2016 World Series

Well, since everyone seems to be having such a high-quality postseason conversation here, I figured the least I could do was put up a new post. And I always strive to do the least I can do.

What are your predictions?

I would be remiss if I didn’t congratulate our own Michael Fulmer, your 2016 AL Rookie of the Year.

 

132 Comments

  1. Jud

    October 26, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Let’s see Andrew Miller has appeared in the 5-6-7-8 innings so far in the playoffs. Used when needed . This is so far past the Tigers thinking, it’s not even something they can comprehend.
    …..in fact after watching every playoff game so far I believe the Tiger bullpen would have been just fine this year if they would have been used properly, maybe with the exception of Mark Lowe.

    • KW

      October 26, 2016 at 9:48 am

      To be fair, the way Francona and Maddon use their bullpens is far beyond how most teams use them. They’re ahead of the curve, but organizations will catch on over the next few years.

      But yeah, in an era where forward thinking is essential if you want a leg up on the competition, it’s a bummer that Detroit decided to go with another traditionalist manager who seems afraid to try anything beyond the shift.

  2. StorminNorman$

    October 26, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    agree w/both points Tony – analytics and advanced scouting metrics are valuable if: 1) mngmt puts players in a position for success, and 2) front office builds a roster w/the right mix/chemistry of players

  3. Jud

    October 27, 2016 at 2:34 am

    Normans #2 is huge. You have to build the kind of team you want it to be!…you have to build the team your ball park is built for also.

  4. Tony de Florida

    October 27, 2016 at 11:52 am

    No matter what the dimensions of your ball park are, a walk, stolen base and single will usually score you a run. If your park is big, not everyone can reach the seats. In the big parks you better have outfielders that are fast, excellent fielders and have great arms. That will cut down on doubles and triples in the gaps. You can not change the park to suit your team so I guess the answer is to build a team that can function in your park. Funny, no matter what the park looks like, it always starts with superior pitching.

  5. Jud

    October 28, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    Wonder if I was the only one betting on Tomlin tonight. I have seen him handle the Tigers way too easily… $10 bet……. $36 win…… Great game

    • Tony de Florida

      October 29, 2016 at 11:04 am

      Also, the Francona factor had a lot to do with it. I couldn’t believe how he continues to mix and match his pitchers and comes up with a shutout of one of the better hitting teams in baseball. During the game Smoltz observed the Cubs were built like an American league team and the Indians like a National league team. Not far from being true. Anyway, last night’s result means that the Tigers are still the last team to win a series game at Wrigley.

  6. StorminNorman$

    October 30, 2016 at 9:11 am

    it appears CLE/Francona’s dominance of DET in ’16 was no fluke… for an affirmation, just ask BOS, TOR & the cubbies

  7. StorminNorman$

    October 30, 2016 at 10:03 am

  8. Tony de Florida

    October 30, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    I really wanted the Cubs to break the streak but as the series progresses I am amazed how much they resemble the Tigers when batting. No discipline at the plate at all. As A-Rod pointed in the postgame, everyone wants to hit a grand slam, even with the bases empty. Sorry Cubs while it is still remotely possible you can win the series, right now you look like someone should stick a fork in you because you’re done.

  9. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    October 31, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Cubs are a young team and overwhelmed at the World Series and what the Cubs fans have placed on their shoulders. Even Madden can’t overcome that.

  10. Jud

    October 31, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Still amazing with how good a pitching staff they have…..how well the Indian pitching staff top to bottom has pitched in these playoffs!

  11. Pet Shelter

    October 31, 2016 at 12:32 pm

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  12. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    October 31, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    51 photos from the Tiger’s 2016 season. A good watch:

    http://www.freep.com/picture-g...../93063048/

  13. StorminNorman$

    November 2, 2016 at 7:59 am

    http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/.....ies-starts

    Lolich 3 “complete games” in the ’68 series – indeed Sir, the game has changed

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      November 2, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      And the Mick hit his only homerun in Game 5…my Dad and brother were at that game. Ticket cost was $8!

  14. Coleman

    November 2, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    Maddon messed up big time with Chapman.

  15. Jim Eggers USMC

    November 3, 2016 at 2:25 am

    I hope the “fans” in Chicago don’t go too crazy, hate to see random violence etc in celebration of the end of a very long drought. Great post season though, great pitching, clutch hitting, and skippers not afraid to throw out the “book” and think outside the box. Hey Brad! Were you watching? So, a couple of days and pitchers and catchers report, right?

  16. Jud

    November 3, 2016 at 6:40 am

    CLASSIC!!!!… Nuff said!!!

  17. Jud

    November 3, 2016 at 6:48 am

    I flew in from Viet Nam the day of the first 68 game. We had a layover in Alaska and we watched it in the terminal… Gibson fanned everybody except the peanut vendor… Will never forget the whole day….. I was pretty messed up by the time we left Cam Rahn Bay and landed in Alaska…. On the plane there wasn’t exactly a two drink limit!!!!!… Haha!

    • StorminNorman$

      November 3, 2016 at 8:09 am

      GREAT memory Jud, thanks for sharing

  18. StorminNorman$

    November 3, 2016 at 8:07 am

    as a life long DET fan, i can definitely empathize w/CLE fans…as this series will likely haunt them for a while

    congrats to Cubs fans

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      November 3, 2016 at 12:08 pm

      Yeah, I also have wondered how this series will impact the Tribe. However I am reminded that a couple of years ago “the tying run only 90 feet from home” experience positively impacted the Royals for their next season. So who knows, as this may be great fuel for Cleveland? Meanwhile Tribe fans should hold their heads high. They had a great regular season where they dominated the Tigers, swept the Red Sox in the ALDS, tamed the Jays in the ALCS, and went 7 games with a team with over 100 wins with most of the free world in the Cubs’ corner.

      • StorminNorman$

        November 3, 2016 at 1:18 pm

        Amen Ole Miss, couldn’t agree more

  19. Coleman

    November 3, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Maybin to Angels, for cash/player to be named later, one other. It’s a little disappointing, since the team was so much better wth him in the lineup, but then again, he couldn’t stay in the lineup.

    • StorminNorman$

      November 3, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      http://www.freep.com/story/spo...../93262838/

      looks like the budget cuts are moving forward, the AA pitcher DET rec’d from LAA wasn’t considered one of LAA’s better prospects – and DET didn’t want to pony up the $9M option to bring Maybin back…or the $1M buyout

      Wonder if BOS/DD will offer up much in return for VMart – seeing as BOS might be looking for DH bat to replace Big Sloppy

      • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

        November 3, 2016 at 10:18 pm

        Ceasar the Computer must have spoken!

      • Tony de Florida

        November 4, 2016 at 3:27 am

        Maybin may hurt in more than one way, he seemed like the soul of the Tigers along with Kinsler. If DD picks up Victor it would be a blessing for the long term. Miggy could then DH more perhaps extending his good years. Wonder if JV and Miggy are safe and will JD be let go at end of his current deal? If they save enough money, Chris may not care if attendance goes below 1 million.

  20. jud

    November 3, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    In the series I absolutely loved the idea of PH when needed other than the 9 inning and using your closer or best reliever when he was needed, and sometimes for multiple innings.. ..wonder if there will be a carry over to 2017 …for an unknown reason I doubt it!!!..all in all it was fun watching brilliant managing from all involved…somethings worked..somethings didn’t but they both rolled the dice, a lot!

    • Tony de Florida

      November 4, 2016 at 3:31 am

      It will for Francona, he has been using Miller early and often since they got him. Now if you’re wondering about Brad doing crazy stuff like that, Buena Suerte.

  21. StorminNorman$

    November 4, 2016 at 7:58 am

    http://www.freep.com/story/spo...../93263990/

    DET picked up the $6M option on KRod – kind of a ‘no-brainer’ financially speaking – and i would guess KRod has a lot of experience to share w/younger DET pitchers… now i guess we’ll see if Ausmus will “evolve” on bullpen management, or not

  22. StorminNorman$

    November 4, 2016 at 3:30 pm

  23. StorminNorman$

    November 10, 2016 at 9:15 am

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/t.....15985.html

    big difference between “listening to offers for key players” and “seriously listening/shopping…”

    trading Cabrera, VMart, JV or JD? …maybe JD, but w/’trade clauses’, stature of the player (in DET org) and other teams putting together a great package to pry Cabrera a/o JV loose???? i’ll believe it when i see it, but doubt we’ll see DET moving either JV or Cabrera

  24. StorminNorman$

    November 12, 2016 at 9:41 am

    http://www.blessyouboys.com/20.....-prospects

    could be just ‘rumors’, but could be some truth to this – seeing as JV has full no trade clause – and LAD might be a destination he’d approve (if any)

    • William

      November 13, 2016 at 8:52 am

      I’m open to this as long as we don’t pull a Fister to Washington-type deal.

