Offseason In Review: Detroit Tigers

The Tigers made a couple of blockbuster trades and re-worked their bullpen but steered clear of the big free agent signings we've come to expect from GM Dave Dombrowski and owner Mike Ilitch.

Major League Signings

Notable Minor League Signings

Extensions

Trades and Claims

Notable Losses

Needs Addressed

The Tigers wrapped up their 2013 season with an ALCS loss to the Red Sox that served as a bittersweet farewell to longtime manager Jim Leyland. Their first order of business was to find a new skipper, and they did so in the form of former big league catcher Brad Ausmus.

Kinsler-Ian-Tigers

However, Detroit's biggest need this offseason could arguably have been to gain some long-term financial flexibility, and the club was able to accomplish that while finding a replacement for Infante all in the same move. In trading Fielder to the Rangers for Kinsler and $30MM, Dombrowski successfully shaved $76MM off the payroll over the next several years.

That savings, perhaps along with some of the money saved in the Fister trade, paved the way for the Tigers to sign Miguel Cabrera to a whopping eight-year, $248MM extension that serves as the second largest deal in history in terms of new money. When combined with the existing two years and $44MM he was already owed, Cabrera's 10-year, $292MM commitment is the largest ever made to a player in Major League history.

Last season, the Tigers experienced an early-season carousel in the ninth inning that led to a short-lived and unsightly reunion with Jose Valverde before Benoit finally solidified the closer's spot. However, Benoit departed via free agency, and the Tigers sought the biggest upgrade the market had to offer, inking active saves leader Nathan to a two-year deal. It's not without risk, given Nathan's age (39), but then again, what multi-year deal for a reliever is? Seeking a more affordable option than Veras for a setup role, Dombrowski brought in Chamberlain on a one-year deal. Chamberlain's struggles in New York were pronounced, but he fits the mold of the typical hard-throwing power arm that Detroit tends to target.

Those additions, along with the Fister trade, allowed the Tigers to move Drew Smyly into the rotation alongside Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello, with Krol sliding into the 'pen in Smyly's stead. That quintet looks to be one of the most talented groups in the Majors and should give the Tigers a good chance to once again post one of the five best collective rotation ERAs in the game.

In the outfield, Dombrowski sought to add more speed by adding Davis on a two-year deal, and he would have formed a solid platoon with Andy Dirks, had Dirks not suffered a back injury. Dirks is on the shelf for the first three months or so of the season, thrusting Davis, rookie Tyler Collins and utility man Don Kelly into more action than originally expected.

Questions Remaining

While the Cabrera extension clearly filled a need for the near future, it will almost certainly be perceived in a negative light by its completion. Cabrera could very well be the best power hitter on the face of the planet right now, so it makes sense that that Tigers would want to retain him and even lock him up for life, but history has shown that 10-year commitments such as this one (e.g. Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols) aren't likely to pan out. While he has astoundingly never been on the disabled list, Cabrera did battle a groin injury that required offseason surgery in 2013, and the odds of him maintaining his impressive durability through his age-40 season are slim to none.

The bigger question, for the Tigers, will be how many more years of elite slugging they receive from Cabrera before his inevitable decline. For all of Cabrera's accolades at the plate, the same "best hitter on the planet" tag could have been applied to Pujols or Rodriguez at the time of their signings, and they wilted quickly (though Pujols could still experience a turnaround, of course). And, it must be asked if the best way to utilize their newfound financial freedom after escaping Fielder's decline years was to immediately dedicate that money to the decline years of another slugger.

Injuries have ravaged the Tigers' roster, creating a good deal of uncertainty for the 2014 season. For the time being, they've elected to bridge the gap to Dirks' return with internal options, but a waiver claim or some type of minor move to improve that depth early in the season wouldn't be a surprise.

Of longer-term consequence is the fact that Jose Iglesias is likely to miss the season with stress fractures in each of his shins/ The Tigers have, to this point, deployed an unexciting combination of Gonzalez and Romine to fill the void. One has to wonder just how long they can go with that combination before looking for a real upgrade.

