Breaking down the Dombrowski pow-wow

Dave Dombrowski held court today in what was deemed an informal availability session and broached a number of topics.  Jason Beck was first to the web with the bullet points.  Definitely click through to Beck’s reporting, but I’ll weigh in on the bullets as well.

Pudge Rodriguez

No decision yet on Pudge and Dombrowski indicated the team might use their full allotment of time (10 days after the World Series) to make a decision. I just documented my thoughts on the situation and believe Pudge needs to be back next year. Whether that means picking up the option, or buying him out and inking him to a 2 year deal that pays him $7-8 million per – I’d be okay with both.

Todd Jones

Beck says:

They’ve expressed their interest in bringing Todd Jones back for next year, but while he would come back as a closer to start the year, they wouldn’t commit to keeping him there as the season went on.

I like the plan, and don’t want to see Jones blocking Zumaya. At the same time, if Jones is back, and can’t hold down the closer role that probably isn’t a good sign. Also, Jones is looking to see if Atlanta would be interested so he could be closer to home. I’ll be taking a deeper dive look at Jones coming up soon.

The rotation

Three spots are set and allocated to Verlander/Bonderman/Robertson. One spot will go to a veteran – like Kenny Rogers if he chooses to come back or another acquisition if he doesn’t- and the other spot will go to a kid to be determined. While trading Robertson would bring back some value, it also leaves a hole in the rotation and going into the season counting on more than one of Jurrjens/Miller/Bazardo to hold down a roster spot for a full year is a risky proposition. The thought of the three of them holding down one spot and then being available for injuries/tired arms is pretty appealing. Plus a one year deal for Rogers means the whole veteran presence without commiting to someone who might block a youngster when they are ready.

Left Field

Will look to get a left handed bat for the outfield that could be a starter, or a platoon partner for Marcus Thames. The ability to get a starter will probably be directly impacted on the cost of a shortstop, and whether or not they need to fill Kenny’s spot with a longer term contract that would consume more resources.

Jurrjens and Sheffield

Jurrjens will be spending the offseason with Gary Sheffield and working with Sheff’s trainer so that Jurrjens gains strength. I can only wonder how this came about. Did the club initiate it? Did Jurrjens initiate it? Was it Sheffield’s idea? For some reason this just strikes me as a fascinating conversation and a very interesting dynamic. A veteran slugging outfielder near the end of his career teaming up with a 21 year old rookie pitcher from Curacao to build strength. Good times.

Beck’s Blog: No extension for Leyland … yet

More Porcello, the contract, and a lot of bonus

Danny Knobler breaks down the Rick Porcello contract:

Signing Bonus – $3.85 million
2007 – $95,000 ($380,000 prorated for August 15th to the end of the season)
2008 – $1.1 million
2009 – $1.2 million
2010 – $1.025 million

There are also option years for 2011 and 2012 and those years are priced on whether he’s in the bigs and whether he’s arbitration eligible.

I’ve updated the payroll spreadsheet to reflect Porcello’s deal.

According to the Baseball America draft database the Tigers committed nearly $11 million dollars in their first 7 picks. It’s thrilling to see the Tigers go after high ceiling, hard sign guys and it’s even better to see Mike Ilitch do what it takes to bring them in the fold.

Tigers continue to shell out the big bucks

First went Rick Porcello, now it looks like the Tigers are dishing out more money. Lynn Henning reports that the Tigers have an agreement with 5th round pick Casey Crosby in the 800K neighborhood. The right handed high school pitcher from Illinois hums along in the low 90’s and was thought to be a sandwich pick (all those extra picks between the 1st and 2nd rounds) but slid due to those wonderful signability issues.

Meanwhile BA reports that the Tigers are close to a $1.5 million deal with 6th round pick, shortstop Cale Iorg. (Hat Tip: Take 75 North) Iorg is coming off a 2 year mission and has a verbal commitment to ASU. The same article mentions that the Tigers also inked 26th round pick Matt Hoffman, a prep lefty.