      Considering what we got for 2 months of David Proce and Yoenis Cespedes, JV should command a nice haul.

  25. StorminNorman$

    November 15, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    at this point, DET has the largest payroll commitment ($175.2M) of any team going into ’17 – that’s going to change

  26. StorminNorman$

    November 16, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com

    talk heating up on Kinsler to LAD, though not sure what DET’s plan would be to replace Kinsler’s offense and defense

    this Bellinger guy sounds like a legit prospect, he along with another promising pitching prospect might pry Kinsler loose.

    • Coleman

      November 18, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      And his attitude, how do they replace that? He’s the one guy who brings a little fire with him, especially now that Maybim is gone.

      • Tony de Florida

        November 18, 2016 at 3:14 pm

        I’ve been recovering from the election (or was it the Tiger season) but I agree with Coleman. Ian brings much more than his bat and glove to the park every day. He is also relatively cheap. With Maybin gone we would have to depend on Brad to motivate the team. How do you like that prospect?

        • Coleman

          November 18, 2016 at 3:40 pm

          Maybe Gene Lamont will pick up the slack. OK, guess I got nothin’ here.

          • Smoking Loon

            November 25, 2016 at 11:44 pm

            There’s very little to recommend trading Kinsler. Nothing, actually.

            Unless the Tigers, contrary to Avila’s statements, are truly in tear it down and rebuild mode, it’s hard to take the idea of trading Verlander or Cabrera seriously. The Tigers went for making these blue-chip, HOF-caliber players Tigers For Life. I’m fine with that.

            I also don’t see that this offseason is necessarily the best time to deal J.D. Martinez. Anyone see a team willing to offer two or three pitching prospects in return? Depending on the team’s fortunes in 2017, perhaps a mid-season deal could net a Michael Fulmer.

            I hope that the Tigers’ payroll-shedding begins with eating half the salaries of Sanchez, Palfrey, and Lowe and moving them on out. Make room for all the pitching options and pitching depth the team needs. Beyond that, refraining from the free agent signings we’ve become accustomed to seems like a better way for the Tigers to address payroll – at this point – than trades that might make the team a bit cheaper but not better. That’s how I would probably see any trade of Ian Kinsler. While the Tigers do need to start thinking of filling his shoes eventually, they would lose too much too soon by forcing the issue now.

  27. Coleman

    November 18, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Has any team ever had two former players win both Cy Young awards?

    • Smoking Loon

      November 25, 2016 at 10:38 pm

      Yes, the Tigers in 2016. Funny you should ask.

  28. Coleman

    November 18, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Kate Upton with a classic tweet after hearing two voters left Justin off of their Cy Young ballots: “I thought I was the only person allowed to f#^% Justin Verlander.”

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      November 20, 2016 at 6:40 pm

      I think Kate might have to share such with JimThome!

      • Coleman

        November 21, 2016 at 2:14 am

        Or Billy Butler.

        • Smoking Loon

          November 25, 2016 at 11:52 pm

          Or Kung Fu Panda. Damn was that painful.

  29. Coleman

    November 23, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/.....robbie-ray

    Interesting article about WAR, using ex-Tiger Robbie Ray as an example. It bugs me sometimes that we fans will throw around WAR ratings, without addressing the fact that there are 3 competing calculations for WAR numbers. Ray was replacement level in WAR last season. And average. And well-above average.

    • Smoking Loon

      November 25, 2016 at 10:59 pm

      Very interesting, thanks.

      I like the bWAR approach best, I think. Based on all the info provided in the article about Robbie Ray in 2016, it would be hard to consider his performance as anything but below average. But it is good that there are competing systems. They all have something to say, although it’s debatable whether all should really be considered measures of WAR. Which is still a bit of a wobbly stat in my view, competing systems or no.

  30. StorminNorman$

    November 29, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/.....llion-deal

    if this proves to be true – that would signal the excessive spending in the FA market has commenced… $27.5M per yr for 4 yrs?!!?! he’s good, but not that good

    …also an indication of what DET would have to pay JD after this season to retain him – hence, an indication that he’ll be traded this off-season

  31. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    December 1, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    V-Mart trade talk:

    http://m.tigers.mlb.com/news/a.....-interest/

    As we know, while the guy can certainly hit a baseball, he isn’t the fastest thing around the bases.

  32. StorminNorman$

    December 1, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    i could see DD bringing him to BOS to replace Big Sloppy, but i doubt BOS would give up much [top prospect(s)] in return.

    …moving Cabrera to DH could squeeze another productive year or two out of him – though DET doesn’t have a real other option at 1B (that can hit anyway)… i’ve always thought Castellanos is better suited for 1B (height & lack of range) than 3B

    • Tony de Florida

      December 2, 2016 at 1:00 am

      I’ve been too busy to add my wisdom (please control your laughter) but have been trying to read the blog as often as I can. Norm, if DD wants V-Mart and (assuming V-Mart approves the trade) I’d make DD give us at least a couple of used gloves if he’s willing to eat his salary. I love your idea of Miggy as DH and Casty at 1B. Jones can play either CF (unless you want Gose back) or 3B and we can pray he can hit .260 or so.

  33. StorminNorman$

    December 2, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    word on the street is that Tiger fans should get used to mediocrity, unless some of the young players and prospects significantly step-it-up.

    for back up catcher, I’d much rather have Holaday than AAvila part II
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....eague.html

    I’m with you Tony, probably time to move VMart if DET can get something in return from a team willing to pay all his salary…though I’d pony up a portion of VMart’s contract if BOS or another team offered a better prospect/player

    If DET is going into salary-cutting mode (and trade JD, VMart a/o Kinsler), it makes no sense to continue to carry both JV’s and Cabrera’s contract: Cabrera due $28M in ’17, $30M in ’18-’21, then up to $32M in ’22&’23, JV due $28M in ’17-’19, w/vesting option in ’20. Might be time to go ‘full rebuilding’ if the right deals present themselves

  34. Smoking Loon

    December 3, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Stormin, in my opinion Detroit is a worse and less interesting team without Verlander and Cabrera, a team without a face. Attendance and overall fan interest aren’t my problems any more than their payroll is, but I think that the former would suffer.

    Don’t break it if it ain’t fixed.

  35. Tony de Florida

    December 4, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Agree, without Miggy and JV attendance should go in the tank unless we’re getting Trout from the Angels or Jake from the Cubs, good luck with that. To me Kinsler is no trade material, he’s relatively cheap and brings more than his bat and glove to every game. If and it’s a big IF they can dump V-Mart’s contract, they can ATTEMPT to keep JD. If not, I agree with Norman, if you get a good deal, go full rebuild and hope for the best.

  36. StorminNorman$

    December 6, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....-sale.html
    DD still making the moves – Sale traded to BOS… the “good news”, now DET will only have to face Sale maybe once or twice this year, instead of 4 or 5 times.

    • Smoking Loon

      December 11, 2016 at 3:36 pm

      Yeah, another Dombrowski blockbuster. He’s a good GM. He was good for Detroit. Not saying his is the only approach or the best approach, but it was always interesting. Costly: yes. Worth it: mostly.

      I don’t have the numbers to back it up, but my impression over the past few years was that Detroit actually faced Sale less than expected (= dreaded). Either the Tigers just lucked out on how the rotation shook out or Sale was getting scratched for one reason or another. That was my impression.

  37. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    December 6, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    A good read on the Tiger’s inability to work any deals during the Winter Meetings.

    http://www.freep.com/story/spo...../95021824/

    I have thought all was a bit premature and that perhaps another year of gel’ing would not only be good but productive. Boyd, Fulmer, and Norris should pay off greatly next season making up for the Pelfrey, Lowe, and Upton disasters.

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      December 6, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      And it seems to me this is where a Manager earns his money by defining his expectations and the personality of team…just say’in!

    • Smoking Loon

      December 11, 2016 at 4:11 pm

      I think I’m a bit relieved that nothing too splashy has happened. The Tigers already have a lineup that compares favorably to the last two Detroit World Series teams. What they need is pitching. There is no free agent magic bullet for what they need there, either. It’s going to have to come though a combination of shrewd additions and luck. Who knows who’s going to bounce back? Who knows who is going to fall to injury? I think a lot of mystery will remain into spring training.