The logical connection to make there is that Stephen Drew remains unsigned, and at this point, there may not be a team with a greater need that represents a better fit. Drew is already in the clear in terms of dodging another qualifying offer — any team that signs him would be unable to make an offer, as he didn't spent the entire year on its roster — but the Tigers may prefer to wait until after the June draft to make a move. That strategy would preserve their 2015 first-round pick, but it would also mean about two months of replacement-level production at shortstop as well as the risk that another club swoops in and signs him at an earlier date.

In addition to Dirks and Iglesias, the Tigers also lost flamethrowing setup ace Bruce Rondon to Tommy John surgery. Rondon's departure for the season means that the Tigers will be relying on a patchwork bullpen to get to Nathan in the ninth inning, with Krol, Chamberlain and Al Alburquerque representing the best options for Ausmus.

A final, albeit lesser question mark is whether or not Nick Castellanos can hold down the fort as Ausmus' primary third base option. Castellanos is universally regarded as one of the game's top hitting prospects, but he's still just 22 years old and rocketed through the minor leagues without clearly dominating at any one level. That's not to say he isn't capable of being a plus third baseman in the Majors, but merely to ask if it's a reasonable expectation for the 2014 campaign.

Deal of Note

The Fister trade is still one of the most controversial moves of the offseason, simply due to the fact that most feel Dombrowski — who is generally perceived as an excellent GM in trades — didn't receive a large enough return for his right-hander.

From 2011-13, Fister ranked ninth among all Major League pitchers in fWAR (13.3) and rWAR (12.6). In 586 2/3 innings in that time, Fister posted a 3.30 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 3.75 K/BB and a 50.9 percent ground-ball rate that ranked 18th among 139 qualified starting pitchers. The Nationals will control him for two more seasons, with a $7.2MM salary on tap in 2014 before one more arbitration raise next offseason.

Essentially, Fister has pitched at a level that is comparable, if not superior to that of James Shields over the three-year term that preceded his to his trade to the Royals (albeit in a weaker division). Shields, who was also more expensive than Fister, posted a 3.76 ERA with 8.4 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 46.6 percent ground-ball rate in that time. He did total an additional 100 innings, and the Rays included Wade Davis in the deal as well, but it seems disproportionate that Shields would net a package headlined by Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi while Fister yielded Ray, Krol and Lombardozzi.

Ray is the jewel of the deal, but he didn't rank among the game's Top 100 prospects per Baseball America or Baseball Prospectus, and he came in at No. 97 on MLB.com's list. Dombrowski has said the trade was made due to the difficulty of acquiring young pitching, noting that Ray was one of 15 pitching prospects who interested the Tigers and the only one with which a rival club was willing to part. Perhaps Dombrowski sensed the impending injury to Fister that has sidelined him to open the season, but he was healthy enough at the time of the trade to pass Washington's physical, so it seems unlikely that any sort of major red flag was present.

With Lombardozzi already shipped off, the Tigers are left with Ray, Krol and one year of Gonzalez to show for Fister, making Ray's development critical to the trade's success. Should Ray fail to pan out, the Tigers would be left with a left-handed reliever and some extra cash that may have helped to facilitate a likely ill-fated contract extension for Cabrera — a tough pill to swallow for Detroit fans.

Overview

Despite question marks in the bullpen and at shortstop, the Tigers boast an elite rotation and a lineup that should score plenty of runs, making them the favorites to take home their fourth consecutive AL Central Division Championship. This team is in a clear win-now mode, although the subtraction of Fister does contradict that thinking to an extent. The Tigers could very well find themselves in the market for a one-year upgrade at shortstop or some short-term help in left field, but even if they stick with in-house options, they're likely to see October baseball once again.

