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The Seattle Mariners have asked about the free agent right-hander, who has an offer from the Tigers
Of the six, second baseman Will Rhymes is the one who saw the most action with the Tigers last year. He hit .304/.350/.414 with one home run and 19 RBIs in 213 plate appearances after being called up from Triple-A Toledo in late July. Rhymes also provided solid defense in the field.
Pitcher Robbie Weinhardt also joined the major league club in July before being sent back down to Toledo in mid-August. He was called back up in September and stuck around for the rest of the season. In 28 appearances, Weinhardt compiled a 2-2 record and 6.14 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings.
Schlereth and Thomas are expected to win jobs in Detroit’s bullpen to begin the season, as the team needs lefty relievers with Phil Coke moving to the starting rotation. Oliver could be a midseason call-up, depending on his performance in the minors and what the Tigers need.
Iorg was once considered a top shortstop prospect, but poor hitting (.215/.251/.347 between Double-A Erie and Toledo last year) has stunted his development. However, the Tigers must think enough of his future (and their thin depth among infield prospects) to keep him on the 40-man roster.
Let’s begin with Phil Coke, the one player among the eight who is assured a spot on the active major league roster in 2011. Coke, 28, is one of the more intriguing players for the Tigers as they head into Spring Training, as he’ll be moving from the bullpen to the starting rotation.
As a reliever last season, Coke was probably Detroit’s best man out of the bullpen. The left-hander pitched in 74 games, compiling a 7-5 record, 3.76 ERA, and 53 strikeouts in 64 2/3 innings. He’s expected to fill the fourth spot in the Tigers’ starting rotation, providing a left-hander that Detroit didn’t have among its starters for most of last season.
Coke’s contract is believed to be for $425,000, the same amount he made last year. He’s eligible for arbitration in 2012, however, and if he’s able to pitch successfully as a starter this season, a hefty boost in salary seems likely.
First baseman-outfielder Ryan Strieby, infielder Audy Ciriaco, left-handers Charlie Furbush and Duane Below, and right-handers Brayan Villareal, Lester Oliveros and Jose Ortega are the seven other players who signed. All are minor-league prospects. Among those seven, Strieby and Furbush are the ones most likely to see the majors next season, or maybe even some time this year.
Strieby has dealt with hand and wrist injuries over the past two seasons, but the Tigers like his power bat enough to move him to left field so he might eventually have a place in the major-league lineup. Last season, Strieby hit 10 home runs and 49 RBIs in 325 plate appearances with Triple-A Toledo.
Furbush pitched at Single-A Lakeland and Double-A Erie last season before finishing the year with the Mud Hens. The left-hander compiled a 3-4 record and 6.29 ERA in nine starts, with 37 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings.
No financial details on any of the other seven contracts were released. The deals are major-league contracts, however, meaning they won’t take effect unless the player sees time in Detroit this season. (Salaries would then be prorated.)
Earlier Monday, Brian posted the outline of a trade between the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks involving Armando Galarraga. All that had to be worked out were the final details. The deal is now official, as announced by the Tigers on Twitter.
“I talked with Armando earlier today and thanked him,” Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said on a Monday afternoon conference call, "and he was very thankful of everything from the organization. I told him it was a good opportunity for him. Arizona was very aggressive in trying to get him, and he has a great chance of making their rotation.
“It’s really the best-case scenario for all involved. We’re happy for him that it’s worked out, and we were able to get a couple prospects in return.”
In exchange for Galarraga, Detroit gets two minor league pitchers. As posted earlier, one of them is 20-year-old right-hander Kevin Eichhorn. The other prospect is 23-year-old left-hander Ryan Robowski.
Last season, Eichhorn moved from Rookie League to high Single-A, pitching in 15 starts altogether. Overall, he finished with a 5-6 record and 5.00 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 86 1/3 innings.
Robowski appeared in 35 games for Single-A Visalia last year. compiling a 2-4 record, 5.17 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 54 innings.
Galarraga ends his Tigers career with a 23-26 record and 4.58 ERA in 78 starts (87 appearances) over three seasons.
When the Tigers designated Armando Galarraga's contract for assignment last Tuesday, it gave them 10 days to either trade him, release him, or assign him to the bus leagues. The Tigers contended from the beginning that they would try to trade Galarraga to a team deficient of starting pitching. It appears that's exactly what will happen.
Dave Dombrowski said on Sunday that a deal involving Armando Galarraga and the Arizona Diamondbacks is "likely." Today, an MLB source told MLB.com's Steve Gilbert the deal is "on the verge" of happening and it could go down today.
In the potential deal, the Tigers would get 20-year-old righty Kevin Eichhorn and "another player," according to the source. Eichhorn was the Diamondbacks' 3rd round draft pick in the 2008 amateur draft. In 105 Minor League innings pitched, he has a 4.80 ERA, 1.314 WHIP and 108 strikeouts opposite 28 base on balls.
Exactly a week ago the Tigers and Brad Penny reportedly agreed on a one-year, $3 million deal with incentives that will allow Penny to earn another $3 million. Today, Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski officially announced the transaction to the media:
"We are pleased to announce the signing of Brad Penny," Tigers President, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager David Dombrowski said.
"He’s a proven major league starter that we feel strengthens our rotation."
The wait for an official announcement was on Penny's pending physical.
But perhaps it was also to figure out Armando Galarraga's contract situation, who, if signed, would likely compete with the newly-acquired Penny for the fifth and final rotation spot. (Galarraga was guaranteed a 2011 contract of some type because Detroit tendered him a deal last month). As Ian mentioned last night, Galarraga was eligible for arbitration, something the Tigers haven't had to experience since Dombrowski took over in 2002. By agreeing to a contract with Galarraga now, they would avoid it once again.
A mere six hours after coming to an agreement with Galarraga (one-year, $2.3 million), as Jason Beck pointed out, the Tigers supplemented the official announcement of Penny's arrival by designating Galarraga's very fresh contract for assignment. The move makes room for Penny on the 40-man roster and gives the Tigers 10 days to either trade, release, or assign Galarraga to the minors.
So why did the Tigers sign Galarraga in the first place if they were just going to designate him for assignment hours later?
According to Jason Beck, it's a formality. The Tigers could've wasted time and money by waiting on an arbitration date in February or they could've simply agreed to terms with Galarraga now, as they did. By designating him for assignment, Galarraga still has a chance to pitch somewhere or at the very least receive a decent severance payment of around $380,000. The move also benefits the Tigers in that it gives them a little time to either work out a trade -- which Tom Gage thinks will happen -- or convince Galarraga to stick it out in the minors with a chance to return to the bigs if a rotation spot opens up along the way, as it tends to happen.
It appeared as if the Detroit Tigers and Armando Galarraga might take negotiations on a new contract right up until an arbitration hearing. The two sides were scheduled to exchange salary figures on Tuesday, and most indications were that Galarraga might seek a significant raise. But he probably lost some negotiating leverage when the team signed Brad Penny last week.
Detroit hasn’t gone to arbitration with a player since Dave Dombrowski took over as team president in 2002, however. And it looks like that streak is going to hold. SI.com’s Jon Heyman reported via Twitter that the Tigers and Galarraga have reached agreement on a one-year contract worth $2.3 million.
Last season, Galarraga finished with a 4-9 record and 4.49 ERA. But coming within one out of pitching a perfect game, only to be robbed of the achievement on a blown call by umpire Jim Joyce, brought him national attention. Galarraga was especially celebrated for the compassion and sportsmanship he demonstrated toward Joyce in light of what happened.
But he still had an inconsistent season, as his final numbers illustrate. One month later, Galarraga was even sent down to the minor leagues. The demotion was a temporary one, as the Tigers needed to shuffle their starting rotation. But if Galarraga had pitched better, such a move wouldn’t have even been considered.
