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It’s safe to come out now. The you-know-what is over. I don’t know what it was supposed to prove, with the Tigers not in it, but I guess they’d already scheduled the event and couldn’t cancel on such short notice.

(NOTE TO FUTURE GENERATIONS IN SEARCH OF CONTEXT: At this point in the offseason, the following changes/events have taken place: Jim Leyland has retired. Four or five candidates to replace him have been interviewed and have also interviewed with other teams. Club declines to offer Brayan Pena a contract. Matt Tuiasosopo (Diamondbacks) and Darin Downs (Astros) have been claimed off waivers by other teams. Club declines to pick up Jose Veras’s option. Miguel Cabrera has had surgery to repair a groin tear and is expected to recover well before spring training 2014.)

To discuss, much of said discussion already in progress:

* Who will the new manager be? Who should it be? You, maybe? Commenting here gives you a leg up for the job, I’ve been told, so speak up.

* Whole new coaching staff or some holdovers?

* Catcher: Avila/Holaday? Holaday/Veteran Backup? Free Agent/Avila?

* First Base: Fielder an albatross? A slight overreaction, perhaps?

* Second Base: Pay up for Infante or let him go? Go with youth and potential in Perez, or make him serve an apprenticeship, under… who?

* Shortstop: Is Iglesias the shortstop of the future or an injury-plagued and mostly batless dead end?

* Third Base: Is Cabrera’s surgery really “no big deal”? Will his condition(ing) and health be an issue in 2014? How did that groin injury come about, anyway? (Rhetorical.)

* Left Field: Sink or swim with Castellanos? Hedge your bets with Dirks? Something more surprising, as in free agent in, other guys gone?

* Center Field: Continue to grant AJax Favored CF status, or pull a surprise? Could he bloom under a manager with actual confidence in him?

* Right Field: Is Torii the Hacker really your #2 hitter? I see a vacancy at #6.

* Designated Hitter: A position without a question mark, eh? Oops. Would Martinez batting immediately behind Cabrera be too much to ask for?

* Bench: Santiago and Kelly stick around? Seriously? What’s a good bench for this team?

* Starting pitching: Would they really trade Scherzer? Come on. Really? Is Smyly in the rotation a foregone conclusion? Is Fister such a lock? Does the occasionally brilliant young Alvarez stand a chance, and would it take an injury to one of the main dudes to find out?

* Bullpen: Is Benoit the “anchor” you want? Will the mythical appeal of “established closer” never die? Is it enough already with AlburCokey? Is Rondon the new Zumaya? As the bullpen purge proceeds apace, would you rather see a few “name guys” brought in or an effort to assemble a greater quantity of lesser-known talent? Rondon, Putkonen, Ortega, Alvarez – young turks and core of a new group or peripherals?

* AL Central: Would 3rd place in 2014 surprise you? It’s a jungle out there.

* Does a new manager really promise a more modern approach to baseball and a different style of play, or does “no culture change” mean what we think it means? Is Mr. New Manager going to be the placeholder for a train wreck, the one-season sacrificial lamb?

* Scan those free agent and arbitration-eligible lists, plot your brilliant trades, and order your brilliant lineups and batting orders. The Hot Stove League is upon us.


  1. JimEggersUSMC

    November 2, 2013 at 2:54 am

    Good stuff as per usual SL, lots to mull over…. change can be a good thing.

    • Smoking Loon

      November 2, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      Thanks, Jim. Really not an article per se. I like to scroll through the comments to see if I’ve missed anything. Travel time was getting a bit long over in the “Jim Leyland Retires” thread. Thus the title.

      Just throwing a bunch of grist for our mill up there, trying to cover a bit of everything.

      Change can be good. Indications are we might be in for a lot of it. I had an article in mind recently where I was going to pose the question, devil’s advocate fashion, of how much you really *need* to change with a team that came within a couple games of the WS as it was. Tigers have kind of taken the wind out of those sails already.

  2. Vince in MN

    November 2, 2013 at 8:54 am

    I got an email from TSE yesterday. He said he would be happy to be manager. I kow he doesn’t post here any more but he does on Panas’ Tiger Tales. He goes into a fairly detailed description of his baseball philosophy in this one:

    • William

      November 2, 2013 at 9:40 am

      “once again, I was right”

      shocker there.

      • Coleman

        November 2, 2013 at 11:26 am

        Yes, but his plan for searching for a new manager is worth reading (Make a list of 1,000 candidates and make them all take a logic test…)

        • Smoking Loon

          November 2, 2013 at 6:08 pm

          Yes, create a test that no one* could pass and then try to find 1,000 people who would a) agree to take it, and b) fail it. Highly efficient, workable, and logical.

          * Well, with one exception.