      Most of us here would be glad to be rid of Sanchez and Palfrey, but they do represent insurance, maybe. Verlander, Zimmermann, and the young guys sounds great if everyone is healthy and has a good year. If not…

      That bullpen. Beyond Rodriguez and Rondon (maybe), seems like a whole bunch of nothing. All held together with duct tape. I think it is Detroit’s biggest weakness.

      I think we can look forward to the return of Alex Avila. No complaints here. I guess we had to wait until he was actually an upgrade.

  38. StorminNorman$

    December 7, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/.....-white-sox

    1st Sale, then now Eaton – CWS going full-rebuilding mode

    • Smoking Loon

      December 11, 2016 at 3:40 pm

      Eaton would have been a great addition for Detroit, too bad. I think I might have gone so far as to suggest a straight-up J.D. Martinez for Adam Eaton swap. White Sox might not have been interested, though.

      • Smoking Loon

        December 11, 2016 at 4:39 pm

        A swap along similar lines would be J.D. Martinez for Lorenzo Cain of the Royals.

  39. Tony de Florida

    December 12, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    JD might get traded but not until July if some contending team wants him as a rental for the post season push. JD (I believe) will be free at the end of 2017 and should get a big free agent contract.

    • StorminNorman$

      December 12, 2016 at 8:24 pm

      JD will be a FA at the end of this season, and if he duplicates his last few years, he’ll get something along the lines of what Upton got (from DET) or Cespedes just rec’d from NYM

      Tony is probably right, JD might last until the july trade deadline, but i still think Avila will make a splash (trade) prior to the season opener

      i concur w/Loon, DET’s offense is adequate to compete, but pitching (especially the bullpen) is a big concern going into ’17

    • Smoking Loon

      December 17, 2016 at 6:45 pm

      Yeah, Tony, I’ve had the thought that mid-season 2017 might be a better time to trade. Not that I really want J.D. gone – who does? – but what can you do?

  40. StorminNorman$

    December 12, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/.....es-dodgers

    the long-term dollars committed to ‘closers’ this year is crazy …guys that will throw about 40-50 innings max. i can only wonder when that rigid ‘7th inning-guy; set-up guy, then closer’ model/mindset just goes away.

  41. StorminNorman$

    December 13, 2016 at 4:14 pm

  42. StorminNorman$

    December 14, 2016 at 9:14 am

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....igers.html

    newsflash: DET bringing back Gerald Laird…(?!)… as a mgr of the class A affiliate… catchers ‘usually’ make the best managers

    • Tony de Florida

      December 14, 2016 at 6:39 pm

      There is always an exception that proves the rule!

  43. Jim Eggers USMC

    December 23, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Seems to be all quiet in the MLB world, although Cleveland landed a “big bird” free agent. Out in the the Pacific Northwest it is cold and snowy, and we are getting set to do the Christmas two a days with family. Just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and let’s start the countdown to Spring Training!

  44. Jud

    December 23, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    Tigers sign 100 K’s
    Indians sign 100 RBI
    ……does that make it even!!!!??

    • StorminNorman$

      December 25, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      …good analogy Jud…i thought the same thing

      …i know the plan is only to use him as a “backup C” , but apparently papa AA is going w/the theory that AA Jr. “is due”

    • Tony de Florida

      December 26, 2016 at 12:35 pm

      Grandpa Jud: Hope you and the rest of our Tiger writers on this blog had a wonderful Christmas, holiday break. Now that the elections and other trivia is out of the way we can get to the important stuff, Los Tigres!

      Jud it makes it even if Alex is a starting pitcher! But not to be fair, if our backup catcher is going to be that big a deal in 2017, we are in deeper than we think. As for the Tribe, they are very close to winning it all and the deal makes sense for them, especially if their pitching staff continues to perform.

      • Smoking Loon

        December 30, 2016 at 4:50 pm

        It is a funny comment, but it is neither a good analogy nor a valid comparison.

        Detroit does not have $65 million to spend on another DH, and would we want them to even if they did? Cleveland needs pop in their lineup and fans in the seats (good luck with that). Ergo, spend the World Series windfall on Edwin Encarnacion. Good signing for them (probably), but it doesn’t do that much to affect the balance of power in the AL Central.

        If you need a veteran catcher who can hit righties better than the incumbent, the alternatives to Alex Avila are no better. It might be more interesting (aside from matters of platoon splits) to let John Hicks or Miguel Gonzalez or some prospect from another team be your backup or part-time catcher, but conservative thought rules in baseball, where the current radical, avant-garde idea is using the best bullpen pitcher when and as needed. We can’t poo-poo the intangible “clubhouse guy” thing, either. I have a hunch that Avila really, really wants to play for Detroit. Also, the position of catcher is defense-first to an extreme. When your backup/part-timer can hit over .200, you are *grateful.* It’s a tough position which the majority of MLB teams fill with two or more guys who – seemingly – don’t total out between them to much more than replacement level. You’ve got to figure that “veteran” and “experience” count for more than we might think or see in the numbers.

        • Tony de Florida

          January 3, 2017 at 10:59 am

          Funny is good, but I agree. The Tigers are trying to cut payroll. To me, the only DH move they should be interested in in trading V-Mart. I’m hoping this becomes possible in July.
          As for the backup catcher, sure Avila is not the return of Pudge but he is experienced and can’t hurt. Little Al may not hit much but he has a good sense for the strike zone. He drew a higher number of walks than I would have expected. McCannon is a superb catcher who needs to learn some plate discipline to make him an acceptable hitter. I do not think the Tigers will be a serious threat this year. I would let McCann play most games to see if he can indeed become a better hitter. I’d say at .250 or .260 he’s a keeper. This is a good year to let him either make it or fail. At my age, I also hope that experience counts for more, although my wife might point out that I have, on occasion, still managed to do the wrong thing.

  45. Smoking Loon

    January 4, 2017 at 1:31 am

    This is for when Coleman and Kevin come out of hibernation and write the much-anticipated Tigers Offseason In Review. A resource for ya, guys. And “something to read” for everyone else. (Try not to fall asleep. Or indeed, use as a sleep aid if that works better. I’m bored with it myself now, and I wrote it.)

    You would think that there might be one source for all the roster/transactions/depth chart stuff. Not so. Everything is either incomplete or inaccurate or both. You have to look all over the place. I looked at all of the announced transactions, hoping to find some encouragement. It was interesting, to a degree, but was it encouraging?

    No. Not really.

    LOST

    CF Cameron Maybin traded to LAA
    This made sense at first. For all his good, Maybin is an expensive part-timer. But now… this seems more like trading Doug Fister for Robbie Ray. A kind of “huh?” Like… why did you do that again, please? One got the impression that there was a actual *plan* for center field. Maybe not.

    LHP Joe Mantiply (RP) signed by NYY
    So why did Detroit leave him exposed for the Yankees to sign not once but twice?

    Minor league free agent 1B Chad Huffman signed by STL
    Stuck in AAA with Detroit. So maybe it’s now Dominic Ficociello’s turn to be stuck in AAA, or maybe the Tigers are looking for another AAAA slugger for Toledo.

    Free agent 3B Casey McGehee signed by Yomiuri Giants
    Free agent IF Erick Aybar
    Free agent C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
    -Other signings indicate there is no chance that Detroit would move to sign the last two.

    Minor league free agents unsigned:
    LHP Drake Britton (RP) AAA
    IF Pedro Ciriaco AAA
    RHP David Martinez (RP) AA
    – No sense in signing these guys.
    LHP Cesar Ramos (RP) AAA
    UT Jordy Valdespin AAA
    – The Tigers could sign these two guys, but they will probably catch on elsewhere.
    RHP Preston Guilmet (RP) AAA
    – Maybe Guilmet has the rap of having a AAA ceiling, I don’t know. He certainly owns AAA, though.

    GAINED

    C Alex Avila*
    I’ve defended this once, which is enough. Let’s just say that Alex seems like a nice guy and leave it at that.

    RHP Edward Mujica* (RP)
    RHP A.J. Achter* (RP)
    – I think the odds are good that one or both of these guys can pitch their way onto the MLB team in Spring Training. I am hoping for it, because the likes of Pelfrey and Greene in the bullpen is just absurd for any team with a pretense of being a contender.

