Garcia update: Shoulder tightness

MRI results on free agent Freddy Garcia’s arm revealed no structural
damage, just tightness in his throwing shoulder. That dispels an
earlier report from a Venezuelan paper that stated he would miss four
months with a biceps injury.

Garcia’s agent, Peter Greenberg,
said Friday evening that Garcia will go on a throwing program and
hopefully return to action in two weeks. That would give him a few more
starts in winter ball and at least a few more looks in front of Major
League scouts before the Venezuelan League’s regular season ended. In
any case, that will likely leave the free agent on the market heading
past the holiday season.

Garcia also had shoulder tightness that
knocked him out of Detroit’s regular season finale Sept. 29 and slowed
his throwing program in preparation for winter ball. MRI results in
October were also negative.

57 Comments

DD is being almost downright idiotic in the pursuit of a shortstop. Lugo, Cora, Everett and now they are willing to trade LHB potential for Wilson. All the while we have a slick fielding guy on the roster who will also hit .260 or .270 for you fro both sides of the plate?
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Fine, get Wilson but why give up Joyce or Larish for him? What did the Cards give up for Khalil Greene? No much I can assure you.
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Joyce will be an above average player relatively soon. Larish could be a star, while not blessed with speed he is versatile and when he is on, can hit the long ball with the best of them. If Cabrera, or for that matter, Sheffield, goes down with an injury–who better to play 1st than him?
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We don’t need Wilson that badly. Again, I like Wilson and think he is an upgrade to Santiago but not at that expense. Santiago deserves a bit more respect than he has been given and it would seem to me that priority dictates a catcher and a closer.

DD is fast becoming dumb and dumber. Apart from the thought of giving up Larish or Joyce with a young pitcher for Wilson, why are they even considering it??
Wilsons stats apart from fielding where .987 Vs .975 is slightly better than Santiago’s are way down on offence – .272 Vs .282; slugging .348 Vs .460 and 22 RBI’s and 1 HR from 305 bats Vs 18 RBI’s and 4 HR from only 124 bats. Wilson is 31 and Santiago 29, who, with limited playing time over the years has unlikely reached his peak. Any decent negotiator could build a case that Santiago for Wilson is a one for one trade, particularly if you are picking up additional payroll.
Joyce and Larish will likely both be needed for injuries and the strong possibility that Carlos and Maggs spend lengths of time as DH with Sheff unlikely to have any sustained turn around.
DD has to let go of his SS position bone and focus on the main game being to make sensible trades for a closer, starter and catcher. DD and JL have to start showing belief and faith in the roster and AAA players. Player confidence is a fragile commodity, even for the best of them and no one can perform without it.

I’m not as taken with Joyce and Larish as many are, but that said, there’s no way I trade either one of them in a Jack Wilson deal. Those two are either the future of this club or trading chips for more urgently needed upgrades. I’m warming to the idea of just getting Everett on the cheap. I think he’ll end up backing up Santiago anyway, and most assuredly if Leyland were to get fired during the season. And we were warned in advance, the Pirates will want an awful lot for Wilson.
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Instead of spending money on any shortstop, I’m much more interested in picking up Kerry Wood. After that, I want a catcher. Gerald Laird might thrive once away from that Texas heat. A reliable setup man is needed next. Some of the other holes may not be filled this offseason, but sometimes you get the unexpected, such as Galarraga.
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If we do pick up Everett, I’d keep my own counsel and wait to see what other moves became possible from it.
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–Rich

I have a feeling that Joyce is actually learning in Mexico. His bat, at least, has really heated up. He hit 2 HRs yesterday and now has 8 in less than 100 ABs. Got his bat avg up above .300 as well.
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I think he does have potential but he needs someone on this team setting a positive role model for him. I think he could slip into big ego syndrome. Having guys like Sheff, Ordonez, Verlander and Bonderman have to be balanced by character guys that love the game more than themselves.
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I’m more worried than excited by what the winter meetings might bring. I’ll be real surprised if DD doesn’t make at least one big deal for a shortstop of catcher.

As much as I ike Maggs I think if you can get some quality prospects it would be a great deal in the long run. This team needs a shot of youth and fire that it definitely didn’t have last year. The Rays are the benchmark for a team built to win for years with all their young players and the Tigers could learn a thing from them.

You got to stay amused by Jason’s articles and just hope they are mere speculation and are nothing what DD is contemplating. The latest SS ‘find’ being the 31 year Everett is got to be a joke. He hasn’t hit over .25 for the past four years and has made it over only twice in an eight years – .256 in 2003 and .273 in ’04.
Sure is one way to make sure the Twins stay ahead of us next year!!!

Gerald Laird! He’s a good one. Odd how we always seem to trade away pitching prospects but I think this is a trade that makes sense. Even though I liked Moscoso’s promise in AA.
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I actually would have preferred we had given up Robertson and his salary. Still, this is a good move and takes a little anxiety out of having Dusty as the Lone Ranger behind the plate.
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Looking like we could end up with Everett. The flip side of that is that he would likely be 2nd string to Ramon IMO. Another cost saver.
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Not liking the talk of a Larish for Putz deal. I’d rather Marcus get the chance to pound Petco. Larish is gonna be good and he does well under pressure. Tough to get rid of a guy like that. Young, eager, LHB and versatile.
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Larish is a commodity worth keeping, as is Joyce. Marcus is a great guy and a real power hitter but his RHB will always have competition here and he will struggle for ABs. Ramirez and Caspar Wells waiting in the wings and Brent Clevlen is still around too though he may have missed the boat now.
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I’d actually consider Marcus and Nate for Putz. I know that might seem steep but if Putz still has it he will offset the 7 or 8 wins Nate might get and the sub 300 ABs marcus will get.

