Archive for December, 2009

Fernando Rodney and the Holidays

Fernando Rodney got a little Christmas present as he was locked up by the Angels for two years.  The final number is $11 million and he’ll fortify and already formidable Angels bullpen. What’s interesting is Rodney won’t close to start the season.  Brian Fuentes has been erratic in the past though and he’s lost his closer job before but it looks like Rodney is settling for a set up role with a very good Angels team.

Things have been quiet in Tiger land.  The Tigers trade Dusty Ryan to the Padres for the infamous player to be name or later (or potentially cash).  That’s no surprise with the emergence of Al Avila as the Tigers top catching prospect.  The White Sox scooped up Freddy Dolsi and the Tigers signed.  The Tigers also signed reliever Phil Dumatrait to a minor league deal and he’ll probably get an invite to the big league camp.

With that, I wanted to wish everyone a happy holiday.  Be safe.

Ramon Santiago Back in the Fold

The Tigers locked up Ramon Santiago to a two year deal yesterday and with that, the Tigers pretty much have their infield set.  He got a two year deal worth $2.5 million.  With that, he’ll provide the Tigers with the same tools he did last year and he’ll back up both Adam Everett at shortstop and Scott Sizemore at second base.  He’ll also provide the Tigers a stop gap at second base if Scott Sizemore struggles in his first major league season.

Just as interesting is Santiago’s history.  He was the starting shortstop for the infamous 2003 Tigers when he played in what will probably be a career high 141 games.  Then he was traded to Seattle for Carlos Guillen in one of the best trades ever by the Tigers before he flamed out, was released by the Mariners after the 2005 season, then he came back to Detroit and he’s been with them ever since.

The Other Big Trade

Well, the Tigers got trumped earlier this week depending on how you look at things and the Phillies, Blue Jays and Mariners combined to pull off a deal that moved two ace pitchers in the three team deal.  Fortunately, things have been quiet in the AL Central (unless you count Juan Pierre to the White Sox) so even with (in my opinion) an inferior Tigers team heading into 2010, the Tigers still should compete in the AL Central. 

It’s just funny how things have come full circle.  In the early 2000s, the Central was weak then for a few years there (2006-2008) it seemed to strengthen up, only now to have the division once again be one of the weaker in baseball.

I’m also curious to see if the Tigers are done.  I still think (and again, this is opinon with no inside information), the money behind the Tigers aren’t doing very well and while the Tigers may have made some kind of profit, Mike Ilitch is going through a tough patch.  I actually think the fact that the Tigers didn’t offer Placido Polanco arbitration was more telling of the trade that was made during the Winter Meetings as well.  A slow start by the team might give the front office more incentive to begin unloading high salary players (if they can find a taker).

Fernando Rodney looks like he might be going to the Phillies.  Brad Lidge is signed through 2011 so that would put Rodney back in a set up role, but for a top tier contender.  We’ll see where his motives lie based on who he signs with.

Fernando Rodney, Phil Coke and Marcus Thames

Good luck to Fernando Rodney.  He’s looking for a three year, $30 million dollar deal.  That pretty much ends any chance of him coming back to the Detroit unless he really comes down from those demands.  Earlier in this long piece, there’s some cool quotes with Jim Leyland about arguing with umpires.

This is old, but John Lowe has speculated that Phil Coke could land in the Tigers rotation in 2010.  In 2009, he was used as a reliever but for most of his minor league career, he was a starter.  With the competition out there at the back of the rotation, he definitely warrants some consideration.

Finally, it looks like the Indians and the Blue Jays have some interest in Marcus Thames.  I hope he avoids the Indians because having him come back to haunt us is a distinct possibility.

Rule 5 Shutout and Joel Zumaya

The Tigers not only didn’t pick a player in yesterday’s rule 5 draft (which isn’t a surprise), but they also didn’t have a player taken from them.  I’m not sure if this is an expression of the Tigers mediocre farm system or just luck, but it is what is.  The Tigers have had some moderate short term luck with the Rule 5 picks with the team still trying to contend, it doesn’t make sense to carry a minor league player on the roster for the entire year.

The Tigers admitted tha signing Fernando Rodney is a long shot so now everyone is naming Joel Zumaya the 2010 closer.  He’s had a couple (okay, a few) rough years so I think this premature.  I know he only has a year of MLB experience under his belt, but I think Ryan Perry gets the job out of camp.

Tigers Sign Backup Catcher, Astros Sign Brandon Lyon

The Tigers signed backup catcher Robinzon Diaz on the same day the Tigers made announced their big trade with the Diamondbacks and Yankees.  He was given a minor league contract by Detroit after he was cut loose by the Pirates.  Diaz is a solid contact hitter (.301 lifetime minor league batting average) who doesn’t hit for much power but also doesn’t strikeout much. It’ll come down to what the Tigers think is best for Al Avila.  Gerald Laird is the starter for at least one more year (unless he’s dealt) so if the Tigers want Avila to play every day, it’ll be with Toledo.

