Hot Stove Talk Part Tres

by Kevin in Dallas on November 28, 2012 · 90 comments

in 2012 Season,Free Agents

Post image for Hot Stove Talk Part Tres

(see what I did there? Tres? You can call me the blog post title Expert, if you’d like)

It’s been a while, so let’s get caught up on Free Agent news around the club. There hasn’t been much movement around Detroit, but some interesting things nonetheless.

I am fascinated by the Josh Hamilton situation. Living in Dallas, I can tell you that the club’s attitude towards him at the end of the season through now was definitely resentful, and bordered on disgust. His lack of effort, his massive August slump and his unappreciative comments angered many around here. It looks like that attitude leaked out to MLB in general and he’s not seeing the money he hoped he would. Jon Daniels makes smart decisions, so if they make Hamilton an offer, it will be at a level that the club feels he is worth, regardless of what the market says.

On to our Tigers…

This Rafael Soriano stuff is heating up. I know that we have Rondon waiting in the wings, but why not Soriano? Money is not an object here. Illitch is in a spend now to win now mindset, of which we should be very appreciative. I would love to see Soriano nailing down the 9th for us. Rondon will have his time. Tony Paul of Detroit News disagrees. By the way, where would Boras be without Illitch? About 1% less rich?

I think that many feel that Porcello is expendable if we sign Sanchez, but Dave Cameron argues that Porcello is poised for a breakout season (you’ll need insider). Cameron writes “He set career highs in both strikeout rate and ground ball rate in 2012, but even more encouragingly, his velocity jumped nearly 2 mph, and he was regularly topping out at 95 for the first time as a big leaguer. The improvement was masked by mediocre results, but those were primarily caused by a .344 batting average on balls in play, and considering how dreadful the Tigers’ defense was, that’s a number that is unlikely to be repeated with any other set of teammates. While his 4.59 ERA won’t blow you away, his 3.91 FIP suggests he was much better than his raw stats suggest.” (note – I find the insider subscription to be well worth it) Porcello will benefit more than anyone from a better middle infield…

So let’s talk about the middle infield for a bit. There have been rumors that the Arizona Diamonbacks whant Peralta. Not sure why (likely at 3B), but let’s assume that they are true and that the Tigers make a deal for Justin Upton. Then what do we do at SS? Some think that the Tigers may covet Stephen Drew. But Drew would likely be a downgrade defensively (especially after ankle surgery) and would definitely be worse offensively than Peralta. Some have suggested putting in Danny Worth and just sacrificing his spot in the lineup in return for the increased defense. This is not a bad idea. Runs shouldn’t be a problem in 2013, defense will. As we all know, the Tigers were one of the worst teams in the league at turning ground balls into outs, and Worth’s range at SS would be of significant value. There was a long insider article on ESPN yesterday which addressed the tigers middle infield problems, here are a few of the highlights:

  • Infante and Peralta will both be 31 next season, they are likely to decline all the way around.
  • “Infante’s .257/.283/.385 line in his two months in Detroit in 2012 didn’t even match that career-outside-of-Atlanta average. At the very least, Detroit can at least be confident in his fielding. As he has received more steady playing time at one position, his fielding performance has improved — he has been 18 runs above average over the past two years according to UZR — but even with two months of Infante’s good defense, the only team to get worse production out of its second basemen last season was the Orioles.”
  • “If they are serious about winning whileMiguel CabreraPrince Fielder and Justin Verlander are in their primes, it might make sense to use top prospect Nick Castellanos as trade bait to get an elite shortstop or second baseman. Castellanos’ natural position is third base, where he is blocked by Cabrera, so he could be expendable. While they can’t move Peralta to another position, Infante could easily go back to his super-sub role and have plenty of value there if they acquire a better second basemen.”
And some AJax love in the article – “Last season, Jackson posted one of the best seasons in the game, and it was curious that he didn’t receive even one vote for the Most Valuable Player award. (He had 5.5 WAR, per FanGraphs, which ranked eighth in the AL.) At 5.5 WAR, only 21 players in baseball were more valuable than Jackson.”

 

Boesch may be on the block, according to Jon Paul Morosi. I definitely think that Boesch is expendable, I just don’t see us getting much in return.

I think the real lynch pin is Garcia. If he’s the right fielder of the future, then there’s no spot for Justin Upton – whom I’m guessing the Tigers would go after in a Peralta to the DBacks deal. Though I would love to see the Tigers deal Boesch and Peralta for minor leaguers, and then run with Worth at SS. Here’s a potential lineup:

1. Jackson, CF
2. Hunter, LF
3. Cabrera, 3B
4. Fielder, 1B
5. VMart, DH
6. Garcia, RF
7. Avila, C
8. Infante, 2B
9. Worth, SS

Nice.

A few other notes:

- Remember how we acquired QBert and Darin Downs? Offseason minor league contracts. Just signed 19 more – including 2005 first round pick Trevor Bell.

- In case you missed it – the Tigers released some info on their World Series shares.

- Remember when the Tigers were in the World Series? Seems like forever ago.