    IF Brendan Ryan* AAA
    What might this portend for either the Andrew Romine or Dixon Machado/Jose Iglesias plans? Maybe nothing, maybe just a boost for Toledo and a good emergency resource for the Tigers. Maybe a “just in case” until the season begins, whereupon they release Mr. Ryan. I don’t know.

    2B Omar Infante* AAA
    So maybe trading Ian Kinsler hasn’t been completely ruled out? Good deal for Toledo if Infante stays there, and honestly, Omar isn’t a utility guy. The only path to Detroit would seem to be a Kinsler injury or mid-season trade (read: beginning of fire sale for the flopping Tigers).

    3B Zack Cox* AAA
    An offensive 3B but perhaps not an automatic call-up to replace an injured Nick Castellanos. Nice addition for Toledo in any case.

    OF Juan Perez* AAA
    OF Jim Adduci* AAA
    – Solid outfielders for Toledo, but it seems to crowd the house a bit down there (there are some decent in-house guys and AA up-and-comers). Maybe the Tigers are just having a look-see.

    2B-UT Logan Watkins* AAA
    Intriguing pickup from the Cubs system. Could be the new Romine faster than you think. Or the guy to take over 2B for Toledo when Infante takes over for Kinsler (ugh).

    LHP Travis Blackley* (SP/RP) AAA
    Not real sure what even a minor-league deal is for here. The Mud Hens are not hurting for people to put in uniforms. Have they been crippled by the potential loss of Cesar Ramos? Is the well-traveled Blackley a pitching coach on the side?

    LHP Anthony Vasquez* (SP) AAA
    Oh, I see. (Re: Blackley). Toledo needs a lefty starter. Vasquez’s undistinguished record even at the AAA level rivals Blackley’s. But hopefully this means that no one is counting on Matt Boyd doing anything but sticking with the big club.

    RHP Waldis Joaquin* (RP) AAA
    The only thing going for him seems to be a supernaturally low HR/9. 30 years old and hasn’t pitched stateside since 2011. Um…

    RHP William Cuevas* (SP) AAA or AA
    A pretty good pickup from the Red Sox system. I think he lands in Erie to begin with.

    LHP Daniel Stumpf* (RP) AA
    Seems like a guy to watch, a lefty strikeout pitcher, but derailed by a PED suspension in 2016. Hmmm.

    LHP Edward Paredes* (RP) AA
    Minor league journeyman who may compete for a job with Toledo but will probably land at Erie.

    RHP Victor Alcantara* (SP) (RP?) A+ or AA
    He cost them Maybin, so there must be some kind of raw talent here worth keeping an eye on. No, beyond that superficial assessment: He’s logged a lot of work for a 23 year old with 5 pro seasons. Strikes ‘em out, also walks ‘em. I think the Tigers see him as a reliever, and the record will show that they are undoubtedly maybe possibly correct.

    OF Ronnie Mitchell* AA
    Hey, a 25 year old corner outfielder with some pop in his bat that the Astros gave up on, who does that remind you of? Also the kind of OBP you don’t often see in the minors. Interesting.

    IF-OF Omar Artsen* ???
    Probably the most mysterious and also the most trivial signing. Independent league signing (from the worst team in that league). Seems a bit of a slugger until you look at the league stats. Is this the future Ian Kinsler? The future Ryan Raburn? Hard telling. Where does he go? Who is he?

    RHP Collin Balester* (RP) AAA ???
    RHP Jake Brigham* AAA(RP?) or AA ???
    RHP Arcenio Leon* (RP) ???
    RHP Jorge Marban* (RP) AA or AAA ???
    – I don’t get any of this. The ugly stats (years of them) don’t tell the hidden story? Warm bodies to fill a roster somewhere? Just having a look? Hmmm.

    RETAINS

    OF Alex Presley AAA
    Aside from (presumably) JaCoby Jones (Toledo’s presumed CF to start the season), Presley seems to be the only Mud Hens outfielder with any shot at playing time with Detroit this season.

    2B-SS Argenis Diaz AAA
    SS-2B Gustavo Nunez AA or AAA
    – I don’t know. I think these guys are roster fill who have worn out their welcome, but maybe they are good clubhouse guys. They were re-signed, so… Actually, this could well mean that both the Infante and Ryan minor league deals are merely just-in-case things that could evaporate before either play a game with the Mud Hens.

    C Miguel Gonzalez AAA
    With Gonzalez and John Hicks, the Mud Hens are better set at C than the Tigers are. At a AAA level, anyway. Though some would say…

    RHP Myles Jaye (SP) AAA
    On an upward trajectory. If he does well with Toledo, he could be in conversation about the Detroit rotation in 2018. Or sooner. You heard it here first.

    RHP Cory Riordan (SP) AAA
    You have to wonder why he never got the call in the Rockies organization. Superb control pitcher. Some things would have to go south for the Tigers to press Riordan into major league action… but it could be interesting. Maybe a Cinderella story.

    RHP Thad Weber (SP) AAA
    Eating innings for them Mud Hens, good on yer.

    LHP Chad Bell (SP/RP) AAA
    Probably better in the bullpen, which may account for some of the other left-handed starters being considered in Toledo.

    RHP Ruben Alaniz (RP) AAA
    When a guy changes organizations and suddenly turns it around, that’s encouraging for the new organization, eh? A new face in Toledo worth keeping an eye on.

    RHP Logan Kensing (RP) AAA
    RHP Dustin Molleken (RP) AAA
    – Good stock for Toledo, perhaps (though I’d like to send back Farmer and VerHagen and Hardy and leave no room for ’em), but something will have to have gone very wrong to see these guys with the Tigers again. No, I take that back. They’re just the kind of veterans who may well get the call to fill in. If the Tigers continue their crappy bullpen tradition, that is, which seems likely.

    RHP Sandy Baez (SP) A+ or AA
    Tigers obviously see something they like here, bringing him along slowly, and protecting an A+ or AA guy on the 40-man isn’t something you see all that often.

    RHP Jeff Ferrell (RP) AA
    Such a fluke that he made it to MLB for a bit in 2015. His record is quite the hodgepodge of level-jumping. 26 and not quite ready for AAA (?), but his K/9 just went through the roof when he converted to relief in 2015. Maybe he’ll turn out to be one of those guys who blaze onto the MLB scene in their late 20’s.

    RHP Santiago Garrido (RP) AA
    A long and undistinguished minors career, and he has yet to conquer AA.

    RHP Johan Belisario (RP) A+
    An encouraging trajectory for a very young pitcher seems to have been interrupted somehow at Lakeland last season.

    2B Alex Fernandez Jr. A
    In training as the Dixon Machado of second basemen. I guess.

    RHP Endrys Briceno (RP?) A+ or AA ???
    Wasn’t Briceno once a highly-regarded starting prospect? He seems to have toiled long to no avail. A move to the bullpen seems underway.

    • StorminNorman$

      January 5, 2017 at 10:12 am

      great info/analysis Loon, and i agree with your less-than-optimistic summary of DET’s off-season moves

      for essentially the same team that ended up a couple wins short of the playoffs (in ’16), my pre-season optimism for the ’17 Tigers is at its the lowest point since the pre-2006 year…but we all remember how that season ended up – so who knows? …maybe that’s the strategy, expect last place in the AL Central and be pleasantly surprised by anything above that ‘low water mark’

      • Smoking Loon

        January 8, 2017 at 2:54 pm

        Thanks, Stormin & Jim. Don’t encourage me. 🙂 Good call on the reference to 2006. You never know, eh?

        The Tigers have signed minor league free agents Efren Navarro (1B-OF), Sean Halton (1B), and Gabriel Quintana (3B). The former two are reasonably talented AAA veterans to man the eternal Blocked At 1B-DH position with Toledo, pretty good hitters with gap power. I think Navarro gets the call if Miguel Cabrera gets injured, at least short term. Quintana has struggled in the minors for some time but is still young (23) and is probably destined for either Erie or Lakeland. Though all-around unimpressive stat-wise (more strikeouts than hits in career), he could be 3B for the SeaWolves, though a conversion to the OF may be underway. (Please tell me if you ever find a minor league guy with a good fielding % at 3B. Anything over .900 might actually be good. I don’t know. Fielding % has never been a great stat, but the advanced stuff isn’t available for the minors, and I’m too dumb to interpret “Range Factor” and the like correctly. Probably best to try to dig up actual scouting reports.)