The long-term outlook is more questionable, as after shedding the decline phase of Fielder's contract, the Tigers purchased a larger portion of that same phase of Cabrera's career. They already have a remarkable $83.8MM in contracts guaranteed in 2017, $68MM in 2018 (including buyouts for Kinsler and Anibal Sanchez) and $58MM in 2019. With some potentially restrictive commitments for declining players on the books in the future, the team could be facing a closing window for its first World Series title since 1984.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


84 Responses to Offseason In Review: Detroit Tigers Leave a Reply

  1. johnsilver 1 year ago

    Swindling Texas out of Kinsler and getting them to take on the bulk of the Fielder money was the LAD/Boston Crawford/Beckett salary unload of the 2012.

    He deserves more than a feather in his cap for that.

    • williswinning 1 year ago

      LOL, I’d rather pay Fielder double than have Kinsler.

      • johnsilver 1 year ago

        Kinsler is still top 5 2b in the game and probably will be for another 3-5 years. Fielder is now and will be for another 3-5 years an immobile object and after that? Out of the game, yet be getting paid 25m until 2020.

      • alphabet_soup5 1 year ago

        Kinsler is probably more valuable than Fielder at this point in their careers. By WAR, Fielder projects as the 11th best 1B, and Kinsler projects as the 6th best 2B this season.

        • creolecookin 1 year ago

          As a Rangers fan, I’m telling you… Kinsler will disappoint you. Look at his stats, he was a good hitter in the Texas ballpark but barely playable when Texas was on the road.

          And the article needs a correction – Detroit gave Texas $30 million in the trade, not the other way around.

          • Mr Pike 1 year ago

            He can’t disappoint us more than Prince did. We had a stomach full of bad base running, poor fielding, folding under pressure and disinterested attitude.
            We all hope the change of scenery does him good, because he is a talented, good man.

          • creolecookin 1 year ago

            Yeah I understand why you guys were ready to unload Fielder. I was just trying to balance the conversation because if seems a few people here think Detroit fleeced Texas in the trade. I think considering each team’s needs, the contract situations, player abilities, etc it was a pretty fair deal for both sides.

          • Mr Pike 1 year ago

            No argument here. If he plays up to his ability, you will be very happy. Most national guys think Texas got the best of the deal.

  2. GrumpyPuppy 1 year ago

    Injured or not the Tigers still got ripped off for Fister. Anyhow the Tigers revived some damaged goods themselves, Iggy, to balance that out.

  3. JamieMoyer 1 year ago

    Who have the Tigers guaranteed more than $248MM?

    EDIT: misread the article, thought it said the second largest deal in new money for the Tigers, not the MLB.

    • GrumpyPuppy 1 year ago

      No one, article says “second largest deal in history in terms of new money.” That means second largest contract in the MLB ever.

  4. My definition of a “bad contract” is one that no other team would take on in full. I think there are a couple of other teams that would give Miggy an eight year deal for $ 248 million with a couple of options. It’s expensive, but if it pays off in a championship, I think it’s worth it.

    • GrumpyPuppy 1 year ago

      So Carl Crawford’s and Jose Reyes deals weren’t bad because another team took them on in full?

      • I don’t think the Dodgers would have taken Crawford’s deal in full by itself. They received a lot more in the deal as well, including $ 11 million in cash.

        Teams can swap bad contracts for each other. Kinsler’s contract might be a bad contract, taken alone also.

        • GrumpyPuppy 1 year ago

          Come back in 2-4 years and well see if you’d still like to give Cabrera 8/248, I doubt it.

          • williswinning 1 year ago

            Absolutely would do it again. Business and baseball ate different.

          • Mr Pike 1 year ago

            Exactly, besides he will likely be a bargain the first four years and a drain the last four. It evens out.
            Remember when Dombrowski signed him up for 8 years and $152 million at age 24? That was the fourth biggest contract at the time and the scuttlebutt was the Tigers were nuts. What a bargain!

          • UK Tiger 1 year ago

            If he helps Motown win a championship or two during the next 10 years then every $ will have been worth it.

            Sometimes its simply about winning, not sound business logic.