Right now, Galarraga looks like the odd man out of the starting rotation. Penny was signed to be the fifth starter, and Phil Coke is expected to hold down the fourth spot. Those roles could change depending on how everyone pitches in Spring Training, of course.
Some, such as the Detroit News’ Lynn Henning, believes the pitching surplus could lead to a trade. But does a team ever make it through the season using only five starting pitchers? Galarraga could begin the season in the bullpen, and that depth could be useful if and when injuries and fatigue set in among the Tigers’ starters.
However, the Tigers’ patience with Galarraga seems thin (especially from manager Jim Leyland). Even though this contract seems to be a vote of confidence, you get the feeling that Galarraga also could be on his last chance with this team if he can’t pull himself together this season.
UPDATE: MLB.com's Jason Beck has more information on Galarraga's contract. The $2.3 million is the same Jeremy Bonderman received when he was first eligible for arbitration in 2006.
Galarraga's contract is not guaranteed, so if he doesn't perform well in Spring Training, the Tigers could release him by March 15 and owe him approximately $380,000 (or 30 days' termination pay). If he was released by March 30, the Tigers would owe him about $569,000 (or 45 days' pay).
This surely isn’t the last time we’ll say it, but we’ll say it again, anyway: Dave Dombrowski does not do arbitration.
Since becoming the president and general manager of the Detroit Tigers in 2002, Dombrowski and the team have not gone to an arbitration hearing with an eligible player. The Tigers and the player have agreed to terms beforehand every single time.
Before suffering a season-ending fracture in his right elbow, Zumaya was pitching well out of the bullpen. In 31 appearances, he posted a 2.58 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings. It was his best performance since his breakout rookie season in 2006.
Detroit already has the back end of their relief corps taken care of with Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde tabbed to pitch in late innings. That frees up Jim Leyland to use Zumaya in any necessary middle relief situation. What if the Tigers find themselves in a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning and need a strikeout? Zumaya can come in for that.
Given Zumaya’s injury history, signing him to any sort of contract might seem like a risk. And there were some rumblings that the Tigers might not tender him a contract during the offseason. But when healthy, Zumaya can still be a dominant reliever. And if he recovers from his elbow injury and is able to pitch regularly, he provides the Tigers with a bullpen weapon that not many other teams have.
Of course, Zumaya is all about that “if.” He’s had his season cut short by injuries (finger, shoulder, elbow) in each of the past four years. A full season could lead to a big payday, however, as Zumaya is eligible for free agency this October.
Armando Galarraga becomes the Tigers’ remaining arbitration-eligible player.
Raburn is coming off his best statistical season as a big-leaguer, batting .280 with 62 RBIs and 15 home runs last year. For his career, Raburn is a .274 hitter in 379 games.
UPDATE: Raburn's contract is worth $3.4 million, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck. He was eligible for arbitration for the first time this year, but Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski has never gone to a hearing with a player during his tenure in Detroit.
Two years is sort of a surprising length on a deal for Raburn, but he's currently the favorite to be the starting leftfielder and the Tigers must believe he can win the job. If he ends up doing so, that contract is going to be a good value for Detroit.
Armando Galarraga and Joel Zumaya are the Tigers' other arbitration-eligible players. Hearings would be scheduled between February 1 and 18.
Per Jason Beck, the Tigers have agreed to a one-year deal with Brad Penny pending a physical.
Lost in all of this is that the signing officially ends the Jeremy Bonderman era in Detroit. There was a chance the Tigers would re-sign Bonderman, who pitched the last eight years in Detroit, but talks never progressed.
As we said in an earlier update, Penny will compete with Armando Galarraga for the fifth spot in the rotation, but is the clear front-runner.
Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi is tweeting that Brad Penny is on the verge of signing with the Tigers. An update on Foxsports.com has the potential deal at one year, $3 million. Assuming Penny is healthy, he'd be a favorite to win the fifth starter rotation spot.
Penny didn’t make any grand announcement on his Twitter feed like we had hoped, but he did dish out a very telling hint. Somebody expressed their interest in having Penny come to Detroit, adding “2011’s the year of the Tiger!” Penny responded with “I hope”.
Now, why would Penny hope 2011’s the year of the Tiger if he was going to sign with another team? I’d say expect an official announcement to be made sometime Tuesday.
Ian already went into very thorough detail on the Tigers alleged interest in right-handed, 11-year veteran Brad Penny. The Tigers have expressed interest in Penny in the past and the other day Jon Morosi said they were still pursuing him.
Today, Brad Penny announced on his Twitter account that he should know where he'll be in 2011 by the end of the day:
Getting close to finding my new home. Should know by the end of the day
There hasn't been much talk about any other teams being interested in Penny, who missed most of 2010 with a shoulder injury. I guess we'll find out by the end of the day, which by most standards will be at midnight.
The Tigers wanted him back, and Miner wanted to return. But with Miner working his way back from reconstructive elbow surgery, it was just more likely that he would sign a minor-league deal to try and make the team in Spring Training.
Despite missing the entire 2010 season, however, other teams still showed interest in Miner. And an AL Central rival ended up making him a better offer.
Miner signed a minor-league deal with the Kansas City Royals on Friday, citing a better long-term opportunity.
“There were a few teams that checked in, and the Tigers and the Royals were the most aggressive,” Miner wrote in an e-mail to MLB.com. “But in the end, we just felt like K.C. was going to be a very good opportunity going forward, not only for this year, but for a few years down the road.”
From Miner’s point of view, that “very good opportunity” is probably being given a chance to pitch as a starter. The Tigers liked him better coming out of the bullpen. Manager Jim Leyland, especially, seemed to prefer utilizing Miner’s sinker in key late-inning situations when a ground ball was needed.
The numbers say the Tigers may have been right. Miner had a lower ERA as a reliever (3.60) than starter (4.85), and struck out slightly more batters per nine innings (5.9 to 5.1). But he walked more batters in relief (86 to 59), which makes you wonder if may have been better suited for the pace of starting, rather than face immediate pressure coming out of the bullpen.
With Miner staying in the AL Central, Tigers fans may still get to see whether or not he’s ultimately better as a starting pitcher.
In his four seasons with Detroit, Miner finished with a 25-20 record and 4.24 ERA in 157 appearances (35 of them starts). He came to the Tigers (along with Roman Colon) in a 2005 trade with the Atlanta Braves for reliever Kyle Farnsworth.
The Detroit Tigers’ lineup is set after re-signing Magglio Ordonez on Thursday. Ordonez provides the outfielder and right-handed bat they needed. Victor Martinez gives them a left-handed designated hitter, along with catching help. And Brandon Inge and Jhonny Peralta were brought back to solidify the left side of the infield.
But Detroit’s starting rotation still needs some help. And that’s apparently the next item on general manager Dave Dombrowski’s checklist.
According to FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, the Tigers are looking at Brad Penny as a possible fifth starter. Detroit was also interested in Shaun Marcum before the Toronto Blue Jays traded him to the Milwaukee Brewers during last week’s Winter Meetings.
Penny confirmed on his Twitter account that his agent has “been in touch” with the Tigers.
Last season with the St. Louis Cardinals, Penny compiled a 3-4 record and 3.23 ERA in nine starts. In 55 2/3 innings, he struck out 35 batters and walked nine. In May, Penny strained a lat muscle in his right side, an injury that eventually kept him out the rest of the season.
One concern with Penny might be that he struggled pitching in the American League. In 2009 with the Boston Red Sox, Penny went 7-8 with a 5.61 ERA in 24 starts. He threw 131 2/3 innings, showing durability, but gave up 160 hits.
The Red Sox eventually released him in August of that season, and he signed with the San Francisco Giants. Back in the National League, Penny excelled, going 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA.
