Tigers Offseason News: Detroit Seriously Negotiating With Yoenis Cespedes?

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Prince Fielder Agrees To Sign With Tigers, According To Report

The Detroit Tigers suffered one of the major hits of the offseason for any team when Victor Martinez went down with a huge injury that put him out of next season, but now it looks like they've found a suitable replacement. Jon Heyman is reporting that the team agreed to a deal with Prince Fielder on a huge nine-year, $214 million contract. Fielder was considered the top free agent available and, as such, many figured he would be out of the Tigers' price range.

Some even said he wouldn't be a good fit immediately after Martinez went down, again, likely due to the fact that he'd come with such a high price tag. That being said, he did end up making less than the deal that Albert Pujols received this offseason from the Angels, a $240-million, 10-year deal.

Many thought that the Rangers, Mariners and Nationals were the top candidates to land Fielder's services. He hit .299/.415/.566 with 38 home runs and 120 RBI in 162 games a year ago for the Brewers. He's 27 years-old and has been incredibly consistent over the last few seasons.

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Detroit Tigers Avoid Arbitration With Don Kelly, Agree On One-Year Contract

It’s a mantra you can repeat every year at this time of year with the Detroit Tigers: Dave Dombrowski does not do arbitration.

The Tigers GM hasn’t gone to an arbitration hearing with a player during his 10-year tenure in Detroit. And that streak looks like it will continue. On Monday, the team agreed on one-year contracts with starting pitcher Rick Porcello and reliever Phil Coke. Tuesday, it was utility man Don Kelly’s turn.

CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman was the first to report that the Tigers and Kelly have agreed on a one-year, $900,000 deal. Kelly qualifed for “Super Two” status and a fourth year of arbitration based on his major league service time.

Last season, Kelly hit .245/.291/.381 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs in plate appearances. But he became something of a hitting star in the postseason, compiling a 1.000 OPS in the ALDS versus the New York Yankees. And who can forget (or believe) his solo home run to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the decisive Game Five of that series?

But his true usefulness comes from his ability to play almost anywhere on the field. Kelly played eight positions last year for Detroit, including helping out at catcher and pitching a scoreless 1/3 of an inning in a late-June blowout loss to the Mets.

Kelly is expected to be the left-handed side of a platoon at third base with Brandon Inge this upcoming season.

Pitcher Max Scherzer and outfielder Delmon Young are the two players left to reach contract terms with and avoid arbitration hearings with the Tigers.

For more on the Detroit Tigers, check out Bless You Boys. You can also head over to SB Nation’s main MLB hub at Baseball Nation.


Phil Coke Agrees To New Contract With Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers locked up a pair of pitchers for next season on Monday during the arbitration process. The Tigers agreed to a deal with Phil Coke, who finished last year as a postseason contributor following a rough regular season, after signing Rick Porcello earlier in the day.

The deal between Coke, a 29-year-old lefty, and the Tigers was described in depth on the Tigers website.

Coke was eligible for arbitration for the first time after three full seasons, the last two of them in Detroit following his trade from the Yankees. He split last year between the Tigers' rotation and bullpen, with a 1-8 record and 4.82 ERA as a starter before reprising his role as a left-handed reliever and occasional setup man. He played a big role in the Tigers' postseason run.

Coke will earn $1.1 million, with another $50,000 possible in incentives -- $25,000 each for 65 and 70 appearances, or $25,000 each for 15 and 25 starts.

Coke has compiled a 10-14 record with the Tigers in two seasons after beginning his major league career with the New York Yankees. He made $440,000 last season, according to Baseball References's records, so his salary will be doubled this season.

For more on the Detroit Tigers, check out Bless You Boys. You can also head over to SB Nation's main MLB hub at Baseball Nation.


Detroit Tigers Avoid Arbitration For Rick Porcello

The Tigers have signed young pitcher Rick Porcello to a new one year deal.


Tigers Trade Ryan Perry To Nationals For Collin Balester

The Detroit Tigers announced a trade on Friday evening. They have dealt reliever Ryan Perry to the Washington Nationals in exchange for Collin Balester, who is also a relief pitcher.

Balester joins the Tigers after spending parts of the last four seasons in the big leagues with the Nationals. In his first two seasons, he was actually a starting pitcher for 22 games. In 2010, he was a reliever and had a 2.57 ERA in 17 appearances. Last season, he had a 4.54 ERA in 23 appearances.

Via Bless You Boys, here is what Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski had to say about Balester:

"Acquiring Collin Balester from the Nationals today adds another good arm to our organization. He has shown the ability to pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen in the past, a role we are looking for him to fill for our club in 2012."

Perry appeared in 36 games last season and had an ERA of 5.35. Although Perry certainly has potential, he struggled with control during most of his time in Detroit. Perhaps a fresh start will be good for him.


Reliever Octavio Dotel Signs With Tigers

The Detroit Tigers have improved their bullpen with the signing of Octavio Dotel Thursday morning. The 38-year-old reliever brings a championship pedigree to Detroit, as he was a member of the World Series winning St. Louis Cardinals during the 2011 season. According to a report, he has agreed to a one-year deal with an option for a second:

Jon Heyman @Jon_Heyman Jon Heyman octavio dotel is in agreement on deal for 1 yr and option with #tigers

The journeyman reliever is now with his 13th MLB team and third in a year after pitching for both Toronto and St. Louis last season. In splitting time with the Cardinals and Blue Jays last season he was 5-4 with a 3.50 ERA in 54 innings pitched. He pitched 10 1/3 innings in the postseason for St. Louis and earned a win on the mound in both the Division Series and the League Championship Series.