 
 

{ 90 comments }

The Strategy Expert November 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Great title Blogging Title Expert! :)

Well regarding Soriano, if money is truly not an object then I vote for signing Josh Hamilton before Soriano. If money is unlimited then go ahead and get them both and get Napoli too, and Stephen Drew, and Anibal Sanchez, and so on. There’s lots of guys we could purchase if money is no object, however I’m not sure that is the case or I think we already would have Hamilton. As mentioned before, if we have the money to give $13MM per year to Hunter, then that supports the theory that money is meaningless enough that we should have purchased Hamilton first or in addition to Hunter. So, I’m left with expecting a Hamilton acquisition or if not then I can’t see us having the money to go after Soriano. Something has to give and in the end I’m quite sure we won’t be buying a half dozen more expensive FAs, so it will be very interesting to say the least to see what moves we do splurge for with this supposed bottomless wallet.

Porcello’s stock is debatably low so I’m anticipated that DD cashes him in along with Boesch during the Winter Meetings in some kind of a head-scratching trade. That’s my prediction there.

SS/2B – I’m fascinated to see how this plays out. I wouldn’t be caught dead with Infante or Peralta on the team, and I’m merely hoping we get creative and make a change but I’m not expecting that since it’s very clear that DD values those players much more than I do, so that means they are less likely to be traded than guys like Porcello/Boesch since DD seems to be lower on them. I mean we wouldn’t even put Boesch on our playoff roster for some guys that shouldn’t even be professional players like Kelly and Berry. So that’s a clue to me that they would be more likely to move whereas Peralta and Infante are more likely to stay.

Castellanos – I agree he’s definitely trade bait. DD loves to trade prospects for veteran players to use in the short-term present, and he’s one of our most marketable guys. I’m not sure any other team desires him to play 3B as he hasn’t seemed to impress with his fielding skills (seems to be an error creating machine). I think his destiny might be relegated to the OF for MLB.

Kevin in Dallas November 28, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Hamilton is such an injury liability and clubhouse cancer that I would only want him at a rock bottom place that won’t make him impossible to trade. I realize that this is an extreme stance, but I’m gonna predict that if he gets a long term deal somewhere (I’m guessing he won’t) he’ll end up in an ARod situation.

Napoli would work. I don’t want anything to do with Stephen Drew.

The Strategy Expert November 28, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I think he’s going to get a 6 or 7 year deal. Whichever team takes a chance to make the big plunge I don’t think is going to want to pay an additional $5MM per year to be safe and only get a 3 year deal going. The team that wants him bad enough and has the most confidence in him is going to to plunge all the way to 6 or 7 years and very much appreciate having of all those extra years and for the cheaper annual rate. If you are too scared to do a 6 or a 7 year deal with him, then you are also too scared to do an extra excessively expensive 3 year deal with him. Plus, his agent probably doesn’t want a “cancerous” issue to jeopardize a huge chunk of money, so I think in the end that he will get a 6 or 7 year deal from somebody. Heck, I wouldn’t be shocked if he got an 8 year deal and the team used the extra year as their only leverage to drive down the annual rate to something less gaudy.

Who wants to take a gigantic risk? I don’t know who, but somebody will.

bada bing November 28, 2012 at 11:19 pm

This. Please stay away from Hamilton. Also, I have little faith in Hamilton’s ability to stay on the wagon.

Jeff Molby November 28, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I think the real lynch pin is Garcia. If he’s the right fielder of the future, then there’s no spot for Justin Upton

Prospects don’t block starters. If Detroit’s outfield becomes full, we’ll trade him for someone we can use.

Kevin in Dallas November 28, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Good point, but we don’t have Justin Upton right now. You willing to give away Castellanos to get Upton? We’re not going to get Upton for Peralta & change. I can’t say that I’d be against it, but considering our offensive strength already, I’d prefer to keep Castellanos as (a) insurance for Torii Hunter or (b) a chip for a middle infielder, a catcher, or a starter.

Jeff Molby November 28, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I don’t know any of those players well enough to have a firm opinion on that, but I’m really happy with the track record of Dombrowski’s scouting staff, so I trust that he’ll get good value out of our prospects no matter how things play out.

Smoking Loon December 1, 2012 at 2:06 am

Prospects don’t block starters, but the organization’s level of confidence in them does influence things at the top. The signing of Hunter is a signal that the Tigers see at least one of their two top OF prospects being ready to take over RF by 2015. Under other circumstances, Nick Swisher or one of the other longer-term FAs might have been the choice. My guess that they project both Garcia and Castellanos as OF starters as early as 2014 is what makes me think any further additions to the OF will be short-term, not something like a deal for Justin Upton. If the Tigers shoot that theory down, I’m sure it will happen in one fell swoop.

I’d rather see the Tigers acquiring prospects than trading them away this offseason.

The Strategy Expert December 1, 2012 at 2:14 am

We still have a few holes, so not likely that we trade guys away to get prospects, our style is to use those prospects up to try and win a title. We just spent $26MM on Torii Hunter for his last 2 useful years, so the writing is on the wall that they would more likely cash those young guys in to load up further for this year and next year to bolster our chances. That’s how this team will always be run under DD, he’s like an irresponsible teenager with a credit card, and one day he will get bounced and then sign on with a new team and repeat the same habits.

