Wrapping up the week

It’s Sunday evening and this concludes my foray into full time blogging. I took this week off to delve into the winter meetings and cover them to the best of my ability. It proved to be an especially eventful week for Tigers fans and this blog. With that we’ll do one last set of hot stove rumors and news nuggets and a couple other thoughts as well.

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Tigers relief notes

With the deals for LaTroy Hawkins and Brandon Lyon it appears that the market for “back end of the bullpen pitchers who could potentially set-up or close” may be getting steep for the Tigers. And with that the club may turn to in house options.

Jason Beck spoke with Dave Dombrowski who said that a return of Fernando Rodney is unlikely calling it a “long shot.” More frightening though is that the team is viewing Joel Zumaya as a legitimate option for the closer role.

I’m on board with not sinking a lot of money into a bullpen. I think the Tigers have done a good job the last few years of mixing young guys, minor league free agents, and fringy closer material guys together the last few years. It’s a quantity over quality approach where you hope enough guys make it work each year.

But going into a season with Zumaya competing for the role of closer is a ridiculous gamble and yet another reason to question the clubs intention to compete in 2010. In 2006 Zumaya was incredible. He hasn’t been healthy or effective since then. The velocity is certainly still there, but the results haven’t been for too long to “count on him.”

Ryan Perry and the newly acquired Daniel Schlereth would like be competing for such a role as well so all the eggs aren’t in Zumaya’s incredibly fragile basket. Still, those other options are particularly assuring at this point in their career either.

Winter Meetings Day 4

The last day of a very active winter meetings for Tigers fans is upon us. A look at what took place yesterday and what may take place today follows.

This should be old hat by now, but here are all the ways to keep up with the Winter Meetings at DTW.

Brandon Lyon signs with Houston

There goes one potential closer option for the Tigers with Brandon Lyon inking a 3 year, $15 milion deal with the Houston Astros pending a physical. It’s a great deal for Lyon, but probably a year longer than the Tigers would have preferred to go.

Earlier in the evening Ken Rosenthal reported that with the context of LaTroy Hawkins deal with the Brewers Lyon was looking for 2 years and $9 million. Maybe Ed Wade should have been on Twitter.

Lyon was signed just before the start of spring training last year on a one year deal and given a shot to be the Tigers closer. He struggled in spring training and those struggles extended through April. Then something clicked and Lyon was lights out. From May 19th until the end of the season he threw 63 innings with a 1.86 ERA.

The Tigers other free agent reliever, Fernando Rodney, is attracting attention from the Phillies. If it was going to take a multi-year deal to get either I would have preferred Lyon from a durability perspective. The Tigers are also reportedly still interested in Kevin Gregg.

Lyon will net the Tigers a sandwich pick. But for a team that can’t afford Curtis Granderson you have to wonder if they’ll be able to sign him.

Image credit – RadioFish on Flickr

Winter Meetings Day 3

As Tigers fans let us just hope that today is relatively boring. The Tigers will remain active and the roster will continue to change but hopefully we’re done with franchise-type players leaving. In the meantime here’s a recap of what happened yesterday – including some late notes – as well as a look at what may happen today.

Winter Meetings Day 2

The first day of the Winter Meetings has come to an end and the sun is coming up on a snowy second day. For Tigers fans there was no shortage of news and drama. To recap:

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Lyon, Rodney reject arbitration

The Tigers bullpen has a few vacancies for the time being with both Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney turning down their arbitration offers. Both are looking for multi-year deals and both will likely get them and I’d guess one of them comes back to Detroit. If they don’t the Tigers will get a compensatory “sandwich” pick between the 1st and 2nd rounds for each player.

Only three players accepted arbitration offers. Rafael Soriano is returning to what is now a crowded pen in Atlanta. Rafael Betancourt is staying in Colorado. And most unfortunate for Tigers fans was Carl Pavano’s decision to accept the Twins offer.

Arbitration offers for Lyon, Rodney

The Tigers decided to offer arbitration to relievers Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney, but not to take the risk with second baseman Placido Polanco. We didn’t really learn too much by these moves that we weren’t already expecting. If nobody were offered it may have signaled that the Tigers were as poor as everyone speculated. If everyone were offered it would either mean the Tigers weren’t really financially restricted or that Scott Sizemore’s injury wouldn’t allow him to be ready. Instead we’re somewhere in the middle.

