Blank Page Monday

The forum is yours today. Care to debate the merits of Johnny Damon in a Tigers uniform? Go for it. How about an extension for Verlander? Have at it. Are you going to spring training this year? What games are you targeting when single game tickets go on sale March 6th? If you’re a fantasy baseball player what do you think about Bloomberg Sports new product? Did you know it is NASA week in Michigan? It’s a blank page Monday. Fill it up.

54 thoughts on “Blank Page Monday”

  1. Does anyone here know anything about this? The Tigers website has a spot to click for more information, but a click reveals nothing further….

    Fans can exchange their unused tickets from the Detroit Tigers home game against Minnesota on Monday, September 28, 2009 for an April game in the 2010 season, excluding Opening Day, and subject to availability.

    1. Can I exchange the 3 hours I spent watching the Alfredo Figaro game against the Twins for 3 hours of an April 2010 game?

      1. OK, I found the info. You are right, Andrew….i seems the rain was even against us last year…forcing us to start Figaro against the White Sox that final weekend. Yuck.

        1. Force? Verlander could have started Saturday on 3 days’ rest. Porcello could have done the same on Sunday. They both offered to do it. It could have been done. The call was up to Dombrowski, though, and he thought that a well-rested Alfredo Figaro would be a better option overall than a short-rested Justin Verlander. I don’t blame Dombrowski for a whole lot and in general I think he’s a good GM but in my mind he pretty clearly botched that decision.

          1. Verlander needed to be held back in case we needed him for Monday or for game 1 of the playoffs. I agree with not pitching him earlier than necessary. It became necessary on that Sunday. The rest of the week is a blur and it hurts too much to even look up what happened.

  2. I hope the Tigers stay away from Damon. Part of our problem is that we already have too many one dimensional players, who can field but not hit or vice versa. While we badly need someone to lead off, the last thing we need in the outfield is another defensive liability. Rather than going after Damon, I hope DD can put together a deal before the end of spring training that will give up some (hopefully) surplus pitching and Raburn/Everett/Inge for someone who can lead off and provide good defense in left, short or third.

  3. Well I will chime in with a comment for the Blank Page, regarding my perspective on the Verlander contract:

    I seem to be in the minority of people that aren’t overly gaga about this expected contract offer. I agree that Verlander is probably worth every penny, but that doesn’t help us as much as if we can get a great deal in our favor. It just seems to me that the framework of this deal is more past the line in favor of Verlander than it is for the team, in terms of splitting the spoils of the middle ground. So while it makes sense to lock him up and pay the stiff fair price for it, I can’t help but think that a sign and trade down the road might ultimately force it’s way into being our best option and use of him. Hopefully this 6th year throws a wrench into the figures to muscle it down to a better deal for the team opposite of Verlander personally, to then keep the strength of this deal as the overall good value of the contract and not the option to trade him.

    1. Yeah, I don’t like the 5-year, $75 million deal that has been reported. But if the news about Verlander not signing if he doesn’t get a sixth guaranteed year is true, I say let him walk (unless the money for the sixth year would be heavily discounted.) Only truly elite, Cy Young-caliber pitchers get six-year contracts, and Verlander isn’t that good at this point in his career. Felix Hernandez, who is younger and better, signed for five years, so if JV gets greedy asking for that sixth year, just let him walk rather than risk crippling the franchise for years to come.

      1. Well by let him walk, we’d really need to trade him before he could, cause letting him walk for free Polanco-style is just not an option you should ever get stuck with. I hope DD figures out something creative here, but so far I’m tentatively leaning towards trading him as the most valuable option we can do. And I find that unfortunate but potentially unavoidable, as our optimal strategy can only deviate from that if we can get him for less money or a better structure. DD just needs to find the right way to convey this and sell this to JV, for not only our benefit but so that JV doesn’t overestimate the value of his position and then lose out on staying in his preferred city.

        1. I’ve never gotten the impression that JV strongly wants to stay in Detroit. I get the impression that everything is about money for him. His contract negotiations never seem to go smoothly – from the moment he was drafted (when the Tigers had to pull the offer to get him to come to the table) to arbitration, etc. He comes across as greedy, imo, and maybe that is a function of what appears to be a rather large ego.