          • McTigers 1 year ago

            You may be right, but at the rate salaries are exploding and new money is flowing into the game, there’s a fair chance Cabrera won’t even be in the top 10 of AAV by the end of his contract. If he performs at his current level another 3 years, a high level 3 more after that, and brings a championship or two somewhere along the way, I’ll settle for Jim Thome-like production at the end of that deal.

        • The Dodgers also sent two pretty well ranked prospects. The 11 million is cash does little to rectify that lopsided deal.

  5. The Tigers look good for this year, but the rest of the division is only going to get better while Detroit dedicates more of its resources to an increasingly smaller number of players.

    I dislike the Fielder trade. Kinsler has looked good so far and Fielder has looked bad, but 76 million saved over the course of 7 years is a big price to pay for giving up your number 4 hitter for a similarly questionable second basemen.

    • GrumpyPuppy 1 year ago

      When it looked like the Tigers were going to use the money save to extend Scherzer it made sense but now that they have just used the money to lock Cabrera into an even worse contract than Fielder’s I agree, that trade may not have been the best idea.

      • I’m glad they didn’t lock up Scherzer. The Tigers aren’t the Dodgers or the Yankees. Dedicating massive amount of salary to a small group of players is a good way to sell merchandise, but not to get back to the World Series.

        • GrumpyPuppy 1 year ago

          True but dedicating a massive amount of money to a 30 year old player you already have locked up for 2 more years is an even worse idea. Now the Tigers money is tied up in an even smaller group of players.

          • I fully agree. There was no need to extend Cabrera at that price. They received no discount.

    • bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

      Fielder gone, means Miggy stays at first and Castellanos goes to third. Better defense at THREE positions (1st, 3rd and Left, where Castallanos would have played).

      Also Cabrera has less chance of getting injured at first.

  6. Bob Bunker 1 year ago

    The Fister trade is terrible when you consider they are a win-now team and didn’t get any players that could contribute this year. The Shields trade was one thing but half a year of Matt Garza got way more in return then two years of a much better pitcher in Fister. Worst trade of recent memory.

    • GrumpyPuppy 1 year ago

      Vernon Wells for Mike Napoli (2011) and Josh Hamilton for Edinson Volquez (2007) were still worse trades

      • Bob Bunker 1 year ago

        Nap for Wells is close but not as bad for a couple reasons.
        1. Napoli was not liked by the manager of the Angels and was not getting playing time.
        2. The Angels had capable catchers in front of him.
        3. Nap never had the type of year he did with Texas for the Angels.
        4. The year before the trade Wells had an OPS+ of 125 and was worth 4 WAR and was an All-Star Caliber player.
        5. The Angels had the money to pay Wells.

        Hamilton for Volquez is trick as well because Hamilton didn’t break out until going to Texas so at the time of the trade you couldn’t say for sure he would be an MVP or that he could keep away from the drugs and injuries for so long. Plus Volquez was a well regarded prospect who had done well in the upper minors and had a great first year for the Reds

    • Mr Pike 1 year ago

      They plan on being a win now team until Cabrera and Verlander retire. There is no panic in Motown.

    • bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

      Why do we assume they are in win now only mode?

      • Mr Pike 1 year ago

        I don’t get that either. Especially since Dombrowski stated in a press conference, after the Fielder trade, that the Atlanta Braves of Chipper Jones, Smoltz, Maddux and Glavine were their model going forward. That would be Cabrera, Verlander, Sanchez and Sherzer (if he resigns, if not, someone else).That;s the core, the rest are movable parts.
        It was very plain and very public they were shooting for an eight to ten year run.

      • Bob Bunker 1 year ago

        Look at the farm rankings, the players approaching free agency, and the age of the stars.

        Baseball Prospectus has their farm system ranked 27th and 27th in under 25 talent.

        Hunter, V-Mart, Scherzer, Nathan, Jackson, Porcello, Davis, Avila, Chamberlain, Coke, and Kelly all become FA within the next two years. That is the whole OF, 2/5 of the rotation, the catcher, the DH, and the three best relievers with maybe only 2 of those guys replaced internally.

