Junkballing: Almost too much to link to

A flurry of link worthy items, plus just being behind in general leads to the mother of all link round-ups:

Injuries – left handed pitcher edition

Bless You Boys picked up a Buster Olney report that scouts were speculating that Dontrelle Willis may be injured. That could certainly be part of his control problems. Then again, Willis has battled increasing control issues the last couple years so it may be a continuation of a trend. But it sounded like Tigers scouts were confident that the problem had been licked. But what if it isn’t?

Assignable cause is always nice when trying to identify shifts in output (I’m an industrial engineer by trade). Usually if you can find the assignable cause and fix it. But in this case fixing it may mean rest & rehab or even surgery if there is an elbow problem.

Big League Stew has some more. Well, not much more but I like BLS and there’s a cool picture.

Things aren’t going well for Clay Rapada either who is experiencing more soreness.

Injury news – right handed pitching edition

Fernando Rodney was examined by the team orthopod and no structural damage was found and he will resume throwing. That’s the good news portion of this update.

Injury news – blogging center fielder subsection

Let’s hope Granderson heals as fast as he gets out of the box for triples. The mending time is estimated to be really quick where he only misses the first week (via John Fuller, his publicist/manager type guy) or it could be a month if Chone Figgins can be used as a comp. While he could probably start swinging the bat right away, it will likely effect his grip strength. And man, I’d imagine hitting in cold weather would be especially painful.

In his stead
Edgar Renteria will leadoff and Brandon Inge will manner center field – at least initially. I have a felling there will be some mixing and matching with Ryan Raburn perhaps getting some extra at-bats as well.

Interviews

Speaking of Granderson, The Grandy Report was able to interview him last week. It turns out Granderson’s favorite subject was math. I wonder if he’s a saber?

Also, Dontrelle Willis got together with Ryan Howard and David Wright during a Topps shoot. Willis grabbed the mike and conducted the interviews himself. This interview keeps getting taken down, so catch it while you can.

THE CONTRACT

I think it’s only appropriate that THE TRADE spurred THE CONTRACT. There is little new news about THE CONTRACT except that it is a 7 year extension as I had speculated initially. My guess on how it breaks out is $15 million in 2009 and then $21 million in each of 2010-2015. It hasn’t been officially announced, but it hasn’t been denied. And Cabrera’s Dad seemed to confirm it to a Venezuelan newspaper. (translation via Google)

“We were expecting this contract,” said Cabrera Navas. “There were two very important things for him to accept the deal: first, that there are other Venezuelans, as Magglio (Ordoñez) and Carlos (Guillen), and second, that we have a good chance to win and go to a World Series.”

The story also said that there are incentives for MVPs, All Star Games, and the like.

Mack Avenue Tigers beat me to the punch and rounded up the opinions on the valuation of the deal. The opinions vary greatly. I’m still sticking with my initial feelings that it is a pretty fair valuation for both sides. In terms of Cabrera’s actual value it seems fair. In terms of Cabrera’s perceived value it appears to be favorable for the club.

Leftovers

Finally wrapping this thing up we look to the Marlins who decided to send Cameron Maybin to the minors for more seasoning. Probably a good move and Maybin will probably still be the starting centerfielder by the end of the year. But Jair Jurrjens locked up a spot in the rotation after a strong spring.

And lastly, Brennan Boesch had some bathroom problems today.

The Cabrera- Willis Trade – early returns

Table of contents for The Cabrera-Willis Trade

  1. Holy Freakin Crap
  2. The Cabrera- Willis Trade – early returns
  3. The 6 runs per game lineup
  4. The New Tigers speak
  5. Where should Cabrera play?
  6. The Coda

What’s being said about the trade of trades…
Baseball Prospectus | Unfiltered

Four is the number of relatively cheap arbitration-eligible seasons that the Tigers are picking up between Cabrera and Willis. Half of the league is willing to bend over backward — perhaps giving up a package analogous to what the Tigers just gave up — for one season of Johan Santana. Although Willis is not the pitcher than Santana is by a long shot, he’s an excellent buy-low guy who was mostly victimized by some poor defense and some poor luck in Miami last year, and an extremely viable #2/#3 starter. And Cabrera might well be the equal of Santana in terms of 2008 value. In terms of overall value, the Tigers are getting perhaps three times as much incoming value as the Red Sox might get for one year of Santana.

Rod Allen-

It’s an incredible trade and it puts them in position to win the Central and possibly win the World Series with the talent in Detroit. It reminds me of a conversation that Mario Impemba and I had with Dave Dombrowski before last season and he said that you need to have top 5 talent at each position to compete for a championship and the Tigers have that now.

Detroit Tiger Tales

As difficult as it is to see Miller and Maybin go, it is not too often you get a chance to acquire an elite hitter like Cabrera. Badenhop DeLaCruz and Trahern are also decent prospects but in a trade of this magnitude they are almost throw ins. The Tigers signaled in their earlier trade of top prospects Gorkys Hernadez and Jair Jurrjens for Edgar Renteria that they were going for it all in 2008 and this deal confirms it emphatically

Continue reading The Cabrera- Willis Trade – early returns

Holy Freakin Crap

The Tigers have pulled off a franchise altering trade today sending former first round picks Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller, along with Mike Rabelo and 3 minor league pitchers to the Florida Marlins for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis.

