This is old news by now, but the Tigers made the first REALLY big splash of the free agent season by picking up Victor Martinez. Martinez is familiar to Tiger fans because of his time in Cleveland with the Indians and more recently with the Boston Red Sox.
Martinez is a switch hitter and can play catcher and first base. According to the Tigers brass, the plan is to have Martinez catch about two games a weeks and spend the rest of his time at DH. I’d like to see Martinez catch a game or two more a week to help maximize his value, but this makes for a serious upgrade on the Gerald Laird/ Alex Avila combo of 2010.
Victor is a three time All Star and a career .300 hitter over 1,004 big league games. Here’s a few more numbers for ya:
Martinez is one of those rare players that hits for equal pop and average against both left-handed and right-handed pitchers as his averages and slugging numbers are pretty close across the board. This is obviously big for the Tigers as they now have a guy that actually hit lefties. Curtis Granderson, Brennan Boesch and all those other dudes just cannot hit the lefties.
Martinez has generally seen his time behind the plate wane as he has advanced in age. However, last season in Boston, the 31-year-old spent the bulk his time behind the dish. This shows that he is still capable of catching full-time. The thing to consider there though is that Boston likely knew he was on his last year with the club, so they just didn’t care. The Tigers on the other hand, are locked into the guy for the next four years and are going to want to keep him hitting as long into the deal as possible.
It’s safe to say the Tigers haven’t had this kind of hitter behind the plate since Ivan Rodriguez’s hey-day, and Pudge never got on-base at the rate V-Mart will (should).
Here’s where V-Mart ranks amongst catchers that have caught at least 800 games since 2002 (Martinez’s rookie season):
Clearly the club is picking up an elite offensive talented, provided he can stay behind the plate. Martinez is a very good hitter, but his offensive value takes a pretty substantial blow if he isn’t catching at least part time. Hopefully his body can hold up and the Tigers can play him there 80 or so games in 2011.]]>
As most Tigers fans know, the club made one of the first splashes of the free agent season by signing Joaquin Benoit to a three year deal worth at least $16.5M. Not bad if you’re Benoit. Benoit is 33 years old and is coming off a career year with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Here’s a quick snapshot of his Benoit’s career:
Benoit has posted three seasons with an ERA+ of 100 or better, obviously doing so last season. He has a live fastball and has always put up pretty good K rates.
In 2010, Benoit put up the following numbers:
Using 60 innings as our minimum, we’ll compare Benoit’s 2010 numbers to the last Tiger to match the numbers:
You could certainly make the argument that if Benoit is able to replicate his 2010 season it will be the finest season ever by a Tigers relief pitcher. However, the odds are not great that Benoit will repeat his 2010 season in any of the next three seasons. But, if the Tigers can get a guy a tick worse than that, they are getting a pretty good deal.
Here’s hoping that Benoit can stay healthy while in Detroit.]]>
Is the window starting to close for Tigers former top prospect, Cameron Maybin? Nearly three years ago, Maybin was the top player sent by the Tigers to the Florida Marlins in the deal that brought Miguel Cabrera to Detroit. Maybin has been a disappointment in Southern Florida and as a result, he was shipped to the Padres for a pair of relief pitchers.
In his three years with the Marlins, hit .257 with 12 homers in 144 games. He continued to struggled with his patience at the plate, fanning way far too often and not getting on base often enough. He had a brief cameo in the bigs with the Tigers back in 2007 and with the Marlins in 2008. He got his longest look at the Major Leagues last season when he got a career-high 291 at-bats.
It’s not all gloom and doom for Maybin. He is only 23 (24 in April) and still possesses great speed and athleticism. His speed on the bases and in the outfield should serve him well in spacious Petco Park in San Diego. It’s likely that Maybin will earn the starting CF job in San Diego and should get at least one more shot at proving himself as a full-timer in the big leagues.
The other key piece of the Cabrera deal was Andrew Miller. Miller, like Maybin was seen as a future star. Miller was a lefty pitcher who ripped through the minors quickly with the Tigers. It may have been a bit too quickly as Miller has never really figured it out at the big league level.
Since joining the Marlins, Miller has a 10-20 record with an ERA of 5.89, a WHIP north of 1.70, and an ERA+ of just 73. He has been nothing short of a disaster. While there is still hope for Maybin, I don’t think there is as much hope for Miller. Miller has not really even shown glimpses of his potential over the past few years. He has struggled with his control and with injuries from day one.