          If I were DD, I would give him a “take it or leave it” ultimatum for the proposed deal. If he wants to pass on a susbtantial amount of guaranteed money and chance that he stays healthy and productive for two years and might get a bigger pay day, that is his gamble. The Tigers shouldn’t give cripple their long-term future by giving him an outrageous contract (which I think a six-year contract would be.) They still have a future without him; they should be able to get a haul of prospects for him if they trade him at the deadline or next offseason. In addition to the prospects received in the Granderson/Jackson trade, that should be enough to form the foundation of a really cheap, young team.

          1. I totally agree with you that DD needs to firm up and offer a take it or leave it deal at some point, and I think that JV will take whatever that deal is in that scenario. The guaranteed certainty will be too enticing to take the chance even though it could mean a lot more money, most people if put in that situation will lean towards the guarantees. That’s the only way we can get this contract into the major win column, and if JV doesn’t like it well so be it. I respect JV a great deal and don’t mind overpaying a little, but the team comes first and he has to be willing to meet us partway.

          2. I like 5 years and plentey of incentives like $$$$ for winning the CY, All-Star, so many innings pitched, etc., and make them large. Maybe that would be enough to appease him. I also never got the impression he wanted to stay in Detroit until he actually said it last week and sounded very emphatic about it. The 6th year, if he gets one should be an option year imo. I’d also offer him more than King Felix got for 5 years……….. just because.

          3. JV’s dad is a union negotiator. He has been trained since he was a boy to never take the first offer from management.

            1. That’s a great point, in that JV may be saying no just for the sake of saying no. I hope that he realizes how close this contract is to what Hernandez got in Seattle and is just playing a little hardball with DD. I really want to see JV in Detroit for a while, and I think Mr. Illitch will do what he thinks is necessary to keep Verlander here. There’s technically no limit to what the Illitch family can spend (besides whatever their checkbook dictates), and though they’re looking to cut payroll (which is understandable), there’s a big difference between cutting bad contract like Robertson & Willis, and overpaying a bit to keep one of your stars, especially after trading another VERY well-liked star in Granderson.

  4. If the Tigers can sign Damon for one year at 3 or 4 million, sign him. He has the worst arm in the majors, but isn’t a terrible fielder according to the baseball geeks.
    I’m not going to get into the whole ‘sunk cost’ angle, but the Tigers have one of two choices here: not sign a clearly undervalued player because you have already made five catastrophic contract decisions or sign a clearly undervalued player because you already have made five catastrophic contract decisions.
    I’m not a numbers guy and maybe the geeks can run the numbers and say Damon will only get the team one more win this season than Raburn. However, there is a lot to be said about having someone hit #1 or #2 that ACTUALLY KNOWS WHAT HE’S DOING.
    If you sign Damon and he does well and the team does poorly, you can peddle him to a contender for a prospect. Mind you, I was never for signing Damon this offseason when he was looking for a two-year $22 million contract. But this is like seeing a ridiculously overpriced Italian cashmere coat that was originally listed for $800, but is now going for $120. You might not be the Italian cashmere type of guy, but for $120 it’s a better value than the $80 ski jacket at the Burlington Coat Factory.

    1. Interesting analogy and some good points indeed, but I don’t think that 3-4 mill/year is the range that’s going to apply. I’d be open to him at 3 mill too, but not at the price that all the rumors seem to be pointing at.

      In other news, rumors are that Mauer is close with the Twins on a 10 year extension. Arrgh!

      Oh and that cashmere sounds really nice, but I think I’d still rather save the 40 bucks and take the regular coat. 40 bucks is 40 bucks and both coats will get the basic job done for me, and the proportion of the cost is not going to beat the proportion of fulfillment of that core duty, I don’t care about style points so much as the main objective of the game. Maybe I just need to see the coat first to get drawn into the premium style. The function of a coat is to keep warm, the cashmere doesn’t do much other than shout out “hey I have bling” but what is that bling worth other than a figment of your own perceptions? Heck, the ski jacket is probably warmer than the other coat, will last longer and with less maintenance time and cost, so it’s possibly more effective at wining the game, and less money, making it the better value. 😉

  5. Here is one vote to sign Johnny Damon……I tihink he would be a valuable addition… year with a one year option…..he would take pressure off the youngsters and allow more flexibility as the tradeline appears later in the year…He also brings another left handed bat and would produce similar to Polanco… If the price is reasonable go for it.