        Does the name Efren Navarro ring a bell? It did for me. There was a disastrous series against the Angels in 2014. Josh Hamilton came out of a game after the first at-bat. I thought it was because he dogged it to first base (turned out I was wrong – he hurt himself on the play). I thought this boded well. I was wrong. Navarro killed the Tigers that series. He also hit his only MLB home run off Verlander.

  46. Jim Eggers USMC

    January 5, 2017 at 12:21 am

    Lots of good info to digest there, thanks Mr. Loon. It occurred to me today the the Detroit Lions are playing the Seattle Seahawks…. anyone willing to make a small wager on the outcome? Full disclosure: the Lions former PK, Jason Hanson and I go way back to his high school (soccer!) days, so have a soft spot for his former team. Something along the lines that the loser has to track and count all the called strikes AA takes this year, or the winner gets to meet Kate Upton or Ms Watney? anybody out there ?

    • StorminNorman$

      January 5, 2017 at 10:04 am

      Jim, i think every long-term Lions fan already knows how tomorrow’s game is going to end… that being, pretty much the same way the last 3 games of the Lion’s regular season ended

      the current line in Vegas has SEA as an 8-pt favorite… me, i’d take SEA and give 8 pts

  47. Smoking Loon

    January 8, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Center field.

    OK, Detroit probably expected, on the other side of the Maybin trade, to pick up a CF in another trade, perhaps just as a throw-in. Hasn’t happened, probably won’t happen. MLB Trade Rumors lists some free agent candidates, and Travis Jankowkski of the Padres has been mentioned as a trade candidate, but none of this looks interesting to me, with the possible exception of signing Coco Crisp, and if that’s the best possibility, well. Were it not for the apparent desire to trim payroll a bit here and there, keeping Maybin or signing Rajai Davis would have been much better.

    In-house, there is Tyler Collins, Anthony Gose, and JaCoby Jones. Collins is the better hitter, Gose the better fielder, and Jones just isn’t ready. Collins is my favorite, but it can’t be denied that he needs a platoon partner as much as Gose would. They both can’t stick. Barring a big surprise like a J.D. Martinez for Lorenzo Cain deal (which would at least clear the way for Steven Moya to stand or fall), CF isn’t going to be a star position, just an adequate platoon if we’re lucky. No big deal to me – the Tigers haven’t had a star CF since forever (maybe Granderson briefly?), and it would appear that they might have invested the last available big money on the wrong OF position with Justin Upton. So the eventual star will have to come from within the organization.

    I haven’t seen JaCoby Jones play, so I don’t have any confident opinions. But he doesn’t seem like the CF of the future to me. He seems more like Ryan Raburn than Curtis Granderson or Austin Jackson. I’m not sure why he is being fast-tracked through the organization like Nick Castellanos was. Could someone tell me? Jones started off as a SS, and the bulk of his rather brief minor league time has been spent there. It seems to me that the thing to do with an eye toward the future would be to get him over to 2B, not CF. Now, not later. Just about anyone seems to get pushed into the outfield at some point. But you don’t see outfielders coming to the infield (except for guys who can’t be trusted in the field anywhere but 1B). Just saying. 2017 could be Kinsler’s last with the Tigers, and we all know how deep the Tigers as an organization are in the middle infield. Would you like to see Omar Infante or Argenis Diaz starting at 2B in 2018? (Hey, there’s always Logan Watkins.)

    Derek Hill is spoken highly of but is several years away at least. Wynton Bernard seems to draw no mention. Not sure why. If Jones is set to be the Mud Hens’ CF to begin with, I’m not sure where that leaves Bernard, who might start the season with Erie rather than Toledo, then.

    • StorminNorman$

      January 8, 2017 at 10:47 pm

      i don’t pretend to know much about DET’s farm system prospects, but with that said i believe the optimism regarding Jacoby Jones is the novelty (for the DET org anyway) that he’s a gifted athlete with speed, who has hit fairly well, though not so well at the MLB (small sample size) and at AAA levels – hence why DET will likely sign another (reasonably priced) CF option (possibly Borjous, Bourn, Austin Jackson – who’s ever the cheapest/best fit)… because the confidence level in Collins, Gose and Jones can’t be that high.

      Loon re: you pointing out that Quintana has more career K’s than hits, that prompted me to look at two other (1 former) Tigers for their K/H analysis. Alex Avila: 2253 AB, 540 H, 731 K’s (thats 1 K per 3 AB); B.Inge 5014 AB, 1166 H, 1306 K’s (that’s 1 K per 3.8 AB) – and non-Tiger Mike Trout: 2997 AB, 917 H, 784 K’s (that’s 1 K every 3.8 AB).

      …but the current thinking in baseball doesn’t view K’s as they were once were – though i still believe that more can happen offensively if you put the ball in play than if you K and drag your bat to the dugout – but i’m ‘old school’…;)

      • Smoking Loon

        January 9, 2017 at 6:58 pm

        I’m astounded that Inge and Trout have the same K/AB! Yeah, I know Trout strikes out some, but still. I guess I shouldn’t be astounded at the Avila level of K over H, but I still am. Quintana of course has only played in the minors, so for him more K than H is wery wery bad.

        However, for the sake of fun argument, what Avila and Trout have in common is:
        High OBP everywhere
        More H than K in the minors

        What Avila, Trout and Inge have in common:
        Wow were these guys rushed through the minors, Avila most of all

        What Quintana and Inge have in common:
        More K than H in the minors

        Hard to say what is old school. Maybe things go in and out of fashion – seems like the emphasis on putting the ball in play (and analyzing that factor to death – which I have no problem with) is recent. There used to be a lot of all or nothing hitters, right? It’s gotten pretty minimal. We can be grateful that the Tigers haven’t dabbled in that business in a long time. Although I have to confess that I was always pushing for Mike Hessman to get the call. There’s some fun in it.

  48. Smoking Loon

    January 8, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    The bench.

    I hope the Tigers aren’t going to carry 13 pitchers. They only pursue that madness in the middle of a season, right? I can’t even think about a three-man bench. It doesn’t compute. So let’s go with four.

    We must accept Alex Avila. We must accept CF platoon guy. That leaves Andrew Romine and someone else.

    As much as I like Romine and liked Don Kelly… I grow weary. I like utility, a guy who can play 2-3 infield positions, or a guy who can play 2-3 outfield positions. I don’t need super-utility. but the Tigers do, for various reasons. For one thing, they are stacked with good position players that lack versatility. Brendan Ryan is a better pitcher than Romine (!), but he lacks something more important than super-utility: Romine’s baserunning. I don’t think you can have Dixon Machado – primarily a SS – just sitting there most of the time waiting for Jose Iglesias to get sore or injured, not at the cost of a ready replacement for Castellanos at 3B (etc.). I think that Romine must be accepted.

    Steven Moya seems to be the obvious first choice to round out the bench, even if he is not the best of corner outfielders at this point. I actually don’t even have another candidate. I’m not sure if the situation with Moya is break camp with him or lose him on a waivers claim. Perhaps he could end up at Toledo to start the season. If there is some doubt about it, why not trade him? One reason is that Detroit has zero corner outfield prospects on the near horizon. Another is that the Tigers may yet trade J.D Martinez, if not before the season then at some point during it. Anyway, if not Moya for the bench… well, it has to be someone with a bat or outfield versatility or both. Detroit is mighty thin here. Alex Presley is the closest thing, not exactly a bat.

    Oh, right. Logan Watkins. Seems very similar to Andrew Romine, only a few years younger and bats left. Detroit’s next super-utility guy, maybe. Not in 2017, though, unless Romine were part of a trade.

  49. Smoking Loon

    January 8, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    If you look at the 2010 Erie SeaWolves (as people often do)…

    Of the 56 players who played for Erie that year, 14 turned out to be on their way up to at least a cup of coffee in the big leagues. We would recognize most of those names only because we are Tigers fans. 3 of those turned out to be impact players in the majors for at least one season: Andy Dirks, Brayan Villarreal, and (for Seattle) Charlie Furbush.

    If I try to apply a filter imagined from this to the handful of 2016 Erie SeaWolves who appear to be on their way up to at least a run at the AAA level, and make a pretty wild guess at major league impact later, it would be: Joe Jimenez (RP) and (now with the Yankees) Joe Mantiply (RP). JaCoby Jones seems bound to get a shot, so I leave him out of the guesswork. Outfielders Mike Gerber and Christin Stewart didn’t even have full seasons at Erie that were entirely convincing, so I won’t guess there, either.

