Perusing PECOTA

Baseball Prospectus released the first run of their 2010 PECOTA numbers this week, which makes for much fun in the stat-centric baseball community. PECOTA differentiates itself from many of the other predictors by finding pools of comparable players to make their predictions. While the numbers are premium content (and can also be found in the printed annual), I will share a few of the items that jumped out at me about the Tigers.

The system puts the Tigers at 78-84 which is 3rd place in the AL Central behind the division leading Twins (83-79) and the second place White Sox (80-82). The Tigers run prevention is pegged at 2nd in the division at 776 runs allowed; the White Sox are first at 751. But an offense full of questions from young and old players alike is expected to be the division’s worst.

 

At an individual level the system predicted two pairs of players to be remarkably similar. On the pitching side of things Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer are expected to be nearly identical. Scherzer gets a slight edge in ERA (.12 runs better) and strikeout rate while Verlander gets the edge in walk rate and home run rate, but these differences are remarkably small.

On the offensive side of things, Alex Avila and Gerald Laird are projected to be equivalent players offensively. They are within 5 points of BA, 2 points of OBP and 1 point of SLG of each other. Before discrediting the system altogether keep in mind a couple things. First, Avila of course shined in his brief stint with the Tigers, but those numbers were better than what he’d posted as a minor leaguer and shouldn’t be used as his benchmark going forward. Second, there is very little data to draw from in predicting Avila, and there isn’t a great collection of similar players to project from. Avila’s similarity score is 37, which is quite low.

Of course predictions are just predictions. Things will deviate, but there is some solid methodology behind many of the numbers. BP’s defensive metrics aren’t their strong suit and the Tigers could have some more upside on the run prevention end of things. But a slightly below .500 record does “feel” right for this team right now. So does a shot at the division if a few things fall the Tigers way (Jackson/Sizemore/Robertson/Bonderman/left field). Such is life in the AL Central.

43 Comments

  1. Pingback: TigerBlog » Blog Archive » Quick Hit: PECOTAing the Tigers

  2. john ratzenberger

    January 30, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Call me crazy but i think if the tigers can sign Johnny Damon i think they can win this division, If they play Guillen in left and Ordonez in right and a rookie in Center, there defense will be awful, they have the pitching and i think the offense will be enough to get by, i’m just worried about that defense. Go tigers, can’t wait for April

    • TSE

      January 30, 2010 at 2:34 pm

      What does Johnny bring to the table that you find so appealing? I don’t see the upside in him.

      • Keith

        January 30, 2010 at 7:05 pm

        First off he’s a lefty bat, which we need. Secondly, he’s projected to hit .276 and have an OPB of .350. Jackson is predicted to hit .269 with an OPB of .329. Third, Jackson can spend a year in AAA developing his tools more. Fourth, he is a useful #1 or #2 hitter. After losing both last year we need to find someone who can get on base before Cabrera. Depending on two rookies, Sizemore and Jackson is a bit insane. Other players like Rayburn just don’t fit that role.

        • TSE

          January 30, 2010 at 10:05 pm

          What is the most amount of money you would be willing to pay him then? That’s really what determines whether you really want him or not.

  3. 200tang

    January 30, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Not a Tigers fan, but PECOTA is messed up right now. The authors have acknowledged it and are working to fix it. Probably best to avoid even talking about them right now

    http://www.baseballprospectus......ed/?p=1495

    “Reading through the comments of yesterday’s announcement that the PECOTA projections have been released, it is evident that there is a lot of concern over several aspects of the data, ranging from the projected standings to individual quirks. We understand and appreciate that this reflects a lot of passion for what we do here at Baseball Prospectus. To be blunt: we messed up, and are working to fix the issues.

    One issue involves the run environment: individual player projections do not match up with the run totals on the projected standings.

    Another problem revolves around BABIP, as defense was being double-counted (double-counted).”

    and over at The Book Blog

    http://www.insidethebook.com/e...../#comments

    They did release an updated projection earlier today on their website, but they still seem off.

