I realized that I still haven't written up the Tigers for my 2007 Team Outlooks. That's about to change, I guess.
Dave Dombrowski's contract obligations:
C - Ivan Rodriguez - $11MM
C - Vance Wilson - $0.95MM
2B - Placido Polanco - $4.6MM
SS - Carlos Guillen - $5MM
3B - Brandon Inge - $3MM
IF - Neifi Perez - $2.5MM
LF - Craig Monroe - $2.8MM
CF - Curtis Granderson - $0.38MM
RF - Magglio Ordonez - $12MM
OF - Marcus Thames - $0.38MM
DH - Gary Sheffield - $13MM
SP - Jeremy Bonderman - $2.3MM
SP - Justin Verlander - $1MM
SP - Kenny Rogers - $8MM
SP - Nate Robertson - $0.4025MM
SP - Mike Maroth - $2.95MM
RP - Joel Zumaya - $0.38MM
RP - Todd Jones - $5.5MM
RP - Fernando Rodney - $0.385MM
RP - Andrew Miller - $1.35MM
RP - Jason Grilli - $0.38MM
RP - Wil Ledezma - $0.38MM
RP - Zach Miner - $0.38MM
I realize this leaves off Chris Shelton, Omar Infante, and Roman Colon. But I'm trying to adhere to a 25-man roster here so cut me some slack. Before raises, the Tigers have about $79MM tied up. Inge, Monroe, Bonderman, Maroth, Robertson, and Rodney should all get raises, perhaps putting us in the $85MM range. Some deferred Sheffield money may cut that back, but you get the general idea. Detroit opened the 2006 season with an $82.6MM payroll, by comparison.
Now that Sheffield is in tow, the Tigers only main acquisition should be a first baseman. They aren't going to get ridiculous and acquire another hitter of Sheffield's stature. Dombrowski could chase one of these mediocre free agents, or use Shelton as a trading chip. But then, why not just play Shelton? I understand that he tanked after an incredible April, but he did some good work in 2005 and he's just 26. Personally I would just put Shelton in a low-pressure spot in the order and see if he progresses. At least for a couple of months.
The Tigers have a surplus of no-stick middle infielders after Neifi - Ramon Santiago and Omar Infante. They've also got five guys who can play the outfield. That should afford flexibility and rest for the more fragile guys.
Maroth had bone chips taken out of his elbow this summer and never fully recovered. If he's OK by spring, I think he has the fifth starter's spot on account of his salary. Should one of the five falter, Ledezma or Miner should be capable replacements. And Miller is a starter by trade, though he could end up in the minors or the bullpen in 2007. You can see how the Tigers felt they had the depth to trade Humberto Sanchez.
The pen looks to be solid. Perhaps Zumaya should be moved into the ninth inning role, but regardless, Leyland has plenty of weapons.
The Tigers are pretty well set; just look for that first base acquisition (Kevin Millar?) and maybe one reliever. Detroit should again be right in the thick of things in the AL Central. They've even got the depth to cover some unforeseen circumstances.
Well, that's all you're getting for tonight - off to my bachelor party!
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