  3. Vince in MN

    November 2, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Well, it seems like the Tigers could use an Extreme Makeover. Improving the bullpen almost in its entirety, a few holes in the lineup and no bench to speak of, are three areas which it will be interesting to see how they are changed. Its a big task and how much of it can be addressed is the question, as it will be impossible to perfect completely in any or all of these areas. And we haven’t even got to the “culture” part (whatever that is), which seems to me would change with a major turnover in personnel. The teardown is already in progress, but the remodeling part is as yet unknown. Hopefully there is a comprehensive plan here, as going about it piecemeal is doomed to failure. Although DD has been real good at springing deals to bring in high quality individual parts, he hasn’t been able to assemble an effective unit. The Fielder signing is a case in point – on a team that at the time was loaded with 1B/DH types he goes out and signs another firstbaseman (and for a rediculous amount of money and years). Not that Fielder isn’t a productive player, because he is, but this was not an area where the Tigers were in particular need. He has done well with the starting staff of course, but the rest of the team has been a Jeckyll and Hyde for the most part. I’m going to refrain from speculating this offseason and just sit back and non-judgmentally (as much as I can anyway) see what DD and Special Assistant Leyland put together.

    • Vince in MN

      November 2, 2013 at 9:34 am

      And what you guys put together should be prety intersting, but please, please please, no “trade Fielder and move Castellanos back to third” arguments, since neither of those is going to happen.

      • Coleman

        November 2, 2013 at 11:30 am

        Trading Fielder would be the best thing that could happen, and the least likely thing that will happen. He is close to untradeable; we are stuck with him I am afraid.

        • Smoking Loon

          November 2, 2013 at 6:56 pm

          I think things are gonna work out fine with Fielder.

          • Coleman

            November 2, 2013 at 7:39 pm

            He will never be a good first baseman, and never a good baserunner. It’s all about the bat. Where did Mr. Home Run Derby go? He seems to have lost all confidence at the plate. Maybe Kevin is right, and his head is just all wrong from his divorce, which is something that can be gotten over. I know there are other theories.

  4. Smoking Loon

    November 2, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    The prospect of swapping out Alex Avila for Brian McCann (no interest in the only other major free agent C, Jarrod Saltalamacchia) is a bit vexing. Avila *was* McCann a couple years ago. Coincidentally, that was also last the time *McCann* was really McCann. So who’s going to get better? McCann is a gamble; Avila less so. If you could put together a good trade that involved Avila, I might say yes. Otherwise, no.

    Man. Avila sure strikes out a lot. That’s not good, right? (I’m new to this.)

  5. Smoking Loon

    November 2, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    I say no to bringing Joaquin Benoit back for closer money. I say no to signing any of the most talked-about free agent closers for closer money. I say no to the concept of closer. I don’t think the Tigers are going to listen.

    • Coleman

      November 2, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      I say they sign Balfour and Valverde and make them a setup/closer combo that will really infuriate opposing teams.

    • Vince in MN

      November 2, 2013 at 10:00 pm

      I suppose it will (it should) have a lot to do with who the new manager is. Hopefully a new skipper would be in place before the major new additions are decided upon. Unless it is McClendon, or Leyland has changed his mind and wants to come back, in which case this is all being decided right now.

      • Smoking Loon

        November 4, 2013 at 8:23 pm

        “a setup/closer combo that will really infuriate opposing teams.”

        Not to mention their own fans.

  6. KW

    November 2, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    Welcome aboard, Brad Ausmus!

    • JimEggersUSMC

      November 3, 2013 at 12:43 am

      Good Choice! very sharp man with that Catcher perspective of the game. Here’s hoping we get a couple or 4 or 5 “new” coaches too.

      PSA: set your clocks back and check your Smoke and CO detectors’ batteries!

    • Vince in MN

      November 3, 2013 at 1:24 am

      With no prior managing experience it will be interesting to see who he selects as his coaches. I wouldn’t mind sticking with Jones, but the I’d like to see the rest of them sent packing.

      • StorminNorman$

        November 3, 2013 at 10:10 am

        Out of the field interviewed I believe Ausmus is/was the best choice.

        I agree w/Vince, I wouldn’t retain any of the current coaching staff, with the possible exception of Jones, but it wouldn’t upset me if Ausmus brought in all his own guys. Unless Ausmus speaks fluent Spanish, with all the Latin players it would probably be a good idea to bring in a coach to bridge that language gap.

        • Vince in MN

          November 3, 2013 at 10:23 am

          Good point. Si!

        • Coleman

          November 3, 2013 at 11:53 am

          Ausmus has been working in the Padres’ front office. The Tigers interviewed Padres bench coach Rick Renteria for the managing job. If he doesn’t get a managing job somewhere else, does Ausmus bring him to Detroit as bench coach? That would solve the Spanish speaking problem. At least I assume Renteria speaks Spanish, he coached the Mexican National Team.

  7. Prolife Distribution

    January 11, 2014 at 7:26 am

    That was a good article..