  4. TSE

    January 30, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Well I will agree that Avila can’t be expected to hit as well as he did last year. I also tried contacting BP in the past to see if they wanted to run with my OE%, but I received no reply. ;)

  5. Kathy

    January 30, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    There, see what I mean. I love looking at a player’s stats, but stats don’t tell everything. They are a pretty good predictor, but the human element is ignored and that can make a difference.

    • billfer

      January 31, 2010 at 6:02 pm

      Kathy -

      I don’t think the human element is necessarily being ignored, but it’s a matter of working with the information you have. We didn’t know that Pudge was getting a divorce in 2005 or Maggs wife would get severely ill last year. We also don’t know how players respond to different pressures. What we do have are stats and history. And often times I’d argue that the human element gets manifested in the stats in the end.

      • Kathy

        January 31, 2010 at 6:28 pm

        If you say so, billfer. In that case, I think we need a new manager.

        • TSE

          February 1, 2010 at 12:55 am

          Mmmmm, new manager.

  6. Keith (Mr. X)

    January 30, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    78-79 wins and 3-4 games out of 1st place is a good rough estimate. They could easy be better or worse than that.

    As poor as Tigers offense was last year, it was still better than Chicago’s and KC’s.

    These two teams didn’t exactly add any prominent hitters to their squads.
    Juan Pierre isn’t an upgrade over Podsednik. Andrew Jones, Mark Kotsay, and Mark Teahen won’t make up for losing Dye and Thome.

    KC just added Podsednik, Ankiel, and Jason Kendall. They got a couple of good hitters (Callispo/Butler), but their offensive is still the worst in the division.

    Last season, League wise Detroit had some of the worst OBP’s from the 1st and 2nd hitters
    Our 1st hitters had a .321 OBP, which was tied for last with Oakland.
    Our 2nd hitters had a .321 OBP also, which was 10th out of 14 teams.
    If the Tigers simply improve those OBP’s, they’ll score more runs than last year. Minus the 30 homers, Granderson scored just 61 runs last year. I don’t see how the Tigers could do any worse. Sizemore and/or Jackson, even if they stink, should get on base and score that much.

    • billfer

      January 31, 2010 at 6:07 pm

      Sizemore and Jackson are both projected to have lower OBPs than Granderson so I think the Tigers could easily do worse on that front. And regardless, it will depend on who Leyland deploys in those top two spots as to what sort of production they’ll get.

  7. Kathy

    January 30, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    The Twins will have a good team. If the Tigers get off to a hot start, we might be able to really compete and win the Division. Oh, what a dreamer I am.

  8. Scott

    January 31, 2010 at 8:28 am

    I don’t have a real good read on this team yet. I have a hard time believing they’ll go into the season without getting another bat. If you could get Damon for a year at 4-5 million, I think it would be worth it. He’s still decent and has plenty of experience leading off. I would not go after Blalock … too often hurt and no real position for him to play; we’ve got enough guys like that already. If we don’t get some kind of bat, the Tigers will really struggle to score runs.

    And please, Lynn Henning, stop trying to sell us on Ryan Raburn. Yes, he had a nice little season. Raburn is not a full-time player. Did we not learn this lesson with Marcus Thames? Guys like Thames and Raburn are fine for limited use. Speaking of Henning, does anyone have a clue why he hated Granderson so much? I mean, the stuff he wrote was ridiculous. It’s almost as if Henning has an “inside” source with the Tigers and they constantly “feed” him propaganda to float as trial balloons with the public.

    Anyway, I think the Tigers pitching will be really good this year. Whether that’s enough to keep them in contention, I don’t know.

    • Dr. Detroit

      January 31, 2010 at 4:36 pm

      Yeah Scott that would not be such a bad number for Damon, but I would rather see us platoon Raburn and Ramirez/Guillen in left and save the dough for when Willis, Bonderman and Robertson’s contracts, all 32 million!!, come off the books and get a 35/110 guy for left field immediately. None leap to mind at the moment unfortunately but a bona fide 4 or 5 hole hitter would be nice to support Miggy (a quick look at free agents for 2011 includes only Carl Crawford as a legit all-star–not a 35/110 but with his speed and BA not a bad place to start. Maybe package all of these arms we are accumulating to make a big trade).
      We will certainly struggle to score runs, even if Sizemore is as good as advertised. It will be interesting to see how we stack up against the Twins–line-up vs. pitching staff. If Scherzer gets his mechanics under control for 7+ innings he will be a beast for us (Padre fans I know have thanked the Tigers repeatedly for taking him out of their division). The rest of the staff, barring injury, looks rock solid of course–Porcello really showed me something in game 163 last year. He made Mauer look bad twice–not an easy thing to do.