    One thing I’ve noticed about the Tigers organization is that the buzz about prospects always seems to be at A West Michigan or A+ Lakeland. Don’t see many of these guys tearing up the league at Erie or Toledo later. The starting pitching especially seems to die on the vine. All this tempers my inclination to make too much of good numbers. This plus the fact that, really, the numbers at this level need to be GREAT to be taken as good. By that measure, the Tigers are in poor shape indeed down on the farm.

  50. Smoking Loon

    January 9, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Another reason to hang onto Moya: First base. He’s never played a game there as far as I can tell, but don’t you suppose he could learn? Isn’t he built for it nearly ideally, aside from throwing right? Maybe no agility, maybe a stone glove, I don’t know. But Cabrera is moving to DH by 2019 if not before. Do you suppose Moya at 1B has crossed anyone’s mind?

    Then again, it’s not like there’s some long-term OF surplus in the organization. There’s always someone from somewhere you can plop onto 1B.

    • StorminNorman$

      January 10, 2017 at 4:35 pm

      Moya playing 1st base could gain some traction, if he can start hitting consistently. After all, the guy is 6′ 7″ so he has the length. In ’16 in the OF Moya had 3 errors in just 45 chances, so OF isn’t a strength – but he’s not going to play much anywhere until he improves offensively. In ’16 100 plate appearances 38K’s, that one every 2.63 AB’s – but he did hit 5 HR’s, 2 3B, 4 2B for a .255 BA, .790 OPS.

      I still think Castellanos would make a good 1B…but its not like DET has a viable MLB-ready 3B waiting in the wings.

      • Smoking Loon

        January 10, 2017 at 10:06 pm

        I could sure get behind Castellanos at 1B in a year or two. It’s less of a stretch (pardon the pun) to consider than Moya, really.

        Way back when, 1B-3B used to be a commonplace, almost a position in itself. Not so much any more, doesn’t seem like. Maybe Nick would enhance his long-term value by having an iron in the fire at both positions.

      • Smoking Loon

        January 10, 2017 at 10:39 pm

        Yeah, the Tigers are poverty-stricken at third base. Signing Zack Cox was probably meant to shore up Toledo but nothing more.

      • Coleman

        January 11, 2017 at 2:25 am

        Strangely enough, 6’7 might be too tall for baseball, especially for non-pitchers. Most players who make MLB are exactly 6’0. (I did not know this, until I looked it up). Position players over 6’6″ in the Hall of Fame? None. (Dave Winfield, at 6’6″ is an exception for his height). Maybe best tall Tiger ever was Tony Clark, that might be a reasonable upside for a guy that tall.

        Just for fun: http://www.baseball-almanac.co.....ghts.shtml

  51. Smoking Loon

    January 9, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Al Avila’s track record on trades and signings, well, even if we try to balance reasonable expectation at the time against result so far, let’s see:

    It started off OK with Krol for Maybin, although the Braves squeezing another prospect out of the Tigers was, well, squeezing. With Maybin gone, the benefit has kind of washed out. It amounts to Gabe Speier for Victor Alcantara now. But yeah, nice season from Maybin. +1 Avila.

    Zimmermann and Upton were extravagant deals that put the Tigers up against the current wall, and it didn’t work out as planned right away, but I think the payoff begins in 2017. No problem, everything is a risk.

    Luis Cessa and Chad Green for Justin Wilson, OK, I probably can’t complain, even though it was more of the same free spending with prospects that DD favored.

    Mike Pelfrey and Mark Lowe, ugh. Yes, after a last place finish there’s a lot of pressure to do something, but this was too early and cost way too much. No track record suggesting that this duo was worth $27MM for two years. Ugh! Terrible.

    Mike Aviles. That was weird. It did essentially net them Erick Aybar, though, so fine. What was really weird was having Aviles on the team. Romine and Aviles both? Pretend utility to balance out actual utility?

    On that note, why trade Jefry Marte for a sort of younger version of himself (Kody Eaves), then sign Casey McGehee only to stick him in Toledo and keep Aviles in Detroit? What was that all about? Do the Tigers actually enjoy pointlessly dealing prospects and pointlessly signing and assigning journeymen? (See, perhaps, Infante and Ryan this offseason).

    Trading Bryan Holaday for – ultimately – Myles Jaye and Chad Bell was pretty slick. Even though I recall the eventually-also-traded Bobby Wilson wasting no time hurting his old team once with the Rangers. Holaday was fun, but he wasn’t close to being a good catcher. Or hitter.

    Alex Presley was a good signing, even if it had no 2016 impact for Detroit to speak of.

    Alex Avila, sure, why not?

    The best news this offseason, so far, might be no prospects dealt away, possibly because the Tigers have none. I don’t understand all the minor deals – I’d need to be a scout or know one for that – but some of them have the appearance of shrewdness or prudence.

    If Zimmermann and Upton come through this season, Pelfrey and Lowe are forgotten. Pending further developments. Any trades that might happen don’t seem likely until March. Not that I can’t come up with some very premature ideas.

    • Coleman

      January 11, 2017 at 2:31 am

      I’m certainly not done with Upton and Zimmermann yet, they both have track records. Even last year, when Upton was on, he was REALLY on, which is a great kind of guy to have on a team with all kinds of offense, which the Tigers supposedly were. But then they weren’t, and you couldn’t depend on Upton, because sometimes he was just OFF. And he always has been streaky like that. Zimmermann, I’m not sure. I always worry when pitchers get multiple injuries in a year. But maybe he can pull a Verlander next season; it’s within the realm of what he has done in the past.

      • StorminNorman$

        January 11, 2017 at 3:06 pm

        I believe Upton will turn out to be a good signing – especially if we get the “September Upton” most of the season: 96 AB, 28 H, 5 2B, 13 HR, 28 RBI, .292 BA, .750 SLG, 1.132 OPS …impressive

        In ’17 if he has a bad year, DET will be “stuck w/his contract” ($22M per yr through 2021), BUT ironically if he has an MVP-type year in ’17, he could opt out of his contract at the end of ’17 and become a FA. Even though he turns 30 in Aug this year, some team (if he had a great year) would probably give him a 6 or 7 year contract at $25M per.

        DET will be better served if in ’17 Upton has the kind of (great) season that allows him contemplate opting out

        • Smoking Loon

          January 11, 2017 at 9:14 pm

          Yes and yes, guys.

          VERY true that DET will be better served by a monster season from Upton that would prompt him to opt out. That might change the whole J.D. Martinez equation. Justin Upton’s very good, but J.D. is semi-homegrown, you know?

  52. Smoking Loon

    January 10, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    A couple more minor league veterans signed on, 1B Bret Pill and LF Quincy Latimore.

    In Pill, returning from three seasons in the KBO, Toledo gets the most slugging yet of the AAAA first base types signed this offseason. A .511 SLG in AAA, and also note the .340 OBP. Maybe this is the year Detroit gives the Mud Hens enough talent to have a winning season (last one was 2009, kinda barely).

    Latimore is veteran reinforcement for Erie in LF, if he makes the team. He has not played above AA, and hasn’t exactly set the world on fire there. For those keeping score, career strikeouts even with career hits. Seemed to do well in Australia, though.

  53. StorminNorman$

    January 11, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    ex-Tiger Drew Smyly now a Mariner
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....rough.html

    • Smoking Loon

      January 11, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      I still don’t like that the Tigers traded Smyly. Especially after they ended up with the David Price rental after the Great Debacle of 2015. I think trading away Smyly set the Tigers back.

      • StorminNorman$

        January 11, 2017 at 10:07 pm

        i agree Smyly was a big sacrifice…but w/pitchers and injuries… you never know – he had 1 1/2 good years at TAM, but last year he wasn’t the same… in ’16: 7-12 record, 175 IN, 174 H, 32 HR’s, 4.88 ERA

        At the time he did bring in Price, who did ultimately allowed DET to get Boyd & Norris…so despite the Price rental/disappointment in ’15, giving up Smyly did help bring in two potentially good pitchers

        • Smoking Loon

          January 11, 2017 at 11:30 pm

          Yeah, I was just thinking, Boyd and Norris. Good point. OK.

  54. Smoking Loon

    January 11, 2017 at 11:27 pm

    Pitching staff.