I have criticized DD a lot for the past 12 months. He does however deserve credit for the Laird trade. He has pulled off a very good deal gaining a sound Catcher with reasonable offense and giving up very little in return. At 29, Laird should be reaching his peak and on a low value Contract for a few more years.
Unless he can pick up Everett for next to nothing, please just now focus on pitching!!

This is a logical trade for both sides. The Rangers get two pitching prospects and trade a catcher that wasn’t going to play for them. The Tigers get a capable catcher that could be a solid player. This allows them to develop Ryan either in the Minors or in a back-up role. I like it a lot.
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As far as shortstops go, my preference is to stick with Razor and hope he works out. If he doesn’t, there are always options during the year. After that, my preferences are as follows:
1) Sign Punto– I like him.
2) Sign Everett– he can’t hit but is good in the field (sounds like Razor to me.)
3) Trade for Wilson– but don’t trade Larish. I could be swayed for Joyce but would prefer to trade Clevlen or someone else. I don’t think Wilson makes that big a difference so why give up so much?
I can’t fathom trading for Lugo, signing Cora, and haven’t heard any other deals that sound good.
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Jason keeps on mentioning that the Tigers are looking at Biemel. Any thoughts on him? His stats last year are great but I don’t know anything about him.
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I don’t see why you’d trade for a reliever when so many options are available. Hoffman is still the best option IMO. He should come cheaper than the other options and the young guys could learn from him. Wood wouldn’t upset me either…
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That’s all. BTW– if either of these two pitchers we traded for Laird makes it, we’ll be griping and moaning about it… I wish them the best but hope we’re not griping…

One more thing– if we keep Larish (and we should), I’m fairly confident he wins the starting 3b position. I agree that Inge is great in the field but his inability to hit for average coupled with the need for the Tigers to have a power lefty in the lineup makes it hard to keep Larish from winning the spot. That’s just my opinion…

Buster Olney’s reporting on ESPN.com that the Tigers are expected to sign Adam Everett. I don’t think he’s much of an ugrade but if he’s cheap– and he should be– at least we didn’t make a really dumb move. At the worst, he’s a good defensive player that can’t hit. Sounds similar to what the Tigers think of Razor– though I think Ramon can hit better– but I’m not too upset with this move. Much better than Lugo, Cora, or trading too much for Wilson. Is it too much to ask for Hoffman and Biemel? I like Wood’s potential but the cost and injury factor worry. Thoughts?

Adam Everett? Are we kidding. He’s 2009 version of Don Wert. The guy’s FPT isn’t even as good as Razors. Not sure why were looking for a light hitter. My view is to save the dough and put Santiago in. If we get .250 average from him with 5-10 homers great. But signing Everett or any other guy as SS is wrong I think. DD needs to look at some of the tape from last year. There were these guys throwing this little white thing in the latter innings that usually ended up in the seats. We need to get guys who won’t do that so much.

Eric– I agree with you on Ramon but Everett isn’t bad at defense. If the signing goes through, I guess I’m just relieved that the Tigers didn’t send any more prospects (a la Renteria) for an older SS. Additionally, they didn’t trade for an expensive older SS whose best days are behind him. Instead, Everett is a defensive minded light hitting shortstop. You can win with Ramon and/or Everett playing SS– as long as their defense holds up. Let’s hope some pitching gems come along and help right the ship.

As I figured. Hopefully they let Ramon try to win the job and at least make this fair.
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This permits them the financial latitude to go after a closer. Putz has less mileage on his arm than does Wood.
I like both of them.
I think Putz could come here and excel in his home state.
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Eric you are being too kind to compare Everett to Wert. More like Ray Oyler methinks!

As you guys are stating here, I think we’re going about this the right way. We made the mistake of signing superstars last year and trying to force them into the lineup, when we should have been filling holes. I recall complaining long and loud about that. I’m glad to see the holes being filled while saving the real money for the desperately needed pitching.
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Maybe ol’ DD is back on his game.
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BTW, I don’t see Everett as the starter. Even if we did give the job to Razor, we still need a backup shortstop. Right?
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I’m somewhat biased on the closer thing because I’ve always liked Kerry Wood. It appears he beat his injury bug with the move to the bullpen.
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–Rich

putz would be a terrible signing for detroit, given detroits nature, in general, to take names and make fun of them like 1st graders… (Dumbrowski, Moronelli, Jeff OnHisBackus, etc……)
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add more fuel to the freep’s and other message boards insult list.

Hummm…so we ink Laird as our catcher and Everett as our SS, huh. I think Laird will be alright. As far as Everett and his injury history of last year, I really don’t see the difference between him and Santiago…but I am sure we all pretty much feel the same way with this.

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I guess time will tell on this one.