Pitching in Fenway Park against tough lineups in the AL East isn’t easy for many pitchers, however. Penny might have an easier time in the bigger ballparks and lesser lineups of the AL Central.
As a fifth starter, Penny would almost certainly give the Tigers innings, which would help the bullpen from being worked too much. He’s averaged 201 innings per season over his 11-year major league career. That’s the kind of consistency that Detroit is looking for, and would presumably be an upgrade (or at least provide strong competiton) over Armando Galarraga.
Additionally, Heyman reports that Ordonez turned down two-year offers elsewhere to return to Detroit. Loyalty to Tigers owner Mike Ilitch was apparently a factor.
Ordonez was reportedly drawing interest from other teams throughout baseball. The Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies all were mentioned as having interest in him over the past few weeks.
But such opportunities dwindled as those teams made other moves. The Red Sox had no need for Ordonez once they signed Carl Crawford. The Phillies spent their available payroll on Cliff Lee. And the Rangers’ preference all along has been to re-sign Vladimir Guerrero.
Even if those teams had interest in Ordonez, however, it was unlikely that he would receive regular playing time. Boston looked at him as a part-time leftfielder and designated hitter. Philadelphia presumably would’ve platooned him in right field (possibly with prospect Domonic Brown. And in Texas, he would’ve taken over Guerrero’s duties as the DH.
The Tigers were the only team offering playing time in the outfield and a regular place in the lineup. Jim Leyland will likely put him back in the No. 3 spot in front of Miguel Cabrera, where he’s batted for most of the past three seasons.
Agreeing to a one-year, $10 million contract is a bit of a surprise, perhaps. The Tigers declined the $15 million option for next year on his previous contract, so they obviously wanted to pay less than that. But on the open market, it seemed like he could fetch something in the $12 million per year range.
However, maybe there were still questions about Ordonez’s health and ability to stay healthy, coming off a broken ankle. Even after holding a workout for teams, maybe prospective suitors weren’t completely convinced. Not to mention that offers may have been lower, given that they didn’t see Ordonez as a full-time player. This gives him a chance to show he’s fully healthy and perhaps try the market again next year.
Before breaking his ankle last July, Ordonez was having a resurgent season for the Tigers. He batted .303/.378/.474 with 12 home runs and 59 RBIs in 365 plate appearances.
Signing before January also seems to go against the usual Scott Boras tactics (creating a market, claiming mystery teams, etc.). When the offseason began, it was easy to imagine that Ordonez could take his free agency into February, as Johnny Damon and Bobby Abreu had over the past couple of years.
But maybe Boras and Ordonez saw a shrinking market and decided to take the best deal out there. And maybe Ordonez just wanted to return to Detroit, where he has a good relationship with the owner and is familiar with the clubhouse (which now has one more fellow Venezuelan in Victor Martinez).
Regardless, it’s a good signing for the Tigers. They needed a rightfielder and a right-handed bat in the lineup. Ordonez fit those needs all along, and he wanted to return to Detroit. This also buys some more time for the Tigers to find out if prospects such as Brennan Boesch and Casper Wells can further develop into full-time major league players.
Tigers relief pitcher Alfredo Figaro was released after the team sold his contract to the Orix Buffaloes of the Japanese Baseball League. The move leaves the team with 39 players on their 40 man roster.
He was 10-6 in 23 starts last year in Triple-A Toledo, but once again struggled at the big league level, going 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA for the Tigers.
Figaro showed promise early in his Tigers career, but struggled lately and apparently didn’t fit into the team’s plans. Last season, he gave up at least one earned run in six of his eight appearances.
Joel Zumaya hasn't played a full (regular) season since his rookie campaign in 2006, but even then he missed time in the playoffs due to injury. It all started with an alleged Guitar Hero wrist injury, which forced him to miss the ALCS.
The injuries have been more serious and plentiful since then.
In May of the 2007 season, Zumaya ruptured a tendon in his throwing hand forcing him to miss 12 weeks. During the offseason before the 2008 season, a 50-60 pound box reportedly fell on his shoulder while trying to help his family move things following the San Diego wildfires. It separated his shoulder and landed him on the DL to start the season. In 2009, Zumaya missed time due to the same shoulder causing him severe problems. He ultimately had surgery on it in August 2009 and missed the rest of the season. He returned healthy in 2010, and looked to be back to his 2006 self, but at the end of June he broke his elbow in Minnesota and was placed on the DL for the rest of the year.
All signs point to Zumaya being healthy again by Spring Training 2011, but that's not enough anymore. As Jim Leyland points out, the key will be keeping him healthy, somehow:
"The reports are that he's going to come into spring training and be ready to go," manager Jim Leyland said Wednesday at the winter meetings. "The problem is keeping him healthy. We haven't been able to do that. It's been freak things."
If Zumaya can remain healthy for an entire season, obviously he's a huge asset to the bullpen. A healthy Joel Zumaya makes the Tigers bullpen (arguably) one of the best in baseball, as he'd be joining three other solid, hard-throwing righties for late-inning duties. At this point, unfortunately, it's more of a "I'll believe it when I see it" sort of thing with Zumaya's health status than anything else.
Even Zumaya's already looking ahead beyond his next injury, as he hasn't been shy about stating that another injury could end his career and force him to look for employment elsewhere.
Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski says the Tigers didn't make an official bid for Carl Crawford, who received a lucrative seven-year, $142 million deal last week from the Boston Red Sox:
"We have a wonderful owner — as fine as anybody in baseball," Dombrowski said. "Short of a couple of clubs, you can only have a couple of players who are making $20 million a year. We chose Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander to be our two key guys."
Ken Rosenthal reported at the end of October that the Tigers were "deeply interested" in Crawford, and who wouldn't be? Crawford's price tag, though, made it highly unlikely the Tigers would dole out enough cash to attract a career .781 OPS to Detroit. I imagine Dombrowski's statement (similar to the ones he made about Adam Dunn and Jayson Werth after they signed their respective deals) is to assure Tigers fans that he did not lose out in any bids to bring Crawford (or the other touted free agents) to Detroit, but he was merely disinterested.
Listen, the Tigers were interested in bringing all three of these players to Detroit, but there was no way, as Dombrowski said, that the Tigers would pay as much as it ultimately required to lure the players in. In the end, it's probably for the best, and maybe better to suggest they were never involved, but it'd be awfully naive for any Tigers fan to believe that the team was never involved or never even made a low-balling bid.
This is news that got overlooked in the shuffle of the Winter Meetings, but Tigers beat writer Jason Beck reported on his blog last week that the Tigers signed 29-year-old catcher Omir Santos to a minor league contract. He will serve as insurance for Alex Avila and Victor Martinez.
Beck compares Santos' new role with the Tigers to Dane Sardhina's in 2008 and 2009, and reiterates that it's merely for insurance. However, that can't be stressed enough because the Tigers are relying on a third-year (and 24-year-old) Alex Avila, who hit just .228/.316/.656 last season and a 32-year-old who has spent significant time on the DL over the past three seasons. I honestly would not be surprised if we saw Santos at some point during the long season.
Santos hit .260/.296/.688 and cut runners down at a 30% clip in 96 games with the Mets in 2009, so he's proven to be serviceable if needed.
If there were Tigers fans unreasonably expecting Carl Crawford to sign with Detroit, they can start the grieving process. According to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, the Red Sox and Carl Crawford have agreed on a deal.
Source: The Red Sox have a seven-year, $142 million deal done with Carl Crawford.
The good news here is the Tigers don't have to worry about the Red Sox nabbing Ordonez, which was a legitimate threat considering Crawford's inevitable out of sight price tag.
As Ian mentioned earlier, Ordonez is seeking at least a two-year deal worth $20 million, which I don't think is too exorbitant for the Tigers.