    1. Well nobody is saying that Damon can’t help us. We have virtually no left handed hitters, so it’s all about is he worth the money. I say it’s not even remotely close. But somebody else also said they would like him at 3-4 million. So if you want to vote for Damon, you have to vote for him at 6 mill or 7 mill or what not is how I look at it. And that changes the entire situation. So anybody that wants Damon should preface how much they will pay for him. I’m good for $3MM but that’s about it. Tell us your numbers when you are in support of Damon so we know the extent to which you would approve of the signing.

      The worst part is that we are even discussing Damon as an option, when a guy like Miguel Tejada who GENUINELY can make a difference for us quietly signed a one year $6MM deal and we didn’t seem to even blink at that move. Can we pay $6MM to Damon and then trade him for Tejada? Now that would be some GM wizardry. Tejada over Everett is a monumental upgrade, a lot more than Damon could ever add. Who’s at-bats is he going to take? Raburn? Ramirez? Some young guys that might actually end up being better hitters than he was? No thanks. That’s not for me. I’ll take Tejada and have a respectable baseball team, or I’ll save Illitch the money and tap into him for a favor later when I really want something, but I’m not using one of my finite number of lifelines on Johnny Damon, or Washburn, or Huff, or Willis, or any other supremely illogical players that don’t have anything substantive to bring to the team other than dead weight, cost, and a stunting of our future.

      1. And same logic goes to Valverde as it applies here with Damon. It’s an inefficient move with weak bang for our buck. DD is running the Tigers like our politicians run our country. Sell out a piece of the future to put bandaids on today’s mistakes, mistakes that were only born in the first place because of doing a bad job previously. It’s just a circular nightmare of terrible logic. I can’t stand it.

  6. Damon is a no brainer, for the short term (1 or 2 years). He is left handed. He is a LEAD- OFF – HITTER!!!!!!! WHO CARES if he can throw from left field! If he doesn’t, you are looking at Carlos Guillen, who should be the full time DH, in left field. That’s a big defensive upgrade, all right! This would take all the pressure off Austin Jackson, and let the Tigers bat him further down in the order.
    Besides, if Jackson isn’t quite ready, Damon can play center field for the short term.
    As DD would say, he is a good fit.
    It is awful scary to think about the top of the Tigers lineup without an established hitter in either of the first two spots, especially the leadoff one. Think about all of the trouble the Tigers had scoring runs last year. That will pale compared to what will happen this year without Damon.
    Besides, if the Tigers just tank it this year waiting for all of that payroll to come off after 2010, Verlander might just tell them to forget it.
    SIGN HIM!!!!!

  7. This is how I see the situation with Verlander.

    A) We sign him now, we get him for about $100 Million, and he continues to be an excellent pitcher.

    B) We sign him now. He tanks. We waste about $100 million.

    C) We wait until after the season. Maybe he wins the Cy Young. Now he wants an 8 year / $160 Million deal like CC Sabathia’s. Let the Verlander sweepstakes begin!

    D) We wait until after the season. He tanks. Now we save all that money and he still might have some trade value.

  8. I really think Damon is a steal for us at this point, for the right price. This article with Lynn Henning with Boras is clearly him trying to do anything to get his guy signed. I think he realizes that Detroit is the best fit and he will probably have to take a fraction of what he thought he was going to get for Damon, so Boras planted this “Damon wants to play for the Tigers” so it doesn’t look like Boras settled if ends up signing with the Tigers on the cheap. No reason to bid against ourselves here, I would imagine DD would offer a low-ball, take-it-or- leave-it offer and hope the market comes back to us. He would make the top of our lineup look more like an MLB top of the lineup.

    As far as Verlander goes, back up the Brinks truck until he says stop.

  9. I’d take Damon @ $5 M a year also. The contract could easily pay for itself if it steals enough AB’s away from Ordonez somehow. They should have a contingency plan just in case if Ordonez gets off to another slow start. Raburn could play RF if we added Damon. Ordonez would be blocked from getting AB’s at DH because of Guillen. Sounds like a plan.

    I wouldn’t even mind having Damon for more than one season. Next year we could have Damon in LF, Jackson in CF, and Mr. X in RF, with Guillen jobbing for AB’s at DH.