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Ty Schwamberger – Horror Author
http://tyschwamberger.wordpress.com

With the Mets on the brink of signing K-Rod, removing them from the Wood sweepstakes, I’d like to see us take a run at Kerry. We could hang onto both Larish and Joyce that way. Of course, it’s not my money being spent………….
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–Rich

I don’t know how much Putz is owned but unless he has a very small contract I can’t understand why you’d trade for him when you could sign Wood, Hoffman or others and not lose any players. That makes no sense to me.
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As far as signing Wood is concerned, the following factors must be taken into account:
- Cost: he won’t come cheap.
- Length of contract
- Injury history– Rich may be right– out of the ‘pen, this may be less of an issue.
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If the Tigers can afford him and can accept that he wants a longer contract then I’m all for it. I just wonder if DD wants to drop that kind of money when the starting rotation has a ton of question marks and they potentially have good arms coming from the minors in the next few years. Personally, I think Hoffman presents many less questions and could be had for less money (IMO). Either of them are obvious upgrades and I’d welcome both with open arms.

Absolutely agree, Brent, with your last sentence. I think I read somewhere that Wood was available for a 2-year deal, but can’t remember the details, so let’s leave that in the “rumor” category.
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I’d hate to have to lose either Larish or Joyce since everyone is so high on them. It would appear, however, that DD has a good handle on where he’s going on everything this winter. If I had to choose, I suppose I’d move Joyce. We have outfielders in the system but not slugging infielders.
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–Rich

Looks Everett will pass the physical and join the squad.

Pitching, pitching, pitching. Man, it takes some ice water int he veins to sign any pitcher to more than a couple of years. They just seem so fragile I guess. Woods especially. I guess the days of Sam McDowell and 300 innings are gone.

But if he’s out there and would take a cloer role then I’d take a flyer on the guy.

But Rich, you are right. Unlike last year it seems like the front office knows the direction that is needed and is headed towards it. So the masses are calm.

Pitchers and catcher report in 45 days or so?

I just heard on ESPN that Kerry Wood is close to signing a 2 year deal with Cleveland. Just an FYI….

I think we’ll be sorry if Wood goes to Cleveland instead of coming here. If that deal is finalized, it just “putz” Seattle into a more commanding position for that trade. We may end up paying dearly for the hometown boy.
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–Rich

Well, we are getting down to the nitty gritty as far as firming up the roster goes. My mind is open about Everett though skeptical. I think Laird is a positive. I like his attituede re defense and handling pitching staffs.
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The closer and set up roles are very critical. Talk about Beimel (sp) doesn’t thrill me. He gives up over a hit per inning, and his walks and K’s are about equal. Big deal. He does seem to keep the ball in the park and my guess is maybe he is a ground ball guy. Nevertheless, I am not excited about acquiring him.
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Larish is a guy to keep. He is going to be a clutch hitter in the bigs and if he can play 3rd AND JL likes him…..bonus.

It will be interesting what we have to give up to get a closer as we seem stuck on having to trade for Putz missing (can’t afford??) the free agent Wood.
It is a shame that we appear likely to trade some of our offence potential. With many of our high $$ regulars getting on in years and coming off contract at the end of next year, we are going to need as many options as possible. I can’t see Carlos working at LF with Maggs still at RF. Both seem destined to see time at DH, with Sheff benched for good sometime in May after he gets his 500th.
DD is starting to run into form which he will surely need in negotiating for Putz. A win would be keeping the lefties Joyce and Larish and trading one or more of the others such as Thames and Hessman who seem destined to forever warm the bench if they stay a Tiger.

To trade Larish AND Joyce would have to be characterized as just plain stupid.
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Tough to see either one of them go but certainly not BOTH!
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Dave, if they could get a verifiable closer for Hessman and Thames that would be great. Unfortunately, it seems everyone wants a LHB these days.
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How about Ordonez, Inge and Robertson for Putz and Beltre?

Other the fact we could really use the LH bat – I’d prefer we keep Hessman over Larrish: 1 – they are trying to force Larrish into the 3rd base position, (and we have seen how well that works!) 2 – Hessman has been voted the TOP DEFENSIVE 3b in the minors 2 years running… oh, and he as also led the league &/or been in top 3 in the leaugue in HRs and RBIs the last 2 years to boot!

Gee, why would we need a top defensive infielder w/ incredible power? Just because we have Inge and he bats right handed? Geez, I like Brandon – and I think he gets a bad rap (yes, he can’t hit for ave and strikes out a ton – but what, 54 RBI from the 9 slot while not playing full time? He obv comes thru often w/ guys on base – plus gets to a lot of balls at 3rd, even though makes mistakes on routines too much) – but I AM SICK of this team working around him!

I’d much rather see Hessman’s equal glove, much bigger bat as the starter at 3rd – and if we can’t package Inge in w/ a deal out of town – why not use him as “super sub” like we were supposed to last year?

Laird & Everett are good starts (yes, let Ramon be #1 and Everett as #2) – we are now better defensively – and Inge or Hessman is upgrade for defense, too, but we sacrificed offense at SS and Catcher (going back to letting Pudge go) for better defense – at least w/ Hessman we can get that defensive upgrade with some pop to replace the missing offense at SS and C! Larrish at 3rd REDUCES our defense – which puts us back were we started, so what do we gain?

YES, we need LH bats – and I would love to keep Larrish & Joyce, but WE NEED PITCHING!! – and not just a closer…

To me, our offseason needs were:

1 – improve defense (while trying to min offensive loss to do so – this makes our pitching better and takes stress off offense!
2 – PITCHING!… uh…. you win with that, right?
3 – LH Bat

So far – I’m concerned! All could be saved if we can package an Inge/Thames rhb or both for PITCHING, plus use some of the $ we saved from Pudge and getting Laird/Everett cheap to get MORE pitching!

