Your Early 2013 Off-Season Thread

by Kevin in Dallas on October 30, 2012 · 92 comments

in 2012 Season,2013 Season,Hot Stove

Post image for Your Early 2013 Off-Season Thread

I’d love to write a long piece to recap all the fun we’ve had over these past several weeks, and to celebrate the historic season by Cabrera and what could be another Cy Young entry for Verlander. But I don’t think any of us have forgotten that, and this picture is more reflective of how we feel (at least about baseball for now).

To be honest, I moved my MLB.com and Freep apps off of my home screen on my cell phone today; signifying the unmistakable end of the 2012 baseball season. Dragging an MLB logo into a little digital trash can seemed like a proper ending.

It may be a few weeks before Coleman or I throw up another post, so I thought I’d leave you with a some DTW housekeeping notes, and then a few thoughts to carry us for a bit

1) I’d like to add another regular game poster (or two) for next season. I really liked it when billfer filled the blog with though-provoking commentary on issues outside of the game posts, and I’d like to give that a go if we can get some help on the game posts. Post on here if you’re interested and I’ll reach out to you.

2) I think that the site earns a few bucks from advertising, but I’m certain that billfer still pays for a portion of this out of pocket. There’s a good chance that I’ll ask for some donations in the coming months. Keep an eye out.

3) Thank you everyone for your input, feedback and patronage. DTW is the most acute Tigers’ community around.

***************************

On to the Roster…

Free agency courting started when Cabby stood there like a house by the side of the road Sunday night (taking his cue from the entire lineup), and signings can start after midnight ET on Friday. A quick look at the Tigers’ Free Agents:

Free agents: DH/OF Young, RHP Sanchez, RHP Valverde, C Gerald Laird.

Young is gone. Valverde is gone. I think each will end up with decent offers elsewhere.

Good chance the Tigers resign Laird.

Sanchez will be very interesting. Smyly looks great, he’s under control, and it sure would be nice to have a lefty in rotation. But Sanchez was fantastic down the stretch and may have finally found it. Sanchez will get great money elsewhere, so it’s a matter of how much the Tigers are willing to spend. I expect the Tigers to make a serious play for Sanchez – you can never have too much pitching.

Club options: RHP Dotel ($3.5 million, $500,000 buyout), SS Jhonny Peralta ($6 million, $500,000 buyout).

Yes and…I don’t know. I’m not a huge Peralta fan, but there’s not a lot out there. Now, remember that VMart is back next year, that will help the offense. Since we’re not going to get better defensively at either corner, I’d be willing to sacrifice Peralta’s bat (it’s not bad for a SS) for a SS with better defensive range.

Arbitration eligible: C Alex Avila (1st time), OF Brennan Boesch (1st time), RHP Phil Coke (2nd time), RHP Doug Fister (1st time), OF Austin Jackson (1st time), OF/IF Don Kelly (2nd time), RHP Rick Porcello (2nd time), OF/2B Ryan Raburn (3rd time), RHP Max Scherzer (2nd time).

I’d expect the Tigers to make nice offers to Avila (thank goodness he’s eligible this year, and not last), Coke, Fister, Jackson and Scherzer. I bet that Ricky P gets into arbitration (such an interesting  process, Tigers staff show up with charts and graphs which advance the notion that Porcello is a terrible pitcher), and I think they let Kelly, Boesch and Raburn go. Kelly could find a spot as the 25th guy on the roster, but personally, I’d rather that be Berry. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Boesch turn into a decent player somewhere else, but I definitely think it’s time for him to move on from Detroit.

Gonna be a very interesting few days, keep an eye on the comments for updates from our community.

 
 

{ 92 comments }

Snyder October 30, 2012 at 9:42 am

Thank you Coleman, Kevin, and Billfer for all of the time and resources that you put into DTW. I thoroughly enjoy reading the game posts and discussion – probably caught about 150 of them this year.

I’d be happy to kick in a few bucks.

Smoking Loon October 30, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Ditto.

I’d be willing to write some game posts.

Kevin in Dallas October 30, 2012 at 10:02 am
The Strategy Expert October 30, 2012 at 10:08 am

I’m not surprised either. He wouldn’t have been here the last few years if DD didn’t think he was fantastic in every way. It wouldn’t make sense for him to have a different position on him at this point.

StorminNorman$ October 30, 2012 at 1:13 pm

http://www.freep.com/article/20121030/COL08/121030043/detroit-tigers-jim-leyland-drew-sharp?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Sports

yet another opportunity to disagree with Drew Sharp’s twisted logic

PS: i agree with Snyder’s comments above…great work guys

The Strategy Expert October 30, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I think Leyland would be a fantastic Manager and just about the best guy we could have for the job, IF he would hire a qualified coaching consultant and strategy consultant to address the areas that comes up short in. Without that help he is an anchor to this team, but with that help then he could get the most out of our roster and improve our odds of winning any given ballgame. That’s on DD though to identify that problem and address it and then negotiate those terms with Leyland. I don’t see that happening though.

And Drew Sharp is just sharing his opinions, he’s fairly polarizing and I wouldn’t get too excited about what he has to say. You just hear him out, take what he says with a grain of salt, and leave with anything of value that you can in what he has to share and move on.

