This was a pleasant surprise. Justin Verlander was very deserving and I think this was as much a symptom of the late season collapse by the Red Sox then anything with the voters penchant towards excluding pitchers. In a bizarre vote, Verlander took thirteen of the 28 first place votes but he also got an eighth place vote and wasn’t put on one person’s ballot at all. Jaboby Ellsbury came in second place and Jose Bautista came in third. Someone had Jose Bautista in ninth and that’s also a joke.
Other Tigers to get votes were Miguel Cabrera (fifth place, with two first place votes and he was actually named on all 28 ballots), Alex Avila (who was on six ballots with seventh his best showing) and Victor Martinez (four ballots, highest showing was eighth place). David Robertson actually picked up a tenth place vote and oddly, Jered Weaver, who came in second place in the Cy Young, wasn’t on a single ballot.
Former Tiger Curtis Granderson came in fourth place. Verlander is the first pitcher since Dennis Eckersley to win the win the award and the first starter since Roger Clemens in 1986. He’s the first Tiger to win the award since 1984 but the Tigers have had their share of second places finishers since then with Alan Trammell, Cecil Fielder, Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera all being the runner up at one point.
It’s been seventeen years, but the Tigers have a Cy Young winner. As expected, Justin Verlander was the unanimous choice for the award and he took every first place vote. Jered Weaver came in second place, James Shields came in third and CC Sabathia was in fourth place. The last award of the season is the AL MVP on November 22 and it’ll be interesting to see if Verlander takes that home as well.
One of the Tigers biggest needs this off season is to fill the hole at second base. Aaron Hill was one of the names thrown and he’s now re-signed with the Diamondbacks and Jamey Carroll signed with the Twins. So there’s little surprise that Jon Paul Morosi broke a story that the Tigers were looking to deal Delmon Young for a second baseman. The guy who’s name is being thrown around is Martin Prado.
I know he had a decent post-season but I’ve never been high on Delmon Young. I think his stock is a little higher then when they picked him up and if he can be the cornerstone of a trade to get a good second baseman, I’d be all for it. Prado reminds me a little bit of Placido Polanco. Not a lot of strikeouts and while he has some extra base power, it’s mostly doubles. The downsides are, he’s coming off an off year and he’s probably due for a bigger pay check here soon because he’s entering his second year of arbitration.
Of course if the Tigers decide to stay with what they have, you’re probably looking at a Danny Worth/Wil Rhymes/Brandon Douglas/Ramon Santiago mish mash. Leyland already said that Ryan Raburn isn’t the answer at second base. Kelly Johnson is still out there though and if they wanted more of a bargain, there’s guys like Felipe Lopez, Aaron Miles, Adam Kennedy and Julio Lugo out there.
MiLB.com has kicked off their organizational All Stars series and the Tigers review went live over the weekend. The Tigers farm system is still pretty thin from all of the trades they’ve made since their last World Series appearance in 2006 but there’s still a few people to get excited about. I mentioned Brandon Douglas over the weekend at second base and he shows up here. A few people have also asked me if the Tigers might go after Aramis Ramirez but I think Nick Castellanos is a reason why the Tigers might hold off replacing Brandon Inge to see if he’s the third baseman of the future.
Of course then you have guys like Timo Perez, who had nice seasons in the minors but who are a decade past their prospect status. Anyway, it’s a good read but I didn’t recognize the author’s name. Then again, I haven’t stayed with a lot of this stuff so Ashley may have been with the team for a while now.
Alright, free agent season is upon us. The Tigers were a couple of wins away from a World Series appearance and most of their key players will be back this year. Still, Dave Dombrowski has some work to do because the Tigers had some serious holes come playoff time. Let’s take a look…..
Catcher – Alex Avila is the starter for sure as he should be after an awesome season but he just seemed to hit a wall. While his September wasn’t awful, he did have his second worst slugging month and then he laid an egg in the postseason. I think a big reason behind this is because he was catching every game down the stretch. One guy that comes to mind if we can get him for the right price is Ivan Rodriguez but there’s plenty of guys out there who could fill this role and not hit the pocket book to hard.
Second base – This one is going to be tricky. The Tigers will most likely bring back Ramon Santiago but he’ll be a utility infielder again. I’m not sure if they’re willing to give Wil Rhymes another go but he may not be a bad choice and I don’t think Ryan Raburn is the answer either. I’ve heard Aaron Hill’s name tossed around and that wouldn’t be bad if we again, get him at the right price. If they look within, there’s also Danny Worth and coming soon will be Brandon Douglas, who had a decent season at Erie.
Right Field – I haven’t heard much as to whether Brennan Boesch will be ready to play on opening day or not so this is a spot the Tigers have to think about. My guess is, this is one of the last spots they fill as they see how some of their farm hands do in spring training as well as monitoring Boesch’s progress. If they want to make a big splash, Carlos Beltran is out there and a second tier guy is Michael Cuddyer. If the Tigers wanted to go with a cheaper Free Agent option, David DeJesus might not be a bad guy to pick up if you assume 2011 was a blip. Jason Kubel was hurt last year but he may be another guy the Tigers look at although having him in right and Young in left would mean Austin Jackson would have his work cut out for him.