Trading for Putz doesn’t make sense to me. Yes, we need a closer but to me, Hoffman is a surer bet that would likely come cheaper. More importantly, we wouldn’t lose any of our top guys. Perhaps he doesn’t want to go to Detroit? I just don’t understand why he isn’t the top priority.
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I think Fuentes is a bit overvalued and I don’t like giving up draft picks for him but I’d still prefer that over shipping out Joyce or Larish.
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While I think the Putz deal would prove to be negative, I think that’s where we are headed. DD’s comments seem to say to me “Larish and/or Joyce aren’t going to play much this year and we want to win now.” I’m not sure if that’s possible this year since the starting pitching has tons of questions. I think we could be competitive but I’d prefer to see us be competitive for years to come. I don’t see selling the farm for one guy that may not prove to be that critical.
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Just my quick rant…

Very good points above. I too, think we need to hang on to Larish and Joyce. Funny we haven’t heard Clete Thomas’ name mentioned.
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I also agree about Hessman. And about Inge and some routine plays–again, especially the ones he has too much time to think about what to do with the ball. But he is a treat to watch.
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Big Mike IS actually a very skilled defender. You get that big and it is almost taken for granted that you are big hit and no field. Not the case with Hessman. If I had to choose I would give Hessman a chance to win that job.
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We’ve saved some money–now let’s dump Sheffield and Robertson for prospects and sign a free agent closer. Be cool to rip Wood off the Indians!

Heatin’ up here. Good.
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I would have thought the money saved on Renteria (and NOT getting Lugo) would be enough to make a run at Wood. He’s supposedly getting 2 yrs at $20M. Isn’t that what they were talking about with Lugo? I don’t know, once DD gets a player in his sights, it’s Katy-bar-the-door. Like tunnel vision. I agree with everyone who says we needn’t trade for a closer. I haven’t heard a peep on the Hoffman front. So it looks as if they only like Putz. Like him a lot.
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Clete Thomas will be out about half the season, probably. I’d just as soon keep him, as I think he has more upside than Joyce, just as a random comparison.
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I don’t think there’s anyone here who does not like Hessman. I’m just afraid his time (which he never really had) has come and gone. Isn’t he a MiL free agent now? If Big Mike does come to spring training, all he can do is put on the best show he can. While I certainly wanted Inge at third during that holocaust last season, that doesn’t mean he absolutely has to have the job forever.
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You know, Brent, you hit the nail on the head. I don’t expect us to win anything this year so why sell out in an attempt to? I can wait a year and, at my age, that’s saying something. :-) Keep the kids! Stick with free agents to fill the holes in 2009. We come back in 2010 with Verlander, Bonderman, Galarraga and Porcello, plus those “young arms” we keep hearing about, and we’re in a position to make a run.
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–Rich

Everyone has made a lot of sense in their comments. Trying to fix pitching and missing the free agents unfortunately means trades.
The reality is most of our 2008 regulars are liabilities when it comes to trades. No one wants (in my dreamtime order of loss) Willis @ $10m; Sheff @ 40 yrs & $14m; Nate @ $7m; Inge @ 31 yrs & $6.3m; Maggs @ 34 yrs & $18m; Carlos @ 33 yrs & $10m and Polanco @ 33 yrs & $4m. It is a worry that a 40 year old is our best base stealer.
DD has to be extremely careful not to trade the young talent that will be needed to step up by the end of 2009.
Thomas at 25 yrs, Joyce @ 24 yrs, Holiman @ 26yrs and Larish @ 26 yrs represent 2010 and beyond. Hessman (shame he was never given a decent go) @ 30 and Thames @ 31 and if a lefty is needed – Clete off injury would be my trades for a closer. DD has to not blink first when it comes to Joyce and Larish.
We would still need though to spend another $10m on a starter and preferably $3m on a left relief.

Geez Rich – I read your article after I posted mine!!

I just read the article on Sheffield. My first reaction: get Texas to pick up some of his salary and trade him for a bag of peanuts and some used cleats (maybe less.)
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I’m not totally sure that this isn’t the correct response but we can at least hope that Sheffield rebounds. (we can, can’t we?) If that’s the case then the Tigers are either competing or they can trade him at the deadline for prospects/young guys. Right? Tell me I’m not crazy. You’re right– tell Texas the cleats aren’t necessary… we’ll just take the peanuts…

Has Christmas come early? DD–do NOT look a gift horse in the mouth. If someone is remotely interested in Sheffield you have to go for it.
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He has 3 strikes against him:
1- Age
2- Salary
3-Production
4- Anti-Chemistry
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That’s 4 strikes actually. If the ranges are interested, jump on it. He will be the same demotivating factor as he has been for the last 2 years here and elsewhere before that. The big bonus is that his departure would open opportunity for Larish or Joyce or Hessman or Thames. Whomever remains. Ordonez and Guillen would fit quite nicley into the DH role.
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This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to clean the slate and get this ship righted.
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And also, the Breweres are looking for a starter–especially a LHP. They can have Nate. Opportunity knocks. Anser the door.

