Over the summer, work prevented me from posting as much as I’d like. Now that I have the time, there’s been little to talk about. The winter meetings are a distant past and the Tigers have been pretty quiet when it comes to the free agent market. While the Yankees have made their splash, the biggest signing the Tigers have made so far has been Adam Everett.
Oh wait, one piece of news is the Tigers bloated salary last year cost the team $1.3 million via the luxury tax. The Angels and Red Sox have also crossed the threshold in years past and unless I’m missing a team, the Tigers are now the fourth team to make a payment. Of course the fourth team are the Yankees, who have been perennial donors to the luxury tax pot.
It looks like the Washington Nationals are in the same boat that the Tigers were back in 2005. The Tigers made several offers to high profile players like Carl Pavano and Steve Finley only to have player after player decline their offers for greener pastures. Now it’s the Nationals, who made a huge offer to Mark Teixeira, who are being snubbed. According to this story, the Nationals offered a slightly larger amount then the Yankees did and were willing to go even higher, but the idea of playing for an instant contender must have pushed Teixeira to the Bronx.
It seems like between my work for Tigers Corner 2009 and the Hardball Times Annual Season Preview 2009, I’ve beat the 2008 season to death. Still, Jason Beck does a nice job in this piece of going through the carnage of what was the 2008 Tigers season.
The MLB Network kicks off on Thursday. Unfortunately, because I’m too cheap to pay for digital cable, I won’t get the station. I did get a nice new toy for Christmas though so I’m happy despite the fact I won’t get to see Don Larsen’s perfect game on New Years Day.
The Tigers are close to signing former Marlins catcher Matt Treanor to serve as their backup backstop to Gerald Laird. Treanor has spent five seasons with the Marlins and not once has he topped 70 games. His best season is 2007 when he hit a career high .269 with four homeruns.
For now, it looks like Dusty Ryan is going to find his time for the Mud Hens. That’s not a horrible move because it’ll give Ryan the chance to work every day. Treanor’s deal appears to be for just one year ($705k salary) so if Ryan performs as expected, he should slide into at least the backup role in 2010.
And while you’re over at MLB.com, there’s also a good column on Fernando Rodney. I think to rely on Rodney to close all season is a risk but for now, that’s the hand we’ve drawn.
The Tigers finalized a one year, $1 million deal for shortstop Adam Everett today. While I’m still not interested in seeing him at the plate, having both he and Brandon Inge on the left side of the infield should be fun to watch.
There’s still no indication how he’ll be splitting time with the freshly signed Ramon Santiago but it wouldn’t surprise me if Leyland goes with the hot hand from week to week. Everett is right handed where as Santiago is a switch hitter so that’ll mean something as well. We probably won’t find out exactly what happens until spring training.
Things have been quiet since the winter meetings have ended but the Tigers have been rumored to have talked with Derrick Turnbow. The right hander was the Brewers closer in 2005 (when he was very good) and 2006 (when he wasn’t) before being relegated to a middle relief role in 2007 (when he was okay) but he was out because of a bad shoulder for most of 2008.
A couple of other teams have been interested, but it looks like at least for now, no team has been willing to give him a major league contract. This report talks about him having a throwing session in January, but by then the cat will be out of the bag and you wonder if it’d make sense to pull the trigger now before the rest of the league sees what he can do.
The Tigers inked shortstop Ramon Santiago to a one year, $825,000 deal that means the Tigers will avoid arbitration. Santiago is a slick fielder with good range and it looks like he’ll share time with Adam Everett, who the Tigers signed earlier this week. Everett has been deemed the starter, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Santiago gets his share of starts if he shows he can do what he did last year with the bat (.282 average and four homers in 124 at bats).
The non-tender deadline is tonight and Jason Beck reports that the Tigers might not have any this year. If there is one, it’ll probably be Aquilino Lopez. Like Beck talks about in the column, what’s just as important is who’s a non-tender from other teams (with Takashi Saito being one player who could hit the market).