    • billfer

      January 31, 2010 at 6:12 pm

      How do we know Raburn isn’t a full time player? Raburn has always been able to hit, the problem was he didn’t play any position well despite decent speed and a strong arm. I think there is more evidence pointing towards Raburn ability to play everyday (at least offensively) than there is evidence against it.

      • Dr. Detroit

        January 31, 2010 at 10:53 pm

        Bilfer, the guy is going to be 30 years old this year and has yet to play more than 120 games in the major leagues. In fact, he has played over 100 games once, and the rest of the time he is hopping up and down between Toledo and Detroit. If the guy was an everyday player, the type of player you want to man one of your premium power positions, LF, wouldn’t it be logical that the guy would have blossomed before being a “thirty-something?” He is a fine role player and has come up big for us once in awhile (that homer against the Cubs after Zumaya got drilled was very sweet) but c’mon, he is not the guy the tigers want to develop in left. Play him mostly, filling in Ramirez (if Jackson firms up CF, and lets not forget about where Casper fits in) and others. But an everyday player, when he has not played a full year at 30? Not buying that brother.

      • Dr. Detroit

        January 31, 2010 at 10:55 pm

        Bilfer, the guy is going to be 29 years old this year and has yet to play more than 120 games in the major leagues. In fact, he has played over 100 games once, and the rest of the time he is hopping up and down between Toledo and Detroit. If the guy was an everyday player, the type of player you want to man one of your premium power positions, LF, wouldn’t it be logical that the guy would have blossomed before being a “thirty-something?” He is a fine role player and has come up big for us once in awhile (that homer against the Cubs after Zumaya got drilled was very sweet) but c’mon, he is not the guy the tigers want to develop in left. Play him mostly, filling in Ramirez (if Jackson firms up CF, and lets not forget about where Casper fits in) and others. But an everyday player, when he has not played a full year at 30? Not buying that brother.

    • Spike

      January 31, 2010 at 9:41 pm

      I don’t think Henning is trying to sell Raburn as much as make the point that the Tigers would be better off with Guillen as a full time DH. If it’s simply a question of playing Raburn or Guillen in left, I tend to agree with him.

  9. Coach Jim

    January 31, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    We beat this into the ground last fall. Henning must have had inside information about the deal, and was “contracted” to do damage mitigation. DD knew the fallout of trading away the most popular player and had to do something about popular opinion.

    I think signing Damon would be unwise. It is contrary to the established direction to build for long-term success. I don’t think Damon would turn (the expectations of) this team into a contender/favorite in 2010. Getting a player like Austin Jackson IS consistent with the plan.

    If the Tigers trade away an arm for a bat, I would hope it would be someone like Denard Span, Shin-Soo Choo, Nyjer Morgan, etc. Young leadoff hitters.

    • billfer

      January 31, 2010 at 6:14 pm

      If Damon could be had for one year it doesn’t do anything to detract from the direction of long term success. A one year deal wouldn’t hinder that at all.

      • TSE

        January 31, 2010 at 6:34 pm

        Well I have to totally disagree with that. If he blew several mill on Damon and have a bad season, that could totally cause Illitch to consider dropping his budget for 2011 and beyond than compared with if we don’t spend those extra several mill this year. If we lose we lose, but with Damon we lose a lot more money. That money lost is a risk to the 2011 and beyond money and I don’t want any part of that. It also carries the opportunity cost of not using these extra millions we have laying around to do some creative roster transactions in more meaningful positions, which also impact our 2011 and beyond. That’s the whole crux of the reason why I don’t like the Damon idea, is because of these future considerations that we give up by choosing to sign Damon!