Miller, who will be 26 in May, is now with the Boston Red Sox. As much as I don’t like the Red Sox, I would like to see them figure Miller out and get him back on the right track. Even though guys like Maybin and Miller are no long with the Tigers, I still find myself pulling for them.]]>
I love baseball’s off season. There is always plenty of speculation and there is never a shortage of rumors. Also, because baseball has no salary cap, there are always more options for each player and that makes it a lot more fun for the fans. While Cliff Lee to the Yankees seems like a match made in heaven hell, there is always a chance he’ll return to Texas or sign with a team like the Washington Nationals.
The Tigers had a lot of cash come off of the books this season, which could make them major players in the free agent game. The club has already locked up Brandon Inge and Jhonny Peralta on two-year deals but there could be plenty of money left to spend.
Carl Crawford is considered one of the top, if not the top, offensive talent on the offensive market. The Tigers have been connected to Crawford in some rumors already, so let’s shake this thing out and see just how good the guy really is.
Crawford has 9 big league seasons under his belt and each of them was spent with team that drafted him, the Tampa Bay Rays. He debuted back in 2002 and has racked up nearly 1,500 hits since.
The bulk of Crawford’s value is tied to his speed. He is routinely among the league leaders in triples and stolen bases. He also covers a ton of ground in left field, making him above-average defensively. Crawford has led the American League in steals four times and in triples four times, including this past season. His career batting average is .296.
So, that all sounds pretty good. Crawford is not without a weakness. He is not the most patient hitter at the plate, something Tigers players have struggled with over the past ten years or so. Crawford has career on base percentage of only .337, which is typically not good for a top of the order bat. To put things in perspective, Ramon Santiago had an OBP of .337 last season. Just saying.
That being said, Crawford has done a much better job of getting on base over the past two years. From 2009-2010, Crawford reached base at a .360 clip, a very good number. It is possible that some credit for his lower totals and for his recent upward tilt are due to the quality of team for which he played.
Crawford turned 29 this past August, so a five year deal for him seems realistic. Are the Tigers the sort of club that want to be tied to someone like Crawford for five years and do they want to be in that bidding war? If the Yankees or Red Sox get involved, it’s possible that a five year deal could net Crawford $90M or so.
Can you picture Crawford and Austin Jackson patrolling the outfield of Comerica Park for the next few years, though? I can’t see many balls falling in there or any lineup with that much speed at the top.]]>
As most Tigers fans know, the Tigers are finally free of Magglio Ordonez’s massive contract. While Magglio was pretty good at the dish last year, he remained one of the most overpaid players in the game as he cashed in checked from the Tigers that totaled, $17,825,976.
I think the Tigers would be happy to pay that kind of money to the 2007 Magglio that played in 157 games and hit .363. However, the 2010 Magglio played in only 87 games. That means that Ordonez pulled in over $205,000 per game. That is actually pretty tough to comprehend.
Regardless of what he made and how little he played in 2010, Ordonez remains a favorite amongst Tiger fans. After all, this is still the same man that came to Detroit and signed a long term deal when the Tigers were really struggling. This is still the same man that sent the Tigers to the 2006 World Series with his ALCS winning home run off of Huston Street.
So, with Magglio emerging as a free agent, what should the Tigers do? Before we chat it up, here are the facts:
So, what should the Tigers do with Ordonez. The simpler answers are to “keep him” or “let him go”. Personally? I would be fine with the Tigers keeping Magglio in Detroit on a one year deal in the neighborhood of $4-7 million. I am not on board with the Tigers giving Magglio the Derek Jeter Treatment where they give him a huge deal just because of who he was.
Over the fall and winter we will see how the Tigers choose to handle this situation. I hope they keep him around, at least for one more season.]]>
I’m going to take some time this weekend to brainstorm some ideas for the site and I should be up and running for good on Monday. If you hung there, thanks for being patient. Here we go.]]>
Let’s take a look at his 2010 season so far and see if we can find any justification for keeping this bag of bones around. First, I’ll list the positives AND the reasons in which he may be on the roster to begin with:
Now a few reasons not to play Don Kelly. All factual:
That final point there is what grinds my gears the most. The Tigers are now out of contention. Time to cut Kelly loose. The Tigers are not exactly stocked in the minors, but they may as well give some playing time to a guy in the minors and see what they have. We all KNOW what they have in Don Kelly.]]>
If there is something you would like to see here, please let me know in the comments section below. I will work on getting something up here this weekend and hopefully that will just get the ball rolling.
I am happy to be feeling the itch again. If you are someone sticking with this blog, thank you.