When Dave Dombrowski decides to go for it, boy does he go for it. Like in 1997 when he loaded up for a run at the World Series, Dombrowski has quickly put together what has to be considered the best line up in all of baseball. To do it they had to give up 2 of the blue-est of blue chippers. Normally I frown on such a move, but rarely do you get in return a 24 year old with 138 career home runs and a 313/388/542 line in 2700 at-bats either. The Tigers had to have emptied their farm system, but this isn’t for a player on the wrong side of 30. This is someone who has yet to enter his peak. The Tigers have to sign him to a long term deal for this to work, but I can’t imagine they make this trade without some sort of frame work in place.

As for Dontrelle Willis, his 5+ ERA in a pitchers park in the NL is certainly disconcerting. But the Tigers were giving up a player that was likely to be in their rotation next year, and they had to fill that spot and there are certainly worse ways to do it than with Willis.

The Tigers gave up some seriously talented players, but if you’re going to do it, do it the way the Tigers did and get a couple guys in their mid 20’s in return. Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller are tremendous prospects, but Cabrera is a rare, rare player and for the Tigers to acquire him is a major coup.

As for the other 3 pitchers, Jon Paul Morosi is reporting that they are Burke Badenhop, Dallas Trahern, and Eulogio De La Cruz. Trahern is the prize of this group. He’s a heavy groundball pitcher who was set to pitch for AAA Toledo this year, and was a decent bet to reach the majors in 2008. De La Cruz we saw last year, and he has the potential and stuff to strike out a ton of guys, but he’s still searching for consistency.

The Tigers still have Rick Porcello, who couldn’t be traded yet, and is now the clear top prospect in the system. I’m also pleasantly surprised the Tigers didn’t have to move Jeff Larish, Mike Hollimon, and especially James Skelton.

As for what happens next, the Tigers just have to sign Cabrera long term. They also have some of their own players to move. Cabrera is thought of as a third baseman, but he could play left as well. I don’t know where he’ll play for Detroit and it depends on who they can get for Brandon Inge probably. I know that the Tigers just traded for Jacque Jones, but I don’t think they are married to him.

I applaud Dombrowski and the Tigers for pulling this off. The Tigers have the pieces in place to be a very very special team this year and I can’t wait for spring training. I’ll have more on the trade over the next couple of days.

MiLB.com Top Prospect list

The Tigers placed 2 players on the MiLB.com top prospect list. Cameron Maybin ranks 3rd overall behind Jay Bruce and Evan Longoria. Rick Porcello debuts at 14 which is impressive to say the least.

There are still a couple of prospect lists that still to come. John Sickels list should be coming in the next week or so, and Baseball America is still a ways away. Once they are all in (Tigstown and Baseball Prospectus have already completed their Tigers lists) I’ll aggregate the results into a consensus top 10 list.

As a side note, Gorkys Hernandez who is now with the Braves, just missed the list and checked in at 53. As for the rest of the AL Central, the Royals had 2 players on the list. But the Indians, White Sox and Twins combined to have 2 players in the top 50.

Minor League Baseball: News: Top Prospects

News in a minor key

A little bit of this and that on the guys who might be the next great Tigers…

International Signings

Baseball America lists all of the international free agent signings. The Tigers inked eight players from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. All of the players are 16. Who know, maybe one or more can be helping the 2014 Detroit Tigers.

Dominican Republic: RHP Yinio Calderon, 16; RHP Emmanuel Del Orbe, 16; SS Domingo Gonzalez, 16; RHP Carlos Melo, 16
Venezuela: OF Avisail Garcia, 16; IF Oscar Gomez, 16; 3B Francisco Martinez, 16; SS Hernan Perez, 16
BaseballAmerica.com: Prospects: Full List Of 2007 International Signings

Mike Hollimon

Mike Hollimon is a hard guy to peg as a prospect. He’s always been old for his league, but he’s always hit well. And this year he skipped hi A ball and succeeded at AA. Now he’s hitting well in the Arizona Fall League. And now, he’s been featured by Jon Paul Morosi. Without having full developed a Tigers top 10 prospect list, I know that Hollimon would rank somewhere in the 6-9 range for me. He’ll also be one of the players to watch during the spring to see if he can play his way onto the roster.
QUICK TURN: Tigers’ infield prospect Hollimon gets back on track

Arizona Fall League

Today’s Freep also had a feature the AFL in general. If you haven’t been keeping up with the daily updates from Take I-75 North, the Tigers haven’t had overwhelming results. Hollimon has been solid, and the good news from Cameron Maybin is that he’s only fanned 5 times in 31 at-bats. Larish has had the toughest go at only 3 for 25 with no extra base hits.

STAR SEARCH: Looking for the Tigers’ next hero? Check out the Arizona Fall League

What are they talking about?

Leyland and Dombrowski
Dave Dombrowski, Jim Leyland, and Chuck Hernandez took in some instructional league action today. Everybody is in Lakeland this week for organizational meetings so they could have been discussing anything.