        They have 4 guys locked up in 2016 for 87 million and those guys will be 33, 33, 34, and 32.

        As the organization stands right now they are looking at a two year window max with major problems occurring after that unless they try a Yankee type FA spending spree.

        • bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

          I am not following the logic.

          They already have proven they can trade a #4 starter for 3 under 25 prospects at/near league minimum.

          They could boost their “rankings” in one week right now to top 5 in MLB if they traded Scherzer and Sanchez and still keep their top 2 players (Cabrera and Verlander) long term.

          No reason they cannot trade older players for younger ones (like they already did with Fister) every offseason.

          Also the fact that they have so much money coming off the books is a PLUS, not a negative. “Major Problems” occur when a large number of players are locked up long term to inflated contracts.

          Instead, they bet on Cabrera, Verlander and Sanchez (and Kinsler only because of Fielder trade). That is it. They can play “Moneyball’ with the rest of their roster.

          • Bob Bunker 1 year ago

            Scherzer and Sanchez probably have similar value to Fister and there is no way adding two more packages similar to what they got for Fister would make them a top five in MLB. Even Shields type returns wouldn’t make this terrible farm system top 5 stop wearing homer shades.

            Also, if they trade Scherzer and Sanchez long term their rotation will be an aging Verlander, Porcello gone after next year, and a bunch of pitching prospects who were never top 100 guys.

            They have a major problem because salaries are rising not going down and with 90 million locked up in 4 guys it becomes increasingly hard to add pieces through free agency and their farm system is in shambles.

          • bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

            … Sorry you lost me at “Scherzer and Sanchez have similar value to Fister”. Really? ERA champion and Cy Young v. a #4 pitcher (both to the team that traded him and the team that traded for him!).

            Why would Porcello have to be gone after next year? Why can’t they sign him right now, or after this season or after next season?

            If salaries are going up, they got Verlander and Cabrera and Sanchez at a bargain then? You cannot have it both ways!

        • Mr Pike 1 year ago

          If all the guys you mentioned left, they would have $85 million per year to replace them. If only a couple of guys in the minors develop to replace them, they can have a better team than they have now.

          The players leave, but the money also comes off the books. They are paying those guys well. The trades this winter put them in sustainable financial shape.

          • Bob Bunker 1 year ago

            They would not have 85 million a year to replace them because Verlander salary goes up 8 million next year, Cabera up 6 million the year after, and they have 4 to 7 current minimum salary guys going to arbitration. So more like 50 million to replace all of those guys and getting a Scherzer type would take half that alone!

          • Mr Pike 1 year ago

            They got $25 million this year in new national tv money and they didn’t spend all of it. They have a new local tv deal coming up in 2017 and they should get a big boost from that.
            The moves they made this winter pretty much fixed the problem they faced.

    • Stephen Noble 1 year ago

      Krol is already contributing and so is Alex Gonzalez…

      • UK Tiger 1 year ago

        Indeed.

        Odd post from Bob i have to say.

        Its a trade whos “winner” will only become apparent in time, to label it the worst trade of recent memory is incredibly overexaggerating at best and downright silly at worst.

        • SWB0781 . 1 year ago

          It’s actually completely appropriate. They easily could have gotten a better return for Fister. Right now that trade looks terrible to just about everybody, not because Ray is a nothing prospect, but because they gave up a cheap, young pitcher for a mid level prospect when they could have gotten someone with much more potential than a #3 starter. I mean the Rays got Wil Myers for Shields and the Tigers get Robbie Ray for Fister? There’s something wrong there.

      • Bob Bunker 1 year ago

        Yeah sorry I forgot about 37 year old Alex Gonzelez whose OBP last year was .203 and OPS+ was 18 and was worth -1.2 WAR in merely 41 games. That definitely seems like a guy that will help you win a World Series in 2014-15.

        And Krol is a middle relief pitcher who once again won’t be the deciding factor in any playoff series.