First things first. I’m VERY interested in John Smoltz coming to the Tigers. Class act. Can still contribute in many ways.
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Sheffield: I’m not as anxious as most to ship him off, but I’d move him depending on how much salary we have to pick up. It’s probably more than we can pay in good conscience (or good conscious). This will probably become a huge story, at least on message boards, but nothing will come of it. Myself, I see Sheff having a bounce-back year, with a .280 BA and 20+ homers, as he moves off into retirement.
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–Rich

You see the Nationals offered Texiera 8 years at $22M per? What do you think, Brent, would that make us more likely to visit the new ballpark?
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–Rich

If the Rangers are willing to take Sheff with us picking up anything less than half of his salary, I say this is a Christmas gift we should take. Marcus/Joyce will put up better numbers and save us money for a closer.

As I’m writing this, a Matt Joyce for Edwin Jackson deal appears imminent. While I’m not all that enamored of Joyce, I was holding out hope that he’d be part of a bigger deal. I’m not sure that obtaining yet another control-challenged pitcher qualifies as a big deal, and maybe not even a good one.
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I’m afraid that the end story of the winter meetings period will be failing to sign Kerry Wood. It looks like we’re cutting payroll and nothing else at this point. Let’s hope DD has some tricks up his sleeve. I shudder when I read a story entitled “Rodney could still be the closer.”
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–Rich

I don’t think we got enough for Joyce. Jackson is being touted as a front of the rotation guy but he is more back end material as far as I can see. Another starter is a good idea but I’m talking about a true front of the rotation guy like a Burnett, Halladay or even Lowe.
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Jackson gives up a lot of hits and he also walks a guy every 2 innings. That ought to test our infield.
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Joyce is going to be a good ballplayer. I would have traded him (but not with Larish) for Putz. Could have thrown in someone else along in the package. Oh well.
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Miner, Robertson and Willis now fight for the 5th starter spot…. With all the RHP you can bet Miner will end up in the pen again.

Just saw the post about Putz being involved in a 3 team trade and was thankful to see we were not involved. The closers market is a buyers market, and we should be able to bottom feed after the big contracts are gone.

As for Jackson, people have been waiting for him to break out for some time. If Knapp can get him to throw strikes, this could be huge. As much as I like Joyce, we still have have Ramirez, Clevlen, and Thomas for the long term and Marcus for the short term. I’m sorry folks, but I think DD might have made a shrewd move here.

I don’t mind getting Jackson for Joyce. Don’t know what his Contract is worth but knowing the Rays it is unlikely to be much more than Joyce’s.
Happy to go on record as agreeing with DD on his deals and surely there is now money in the bank for a free agent closer and setup quality relief to take pressure off the precious Zoom and Rodney.
Hoffman and Beimel are looking like the final pieces of the jigsaw.
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Interesting dilemma how much you are willing to pay someone else for Sheff’s $14m. If Sheff isn’t the team player, I would go (agree with) with Brent’s bag of peanuts thrown in and wear say $10-12m of the $14m saving $2-4m. If he is as JL says and has just had two very frustrating seasons and is now injury free and truly getting in to shape for next year, I would trade up to $4m saving $10m. Sheff at the very least should be sending JL a X’mas card.

I like the trade. I like Joyce but he doesn’t project to be a star outfield– at least in my mind and we’re trading from a relatively strong point as we have lots of other outfield prospects. I’m not sure that Jackson is going to be great but there are worse problems than a glut of back-end starters. Willis has pitched out of the ‘pen before and I think its likely that’s where he starts out. Perhaps he’ll make the transition to a closer? Stranger things have happened…
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Rich- I think the Nationals are smart in going after Texeira. They need another star to take the pressure off Zimmerman and as a Tigers fan with Cabrera and Granderson, its really nice to have two stars that are under contract and you know you’re going to get solid performances every night. The Nationals are a few years away as their young pitching needs to develop but I think they’ll compete in two-three years and will remain competitive.
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Back to the Tigers– Hoffman’s name should be coming up soon. If we can sign him and take a flyer on Cordero, I’d give DD an A for the offseason. Rich– I hope you’re right about Sheffield…

Don’t like this move at all. Not that I am enamoured with Joyce, I think he is pretty good. But why do we need another bad pitcher??? We are already gluttened with underachieving pitchers. YUK

Ho Ho Ho!… nothing but a lump of coal in my stocking from DD!
I liked the idea, of a youthful outfield. I know pitching is badly needed.. I don’t think we got enough in the trade for Joyce for Edwin Jackson. I am disapointed.
Now I see another so- so pitcher, in rotation with Willis, and Rodney going in releif for them!… meanwhile Curtis Granderson will be running his *** off , covering left and right field for JL old men he has out there!

So much for hopes and big dreams. I accepted the thoughts of some decent players and the trade of Maggs and Inge for some contender based players. Not so.
Just like the hour after Christmas morning, and you think to yourself, “is that all there is?”, it looked like so much.

Merry Christmas everybody.

We will miss Joyce but the old adage of “never having enough pitching” is to be remembered.
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On that note, we just picked up Kyle Bloom in the Rule 5 draft. There’s the lefty for the bullpen. He’s young enough (25) but he has to stay on the 25 man roster this year to my understanding.
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http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?n=Kyle%20Bloom&pos=P&sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=456709
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Looks like we lost our little Jimmy Skelton.