1B/DH RYAN STRIEBY
2009: AA Erie
Stats: .303 average, .427 OB%
18 doubles, 1 triple, 19 home runs, 58 RBI
The 6′5″ right-handed first baseman has been quietly moving through the Tiger farm system the last few years. His performance though has been anything but quiet. Strieby has been destroying opposing pitching at stop thus far.
Perhaps the only problem with Strieby, is where to put him. He had been given limited reps in the outfield with less than impressive results. With Miguel Cabrera at first he seems destined for DH duties.
Strieby has begun the season in AAA Toledo.
OF BRENNAN BOESCH
2009: AA Erie
Stats: .275 average, .318 OB%,
26 doubles, 7 triples, 28 home runs, 93 RBI
Brennan Boesch is quickly climbing up the depth charts after a break out 2009 campaign.
Last seasons 28 home runs led the Eastern League and earned Boesch the 2009 Double-A MILB Round Tripper Award.
He has started the season in AAA Toledo.
OF CASPER WELLS
2009: AA Erie
Stats: .260 average .369 OB%
18 doubles, 4 triples, 15 home runs, 41 RBI
The Michigan native (born in Grand Rapids) put up solid numbers in AA Erie last season. Perhaps even more impressive, Wells hit .351 in the AFL.
It should be noted though that Injuries such as a broken hand and elbow problems have hindered him in his minor-league career. Hopefully Wells stays injury free and continues to build on yet another impressive season.
He began the season in AAA Toledo, but was recently placed on the DL after a head first slide into third base dislocated his finger.
The sixth round pick of the 2009 draft, DANIEL FIELDS was recently moved from short stop to center field. The University of Detroit Jesuit High School prospect has started the season in extended spring training to become aclimated to his new position.
3B WADE GAYNOR
2009: Western Kentucky University
Stats: .371 average .466 OB%
20 doubles, 4 triples, 25 home runs, 78 RBI 21SB
Selected in the third round of the 2009 draft, Gaynor has begun the season in Low-A West Michigan.
1B RAWLEY BISHOP
2009: Middle Tennesee State Univ.
Stats: .398 average, .502 OB%
17 doubles, 1 triple, 14 home runs, 51 RBI
After an outstanding finish to his college career Bishop has began this season in Advanced-A Lakeland.
OF STEVEN MOYA
2009: Dominican Summer League
Stats: .252 average, .361 OB%
8 doubles, 6 home runs, 33 RBI
The 18-year-old, left handed Steven Moya has quickly made a name for himself. The 6-foot-6 native of the Dominican Republic is indeed raw as described by experts. Considering his age he sure looks impressive on paper. He looked like a giant in right field this spring in Lakeland.
EARNING THEIR STRIPES:
SS GUSTAVO NUNEZ
2009: Low A West Michigan
Stats: .315 average, .360 OB%
16 doubles, 10 triples, 5 home runs, 40 RBI, 45 SB
Dave Dombrowski seems to be raving about the 21-year-old switch hitting shortstop Gustavo Nunez these days and why not?
The speedy Nunezs’ 10 triples tied him for second most and his 45 steals were the third highest in the Midwest League last season.
While his defense is perhaps below fellow prospect Cale Iorgs, it is worth noting that Baseball America tabbed Nunez the No. 7 prospect in Detroit’s farm system and the top infielder.
He has started the season in Advanced-A Lakeland.
MAKE OR BREAK:
1B/DH JEFF LARISH
Recently removed from the 40 man roster, I think it is safe to say that Jeff Larish is at a crossroads this season. As if that is not enogh, he should probably shift to third as Miguel Cabrera has first base locked up.
With that being said, Larish must put together an outstanding season or I fear he will get lost in that same AAA black hole that former Tiger prospect Brent Clevlen did.
Either way (at least IMO) Jeff Larish is a great baseball player, period.
OF WILKIN RAMIREZ
The highly touted Ramirez takes a step back this season as he returns to AA Erie.
Ramirez is quickly losing his prospect tag and finds himself in a make or break situation. With outfield prospects Casper Wells and Brennan Boesch rising on the depth charts and Clete Thomas just ahead of them in AAA Toledo, it’s tough to be Wilkin these days.]]>
As I write here on early Sunday afternoon, OUR Detroit Tigers sit at the top of the AL Central standings (with those pesky Twins) with a record of 4-1. I have only been able to watch a little bit so far, but here are some of my thoughts after going through the ol’ rotation once…
While the club is 4-1, it’s probably worth pointing out that they’ve played Kansas City and Cleveland, probably two of the weaker teams in the American League. Hopefully they’ll keep this level of play up as the schedule moves forward and they face some tougher competition.
Thanks for your continued support of this beautiful site.]]>