        Look at the Garza return, look at the Shields trade, and then look at the Fister trade and it becomes clear D.D traded one of the most coveted pieces in MLB (good young and cheap controlled starting pitching) for one prospect outside of the top 100, a middle relief pitcher, and a 37 year old SS and it becomes clear this trade was terrible.

        • Stephen Noble 1 year ago

          You said the Tigers didn’t get any players that would contribute this year. AGonz’s bat has helped including a game winning walk off hit on opening day and Krol has yet to give up a run. Sounds like contributions to me how many outs has Fister recorded? WAR is a stat I could care less about btw.

          • Bob Bunker 1 year ago

            Three appearances into the season Krol hasn’t given up a run he is the next Mo you are right. And one walk off hit means nothing in the scheme of thing. The Tigers are winning the AL Central no matter what this year but the playoffs is where it matters and Krol/Gonzo is not going to make the difference then compared to what Fister could do whether you care about WAR or not.

          • Stephen Noble 1 year ago

            Smyly and Porcello both will out perform Fister this season. The Tigers needed a lefty in the pen that isn’t Phil Coke(cuz hes awful) and they needed a future arm for the rotation. They also needed a stop gag SS(getting a veteran is a bonus). When you have a surplus of something for what you need. THATS how this team will be competitive for the next 4-5 years. And there is no way to know how this trade will turn out right now. I hated this trade at first like everyone. People HATED that the Tigers traded Curtis Granderson for unknowns and they were the winners in that trade. Never underestimate the best GM in baseball. And both Krol and AGonz can make a difference in the postseason. For the record they aren’t winning the central no matter what. When teams start thinking that… they sit home in October. Win now mode means WINS right NOW.

          • Stephen Noble 1 year ago

            Krols not a middle reliever too hes the Tigers number one situational lefty.

          • Bob Bunker 1 year ago

            Why should I trust your opinion on Smyly and Porcelo over Fister when Fister had out performed both (Has been a top 10 pitcher) over recent years and all projection systems have him doing better this year?

            Who helps them win the division/World Series more this year? Fister or A-Gonz and Krol. (With Fister Smyly would be that left handed relief pitcher also).

          • Stephen Noble 1 year ago

            Don’t trust my opinion… trust Dave Dombrowski’s. Also with Fister there is no lefty in the rotation at all.

          • bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

            Smyly has not gotten a chance yet.

            Porcello out pitched Fister except for 4 horrible starts… 2 of which were Leyland’s fault for leaving him in too long (9 and 8 earned runs before he was pulled).

            Better defense + quick hook = good chance of a better pitcher than Fister at a lower price.

            I like the odds of either Porcello or Smyly having a better year than Fister in 2014.

          • bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

            There is WAR… but there there is Walk Off Hit…. which is LITERALLY “that player won a game for us”.

          • Bob Bunker 1 year ago

            One game. He may end up losing a game for the Tigers as well. Also, there is no way of saying that a different player couldn’t have gotten a walk off hit in that situation.

        • Mr Pike 1 year ago

          Once again, the naysayers ignore the money. The $20 million saved in trading Fister allowed them to sign Nathan for two years.
          Yes, I think Nathan and Krol in the pen, Smyly starting and Gonzalez at short will prove to be stronger than Fister starting, Smyly and Jose Alvarez in the pen with Ramon Santiago at short.
          Bonus- Robbie Ray

  7. They didn’t sell Fister, they gave him away.

    • bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

      Think of it as Fister for Nathan AND three prospects under 25, for the exact same hit to their payroll. Does it make more sense in that context?

      • No because Nathan wasn’t part of the deal. If money was that big of an issue, they should’ve signed Grant Balfour or Fernando Rodney for less money. That kind of penny pinching will not get them back to the World Series.

        • Mr Pike 1 year ago

          They saved 20 million in that Fister trade, which they spent on Nathan. You can argue they should have spent it on Balfour, but they wouldn’t have had the money without the trade. You just can’t ignore the money.