With the market for free agent Magglio Ordonez growing, the outfielder worked out for several teams today to show that his broken ankle has healed. The Tigers, as you might expect, were among those teams.
(Fanhouse’s Ed Price reported at one point today that the workout was only for the Tigers, but that seems to have been disproven by other reports.)
Meanwhile, agent Scott Boras met with media at the Winter Meetings to discuss the “pretty impressive” market for Ordonez (along with the new contract former Tiger Carlos Pena signed with the Chicago Cubs) that has developed, especially since Jayson Werth signed with the Nationals on Sunday.
“Magglio is a guy that has gotten a lot of interest from a lot of teams, now that Jayson has signed,” Boras told reporters today. “He’s a middle-of-the-order guy. Great batting average. Productive guy. A veteran player. A winner.
According to Jon Paul Morosi, major league sources have told him that Ordonez is seeking at least a two-year deal worth $20 million. Boras also said that Ordonez prefers to play for a winning team that will offer regular playing time in right or left field.
The right-handed Ludwick split time between the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres last season, batting a combined .251/.325/.418 with 17 home runs and 69 RBIs. In 2008, Ludwick had an All-Star season with 37 homers and 113 RBIs. He was also in the Tigers organization before, playing 134 games in 2006 with Triple-A Toledo.
Rather than sign a free agent to be their fifth starter, the Detroit Tigers might look to the trade market to bolster the back end of their pitching rotation.
MLive.com’s Steve Kornacki is reporting that the Tigers have spoken with the Chicago Cubs about left-hander Tom Gorzelanny. Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette posted on Twitter that the Cubs are “aggressively shopping” the starting pitcher.
Last season with the Cubs, Gorzelanny finished with a 7-9 record and 4.09 ERA. He missed most of September after taking a line drive off his pitching hand. But he also compiled 119 strikeouts in 136 1/3 innings, which is an encouraging number.
Gorzelanny struggled in 2008 and 2009 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, getting demoted to Triple-A in each of those seasons. Upon being traded to the Cubs, however, Gorzelanny improved under pitching coach Larry Rothschild and became more of a power pitcher.
Bless You Boys thinks this could be a low-cost risk for the Tigers. Last year, Gorzelanny made $800,000 and is due for a raise through arbitration. Even with that, however, he’s likely to be cheaper than most free agents the team could sign and would be under club control through 2012.
On Monday, reports out of Boston said the Red Sox were interested in Ordonez as a right-handed bat to stick in their predominantly left-handed lineup. The Rangers would pursue Ordonez as an alternative to Vladimir Guerrero at designated hitter, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan.
The Rangers’ preference is to re-sign Guerrero, who had a resurgent year in Texas with a .300/.345/.496 average, 29 home runs and 115 RBIs. He may have run out of gas by the postseason, however, during which he managed only three extra-base hits.
Guerrero reportedly wants a multi-year contract, however, and Texas only wants a one-year deal. As a result, the Rangers have told Guerrero to shop around for that multi-year deal, while they look at possible replacements. Hideki Matsui was also mentioned as a possibility.
With Jayson Werth now off the free agent market, Magglio Ordonez becomes the next best option for teams wanting a right-handed hitting outfielder. That could create some serious competition for the Detroit Tigers for his services.
Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com is reporting that the Boston Red Sox are looking at Ordonez to be the right-handed bat that would complement Adrian Gonzalez, J.D. Drew and David Ortiz in a strongly left-handed lineup.
As you might remember, this isn’t the first time the Red Sox have been interested in acquiring Ordonez.
After the 2003 season, when the Sox were close to obtaining Alex Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers, their plan was to turn around and deal off incumbent shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. The Sox had a contingency deal in place with the Chicago White Sox that would have sent Garciaparra to the White Sox in exchange for a package that included Magglio Ordonez.
Boston would pencil Ordonez in left field, and would probably spell Ortiz at designated hitter against left-handed pitching.
McAdam also mentioned the Philadelphia Phillies as a team that’s talked about Ordonez this offseason.
(via MLB Trade Rumors)
Soon after news of Jayson Werth’s signing a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Washington Nationals, Detroit Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski let it be known to virtually every media outlet that covers his team that the Nationals far exceeded any offer they were willing to make.
“We were not involved,” Dombrowski said via e-mail to the Detroit Free Press (among many other outlets). And since no other remarks from Dombrowski have been offered, the assumption is that his message was exactly that succinct. They weren’t close to making the same kind of offer to Werth, in either years or money, and that’s the end of it.
The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported yesterday — before Werth’s deal with the Nationals became public — that neither the Tigers nor Boston Red Sox appeared willing to give Werth a sixth year on a contract offer.
The Werth signing had other effects on the Tigers and Red Sox, however. WEEI.com reports that Boston is happy that Werth didn’t sign with the Tigers, thus ensuring that the Red Sox will get Detroit’s No. 19 selection in the first round of next year’s draft. That will be the highest pick the team has had since 2003.
(Hat tip to The Detroit Tigers Weblog)
According to Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman, Jayson Werth has agreed to a seven-year deal with the Washington Nationals worth $126 million.
While Jon Morosi says the Tigers were in the Werth discussions until the very end, I can't blame Dave Dombrowski for not trying to outbid the Nationals on this one. Werth's deal averages out to be about $18 million per season when it's all said and done.
If Dombrowski offered him this kind of money, it would've ultimately landed him the same type of criticism he has received in recent years for Ordonez's latest contract, and Werth doesn't have even remotely close to the same track record Ordonez had when he was 31 years old.
For the Nats, who are looking to change the direction of their franchise, this isn't the worst deal, but it's a desperate deal the Tigers didn't need to make. (Also, it tells us how the Nationals felt about Adam Dunn, who wanted to stay in DC, but the Nationals weren't willing to give him the years he probably deserved).
The deal does hurt the Tigers' odds of re-signing Ordonez or snaring Carl Crawford, though. The Nationals somewhat came out of left field with this, which leaves several big name teams still looking for outfield help. As a result, this could drive up the price for Ordonez and force the Tigers to pay more for him than they would've originally preferred.
That is, of course, if they decide they must have him in their lineup with recent signee Victor Martinez and MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers certainly would like to have Maggs back in Detroit, but it seems they're being a little bit more responsible with their funds, despite having more than enough to compete with the wealthiest of teams (save the Yankees, duh).
We'll see what happens when the Winter Meetings begin tomorrow.
Victor Martinez became the Detroit Tigers’ primary designated hitter for next season once he agreed to a four-year, $50 million contract with the team. According to general manager Dave Dombrowski, that meant the Tigers had no more interest in free agent Adam Dunn.
"[Dunn] is a very good player," Dombrowski said. "He would have been a DH with us. Once we signed Victor, that role was taken."
So putting Dunn in the outfield was apparently never even an option. And given the need for some range in Comerica Park’s left field, that was probably the correct decision.
Dunn didn’t play the outfield at all last season with the Washington Nationals. He played 62 games in left field for the Nats in 2009, but rated as the worst defensively at that position in the majors.
But as the Detroit News' Tom Gage points out, maybe it wasn't all about defense with Dunn. Martinez actually performed better than him in several key offensive categories, including batting with runners in scoring position and with two strikes.
But the team is bringing in at least one pitcher to try out for a job in Spring Training, signing John Bale to a minor league deal on Friday. Bale, 36, last pitched in the majors in 2009 with the Kansas City Royals. FOXSports.com Jon Paul Morosi, in reporting the signing, also writes that Bale pitched last year in Japan with the Hiroshima Carp.
In 2009 with Kansas City, Bale pitched in 43 games, compiling a 5.72 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings.
Against left-handed hitters, which would presumably be his primary role if he made the major league club, Bale allowed a .238/.322/.325 average in 267 plate appearances.