Fifth Starter – This may end up being Jacob Turner but the Tigers may sign another guy like Brad Penny (not him, but an older, veteran guy) to a one year deal. A guy who might make sense if you figure Turner is there to fill in would be Erik Bedard although he may be looking for a longer term deal.
Middle Relief – Lots of options here. Frank Francisco would make a nice addition but there’s plenty of guys the Tigers should be looking to fill in those spots where they didn’t have help in the post season.
So it should be a fun free agent season. Barring a big trade which I don’t see, the Tigers won’t be picking up any of the big guns but there should definitely be some activity.
The Silver Slugger awards were handed out last night the Tigers had just one winning. Alex Avila walked with his first (hopefully of many) with a surprisingly good year at the plate. He was ninth in the American League in WAR (5.4) and eighth in the American League in OPS (.895). The last time an everyday catcher had an OPS that high was back in the late 1930s when Rudy York was doing it consistently.
Miguel Cabrera fell short and it looks like for the second time in as many days, a Tiger fell short because of east coast bias. Adrian Gonzalez had a good year but it appears to be good enough to top Cabrera because he was the one who walked away with the award. Of course many people still think RBIs are a relevant stat to value a player and the fact the Gonzalez had the RBI title probably helped him out.
Former Tiger Curtis Granderson walked away with his first award. Congratulations to him.
Alright, baseball ended last week but I want to try to keep it alive. If you’re a fan on my Facebook page, you’ve probably seen the trivia questions I’ve been posting. Well, now it’s time to get serious. Beginning Monday, November 7, I’m going to kick off an off-season long trivia contest that will include mostly Tigers trivia but potentially some “Tiger related” trivia as well. Even better, I have some stuff to give away to the winner and some consolation prizes to those that take part in the contest and do well. First, let’s talk rules. I’m hoping to get through everything here but if I miss something, I’ll be sure to update this page.
1) On the morning of November 7, I’ll post the first question on the Tigerblog Facebook page. If someone answers it by the next morning, then I’ll have a new question that day. If nobody answers it, I’ll post a hint. The next day, the same thing will happen until the question is answered. After a few days, I’ll probably be getting pretty specific with the hints just to keep things going. Be sure to read the question closely. I don’t have data for every year so a lot of times you’ll find if it relates to a certain game, it only goes back to 1919. You don’t want to guess wrong just because you didn’t read the question closely.
2) One answer per question per person. If you guess early and get it wrong, you get to watch everyone else whittle it down. There’s some strategy here because if you’re on the fence on an answer, you have to weigh waiting for the next hint versus getting in early to get the point.
3) Speaking of points, you get one point for each question you get correct. Whoever has the most points when the Tigers open up their season on April 5th gets the top prize. Nine others will get something as well.
4) We’ll be taking the weekends off. So if nobody answers Friday’s question (or carryover question), there won’t be a new question or hint until Monday. That doesn’t stop you from guessing the answer to the question on a Saturday or Sunday, just everything else will be on hold. There will also be some periodic breaks which I’ll announce. Namely Thanksgiving weekend.
5) I’m not going to commit to a time in the morning when the question or hint will be put up so be sure to check in from time to time.
6) I think I covered most of what I needed to but in the event something comes up (someone finds a loophole somehow that I want to close or there’s just a hole I’m missing), I’m going to tweak the rules as neccesary. Hopefully this doesn’t happen but I thought I’d throw it out there.
Alright, let’s talk about prizes…..
1st Prize – A copy of every Hardball Times Baseball Annual from 2006 through 2012 as well as your choice of either the Detroit Tigers Vintage World Series Films DVD or The Essential Games of the Detroit Tigers DVD.
2nd place through tenth place all sort of get the same prize with a twist. They get their choice of the above DVD, availability permitting. I have five of each and the higher place gets first choice and so on so if you’re at the bottom, you get what’s left. I’ve watched the World Series DVD and it’s very cool (it has footage from 1945) and you just have to check out the details for the other DVD to see how great some of those games are.
So good luck and if you have any questions, post them in the comments.
No Tigers won a gold glove this year despite the fact that one was very deserving and another you could have made a major argument for. Matt Wieters won at catcher and while I can live with that I do think Alex Avila has a great season behind the plate. WAR doesn’t really spell it out (Avila has a -0.1 Defensive WAR in 2011 versus Wieters 1.0) but it just seemed at times that Avila was rock solid both blocking balls and throwing runners out. Maybe next year Alex.
Austin Jackson is an entirely different story. Yes, Jacoby Ellsbury had a great season and he probably got a bump because of his offense and because he plays in Boston but Jackson’s Defensive WAR 0.7 was better then Ellsbury 0.4 I know WAR isn’t the be all end of defensive stats and there’s usually not a year that goes that someone (or two or three) gets a gold glove they don’t deserve but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.