Well, I have to say that I like the move for Jackson also. Watched him pitch here in LA and I thought he had pretty good stuff. We’ll see how he re-bounds from the inuries and such. I was never really all that sold on Matt because of his arm and his inconsistency. My guess though is that he’ll be great for the Rays. Especially if he gets the day in day out playing time.

So we’re left looking for closers. Rich, I groaned like you did when I saw that DD was going to revisit the Rodney experiment. DD, fire up the VCR and put in a few of those tapes. Rodney just isn’t a closer. He’s a set-up guy. Stop trying to make him to something he isn’t.

So, things are shaping up here. But I agree with the sentiments that next year will probably also be a “rebuilding” year.

Mopar–I was thinking the same thing about poor Curtis. IMO the club really has to improve the defense they have become accustomed to in RF. I still would not mind to see Ordonez (or better, Sheffield) traded. Ordonez has reached the slippery slope of baseball middle-age. His stats will only drop off now as his salary increases and his defense will not be in sync with the new “awareness” that management has been emphasizing with Inge, Everett and Laird.

So, the roster is shaping up this way (IMO):
Starters:
- Cabrera, Polanco, Everett (1a), Inge, Guillen, Granderson, Ordonez, Laird, and Sheffield.
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- Bench: Ryan or another catcher (perhaps Treanor), Santiago (1b), Thames, and Larish. (Would they carry a backup catcher or just use Inge for that? Interesting thought?)
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- Position players battling for spots in Spring: Raburn, Clevlen, and Clete Thomas. (btw, Clete is a perfect baseball name– not as good as Nook but not bad.)
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- Pitchers: Potential starters: Verlander, Gallaraga, Bonderman, Jackson, Robertson, Willis, and Miner (assume all 7 make roster regardless if in rotation or stashed in the ‘pen.)
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Bullpen (lots of competition in spring for 5 spots): Rodney, Zumaya, Seay, Dolsi, Lopez, Lambert, McBride, Bloom, Rapada, and a bunch of other youngsters that I can’t remember. I hope we add Smoltz or Hoffman to this list. (Question: who on this list is out of options? Anyone know?)
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It seems to me like there’s more competition for spots than last year and I think that’s a good thing.
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Honestly, if everyone remains healthy, the lineup should be just fine. Inge’s bat is a clunker (hope he proves me wrong) and Laird isn’t going to win any batting titles. The jury’s out on what Everett/Santiago can do with the bat but if they can just hit .260 with lots of sacrifices from the 9 spot, we could do much worse. If Sheffield has two functioning shoulders (and can keep his mouth shut), he could be the difference maker… or we could trade him for a bag of peanuts.
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Its still a slow lineup but Laird and Everett/Santiago should aid a bit in that department. There’s no true base stealers (though Granderson could be if they let him go) but as long as they’re aggressive on the base paths, speed shouldn’t be such an issue– Polanco, Ordonez, and Cabrera are the slowest guys… there are worse lineups for speed.
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The bullpen has a ton of question marks but I like that there are no set roster spots– though I’d prefer to never again hear that Rodney could be the closer. If guys have to fight for a spot, I think we’ll end up benefiting from it.
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I know I’m a broken record but next year’s success hinges almost entirely on the starting pitching. (injuries and Sheffield are the other two X factors.) If 5 of those 7 startes can put together decent years, the Tigers should be in the thick of the AL Central race. Funny how it always comes back to that, isn’t it?
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I do think the infield defense will help out the pitchers (especially Nate) and while I share the concern over Guillen and Ordonez at the corner spots, I don’t mind watching Curtis tear around after fly balls….
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that’s all. I’m still hoping to see Marcus get sent somewhere that will play him every day. In return, we just need a decent arm. Perhaps we’ll see a spring trade where we package him with one of the pitchers out of options for a bullpen pitcher or potential prospect(s) with options remaining?
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It should be fun to watch the hot stove simmer for a while longer.
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One more note: Losing Skelton is a bummer. I can’t see a team keeping three catchers but the three guys on Arizona’s roster don’t impress me. Let’s hope Arizona disagrees and sends him back as his numbers seem to indicate that he could be a solid player in the future.

I’ll start with the bottom line on top. As the winter meetings come to a close, I think we’ve still got a last place ballclub here. It’s far from over, of course, but I don’t think we have a very competitive crew at this point.
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I see Jackson as a Dontrelle Rodney type of pitcher. He’s young and may improve, that’s very possible. I’ve been reading a lot of posts from folks who are counting on Rick Knapp to perform miracles with our control-challenged staff. I wouldn’t count on that, if I’m going to be realistic.
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Talk of Rodney being the closer is a joke. I don’t think the guy should even be on the team, much less the closer. I wonder how much interest he’d draw from other teams? I’ll bet not much. He reminds me of the delinquent son of a family who thinks their boy can do no wrong. They just can’t see the truth.
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The upside of the Jackson and Kyle Bloom acquisitions is it makes our pitching staff much younger. I’m in favor of that. I hate to lose Jamie Skelton, and we may rue the day.
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DD thus far has followed his method of never signing high priced free agents. He’ll sign guys that no one wants, and sometimes it works out. He gives overly large contracts to players already in the fold, thus tying his hands in the free agent market. So far we’ve saved money, but we haven’t spent any. So be it. We’re probably going to have to become a small market team again, what with the economic outlook in Michigan. There’s an upside to that too, as we become the little guys knocking off the fat cats, as in 2006.
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As Dan astutely points out from time to time, hoping for the best seems to be the Tiger way. So let’s hope for the best.
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–Rich