As MLB.com’s Jason Beck points out on Twitter, Bale even has some success against lefty sluggers in the AL Central. The Minnesota Twins’ Justin Morneau is 2-for-10 versus Bale. But Joe Mauer is 4-for-9, so don’t get too excited.
Victor Martinez might not be the only big-money free agent the Detroit Tigers sign this offseason. Despite already giving a four-year, $50 million contract to Martinez last week, reports have the Tigers among the three teams who could sign outfielder Jayson Werth.
FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi writes that the Boston Red Sox are currently perceived as the favorite to get Werth. The Los Angeles Angels are also in the mix, but would prefer Carl Crawford. And the Texas Rangers could also pursue Werth, if they can’t re-sign Cliff Lee.
But don’t count out the Tigers, says Morosi.
The Tigers, meanwhile, are more confident in their ability to sign Werth than Crawford, a source indicated Thursday. Detroit signed Victor Martinez away from Boston earlier this offseason, but team officials believe they need at least one more impact hitter for the outfield.
It’s hardly a secret that the Tigers still want to add a right-handed hitting corner outfielder. Magglio Ordonez still seems like the most likely option for the Tigers, as he’ll come cheaper and require fewer years on a contract than Werth.
But with the Chicago White Sox agreeing on a contract with Adam Dunn (and re-signing Paul Konerko still not out of the question), perhaps the Tigers will feel the need to raise the stakes to keep up in the AL Central.
A couple of weeks ago, the Detroit Tigers were reportedly in “serious talks” with free agent slugger Adam Dunn. But whether it was because Dunn didn’t want to be a full-time designated hitter or he and the Tigers couldn’t come to agreement on a contract, those talks fell through. Detroit, of course, went on to sign Victor Martinez.
But the Tigers will still see plenty of Dunn next season, as he’s agreed to a contract with the Chicago White Sox. The deal is for four years, worth $56 million, and the signing will become official pending a physical. (The White Sox tried to get Dunn last season at the trade deadline, presumably for former Tiger Edwin Jackson, but a deal couldn't be worked out.)
So Martinez ends up being a cheaper signing for the Tigers, as Dunn will be paid $14 million per season – or $1.5 million more than Detroit will pay Martinez. Dunn provides more sheer power, hitting 38 or more home runs over the past seven seasons. But Martinez gives the Tigers more versatility by being able to play catcher, as well as first base.
(Detroit may want to look a bit more seriously at getting a good left-handed reliever with Dunn now in the division. Of course, that would've already been a good idea with Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau in the Minnesota Twins' lineup.)
Reportedly, this doesn't mean that Paul Konerko's career with the White Sox is over. The team is still interested in re-signing him and would alternate Konerko and Dunn between first base and DH.
Miner missed all of last season after suffering an elbow injury that eventually required Tommy John surgery. For his career, he has a 25-20 record and 4.24 ERA in 157 appearances (35 starts) with Detroit.
The Tigers could still bring Miner back, however. It’s likely he would sign a minor-league deal and would try to make the team in Spring Training. Both sides say they want to reach a new agreement for next season.
There was some question as to what the Tigers would do with both pitchers. Galarraga will have "Super Two" status in arbitration, putting him in line for a raise in salary. However, as the current favorite for the fifth spot in the starting rotation, Detroit was likely to bring him back.
Zumaya, of course, has a rather full injury history over the past four seasons. He’s averaged only 27 appearances while battling problems with his shoulder, finger and elbow. But Zumaya is still one of the team’s best strikeout pitchers when healthy, something every bullpen needs. Had the Tigers let him go, another team surely would’ve picked him up.
Last season, Galarraga finished with a 4-9 record and 4.49 ERA. Zumaya compiled a 2.58 ERA, with 34 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings.
The Tigers continued what has been an already busy offseason by designating Zach Miner for assignment on Monday:
In four years in Detroit, Miner was 25-20 with a 4.24 ERA in 157 appearances (35 starts).
The Tigers acquired Miner from the Braves at the trade deadline in 2005, in the deal for reliever Kyle Farnsworth. He was a fourth-round pick by Atlanta in 2000.
His place on the 40-man roster was taken by new catcher/designated hitter Victor Martinez.
According to Jason Beck, though, it doesn't necessarily mean we've seen the last of the mediocre right hander:
Mutual interest between #Tigers and Zach Miner on re-signing. Not a given, but nobody's saying goodbye quite yet.
Miner missed all of last season after an elbow injury forced him to undergo Tommy John surgery.
The Detroit Tigers officially announced the signing of free agent Victor Martinez on Friday. At least six teams showed interest in Martinez, according to his agent. But the chance to play for a team constantly trying to improve itself and provide an opportunity to win is what ultimately made the Tigers most appealing.
“I think the most important thing is that I can see how the Tigers try to improve the team each and every year. They just put a good team on the field every year — a competitive team.
“That was one of the reasons I wanted to come here. It just gives you a greater chance to win a championship. That’s something I’m really looking forward to."
The Tigers have had a strong Venezuelan contingent over the past few seasons with Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen and Armando Galarraga. Cabrera, in particular, did all he could to bring another fellow Venezuelan into the fold with Martinez.
“Miguel, at the end of the season, knew we had some freedom to do some things. He said if he could do anything to help, don’t hesitate to ask,” [Tigers general manager Dave] Dombrowski said. “We asked if he would mind giving Victor a call,” said Dombrowski, “and he volunteered to do that. Plus he followed up with another call after we made an offer. He was aggressive in helping us.”
As rumors of the Tigers’ pursuit of Martinez gained steam, speculation began as to whether he would play primarily at catcher or designated hitter. That question was also answered during the introductory conference call. Martinez will bat mostly as the DH. And unlike Gary Sheffield in past seasons, he says he accepts that role.
“… there’s a lot of stuff to do when you’re not on the field and you’re playing the role of DH. You should watch the game, pay attention to the game. It’s definitely different, but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Despite tabbing Alex Avila as the Tigers’ No. 1 catcher next season, Dombrowski added that Martinez will still likely catch 2-3 days a week, perhaps 60 games a year.
But where will Martinez hit in Detroit’s batting order? The No. 5 spot seems most suitable, given that Martinez would provide switch-hitting protection for Cabrera. But that hasn’t been completely decided for a variety of reasons.
First, the Tigers aren’t done with their offseason shopping. Whichever corner outfielder Detroit signs could go in either the No. 3 or No. 5 slot. (If Magglio Ordonez is re-signed, he’ll likely go back to his familiar third spot in the batting order.)
Secondly, there’s no guarantee that putting Martinez behind Cabrera would prevent opposing pitchers from intentionally walking the Tigers’ first baseman. For instance, Albert Pujols was still intentionally walked 26 times last season, despite Matt Holliday batting behind him in the St. Louis Cardinals’ lineup.
Yet another consideration is that batting Martinez third would give him more at-bats, thus giving the Tigers’ a potential better return on their investment. Having Cabrera batting behind him would surely give him better pitches to hit, as well.
Fortunately, the Tigers have at least three months to decide the best role for Martinez.
For weeks, one of the worst-kept secrets in baseball is that the Detroit Tigers were pursuing Victor Martinez for the left-handed power bat (and catching help) desperately needed in their lineup. The secret is now officially out.
Reports out of Venezuela have the Tigers and Martinez reaching agreement on a four-year contract worth $50 million. Multiple outlets have since confirmed the reports, including Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com. Pending a physical, the deal could be officially announced on Friday or Saturday.
According to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, Detroit’s offer surpassed others from the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox. The Orioles offered Martinez a four-year, $48 million contract, while the White Sox put a three-year, $48 million offer on the table.
The White Sox’s bid offered more money per season, but the fourth year on a contract was apparently important to Martinez. That was also more than the Boston Red Sox were willing to offer to re-sign Martinez.