        • Kevin in Dallas

          January 31, 2010 at 10:54 pm

          Signing Damon to a 1-yr deal would have zero impact on any plans for 2011. Zero.

        • Mark in Chicago

          February 1, 2010 at 1:48 pm

          If they sign Damon, it becomes a sunk cost and would have no impact on 2011 decisions.

          For the record, I think he would be a plus in the leadoff spot, but the dollars and years have to be right to even consider it. Personnlly, I think Henning’s notion of trading Raburn and a pitcher (Seay?) for an everyday LF bat makes a more sense, but I have no idea how much other clubs value those guys.

          • TSE

            February 1, 2010 at 3:43 pm

            That couldn’t be farther from the truth. You clearly don’t understand what a “sunk cost” is and how it would relate to this situation. Signing Damon directly and indirectly affects our future and gives us less money to go around. We are selling a piece of our future to get Damon for the present. Any time you suck out the equity of your future to get a short term fix, your are trading future chips for present chips. That’s why I don’t like the Valverde signing, cause he also takes money out of the budget that could go to INFIELDERS for the future that we need. This same principle is why I was also against the Washburn move and the Huff move. We gave up some small collateral for the future to get a short term boost. And those future chips can not be recovered. Damon isn’t a sunk cost until AFTER we’ve made the move.; And BEFORE we make the move, we can use that money for OTHER options that change our future. How can you not see how simple this is?

            • Mark in Chicago

              February 1, 2010 at 5:14 pm

              Your condescending tone isn’t called for; I’m pretty confident I understand what a “sunk cost” is. Please re-read my post again, I said IF they sign Damon, it becomes a sunk cost. You said, “Damon isn’t a sunk cost until AFTER we’ve made the move”. I believe these two statements are equivalent, but perhaps I’m not understanding you correctly. If I do understand you correctly, then explain why you’ve disagreed with my post and then made the same argument.

              I should have been clearer in my post, but signing Damon for a one-year deal at a reasonable salary (let’s say $3-4 million range) doesn’t affect 2011 decisions. Washburn and Huff are not equivalent situations because we traded young players for them. That would not be the case with Damon. Valverde is not equivalent because he is signed for 3 years (2 + option, technically), so he would in fact have an impact on 2011 moves.

              Signing Damon does in fact give us less money for THIS year, but I was not disagreeing with that point. My contention is that giving Damon $4 mm this year does not influence what decisions are made next year (assuming it’s a one-year deal. Again, a point I should have made clearer). That is, by giving him the contract today, it would become a SUNK COST, meaning it cannot be recuperated in the future. Therefore, future payroll decisions cannot and should not be made in 2011 trying to recoup that expense from 2010. That’s my only point.

              • TSE

                February 1, 2010 at 5:24 pm

                But that doesn’t make any sense. The whole concept of making decisions around something being a “sunk cost” is when you already have it. To state it in advance and then use the “sunk” label to justify your decision is not how “sunk cost” logic works in business terms. You clearly do not understand the term, and my tone is not condescending by any means, it’s very accurate and fair to make that statement due to the egregiousness of your error that supports the claim like a fit glove.

                I still disagree with you, even if it’s less money it still affects the future. You cannot escape that fact no matter what you believe. It’s not a matter of opinion, it’s a matter of logic and common sense. If you make a statement that defies the very cores of logic and common sense, you have to be able to take the punches when you get slaughtered for those perversions.

              • Mark in Chicago

                February 1, 2010 at 5:57 pm

                TSE,

                You are misinterpreting what I’m saying, and doing so in a condescending fashion. Again, the tone is uncalled for. I have no problem that you disagree with me, but nothing I’ve said defies logic or common sense as you assert. Please read carefully because I don’t get the sense that you’re understanding my point. Let me try and clarify.

                I am not implying that a decision should be made one way or another TODAY based on whether something is or is not a sunk cost. It’s not a sunk cost until they’ve actually paid it, and I recognize as much. I said as much in my earlier post (which you seemingly did not read carefully enough) and have not said anything to the contrary. I am pointing out that in 2011, when the sunk cost of paying for Johnny Damon’s contract has already occurred, it will not have an influence on payroll decisions in 2011.