Maybe they were talking about the way that the ball explodes out of Rick Porcello’s hand, or maybe the kid’s follow through.

Perhaps they were discussing how much David Eckstein would be worth if he left the St. Louis Cardinals. Would 2 years and $14 or $15 million be too much for a player with declining skills?

It could be they were thinking bigger and deciding if it is worth dealing with everything besides the money it would take to get Alex Rodriguez signed. That negotiation certainly wouldn’t be a picnic (thanks MetsBlog.com!). Would you want to deal with this?

‘All these things have to be part of the deal or there’s not a deal,’ including an office at the stadium for his marketing person, a luxury box where he could host people, and after the game people come down to the clubhouse and get things signed. That he had become so big he can’t fly commercially, so he’s going to need charter airfare. That he wanted to meet with ownership and go through the scouting reports in the organization, since he’s making a long-term commitment, of who is coming up in the farm system to know there’s a bright future to play with around him. He wanted to have a tent in spring training to sell A-Rod apparel. He wanted to know what the team marketing plan was going to be around him as he joined the team. I think that’s about everything.

Or maybe they were just talking about Cameron Maybin’s 2 homer night in the Arizona Fall League.

Really, it could be anything.

Game 128: Yankees at Tigers

PREGAME: The Tigers take another crack at Roger Clemens who they had no trouble hitting last week, they just had trouble scoring. The Tigers mustered 10 hits in 6 innings, but only 2 runs thanks to 8 strikeouts which all seemed to come with guys on base.

For the Tigers it will be Andrew Miller making his fast start since going on the DL on August 4th. Despite the great stuff, Miller struggles a little to put guys away and his lack of command can lead to hefty pitch counts. He hasn’t recorded an out after the 5th inning since July 6th.

I’ll be heading down to this game, and hopefully the result will be similar to when I saw Clemens pitch against the Tigers last year.

Who’s your Tiger tonight? I’m going out on a limb and going with Brandon Inge.

Game Time 7:05
NYY @ DET, Friday, August 24, 2007 Game Preview – Baseball-Reference.com

POSTGAME: You know you got your money’s worth when on the way home from a game you start to ponder where it ranks in terms of the greatest games you’ve ever witnessed live. When you’re doing at at 4:00am, you know it’s a special situation.

First things first, thanks to all of you for the awesome comments throughout the game last night. I was reading them on my Blackberry throughout the night and was amazed so many of us were toughing it out together.

On to the game, I made several good decisions last night. First, I had an unused ticket and was really debating taking my 6 year old son. I ended up not doing it, because while I love him to death and love going to games with him, this was the first time since Opening Day I had plans to go with my friends and I just didn’t want to be a dad that night. Second, we took a couple cars to the game because one friend had commitments in the morning and we didn’t know how late he’d want to stay. Worked out great with the one friend being able to leave at 8:30 when he recognized any baseball would be way late. So those staying were happy to be stayinig, and no one had to leave prematurely.

The theme for the night was pretty much, “there’s weird s*** happening tonight” and that held up throughout the game. Witness:

  • Placido Polanco makes an error. That never happens.
  • Pudge battles back from an 0-2 count to take a walk. That never happens.
  • The game started at 11:05.
  • Jason Grilli pitches not only a scoreless inning in Comerica Park, but he does it uneventfully.
  • Pudge took another walk. Intentional and all, but still.
  • I’m drinking coffee at a game in August – normally an activity reserved for those cold nights in April or September

So there we were at 2:30 in the morning concocting the most improbable ways for the Tigers to pull this off. Like having the Tigers load the bases against Mariano Rivera and then have Inge come through. Well, that one got half way there, and only some bad luck kept it from coming through.

Still the crowd stayed, and sure it was whittled down after a while. After that 10th inning the numbers really dwindled and I said to the usher, this place looks like 2003 right now. But it sounded much louder. And at that point everyone had formed this big kind of friendship, the kind of friendship that can only come from staying at a ballpark until ridiculous hours of the morning as everyone individually questions their sanity for staying and yet being too afraid to leave and miss something. It was kind of like one of those West Coast Red Wing playoff games that goes into OT, and you think to yourself “I can’t quit now, I’ve made it this far.”

Fortunately for those who stayed, they got the pay off. After a nice walk by Polanco it looked like a hit and run sign was missed with Sean Casey up and Polanco was picked off. And the Tigers went from a runner on 1 out situation to a 2 out none on situation. As so often is the case, the next batter gets a single after the runner is wiped off the bases.

I was imploring Leyland to pinch run for Casey, figuring that a gapper would go to waste with Casey on the basepaths. Instead Leyland stuck with Casey who managed to go first to third with relative ease on a blooper. Setting the stage for the Carlos Guillen. When he hit it I didn’t know if it was gone. I just new it was well hit and I didn’t care if it were a homer, I just wanted it to get over Matsui’s head. When it landed on the roof of the bullpen it was euphoria, it was relief, it was “I get to go home now, but I’m not tired anymore,” it was so worth it all.

I know the above thoughts are incoherent, but I’m working on a couple hours of sleep right now. For the bullets:
Continue reading Game 128: Yankees at Tigers