(UPDATE: WEEI.com reports that Boston did make a four-year offer, but for $42 million.)
Last season with Boston, Martinez batted .302/.351/.493 with 20 home runs and 79 RBIs. Where exactly he fits into the Tigers’ lineup now isn’t quite clear, but he’ll presumably bat behind Miguel Cabrera, providing Detroit’s biggest bat with some switch-hitting protection.
And though Martinez could be the Tigers’ primary catcher, he is more likely to be the designated hitter against right-handed pitching (with Alex Avila playing behind the plate). Against lefties, he’ll probably be the starting catcher. He also gives Jim Leyland a chance to give Cabrera an occasional rest in the field by filling in at first base, when needed.
Martinez batted fifth in 25 games with the Red Sox last season. But he hit third in 88 games. Detroit could use a No. 3 batter, as well, but it seems more likely that he was signed to prevent opposing teams from pitching around Cabrera.
And as Bless You Boys points out, the Tigers aren’t done with their offseason shopping. They need a corner outfielder, and whomever that is will probably end up in that No. 3 spot ahead of Cabrera. Though they didn’t offer arbitration to Magglio Ordonez, Detroit still wants to bring him back and it’s easy to see where he’d fit in right now.
By signing Martinez, who was a Type A free agent, the Tigers will have to give up their first-round draft pick (the No. 19 selection) to the Red Sox. That is, unless Detroit also signed Jayson Werth (another Type A free agent), in which case Boston would receive Detroit's second-rounder. But the Tigers may have made their biggest purchase already.
Since the 2010 season ended, the Detroit Tigers have been clearing spots on their 40-man roster. Following the official signing of Joaquin Benoit, the team made several moves to fill those openings on Friday.
• Reliever Fu-Te Ni was outrighted to Triple-A Toledo. The lefty had a promising rookie year in 2009 with a 2.61 ERA in 33 innings. But he regressed badly in 2010, allowing 19 runs, 19 walks and 27 hits in 23 innings. After being demoted in June, Ni posted a 7.50 ERA in 12 games with Toledo.
• Taking Ni’s spot on the roster is minor league reliever Alberto Alburquerque, who was signed to a major league contract. This year with the Rockies’ Double-A team, Alburquerque struck out 32 batters in 34 1/3 innings. (His 19 walks raise an eyebrow, however.) The Tigers apparently feel that’s the kind of arm worth taking a chance on.
• Shortstop Cale Iorg and pitcher Charlie Furbush had their contracts purchased from Triple-A Toledo.
Iorg was promoted to Toledo after spending most of the season with Double-A Erie. He’s been viewed by the organization as the shortstop of the future, especially because of his defense. Yet he’s struggled with hitting in his three full minor league seasons. Iorg has some power, as his 31 homers over the past three years demonstrate. But making contact is a big issue. Iorg hit a combined .215 this year.
Furbush is a promising left-hander with strikeout stuff, which makes you wonder if he could get a shot in the Tigers’ rotation at some point next year. This season, he compiled 183 strikeouts in 159 innings between Lakeland, Erie and Toledo.
Oliveros had the most saves in the Tigers’ minor leagues this season, with 23. He also struck out 60 batters in 44 1/3 innings, pitching with Lakeland and Erie.
Villareal finished with a 7-8 record and 3.55 ERA in 24 starts between Lakeland and Erie. He racked up 136 strikeouts (versus 39 walks) in 129 1/3 innings.
Below started 28 games with Erie, compiling a 7-12 record and 4.93 ERA, with 103 strikeouts in 126 innings. (He allowed 137 hits, though.) Ortega had 61 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings over 43 appearances between West Michigan, Lakeland and Erie.
The Tigers’ 40-man roster is currently full. More moves are likely to come, as they have to clear room for the other players they want to acquire this offseason.
The Detroit Tigers have already gotten their free agent shopping underway, after reaching agreement with reliever Joaquin Benoit. But several reports also have them in serious discussions with Adam Dunn.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post posted on Twitter that Dunn was moving close to a deal with a team, believed to be the Tigers. SI.com’s Jon Heyman also reported that Dunn and the Tigers were “serious.”
Heyman later posted the following, however:
hearing dunn isn’t close yet with any 1 team, tho tigers are showing keen interest.
And around the same time, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick said such reports were a bit too hasty.
A baseball source says Adam Dunn-to-the-Tigers speculation is "way too premature.‘’ They like him, but it’s not that far along
Okay, so it’s a little too soon to get excited, Tigers fans. But the team certainly seems to be pursuing free agent sluggers aggressively, as advertised. Reports are that Dunn is seeking a four-year deal, perhaps with an option for a fifth year included.
Prior rumblings had Dunn preferring to play for a National League team, and maybe that’s still the way he wants to go. But he appears to have realized that saying he didn’t want to be a designated hitter for an American League team cut down his potential suitors.
If the Tigers are looking for a power hitter, Dunn might be the best available on the market. He’s hit 38 home runs in each of the past two seasons for the Washington Nationals. And he blasted 40 homers in each of the five years prior to that, mostly with the Cincinnati Reds.
One concern with Dunn coming out of his 2010 season, however, is that his walks went down from 116 to 77, while his strikeouts increased from 177 to 199.
(Hat tip to Bless You Boys)
Benoit, 33, was one of the best set-up men in baseball this year for the Tampa Bay Rays, after missing all of the 2009 season recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum. He compiled a 1.34 ERA in 63 appearances and struck out 75 batters in 60 1/3 innings. Benoit was also a Type B free agent, which means the Tigers do not have to give up a draft pick for signing him. (The Rays will receive a compensatory pick between the first and second rounds of next year’s draft for losing Benoit.)
The Tigers made it known before the season ended that they’d pursue free agent relievers to bolster their bullpen. Between Joel Zumaya’s injury, Ryan Perry’s development and Phil Coke’s planned move to the starting rotation, acquiring a top-notch set-up man in front of closer Jose Valverde was a key move of the offseason.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, Benoit's contract is the largest given to a non-closer since the White Sox signed Scott Linebrink to a three-year, $19 million deal in 2007.
Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla raised eyebrows around baseball when he turned down a four-year, $48 million contract offer last week. After getting over their shock, the Marlins have now begun talks with other teams to see if they’d be interested in trading for Uggla.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Tigers have indeed contacted the Marlins about making a potential trade. Detroit is looking for a run producer to put in the middle of its lineup. And they arguably have an opening at second base, with the relatively unproven Scott Sizemore and Will Rhymes slated to split time there next season.
Uggla would certainly be a proven power bat. This past season was the best of his career. He batted .287/.369/.508 with 33 home runs and 105 RBIs in 674 plate appearances. 30 homers and 90 RBIs have been standard numbers for Uggla during his five-year major league career.
According to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, the Marlins are seeking relief pitching in return for Uggla. They’ve already gotten three relievers in the past two days, in trading former Tigers prospects Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin. (Does that Miguel Cabrera trade look even better for the Tigers now?) But if there’s one resource Detroit’s minor league system is rich in, it’s relief pitching, so this could be a good match.
Frisaro also reports two National League teams have expressed interest in Uggla. Those teams weren’t identified, but a guess is that one of them is the New York Mets.
The Tigers are looking to shore up their 40-man roster in preparation for the Rule 5 draft and that roster won't include Casey Fien or Eddie Bonine this year, as they have signed with other teams.
RHP Casey Fien, who has journeyed to several teams and a Justin Bieber concert over the past year, signed a minor-league deal with the Houston Astros. The 2006, 20th round Tigers draft pick only saw 2 2/3 innings with the big club last year, during which he allowed three runs on four hits. He's had a very solid minor league career, though, and it's a wonder when, or if, that will ever translate to the bigs.