                Further, I never said that spending money today has no impact on the future. I think that argument could be fairly made (i.e., player development). I don’t argue with this point. My point is that if they spend $4 million today for one year of Johnny Damon, it will not prevent them from spending those dollars in 2011. I was very clear that this applies to payroll decisions. From that perspective, the notion of “sunk cost” fits.

                Let’s imagine a scenario where the Tigers have a $50 mm payroll for each 2010 and 2011, and they sign Damon for one year at $5 mm. Now their 2010 payroll is $55 mm but 2011 is still $50 mm. Before the start of 2011 (which is what I’ve been referring to the entire time) when Damon’s contract is up, they don’t trade a player to “recoup” the lost $5 mm on Damon. They can’t, the dollars are gone, the cost is sunk. Payroll decisions at that point in time are made based on expected ticket sales, merchandising, revenue sharing, TV deals, etc. for the coming season(s). Simply put, they are made based on expected future profitability (or more accurately expected future revenue), not to try and recoup some cost that occurred over the previous season. If they expect future revenues to justify the cost of another $5 million player, they will look to add one. If they don’t expect as much, they won’t. Whether they do or not has nothing to do with paying Damon the year before. It just doesn’t.

                That’s the only point I’m trying to make.

              • TSE

                February 1, 2010 at 6:10 pm

                I see what your point is about although it doesnt make any sense to me. You can’t just raise a budget and not expect it to affect the other budget. If all things are equal and we win 80 games this year, do you think Ilitch is more likely to spend more money in 2011 if our payroll this year was 50 million, or if it was 55 million. Imagine 2 identical records that result in either case. Why would you assume that 2011 will not be affected by the lack of 5 million dollars in Illitch’s pocket? That’s what signing Damon does. It takes a chunk of money that is either extra, or money that could be used on a different option if it is in the budget, and it is applying it towards 2010 usage. Overall financial assets are depleted in exchange for present playing boost. You can’t escape that dynamic.

                And if the money is in the budget, let’s say we do my trade idea where I acquire a new starting infielder. I’m making a trade by giving up players we have, and to balance the trade I throw in 6 million of money as financial juice to get the trade. So now our payroll is the same as if we signed Damon, let’s just say Damon was 6 million. So in once case, 6 mill worth of our assets are in a one year rental, and in the other case 6 mil of our assets attribute to the new starting infielder that will be here long-term as a result of the deal. That’s called trading a future chip for a present chip. They have the same value, but one is condensed to one unit of time and now, and the other is spread out over a period of time. Signing Damon makes it impossible to escape these dynamics, thus your point does not have a logical substance to it to exist as valid, and therefore it’s unacceptable imo.

              • Mark in Chicago

                February 1, 2010 at 6:32 pm

                The budget is not a pot of money just sitting there waiting to be used or unused. It’s a stream of cash inflows and outflows, of which payroll is a part. I did not say that changing the budget in one area doesn’t affect other parts of the budget. Again, I was quite clear that I am talking strictly payroll here. I think I’ve also been pretty clear that with respect to the opportunity cost for 2010, I agree with you – the funds can absolutely be used elsewhere and maybe more effectively. You seem to be arguing against points that I’m not making.

                As for your example, you are again focusing on TODAY’S decision, which is not what I’ve done at any point. In your example, you’re comparing signing Damon today with giving up $6 mm in assets to acquire an infielder that’s around after this year. I absolutely 100% agree that this impact the future and payroll decisions in 2011. I have not at any point argued otherwise. What I’ve said all along is that IF they sign Damon today, when they finish shaping the roster this time in 2011, they aren’t going to make those decisions based on a cost that’s already been paid.

                My point actually DOES make logical sense, and in fact you said yourself that “Damon isn’t a sunk cost until AFTER we’ve made the move”. I have not argued anything different from that. You have not convinced me that you understand my point by consistently making reference to things that I never said.

              • Andre in Chi

                February 1, 2010 at 6:46 pm

                Mark,

                I think we need to invent our own TSE-version of Godwin’s Law; something along the lines of, “as an online discussion with TSE grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving ‘logic’ or ‘sound reasoning’ approaches 1.” Then we could invoke TSE’s Law whenever somebody used these terms in an argument, meaning they automatically lose the argument. Or we could just stop responding to him, which seems much simpler.