KW October 30, 2012 at 2:33 pm
The Strategy Expert October 30, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Hmm, I consider that to be bad news. This is further evidence that our current GM is not a good GM. Why aren’t we keeping them? If they were good enough to invest in the first time, then they should be good enough to invest in this time. I was vehemently against both players immediately after we took them on, but DD disagreed. And NOW he’s changing his mind. We can’t afford to have this kind of decision making in charge of the team going forward. ALL of those millions invested in those guys got us nothing of valuable consequence, and that money could have been used for a logical player for the future, such as Cespedes. What a WASTE.

Oh and we also gave up 2 young players to get Delmon on top of all that money. And it doesn’t matter if those players are good or pan out because they were usable currency as we proved by getting Young for them, so logically we could have used them as currency with that team to get something else on top of saving all of that money. So BONUS WASTE.

And we still have the guy that made those 2 awful decisions in charge, unbelievable. He should have to write a personal check for reparations since those moves were clearly highly illogical to anybody that understands baseball analytics to a high level.

KW October 30, 2012 at 6:31 pm

“If they were good enough to invest in the first time, then they should be good enough to invest in this time.”

Not sure if trolling or just stupid.

Kevin in Dallas October 30, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Peralta option exercised. Probably best considering what’s out there.

The Strategy Expert October 30, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Well yeah that is a no-brainer. There is a lack of SSs available on the free market and tons of teams need help at that position and the market prices are crazy in general. So if we want to improve the position then that HAS to be done via trade. And it’s worth the money since we could easily trade him to one of the many desperate teams out there. There’s nothing for us to lose to exercise that option whether we want him to be our SS or not.

Kevin in Dallas October 30, 2012 at 6:29 pm

I’d tap the brakes a bit on “we could easily trade him to one of the many desperate teams out there.” Can you share a few scenarios that make sense to you?

The Strategy Expert October 30, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Well it’s a long way from the start of the season, so a lot of those options will be determined by what kind of value he has based on his contract level. I just heard a few people complaining about Pagan’s contract extension with the Giants being awfully rich for his talent level, so depending on how the numbers start falling for other positional players will determine how likely and how many teams Peralta’s contract might be a good deal for. And since we don’t have a solid SS on the roster now, it’s all a moot point until we can prove that we can acquire somebody better than him via trade.

Even if he’s not a starting SS, a lot of teams might want him as a depth player depending on their situation, so there could be a lot of teams that might want him, but again that will be much more obvious once we see the market price trends as other moves start to be made. I mentioned before that we have about a dozen non-pitchers that are expendable players, and I’d love to shop all of them too and to every team to see what’s available.

Having me guess at which other teams might want those 12 guys is nothing more than just a guess, when they can tell us what those players are worth. I don’t really need to predict the proceeds, whatever the market will pay for any of those guys including Peralta is of high interest to me since I don’t see any of those 12 guys as being desirable for our long-term plans. I don’t know offhand what all of the contract statuses are for each SS on each team, so it would take a lot of time to go through that and sort all of them out as well, and many of them are going to be exercising options and extending players to clear up that picture as well.

Kevin in Dallas October 30, 2012 at 10:44 pm

So, in short, it’s really not that easy to trade him to a desperate team, correct?

The Strategy Expert October 30, 2012 at 10:57 pm

No not at all, I stand by my original comment. I’m not the GM and I’m not talking to teams right now, and now’s not the time for me to research and anticipate all of the moves before the trading window opens that will change the landscape of the dynamics. It doesn’t matter who we can trade him for, I’m content with knowing I want an upgrade and it’s my position that we need to get the upgrade and then get whatever we can get and I’m confident that at his price tag the future subsequent moves will prove to confirm that we can find a team that will take him.

Plus I already mentioned I want to trade a dozen players so it’s likely to be a package of players that should be assembled to get something of interesting value. There’s tons of transactions to happen before teams start discussing trades. I just made a very long detailed post covering all of the dynamics to think about and I think it’s obvious that we can move him.

So in short, it will be EASY to trade him.

Kevin in Dallas October 30, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Okay, let me know when you have a real trade proposal for us to consider. I’m anxious to see it.

The Strategy Expert October 30, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Any time you want one when it make sense to discuss one. Not sure why you seem frustrated with not having a proposal on the table or why it makes sense for you to have one from me. I made my point very clear and I assume you agree with my point unless you have an argument against it?

Smoking Loon October 30, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Even though I would expect Peralta to bounce back at the plate in 2013, I’d still like to see better defense at SS (especially) and 2B, for the sake of the pitching staff. I’d be willing to give up a bit at the plate for it if it also came with a bit of speed and smarts on the bases. Maybe the Giants will take Peralta and Infante for Crawford and Scutaro? Ha.

I like the outfield as is, but I guess there’s room (assuming the departure of Boesch) for the addition of, say, a Delmon Young-type who isn’t HORRIBLE in LF. By way of compensation for the suggestion above. With Jackson, Cabrera, Fielder, and Martinez already in the everyday lineup, I don’t think the need for such compensation is extreme.

