Archive for February, 2010

Quick Hit: Avisail Garcia Profile

John Wagner’s latest at Baseball America is a nice piece on Avisail Garcia. one of the Tigers younger prospects to keep an eye on.  Garcia made his debut with the Whitecaps last year but he’s still only 17 so I agree some more time at Low-A will do this kid some good.  Talk about a wild card.  He made 10 errors but had 13 outfield assists in just 80 games last season.  Looks like he could use some patience at the plate as well. Still, it’ll be nice seeing how he develops.

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Quick Hit: Johnny Damon Press Conference at 2 PM

It’s official.  The Tigers are going to have a press conference at 2 pm to announce the Johnny Damon signing.  I’m a lot more excited about the Tigers now then I was back in December when the team dealt Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson.

Tigers Sign Johnny Damon to One Year Deal

After a couple of weeks of speculation, the Tigers finally inked Johnny Damon to a one year, $8 million deal.  That’ll make Damon the everyday left fielder with Ryan Raburn spelling him now and then.  What makes this move interesting is how the domino effect.  Raburn is going to lose out on some time because he would have gotten more play in left if it were just Carlos Guillen.  And now Carlos Guillen doesn’t have a spot outside of designated hitter unless Leyland shuffles Guillen and Damon between left field and DH.  It also means a player like Austin Jackson, who was probably on the fringe of making the team, falls off of the roster and at least starts the season in Toledo.

Damon should bat either first or second in the lineup and my guess is begins the season leading off so that problem is solved too.  My guess is Damon’s home runs come way down (most of his home runs were hit in hitter friendly Yankee Stadium) but his doubles should go up.  Still, he’s most likely an upgrade over what we have out in left prior to the signing.

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I’m going to write a offseason summary now that it looks like most of the moves are done so look for that tomorrow or Tuesday.  I actually think the Tigers are a better team in 2010 then in 2009 (if you just look at the short term implications) but I need to think through it by writing it all down.

Quick Hit: BP's First Pass Has Tigers In First Place

Baseball Prospectus recently unveiled their AL Central preview and talk about some interesting results.  The good news is, they have the Tigers tied for first place.  The bad news is, they’re tied with the Twins and White Sox and all three teams have a projected record of 80-82.  That’s right, nobody is projected to have a winning record.

Christina Karhl does provide us with the caveat that even a lot could happen between now and the first game of the season.  There’s some good thing to say about the bullpen but some cautious comments on Rick Porcello.

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Quick Hit: Scott Sizemore to be 100% When Spring Training Starts

This is some good news.  Lynn Henning’s latest talks about the Tigers who are on the mend and he reports the Scott Sizemore should be fully healed from the broken leg  he suffered in the Arizona Fall League.  It’s also nice to see Brandon Inge has been working hard and he’s been in Lakeland for a while working on his rehab.  There’s some good reports on Joel Zumaya and Jeremy Bonderman as well.  Having all four of those guys ready to go will go a long way towards the Tigers making a push in 2010.

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Tigers Alum: Jair Jurrjens to Have MRI

If there’s one guy the Tigers regret giving away in the short term, it’s Jair Jurrjens.  He’s had a couple of solid seasons for the Braves and had he replicated his feats in a Tigers uniform, he could have been enough to help the Tigers make the playoffs last year.  Even worse, we ultimately got nothing for him because Edgar Renteria came and went.

Now Jurrjens has some pain in his throwing shoulder and he’s going to have an MRI. He’s has some discomfort in the shoulder while throwing at the Braves spring training facility and the hope is that there’s no structural damage.  He finished strong last year so you wonder if it’s just him getting back into his normal routine.  This is probably a question for the experts but you wonder how many flukish injuries that you see in April and May actually have their roots in the first couple weeks of spring training.