Also, the Brandon Lyon era with the Tigers is over after just one year.  Lyon signed a three year deal with the Astros that’s contingent on Lyon passing a physical.

Breaking Down the Trade

Alright, the deal is done and unfortunately, the Tigers no longer have Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson.  Jackson hadn’t been around long enough for me to grow attached but Granderson was part of that big 2006 run and he’s home grown.  In addition, he’s also become the face of the team and now he’s playing for the Yankees (which is great for him because the Yankees are probably favorites to win again heading into 2010).

Now the Tigers have four players and I got this great quote from one of my sources at the meeting:s

“As you say, the deal (if done as reported) doesn’t look like a bad deal for the Tigers, especially once other clubs thought they could get a fabulous deal from Detroit because the Tigers were apparently in payroll-cutting mode. Dombrowski, however, is smarter than the GMs of clubs like Pittsburgh and KC, who get fleeced when it becomes known that they need to move a player or players due to salary or cost cutting.”

I couldn’t have said it any better because what has turned into what I thought would be a bad situation now doesn’t look all that bad.  We have a top draft pick and a ready made fill in to pick up where Curtis Granderson left off. Let’s see who our new Tigers are:

Max Scherzer – The crown jewel of the deal, Scherzer was the Diamondbacks first round draft pick back 2006 and he’s best known as being the last guy to hold out all the way to the next year’s draft simply because the rules have changed and now you can no longer do it (there’s an August deadline or you go back into the draft).  He has 215 strikeouts in 164 1/3 career minor league innings and in 2009 (his first real full season in the majors), Scherzer struck out 174 in 170 1/3 innings.  It’ll be interesting to see how he does in the American League but the guy has a power arm which Dombrowski always like.  This gives the Tigers a solid top three to the rotation and if Scherzer finds his groove and Verlander takes a step back, we could be looking at our most productive pitcher in 2010.

Austin Jackson – One of the Yankees top prospects, Jackson should slip in and become the Tigers starting centerfielder although he’s never played at the big league level yet.  He doesn’t hit for a ton of power (yet) but he draws some walks.  He looks a lot like a light version of Curtis Granderson where if he works hard, he could to a 15 home run/20 stolen base level but like any prospect (Cameron Maybin for example), there are some risks that he doesn’t pan out.  He’s no where near the known commodity that Curtis Granderson was but he’ll probably be the starter coming out of spring training.

Phil Coke – Coke pitched well enough to earn a spot on the Yankees post season roster in 2009 and he was mostly used as a one or two out guy through out the year by New York (72 games, 60 innings pitched).  In 38 of 72 games, pitched less then a full inning but he can also work deep with his longest outing being two frames which he did three times.  He was really good against left handed batters (.584 OPS against) and pretty good against righties (.778 OPS against).  The other nice thing about Coke is he has a lot of experience as a starter in the minors (77 starts in 125 career minor league games).  He makes for a nice alternative to Bobby Seay and Fu-Te Ni and it’ll be nice having a third reliable lefty coming out of the pen.

Daniel Schlereth – The Diamondbacks first round draft pick in 2008, Schlereth was fast tracked to the majors after some dominating minor league numbers (1.13 ERA, 60 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings).  He was called up by the Diamondbacks in May and while he didn’t dominate (5.89 ERA), he did strikeout 22 in 18 1/3 innings unfortunately he walked 15.  If this guy gets some control, he could be wicked.

Anyway, the Tigers rebuilt their bullpen, don’t have to worry about Rodney or Lyon signing and they got at least a fill in replacement for Granderson, albeit a rookie one.  I really like Scherzer too.  And of course the Tigers are saving a bunch of money so this might preclude them from dumping more salary.  Of course we’ll see but if you take away the emotions, I think this is a really good deal.

Done Deal – Tigers Trade Granderson and Jackson

The Tigers finally got the deal done.  I never thought I’d agree with a deal that sends both Granderson and Jackson out of Detroit, but the Tigers actually got quite a bit here.  I’ll break down the trade in a little bit.

Big Trade Getting Closer

Alright, this was published about a half hour ago and it looks like the big three way trade between the Tigers, Yankees and Diamondbacks is getting closer.  It looks likes now the Diamondbacks are giving up a little more and the Yankees a little less with Michael Dunn coming off of the deal and the Diamondbacks adding in Daniel Schlereth (although it’s not clear if he’s going to the Yankees or Tigers).