For one last tidbit, Jon Paul Morosi runs down Wil Rhymes fantastic season in the Arizona Fall League this year. It still wasn’t good enough to get him on the top ten prospect list though.
The non-tender list is out, and the Tigers have none so they must have made an offer to everyone, including Aquilino Lopez. There are some interesting names on there, including Dodgers closer Takashi Saito as well as a slew of starters like Denny Bautista, Chuck James, Tim Redding and Chris Capuano. Also making the list was former Tiger Wil Ledezma. The Rays gave up on Jonny Gomes and the Rockies, who dealt for him just a couple of years, failed to offer a deal to Willie Taveras.
Now it looks like Lopez wasn’t offered a deal after all.
The Tigers picked up a new player and then consequently lost one in the Rule 5 draft earlier this afternoon, which typically marks the end of the winter meetings. Kyle Bloom will get a chance to show his stuff for Detroit this spring. The fifth round pick by the Pirates back in 2004, Bloom has been slow in developing for Pittsburgh. He’s 25 and spent the entire season with Altoona, the Pirates Double-A affiliate and while he struck out 93 batters in 109 2/3 innings. He did pitch very well in Hawaii though and he finished 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in seven starts with 32 strikeouts in 30 innings.
Bloom will get a chance to show what he can do out of the pen but like all Rule 5 picks, there’s not a lot of risk here. If he doesn’t make the team this spring, he’ll get shipped back to Pittsburgh but the Tigers must have thought something of him to at least give him a shot.
James Skelton is the Tigers who’s on the move and it’s the Diamondbacks who choose him in the draft. Skelton has been a fringe prospect for the Tigers since they drafted him in the fourteenth round of the 2004 draft. He had a solid season last year for mostly Lakeland and partially Erie. He doesn’t have a lot of power and his biggest knock has been size. You don’t see too many 5’11”. 165 lb. catchers these days. Still, I wish him the best of luck in what can be viewed as a big opportunity.
Nightmare Man movies The Tigers traded left handed outfielder Matt Joyce for Rays hurler Edwin Jackson. Joyce, despite a solid rookie season in 2008, would have been hard pressed to find a spot on the team after it was announced that Carlos Guillen would be moving to left for the 2009 season. That would have put Joyce no better then fifth on the outfield depth chart so he would have either spent a lot of time on the bench, or a lot of time in Toledo.
Edwin Jackson was a top prospect for the Dodgers at one point but after a solid September callup in 2003, he never quite got it done and was eventually dealt to the Rays. Even there he never quite put it together until this past season when he finished 14-11 with a 4.42 ERA.
This worries me a little bit if the Tigers are relying on Jackson to just step right into to one of the open rotation spots. Some of his past seasons, namely 2007, have been pretty poor and he’s never logged more then 184 major league innings in a season. The good news is, Jackson is still young so if 2008 was a step on his way to pitching maturity, this could be a good value play. As always, we’ll have to wait and see.
The Tigers also lost out on J.J. Putz. It looks like the price tage was too high and he now finds himself with the Mets in what could be one of the best one-two punches in baseball with Putz and Francisco Rodriguez.
A Complete History of My Sexual Failures buy Day two of the winter meetings is winding down and while the Tigers weren’t nearly as busy in the press today, they were linked to a couple of relief pitchers. First up is the Tigers have talked to the Mariners about J.J. Putz. It wasn’t that long ago that Putz was one of the best relievers in the American League but he spent some time on the shelf last year and had a down season. It looks like the price tag is going to be either Matt Joyce or Jeff Larish, neither of whom would be a huge loss to the team. I’ve alway liked Larish, but he’s a man without a position and he has little to prove in the minors. Joyce is also an odd man out but the Tigers would probably have more use for another left handed outfielder then they would a left handed infielder.
The Tigers also appear to have their eye on Joe Beimel. This isn’t an either/or either because Beimel is a free agent and the Tigers could easily pull the trigger on both guys and instantly bolster their bullpen. Beimel is a left handed specialist and could be a good complement to Bobby Seay.