Getting both Crosby and Porcello in the fold is a huge boost to the system and both could factor in newly developed top 10 lists. Adding Iorg would just be icing on the cake at this point. I haven’t seen any reports on 10th round pick Dominic De La Osa.

Tigers ink Rick Porcello, irritate Selig

Well there’s some happy news at least as the Tigers have agreed to terms with Rick Porcello. Porcello of course is the Tigers first round draft choice, who despite being the top high school pitcher in the draft, slid to the Tigers at 27 due to those “signability issues” that Tigers fans have become so fond of.

Porcello is now the Tigers number 2 prospect, right behind Cameron Maybin.

The deal appears to be for something north of $7 million and Baseball America reports that it is a Major League contract. This is significant, more significant than the money, because it means that Porcello is placed on the 40 man roster immediately. And with that comes an option year this season. But I believe due to his age at time of signing, he’ll get a 4th option year meaning that the Tigers won’t have to put him on the big league roster until 2011.

As for the money I’ve seen $7.3 and $7.7 reported but either way it is a record for a high school player and it is way above the “suggested” slotting system that MLB has in place. And of course it is a ton of money for a high school kid who is still a long ways from the bigs, but it’s an even longer ways until free agency (6 years of big league service time). So if he gets up and has any measure of success he becomes a bargain compared to replacing that production on the open market.

Porcello’s stuff includes a mid 90’s fastball and both a slow curve and sharp slider. He also commands a change up.

We’ll see if the Tigers announce the signing of 5th round pick Casey Crosby who has reportedly been in the fold for quite some time. But again because the Tigers were going over slot, they were waiting until closer to the deadline to announce. Cale Iorg and Dominic De La Osa are the other remaining Tiger top 10 picks who are unsigned.

Tigers ink Guillen to 4 year extension

The Tigers will have Carlos Guillen through the 2011 season. Per Danny Knobler, the deal is for 4 years and $48 million.

This is great news, and the last item of the business that the Tigers needed to wrap up heading into the season. the deal is quite reasonable considering the contracts given to other lesser shortstops such as Julio Lugo and Orlando Cabrerra in recent years, and Michael Young just recently. Guillen’s injury history probably prevented him from getting Young type money. Still, at $12 million per year this appears to be a great deal for the Tigers. I also wouldn’t be surprised to hear that there are escalator clauses for plate appearances, similar to the deal that Guillen had in 2004 when he arrived.

The contract is such that Guillen should hopefully be able to play a productive shortstop for at least the first 3 years. If in the last year he has to move a less demanding position it will probably still be a decent value in 2011 dollars.

I don’t want to say the deal is a bargain for the Tigers, because Carlos Guillen is getting nearly $50 million. But like the Jeremy Bonderman and Brandon Inge signings, both agreed to stay with Detroit long term and while they were rewarded, they probably took less than they could have had on the open market.

Maybe the Tiger Tax is now the Tiger Tax Credit.

UPDATE: Now there are some quotes coming out. It appears guaranteeing the 4th year is what made it all possible. And like I said all along, give him the 4th year if it means keeping him for the next 3. Guillen also is amenable to a position switch later in the contract if that’s what the team needs him to do. In return the Tigers granted him a limited no trade clause.

Promising news on Guillen front?

From the Freep today:

Guillen, however, is optimistic that he will have a new contract before Monday’s opener. He has asked for a four-year deal and indicated that progress has been made. His agent, Peter Greenberg, is due to arrive in Lakeland today.

“They’ve been talking on the phone,” Guillen said. “It looks good.”

Clearly it’s not a done deal, but the last reports I had heard were talks had broken off. David Dombrowski, per usual, has declined to discuss the negotiations in the media.

If there is a linchpin on the team, it is probably Carlos Guillen, so this is promising news to say the least. I know many would prefer a 3 year deal, but to me giving him the 4th year is worth it to keep him around for the next 3.