          • 20 million is completely arbitrary. Where are you getting that number? Do you think its a given that his salary will jump to 13 next year? That isn’t far off from the jump Scherzer made after his Cy Young season.

            They could’ve traded Fister next year or cut him if he was so bad that they couldn’t find a suitor to give him to, which is what they did this year.

            A team trying to make the World Series should not be so cash strapped that the solution is to send away a 4.6 fwar player who is making 7 million. That trade was horrendous any way you want to spin it.

          • Mr Pike 1 year ago

            Is Fister a top 9 pitcher or not? Max got an 8.75 million raise. Fister would need 6.8 million to get to 13. Entirely doable if he is as good as most seem to think. If he’s not that good, or hurt, they didn’t give up that much did they?
            Also, getting Lombo/Romine in the trade allowed them tolet Santiago walk which saved them 1.5 million.

        • bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

          For most teams, both talent and money have to be considered. Otherwise, it would be a no brainer for ANY team to pay Nathan the salary the Tigers gave him.

          Consider:
          1. Nathan was a top 3 closer in the AL last year and Tigers are hoping for similar performance this year.
          2. Balfour and Rodney were not close to Nathan level 2013.
          3. Fister was/is a #4 starter….. both on his old team and on his new team.

          They traded their #4 starter for a top 3 closer AND they got 3 prospects if you combine both deals.

          • The Tigers and the Nationals have 1-3 starters that most teams would kill for. That’s why both have legitimate shots at the World Series. If Verlander, Scherzer, or Sanchez spend any significant time on the DL, the Tigers could be in trouble. That didn’t have to be the case.

            Combining both deals is cherry picking that I choose not to indulge in. It was a horrible deal for a win now team to send away a great cost controlled starter.

  8. Mr Pike 1 year ago

    I still remember when we ripped the Braves off by getting Doyle Alexander for a lightly regarded mid level prospect called John Smoltz. Maybe we should wait a little bit before we pass judgment.

    • williswinning 1 year ago

      But we are in win now mold. I don’t like the Fister deal.

      • Mr Pike 1 year ago

        We were in a “win now mold” back then too.

  9. williswinning 1 year ago

    Yeah, I’m sure Yankee fans wasn’t happy when we signed Cabby long term.

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

      I dont know about that, now there is a contract almost as bad as A-rod’s for them to point to….

  10. Mr Pike 1 year ago

    Nitpick time. Ten years runs through the age 40 season doesn’t it? 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40. Cabrera turns 31 April 18, 2014.

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

      Totally right but nitpick defense time: the first option year does come with a significant buyout, 8 MM, so the Tigers are betting Cabrera will be healthy and productive at 41. Second option year has not buyout.

      • Mr Pike 1 year ago

        Well, the vesting options are based on achievements/awards, such as finishing in the top 10 in MVP. For the options to kick in he would have to be healthy and productive.

  11. bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

    Awesome stuff Steve!

    Was waiting for this analysis… as expected, it was top notch!

    I do not think they are in “Win Now ONLY” mode.

    I think they are “keep window open” and pay for their two best players (Verlander and Cabrera). Fister trade was made to save money to afford Cabrera. Fister + New TV Money = Cabrera… look at it that way.

    • Mr Pike 1 year ago

      They were already paying Cabrera $22 million. Don’t you think he was getting extended with the new tv money without trading Fister?
      I look it this way. They traded Two years of Fister for two years of Nathan and got Ray Krol and Lombo.
      If Fister is as good this year as everyone thinks, the dollars will be pretty even. If he is hurt or stinks, they were wise to unload him.

      • bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

        Tigers believe that Porcello will outperform Fister over the next 2 years at a lower cost and that Ray will become a solid #4 or #3 pitcher after that.

        I like your thought about Fister v. Nathan. They traded their #4 pitcher for a top 5 closer… and they got 3 younger players.

        • Mr Pike 1 year ago

          Actually, the money part is really dead on if you realize trading for Lombo/Romine allowed them to let Santiago walk, thus saving $1.5M per year.
          Fister would have to earn $13M next year for it to come out even. That should be about right for a top 9 pitcher, especially since Scherzer got $15.5 this year in a similar contract situation.