Vince in MN October 31, 2012 at 8:06 am

The Tigers biggest weakness is the bench, especially the infield reserves.The likes of Raburn, Santiago, Worth, Baker, Kelly, etc., etc., just don’t cut it. Likely they will all be gone before next April, but there has to be a concerted effort to pick up a 2B/SS backup who can hit a little (at least better than the above, which can’t be that hard, can it?) and field. For soe reason the value of good reserve players has been given short shrift in the DD/Leyland years, and that has to change. would also like to see more punch from C, with a straight up platoon between Avila and whoever. Laird is an OK backup option, but I would like to see somebody who can start 50-60 games there and Laird just doesn’t have the punch. I think the OF will be OK. Sign Sanchez if at all possible, then deal Porcello for bench player(s)/picks/minor leaguers with upside. Wilks did a great job at Toledo after he was sent down and should be allowed to contend with Smily for #5. The bullpen is fine and we should go to the closer by committee route – the need for a CLOSER role is a myth IMO. I don’t think there is a big need to go to FA. Coaching roles to be changed a must – Harrah to Batting, McLendon to 1, Brookens to 3B, Lamont to Bench would be reasonable. Not sure how much of this gets done with Leyland as manager though.

Smoking Loon November 1, 2012 at 9:59 pm

I’m guessing (very early, too early) at a bench of Holaday, Berry, Santiago or Worth, and… the other 2 spots dependent on what happens with OF acquisitions, if any. And/or what the Tigers really think of and have planned for Dirks and Garcia, which might not become clear until spring training.

It’s hard enough finding starting SS and 2B who can both hit and field. I’d settle for a real glove man 2B-SS-3B on the bench, no concern about the bat. I don’t think Santiago truly qualifies, don’t know enough about Worth.

As for bats on the bench, hmmm… you’re right, a deal could bring something. For which there’s room. But why do I have this feeling that Raburn will again take up some of this room?

If Garcia doesn’t make the team after spring training and split time with or back up Dirks, then maybe a more realistic bench projection is Holaday, Berry, Santiago, Worth, and Raburn. I’m assuming Laird won’t be back, which I’m fine with, all because of that last bunt attempt.

Vince in MN November 1, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Leyland likes to carry 12 pitchers, which means a backup catcher and 3 other utility players constitute the bench. There’s not much flexibility with only 3 spots to work with and it will be an interesting challenge to improve it. Rotating 5 or 6 AAA-quality players between here and Toledo again won’t get it done. Even picking up one league average reserve would be huge. But the crap (or some of it at least) has to go.

Smoking Loon November 3, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Bad arithmetic on my part. 4 guys on the bench with 12 pitchers. Holaday, Berry, Worth, and…

Probably Raburn. A poor man’s Don Kelly as a sub. Awful PH, lousy at the plate as a sub, plays a number of positions, none of them particularly well. Clearly, he would do better as a starter, somewhere else. Bad choice, but one I can see the Tigers making.

Vince in MN October 31, 2012 at 8:42 am

Absolutely. Peralta is the SS – end of story. DD mentioned the lack of alternatives, so I doubt this issue is on his radar going forward now that he has exercised the option.

The Strategy Expert October 31, 2012 at 11:07 am

Totally agree, but think that is a major disappointment if that’s his plan for SS for us this year and if he’s not doing everything he can to find a better option. Peralta is not very good and we need to get better at that position.

Smoking Loon October 30, 2012 at 10:54 pm

I disagree with the John Lowe Free Press article where he says there’s no room for both Porcello and Smyly if they sign Anibal Sanchez. EVENTUALLY there’s no room for someone, but it would be great to start the season with the obvious trio plus those three.

Kevin in Dallas October 30, 2012 at 11:58 pm

TSE – I’m 100% in agreement – it will be very difficult to trade Peralta b/c a) teams don’t generally trade for aging SSs with limited range coming off of their career worst offensive season and b) there are no desperate teams in the majors.

The Strategy Expert October 31, 2012 at 12:05 am

Then how are you in agreement? That sounds like a disagreement. And I completely disagree with you. What teams do you say are totally satisfied with their SSs then? I don’t see very many. There’s not a lot of elite SSs out there, and when you see what the market prices are for new player acquisitions this year then that might change your viewpoint.

And some teams might not see Peralta as the top value in a trade. If we give them pitchers and/or minor leaguers and/or other hitters, then they might be taking Peralta as a throw-in. We could even pay his entire salary if we are so inclined and use money as a resource. As long as we make intelligent decisions then we can afford to spend money to offset trades in lieu of blowing it on players that aren’t long-term keepers like Valverde and DY.

Smoking Loon October 31, 2012 at 12:33 am

I don’t think the Tigers exercised Peralta’s option with a trade in mind and don’t see it happening, when I separate my hopes and imaginings from what history actually shows about DD and Leyland.

What I think the main goals are: Sign Sanchez. Go after a closer and add 2 more bats, probably both power bats in the OF but maybe a surprise move at 2B. I think they would be willing to trade Porcello (after signing Sanchez) and any 2 of the 3 OF Berry/Dirks/Garcia.