If the Tigers can make either or both of these moves, I like the way things are shaping up. Of course they still have some holes in the rotation, but even there they have stopgaps in the event they don’t sign a middle tier free agent.
The Tigers made a couple of different moves today and the end result is, the Tigers now have a full slate of position players. Move number one came this morning when it was announced that the Tigers had send minor leaguers Guillermo Moscoso and Carlos Melo to the Rangers for Gerald Laird. Up until 2006, Laird had served as a backup to Rod Barajas and finally got his chance to shine in 2007 as a starter. Unfortunately, he fell flat and finished with just a .627 OPS. In 2008 he was written off as trade bait because the Rangers had acquired Jarrod Saltalamacchia in a trade deadline deal for Mark Teixeira but won the job after an impressive spring. His season wasn’t spectacular, but he logged 24 doubles and a .398 slugging percentage in 95 games.
Moscoso was the jewel of the trade for the Rangers. He broke out in a big way last year and struck out 122 batters in 96 2/3 innings pitched between Erie and Lakeland. The downside for Moscoso is he’s already 25 and has played just half a season above High A but you can’t argue with those numbers. He also just made the top ten Tigers prospect list by Baseball America.
There’s not a lot on Carlos Melo as he hasn’t played in the United States yet. He won’t turn 18 until February and in his one season in the Dominican Summer League, he was 3-3 with 61 strikeouts in 49 innings pitched.
So there’s your catcher. The Tigers also picked up at least a stop gap at shortstop when they reportedly signed Adam Everett to a one year deal. I talked about this yesterday, but Everett was the latest in a string of no-hit, good field pickups the Tigers were rumored to be involved in. Odds are Everett is kept on a short leash and if he gets off to a rough start, the Tigers won’t waste much time in going to Ramon Santiago. Both will most likely make the roster and whoever isn’t starting will be the Tigers utility middle infielder.
The Tigers just solved their catching problem. More on this later tonight.
It looks like the Tigers haven’t exhausted all of their no hit, good fielding options at shortstop. According to Jason Beck, the Tigers might have their eyes on Adam Everett, who spent the season as a backup for the Twins last year. Everett has spent most of his time with the Astros and when he was playing full time, he probably warranted a gold glove or two. The problem is, he’s never had a slugging percentage above .400 in any given season. I still think they should give Ramon Santiago a shot (not that he’s all that great of a hitter) and use the money they save somewhere else.
Rick Porcello was picked as the fourth best prospect in minor league baseball by MiLB.com. The Florida State League player of the year should make his debut at Double A next year and depending on how the rotation turns out, there’s an outside shot that Porcello works himself into a thin rotation in the second half of the season. Ironically, Cameron Maybin was picked as the fifth best prospect in all of baseball.
Carlos Guillen isn’t wasting any time as he transitions from third base to left field. He’ll train with with the Magallanes in the Venezuelan Winter League. It looks like he’ll start playing around December 15th and it’ll be the first time since 2005 that he’s played winter ball.
It looks like Dave Dombrowski isn’t a betting man and I think the fact that the Tigers didn’t offer Edgar Renteria arbitration was a wise one. Had the Tigers offered Edgar arbitration and he refused and signed elsewhere, the Tigers would have gotten two draft picks. Of course the gamble is, he takes the bait and the Tigers are forced to go with Renteria for another year at short. Instead, the Tigers just chose not to take the draft pick bait and cut ties with the shortstop.
Now, the Tigers have to figure out what to do at shortstop. They’ve all but written off Ramon Santiago as a full year option saying he’s not durable enough to man the spot for an entire season. The problem is, none of the names that have been thrown around in a trade haven’t been all the appealing. Julio Lugo, Alex Cora nor Jack Wilson really sound all that appealing. There’s really no immediate help in the system. Cale Iorg has been pegged as the shortstop of the future, but he still hasn’t even made it to Double-A yet (where he’s expected to play in 2009). That puts him at least a year away unless he’s an even bigger surprise and lights it up in the minors.