    There are 27 pitchers on (or right next to) the 40-man roster. Add one (Mujica), and of those 28, no more than 18 are in the conversation right now. Injuries and guys who come out of nowhere will change that, but that’s for later. The starting rotation and closer are set, and Rondon the Big Arm and Alex Wilson the Solid Workhorse are all but guaranteed a spot at the table. That leaves 10 guys for 5 spots. I consider Farmer, VerHagen, and Saupold to be outside looking in. I don’t think Toledo needs to be more of a parking lot than it already is, but these guys are all fairly young and wouldn’t seem to figure in (hard-to-imagine) trades except as throw-ins. I guess they stay on the 40-man until the Tigers need room. So, 10 guys. Make that 9 guys. I don’t think the Tigers have any real plans for Nesbitt, either, big arm and all.

    Anibal Sanchez: Virtually untradeable because of the contract and its complications. If there’s a spring injury to a starter, he’s in. If not, he’s in the bullpen. This could work out OK, and if nothing else Sanchez in the bullpen might keep the rest of the basket of deplorables out of it.

    Justin Wilson: He’s the only lefty with credentials. You could trade him as he was acquired – for two prospects – but it is notable that Detroit let Mantiply get away, and I don’t see any surplus of lefty relievers. Wilson will get the chance to pick up where he left off with the Yankees and maybe become a fixture with the Tigers.

    Kyle Ryan: He certainly did a credible job in 2016 in lots of work. Unimpressive K/BB, but altogether excellent at preventing the home run. Nothing but a starter in the minors, and apparently a very quick study at converting to the bullpen at the MLB level. I don’t hear much buzz about him, but what’s not to like, really? Young and able.

    Blaine Hardy: He’s the lefty who gets lefties out, but after starting out so promisingly with Detroit, he’s become inconsistent and is trending downward. But the talent show is not crowded, so the Tigers could make space for 3 lefties, I suppose.

    Shane Greene: Now is Greene a bullpen guy or just a failed starter prone to injury? Some stats make him look better, some worse. 0% of inherited runners scored! Then again, he only inherited 20 in 47 appearances. If Starter Insurance Sanchez falls to injury himself, Greene could start, and maybe it would work out this time. Otherwise, I don’t think he is a bullpen guy. He’s about as tradeable as he’s ever going to be as a Tiger.

    Mark Lowe: It’s not the money, it’s space on the roster. Detroit could eat his contract altogether or trade him and eat some it or none of it, no difference. But unless someone pushes him out of the picture, there is no reason to write him off. It might take one or two Surprise Guys to keep him off the staff.

    A.J. Achter: AAAA pitcher perhaps, and maybe more of a long shot than I thought. Maybe he’ll earn the chance and finally break through at the big league level.

    Edward Mujica: Bit of a Mark Lowe vibe here. One remarkable year lent his name some glamor it might not deserve. As opposed to Achter, he’s trying to break *back* in. Yeah, a long shot, but gosh are the Tigers thin. Still!

    Mike Pelfrey: The Tigers simply *must* trade him and pay the cost before the season starts, there’s no way around it. Only catastrophe could get him into the rotation, and only insanity could put him into the bullpen.

    So I’m left more pessimistic about the bullpen than when I started. I’ve got to reconsider the four guys I wrote off earlier and conjure the emergence of Surprise Guys known and unknown, the known being Joe Jimenez, Daniel Stumpf, Ruben Alaniz, and Chad Bell. Preston Guilmet, maybe. All I can guess about the staff right now is pretty much what you could have, and isn’t this too much like 2016 to be correct?:

    Verlander
    Zimmermann
    Fulmer
    Norris
    Boyd
    Rodriguez
    Rondon
    A. Wilson
    J. Wilson
    Ryan
    Sanchez
    ?

    I go through all that to end up with 15 guys fighting it out for one spot? Ha ha ha ha. That’s ridiculous. Please help me, someone.

    • StorminNorman$

      January 13, 2017 at 10:57 am

      DET will sink or swim based on their starting pitching. Going into a season, its rare for a team to have many “pleasant surprises” at the end of the season from their projected starting pitchers – and typically the inverse (due to injuries or decline), unexpected “bad year”, is much more common (see: Sanchez the past two seasons).

      Going into spring training, if a team has several question marks with their pitching staff, those ultimate ‘answers’ to those question marks as the season progresses are usually not very positive…and DET has a few big pitching question marks.

      • Tony de Florida

        January 14, 2017 at 12:16 am

        Spot on as usual. I do not expect them to get as close as last year, except the division may allow them another run. Possible to see July sell off with a new manager in 2018.

        • Smoking Loon

          January 14, 2017 at 11:44 pm

          I expect Detroit to at least split the series with Cleveland and win the AL Central as they should have in 2016. Yes, they will sink or swim with their starting pitching, and I am guessing “swim” this time. Yes, July sell-off and new manager are possibilities, but I think the Tigers would have to be horrendous for that to happen, not like 2015 when they gave up on the season at 46-49.

  55. Smoking Loon

    January 13, 2017 at 2:54 am

    Detroit’s latest independent league signing is LF Mike O’Neill, probably destined for Erie. As a minor leaguer, he’s an excellent contact hitter with a phenomenal OBP (must see stats to believe), but one imagines that his utter lack of XBH power and maybe other bench guy skills have kept him from cracking AAA.

  56. StorminNorman$

    January 13, 2017 at 11:00 am

    http://www.freep.com/story/spo...../96528774/

    maybe i’m missing something, but i can’t see why Iglesias would be “worth” $500K more than Castellanos in ARB, based on last year

    • Tony de Florida

      January 14, 2017 at 12:10 am

      Perhaps because he can catch? But you’re right, unless they think Iggy hitting .300 is normal for him. I don’t but if he can hit .275 regularly he would command a great price.

      • Smoking Loon

        January 14, 2017 at 6:17 pm

        Iglesias ultimately gets $1.1MM more than Castellanos for 2017, and there are various way of looking at it.

        Both are getting big raises in sheer dollars, but the one Nick is getting is far, far bigger as a percentage.

        Castellanos only played in 110 games in 2016 and missed the stretch run. That would not have helped him in an arbitration case. So he accepts what is actually a pretty generous offer.

        The Tigers are not about to trade Castellanos, not now, not in the event of a mid-season fire sale. They may trade Iglesias, soon or later. The raise may be neither theirs to pay (at least entirely) or enough to make him too pricey as the kind of SS he is. If Nick were a free agent 3B limited to a one-year deal, I don’t think anyone would offer him more than $3MM.

        Who is more valuable to the team right now? WAR is not proof, but it is a good indication that the edge belongs to Iglesias and also of the degree (slight, on balance).

        If we imagined that there was a reliable scale determining that better players were paid better (of course there isn’t), the closest we could come to that would be to judge “better” against all players at that position and the impact of that position. In this sense, Iglesias is the better player – for now. Castellanos is the player with more potential, although it remains to be seen if he will ever be a premier third baseman (pretty darn valuable) or just a really good bat you need to find a position for.

  57. StorminNorman$

    January 13, 2017 at 7:53 pm

  58. Smoking Loon

    January 15, 2017 at 12:06 am

    The only J.D. Martinez preseason trade scenario that makes sense to me would be built around a center fielder, something along the lines of Martinez for Lorenzo Cain or Kevin Kiermaier. I don’t know if those particular targets are especially possible, but that is the kind of return I’d be after, unless you could trade Martinez for half of a good bullpen.

    If the right team had a sudden need for an established SS, I could see trading Jose Iglesias for either CF or bullpen help plus a prospect.

    Mike Pelfrey could be traded to an NL team desperate for a starter, traded for a prospect, with Detroit picking up maybe $3MM of his salary. Or less or none, depending on how desperate they were, I guess.

    Shane Greene could be traded at any time for a couple prospects.

    If ST pushes Mark Lowe to the margins, I think he could be traded salary and all for a prospect to any team with an emergency in the bullpen, and there is always going to be some team like that. If it’s Detroit, well, obviously he’d stay.

    The Tigers could make all of these trades and end up cheaper, deeper, and possibly slightly better, but I’m not exactly itching for the first two to actually happen.

    • StorminNorman$

      January 15, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      excellent points Loon, but i doubt the “last three trade options” would garner much (if any value) for DET, though i’d trade Pelfrey for just about anything…

      as for the JD & Iglesias, these two could bring back some meaningful value, but that would depend on “the demand” for SS or RF near the trade deadline – and if DET remains a playoff contender…or not.

      I’m all for a DET that is “cheaper, deeper and better”, unfortunately DET does not have any real cheaper/better young players to replace their viable trade candidates, but that could change if some of DET’s younger players ‘step up’ their games – as spring training begins in about a month

      • Smoking Loon

        January 15, 2017 at 7:10 pm

        So you don’t see JD & Iglesias being traded before the season, Stormin? Can’t say as I do myself, but these seem to be the only meaningful possibilities.

