Junkballing: Payroll, Minors, and more

Good thing there’s no game today, because there is a lot to link to!

Tigers have second highest payroll

The Tigers official Opening Day payroll is $138.7 million which places Detroit in 2nd place – far behind the Yankees. My unofficial total of $134 million, which didn’t include some of the players making near the league minimum, isn’t too far off. Certainly within $2-3 million.

The Mets are not even a half mil behind the Tigers at $138.3 and the Red Sox are next at $133.4.

So yeah, there’s some pressure on the Tigers to win.

Minor League Rosters

The bevy of Tigers blogs covering the minors have been working on putting the rosters together. The Surge has the Whitecaps roster. Among the 2008 ‘Caps I’m most interested in are shortstop Audy Ciriaco and reliever Noah Krol.

LFT Blog has the Lakeland roster which I find quite interesting. The rotation features Rick Porcello along with Jonah Nickerson, Duane Below, and Luis Marte. The up the middle players feature top catching prospect James Skelton and the double play combo will be Scott Sizemore and Cale Iorg. Take 75 North points out that the team at the end of the season might not resemble this roster at all with a number of players who could be moved up if they produce.

The Seawolves roster features Wilkin Ramirez who was having a standout spring before injuring his shoulder. If his performance catches up with his tools he could become a top 10 prospect in the system (he already has been).

The Toledo roster is most interesting in the outfield. It’s Brent Clevlen’s make or break year, and we’ll see if Matt Joyce can build on his late season success at Toledo. Clete Thomas will likely join the team when Curtis Granderson returns to Detroit.

But overall, the system has been depleted. Baseball America’s organizational rankings place the Tigers 27th.

UPDATE: Right after hitting publish I see that Tigerblog announced that Tigers 2007 draft pick Andrew Hess will be blogging for Tigers Minors.

Interviews

Ian is determined to make a name for himself in Kansas City and interviews his second KC writer in a week. This time it is uber columnist and blogger Joe Posnanski.

Empty the Bench takes a turn interviewing Curtis Granderson.

Other stuff

I thought about labeling this last section garbage time, but didn’t want to offend anyone.

  • Tigers and Tim Byrdak are talking. The team is looking to sign him to a minor league deal. He’d join the recently acquired Aaron Fultz as lefties in the Mud Hens bullpen.
  • Wikio Rankings – DTW is 71!. This very site ranks 71st amongst sports blogs. It’s hard to believe how many quality, well regarded, sports blogs are out there. Being on the list is an honor.
  • Bad Bullpens. From the Copa notes that everyone is having pen problems.

Minor Notes

Tigers fans who dig minor league baseball are especially fortunate. The resources covering the Tigers are remarkable and go beyond the work that you’ll find at Baseball America or Minor League Ball. Both of these sites are great, but they have to cover 30 teams’ minor league systems. The Tigers have multiple blogs focused on just their system.

Take 75 North debuted last year and has done a tremendous job all year. A recent case in point is Matt’s in depth analysis of the Mike Hernandez/Armando Galarraga trade.

The Surge, dedicated to all things West Michigan Whitecaps, just posted their third interview. This time with top Detroit prospect Scott Sizemore.

Now a couple of Lakeland-ites launched a blog covering the High A Flying Tigers. Both of the authors are active members at Motown Sports and I look forward to the analysis and coverage that they’ll bring this season.

If you want to go the pay route there is also TigsTown. The Scouts.com site has the connections and talent to provide a level of minor league analysis that is unsurpassed. Want a full length articles about the top 50 prospects in the system? Tigstown is your place. Want to know who is coming stateside from this year from the DSL and VSL? You’ll find it at Tigstown.