  10. OK, so the report is that Johnny Damon WANTS to be a Tiger. The question is how bad does he want it. If he comes cheap I think it is not a bad idea. On the other hand, this could just be Boras trying to keep up the interest for his client with other teams; the Tigers were supposedly not interested. Henning says blah, blah, blah, but that is his job and he could be just stirring the pot himself.

  11. Johnny Damon um no – 36 yo OF who has been in rapid decline and was pretty weak in several departments. Hank Blalock – do we need another DH?

    As far as FA in the USA there are no positional players worth taking. There are two starters who are FA and still on the table… they should aggressively pursue both if they still have some $$ and want a shot at something. Erik Bedard and Chien-Ming Wang.

  12. We have to sign a ‘Johnny Damon’ type player.

    We need a LH bat to balance the lineup.

    To everyone who says it is a waste of money I would say, paying your RBI men (18million to Ordonez, 11 or so to Guillen and god knows how much to Miggy) makes no sense if you don’t have anyone on base for them to bat in.

    1. Actually whats done is done. Those contracts(Maggs/Guillen/Miggs) are already “in the past”(a given).

      The question that should be asked is ASSUMING we have $$ to spend still what will maximize our probability of winning the most games besides firing Leyland and Dombro 😉 I kid I kid.

      Going forward and assuming they have 6mil to spend the wisest choice would be on Bedard then Wang in my opinion. I see no good/young position-player prospects on the American FA list. Maybe there is someone who has been overlooked in the MiLB don’t have time right now to check that out in depth… Still I think we need another starter or two – it is much more cost-efficient and fiscally sound – getting the most bang for your buck.

      1) Is an OLD man
      2) Has no arm
      3) Has (at best) average CF speed(today) from the data I’ve delved into
      4) Has no power

      I’m all for depth but the OF is the last place we need it. We have a surplus…a LARGE one. To acquire Damon is a big FU/statement that you’re not ready to Ryan Raburn/Clete Thomas/Wilkin Ramirez/Austin Jackson etc.

      And if Carlos/Maggs/Miggy are so good/rebound then they should be able to bat in Sizemore/Jackson/whoever leads off/each other.

      My magic 8 ball is telling me “That his sources say no” 😉 when I ask it if #4+#5 Bondo/Galaraga will be able to stay healthy/post a ~.500 record. When I asked it if we should go after Bedard/Wang if we want to win it said “Without a doubt”

      And I worship that ball, it has never steered me wrong.

      1. Bedard? Wang? Sorry, but the Magic 8 Ball has steered you wrong.

        Bedard had shoulder surgery back in August and needs 10 to 12 months of recovery time.

        Wang, who had a 34.50 ERA last April, also had shoulder surgery last year to repair a torn ligament. He probably won’t be ready until May.

        Btw, we already have 9 starting pitchers going into camp, or 10 if you count Phil Coke, or 11 if count Zack Miner.
        1) Verlander
        2) Porcello
        3) Scherzer
        4) Bonderman
        5) Galarraga
        6) Robertson
        7) Bonine
        8.) Figaro
        9) Willis

        Starting pitching might be the greatest strength we have going into camp.

  13. Adam Kennedy makes all kinds of sense.
    LH hitter, insurance if Sizemore isn’t ready, can spell Inge once in awhile when he’s in one of those 2 for 30 skids, comes cheap.
    With Damon it’s all about the cash. He’s an upgrade over running Guillen out there until he gets hurt (May 1?). If Guillen plays the field once or twice a week and DHs the rest of the time he might stay healthy. Damon would be solid in the #1 or #2 slot. His arm stinks so you need a defendsive caddy late in games. Thomas?

    14 hitters, how about:
    C Laird
    C Avila
    1B Cabrera
    2B Sizemore
    SS Everett
    3B Inge
    SS-2B Santiago
    3B-2B Kennedy
    OF Guillen
    OF Damon
    OF Jackson
    OF Ordonez
    OF Thomas
    OF Raburn
    Leyland likes to carry 12 pitchers so that may not work. But it could, and it certainly beats the heck out of giving your last slot to Don Kelly.