    • Bob Bunker 1 year ago

      Not sure how the Fister trade helped them keep Cabrera when he was locked up for the 2 years Fister would have been paid anyways and didn’t receive a pay raise on those years. Could have kept Fister and had much better chance of a ring this year and let him walk as a FA and get a draft pick and still extend Miggy.

  12. Mr Pike 1 year ago

    Prospect rankings are notoriously inaccurate. I would never judge a trade based on those rankings. The Tiger scouts have a much better record of judging minor league talent than these fan sites. They are entertaining and better than nothing, but really?

    • SWB0781 . 1 year ago

      I’m assuming you’re talking about the Fister trade and Ray. But everybody inside baseball is stunned by that trade too. It’s not just some random fans. Fister was worth more and even if Ray ends up panning out they could have gotten someone with more current stock. It just doesn’t make sense in any way.

      • Mr Pike 1 year ago

        They shopped Fister for a year. Only the Tigers know what they were offered. I find it harder to believe than others that the Tigers were offered more for Fister but turned it down.
        If other scouts disagree that’s different. Too many quote the public prospect rankings in judging the trade. Look at the rankings from years past. The Tigers track record is much better.
        If Ray and Krol pan out it means the Tigers evaluation was much better than the other insiders. We shall see.

    • Sk1988 1 year ago

      Tigers do not need a ton of prospects as the infield positions are locked up for the next 3-4 years and CF might be (depending on Jackson)
      Corner outfielders will be needed and RPs will be too. If Rondon returns healthily and Knebel lives up to potential the bullpen should be solid with AlAl and Krol.
      Along with 3-4 SPs (Verlander, Sanchez, Smyly, and a combo of Verhagern, Ray, and Lobstein)
      The only issue might be whether verlander and sanchez perform as 1’s or 2’s.

      The Tigers aren’t loaded with position players or SPs as DD has traded and maneuvered so that the farm system doesn’t need to be stocked full of top level talent for the next 2 or 3 years)

  13. Stephen Noble 1 year ago

    DD stated they were working on both Miggy and Max’s extensions simultaneously. Just because he didn’t get it done this offseason doesn’t mean hes leaving. I fully expect him to resign at a fair market price as is DDs method with all talent he WANTS to keep and Max is just that.

  14. bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

    Not sure why people think Tigers = Win Now Mode.

    Yes they won 3 straight AL Central Crowns… but why can’t they stay competitive for at least the next 4 years when they have Verlander, Cabrera and Sanchez all locked up?

    • Sk1988 1 year ago

      Yeah i just posted why they aren’t necessarily in a win now mode (if it gets approved)
      1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CF are probably set 3 (or 4) SP are set (depending on ray/lobstein/verhagen development) and bullpen has at least AlAl and Krol for the next 3-4 years. Knebel and Rondon will come up to level and during that time if DD drafts well then the farm system should improve. Plus some of the pitchers in the VSL and DSL looked good last year.

  15. Sk1988 1 year ago

    1B, 3B, SS, 2B, and CF are locked up for the next years. Smyly,
    Verlander, and Sanchez are locked up via contract or team control. That
    looks good so far. Robbie ray might contribute in a year or two.

    That means the Team might have two 1’s or 2’s (depending one how verlander and sanchez continue), one 3-4 (Smyly), and a 3-5 (Ray).
    LF, RF, and 1B/3B/DH (as cabrera DHs more and Nick C might be 1B/3B combo) will be the main needs over the next few years. Draft might be able to fix that.

    The main issue for the Tigers is restocking on RPs and that situation would’ve been much better if Rondon returns from injury and stays healthy.
    Especially since AlAl seems back to 2012 levels. DFAing Coke and bringing up Hardy (before the screw him up trying to convert him back to a starter) would be a good move imo.

  16. RestoreTheRoar 1 year ago

    Is that really necessary?

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