The Neifi Perez era may be over in Detroit as the veteran infielder filed for free agency yesterday. It’ll be interesting to see if Neifi will latch on after the drug suspensions or whether his illustrious career is now over.
That’s two pretty good bluechip prospects for Renteria. I’ll comment more on this deal
tonight. Make that tomorrow. I’m having some periodic internet outages so I don’t want to have to redo this several times.
It’s funny because a couple of weeks ago, a friend asked me what big move the Tigers would make this offseason. I told him they’d trade for Edgar Renteria, which was probably one of the worst kept secrets out there. Odds are good this deal was done a while ago, but the two teams were just waiting to make the announcement once the Red Sox finished things up yesterday.
Anyway, on the face of things, I think the Tigers gave up a little too much, but they gave it up at spots where they already have strengths. Jair Jurrjens would have been hard pressed to make a healthy Tigers’ rotation next year and while Gorkys Hernandez appeared to be a keeper, he’s following in the footsteps of phenom Cameron Maybin and is at best two years away.
In my opinion, Edgar Renteria is a bit overrated. In his past five years, he’s had two really good years, two pretty poor years and then a season that’s right in the middle. He’s won two gold gloves, but only one of those was probably warranted and in his past six years, he’s finished with negative fielding runs above average. And if you’re looking at range factor, he’s middle of the pack. I was going to compare him to Carlos Guillen in the field, but the Hardball Times site started getting glitchy. Anyway, fielding wise, Renteria vs. Guillen is probably a push.
Of course you can’t really compare him to Guillen because Carlos will be playing first base. Unfortunately, that’ll diminish his value a bit because now instead of being one of the better hitting shortstops, he’ll be a mediocre hitting first baseman. I thought they would have been better off finding a decent hitting first baseman and keeping Guillen at shortstop for one more year but all of those errors piling up must have been the driver behind the trade.
Basically what it comes down to is which Edgar Renteria shows up. If it’s the 2007 version and the Tigers win the division, the deal makes sense. If it’s the 2005 version and we don’t, then we got hosed. Regardless, it’s probably better having Renteria/Guillen then Guillen/Casey like we had last year so it is an upgrade but giving Thames another shot at first base would have been an interesting move. So, we’ll see in 2008.
Not sure why I picked today to end my little sabatical, but it is what it is. Jason Beck answered reader’s mail yesterday in his regular mailbag column and he talks about everything from Cameron Maybin to the differences between the Arizona Fall League and the Hawaiian Winter League.
Also, the Tigers made a front office move and you can check up on how the Tigers’ farmhands are doing in the AFL in this column.
Two Tiger draft picks are turning heads in this year Florida Instructional League. Rick Porcello is an obvious one because of the hype surrounding him in the 2007 draft and fifth round pick Casey Crosby is also making an impact down in Florida and it was very nice to read about how Porcello has a four pitch arsenal that he’s using. It’ll be interesting to see how high these two guys make it next year. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Porcello at Erie by the end of the year.
The Tigers are going with Ivan Rodriguez as their catcher for another year. Look for my commentary tonight.
The Tigers picked up their option on Pudge today at a net cost of $10 million. He’ll make $13 million but the buyout was $3 million so the Tigers would have been on the hook regardless.
At the plate, Pudge had one of his worst seasons in his career. His EQA was a pedestrian .237 and while his lifetime EQA is just .270 because of his disdain for walks, the .237 was the lowest of his career since his rookie season was back in 1991. His defense was there though with ten fielding runs above average or, if you’re into Win Shares, he earned 7.2 of them on defense and that was good for fourth place in the American League.
What it basically came down to was, a mediocre Pudge is still better then a lot of other options. There’s no great free agent catchers out there and you a team like the Mets would have been all over him. Yeah, we’ll probably be overpaying him but it’ll probably be worth more then having a less expensive, yet ineffective platoon between Mike Rabello and Vance Wilson.
It looks like Jose Mesa is back to his old tricks. He was hammered for three runs in the Phillies’ loss to the Rockies yesterday. It’s almost kind of sad that he’s on a playoff roster.
Jim Leyland got his contract extended for an extra year and he’s locked in as the Tigers manager through 2009. Leyland’s has a very respectable 183-141 record since joining the Tigers.