  10. Coleman

    January 31, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I’d love to see Nyjer Morgan on the Tigers–he fields like Granderson, steals better, gets on base more, though without the power. And he’s aggressive and a hustler like Inge. He’s not exactly young anymore–he’s 30 now. But he did get a late start in baseball; he was probably on the path to the NHL before he switched sports.

    • Spike

      January 31, 2010 at 9:46 pm

      I live in DC and Morgan is one of my favorite Nats. Aside from Zimmerman and Dunn, Morgan is about all we have. I’d like to selfishly keep him here.

  11. David

    February 1, 2010 at 2:18 am

    1) No bleeping ;) way the Tigers are going to tie teh Sox unless the stars align for them and/or fall apart for teh Sox. Take one look at their rotation…it is sick. Peavy, Buehrle, Danks and Floyd? Sick. and we all know healthy pitching wins. Their lineup/defense up the middle is young and also has the potential to be good especially with a healthy Quentin(this assumes you believe he was not a fluke). I like them so much…now that I can bet I’m thinking about it. Everyone is underrating them. The odds should be very good.

    2) Also why is a foregone conclusion that Scherzer is going to perform well instantaneously? Better than Verlander even?! I’m looking for the why here?????

    3) I have no confidence in Jim Leyland, he has been is and will find a way to fail.

    4) The West to me is very interesting. The A’s have talent oooooozing out of their rotation, so many glowing reports I have read. Still it’s weird…. they’ve inserted Kazmir into Angels that winning organization with one of the best managers -Mikey. It is hard to bet against the Halo’s at the present time. The Mariners have gotten better also.

    BUT and it is a big one ;) I love the Rangers- another extremely underrated team. They have a sick offense, and possibly could surprise with very strong SP. – always their Achilles Heel in the past. Tell me how sick this looks to you and do some digging :)
    1) Ian Kinsler
    2) Michael Young
    3) Josh Hamilton
    4) Vladimir Guerrero
    5) Nelson Cruz
    6) Chris Davis
    7) Jarrod Salty
    8) Josh Borbon (1st rounder)
    9) Elvis Andrus

    Plus they’ve got a guy in Justin Smoak who is compared to Teixeria and Chipper in the minors with a LOT of power and average and a switch hitter and supposedly a fantastic fielder.

    Plus here is how their staff could end up shaking out

    1) Scott Feldman – had a Verlanderish record last year
    2) Rich Harden – fantastic, fantastic, fantastic like him almost as much as Peavy except durability maybe a concern
    3) Neftali Feliz – supposed to be the next big thang – rated #7 in the top 50MLB prospects
    4) Tommy Hunter – did good enough as a 4 or 5 guy last year
    5) Holland – top young talent who should improve
    There is as much talent in that group, if not more, than any other staff in baseball.

    Plus they added a guy in Chris Ray who had two very good years a few years back and will at the very least be a strong presence in their pen. Obviously he’ll bounce back his last year performance was atrocious anomaly.

  12. Mark in Chicago

    February 1, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Andre,

    That is genius. I second the motion. All in favor?

    (chorus) Aye!

    Oppose?

    (TSE) Nay.

    The ‘ayes’ have it, the motion carries.

    • Keith (Mr. X)

      February 1, 2010 at 7:30 pm

      I thought only Mets’ fans were allowed to use logic and sound reasoning.

  13. Keith (Mr. X)

    February 1, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    The White Sox are ok, but they seem to have just as many questionable players as the Tigers. Ozzie Guillen is a bit of a fruitcake too.

    Peavy is great and their pitching is good, but they traded most of their pitching depth away for Peavy also. If someone gets hurt, they have nobody decent to fall back on.