Smoking Loon December 1, 2012 at 4:46 am

The prospects cupboard is just about empty. If they let either of the young OFs go, I’m inclined to think the one let go wasn’t really thought worth keeping and will eventually prove why. Meaning it could be a shrewd deal. But I’d still like to see some homegrown quality position players a little more often. Sentimental reasons, really. Alternatively, the Tigers could buy a whole new team every year, and if they kept winning, you wouldn’t hear me complain.

The Strategy Expert December 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Buying FA’s typically means you have to be the highest bidder, that makes tricky to acquire enough of them and one bad deal here and there can be very costly. I’d hate to see any team try to do that, the highest value players don’t come from FA bidding wars.

travisfrymanfan November 28, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Ese es mi lineup también

Coleman November 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm

El mio es mejor.

Kevin in Dallas November 29, 2012 at 1:44 am

Creo que quiere decir “lo mio”

travisfrymanfan November 29, 2012 at 6:46 am

Si habla de su lineup( alineación) es la expresión correcta

Coleman November 29, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Or even “alienacion”

Coleman November 29, 2012 at 12:21 pm

As a side note to the R. Soriano topic, it looks likely that Brian Wilson will become available. Quick, everyone picture your favorite Tiger with a huge black beard…

travisfrymanfan November 29, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Casilla is mentioned too as non tender candidate. He would be a better option.

Coleman November 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm

The Washington Nationals have finally rid us of the irritation called Denard Span, obtaining him from the Twins for a minor-league pitcher. Whether this means that the Twins are about to announce another deal or not, who knows. But I for one, won’t miss having Span in the Central.

The Strategy Expert November 29, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Well this might actually hurt us. It allows the Twins to dump off salary as Span was overpaid. They pick up an interesting pitcher prospect for the future, and they free up time in CF which might go to Aaron Hicks who was the 14th pick of the 2008 draft and he has a much higher upside than Span (if they don’t have other CF plans until he’s ready). Span was the 20th pick 6 years earlier than that and never developed well. That’s 3 possible ways it could bring us more problems than if they didn’t do the move.

Looks like a good trade for them and a bad one for Washington.

bada bing November 29, 2012 at 7:25 pm
Vince in MN November 30, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Most Twins fans are apoplectic at the literal giving away of one of their few players of value. The fact that what the Twins got in return (1(!) Class A starting pitcher) says heaps about the bargaining power of also-also-also ran teams (think 119-loss Tigers and the difficulties rebuilding back then – they could get next to nothing in return for their own players and had to overpay for FA improvements.)

Terry Ryan is not a bad GM and actually was responsible for the recent good Twins team that regularly contended for the division crown. After he resigned is when the bottom fell out for the Twins. Now that he is back it looks like it will be a long uphill fight. I think that the Span deal is more of a desperation move than anything. Clearly they are looking at a long-term rebuild. They are stuck with some contracts that don’t fit with the level of competition they are putting on the field as a team (they will finish 5th again next year) and are strained to trim salary. The starting staff was the worst in baseball last year and there is no surefire help in the high minors, so getting a POTENTIAL prospect in return for Span who may be ready in a couple of years when they are on the mend (hopefully, from their perspective) , may have been the best they could do.

The Strategy Expert November 30, 2012 at 8:38 pm

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Span has an increasing contract level and is arguably not a player of any value. They removed a liability and got a hotshot prospect in return. Span doesn’t produce and he has been around a long time and his odds of breaking out to stardom go down every year with each new unspectacular season. And it’s not a potential prospect, it is a prospect, and a very high ranking one with great reviews as well.

Washington is clearly the team that is making a move of desperation as they are paying many millions of dollars and giving up a piece of the future to try and put a respectable team on the field today, whereas Minnesota has all kinds of flexible replacement options and gets to store a nice piece of value in the bank.

And as such, it’s not good for the Tigers because we want to hope that our division rivals make bad moves on an overall basis instead of smart ones.

Vince in MN November 30, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Actually, I like it when our division rivals make smart deals. It puts DD’s feet to the fire to respond with similar smarts (I’ve given up on JL, but that is another story and please don’t get me started.) Winning the division by 15 games because our division rivals bail out (whether in March, June or August) doesn’t guarantee a WS champion (see 2011 tigers). The 2012 version of the Tigers was actually a better TEAM (IMHO) than the 2011 version because of the competitive effort needed to get to the playoffs, despite winning fewer games (I’ll leave the miserable 2012 WS failure alone; let’s not beat a dead horse.) Good competition will, as the old saying goes “separate the men from the boys” but it needs to be extended over the long haul of a 162-game season to really be meaningful. Therefore, I look forward to a dogfight rather than a “cakewalk.” In the end there are no “cakewalks”, in baseball or any other facet of life for that matter, and it is a silly mythical proposition, doomed to failure, to set that up as some kind of an ideal. Sharpen your swords, gird your loins, and hope that your opponent proves a true test for your own mettle.

