Tigers looking at Wood?

Earlier today I lamented the type of players that the Tigers were being associated with. Mostly guys that were kind of blah. I also worried about the team’s financial situation given the Renteria and Wilson discussion. Perhaps my disappointment was premature, as there are reports that the Tigers are looking at Kerry Wood.

While happy at the thought of the Tigers pursuing someone who for his career has fanned 10.39 batters per nine innings, I’m also surprised in that earlier Dave Dombrowski said that Wood was out of the Tigers price range. But perhaps the recession is working in the Tigers favor in this case as Wood is only expecting a 2 year deal with a 3rd year vesting option.

Now the vesting part is important because Wood’s career has been severely hampered by injuries. If he’s healthy that the third year shouldn’t be a problem. But if injuries slow him any damage would be limited to 2010.

If the Tigers could add Kerry Wood, and maybe Brandon Lyon, now we’re talking a decent pen. If this is the reallocation of shortstop dollars, I’m on board. Of course these are just rumors of interest at this point, but it’s nice to be in on a good player.

Other arbitration news

With the unfortunate news of the Tigers decision about Edgar Renteria and arbitration out of the way it’s probably worth looking at some potential Tigers targets and whether or not they were offered arbitration.

One potential target at closer who is a Type A is Trevor Hoffman. The Padres didn’t offer Hoffman arbitration which means no draft pick compensation and it certainly makes him more attractive. Another less likely Type A closer is Kerry Wood who also didn’t receive an arbitration offer from the Cubs. He is probably cost-prohibitive, but worth mentioning.

The Tigers have also been linked to Darren Oliver. However he is a Type A and the Angels did offer him arbitration meaning the Tigers would surrender their second round pick to sign him. That would certainly be more palatable had they picked up some extra draft picks along the way but I digress.

The always valuable MLBTradeRumors has been updating his list of free agents with arbitration status, so check back tomorrow for the complete run down.

No arbitration for Renteria

I think it is safe to call the Edgar Renteria-Jair Jurrjens/Gorkys Hernandez deal “the trade that just keeps taking.” There was hope that the Tigers could salvage a couple draft picks out of the trade, but that possibility is now gone as the team has declined to offer Renteria arbitration.
Continue reading No arbitration for Renteria

Tigers pass on Junichi Tazawa

In an effort to maintain the relationships in the Pacific Rim that the organization has been cultivating recently, the Tigers are going to pass on Junichi Tazawa. Tazawa is the amateur Japanese player who is going to skip the Japanese professional leagues and try and jump right to the US.

Tazawa is being courted by a number of teams, and the Tigers sent scout Dick Egan to see him earlier and another scout (presumably Pacific Rim coordinator Kevin Hooker) to visit again in recent weeks. But Jon Paul Morosi caught up with Al Avila and Avila had this to say:

“We have invested much time and resources the last two years building our staff and rebuilding our good relationships in Japan and in other Asian countries in order to be players in those markets for years to come,” Avila said in an e-mail to the Free Press.

You see, there’s this gentleman’s agreement that the respective countries wouldn’t harvest each others amateur talent and Avila is going to honor that.

Chao Ting Tang - cr Roger DeWitt
Chao Ting Tang - cr Roger DeWitt

I fully admit that I don’t have a grasp on the relationships at play here, but I’d think that part of the point of increasing the presence would be to scout – largely amateur – players. Maybe it is, but not just in Japan. The Tigers did sign Chao Ting Tang from Taiwan last season. And they have a new scouting coordinator for the region. But I still don’t understand the apprehension about ruffling the feathers of the Japanese professional leagues.

That said I’m not upset that they are passing on Tazawa. I was intrigued early on, but his price is higher than I expected it would be. He’s likely to be paid similar to a top draft pick, and there is at least one scouting report that isn’t necessarily glowing. It calls into question his velocity and stamina.

Renteria inked by Giants – Tigers get draft picks

UPDATE: It appears the report may not be true. Tim Dierkes keeps updating the link below with more information, so check back. I have to admit that $18 million for Renteria didn’t pass the smell test, but it was the Giants…

It appears that Edgar Renteria is heading back to the National League. The Giants have signed him to a 2 year, $18 million contract that seems pretty pricey given the season he just had. This is good news for the Tigers.