Quick Hit: Tigers and Damon Close But Signing Not Imminent

Ken Rosenthal is the latest to provide us with the soap opera that is Johnny Damon.  Based on this, it looks like the Tigers are close money wise but this could still drag out if Damon wants to fish for a better deal.  It also looks like the Braves might be out of the running and the White Sox fabricated interest in Damon could be what’s keeping this going.

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Tigers Alum: Yankees Exploring Granderson In Left

It looks like Curtis Granderson roaming centerfield at Yankee Stadium isn’t a foregone conclusion.  The Yankees have Brett Gardner and with a hold in left field, Granderson is keeping himself open to manning the corner outfield spot.  When Granderson came up through the minors, many thought centerfield was over his head (one of many things people were wrong about) and that he’d eventually end up as a corner outfielder.  Now it looks like he could be pushed in that direction depending on what happens with Garnder.

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Quick Hit: Why Damon Hasn’t Signed

I’m waiting to write some substantial until the Tigers actually sign Johnny Damon.  In the meantime, here’s the latest mailbag with Jason Beck.  First and foremost is why Damon is taking so long to sign but he also touches on why the Tigers might sign Damon when the dealt Granderson as well as why there’s so much hype surrounding Damon.  His answer to the Year of the Tiger question is pretty funny as well.

Quick Hit: Henning Sees Tigers Lucky to Reach .500

With pitchers and catchers set to report this week, Lynn Henning thinks the Tigers are going to be lucky to hit the .500 mark  in 2010.  He said 75 is more realistic with 80 being a stretch and that’s even with Damon in the fold.  I personally think their hitting won’t be that much worse then in 2009 but their pitching should actually be a little better.  I think Jose Valverde and Max Scherzer are upgrades over their 2009 counterparts.  Keep in mind, Alfredo Figaro started game number 161 so the rotation can’t be much worse then it was at the end of last year (not that I’m down on Figaro, I just think they put him in over his head).

One thing I don’t agree with about this piece is where he says Casper Wells is the most pivotal player reporting this week.  The Tigers have plenty of options out in centerfield, and while none of them will be as desirable in April as Curtis Granderson would have been, what happens in spring training doesn’t neccesarily portend what’ll happen the rest of the season.  I think Austin Jackson starts at Toledo (having Jackson and Sizemore starting at the same time might too much for Leyland to stomach).  I bet they go with a placeholder (Clete Thomas, Casper Wells  or Ryan Raburn) in center until they think Austin Jackson is ready.

Tigers Alum: Edwin Jackson Signs Two Year Deal With Diamondbacks

It looks like the price to keep Edwin Jackson would have been pretty high because he signed a two year, $13.35 million deal to buy out Edwin Jackson’s final two years of arbitration.  It’ll be interesting to see how Jackson does in Arizona in 2010.  He’s coming off of a career high 214 innings and that’s after throwing nearly 190 innings in 2008 (including the postseason). 

Keep in mind, it was Justin Verlander who had a tough time in this third season after throwing back to back career highs in innings.  Jackson also had a rough second half in which he saw his strikeout to walk ratio dip severely.  Chase Field is also still a hitters park, although he’ll have the benefit of throwing to the pitcher now that he’s back in the National League.  My bet is, Jackson takes a step back before he takes his next step forward and I like the idea of having Max Scherzer in the rotation more then I do having Jackson.

Quick Hit: The Johnny Damon/Curtis Granderson Swap

It looks like the Tigers are going to sign Johnny Damon and while they play different positions in the field, Damon will fill at lead off and all but try to fill in for the Tigers exciting former centerfielder.  It’s also interesting because the Yankees have effectively made the swap but in the other direction.  That’s why Troy Patterson’s latest is about the Yankees basically getting a younger Johnny Damon in Curtis Granderson.

What’s also interesting is if the Tigers sign Damon to the rumored $7 million, they’ll actually paying more for Damon to fill in for a year then they would have paid Granderson ($5.5 million) in 2010.  Of course with that cheap year out of the way, Granderson might be tougher to trade after the 2010 season.  Bottom line is, it’s been an interesting offseason for the Tigers.  Let’s just hope the front office knows what they’re doing.