        The “deeper” part: *Any* kind of return for Pelfrey/Greene/Lowe would be good. Minor league depth in terms of real prospects at 2B, 3B, and CF would be good. Not necessarily top prospects or hot prospects, just guys clearly on their way up. Four of those in exchange for three MLB guys (and a little bit of salary relief) who are not at all worthless or finished, just expendable from Detroit’s perspective. I hope that’s not one of those idiotic trade ideas I see on baseball blogs all over the place (I saw McCutchen for a 17 year old the other day).

        • Smoking Loon

          January 15, 2017 at 9:10 pm

          “The Tigers could make all of these trades and end up cheaper, deeper, and possibly slightly better”

          I should probably explain so no one thinks I am overselling this (when I’m not even selling it, really). Let’s say all this happens before the season:

          Trade all the above for the *equivalents of* OF Lorenzo Cain (Royals)/Kevin Kiermaier (Rays), RHRP Oliver Drake (Orioles), AA Devon Travis (2B), AA Eugenio Suarez (3B), 2B-SS Willy Adames, AAA Austin Jackson (CF), AAA Ian Krol (LHRP). For the prospects, I mean “guys with that skill set on a similar apparent trajectory.”

          The Tigers lose a lot of power offense in the OF and a proven (if unofficial) Gold Glove at SS, and two positions rather than one may become split. They shed up to $15MM in salary (net). They gain an everyday CF for 2017 and perhaps beyond, a net improvement in OF defense, and an improved baserunning offense. Swapping Greene (in effect, if not in the actual specific trade) for MLB-ready bullpen talent could be a wash, who knows.

          Didn’t see this coming, but RF becomes such a conundrum that Justin Upton might have to slide over there. Which does nothing about the Tyler Collins/Anthony Gose/Steven Moya logjam and raises the possibility that Alex Presley could be the best choice for the corner OF bench or platoon (reverse splits, defense). It might be best to take the plunge with Moya in RF and Gose or Presley on the bench. Sorry, Tyler. I’d be rooting for you in CF if this trade didn’t happen.

          Andrew Romine and Dixon Machado splitting time at SS would be no problem defensively, and if they can only get on base, the baserunning will be more dynamic. Opening the door for Machado would be a good thing, I think, more infield options.

          Removing some of the overabundant question marks on the pitching staff would be a good thing in itself, but I don’t think that would have to happen with no return of any kind.

          Cheaper, definitely, Deeper, probably. Better, even slightly? Highly debatable.

  59. Smoking Loon

    January 15, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    I’ve seen some bad contract swap ideas for Anibal Sanchez. Still haven’t seen one that is plausible or makes sense. I’d take a year of Jacoby Ellsbury for a year of Sanchez if the contracts matched up, but of course they don’t. McCutchen, too, but the Pirates cannot possibly be that stupid, and his is not exactly a bad contract.

  60. Tony de Florida

    January 16, 2017 at 12:41 am

    The only thing that prevents a lot of what we dream up is Reality! For 2017 I can not see meddling with our infield at all. Casty can be exiting at 3rd base but does provide punch at bat. Iggy is a great glove and can hit on occasion. Ian brings it all every day and what could you possible get for Miggy that would make any sense. Upton is acceptable and except for his cold/hot streaks worth the money (sorry Jud). When we traded Maybin it looked like the Fister trade. If we can not spend the money for JD, it is very possible that he can go in July. If we are in “contention”, so what, my guess is we won’t go far unless something unexpected happens to our pitching staff. Pelfrey can go for a new batting cage or bag of baseballs. Sanchez to anybody who will eat his contract. VMart is in the same category except he is a very talented hitter but because of his age and mobility is becoming a bigger liability every year we keep him. I would play Jones in CF and not even consider “fingers” or Gose. We do have a couple of infielders that “may” make it and another year in the minors won’t hurt them. Pitching is still short even if you consider we MIGHT have 4 great starters. The pen looks bad but even if everyone excels, who will make the decisions as to who comes in when, how long he goes etc. Sorry, same guy as last year! End of my Rant!

    • Smoking Loon

      January 18, 2017 at 12:02 am

      The only thing that enables anything we dream up is Reality.

      Yeah, it’s a good infield, Tony. Wouldn’t mind a more capable 3B or more depth. But I wouldn’t trade with KC or Cleveland, either.

      • Coleman

        January 20, 2017 at 2:27 am

        Reality is SO overrated!

        • StorminNorman$

          January 20, 2017 at 10:03 am

          …and today exemplifies that understanding maybe a bit more so than other days ;(

          • Smoking Loon

            January 21, 2017 at 1:37 am

            Ugh. Don’t remind me.

            Reality overrated? He he. Maybe. It’s a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.

  61. Smoking Loon

    January 18, 2017 at 12:11 am

    Detroit is talking to CF Peter Bourjos. Between Bourjos and in-house, I would prefer:
    A. Collins/Jones. No need for Jones to languish in Detroit as the 30-50% CF. Plenty of odd jobs for him. Less work for Romine.
    B. Collins/Gose. Not troubled by a “platoon” that can’t hit lefties. More work for Romine.
    Ah, trading Maybin was short-sighted, making something out of you and me from “assume.” Oh well. Maybe the Angels will trade him back for Gose, Moya, Pelfrey, Sanchez, and Lowe.

    • Tony de Florida

      January 18, 2017 at 1:20 am

      Before April, I can share your dream.

    • StorminNorman$

      January 18, 2017 at 6:57 pm

      http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....e-dfa.html

      Gose DFA’d and DET may be going w/Mahtook in CF…which begs the question, “who?”… he’s a former LSU Tiger selected 31st overall in the ’11 draft.. JaCoby Jones is also a LSU alum

      • Smoking Loon

        January 21, 2017 at 1:49 am

        Yeah, exactly. “Who?” So… OF Mikie Mahtook. OK. Maybe they see something. I take this to mean they would rather give Jones some time in Toledo… or take some pressure off… or maybe put some pressure on. The way they’d been talking up Gose, figured he’d get another shot, guess not. Good for Collins, I’m down with that.

        The Tigers also re-signed minor league RHP David Martinez, Erie material at best. You can never have too many pitchers or outfielders, I suppose.

        No one was going “wow” when they signed J.D. Martinez or Alex Wilson, so who knows about this Mahtook fella. I thought they might sign Bourjos, and I was going to compare that to Alex Gonzalez. Then again, maybe this ends up being kinda like Jeff Kobernus. I *think* that was his name.

        • StorminNorman$

          January 21, 2017 at 1:14 pm

          agree on all points Loon

          me thinks this sends the message that DET is not going to add another dime to their payroll – except maybe if they’re in ‘serious’ contention (as in leading the division) at the trade deadline…and if they’re not, some form of “subtraction” (payroll) will ensue

          i had heard a rumor that Tom Gores (Pistons) owner was ‘kicking the tires’ of the DET Tigers, but this rumor could have spawned out of all the dealings/meetings Gores and the Illitch family have had over the past few months doing a deal that brings the Pistons back to DET (in Illitch’s new Little Cesars arena)

  62. StorminNorman$

    January 18, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    http://www.baseball-reference......mi01.shtml

    “for a player to be named later or cash, according to the team” – for a guy who hit 9 HR’s batted .295 in 100 AB’s in ’15, then had a bad year last year…its a bit odd that DET could get him for cash or PTBNL

    i guess we’ll see

  63. Tony de Florida

    January 21, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    Beats the heck out of the trade we made for Maybin. Got to be better than Gose/Fingers in CF.

    • StorminNorman$

      January 21, 2017 at 1:50 pm

      i agree Tony, my confidence in Gose a/o Collins is minimal

  64. StorminNorman$

    January 22, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/.....r-accident

    Ventura & Marte (not the former Tiger) both killed in separate car wrecks in the D.R. in the same day… sad, Ventura only 25

  65. Smoking Loon

    January 22, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    Minor league 3B Michael Almanzar has been signed, probably for Erie. Sometimes the stats are remarkably clear on a player’s apparent ceiling, and that’s the case here. The 26 year old Almanzar just falls off a cliff in AAA. I probably shouldn’t say that because it could literally happen, given the recent downer news from the D.R..

  66. Coleman

    February 10, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    It’s the passing of an era. Thank you for all you have done, Mr. Ilitch, for the Tigers, the Red Wings, and Detroit.

    http://www.freep.com/story/mon...../91475642/