Rajai Davis, 33, is close to a two-year deal with Detroit, and is expected to play left field for the majority of the time. Davis stole 45 bases for Toronto last season, while Detroit stole 35 as a team. As an outfielder, Davis is above average with his speed, but does not have a notable arm. Still, an outfield with Davis, Austin Jackson, and Torii Hunter can prove to be one of the better defensive outfields in the American League.
The addition of Davis and Ian Kinsler, Jose Iglesias midseason, and the cut of Prince Fielder, has proved to give the Tigers significantly more speed to the lineup, and should have the team see a large boost in steals, sac bunts, and other small ball that has not been present in the Tigers lineup for years. Though the loss of Fielder will lower the team’s overall power, the addition of speed can more than make up for that, putting players in scoring position with ease.
OF Rajai Davis close to agreement with Detroit
Tigers need more bullpen help to lock the offseason down
Detroit has no doubt been one of the busiest teams in the 2013 offseason. Trade Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler? Check. Trade Doug Fister for salary space and prospects? Check. Sign a veteran closer in Joe Nathan? Check. What else do they need to do? They definitely need to sign another bullpen arm.
With Drew Smyly moving to the rotation and Joaquin Benoit a free agent, a closer isn’t the only bullpen arm the Tigers needed. Now that their setup man and middle relief whizzes are on to other duties, it’s clear that the Tigers still have a potential glaring hole in their bullpen.
The Tigers could resign Joaquin Benoit now that it’s clear he would not be the closer for the team, and go back to his usual 8th inning spot. But if Benoit is not in the Tigers’ sights, then who is?
Matt Albers, Jesse Crain, Chad Gaudin, and J.P Howell, are some names that the Tigers could, or should, be looking at to sign this offseason to give the bullpen a much needed boost. All players could prove to be a great addition to the back end of the bullpen, and give the starters and closer a rest when needed the most.
The only other hole the team may have is the lack of a solidified left fielder, with Andy Dirks, Stephen Lombardozzi, and Don Kelly expected to play left field. Dave Dombrowski has stated the Tigers will not make a big name free agent signing this offseason after the signing of Joe Nathan.
Closer Joe Nathan close to deal with Tigers
Going into the offseason, the Number 1 concern was who would be the team’s closer in the 2014 season. The Tigers may have found their solution.
Reports have said that veteran closer, Joe Nathan, is close to a deal with Detroit. Earlier in the offseason, Torii Hunter—an old teammate of Nathan’s in their Minnesota Twin days—courted Nathan into signing with Detroit. The contract will be for two years, with the salary unknown. Brian Wilson was also a candidate to take over the closer spot, but he reportedly declined Detroit’s offer.
Nathan pitched for the Texas Rangers in 2013, and had a sparkling 1.39 ERA and 0.89 WHIP to go along with 43 saves.
Nathan, a six-time American League All Star, has been one of the best closers of this generation, holding a great 2.76 ERA in his career with 341 saves. Only 25 pitchers have reached 300 saves, and Nathan is currently 11th on the list of all-time saves.
Tigers shock for second time in two weeks, trade Fister to Washington
A couple of seasons ago, Dombrowski made a great midseason trade to bring Doug Fister from the Seattle Mariners over to Detroit. Now, Fister’s future lies in the hands of a new team.
Doug Fister (14-9, 3.67 ERA in 2013) has been dealt to the Washington Nationals in exchange for utility man Stephen Lombardozzi, LHP Ian Krol and minor league LHP Robbie Ray. Lombardozzi played in 118 games last season for the Nationals, spending most of his time playing second base, but also had play time in left field and third base. Ian Krol has his first season in 2013, pitching out of the bullpen, striking out 22 and walking 8 in 27.1 innings. Robbie Ray is a minor league player, drafted in the 12th round of the 2010 June Amateur Draft.
With Fister gone, Drew Smyly will fill his spot in the rotation, giving the Tigers a five man rotation of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, Rick Porcello, and Smyly.
The move frees up more salary space for the Tigers, and could be an indication that the Tigers are preparing to offer Scherzer an extension. Scherzer, a Scott Boras client, could be prepared to hold out for a larger contract than the Tigers are willing to give him, making the trade of Fister somewhat risky if the Tigers cannot retain Scherzer.
Miguel Cabrera expressed interest to move back to 1B, best option for team
Once Prince Fielder was traded away to the Texas Rangers for Ian Kinsler, one of the hottest topics that found it’s way into the Detroit Tigers fanbase was whether or not reigning two-time American League MVP Miguel Cabrera will return to first base. If he does, that would be the best course of action.
With Fielder and Cabrera at the corners of the infield, Detroit saw some of it’s worst infield defense in years. Fielder had one of the worst defensive ranges at first base, and because of Cabrera’s limited range, Detroit saw it’s least amount of Total Chances at third base in years. It made for a truly atrocious defensive season all around for Detroit.
With Cabrera at first, the Tigers haven’t been the best defensively at first base, but they’ve been much better off with him there than third base. Instead of finding another position to fill up Fielder’s hole at first, it would be best to put Cabrera back over to first where he’s less of a defensive liability, and find a third baseman with decent range and a good arm.
Speculation has been given that Nick Castellanos, whose natural position is third base, would stop playing in left field, and return to the hot corner now that the position has visibly been opened up. Other speculation puts Castellanos as the new left fielder, and the Tigers to sign a third baseman in the offseason, or use someone else from the farm system, and rely on young fresh faces to make up the left side of the infield and outfield.