Two former Tigers won both the NL and AL comeback player of the year. Carlos Pena won the AL comeback player of the year after belting 46 homers while Dmitri Young his a career high .320. Congrats to both on turning their careers around.
Alright, the Rockies became the final team to enter the playoffs this year with an exciting win over the Padres so the cast of eight is now set. There’s no baseball today, but tomorrow things kick off with three games. I’m kind of bummed because I’m working a contract job right now and while the money is nice, I was really hoping to enjoy being home to watch the playoffs. Then again, there’s usually just the one day game so I won’t be missing too much. Anyway, in yet another chance to make a fool of myself, here’s how I think the playoffs are going to play out.
American League Division Series
LA Angels versus Boston – This is a tough one to pick because you very well may have the two best team’s baseball going up against each other in the best round. Tough to call, but I’ll say the Angels win it in five games. They have the arms as do the Red Sox, I just think the Angels arms are a touch better down the line.
Yankees versus Indians – The two teams that the Tigers were chasing in September, I think the Yankees win this one. Their offense will just be too good for even the front end starters of the Indians and I see them winning in four games.
National League Division Series
Rockies versus Phillies – I’m taking the Phillies here for a couple of different reasons. One, I always look back at 1987 and see the Tigers having that dramatic push to get into the playoffs only to get spanked in the postseason. I think the Rockies will suffer some of that but to an extent, the Phillies face the same thing. I also think the extra game is going to hurt the Rockies so I’ll say Phillies in four.
Diamondbacks versus Cubs – It’s interesting because you have two franchises in the National League end of the playoffs that are known for their futility and they very well could play each other for a chance for that elusive World Series win. The Cubs haven’t won in 99 years, but I can see them getting past the Diamondbacks in five games.
American League Championship Series
Yankees versus Angels – At the beginning of the year, I picked the Yankees to win it all. I’m not going to change that and I think the Yankees will avenge their 2002 playoff loss to the Angels and beat them in six games.
National League Championship Series
Cubs versus Phillies – You have the 99 year drought of the Cubs and the 27 year drought and 10,000 losses of the Phillies. I think the Cubs have the arms though and that’ll be the difference in this one. Cubs win it handily in five games.
Cubs versus Yankees – You have a team who, in the past 84 years, has won 26 World Series and then there’s the team that hasn’t won one in 99 years. Still, I think the Yankees put it together and are just too much in an exciting seven game series.
So that’s it. One thing I always love about the playoffs is the usual high quality of the games. Take last night’s for example with a thirteen inning thriller. Still wish the Tigers were there, but I’ll be enjoying these final weeks of baseball none the less.
The Tigers closed the book on their 2007 season with a blowout win over the White Sox yesterday. I was in Toronto over the weekend so I wasn’t able towatch much of the action but Magglio Ordonez went three for four and he belted his 54th homer of the season. He finished the season with a .363 batting average and he’s the first Tiger to win the batting title since Norm Cash did it way back in 1961. His .363 mark is the highest for a batting title qualifier since Charlie Gehringer his .371 way back in 1937. The 54 doubles put him fifth on the Tigers single season doubles list.
Placido Polanco got one hit but that’s all he needed to reach 200 for the season. 1937 is the last time two or more Tigers picked up 200 hits and that year, four Tigers reached the milestone. Carlos Guillen also had a big game and he drove in four runs to cross the 100 RBI mark for the first time in his career.
Curtis Granderson finished the season with 84 extra base hits and that’s good for eighth on the Tigers single season leader list. Five of the seasons ahead of him are Hank Greenberg and the only other Tiger to have more extra base hits then Granderson had this year are Rudy York and Charlie Gehringer.
Anyway, at the plate, several Tigers did things that hadn’t been done in a while and despite missing the playoff, the Tigers did provide some excitement this year. It’s hard to believe that just two years ago, the Tigers and playoffs in the same sentence were a joke and while you have to be a little bummed they didn’t make it this year, this is a team with a solid core that should be good for years to come. I’ll definitely be looking forward to 2008.
We get a bonus game tonight as the Padres and Rockies have a play in game for the Wild Card. Once things are set, I’ll do my annual playoff predictions most likely tomorrow.