Tuesday, November 01, 2011

On Detroit Tigers free agents

Some off seasons involve difficult decisions. Others play out with relative simplicity. The beginning of the off season for the Tigers, anyway, should be simple.
Of their own free agents, the only one the Tigers should strongly consider re-signing is utility infielder Ramon Santiago.
Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen have served the Tigers well - and been paid extremely well, too. It's just time to part ways. Joel Zumaya visited the club during the postseason, met with the media and talked about how healthy he is, yet it's the same story we've heard for a long time. The only way he should come back is on a minor league contract. It's doubtful any club will give Zumaya a major league deal at this point.
Jim Leyland clearly didn't think much of Wilson Betemit, although he did contribute mightily at a key stage of the season for the Tigers. He didn't respond well to the pressure of the postseason.
The Tigers should be able to fill their fifth starter role with a pitcher less expensive and more effective than Brad Penny.
The Tigers do need another option at third base to platoon with Brandon Inge. They need a second baseman. Bullpen help should also be on the agenda. The money to acquire players for these positions should come from what the Tigers will save from the free agents departing. Could be as much as $30 million.
It seems like an obvious, yet effective plan. Ideally, the Tigers want to make trades to fill their holes, not just sign free agents. The free agent pickings at third and second base are slim (Aaron Hill and Kelly Johnson at second). Really, the only premier player is third baseman Aramis Ramirez. He is a tremendous talent, but a selfish player. He is also going to very expensive, just turning down a $16 million option on his contract with the Cubs for next season.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat, I don't see the Tigers with $30 million to spend unless they increase payroll.

The difference between last year's payroll and committed contracts for next year is about $33 million and does not account for current Tigers eligible for arbitration. Max Scherzer in particular will see a bump in salary as a player eligible for arbitration for the first time.

Verlander's big money years begin next season and some other current players are due modest increases. The money coming "on the books" is just as, if not more, important than the money coming off the books but not one seems to pay attention to that.

9:42 AM 
Blogger Barry said...

I agree Pat unless Santiago has priced himself out of the market. I wouldn't pay more than $2 million a season. I agree to also sign Zoom on a minor league contract. The first two players I would call would be E Bedard and Wheeler. What went wrong in the playoffs? Aliva ran out of gas so a back up catcher is needed and there are 5 or 6 quality catchers on the market. Tigers needed a quality relief pitcher. Bedard will give you quality starts until he goes on the DL. This gives Turner some more time in the minors. He would be your # 3 guy in your rotation. Tigers need a lefty in case they face the Yanks again.
Picking are slim in the reliever market but Wheeler does get the job done. We can wait a bit to find a solid back-up catcher. I would also keep Reyes agent on speed dail just in case he can be lured out of NY with $$$$.

11:14 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

You make a good point. It isn't like there is $30 million cleared. But the one thing about the money coming on the books, it is for players who are still in their prime. The Tigers need to tweak their team more than a major overhaul anyway.

11:49 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

The one thing I don't see is Santiago getting big money to go somewhere else and be a regular. He is utilityman and his best chances for success and money are in Detroit - unless the Tigers get another second baseman.

11:50 AM 

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