UPDATE: Heyman reports that Dotel's deal is worth $3.5 million.


Detroit Tigers Close To Signing Reliever Octavio Dotel

Fans who hoped the Detroit Tigers would pull off a big trade or free agent signing during baseball’s winter meetings might be disappointed with the team’s lack of sizzle. But late Wednesday night, the Tigers were close to improving their bullpen.

As the day developed, Detroit emerged as a front-runner to signing reliever Octavio Dotel. Most reports had the Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals — the team Dotel ended the season and won the World Series with — competing for his services.

But by the end of the day, according to CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler, the two sides are on the verge of agreeing to a contract. Reports have the Tigers signing Dotel to a one-year deal with an option for 2013. That’s the compromise between Dotel wanting a two-year contract and Detroit not wanting to commit to more than one year.

The financial terms of the deal have not yet been revealed.

Dotel, 38, posted a 3.50 ERA for the Cardinals and Toronto Blue Jays last season. In the postseason, Dotel compiled a 2.61 ERA, helping the Cardinals to their championship.

The Tigers will be the 13th team he has pitched with during his career. He has also played for the Mets, Astros, Athletics, Yankees, Royals, Braves, White Sox, Pirates, Dodgers and Rockies in 13 major league seasons.

Dotel will be important for the Tigers in middle innings primarily because of his ability to get right-handed hitters out. Opposing righties hit .154/.198/.211 in 133 plate appearances against him. He struck out 45 and walked only seven.

Even better, Dotel gives Jim Leyland another strikeout option about of the bullpen. He averaged 10.33 strikeouts per nine innings in 2011. Only Al Alburquerque had a better rate among Tigers relievers. And unlike Alburquerque, Dotel isn’t wild. He walked 2.83 batters per nine.

Middle relief was frequently a problem for the Tigers last season, and even more so in the postseason. Relievers like Ryan Perry and Daniel Schlereth have yet to pitch consistently well. And Alburquerque has to prove his elbow can withstand a full season. Dotel should take care of those questions and effectively bridge the gap between Detroit’s starting pitchers and late-inning relievers.


Omir Santos Re-Signed To Minor League Deal By Tigers

The Detroit Tigers have added some insurance at the catcher position on Wednesday, re-signing Omir Santos to a minor league deal, according to James Schmehl. Santos will likely be invited to big league camp at the onset of spring training, but he likely won't see time in the big leagues without an injury. There was initial doubt that the Tigers would be bringing Santos back after the team signed Gerald Laird to a one-year deal as Alex Avila's backup.

But they're bringing Santos back for a little insurance. The 30 year-old hit .227 in 11 games last year when Victor Martinez sprained his knee. For the Mud Hens, he had two homers, 16 RBIs and hit .245 in 49 games. He'll be the primary catcher for the Mud Hens this year , with guys like John Murrian and Jeff Kunkel behind him.

According to the report, the Tigers also signed outfielder Jefad Head to a minor league deal. He played for Triple-A Columbus of the International League last year, and was 3-for-24 with the Indians in the majors.


Ramon Santiago Re-Signs With Tigers For 2-Year Deal

On Wednesday, the Detroit Tigers announced that they've agreed to a two-year contract with second baseman Ramon Santiago. This past season, Santiago played in 101 games, the third-highest total of his career, but only had 258 plate appearances. His average was decent at .260, par the course for the player who has spent eight of his ten seasons with the Tigers. His other two, in 2004-05, were spent with the Seattle Mariners, but he only played in 27 games during that time.

Santiago tested the free agent market briefly, and decided to remain in Detroit. He's joined several other utility men in regards to signing two-year contracts, joining the ranks of guys like Willie Bloomquist, John McDonald and Clint Barmes. He might be in line to get some more playing time as Detroit's second baseman this season, after performing well in the Tigers' drive to the ALCS last season.

If the Tigers don't sign anybody else, Santiago could be in line for splitting time with Ryan Raburn at second base. The Tigers had previously been linked to a potential trade with Maicer Izturis, but this signing makes that deal unlikely, given the similarities between the two players.


Detroit Tigers Agree To Deal With Gerald Laird, According To Report

The Detroit Tigers have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with catcher Gerald Laird, according to reports from Ken Rosenthal. The recent news was that the Tigers considered Laird their top option as a backup catcher, and now confirmation from Rosenthal confirms they were able to get a deal done. Any other information regarding the signing is unknown at this time.

Laird was the top choice for Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski, who announced two weeks ago his intention of signing a right-handed hitting backup catcher. Laird spent this past season with the St. Louis Cardinals, winning a World Series with the team as the backup to Yadier Molina. Laird hit .232 with 12 RBIs and a home run in 95 at-bats last season.

In 2009 and 2010, Laird was the starting catcher for Detroit, with a batting average of .225 and .207 in each year, respectively. He caught 670 2/3 innings for the Tigers in 2010, but obviously would not get anything near that amount barring serious injury to Alex Avila.


Tigers Pick Up Jose Valverde's $9 Million Option

After converting 52-of-52 save opportunities between the regular season and playoffs, bringing back Papa Grande was probably a no-brainer for the Tigers.

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