The Strategy Expert November 30, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Indeed, but I look at every team in MLB as a competitor and I think we should aim to be the clear cut best and to dominate by as large of a margin as possible. We don’t seem to make much progress under that kind of a vision however. But I think that if we aim in the right direction then a division rival failing miserably does not hold us back from achieving our maximum potential regardless of what they do, and I think that a division foe failing miserably can create for more separation such that over time if we can widen the gap within our own division, then it can discourage those teams from investing to try and compete. Long term that can help us secure a continued level of dominance and bonus efficiencies by giving us more bargaining power overall for the top players that want a place to win with the greatest odds by not only being on the team that crushes every single other team, but double crushes the ones that are closest.

I have no remorse if our division rivals have their spirits completely destroyed, for when it is a day you have to play the Tigers, it should be a day that you curl up into a ball and cry, that is if you dare to s=even show up and contest the game.

Smoking Loon December 1, 2012 at 1:38 am

Any chance the Tigers could be interested in Josh Willingham?

bada bing December 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm

“Span has an increasing contract level and is arguably not a player of any value.”

False. He was a 4 win player last year. How could you argue that he doesn’t have any value?

The Strategy Expert December 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm

It’s not false, check here for the contract levels:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/spande01.shtml#contracts

I already explained why I don’t like him. He’s been around a long time and he hasn’t developed well. He doesn’t produce enough statistically and he doesn’t have likelihood to be a breakout player. Not only does he cost a lot of money in the last few years of his contract, but there is an opportunity cost to not developing the next potential player who could be a breakout player and I think players with more potential upside are worth more than guys who have proven to be unspectacular.

I love the deal for Minnesota because they shed salary liability, pick up a hot prospect, and open the doors for focusing on trying to find a star OF for the future.

bada bing December 1, 2012 at 7:01 pm

1 WAR = 5 million dollars.
http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/a-retrospective-look-at-the-price-of-a-win/
Span made 3 million last year and produced a 3.9 WAR. Span will make 4.75 million dollars a year next year, and likely will be in the neighborhood of 3 wins. That contract is extremely team-friendly.

I’m not sure what a ‘breakout’ player is? Are you giving up on him because he is not going to make the hall of fame? Not every player can be a superstar on your team – all good teams have players like Span that are crucial to their success. Span is basically an Angel Pagan lite – a solid player that produces, doesn’t do anything spectacular, but also doesn’t break the bank for the team.

The Strategy Expert December 1, 2012 at 7:15 pm

I don’t like his offense, it’s not good enough or efficient. You can cite all the Fangraphs analysis you want, and that’s fine and dandy but there are stats, and then there are interpreting the stats of which I don’t automatically subscribe to what Fangrap writers think. They are good at collecting and compiling stats, but they aren’t logical for interpreting them and figuring out what makes sense from a large scale viewpoint of what a team should be trying to accomplish imo. Span just does not compute to me as a valuable enough contributor and I think it makes more sense to aim for somebody who is much better or efficient than him, and he’s not a good gambling chip because it was 10 years since he has been drafted and I see no improvement that is credible to expect.

If he were to cap his salary at $3MM like it was last year instead of increasing as a cost and lowering his exit strategy options, then that’s a different story, but the time to trade him was now and they got rid of him at a good time since he’s not useful enough.

bada bing December 1, 2012 at 9:39 pm

This is my own interpretation, not fangraphs. I think that an above average hitter, defender, and baserunner who will make 4.75 million dollars next year is an extremely useful baseball player. You haven’t said anything to convince me otherwise, and I’m going to stop posting about it. I’m not even sure why I replied to you to begin with, considering you though the most recent Marlins-Jays trade was a good move for the Jays. I guess that what I’m trying to say is that our interpretations of trades are vastly different.

The Strategy Expert December 1, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Ok well I think Span doesn’t fit that description and you still aren’t looking at the whole picture. Just his 2013 salary is not the only thing that’s relevant, he has a 2014 salary too, and his exit strategy value options are part of the equation as well as opportunity costs to not find or uncover a more valuable player some other way. So I don’t agree with your assessment of how you categorically define him, and I think it’s a desperation move by Washington and a bad overpayment.

And also I said the trade was a MASSIVE great deal for the Marlins and absolutely terrible for the Jays. So you have my position on that backwards to the extreme.

The Strategy Expert December 1, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Also the reason why I think you brought it up in the first place was not because you really wanted to have a debate about Span, but it seems like you try to come at me with posts of contention quite aggressively like you are trying to play games, that’s just my honest read. So I believe you just wanted to try and take a shot at me to win in some way by simply disagreeing with me.

And you started off with a Fangraphs article which presumably supported your POV and it was inferred you were signing on with that opinion, and then you went into a WAR analysis, but I forgot to point out that his WAR for the 2 previous seasons were also way down from his 4.8 WAR, so you should consider that too as part of his body of work to determine what his future credible WAR is as well, and you didn’t seem to address that and I forgot to add that point in just for the record. He had 2.3 and 1.5 WAR in the previous 2 seasons, one of which he only played 70 games as well for whatever that’s worth.

bada bing December 1, 2012 at 10:34 pm

…and I meant Marlins. Made a typo. It is hard for me to bring myself to type that the trade was good for the Marlins, because it has to be one of the worst trades of all-time.