The Strategy Expert October 31, 2012 at 12:42 am

I agree that it is most likely they intend to keep him and play him. DD likes the players he has at this moment and he seems prepared to stand by him. That’s why I said it was a no-brainer, because all of the FA SSs are not appealing, none of them are, so we are one of the DESPERATE teams that need a SS and we just got arguably the best SS of them all at only $6MM, so we have at least one guy to use so we aren’t left with ZERO guys. PLUS we can have the option to trade him if we can secure a trade for a much better SS, and when you see what the other SSs sign for and look at how many other teams could make use of Peralta AND our other players, then we have great flexibility.

Your main goals sound very accurate to me, there’s not many Tiger fans that are confused as to the likely path the Tigers are planning to take. Most of the picture is clear as to what we are probably doing. I personally have a fundamental disagreement with DD’s philosophy and advocate a different direction of reinventing the team, because it’s not the right strategy imo, and we need to get more quality players in several offensive positions.

Coleman October 31, 2012 at 11:39 am

I think it is very unlikely they will go after a closer. The way Dombrowski was talking up Rondon (with Leyland echoing his thoughts), it looks like they are hoping for him to develop into a closer as early as next season. Until then, and if that doesn’t work out, they have Coke, Benoit, and Dotel (just signed) who have done it before, and Albuquerque who could.

And agree with Vince that the importance of having an established Closer is overrated.

StorminNorman$ October 31, 2012 at 12:51 pm

agreed – a team having one ‘established 9th inning closer’ is overrated.

http://www.freep.com/article/20121031/SPORTS02/121030093/detroit-tigers-closer-candidates?odyssey=nav|head

as for the supposed “closers” available, Soriano might be the best of the lack-luster bunch, but he’s likely going to command a multi-year ($10M-$12M per yr) deal…and his age and history doesn’t really justify a $30M-$40M committment. Personally, i’d stand pat on the ‘closer’, and fill other more pressing needs.

The Strategy Expert October 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I agree that a “closer”, while it can be a great role to try and secure having your most dominant pitcher contribute in innings of great importance as opposed to any generic inning, is indeed a somewhat old fashioned and inside-the-box concept. I don’t think a baseball team should have to be built according to some cookie cutter theory and that everybody has to have the same configuration of the team.

I also agree that we have more pressing needs and feel that any dollars that are invested in pitching at the expense of offense is in general not what we should do on account of having a small number of qualified offensive players. Our priority I would hope is to find some non-pitcher upgrades so long as we make good choices with those investments, which is not something we do with good consistency.

I think DD makes a lot more mistakes in offensive player investments than he does with his pitching investments in a general sense, so hopefully he will be careful and shrewd in what he does this offseason.

jud November 3, 2012 at 5:11 am

The Tigers will absolutely go after a closer BECAUSE Leyland has to have a 7th inning guy a 8th inning guy and a CLOSER,,,,,,,has done it that way for the most part all 7 years…He is not going to change this… DD will get him that closer……you read it here first!

Smoking Loon October 31, 2012 at 2:27 pm

I’m still guessing – so far – that they will go after a closer (not necessarily a Soriano, but someone established), but this doesn’t mean I think they SHOULD. Just that they will. My guess is that the Tigers disagree with Vince and want to go into spring training armed with more than hope at this position/”position” (depends on your view).

Coleman October 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm

The problem with closers is that they command starting pitcher salaries, and are much less valuable…it’s classic moneyball…I’m guessing the average starter WAR is about twice the average closer WAR (will look it up later); the salaries not so much.

Actually there is another problem. Mariano Rivera aside, closers are notorious for having brief periods of dominance; at the same time long contracts are all the rage for free agents…think how thrilled we would be if we were on the hook for 3 more years of The Potato.

Coleman October 31, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Oops, lost last paragraph: if the money issue comes down to pursuing Soriano OR Anibal, I don’t see them doing anything other than going with existing guys (including Rondon).

Smoking Loon October 31, 2012 at 3:08 pm

I agree with that, both in “what I’d do” and “what I think they’ll do.” If it’s a money issue.

However, it’s easy to see the Tigers signing up for 3 years of a different Potato. Overall, Valverde wasn’t such a bad deal, was he?

Coleman October 31, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Valverde was an excellent 2-yr signing, and well worth the 7 mil per year. Unfortunately it came with a team option 3rd year, which was impossible not to pick up after his “perfect” 2011 season (which was not quite as good as his 2011 save record would make you think). Still, on the whole, comes out as a good signing. If we’d signed him to 4-5 years, the 2011 would not have been worth it.

No way we get Soriano on a 1-2 year contract in this market, so no thanks.

Vince in MN October 31, 2012 at 8:52 am

On the OF.
If they believe in Castellanos as much as they say they do (but then they said that about Turner, didn’t they), there probably won’t be any long-term deals for an outfielder unless they are willing to trade Dirks, which hopefully they won’t do this year. And short-term deals for good hitting outfielders is likely an impossibility (Johnny Damon anyone?) – they all want loooong term contracts now.

Smoking Loon October 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I see the Tigers going after at least two big bats, most likely at LF and 2B but maybe at both outfield corners.

Me, I’d stick with the talent already there, maybe even Boesch if his defense can possibly improve.