But one thing is certain: the Tigers would benefit much more if Cabrera moved back to first than if he retained his position of third. The less-strenuous position could prove to keep Cabrera healthy longer, and have the team receive optimal playing time from him.
Anonymous asked: Do you think Peralta's contract is ruining baseball? It's not fair that he gets a raise after being caught as a liar and a cheater.
Well let’s take a look at everything first.
First off, Peralta is not getting a raise because of PEDs. He’s getting a raise because:
A.) He has proven to be a surely shortstop that can make most routine plays and show a little flair from time to time.
B.) Can be a potent lower-middle of the order bat.
C.) Is playing a great level as a player, and is only 31 years old.
The fact he took PEDs is a separate issue. He was taking something in question in 2012, but had absolutely no accusations or proof that he was taking anything in 2013 or any time before. It would make sense: Peralta had a great season in 2011 and dropped off horribly in 2012. 2012 is the season that has documents stating he was using a banned substance, most likely to keep up with his past success and to help reduce pressure to perform, like most players tend to use it for. Assuming he was taking nothing in 2013 and 2011, Peralta has been one of the best shortstops in the game, offensively, has been average to above-average defensively, and has been very durable, playing in 141 games or more per season since 2005 (not counting 2013). I personally don’t believe in “once a doper, always a doper”, so I don’t look at his 2011 and 2013 seasons as a result in using something.
When he came to the Tigers, he wasn’t very well known or in any type of demand. That’s why the Tigers could have him for a low price. Add in the fact that he played on the big stage, and was a very good postseason player, it’s only inevitable that teams will be interested in having a player like him on their team, regardless of his past mistakes. With the shortstop market being so thin this offseason, if a team really needs one, they can’t afford to skip out on a good player, even if he had just been popped for breaking the rules. Remember, teams, organizations, GMs, what have you, they have a job to do in making their team the best they possibly can, and I don’t think getting suspended is something they will let get in the way of those decisions.
It’s all context, and people are jumping to conclusions on what that context really is. The bottom line is that teams need to make their team the best they can, and Peralta’s value went up not because he used PEDs, but because he was one of the top dogs in a thin market (which was not aided by his use of PEDs), thereby making teams invest in him heavily if they wanted to get him to sign with their team. The Cardinals are in no way “rewarding” him for cheating. They’re making the situation real. They need a solid shortstop for a few years, and Peralta needs a team to play for.
This isn’t ruining baseball. The use of PEDs itself is ruining baseball. Fans are so divided on the situation that it’s worse than the epidemic of players trying to cheat to stay above the rest. Players and fans alike are so narrow minded on the situation that they don’t really think about everything before they run their mouths (David Aardsma is one of them). Peralta should not have used what he used. Period. End of story. There needs to be bigger penalties and better tests to stop players from using and flying under the radar. But saying a player getting a contract deal that he would have gotten anyways, even if he didn’t get suspended is ruining the game is indeed narrow minded.
Anonymous asked: What do you think of the Fielder and Kinsler trade?
I think it’s a good trade. Cabrera can move back to first base where he’s not as much of a defensive liability (though he’s not that great at first base either). It opens up a potential spot for Nick Castellanos to play third base, unless the Tigers want to keep him at left field and want to sign a third baseman. Kinsler brings a lot to the table for the Tigers; good defense at second and can make a good duo with Iglesias, an established player with speed and can swipe 20 bases, can hit for a decent amount of power, hit for average, and has good base running instincts. He’s just all around a great player that I don’t think a lot of people realize.
The Tigers will miss Fielder’s left handed thump in the lineup, but won’t miss his terrible fielding and his postseason crumble that he’s rather famous for. If Kinsler is healthy all season, he’s a 15-20 home run, 75 RBI offensive player who can be productive in any spot in the lineup, and has a great glove at second base to go with great range (he was 6th of 20 qualified in 2013). He has, however, committed a decent amount of errors in his career.
Overall, I like it. The Tigers have a lot of cash untied and a better infield defense as a result. All the Tigers need is a left fielder or third baseman, a veteran closer, and a reliable bullpen arm, and they’ll be in business. I wish the best of luck to Fielder in Texas and hope it goes better for him than his time in Detroit.
Anonymous asked: With both Scherzer and Benoit entering Free Agency, do you think the Tigers will make a push for either of them or play the market to find a new starter and closer?
I think they’ll keep Scherzer as a starter. There’s always the possibility that they think his contract will be too large to handle, but Illitch wants to win, and he may think Scherzer will give them the best chance to win, contract or no. Scherzer is a free agent after the 2014 season, so if the Tigers are not in a good position by the trade deadline next season, he may be dealt. But if the Tigers are leading their division and have a good chance of making the playoff again (which they should be), I say he stays put.
For Benoit, if the Tigers make a push for him, it wouldn’t be as a closer. Since Veras had his option declined, there’s room for Benoit to continue being the setup man that the Tigers signed him to be. Benoit was never intended to be the closer; due to unforeseen circumstances throughout the season, he was the best candidate among everyone else, and the Tigers couldn’t afford to have any more games blown by incapable closers. With their expressing interest in signing a veteran closer during the offseason, I feel that if Benoit were to be brought back to the Tigers, it definitely wouldn’t be as their closer.