The Strategy Expert December 1, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Oh ok, I thought it was a massively lopsided trade and that the Marlins made a genius move.

Smoking Loon December 2, 2012 at 2:27 am

The Marlins are going to lose 100 games, and Denard Span is going to be an All-Star for the Nationals.

The Strategy Expert December 2, 2012 at 2:45 am

But how much money will the Marlins save for the future when they are ready to compete? They can pocket massive profits or afford strategic acquisitions, they have flexibility and they sold off massive liability in a time of not being able to compete with high odds, so not sure what you are trying to insinuate there.

And I highly doubt Span will be an All-Star, besides All-Stars don’t mean the most valuable players, it doesn’t take salary into account and even Brandon Inge was an All-Star. That doesn’t mean it’s a good trade when you give up a guy who has a much better chance of being a star player than a guy like Span who is proven not to be and a poor value. Plus the flexibility and opportunity bonuses on top of that for the team are more important than just looking at a prediction for one player which I don’t think is likely to happen to boot.

Vince in MN November 30, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Tigers non-tendered Schlereth. Maybe they wait and offer a MiL contract or just let him go? I guess they figure they have the LH reliever thing covered and don’t need an injured pitcher who can’t be counted on to find the strike zone taking up a 40-man spot. I wish him the best of luck in a healthy return, but se la vie.

The Strategy Expert November 30, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Another waste of time and money Schlereth turned out to be. I wonder if we would have still made the move if we knew this is how Schlereth would have panned out? Or maybe if we had this future information then DD would have asked for somebody else in return or negotiated a good trade. Next time we should figure that out in advance and use proper foresight in evaluating what the components of a given trade are worth and use a logical assessment to make that determination.

Vince in MN November 30, 2012 at 10:08 pm

I like the parts about 1) advance knowledge and 2) logical assessment. I’d be happy if Illitch and Co. could practice just one of those two. Kind of a tossup as to which I would prefer though.

The Strategy Expert November 30, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Yeah I like #2 because that’s where the real sill is, and #1 would just be like cheating and that’s no fun. I want us to win because we crush the competition with skill and smarts. And logical assessment is the key to accomplishing that.

The Strategy Expert November 30, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Yeah I like #2 because that’s where the real skill is, and #1 would just be like cheating and that’s no fun. I want us to win because we crush the competition with skill and smarts. And logical assessment is the key to accomplishing that.

Kevin in Dallas November 30, 2012 at 11:32 pm

This is hilarious.

Smoking Loon December 1, 2012 at 12:45 am

On balance, I find that I still prefer intentional hilarity.

Vince in MN December 1, 2012 at 3:15 am

Good for you Loon! I appreciate a man (or woman) who can appreciate intentional hilarity. Or irony. Or any kind of humor, subtle or gross for that matter. It’s what separates us from the bestial after all. Being able to laugh in the face of tragedy or even idiocy (often the cause of tragedy) is the hallmark of what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. Well, at least some of us anyway. But this is a baseball blog, and I have diverged. Mea culpa.

Smoking Loon December 1, 2012 at 4:08 am

You’re guilty of nothing, Vince. Your intentional humor is duly noted and appreciated. I was responding, perhaps a bit too dryly and subtly (hey, I just tore through a book by a British author well-versed in understatement – it rubbed off on me), to what I presume Kevin was finding (unintentionally) hilarious elsewhere.

Vince in MN December 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm

What British author pray tell? I am somewhat of a bookworm myself, and enjoy the subtle use of our beautiful language in the service of intentional meaning.

Smoking Loon December 2, 2012 at 1:24 am

Vince – Bill Bruford: The Autobiography. Good stuff.

Bringing it back to baseball, I have to say that Beyond Batting Average by Lee Panas is a great primer on sabermetrics and a steal at $4 for the downloadable version. I haven’t read any (straight prose) baseball books in decades now. I’m particularly interested in baseball books that could increase a fan’s knowledge of the game as played on the field, as opposed to tales of the wild life of a touring baseball player, not that the latter can’t be fun. Recommendations, anyone?

The Strategy Expert December 2, 2012 at 1:57 am

Yeah I bought that too, good stuff!

Smoking Loon December 2, 2012 at 2:15 am

Yes, very engaging for a textbook with tons of formulas. Lee keeps it interesting.

Smoking Loon December 1, 2012 at 1:42 am

Assuming that there’s anything at all to rumors of the Tigers’ interest in Stephen Drew, why would they be interested in the first place if they didn’t feel he would be a clear defensive upgrade over Peralta?

The Strategy Expert December 1, 2012 at 2:16 am

Well a lot of teams are interested in Drew, but he hasn’t signed yet presumably because his agent is driving a hard bargain to get a monster contract and he has a lot of red flags about him not being a proven guarantee to be a great player. If the Tigers sign him they will surely have a lot of confidence that he would be a defensive upgrade I would think, because he certainly has no way to guarantee that he can be a solid offensive producer. There is no history of excellence there or a solid case for why he’s a safe bet to produce with the bat.