Tigers Alum: Maybin to Hit Second for Marlins

It’s hard to believe Cameron Maybin is just 22 years old because it seems like he’s been around for ever.  He debuted with the Tigers in 2007 and since being traded to the Marlins, he’s spent most of his time playing in the minors.  He made the team out of spring training last year but he struggled and found himself back in the minors.  This year, the Marlins are expecting big things and he’s expected to his number two in the Marlins lineup.

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It’ll be interesting to see how that big trade back in 2007 is going to work out.  So far, it’s looking more like a straight up trade with Maybin going to the Marlins and Miguel Cabrera coming to the Tigers.    Andrew Miller hasn’t done much nor has anyone else that the Tigers sent over.  In fact Mike Rabello is back with Detroit.  Anyway, Cabrera has been effective but the prize (playoffs and the World Series) hasn’t been achieved and some of that money we’re paying Cabrera could have been used to keep Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson and to sign Justin Verlander.  We’ll just have to wait and see if Maybin ever lives up to his potential and breaks out.

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Quick Hit: Inside Tigers’ Fantasy Camp

I’ve always wanted to go to Tigers fantasy camp and it’s on my list of things I want to do (at some point in my life).  I’ve talked to a few people who have gone but David Laurila did a really nice job of describing his experience this year.  There’s some great stuff in here about Milt Wilcox, Dave Rozema and Jon Warden.

Quick Hit: One Year or Two For Damon?

Now this is interesting.  Buster Olney is reporting that the two year offer the Tigers made is actually a smokescreen of sorts to help Scott Boras save face over how he handled (or if you like, mishandled) Johnny Damon.  The idea is that the two year offer was publicized but that it’ll eventually be turned down in favor of the Tigers original one year, $7 million offer.  The question now is, if the cats out of the bag, does Boras really save face.   Felipe Lopez just fired him and then there was the whole A-Rod fiasco a couple of years ago.

Quick Hits: Tigers Are Favorites In Damon Race

It looks like the Johnny Damon saga is going to drag on for another week because he’s going to wait until he gets back from his Hawaii vacation to make a decision as to who he’ll play with.  The Tigers appear to be the frontrunners but you wonder if the stalling tactic is to see if another team or two enters the fray.  It also wouldn’t surprise that with the entrance of the White Sox into the mix, that Boras tries to play the division rivals against each other.

Quick Hits: White Sox Enter the Damon Whirlwind

Scott Boras must be loving this.  Now the White Sox have put their name in the hat for Johnny Damon.  There’s nothing like your division rival forcing you to push up your price.  The Tigers have more room for Damon but the White Sox have shown that they can make a crowded outfield work although in Chicago he’d probably spend more time as a DH.  Of course with Scott Boras involved, this could simply have meant that the White Sox called to see where the current bidding is at and little more.

Quick Hit: Ilitch Authorizes $14 Million for Damon

According to “sources,” Tigers owner Mike Ilitch has told the front office that he’ll go along with a two year, $14 million deal for Johnny Damon.  This appears to be the top money out there so it looks like Damon could be a Tiger in 2010 just a week before pitchers and catchers report.

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Quick Hits: The Latest on Johnny Damon

Bless you Boys gives us a great update on where the Tigers are at with Johnny Damon.  It looks like the Braves are sticking their nose in with the Rays looking to pick up the scraps.  Of course with Scott Boras involved, you never know what’s real and what’s being thrown out to help spur the bidding.

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Quick Hits: Verlander on Bonderman

Justin Verlander and Jeremy Bonderman have been throwing the ball around down in Lakeland and Verlander has some encouraging news.  Bonderman hasn’t thrown well since the first half of 2007 and at this point, having him be an effective starter would go a long way towards the Tigers making the playoffs in 2010.  Verlander reported that Bonderman’s looked sharp so that’s something nice to hear as spring training opens up next week.

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