Is it just me, or has there been a dearth of Tigers infield prospects for years and years?

Coleman October 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Cale Iorg should be ready in a year or two.

Smoking Loon October 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm

I knew there was a reason I was thinking Peralta is expendable.

Coleman October 31, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I’m hoping Iorg has coaching aspirations, which would make all the minor league experience worthwhile…although after checking it does look at he worked his way back to Toledo from Lakeland last season.

Smoking Loon October 31, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Back to the outfield. I’ve seen Justin Upton and Torii Hunter advocated as acquisitions.

Vince in MN October 31, 2012 at 7:28 pm

You are absolutely correct, especially middle infielders (although maybe Perez pans out down the road, but he would be the exception.) DD’s philosophy is pitching, pitching, and more pitching. In theory the surplus arms are used in trade for bats (e.g. Turner + for Infante + 2 Mo. Sanchez rental.) However, in the MI case, there is a dearth of decent players at both positions in MLB, so the value of the few good ones skyrockets (if they are even available), and even the mediocre ones get overpriced. This is why I think Peralta is our ’13 SS, and then cross your fingers after that. Personally I think there is too much emphasis on pitching and would like to see a little more balance in the draft philosophy.

Coleman October 31, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Kelly outrighted to Toledo, chooses free agency…it makes baseball sense, but had for me to not root for a Don Kelly (also, he had hidden value to the team as emergency catcher–but that role will fall to Martinez next season, one imagines.

The Strategy Expert October 31, 2012 at 2:48 pm

That hidden catcher value is squashed by his complete ineffectiveness at the plate. I kinda wish it was Taiwan instead of Toledo, he feels too close to coming back again for my liking.

Coleman October 31, 2012 at 3:04 pm

He will find a home on a small payroll NL team; I predict he will be a Pirate.

Smoking Loon October 31, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Kelly was also the emergency 1B, right? Who now – Cabrera? Prince Fielder is an iron man, but still.

Coleman October 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm

V-Mart.

Smoking Loon October 31, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Ah, right. Thanks.

Smoking Loon October 31, 2012 at 5:04 pm

But what if Kelly says “But I don’t wanna be a Pirate!”? Will they make him wear The Puffy Shirt?

Coleman November 1, 2012 at 5:02 pm

That’s what agents are for–things like the contract with the No Puffy Shirt Clause.

Smoking Loon November 1, 2012 at 8:01 pm

I don’t think Don has an agent, poor guy. He can’t afford one. I mean, the guy can barely buy a hit. (ba-dip, tsssh)

Is it too late now for my joke about chipping in to buy Delmon Young a Mercedes (post-Game 1 ALCS comments)? I tried then, but the post failed, frustrating me to no end.

Smoking Loon October 31, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Are the Tigers stuck with Infante at 2B? Can nothing be done? It’s not that it’s so terrible, it’s just that… that OBP is really crappy for a guy you like to think of as a “pesky” hitter.

The Strategy Expert October 31, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Absolutely something can be done, and something should have been done every since Polanco left, and I wanted an upgrade above even Polanco when we had him! Infante is just another player that we should never have acquired and we need to target somebody that is more productive at the plate. I don’t think DD has any major plans beyond the basics of what everybody has discussed so you’re guess is as good as anybody’s as to when and where we get any offensive improvements. I’m not counting on anything though.

Smoking Loon October 31, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Well, Cano is gone, which would seem to take care of the free agent bats, and since they already traded for a 2B to GET Infante… Other free agents: Keppinger, Scutaro. Not even hardly worth the effort.

Whether the Tigers like it or not, I am trading Infante and making Danny Worth the full-time 2B.

travisfrymanfan October 31, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Infante was an AS with the Braves

333 in the WS.
He knows to work a count when needed
And a great glove

travisfrymanfan October 31, 2012 at 5:27 pm

BTW:infielders are paid for the glove. Whitakers and Trammells dont grow on trees

Smoking Loon October 31, 2012 at 6:32 pm

That wouldn’t explain the Tigers infield. I think they got Infante more for his bat than glove, given the situation at the time of the trade, and I don’t know that his glove at 2B can really be called excellent, though I could be wrong. I think Infante is the 2B in 2013, and I’m not decrying that so much as the lack of other options, particularly better bats.

Yes, I’ve noticed that Infante can work a count, but unfortunately he often works it into a strikeout, and I think his K rate alarming for an ostensible contact hitter. I’ve been a fan of his and think of him as a rally starter, but the stats tell a slightly less appealing story. Good 2012 postseason, true.

Vince in MN October 31, 2012 at 9:39 pm
Coleman October 31, 2012 at 10:13 pm

How about a package deal with Gene Lamont?

Vince in MN October 31, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Speaking of Lamont, he is conspicuous by his absence here:
http://www.detroittigertales.com/2012/10/lack-of-speed-contributed-to.html

Smoking Loon November 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm

That was a good article. I’d like to see a corresponding analysis of the 2012 Giants. I guess I could figure it out myself, since Lee provided the formula.