  14. Here’s my take on this year. It’s similar to the situation of the last few years.

    We’re not going to win anything meaningful unless an inordinate number of coin-flips come up heads. Consequently, there’s no point in worry about insurance policies. We can’t possibly insure against all of the potential holes in the roster, so there’s no point in wasting good money trying. If the rookies play like rookies, we’re cooked. If the has-beens can’t hold down the back end of the rotation, we’re cooked. If the regulars can’t stay healthy and have above average years, we’re cooked.

    There’s enough talent on the roster — and the division is still weak enough — that we could win a WS this year, but there are so many question marks that the entire season is truly in the hands of Lady Luck. If she’s not on our side, nothing else matters. It looks like we have enough 2011 flexibility to break the cycle and regain some semblance of control of our destiny, but for now… it is what it is.

      1. ……………let the kids play and get better, sign JV to what we can afford / makes sense and lets play ball. If we are in a position to make an addition at the end to solidify our team with a rental or keeper we can do that then. At some point you have to let the young guys play, thats what makes them old and better.

        Bilfer, how about letting Coleman and a qualified technical resource handle the site on the KC, Nationals, West cost swing teams. You could get a break now and then and we could have our equivalent of Vin Scully and Tony Kubeck

        Winter is long in upstate New York. I am looking forward to my one spring training game on March 18 vs Houston.


    1. Jeff, you make a very convincing case, but I’ll try to make a somewhat convincing argument to the contrary (read: signing Damon)…

      The AL Central is a very winnable unless many of the coin flips you reference come up tails. (I agree we’re not going to win much of anything beyond that at best.) Making the payroll slightly huger by signing Damon helps insure us against any of the following (a) Jackson’s not ready in CF, (b) Guillen injury, (c) Inge’s knees are bad – Guillen can play 3B adequately, or (d) Sizemore is not a top-of-the-lineup guy.

      Right now I don’t like our options if any of these things happen, and of all the guys left on the sidelines, Damon seems to be the best fit. I actually thought Podsednik would have been a better fit at a lower cost, but that’s water under the bridge. If Jackson can’t play CF for us and hit reasonably well, we are in a very bad spot no matter what.

      I think our pitching will be good enough to contend through sheer numbers – at least some of the guys will come through.

      Not sure I’m buying what I’m selling, and I’m sure TSE will tell me I don’t know what “water under the bridge” means (among other things) – but if Damon signed here and gave us close to the same output he’s provided the last few years it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

  15. Hey, we got our guy signed to an 80 million, 5 year deal according to the Detroit Free Press. I’m glad they took my advice.

    Happy, happy, happy!

  16. In Yesterday’s news- Andres Galarraga is going to mentor Miguel Cabrera in Spring Training. That seems like a good PR move also.

    5 years ago Today, Feb. 7 2005, Tigers Signed Magglio Ordonez. We had 11 straight losing seasons, but it sure felt glorious when the Tigers made this happen.

  17. I don’t know about that. Detnews and Freep sure seem to be selling us on him.

    I hated the idea the first I heard of it. I guess it depends on the price. I expect him to keep getting older, so what is an OF that racks up a .260 AVG, .320 OBP, with 10 HR and SB worth? Sounds like Clete Thomas. If Damon takes league minimum, let’s jump on it.

    1. Complete insanity. I thought these guys learned their lesson after offering huge contracts to players who just aren’t worth it.

    2. 97.1 is saying that Kenny Williams (White Sox GM) drove the price up for Damon just to screw us over. I can’t believe we’re this desperate for him, though. They must be scared to death that Jackson won’t be any good.

      1. I think they are more scared that Guillen cannot play left field, they do not have a lead off hitter, and that Magglio and Carlos are injuries waiting to happen.

  18. I’m for anything that makes the team better. Damon’s Yankee stench is something that I didn’t want to deal with again, but I’ll get over it. I have no problem with the price or the years. If it’s for 2 seasons, then next year, we won’t have a hole to fill in LF.

    Anyway, right now I’d prefer getting someone who’s undervalued like Damon in a 2 year deal over getting someone with a large bloated contract like Jason Bay. We got our super star franchise player with Miguel Cabrera. For the next 5-6 years, we just need to surround him with some decent $4 – $8 Million dollar a year veterans and a few good cheap young players. The Tigers seem to be headed for that path once Guillen’s/Ordonez’s contracts run out.

    This move also puts us back in the running for the division with the Twins. I think the Twins getting Thome and Hudson gave them a huge edge over us.

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