Related: The Guillen Gamble

The Guillen Gamble

Carlos Guillen
credit Roger DeWitt

The biggest story out of the Tigers camp right now is a possible contract extension for Carlos Guillen. Michael Young’s 5 year $80 million deal certainly helped to stir the pot. I think that gambling on Guillen is something the Tigers need to do.

Drew Sharp says to let Guillen walk if he wants Michael Young money and years. That’s great, but who do you want playing shortstop then? Before spending really boomed, Orlando Cabrera was inked to a 4 year $32 million deal to play shortstop at the age of 30. The same Orlando Cabrera who has Deivi Cruz and Neifi Perez listed as comparables. This past offseason 30 year old Julio Lugo signed a deal that will pay him $9 million per for 4 years. Granted those deals are substantially less than Young’s contract, but it is still far from cheap.
Continue reading The Guillen Gamble

Tigers wrap-up 40 man roster signings

The Detroit Tigers today announced the club has agreed to terms with righthanded pitchers Chad Durbin, Zach Miner, Jordan Tata and Joel Zumaya, lefthanded pitcher Wilfredo Ledezma, infielders Tony Giarratano and Chris Shelton and outfielders Brent Clevlen and Marcus Thames. Plus they renewed Jason Grilli’s contract for 2007. This means that everyone on the 40 man roster has a contract for 2007.

Baby it’s cold outside – Tigers 2007 Spring Training round-up

Long lasting ice sculpture - Comerica Park
This is what a month old ice sculpture looks like

I was getting jealous of all the reporters and photographers down there in Lakeland taking in baseball and sun and palm trees. So I did the best I could and went to Comerica Park today to take pictures of ice sculptures…Leftover from Tigerfest…Which was a month ago. So stop complaining Wojo if it’s unseasonably cool in Lakeland. (Seriously, I took these pictures today.)

On to the link-a-thon

Carlos Guillen

An extension for Guillen is the only item remaining on the Tigers checklist. It is also a popular topic of discussion. This is a bigger topic than I’m going to tackle in a round-up post. Kurt has it covered anyways. I will say that I don’t think Guillen will sign here with the intention of playing first base. Just because he filled in there last year, doesn’t mean that is his likely destination – at least not for the next 3-4 years.

Random Stuff

Tigers sign De La Cruz, Vazquez, and others

The Tigers today signed righthanded pitchers Eulogio De La Cruz, Preston Larrison and Virgil Vazquez, lefthanded pitcher Edward Campusano and catcher Mike Rabelo.

Detroit now has 26 members of the 40 man roster under contract for 2007

Tigers extend Rodney

It seems like just a few days ago that the Tigers agreed to a one year contract with Fernando Rodney. Well it was just a few days ago. That contract is gone and has been replaced by a shiny new 2 year contract. I haven’t found terms yet, but I’ll update when I do.

UPDATE: Jason Beck has the dollars, $2.7 million in total. Not much to complain about there. The contract secures Rodney at an affordable price for 2008 when Todd Jones won’t be around. A quality bullpen arm for two years at a reasonable price.

Tigers Ink Robertson, Rodney, Infante, and Monroe

The Tigers avoided arbitration by signing one year deals with Nate Robertson, Fernando Rodney, Omar Infante, and Craig Monroe today.

Details and commentary coming later…

UPDATE: Jon Paul Morosi reports the values of the contracts as:
Craig Monroe: $4,775,000
Nate Robertson: $3,260,000
Omar Infante: $1,300,000
Fernando Rodney: $1,050,000

I’ve updated the payroll info to reflect the changes. As it stands now, the Tigers payroll is just a hair under $95 million. That includes 20 members of the projected 25 man roster as well as Andrew Miller. With 5 additional players to be signed to the remaining roster spots, the Tigers are looking at a payroll of $97-98 million.
Continue reading Tigers Ink Robertson, Rodney, Infante, and Monroe