Lee Panas November 1, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Smoking Loon, Giants scored 718 runs and were expected to score 707 according to the advanced formula with SB, DP, etc. So, they scored more runs than expected. I might try to figure why later or you could try :-)

Smoking Loon November 1, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Thanks, Lee. I was going to pose that question on Detroit Tiger Tales, until it occurred to me how lazy of me that would be. I’m glad to have the answer nonetheless, and thank you!

The questions behind the question are, of course: Is there a lesson for the Tigers in the WS loss, and would they benefit from being a little more like the Giants even as an AL team, and if so, how would they go about it?

Smoking Loon November 3, 2012 at 7:01 pm

My guess at how the Tigers differ from the Giants relative to the above, without looking anything up, is that the Tigers a) put fewer runners in scoring position, and b) fail to advance runners from first to third more often (not to mention from first to second). Another way of putting it would be that Tigers runners on 1B die there more often, one way or another. It sometimes appears as though Jim Leyland sees a HR as the only way to advance a runner at 1B.

Smoking Loon November 1, 2012 at 8:04 pm

I guess it’s not the end of the world if the Tigers don’t sign Sanchez. If they don’t, do they go after another somewhat expensive starter? I say… yes.

Smoking Loon November 1, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Joakim Soria: Any chance the Tigers might be interested?

Vince in MN November 3, 2012 at 9:34 am

I think the Rondon as closer talk is all pre-2013 hype, just one of the many rumors GMs and spinmeisters throw out there between now and ST. It gives fans something to yap about (a new and improved version of the legendary Zumaya in this case) and probably improves season ticket sales. I can’t believe that there is any way that Leyland, who thinks that CLOSER is the most important job on a baseball team, is going to turn that position over to a 22-year old with only 8 IP above AA. The search for the mythical 9th inning beast will likely ensue shortly.

Smoking Loon November 3, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Completely agree.

Smoking Loon November 3, 2012 at 7:36 pm

I see four worthwhile free agent signings that I would say fit both my guess about the Tigers’ plans and my plan: Shane Victorino, Torii Hunter, Joakim Soria, and Maicer Izturis. Hunter would be pricey, yes, but if they’re at all thinking (again) “win now,” well, there you go.

Upgrading the OF so resoundingly provides Martinez insurance, offensively, and improves the bench instantly by putting Dirks on it. Berry becomes expendable and Garcia can develop. Raburn and Boesch become trade pieces.

Soria provides closer insurance.

Izturis – for the bench! Clearly an upgrade over Santiago/Worth. Like having 2 Omar Infantes, kind of. And wouldn’t it be better to have Infante backing up Infante rather than Santiago/Worth doing the same?

The Strategy Expert November 4, 2012 at 1:01 am

Why do you like Izturis considering for his career he is sub .275 BA and sub .400 SLG, in addition to being 17 points under his average for BA last year and a whopping 66 points under his SLG average at only .315 last year? That’s incredibly terrible.

Smoking Loon November 4, 2012 at 1:20 am

Izturis is better than Santiago or Worth. He’s on par with Infante. He’s a free agent. I can’t think of a simpler way to strengthen the infield bench without imagining it to be a higher priority than it probably is for the Tigers. They are probably willing to go with either Santiago or Worth, but Izturis is my dark horse candidate for a better way. So far.

The Strategy Expert November 4, 2012 at 1:46 am

But Santiago is already under contract for 2 million bucks, so what will happen with him then? And I agree about Worth since he’s another one of the few players we have had on our team recently who never should have been MLB players to being with, such as Berry and Don Kelly.

Also as Free Agents you would still rather have Izturis over Scutaro? I am not high on Scutaro myself but he’s much better than Izturis, or what about Stephen Drew who is now available that his option was declined? He’s also not a good option but man he has massive upside over Izturis.

The Strategy Expert November 4, 2012 at 1:47 am

“begin with”

Smoking Loon November 4, 2012 at 2:55 am

Now that you mention it, Scutaro offers possibilities that might make it worth the extra he might now cost, given his 2nd half and postseason. He could start at 2B and probably make a better backup SS than the Tigers now have. Infante would go to the bench. But – the thought with Izturis (or whoever) was primarily reasonable cost bench improvement, not a replacement at 2B that I’d pretty much given up on.

Santiago is tradable. $2 million is nothing. The Tigers could eat that and not feel it if they had to.

Stephen Drew I don’t know about, so I’ll have to get back to you on that.

Smoking Loon November 4, 2012 at 3:06 am

Drew has only played SS in his MLB career. Izturis is clearly better defensively at 2B than anything else, but he can play SS and 3B as well and has plenty of experience at all of those positions.

Smoking Loon November 4, 2012 at 3:43 am

I like this lineup so much I could almost forget about Anibal Sanchez:

CF Jackson
RF Hunter
3B Cabrera
1B Fielder
DH Martinez
LF Victorino
SS Peralta
C Avila
2B Infante

You might prefer to swap Jackson and Victorino in the order (and maybe even in the field), but Victorino has actually thrived in the 6 hole. Man, talk about a chance to start beating down LHP. But could Leyland tolerate 4 RHB in a row? (No? Then switch Cabrera and Fielder.) Really, though, all four hit RHP quite well. It might just drive the man crazy to have an actual EVERYDAY LINEUP, however.

