MLive.com’s Chris Iott takes an extended look at the Tigers’ payroll situation going forward, explaining that the team will probably have over $130MM on the books even before addressing numerous still-undetermined roster spots. (MLBTR provided Iott with some hypothetical arbitration raises for players such as J.D. Martinez and Jose Iglesias. If Martinez finishes the season at his current production rate, he could be in line for nearly a $5MM salary bump.) Newly-minted GM Al Avila will face challenges even if the team spends at or past the $170MM+ Opening Day payroll it trotted out to start 2015, Iott writes, as the team has a host of needs if it hopes to put a legitimate contender on the field. He reasons that one or two starters, multiple bullpen pieces, a corner outfielder, and possibly a reserve backstop may need to be acquired between now and the start of the 2016 campaign.
- One more immediate issue for the Tigers that could have future ramifications is the resolution of the team’s closer role. As George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press reports, manager Brad Ausmus has not yet committed to either Alex Wilson or Bruce Rondon, both of whom have recently converted two save opportunities. Ausmus says that Rondon may receive “some more opportunities” in the ninth, adding that “Wilson is going to pitch in the back end somewhere.” Regardless of their particular roles, Detroit will surely hope that the pair can make up a reliable one-two punch at the back of the pen. Neither will qualify for arbitration until 2017, making them cheap options for the organization as it approaches an interesting offseason.
- The Yankees brought up promising young first baseman Greg Bird today, as Jack Curry of the YES Network reported on Twitter. Bird, 22, has put up a .277/.356/.469 slash with 12 home runs over 362 plate appearances. MLB.com currently rates him as the organization’s fourth overall prospect.
- Royals outfielder Alex Gordon expects to begin a rehab assignment “shortly,” he tells MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan (Twitter link). Kansas City has been deploying trade deadline acquisition Ben Zobrist in left, but will have an opportunity to move him around the corner outfield and infield once Gordon goes back to his customary position. With an eleven-game division lead, however, the team will surely make sure that Gordon is at full health before working him back.