Watch out Dan but Rich might be trying to knock you off with the one liners – the Rodney comment is priceless!!
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DD is proving a far better manager without money than with. The deals to date have been lucky to add $1m to the payroll and we still weren’t sighted for the star closers who have gone for $10m & $12m per season.
I have that hungover feeling. After the last few years excessive spending spree, we have now opened the fridge the morning after and all we have left is a few opened cans of Bud.
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I feel for the guys coming onto the team on low value Contracts playing alongside guys on huge $$$ not paying their way. Team chemistry is going to be interesting.
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The way DD and JL came out with positive comments on Maggs and Sheff, they seemingly were highlighting players they were looking to trade without trying to be obvious.
With Maggs and Sheff costing you $18m & $14m for 2009, they were always going to have to pay part of their Contracts for them to play elsewhere. DD will really show his worth if he is big enough to crystallize ‘losses’ and free up some serious cash for a good closer.

Oh my. The Rodney is closer talk has revived and management has talked themselves back into it.
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The “Hope and Dream” menatilty still reigns supreme I guess. It’s hard to believe but I think DD is comfortable with this team.
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What they didn’t realize is that if they want to build a “Bull Pen” then you gots to take the “bull by the horns”.
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Kind’ like the Mets did. K-Rod wasn’t enough for them they went out and stole Putz too. I think they have an idea what it takes.
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Meanwhile, we did pick up Bloom. And what the hay, Fien, Darrow, and Perry will probably be ready in 2010.
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Looks like mgmt didn’t learn much from last years litany of losers in the pen.
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I must say I am losing respect for DD with this cavalier attitude.
…………..
Are they gonna try and sign Marcus? Tender him an offer? Or just let him and his 50+ HRs the last 2 years find free agency?
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So we have accomplished what so far? Twinned 2 light hitting shortstops so they can split the job. Got another RHP to put into the rotation. Signed a guy that no one has heard of and has to be on the 25 man roster all year. Installed a .200 hitter at 3B. Slowed the OF down by putting Guillen in LF. Fired and then rehired the bullpen coach. Did not find a closer or a leadoff man. Repeat the mantra that Sheffiled “can still hit the ball”, Raised ticket prices.
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I think Rich may be right. How do you spell dysfunctional?

I’m obviously in the minority here, but I thought DD made some progress this week. We improved our thinnest position by giving up a 25 year old pitcher who has yet to hit AAA. We then acquire a 25 year old pitcher who won 14 games for the American League Champions for a promising player from our deepest position.

We avoid giving up prospects for a short term solution at short when everyone wants to see what Santiago can do, then get upset at the fact that Everett will likely be sharing the job with Ramon until Iorg or Werth is ready.

We stayed out of the closer nonsense, unable to give the 3 players Seattle wanted for Putz, or multiple years to the injury waiting to happen named Kerry Wood. Rodney will not be the closer. If we really believed in him, don’t you think we’d have extended him by now?

To touch on a few other subjects: (1) I’ll take the rule 5 exchange because lefty relievers are hard to find and who would you have removed to make room for Skelton, asuming you are leaving room for free agent relievers (Clevlen, Lambert?), (2) Larish at 3rd is the next Eric Munson experiment, move Sheff and get this bat in the lineup (3) As much as we love Marcus, his second half spilts are the reason we can’t get an arm for him, he’s ugly after the break (4) I love Inge as a utility player, but for all those Hessman fans (myself included), here’s a sobering thought : Inge in 2006 27hrs , 83 RBIs and .253 at the majors, while Hessman hit an unfathomable .165 in 345 ABs in AAA. Do you really think Mike has any trade value? We need to start looking at players the way other teams see them. Marcus, Hessman, Miner, and Santiago are fan favorites who have little trade value (how many times were their name mentioned this week?)

We’re off to a decent start. DD had one bad year, so I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt to turn things around.

I’ll clarify my position on the Edwin Jackson acquisition. This is a guy who’s never lived up to his potential. I think he had a 14-win season on a team having a magical year. Think of Nate Robertson and his 3.84 ERA in the magical year 2006. Would anyone trade Joyce for Nate? In addition, I don’t like getting more pitchers with control problems. The best defense in the world can’t help much when you’re walking people. Since it was the stated goal to improve defense, I’d think we want more contact pitchers. Here again, we’re hoping for a Rick Knapp miracle.
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I did like the Laird trade and said so. I didn’t complain about the Everett trade, other than preferring Nick Punto. Everybody knows, however, that we need pitching. We haven’t addressed that need yet. Right now, we’ve got nearly the same staff as last year and what’s worse, it’s with the same old tired manager at the helm.
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This adds up to a sub-.500 ballclub in my eyes. Just stating the facts as I see them. Like I said, I can wait till 2010, so I don’t need management offering the kool-aid in a paper cup with an Olde English D emblazoned on the side.
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I’m not so sure that DD just had one bad year. He did make one bad trade (Renteria). He’s also handed out huge contracts that have tied the club’s hands, and he’s done that since the end of 2003. With no real knowledge of the business end of running this organization, I can hardly second guess him, but I do see what I see.
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Waiting patiently to see what else shakes out.
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–Rich