No way they could both sign Sanchez and pull this off, eh?

Vince in MN November 4, 2012 at 11:09 am

I can’t see them signing 2 FA outfielders. Hunter is an interesting idea because he wouldn’t demand (or get, for that matter) a deal longer than that due to his age. He would be great in the 2-slot. Victorino will want more years undoubtedly, which would tend to interfere with the rise of Castellanos. Unless they want to use Castellanos as a trade chip, which I seriously doubt, I don’t see Victorino as a realistic possibility. Dirks definitely deserves more than a bench role, at least a platoon, which further eliminates the need for two new full-time OFs. And they are bringing Mr.-So-Much-Upside Boesch back. For what reason I am not sure, except maybe for the fact that he is worthless as a trade chip and they don’t know what else to do with him.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we need an upgrade on the bench, the dead weight must go. Izturis is interesting, since he can play SS, 2B and 3B, and has speed (which the Tigers obviously lack.) He lacks punch, but it’s not like the Tigers’ 2012 crop had much, right? Plus he’s one of those every-other-year players – 2012 was a down year so in 2013 he should be due! As far as Drew goes, I think he only plays SS, so I’d have to pass there.

If they can sign Sanchez, they potentially have the best rotation in baseball. If not, it will still be very good.

Free Agents are going to be expensive this year, and although Illitch may be willing to spend, spend, spend, they may not be doing much of that. Besides the money, the high end FAs still cost draft picks in most cases, and the Tigers farm system needs beefing up, not tearing down.

Smoking Loon November 4, 2012 at 4:08 pm

This is only passed-along speculation, but Victorino “should” only want 3 years, which wouldn’t really block Castellanos any more than Hunter’s acquisition would really block Garcia. Castellanos is only 20 and just making the transformation to OF. I think they might be talking him up a bit.

Before I was overtaken by the Hunter/Victorino fever, I wasn’t down on the OF as is. I though Dirks could start in LF and Berry and Garcia could split time in RF. I suppose Boesch is suitable for LHB power off the bench and some kind of VERY poor man’s Martinez insurance, though in my view they might as well have resigned Delmon Young for the RHB version of this limited role and let Boesch go.

For me, Hunter is more about Martinez insurance than about the OF per se. Acquiring Victorino is about the OF, the bench, and flexibility. Obviously he would add to the team all around as an OF, but it also helps the bench by putting Dirks and Berry on it and getting Boesch off of it, and Garcia can get regular playing time at AAA. Come August, both Berry and Dirks could be dealt and Garcia called up to apprentice under Hunter.

On the other hand, Andy Dirks could be just what the Tigers need in LF already, and I don’t want to take that chance away, necessarily. Adding 2 OFs for an OF that isn’t exactly “broken” would be overkill, I guess. Appealing overkill, though.

I hear Sanchez might be looking for 4 years/$60 million. Is he THAT good? If the Tigers go for that, he’d better be really good, better than he ever has been. I don’t think the rotation is exactly lost without him. But of course, this looks like the kind of opportunity that passing up could really burn you.

I don’t know if the Tigers have ever signed 4 noteworthy free agents in a single off-season. Seems like a bit of a stretch. I suppose my main targets would be Sanchez and Hunter. I’m stuck on free agents because I don’t want to kid myself that the Tigers can simply trade spare (more or less) parts and get players on the level of Sanchez, Hunter, or even Victorino (Izturis-level, more likely). Would we want to give up Jackson, Avila, Peralta, Fister, or Scherzer? No, I think not. Dirks? Not sure. So what do you get for Porcello, Benoit, Boesch, Berry, Santiago, Worth? What kind of deal can you swing there?

Vince in MN November 5, 2012 at 12:43 am

Interesting thoughts on Castellanos. I think they will most likely make some kind of decision, whether to bring him up or trade him, by the end this year though. He is definitely not going to be sitting at Toledo until 2016. The same can be said of Garcia. I just think that a 3-year deal with any OFer might be more of a commitment than the Tigers want to make in view of the glut of players they have in the system currently. On the other hand, if one looks at it like a Victorino/Hunter type player is replacing Young’s bat with another that can actual play in the field also, then maybe they could do it, but only one. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how they resolve the clutter there.

Sanchez 4/60? Quite possible. Is he worth it? Is Fielder worth 9/210? Like I said, FAs are going to be expensive this year, and owners are also going to be willing to pony up imo. You could argue it either way, but history suggests that in a few years those prices may look like a bargain. Get ready for salary inflation and $50 bleacher seats.

Benoit I don’t believe is going anywhere. Santiago and Worth have zero trade value. Boesch maybe as a throw-in with somebody else, like Porcello, who does have trade value if they sign Sanchez, but by himself, Boesch is nada. Berry would also be a throw-in, but of more value than Boesch. Personally, since the Tigers are so speed deprived, I would like to see them hang on to Berry, even if he is only part of the extended bench at Toledo. If he bunted more, he could improve his value immensely also.