This would be an interesting deal because it would also save Jim Leyland some face.  The Tigers are giving up Granderson and Jackson, but his comments about no fire sale would have some bearing because the Tigers would be getting plenty of major league ready talent in return.

Quick Hit: Trade Rumors

Jon Paul Morosi provides some news via Twitter.  It looks like the whole three way trade talk is cooling off and now the Angels (where I thought Granderson would go) have surfaced as suitors again.

Sorting Through it All As We Head Into Day Two

Alright, day one of the Winter Meetings is in the book and the book rumor this morning is a three way deal between the Diamondbacks, Tigers and Yankees.  The Tigers would get Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson, Michael Dunn and Phil Coke and they’d send Curtis Granderson to the Yankees and Edwin Jackson to the Diamondbacks.  It’s an interesting move because the Tigers would save some money short term, but they’d be getting players that are already major league ready.  We’ll see if this has legs because Buster Olney is already saying only one team “really” likes this deal.

Both Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon turned down arbitration.  The Tigers are talking to Lyon about bringing him back after Lyon got snubbed by the Phillies.  It’s funny that the Tigers are still throwing out Joel Zumaya as a closing option after all of the injuries.  While you can’t factor him out, I think it’s a stretch to already be naming him your closer.

This is going to be the case with just about decent reliever, but the Tigers name was thrown into hat of teams looking at J.J. Putz.

Former Tigers Ivan Rodriguez signed a two year deal with the Nationals.  I’m a little surprised by that.

And finally, this is a good story on the Winter Meetings in general.

Quick Hit: Edwin Jackson for Max Scherzer

According to Matthew Pouliot, it looks like the Diamondbacks would be willing to part with one time super prospect Max Scherzer in exchange for Edwin Jackson.  It looks like in order to pull it off, the Tigers would have to work another team into the picture that would probably involve Curtis Granderson.

Tigers Sign Adam Everett

Lee Panas reports that the Tigers have inked Adam Everett to a one year deal.  I think Rick Porcello is breathing a sigh of relief because being a big time ground ball pitcher, he relied on that infield defense that Everett shored up.  It also takes some of the sting out of losing Polanco and Scott Sizemore will have a veteran to work with as a double play combo.  Terms were not disclosed.

Quick Hit: Brandon Lyon Coming Back to Detroit

Billfer fills us in on what’s happening with Brandon Lyon.  The latest is he’s going to decline arbitration, but still sign with the team because he wants a multi-year deal.  He was originally pegged to go to Philly, but his asking price was too much.

For more funny stuff, Aaron Gleeman runs down what happened at a press conference with Ozzie Guillen.

Quick Hit: Clearing Things Up On Edwin Jackson (Or Not)

This Free Press story kind of sums things up nicely.  The Tigers are close to trading Jackson (again) and there’s five teams mentioned so anything could still happen.

On a lighter note, this is funny.

Quick Hit: Tigers Trade Clay Rapada

The Tigers traded relief pitcher Clay Rapada to the Rangers for the infamous player to be named later.  Billfer also reports that Zach Simons has been outrighted and the Tigers picked up Brad Thomas, who’s pitched in Korea the past couple of seasons.

Quick Hit: Edwin Jackson Again

Bob Nightengale at the USA Today has reported that the Tigers are close to a deal to trade Edwin Jackson and Curtis Granderson is still being shopped.  So much for the “no fire sale” comment from Jim Leyland.  I knew this was going to crazy week but the back and forth on the Tigers has been pretty interesting.

Quick Hit: Leyland Proclaims No Fire Sale

Apparantly, I’m foolish.  I guess I’ll believe it when I see it.  Of course he never defines fire sale so his statement could mean anything.  We’ll see if this is more posturing or whether it proves to be true.

It also looks like Adam Everett is asking for a raise.  The latest has him wanting a $3 million deal.  The Tigers, Pirates and an undisclosed third team apparantly have some interest in signing Everett.  I hope he comes back if Bobby Crosby or, gulp, Miguel Tejada are options to man shortstop for the Tigers in 2010.

Quick Hit: Add Yankees to List of Granderson Suitors

Keep in mind, there’s a lot of posturing going on here.  The Tigers are trying to drum up as much interest in their players as possible to get a bidding war going.  That’s why I take this report that the Yankees are now interested in Curtis Granderson with a grain of salt.  There’s no doubt the Yankees could end up with Granderson but it’s hard to say from the quote whether the Yankees have actually shown any interest or not.  I’m sure just about every team wants Curtis Granderson….for the right price.

Quick Hit: Tigers Among Teams Interested In Kevin Gregg

The Tigers are one of four teams named by Tim Brown as being in the early market for reliever Kevin Gregg.  Again, I don’t expect the Tigers to move on a reliever until after the arbitration deadline tonight but it’s at least good to see the team is thinking ahead.

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