    Here’s my rundown on their everyday players:
    C – Pierzynski, 33, and he’s on the last year of his contract. Top prospect, Tyler Flowers is being groomed to replace him. Grade: B

    1B, Konerko will turn 34 and on the last year of his contract. He’s OK, but his best days are behind him. Grade: B-

    Beckham, 2b. He can hit and should improve, but his defense is questionable. Grade: C+

    Teahen at 3B. He strikes out a ton and doesn’t walk much. He was very unproductive for KC. His defense is marginal at best. He was a decent utility player, but he has no business starting at any one position everyday. They were better off keeping Getz and Fields. Grade: D-

    Alexei Ramirez at SS. He was a Cuban defector and now in his 3rd season with the club. They say he’s 28, but he’s probably 33. He’s been a notorious slow starter. They dropped him to the 8th spot in the line-up last year. He’s got some pop, but he doesn’t walk much. Defense has been good. Grade : C+

    Juan Pierre in LF. Another guy who doesn’t walk much. He can hit singles and steal some bases. His OBP the last 5 years was about .330, and that has made him a much less effective lead-off hitter. He no longer has the great speed or range to be an everyday CF. He has one of the worst throwing arms also. LA seemed eager to give him away for nothing and pay for much of his salary. Grade: D

    Alex Rios in CF. He had a .296 OBP last season. His game deteriorated in every aspect. They’re stuck with him for the next 5 seasons because of the ridiculous contract he has. Picking him up off waivers from Toronto is perhaps the biggest bonehead mistake ever by a GM. Grade: D

    Carlos Quentin in RF. His defense is suspect. His OBP skill are suspect. His power is awesome. He’s a .260ish hitter with 30 -40 HR potential. He’s your everyday Marcus Thames. Grade: C

    Kotsay / Jones at DH. Both players are done. Either have been productive in the past several years. A few more square pegs that Chicago is trying to fit in a round hole. Grade : F

    How far their pitching can carry them is the only question. Too many misfit role players for them to be much better than .500.

  14. Kevin in Dallas

    February 1, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Quick note on Damon – (sorry Andre in Chi, I got pulled in)

    1) Competing teams (or teams who think they are competing) are myopic. They spend money to win. This describes the Tigers in 2010 AND 2011.

    2) Any money the Tigers lose this year will likely be used to offset Ilitch’s gains elsewhere. He has loads of tax attorneys and accountants smarter than even the Fan graphs geeks who will ensure that this happens.

    Say it with me friends, a Damon 1 year deal for anything less than $7M /yr will have ZERO effect on 2011.

    The more I think/read/dream about it, Damon would be a perfect fit here, provided that Leyland can give up on his Guillen and Inge man-crushes and use them accordingly.

    • TSE

      February 1, 2010 at 8:55 pm

      Illitch needs to figure out how to trade some of those smart attorneys and accountants for somebody that is smart about baseball. With smarts you win at baseball, and with money and smarts you win big at baseball. The reason we haven’t won big isn’t because of the money part, it’s because we haven’t done anything smart enough. Yet we keep doing the same moves of shooting ourselves in the foot by sacrificing too much of the future for too little today.

      • the roar

        February 2, 2010 at 9:10 pm

        I will have to disagree with everyone who wants to see Johnny Damon in a Tigers uniform. He got a nice offensive boost last year from playing half of his games in that bandbox that is the new Yankmees Stadium. This year, I fully expect his offensive numbers to regress unless he goes to another beer league softball park (like Cincinatti, which is where I hope he ends up). Additionally, his arm is as close to god-awful as you can get. CoPa’s outfield will swallow him up. Whoever thinks he could play center field in Comerica Park may be considered clinically insane. He will hold NO ONE on second base when a middle-deep flyball is hit. His arm is like a gigantic lollipop. I could roll a bowling ball into second base before he could throw a 5-hopper into the infield.

        I would MUCH rather see a guy like Wilken Ramirez get a decent look than have Damon eat up a roster spot and extra cash. I would be hesitant to even spend $2mil on him if I was DD.

  15. Fisher

    February 2, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Unless we get Damon at under $4 mill, its not worth it… (And before you drill me everyone, that ain’t happening). Although he can run, his arm is awful and we are trying to go young ( I thought, Grandy trade). Why sign a 38 year old with no arm?
    Thanks BIlfer, hope you continue the site.

  16. Kathy

    February 3, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Fisher, he’s a 36 year old man with no arm.