Hot Stove Talk, part 1

As we tune up for baseball’s other season, let’s review what the Tigers are working with this year.

- Guillen and his $13M will not be back.  Though Guillen and Maggs seemingly want to play again in 2012.

- Ordonez and his $10M will not be back.  Well, not for more than $5M (I would desperately hope).  The Tigers have made no indication of any intent to resign him.

- Penny and his $3M will not be back.

That clears out $26M.  Good start.

Zumaya and Santiago are also free agents at $1.4M and $1.35M, respectively.  Even a non-2006 Zumaya would have been a welcome addition in the ALCS, but his persistent injury problems will leave him off the Tigers roster.   If he doesn’t get another offer elsewhere, and pitches brilliantly and pain-free in Spring Training, I think the Tigers will find a spot for him, however foolish such a decision may be.  It looks as if the Tigers would like to re-sign Santiago, but it is contingent on what other offers he may get.  Santiago is a superb utility guy and was the only 2B mainstay for the club last year.  But over his career he’s shown that he can be overused, and the Tigers will have to wait and see whether another team is willing to give him a chance as a full time player.

Based on the above, it looks as if the Tigers would have plenty of money to spend in 2012. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  Verlander’s salary jumps up from $13M to $20M, and the Tigers owe $9M in deferred salary (including $2M to Pudge Rodriguez, and $1.5M to Gary Sheffield…remember him?).  Further, Scherzer, Young, Coke and Kelly are all arb eligible, which means that they’ll make a good deal more this season than they made in 2011.  Conservatively, if each of those guys make $3M next year, that puts payroll at $94M (I’m using Cots) that puts the roster at 14, which means that the Tigers will have 11 players to go.  A lot of these guys are still under their rookie contracts (Boesch, Perry, Avila, Schlereth, Al Al etc.) so they won’t be too expensive, but unless Illitch plans to spend significantly more next year, don’t expect any big off-season splashes.

9 Comments

  1. Captain Obvious

    November 11, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Wow. If only I had not read these same things like…2 weeks ago. You need to pick up your pace here. Reading a ‘story’ thats so behind is quite disappointing.

    • Andrew in Toronto

      November 11, 2011 at 3:39 pm

      Ask for your money back!

      • Brett G

        November 11, 2011 at 11:55 pm

        Captain Obvious…. don’t come back.

  2. Vince in MN

    November 13, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Fortunately the Tigers don’t need to make any splashy deals this off-season, although a spalshy trade that doesn’t cost too much money may be a possibility. A couple of free agent signings may be the best bets to upgrade the team. What they need in order of importance IMHO:
    1. 1 starting pitcher (preferably LH)
    2. Backup catcher who can hit some (one who can also play another position beside 1B would be a big bonus)
    3. Secondbaseman with some speed who can lead off.
    4. Thirdbaseman who can hit above the Mendoza line and play regularly

    They may be able to get by with a platoon at either 2B or 3B, but I’m not comfortable with both. Solving that issue may require a tade. The bullpen is the least of their worries – there are lots of chips to play with/trade there. I’d be extremely happy if they succeeded in 1, 2 and either 3 or 4 to start the season. Trading Gene Lamont to the Red Sox with a bag of peanuts for nothing would of course be a huge bonus.

    • Kevin in Dallas

      November 14, 2011 at 12:57 am

      I’m gonna challenge that and say that our #1 priority should be a leadoff hitter. I think we can develop a SP (though I’m not opposed to one). I just can’t fathom the thought of our leadoff hitter struggling to get to a .300 OBP and leading the league in Ks again.

      The Lamont thing is baffling. There is such a disconnect of perception between the clubhouse and the fans.

      • Vince in MN

        November 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm

        My thinking is that if we start the season with a good SP replacement for Bad Penny (I contend that Turner and Oliver are not ready for prime time and one of them – I prefer Turner – should be eased in at long relief), we can probably get by with the offense we have, at least initially. I just have a strong bias toward pitching.

        The other teams in the Central will all have to make major upgrades to challenge the Tigers next year, even if we only make minor tweaks right now. To get through the playoffs, on the other hand, I would like to see more offense, but maybe DD can do some more magic at the trade deadline like he did this year.

        I’d really like to see a secondbaseman with speed leading off and Jackson dropped to 9th. That may require a trade, since there is a dearth of FA secondbasemen. Frankly I wouldn’t mind trading JaKKKson if we can improve the top of the order, but we’d have to get that 2B in return. We seem to have an overabundance of fair/decent OF in the system to replace AJ (or, alternatively, to be used as trade material).

        Thirdbasemen are even fewer and farther between than secondbasemen, and only a trade will get us an upgrade there. However, I think a speedy second sacker should take precedence and we will have to live with a BInge and ? platoon.

        One thing that does kind of scare me is having the human airconditioners of Raburn, Inge and Jackson potentially batting 7, 8 and 9.

        • Kevin in Dallas

          November 15, 2011 at 10:29 am

          This is the year that Raburn turns it on beginning in April!

          • Andrew in Toronto

            November 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm

            That’s what I really, really thought last year, too.

          • Coleman

            November 15, 2011 at 6:44 pm

            Now that Tony LaRussa is retired, it is time for Smokey to make a bold move for the vacant Genius spot, by instituting the first ever monthly platoon, player x (think Chris Shelton) Pre-All-Star break, Raburn Post-All-Star break…let’s do this…