Another RHP, Eddie Bonine, was also left unprotected by the Tigers, and he subsequently signed a minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. Bonine has eaten almost 130 innings in three years with the Tigers, but leaves a lot to be desired.
The Tigers also decided to remove long-time minor league Canadian catcher Max St. Pierre from their 40-man roster, but re-signed him a few days later. St. Pierre finally got the call to the big leagues last year after spending 14 seasons and over 1,000 games in the minors. He only had two hits in nine at bats in six games, but serves as the back-up to Alex Avila under the current make up of the Tigers 40-man roster. That will not last long, though, as signing four-time All-Star catcher Victor Martinez seems to be the Tigers first priority this off-season.
According to a report by Gordon Edes, the Red Sox are already looking at other catchers on the market because they’re convinced the Tigers will go hard after Martinez.
The Red Sox are expected to be aggressive in their pursuit of free-agent catcher John Buck in the likely event that Victor Martinez signs elsewhere, according to two baseball sources.
The Red Sox, according to one of the sources, expect the Detroit Tigers to make a major push for Martinez, who could share catching duties with second-year man Alex Avila while also sharing first base and DH duties with Miguel Cabrera.
As you might expect, the Tigers will have some competition for Martinez’s services. A report in the Boston Globe indicated that six teams (including the Tigers and Red Sox) have shown interest. Other clubs presumed to have inquired on Martinez are the Rockies, Blue Jays, Mariners, Rangers and Orioles.
(Okay, that’s actually seven teams. So one of them must not have officially made contact.)
Perhaps the Tigers should look into Buck, as well. (That is, if they haven’t already.) He’d make a nice right-handed complement to Avila at catcher, if another team ends up making Martinez a better offer. All signs seem to indicate Detroit intends to push a lot of money at him, though.
The deal is worth slightly less than the two-year, $11.5 million deal third baseman Brandon Inge signed last month and includes a club option for a third year.
With Inge and Peralta both locked up for the next two seasons, the Tigers can focus on going after other free agents like Victor Martinez and Carl Crawford. Detroit has upwards of $60 million coming off the books in salary and should be key players for both.
The Detroit Tigers held exclusive negotiating rights with shortstop Jhonny Peralta until November 7. According to reports, the Tigers will sign Peralta to a new contract before he becomes a free agent.
A source tells ESPN Deportes’ Enrique Rojas that the Tigers and Peralta are close to agreement on a two-year contract worth $11.5 million.
Peralta has said his first preference was to re-sign with the Tigers. And Detroit wanted to bring him back to be their shortstop. But after declining his $7.5 million option, they’ve been working on a new offer that would satisfy Peralta’s desire for a multi-year deal.
If the new contract is for $11.5 million, it matches the deal given to third baseman Brandon Inge in October. Despite the interest in bringing Peralta back, it was unlikely he’d receive more money from the Tigers than Inge, who’s spent his entire 10-year career with Detroit.
In 57 games with the Tigers following a trade from the Cleveland Indians, Peralta batted .253/.314/.396 with eight home runs and 38 RBIs.
As expected, Ordonez’s agent Scott Boras is going to do his best to create a market for his client. And according to Boras, that market is already growing.
“We’ve gotten a lot of early calls,” Boras said. “I think with this marketplace, the right-handed hitters of that ilk, like Magglio, there’s going to be a very strong demand for them.”
Boras might actually be right about that. Among free agent right-handed hitting outfielders, Ordonez might be the best available hitter after Jayson Werth. Do teams consider Pat Burrell, Manny Ramirez or Vladimir Guerrero viable outfield options anymore?
Before suffering a season-ending broken ankle injury, Ordonez was having a fine season. He batted .303/.378/.474 with 12 home runs and 59 RBIs in 365 plate appearances.
Something that could affect Ordonez’s value on the open market, of course, is that ankle's recovery. But Ordonez said the ankle is about 90 percent healed, and Boras asserts it wasn’t even a major fracture to begin with.
“I think a lot is being made of a standard fracture, what a lot of orthopedic surgeons say is a minor fracture,” Boras said. “There’s no issue with flexibility, weight bearing, anything like that. It was really just a very simple fracture. It simply took some time to heal. This was not a complicated event. There really will not be any time frame where teams will wait and see if he has any trouble performing.”
By building up his client, Boras is obviously doing his job. Ordonez will likely get less per year than the $15 million option the Tigers declined. But he could still get up to $10 million, and might even find a team interested in giving him a multi-year contract.
And if that’s what he and Boras hold out for, it could be a while before he finds that agreement. Just ask Johnny Damon, Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn how the free agent market worked out for them over the past couple of years.
The Detroit Tigers have $60 million coming off their payroll, and many throughout baseball expect them to spend it on free agent talent. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski hasn’t dampened those expectations, either, saying that the team will be making “a lot of moves this wintertime.”
One move that Detroit would like to make is bringing in a left-handed power hitter that can protect Miguel Cabrera in the lineup. And rumblings throughout baseball over the past couple of weeks indicate that catcher Victor Martinez may be the Tigers’ top target.
W tigers poised to make victor martinez a rich man one name to keep an eye on for rox is angels’ mike Napoli. Can catch and play 1b
Renck had actually been connecting Martinez to the Tigers for the last couple of weeks. Tigers beat writer Jason Beck responded, saying that Renck wasn’t reporting this so much as passing along what he was hearing.
Other reporters seem to be hearing the same rumors, however. MLB Network’s Peter Gammons appeared on Boston’s WEEI last week, saying that he didn’t expect Martinez to return to the Red Sox. And the Tigers would be the reason for that.
"I don’t expect Victor Martinez to come back, I think Detroit is going to give him four or five years. And I don’t think anybody else is going to give him four or five years to be a catcher."
Peter Abraham, who covers the Red Sox for the Boston Globe, was yet another that mentioned the Tigers’ interest in Martinez. He even took that one step further, speculating that Detroit might compete with Boston not only for Martinez, but for outfielder Carl Crawford.
SI.com’s Ben Reiter is one more writer who sees the Tigers and Martinez as a good fit, matching the two together in his ranking of the top 50 free agents.
This year with the Red Sox, Martinez hit .302/.351/.493 with 20 home runs and 79 RBIs. Those numbers are consistent with his best offensive seasons, and were among the best at catcher this year. Martinez was also exceptional batting from the right side against left-handed pitching in 2010, with a .400/.431/.742 average and 12 homers.
Defensively, however, Martinez was one of the worst behind the plate against the running game. He threw out only 27 of 99 basestealers this season. That’s the sacrifice the Tigers would be making.
But as Tom Gage points out, the question is whether or not Martinez would be a full-time catcher with the Tigers. Signing him to a big free-agent contract would seem to carry that expectation. Yet the Tigers presumably want Alex Avila to be their starting catcher (who is a better defender at the position) next season.
That doesn’t mean Martinez wouldn’t be a full-time player in Detroit, however. He could split time with Avila as a right-handed bat in a catching platoon. When Avila was in the lineup, Martinez could be the designated hitter. He also has experience playing first base, which might provide an opportunity to spell Cabrera in the field when needed.
If Martinez wants to be a full-time catcher, he might prefer to look elsewhere. Of course, a big contract offer from the Tigers could make him more willing to accept something of a utility role.
As soon as the 2010 season ended, the Detroit Tigers made it known that they wanted Jhonny Peralta back as their shortstop next year. However, it also seemed clear that the team didn’t intend to pick up the $7.25 million option on Peralta’s contract.
On Tuesday, the Tigers made it official. Peralta is now a free agent, after Detroit declined his option.
But the team does want to sign him to a new contract. And the feeling appears to be mutual, based on what Peralta told John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press.