Smoking Loon December 1, 2012 at 4:13 am

I’ve gone back and forth on Drew myself.

Another name that just appeared on my SS radar is Everth Cabrera. Don’t know a thing about the guy at this point, but here’s the pitch:

http://chickenfriars.com/2012/11/29/a-everth-cabrera-rick-porcello-swap-makes-sense/

Smoking Loon December 1, 2012 at 4:36 am

A contributing factor to how I’ve soured on Peralta:

67 GA, 258 PA, .174/.241/.281, OPS .522

His stats in 2012 losses. Almost all hitters sport a less impressive line in losses, obviously, but this is off the chart. This is Peralta as 2012 Ryan Raburn for 67 games. You wouldn’t expect Peralta to do this again, but then again you wouldn’t expect Drew or most anyone else to post such numbers over so many games to begin with. If the Tigers can get to a WS with this kind of performance from their SS, I’m not too worried about any catastrophic offensive drop-off with Drew.

Smoking Loon December 2, 2012 at 2:23 am

It would appear that Everth Cabrera is a younger Ramon Santiago with more SB talent. Deal proposed above is wishful thinking from a Padres fan point of view. Sort of like expecting Gavin Floyd for Brennan Boesch.

Smoking Loon December 2, 2012 at 2:13 am

Does anyone see any plausible and significant trade possibilities? Primarily because I’d only be interested in trading Peralta (for a RHB LF with power, maybe?) and Boesch (for a middle infield or catching prospect, maybe?), I don’t. It’s all about free agents to me.

Not interested in Soriano. Use that money for Sanchez or keep it, I say.

The Strategy Expert December 2, 2012 at 2:41 am

I heard that Alfonso Soriano and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are on the trade market. Soriano could play 2B but has a massive salary, but I think he is the kind of guy DD would be high on. The Cubs would be smart to try and figure out a way to pawn him off on the Tigers, and they’d probably eat some of his salary to move him. JS isn’t that exciting but the rumor is Boston might have to give up a catcher and the other guy they have is even less exciting.

I don’t know of anybody else that has hit the rumor mills, so to me our best solutions for those positions are for DD to find and create a trade some way somehow. That’s what he is going to be doing during the Winter Meetings and he will make some kind of deal. He hates Boesch so I can’t imaging him not finding a way to deal him as the most likely next Tiger to go.

Coleman December 2, 2012 at 2:30 am

Apparently 6 teams interested in Raburn. And no, this is not a link to The Onion.

http://www.freep.com/article/20121129/SPORTS02/121129068/detroit-tigers-ryan-raburn?odyssey=obinsite

Smoking Loon December 2, 2012 at 2:40 am

Major league teams, too, no less.

The Strategy Expert December 2, 2012 at 2:47 am

Super low pay he can likely be had for and he has potential to be used as a weapon primarily against lefties. It’s ultimate low risk. It’s good to find those types of players at the right time. Rayburn is one of them. Some team can take a decent chance to make a profit off of a tiny investment.

DD also admitted he had trade offers in the past for him and he let those offers rot and go out the door. Now some team doesn’t have to give up material and can pick him up while his stock is really low. It’s an interesting small profile acquisition for about 6 teams.

Smoking Loon December 2, 2012 at 2:54 am

So maybe the Tigers should go after Raburn, eh?

The Strategy Expert December 2, 2012 at 3:01 am

Not now since we lost one OF slot from overpaying a guy a whopping 26 million bucks over the next 2 years, so we have one less lot to use a low salary guy for a parlay bonus such as Raburn/Boesch/Dirks. If we wanted to make strategic use of Raburn we should have thought about that in advance, or if we were going to let him walk for nothing, then we should have traded him when we had interest declared. All things must be considered and we picked the worst possible of all situations, we used him, lost with him, got nothing for him, yet still paid him.

You can’t screw up any worse that doing all of that. The GM needs to strategize more intelligently, and we blew it with that player by creating an opportunity for that worst case scenario.

Kevin in Dallas December 3, 2012 at 1:39 am

Remind me – when was the interest declared in Raburn? And when you cite that, please let me know what the trade

TSE – I think you’re mistaken when you think that every player signed in the off season was on someone’s trade list at some point in time. This is why we have the off season.

You were doing so well for a while, but now you’ve drifted back into random word generator non-sensical fantasy land. I urge you, in your next response, please give specific, tangible examples.

Let’s start by reminding us of some trade offers for Raburn in the past.

Vince in MN December 3, 2012 at 3:07 am

Perhaps TSE was referring to this Jason Stark tweet. I haven’t heard anything else myself.

https://twitter.com/jaysonst/status/274266319938015232

Question: Are Jason Stark rumors to be taken more seriously than TSE rumors?

Personally, I think that the “official” pols are mostly a bunch of gasbags making stuff up because that’s what they get paid to do.

The Strategy Expert December 3, 2012 at 10:28 am

Dombrowski said in an interview last week that he had trade offers for Raburn in that past but didn’t like any of the deals at the time. I have no idea what the offer was as he doesn’t discuss trade offers with me. But Raburn had reasonably good stats prior to last season so if you want to think that no team would have traded for him that just doesn’t make sense to me why you would think that.

