer. He’s not a free agent until 2008 and if we want him at the deadline we’d have to give up top prospects.
(2) Pudge is the least bad of available catchers. FA catchers: loduca, barrett, kendall, torrealba, castro. You’d have to give multi year contracts to any of those losers to come here, it’s a no-brainer to bring back pudge for $10m and see what happens next year.
(3) You have to DEVELOP young hitters. The hitters on this team are old because the tigers have been unable to develop hitters. Only granderson and inge are homegrown starters. The price – in trades – of acquiring decent hitters before they’re eligible for free agency is absolutely through the roof. We have a couple/few good hitting prospects on the farm – maybin, gorkys, maybe raburn – but nobody at SS/C/1B and nobody ready at LF.
(4) Guillen is at first because the other options are terrible: FA 1B this year: piazza, hillenbrand, klesko, sweeney, tony clark (hmmm…). He’s not moving to third because then we’d have to replace SS and 1B and the defensive downgrade from inge to guillen would almost wipe out the offensive upgrade.
(5) LF – yuck. Rowand? Coming off a career year will make 3 times what he’s worth. Jose Guillen? Meh. Torii hunter? Career year, past his prime, pass. Bradley, patterson, wilkerson, lofton, sanders, nixon, stairs. Uh, nothing’s really jumping out at me. Nobody worth a multiyear deal. Could do a lot worse than one year of Lofton though, he could bat leadoff and we cold move granderson back into an rbi slot. Hopefully maybin would be ready by the time lofton’s gone in 09.
(6) How does the team win in 09-11? With a few great homegrown hitters *crystal ball* granderson, maybin, gorkys, a one or two big time FA hitters, and a few random hitters who don’t hurt you – in the inge/casey/monroe/infante mold. Plus awesome starting pitching. 09-11 will see a rotation of verlander/bonderman/miller/porcello, which has a very, very good chance of being the best in baseball since the early 90s braves. I think DD’s strategy is to tread water with the old guys for a year or two, see how miller/porcello/maybin/gorkys come along and then save the big moves for when he thinks the starters are ready to make a big run.
(7) Let’s not forget that if we avoid even half the injuries to rogers/bonderman/zumaya/rodney/sheffield, we’re in the playoffs right now. There is absolutely no reason why this same exact same team couldn’t win 92-94 games next year if we get a few breaks. Would anyone here trade everyone in our organization for everyone in anaheim or cleveland or colorado or arizona? (Don’t ask me boston). Stay positive, I think we’re in the middle of a nice big window for winning baseball in detroit.

Kyle J October 10, 2007 at 9:41 am

Don is right on. The aging hitters of the Tigers are certainly a concnern, but it’s better to have to sign hitters through free agency than to have to sign pitchers. One need look no further than the Bronx for evidence of that.

don October 10, 2007 at 10:13 am

kyle brings up a good point, giving a 30 year old pitcher a five year deal is a bad investment 80% of the time, no matter who it is. not so for a hitter with a track record, who won’t have nearly the injury risk as a pitcher of the same age. The margin of error for pitchers is way slimmer – get a sore elbow and you pitch like bondo did august/sept, magglio/guillen/pudge/sheff were able to play through minor injuries, usually effectively enough.

ron October 10, 2007 at 10:33 am

Keeping Pudge tells me everything I want to know about this club next year barring a blockbuster trade involving a few pitchers.

Kathy October 10, 2007 at 10:33 am

I think they’ll go one more year with this group plus a SS and try to win it all. After that we should start seeing some of our younger guys like Gorky and Cameron and a few others whose names I don’t know. I’d trade Inge and Infante in a heartbeat.

Kyle J October 10, 2007 at 10:48 am

What exactly does it tell you, Ron? That the team wasn’t willing to give Vance Wilson and Mike Rabelo the chance they deserve?

ron October 10, 2007 at 11:09 am

If Rabelo had played all season, he would have had the same stats as I Rod.

BobS. October 10, 2007 at 11:15 am

I think,for several reasons(with performance being only one of them)retaining Pudge was the best of the poor options which were this years free agents as well as our current backups.I’m not sure we have to weigh the deal in terms of opportunity costs inasmuch as this deal would not have been done without strong input from Illitch,who seems to have a tendency to lead with his heart-the money will still be there for whatever deal Dombrowski can make.

ron October 10, 2007 at 11:50 am

Leave Rabelo play all the time. With the experience, he’ll be fine. Now we have to put up with a guy whose best days are waaay behind him.

Jojo Sun Devil October 10, 2007 at 1:57 pm

This was a great move:

The Tigers need Pudge. He is their on-field leader, and more than that he is their pitching coach. I know Chuck Hernandez has the title, but Pudge manages these young pitchers in-game. These volatile pithcers like Juurjens, Verlander and Miller, they need a veteran presence like Pudge that teaches then how to throw the right pitches and instills in them that competive mentality.

Then as for the hitting. Pudge has struggled, but he is still capable of hitting .300. But even if not, his on-field leadership is priceless.

And he is still the best defensive catcher in baseball.

Worth every penny.

Rings October 10, 2007 at 4:04 pm

Don: great post this morning and right on the money.

Ron: Rabelo has a chance of being decent, but could also end up Torey Lovullo – such is the chance one takes on young players. Despite his low OBP, Pudge is still better as of today.

Jojo: are you related to Pudge or Scott Boras?

K-Man October 10, 2007 at 7:02 pm

Pudge will become a free agent after the 2008 season. Because of that, I look for him to have a big year next year so he can get that one last huge contract, either from us or somebody else. Look for a .300 average, 20 homers, 80 ribbies and dare I say it? More walks!

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