Because Renteria signed with the Giants there is now no ambiguity as to whether or not the Tigers should offer him arbitration and risk him accepting. Assuming that the Tigers do offer arbitration, and there is absolutely no reason why they wouldn’t, they will get 2 draft picks due to Renteria’s type A status.

Because the Giants were pretty awful last year, their first round pick is protected. Instead the Tigers will get their second round pick (4th pick), plus a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds. Maybe they can at least one of those into gold to lessen the sting of losing Jair Jurrjens and Gorkys Herandez.

Catch-all post

I know there is a lot of interest in some of the rumors swirling around the Tigers (like Julio Lugo) and that people want to comment on signings that may or may not effect the Tigers  (Jeremy Affeldt).  While I don’t have a lot to say about these things (though I don’t want Lugo and Affeldt for 2 years at $4 million per is pretty attractive) I know that others do want to talk about it.  In an effort to keep the discussion on other research-y type posts centered on the topic of the post (this is a blog afterall and not a message board), please use this as your catch-all thread for rumors and signings.

Of course if anything related to the Tigers breaks, we’ll be sure to cover it in depth.

No on Varitek, No on Laird, Yes on Bard

The Tigers are in the hunt for a catcher. Brandon Inge has been moved to third base and Dusty Ryan may be ready to contribute at the big league level, but I don’t think anybody is comfortable with him being handed the full load at this point. With this need has come speculation about where the Tigers may turn. Two names that have been floated out repeatedly are Jason Varitek and Gerald Laird. I’m not particularly a fan of either. So I turn my attention West to the discarded Josh Bard.
Continue reading No on Varitek, No on Laird, Yes on Bard

Rumors, Rumors everywhere

A lot of talk, A lot of speculation piping out of the GM meetings in California. Right now it seems like most teams are in on most players. But there are some names being rumored to the Tigers. Today’s rumor and moderately relevant news rundown:

  • The Tigers are in on Rafael Furcal, or at least plan to talk to him.  Furcal is of course a stud.  He’s also been a stud who’s had a hard time staying on the field the last 2 seasons. The Tigers won’t get into a bidding war, but I could see them going for a year deal or one and an option year.  That would only prove attractive to Furcal if nobody else is willing to offer him an extended deal and he wants a short contract to prove his worth/health.
  • If the Tigers want to buy low, there is a chance they could pursue Khalil Greene.  Rumor has it they have at least kicked the tires – as have the Orioles and Reds.  Greene is slated to make $6.5 million next year before becoming a free agent.  The length is right, but 20-25% of the team’s budget on a player coming off a 213/260/339 season that saw him 4 plays below average at short.  If the Tigers were to pick up the salary, he should come essentially free in terms of prospects though.  Which is good since he’s a .304 career OBP guy.
  • Scott Boras says that Magglio Ordonez doesn’t expect to be traded.  I don’t actually believe anything that Scott Boras says though so take that for what it’s worth.
  • AJ Burnett opted out of his Blue Jays contract.  I don’t bring this up because the Tigers have been connected to him, but because he’s now another arm in the free agent pond.  And if the Tigers go fishing there, it may help with the team’s chances at Lowe’s or Garland’s or others.
  • Junichi Tazawa, who I thought might be a worthwhile bullpen target for the Tigers, has been offered a major league deal by the Braves.  Too rich for my blood.
  • The Tigers have made Fernando Rodney available. Rodney is frustrating to be sure, but he’s not the worst guy to have in the pen and for the cost it would be hard pressed to increase on his production – when healthy.  That’s a big factor though as Rodney has really only maintained health in 2006.

Let the offseason begin

With the World Series officially over after the longest game 5 ever, I half (actually more than half) expected the Tigers to make a trade today.  When I saw a press release come across I thought my intuition was correct.  Instead it was a compilation of roster moves and the hiring of a bullpen coach.

The Tigers rehired Jeff Jones to be the bullpen coach after firing him at the end of the season.  I don’t find it that surprising or awkward.  Jones had been all but assured a role in the organization and his firing was more related to the dismissal of Chuck Hernandez.  I’d imagine Rick Knapp had the freedom to look elsewhere, but decided to stick with Jones.

The Tigers also announced that Dane Sardinha and Gary Glover had been outrighted and both decided to  become free agents.  As I imagined when Virgil Vasquez was claimed, he was one of several the team were pruning.  Eddie speculates on the motivation for the Tigers keeping Eddie Bonine and Mike Hessman on the big league roster.