Jeff Molby December 3, 2012 at 11:19 am

So you have no clue what the offers were, but you’re certain that DD was wrong to have declined them because he should have known that Raburn was going to have a horrendous year?

The Strategy Expert December 3, 2012 at 11:23 am

No, if it was public information you would already know the trade offer or I would be able to recap it for you. And yes he should have traded for him because he had an opportunity to do so and he vouched for the player and failed with no exit strategy. The name of the game is to make use of your players and win with them or trade them when you can and the more often you lose and pay guys money and get nothing out of them, the harder it is to succeed. A good GM needs to maximize ROI on every player obtained and this was an example of a failure. Same with Schlereth, that’s 2 recent examples of guys that DD messed up with by achieving the worst possible end game result with those particular assets and opportunities.

The Strategy Expert December 3, 2012 at 11:40 am

Here’s the link I read that prompted me to make that comment, this is all I know about Raburn’s trade prospects of the past, there’s a quote by DD saying “teams inquired in the past but we were not looking to move him”.

http://www.freep.com/article/20121120/SPORTS02/121120053/detroit-tigers-ryan-raburn

Jeff Molby December 3, 2012 at 12:19 pm

If you support the proposed trade without knowing who the other player was, it’s safe to assume that it could have been any other player. Let’s assume it was Ian Tomkins.

Now, please point me to a post from before April 1, 2012 where you stated your position that Raburn had less value than a player of Ian’s caliber.

The Strategy Expert December 3, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I have posted on many places on the internet what my positions were with respect to the Tigers and I had the same outlook then as I do now and that is that we need to make wholesale changes to configure for a winning team and I have rejected every team roster design every year since DD has been here. He has yet to come close to producing a logical team structure that has high odds of winning and succeeding for the long-term and my position hasn’t changed on that since he has created an unqualified team imo each and every year.

And again as stated several times in the past I don’t advocate at any specific point in the past that trading one single low profile player is a solution to develop a winning team, so to speculate now years after the fact what Raburn could have been traded for makes no sense, because I wouldn’t trade just Raburn for the sake of trading Raburn, and it would have to be in concert of determining what is going to happen with ALL of the pieces of the team before you can debate a single trade. We’ve already had that type of conversation and it didn’t go anywhere productive for you from your point of view.

Jeff Molby December 3, 2012 at 3:47 pm

I have rejected every team roster design every year since DD has been here

You don’t need to remind us.

because I wouldn’t trade just Raburn for the sake of trading Raburn

This morning you weren’t the least bit concerned about what might have been offered in return for Raburn. You criticized DD for not pulling the trigger on the deal despite the fact that you had no meaningful knowledge about the deal. You made it sound like you’d have been happy to get a bag of balls in return.

Now it sounds like you’re at least somewhat concerned about the circumstances of the proposed trade, so I applaud you for backing off that ridiculous position. Here’s hoping it’s a sign of things to come!

The Strategy Expert December 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm

A bag of balls? Raburn went to complete waste, anything we would have got in return could have produced something that wasn’t a complete waste. But it’s not about Raburn, it’s about the team not achieving desired results as a team, and what to do with Raburn is just one tiny detail of the global problem. I’m much more concerned about every single other player on the team as a whole and the well over 100 million dollars we spent to not win. We had a one year depreciation in hit on all of our returning players that we got nothing in return for. It was a colossal expenditure to fail, and that’s much more important to focus on as that represents a massive failure of which Raburn’s waste is just a piece of.

Jeff Molby December 4, 2012 at 8:09 am

Raburn went to complete waste, anything we would have got in return could have produced something that wasn’t a complete waste.

Hindsight is 20/20. For someone who values logic so highly, your frequent use of time-travel analysis is downright laughable.

The Strategy Expert December 4, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Which is why I advocate using logical foresight for those times that you can’t travel back in time!

Jeff Molby December 4, 2012 at 4:10 pm

So where was your “logical foresight” predicting that Raburn would go “to complete waste” and should therefore be liquidated? All I’m seeing from you is meaningless hindsight.

The Strategy Expert December 4, 2012 at 6:04 pm

It was sitting at home without a job with the Tigers, and it was accessible information to anybody that wanted to ask me anything about the team at any time in addition to the post offerings that I have contributed on various places over the years. I knew what I was doing before Raburn ever joined the team, as well as at every point since he was here.

Since DD was the GM it was his responsibility to manage the Raburn asset appropriately, and he conclusively failed. If I was the GM I would have won with Raburn or traded him before I would have let him go for nothing and wasted time and money, that’s what I do, I only take on players that I vouch for or I know I can profit from on the field or as a trading chip. And if we used logical foresight for all players we take on and manage the teams’ assets correctly with each player, then the result is a dominant team, and DD doesn’t understand how to do that, and I do.

Jeff Molby December 4, 2012 at 6:49 pm

If I was the GM I would have won with Raburn or traded him before I would have let him go for nothing and wasted time and money, that’s what I do.