Smoking Loon November 5, 2012 at 10:12 pm

A little more research on Castellanos revealed my relative ignorance. Pardon my absurd suggestion that he’s being talked up. I also figured that moving him from 3B had to do with Miguel Cabrera in front of him, but that’s not it, just a smart move independent of that. Even so, he’s not on the cusp of making the team. Probably two years away… from being traded.

I’ve changed my greedy and not entirely rational position on 2 more OF for the Tigers. Hunter is the PERFECT fit (please, not Hamilton). RF +glove, RHB that kills LHP, made for the #2 spot in the order. If they don’t get Hunter, I say Victorino would be the NEXT BEST fit. LF +glove, switch hitter, hits LHP well, fits in well as Dirks also does at either #2 or #6. I think we can agree that the last thing they need to acquire in the OF is another one-dimensional guy or another question mark to add to the clutter. They need – if they need anything there – a guy at one of the corners who comes in as a proven, unquestioned starter.

I agree on hanging on to Berry. I think I might overrate Garcia, but it’s hard not to be impressed with a guy that age who just stepped right in. Of course, he pretty much stepped in hitting singles and nothing else, but he did look good in RF.

If the Tigers must limit themselves to one big and expensive free agent signing, I’m forced to concede that Sanchez is the most sensible one.

If Joakim Soria would take a one-year deal, I think that could be a very good move. I wouldn’t mind seeing a closer by committee – a committee of two. Coke and Soria.

I ran out of free agent ideas pretty quickly. I think I’ll have to turn my attention to imaginary trades. Speaking of trades, the fact that the Tigers don’t have any terribly dire acquisition needs (similar to the 2007 postseason, coming off a pretty good year and not especially in need of a third baseman….) makes me wonder whether some unforeseeable blockbuster lurks ahead.

Smoking Loon November 6, 2012 at 12:39 am

My brief infatuation with Joakim Soria is over. Any guy (not already with the Yankees) who would rather be a setup guy for the Yankees than the Tigers’ closer is a bum. Furthermore, any guy who missed a whole season and won’t be ready until May 2013 who decrees that he SHALL be the closer (for anyone but the Yankees) is a bum.

The Strategy Expert November 6, 2012 at 12:53 am

Did you give up on Izturis yet?

Also how much do you think Victorino is worth? How come you aren’t turned off by his statistical production on offense last year, just curious? He batted .255 last year with a .383 SLG, last time Marcus Thame batted .255 for us he still pulled over a .500 SLG. That doesn’t concern you?

The Strategy Expert November 6, 2012 at 12:56 am

Sorry *thames* and meant to say he once had a .256 BA that is very similar and the SLG on that year was actually .549 just looked it up, didn’t mean to hit post before checking the numbers as I was going off memory.

Vince in MN November 6, 2012 at 8:36 am

Any blockbuster deal will likely involve a big, slow, hard-hitting 1B/DH type who will then be converted into a secondbaseman with the argument that he played there once in Little League and therefore the transition should be a smooth one.

Smoking Loon November 7, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Good one, Vince. I do remember the fiasco in 2008. All the hemming and hawing. Inge should have been gone no matter what the minute the trade was made, and Cabrera should have been left at 3B to take his lumps. It doesn’t take hindsight to see that, but it all worked out in the end.

Despite the Tigers’ tendencies, none of the trade ideas I might advocate are going to involve batters who can’t field their positions or far-fetched position switch ideas. That being said, it’s unfortunate that Berry isn’t a utility infielder. And why couldn’t Dirks make the switch to SS? He seems athletic enough. Prince Fielder might make a decent LF, which would enable Cabrera to go back to 1B and open the door for Castellanos at 3B, maybe as soon as Opening Day 2013…

Just kidding.

Smoking Loon November 7, 2012 at 6:13 pm

TSE – no, I still think Maicer Izturis would make a handy free agent signing. Someone with more strength at SS (but still able to cover 2B and 3B) might be better, but I can’t name such a player at this point.

I think Victorino would be a good fit, despite a bit of a down year in 2012. A quality player all around. I remember Marcus Thames with fondness, but I don’t advocate the Tigers acquiring a part-time OF thumper. They should either get a proven starter at LF or RF or else forget about it, in my view.

Jim Eggers November 4, 2012 at 4:03 am

Not that this has anything to do with the Tigers, but Spokane native Mike Redmond has been named as the new Marlins manager. I wore a pair of his baseball (non cleated) shoes once, and if you want to hear THAT story, well let me know…

Smoking Loon November 4, 2012 at 4:08 pm

OK, Jim. Do tell.

Jim Eggers November 4, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Mead high school baseball teams, Varsity and JV getting ready…. Varsity coach Kevin Workman, schoolteacher, has forgot his coaching shoes. Mark Redmond (Mike’s cousin) pitches for the Varsity, and he has a pair of his cousin’s shoes. They are a size 12 or 13, and Coach Workman is a 91/2-10. I am an 11, so I take 1 for the team and give up my shoes and put on Mike’s shoes. They are big, and on the bus to our JV game, the players are having a good time with the calliope music and commenting on how clownlike I appear. They were right, it looked funny as hell, and we had many big laughs and and a laugher of a game too. Coach Workman’ shoes were duct taped to the floor of his locker, not sure who did that, but the duct tape came from my tool kit.

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