“I would like more than one year,” said Peralta, 28. “The Tigers are a good team, and I want to be with them for more than one year. I am happy with how I felt being with them.”
Peralta’s desire for a multi-year contract likely isn’t stalling negotiations between him and the Tigers. But the two sides have to agree on the financial terms of the deal. As Lowe points out, the Tigers probably don’t want the value of Peralta’s new contract to exceed the $11.5 million they just gave to Brandon Inge.
After being acquired from the Cleveland Indians in late July, Peralta batted .253/.314/.396 with eight home runs and 38 RBIs in 57 games with the Tigers.
With the end of the World Series comes the official start of baseball’s offseason, and the Detroit Tigers got that underway with a handful of roster moves on Thursday.
Shortstop Brent Dlugach looked like he could be a part of the mix at that position this season, but regressed with Triple-A Toledo (batting .258) and was never in consideration. The Tigers traded him to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Also removed from the 40-man roster were pitchers Eddie Bonine and Jay Sborz, outfielder Jeff Frazier and catcher Max St. Pierre, all of whom were outrighted to Toledo. That makes them eligible for free agency. Bonine opted to become a free agent immediately, while the other three have until November 6 to decide.
Bonine was in the Tigers’ bullpen for the entire season, after bouncing between Detroit and Toledo the previous two years. He began the season as a dependable long reliever, compiling a 4-0 record and 2.81 record in the first half. After that, however, Bonine became extremely hittable. Opposing lineups batted 395 against him, while he posted a 7.52 ERA and gave up 47 hits in 26 1/3 innings.
St. Pierre was a nice story late in the season when he was finally called up to the majors after toiling in the minors for 14 years. He appeared in six games, notching two hits in nine at-bats.
Sborz looked like a reliever who could help the Tigers at some point, but his lone appearance in the majors was disastrous. In two-thirds of an inning against the Minnesota Twins in late June, he gave up five runs on three hits.
Frazier appeared in nine games with Detroit as an outfielder and designated hitter, compiling a .217 batting average.
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Detroit Tigers are "deeply interested" in free agent outfielder Carl Crawford. Rosenthal cites "major-league sources" in his report, which also mentions the Red Sox and Angels as potential suitors for Crawford, who has played all nine seasons of his major-league career with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Tigers' supposed interest in Crawford isn't too surprising in my view. As Rosenthal points out, the Tigers would really benefit from having someone like Crawford playing in left field. With Austin Jackson in center field, those two could cover a ton of ground in the Comerica Park outfield by themselves.
Coming at it from an offensive perspective, Crawford would add some serious speed to the Tigers' lineup. They haven't had a real base-stealing threat in a while, but Crawford would definitely bring that to the table for Detroit. What's more, we all know how common doubles and triples already are at Comerica Park, so can you imagine if Crawford got to play his home games there? Those numbers would likely go up even more with Crawford's speed in the lineup.
It's still early and this is just one report, but I am definitely intrigued by the possibility of the Tigers trying to sign Crawford. I think he would be a good addition to the lineup, although concerns about his age are understandable since his speed is so important.
Financial details have been revealed on Brandon Inge’s new two-year contract with the Detroit Tigers. The guaranteed portion of the deal is worth $11.5 million. Inge will be paid $5.5 million in both 2011 and 2012.
The contract includes a club option for 2013 worth $6 million. If the Tigers don’t pick up the option, Inge will receive a $500,000 buyout.
Inge and general manager Dave Dombrowski held a press conference Thursday afternoon to announce the agreement. You can view the video at the FOX Sports Detroit website.
Here’s what Dombrowski said in his opening remarks:
“I think he exemplifies what you look for in a player. And for us to have him as part of our organization again, and to be in a spot where you can look forward to a lot of moves this wintertime for our club, to start here is a perfect place to start.”
And from Inge:
“I’ve been so excited every time I watch TV and I see a new guy that we’ve signed, and they come up here and put the new jersey on, and I get all excited to watch that happen. I think I’m more excited now to be able to keep my jersey on, as opposed to have to get another jersey. So I’m very excited to be here right now for the next two years… hopefully three.”
As soon as the season ended, general manager Dave Dombrowski let it be known that the team put an offer to Inge on the table. (According to Jason Beck, negotiations began before the season ended.) And Inge, in turn, wanted to stay in the place he’s spent his entire 10-year major league career.
Now, it’s official. The Tigers announced on Thursday that they’ve signed Inge to a two-year contract with a club option for 2013. Financial terms of the deal still haven’t been made available, but we’ll post an update when that information is released.
(Inge was paid $6 million per season on his last contract. The guess is that figure will be less in this new deal.)
** UPDATE: Inge will get $11.5 million per Jason Beck, so marginally less.
For the Tigers, they’re bringing back a known commodity. Take issue with Inge’s batting average (and his prodigious strikeout numbers), but he is a 15-20 home run bat each season. And even if his skills are declining somewhat due to age and injury, Inge’s defense at third base is still among the best in the majors.
Could the Tigers have upgraded at the position? The free agent pickings at third base were thin. And some, such as FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, believe that Adrian Beltre would not have been interested in hitting at Comerica Park. Even Inge himself said that the Tigers probably didn’t have a better option.
Add Inge’s involvement in the community, whether it’s his charitable contributions to the University of Michigan’s Mott Children’s Hospital or his desire to keep his family in Michigan until his kids finish school, and you have a player who is the face of the Tigers for many fans.
Check out Bless You Boys for more thoughts on the Inge signing and how Tigers fans feel about the move.
Upon making that decision, however, general manager Dave Dombrowski made it known that he was open to Ordonez returning. The feeling is mutual, based on what Ordonez told Venezuelan newspaper Diario Panorama.
“I want to stay in Detroit, obviously,” Ordonez said, as reported by [Augusto] Cardenas on his twitter account @ACardenas13. “I have my friends, my teammates. I know the organization has been very good to me and the fans have treated me great. … I think there is a great chance to stay in Detroit, but let’s see what happens.”
Ordonez said his broken ankle has healed about 90 percent, and would like to play winter ball for the first time since 2002 to get back in shape.
Bless You Boys further translated the Venezuelan report, and mentions that Ordonez still needs to strengthen the muscles around the ankle before he can put full weight on it.
The question now is how the Tigers will approach a new contract with Ordonez from here on out. Will the team offer him arbitration? They have until Nov. 23 to make that decision. But the Tigers seem more likely to let Ordonez set his value on the free agent market, rather than through the arbitration process.
What the Tigers will also have to determine is how interested other teams are in signing Ordonez. If there’s a strong chance he could go elsewhere, Ordonez’s Type A free agent status would yield a compensation pick in next year’s draft if he’s offered arbitration.
Given the down market for free agent outfielders in recent years, however, the Tigers can probably wait for Ordonez to meet their price. Bobby Abreu and Johnny Damon had to settle for far less than their perceived value over the past two offseasons, and Jermaine Dye didn’t receive any contract offer. Ordonez could find himself in a similar situation.
As of right now, the top four of Detroit's rotation looks like this: Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Phil Coke. Detroit could obviously fill that fifth spot with someone who is the caliber of a fifth starter, but as Beck points out, there's no guarantee that will happen. Detroit could easily go after a third or fourth caliber pitcher, which would just end up moving Coke down to the fifth spot.
We do know that Detroit won't be shelling out big bucks for another top pitcher, though.
Today is the final day of the season for the Detroit Tigers, so as you can imagine, plans are already being made for the upcoming offseason. Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski talked about some of those plans today, including mentioning who on the current roster is or isn't being brought back.
"We've made him an offer and will see if we can get something done," Dombrowski said. "We'd like to have him back. Usually if there's desire by both parties, it has a way of working out."Inge said he was optimistic about remaining in Detroit, so I would expect him to re-sign with the team.
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