[citation needed]

The Strategy Expert December 4, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Citation irrelevant.

If I was the GM of the team there is nearly a 30-1 shot that Raburn never would have been drafted by the Tigers as who knows how the chips would have fallen.. It’s far more likely he never would have been a Tiger in the first place depending on what year I was the GM. And I have clearly stated every year in many places on the Internet that I would be selling off every player that is possible to use as a trading chip until I have a full team of qualified players that I vouch for, and Raburn clearly could have been dealt for something, so if he did make it on the team in the first place it would have been just a matter of time before he got dealt in some trade as part of a package to get desirable players. He never profiled as the type of player that I would have been looking for at any point in time.

Either way you slice it, Raburn wouldn’t have likely been a relevant person for this team, and we would have had a dominant team of other players instead. You either agree with me or find that my viewpoints and assertions are not credible, but you have already been very clear about your opinions that I’m not credible to that which I claim, so I’m not sure what your point is on this discussion matter regarding Raburn.

Jeff Molby December 4, 2012 at 7:45 pm

You either agree with me or find that my viewpoints and assertions are not credible

I have no idea if your assertions are credible or not. There are plenty of people who have felt for some time that Raburn was overrated and it’s very possible and you may very well be one of them.

What I do know is that your assertions aren’t substantiated. If you had said last winter that Raburn’s value had peaked and we should trade him before he regresses to replacement level, I’d give you your due for accurately predicting the events. If you used your much ballyhooed analytic skills to accurately predict the future often enough, I’d start to give you the benefit of the doubt and I’d value your opinion. If you built a really impressive track record, the media and/or an organization would start consulting with you and you’d be well on your way to having the job you dream of.

But you don’t do any of that. You only make specific statements when you have the benefit of hindsight. Any idiot can do that, so we have absolutely no way of assessing your analytical abilities. You may very well be a genius capable outmaneuvering the best GMs in the business, but you’ve had ample opportunity to demonstrate your abilities and you’ve greeted each opportunity with empty hand-waving, so I’m not inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think anyone else here is either.

The Strategy Expert December 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

I didn’t post much on this site at all last year, and I’m telling you that my personal viewpoints have been to trade him in the past when his stock was higher and when we could have traded him. I don’t need to make a post here to prove it to you for it be true. You can believe me because I’m honest and simply take my word for it. If you don’t believe I’m honet and you don’t find me credible, then that’s ok, but I don’t see what your point is in the matter.

So if you believe me or don’t believe me, what’s the difference? You have shown in the past that you don’t take me seriously and you have had very aggressive negative stances on me by stating very clearly that you think that virtually none of my posts of that past have any worth to them, so I’m not sure why having a citation on this board for what I think about Raburn has to do with anything in your mind?

Kevin in Dallas December 3, 2012 at 1:40 am

Smoking Loon – the essays at the beginning of the Bill James Baseball Abstract are fantastic. You can go back to them over and over and learn something new every time.

Smoking Loon December 3, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Thanks, Kevin. Do you mean this book or a previous edition?:

http://www.amazon.com/Bill-James-Historical-Baseball-Abstract/dp/0743227220

Lee Panas December 4, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Even though a lot of his original stats are now out-of-date, Bill James was the best baseball statistics writer ever. Many have tried to imitate him, but nobody has quite matched him as a writer. His best work is in the original abstracts (the annuals). They are are hard to find, but if you can get one, I highly recommend them.

Kevin in Dallas December 4, 2012 at 11:07 pm

That’s the one I have. I reread it all the time; and it’s fun to look up old players.

The Strategy Expert December 3, 2012 at 10:58 am

Two new players that the Tigers are rumored to be interested in today, OF Scott Hairston is a FA, and a young SS with LA Dee Gordon. They both are inexpensive players and nothing too exciting however.

Smoking Loon December 3, 2012 at 11:02 pm

I’m glad the Hairston thing fell though. Not really that impressed with him. He fails the “Delmon Young test.” Any RHB LF part-timer partnering with Dirks has to be at least as good – on balance – as Young overall. (Young was more disappointing than bad (as a hitter), in part because he was expected to fill more of Martinez’s shoes at DH – tall order.) I still haven’t seen any really good candidates for the role.

The Strategy Expert December 3, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Yeah I almost had a heart attack. But for me he passes the Delmon Young test, meaning he’s just another OF that we have no business tinkering around with. Let somebody else waste their money.

TIGERS RULE December 3, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Why not give Castellanos a try @ SS ….. we have more OF’s that you can shake a stick at!

The Strategy Expert December 3, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Well anything is possible, but he is supposedly not agile, fast and athletic enough, nor a good enough defensive infielder. We should be able to find a solid defensive SS that is naturally a better fit that can also hit well. I’m sure the Tigers would be more than happy to play him at SS if they had reason to believe he’d be successful at it. They haven’t given him a single game in the minors at SS or 2B presumably because that’s not something they want to explore possibly because he committed a lot of errors at 3B.

Kevin in Dallas December 4, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Good feedback TSE. More like this, please. Less theoretical ‘if they wanted to they would have but they didn’t so that means they must not have wanted to’ talk.

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