The good news with Lyon and Rodney is that the Tigers stand to gain high draft picks if either player is signed by another team. If they accept arbitration the Tigers will have a couple relievers on one year deals for about $5 million apiece. However, Dave Dombrowski doesn’t expect either player to accept but he also didn’t rule out signing either player. With Lyon in particular I could see the team willing to sign him to a 2 year deal.

With Polanco it is one of those tough decisions, but one that is right. Polanco was part of the renaissance of baseball in Detroit and was an easy guy to root for. He played hard, never complained, and was remarkably steady. And while he was probably overrated by many fans for his batting average, he was the guy I felt most comfortable with at the plate in a key situation (yes, I know his career .307 BAISP isn’t appreciably different than his overall .303 BA it is still a pretty good clip and the fact that he’d find a way to put the ball in play made me “feel” better).

But for a change the Tigers actually have a position player prospect poised to take over a position of need in Scott Sizemore. He isn’t being rushed or pushed up for a spark or as an injury replacement. Scouts feel he can hit at the big league level now and his minor league numbers show he can transfer his tools to production.

Now the decision to let Polanco go is different than the decision to offer him arbitration. By not offering him arbitration Polanco will not fetch the team additional draft picks. The lack of a compensation pick also makes Polanco much more attractive to potential suitors. So when he ultimately signs a 2-3 year deal with someone, there will be complaints that the Tigers missed out. The complainers though have to realize that Polanco’s market shrinks with a compensation pick attached and that multi-year offer likely wouldn’t be there.

Tigers and the looming arbitration deadline

The Tuesday deadline for teams to offer their departing free agents arbitration is approaching. The Tigers have three cases that are garnering some attention in Placido Polanco, Brandon Lyon, and Fernando Rodney.

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Free Agent Filing Begins

Now that the World Series is over the 15 day free agent filing period is underway. The period gives teams an “exclusive” negotiating window in which players can talk to other teams, but not talk contract parameters. So we won’t know exactly what will happens with the Tigers quartet* of impending free agents for awhile, except that they will go through the procedure of filing for free agency.

Steve Kornacki of Mlive did some catching up with a few of the possibly future former Tigers and got their thoughts on returning.

Fernando Rodney would like to stay in Detroit but is looking for a 3 to 4 year deal. It’s safe to say that he won’t get a 3 or 4 year deal from anyone (maybe 2 years with a club option for a 3rd) so that doesn’t really clear things up.

Of course the Rodney situation is in some ways tied to Brandon Lyon’s status. Understandably Lyon would like some clarification on what his role would be if he were to sign with Detroit.

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The Dombrowski Presser

Dave Dombrowski met with the press today and fielded questions for about an hour. Jaosn Beck, Tom Gage, and John Lowe had it covered. There is enough there to warrant about 6 posts worth of further explanation. But until that happens…

Miguel Cabrera

Dombrowski had a range of emotions about the situation, many were negative, but it wasn’t the first time he’s been in this situation in his 20 years as GM. It’s not surprising that he believes Cabrera will take the necessary steps. As for the question on whether he should have played Saturday night, that gets a little more gray. The response was:

“First of all, you have some legalities that are involved. You probably should know the rules when it comes to the Basic Agreement (the collective-bargaining agreement between the clubs and the players union).

“Secondly, we thought he was capable of going out there and playing.”

I admit to knowing nothing about the rules involved when a player has been drinking and is scheduled to play. I will say the answer was somewhat evasive in that they “thought” he was capable of playing. There was no comment on whether they thought they made the right decision.
Continue reading The Dombrowski Presser

Tigers go closer by committee

The Tigers are certainly making the last week of an agonizingly long spring training interesting. The other news of the day is that Fernando Rodney will be the closer on Opening Day (presuming of course they need a closer). But that he might not be after that. But Jim Leyland isn’t naming him the closer for the season and it sounds like others (Lyon/Zumaya/Perry) will get shots at it as well. There’s no word on if Fernando Rodney’s gator tooth factored into the decision.

So for everybody looking for saves on their fantasy team, probably best to stay away from the Tigers. Then again maybe you were already doing this.