Another spot on the 40 man roster was freed when the Tigers formally declined Edgar Renteria’s option.  This is hardly news though since Dave Dombrowki indicated as much a month ago. 

Declaring free agency was Freddy Garcia.  Garcia is still in the long toss stage after leaving the last game of the year with tightness in his greater shoulder area.  Don’t read too much into this as it is merely a formality. 

In addition to the Tigers getting their house in order, there is speculation about potential targets.  Jason Varitek’s name has gained some steam.  Mostly due to a Ken Rosenthal report that Scott Boras is shopping Varitek to Detroit.  But I have to agree with the consensus that this would not be a good thing.

Now Chad Cordero on the other hand…that’s worth considering for the right price.  And while the Tigers, like many teams, would be hesitant to offer much in the way of guaranteed money they can offer a wide open bullpen situation.

Dombrowski speaks – a lot more than usual.

Dave Dombrowski held court with reporters today and he revealed a glimpse into this winter’s agenda.

The main points:

  • Edgar Renteria’s option will not be picked up
  • The Tigers are looking outside the organization to fill the closer role
  • The Tigers don’t expect to be a major player in the free agent market
  • Detroit does not expect to cut payroll significantly
  • Dombrowski likes Cale Iorg thinking he’s going to be an All Star very soon.

My thoughts:

  • Declining the Renteria option was pretty much a no brainer. The Tigers can try and sign him for less and offer him arbitration.  If he declines and is signed somewhere else the Tigers get two draft picks.  If he accepts it probably is a decent stopgap.  Renteria is a decent bet to bounce back somewhat and not be a void in the lineup.  While there is a desire to upgrade the defense at short, with Inge and mystery catcher in the fold the Tigers can’t afford to go with a total defensive specialist at short.  They have that at third already now.  Renteria sounds like he’d like to be back.
  • Dombrowski’s comments about Iorg were quite enthusiastic.  It could be he’s trying to up the trade value, or diminish the Tigers needs, but the remarks came on the same day that Iorg made the BA Top 20 list for the FSL. (Rick Porcello was number 1).  It makes one think the Tigers aren’t looking for a long term fix for 2009.
  • Rodney got a lukewarm treatment from Dombrowski saying that he’d be the leading candidate on the current club, but he wanted more consistency.  But with the Tigers not making a splash that probably means no K-Rod or Fuentes which is fine.  The new closer will likely be an established set-up man who can be had for a cheaper price.  It might not satisfy the fan base, but is probably the best and only way to go given the payroll constraints and ridiculous sum that closers get.

In the end Dombrowski is looking for answers like the rest of us…

“Most years, when we go into spring training, I have a good feel for where we’ll finish,” he said.

“I’m so far off on this,” he said, shaking his head, his voice trailing off.

A reliever worth targeting

Junichi Tazawa is an amateur reliever from Japan. He’s decided to skip Japanese professional baseball and come stateside.

Tazawa is younger than the typical Japanese import, because he’s not waiting the 9 years required for international free agency as a pro player. He’s 22 and features a low 90’s fastball, a 12-6 curve and a shuuto (kind of like a screwball it moves in on righties). That repertoire led to a a 56K:4BB ratio in 54 innings.

The advantage of pursuing Tazawa, is that he wouldn’t require any compensation beyond the contract. There’s no players to trade. There’s no draft picks floating away (like with Juan Cruz – is he worth a first round pick?). And he’s young.

Freddy Garcia a Tiger

Jon Heyman is reporting that Freddy Garcia has agreed to a contract with the Tigers. Garcia has been injured for the last year with shoulder problems. He had surgery to correct a torn labrum and recently auditioned for teams. I have no idea what they’ll get out of Garcia, and I can’t really offer commentary on the deal until I see the parameters.

I do know that Garcia and Carlos Guillen were party buddies back in Seattle. But that was quite awhile ago.

Garcia to sign with Tigers – MLB – SI.com

UPDATE: It’s a minor league deal. I like it. No risk, no outlay.

Garcia’s deal is a minor-league contract that runs only through the end of 2008. It will become a major league contract if he’s promoted to the parent club. Garcia will report first to Class-A Lakeland. As long as he’s on the major league roster by August 31, he will be eligible for the postseason.