With the ALCS set to get underway today, here are a few notes on the American League finalists for the World Series:
- Two key current Tigers — Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter — could well have ended up with the Red Sox instead, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Both players said that family considerations drove their decisions to head to Detroit. For the catcher-turned-DH Martinez, that meant getting an additional year that the BoSox were not willing to offer.
- An extension for Hunter is not out of the question, tweets Jason Beck of MLB.com, now that Avisail Garcia has been dealt away. Hunter has one year and $14MM left on the pact he inked last off-season with the Tigers. The 38-year-old client of Reynolds Sports Management enjoyed another strong season, though his 114 OPS+ and 2.1 bWAR fell well shy of last year's 129 OPS+ and 5.8 bWAR tally. From my perspective, there would seem to be little reason for urgency in reaching a new deal, as the team may do well to see how Hunter performs next year before committing to him into his forties.
- Tigers president/CEO/GM Dave Dombrowski built the team aggressively and with the World Series plainly in mind, writes MLB.com's Richard Justice. Though he values prospects, says Justice, Dombrowski also knows how to utilize them as organizational currency.
- Meanwhile, the Red Sox are led by a GM, Ben Cherington, who is just one of several to have been groomed at nearby Amherst College, write Michael McDonald and Erik Matuszewski of Bloomberg.com. Neal Huntington of the Pirates and Dan Duquette of the Orioles also have roots at Amherst, and the school's role as a breeding ground could be on the rise.