Rich,
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In some ways I agree with you about the state of the team but I have more faith in the roster. I totally agree with you on the Renteria trade– DD bombed that one and that has really hurt us. On the flip side, the Gallaraga trade was a huge theft and we tend overlook the significance of making that move. As far as the contract situation, I don’t have any problem with the money we’re paying Ordonez as it was a necessary contract at the time. Willis, Robertson, and Inge are all over paid and you’re right– those contracts tie our hands quite a bit.
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On the flip side, when I look at the starting lineup, I see five above average hitters for their position– Granderson, Ordonez, Guillen, Polanco, and Cabrera. I see one average guy: Laird, two below average guys: Inge and Everett/Santiago and one huge question mark in Sheffield. If we assume these guys stay healthy, the lineup should be solid.
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The bullpen is scary but I’m hopeful that the two non-starters will help solidify it. Assuming we sign a veteran closer, the rest of the spots will have a ton of competition– something we didn’t have last year and I would think we’d end up with a significantly better bullpen.
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My concern remains with the starters. If you believe that Verlander, Gallaraga, and Bonderman can anchor the front end of the rotation (this is not a certainty), then you’ve just got to hope that two of the four including Jackson, Robertson, Willis, and Miner can be solid starters.
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Therefore, my hope that the Tigers can be competitive rests of on the following assumptions:
- Good health
- Improved bullpen through a veteran arm and more competition.
- The starters coming through
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Its not a slam dunk but I think it could work out.
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As far as the Jackson/Joyce trade is concerned, I err on the side of going for a young pitcher over an outfielder especially when we have a surplus of young outfielders. I don’t completely agree with the Jackson/Robertson comparison as Jackson throws much harder, is younger, and has always been considered a top prospect. To be certain, Jackson could fizzle out like Nate has the past two years but I think there’s a higher upside with Jackson.
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That’s all from me. I do agree that Punto would have been better than Everett but the cost difference likely caused the Tigers to focus on Everett. If Santiago can win the position, it seems like a moot point to me.
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Have a good weekend.

My gloomy predictions have less to do with the Detroit roster and more to do with other AL clubs making vast improvements. It appears to me that we’re not competing in the offseason manuevers. If DD thinks $10M is too much for an established closer, that tells me we’re definitely counting on the kids for 2010, and nothing else.
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I see Aki Lopez is non-tendered. That’s hardly a surprise, since JL never did like him. Jason did an excellent job in his article of explaining the ins and outs of the move. While it’s true that most of Lopez’s good numbers came from long relief, long relief is pretty much what JL kept him relegated to. His overall numbers took a big hit in that July appearance in Baltimore.
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Dire predictions notwithstanding, I’m still traveling to spring training this year. A fan is a fan, you know?
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–Rich

I hate to remind everyone but the never ending party for spending $$$ is long over. I know how the hangover is proving hard to toss!!
I don’t think we realise how much the cupboard is empty for making deals. I could be wrong but I think DD has about $10m to spend despite the savings made on Renteria and Pudge. He has probably budgetted up to $5m to resign players to Contracts leaving $5m for new players.
Otherwise, we would have been a serious player in the closer stakes who were all going for $10-$12m.
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With the Tigers in 2008 being 27 of 30 in fielding, 27 of 30 in pitching and 4 of 30 in hitting, a one season turnaround like 2006 or the 2008 Rays brings hope but is unrealistic. DD has done the right thing in not negotiating away our potential for short term fixes. He knows next years goals are to be competitive with the high paid older guys – Inge, Sheff, Maggs and Carlos coming off contract being replaced in 2010 by the farm with possibly one or two good aquisitions.
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Before the off-season, I was more than happy to be a part of the DD lynching party. If I am right on the $$$ front, DD has done an outstanding job in making the deals thus far that have had zero impact to the bottom line. Further, the deals have fixed problems without selling the farm for 2010 and beyond. When you consider the Royals are going to pay Farnsworth $9.25m over 2 years plus $1.5m performance bonuses, we have accomplished a lot at no cost.
With the main loss of Joyce, who was unlikely to see much playing time anyway, we have picked up a very good catcher, insurance for Ramon at SS, a sound, extremely cheap starter with only a closer to go. We still have Larish at 3rd with the earlier Inge comments not giving him 3rd but enabling him to focus on his preferred position and see if he is good enough.
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At this time of year, I always see management comments on how good some of our players are as being not for the fans benefit but for other teams management. The comments are made for two purposes, either to highlight players we see as potential trades and talk up their positives or highlighting our current players to hopefully show we are not as desperate as we look. Comments made about Maggs and Sheff fell into the first category with comments on Rodney into the second category. Rodney will be fine back in his setup role knowing a ‘Dad’ is their to close or pick up the pieces.
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I like the character and hitting ability of Carlos and Maggs but unfortunately they are getting on in years and are not complete players to also handle their assigned fielding positions. With so many switch and LH bats, trying to hide guys at RF no longer works. With Cabbs having similar speed and agility issues and proving very solid at 1st, DH is really their only position.
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We had the 2nd worst MLB record after the Nationals for closing games saving 34 of 62 opportunities for 55%. Taking away Jones 18 saves from 21 attempts (86%), and further excluding Rodneys 13 of 19 (68%), the remainder of the Tigers achieved a remarkable 3 saves from 22 attempts or 14% which must go close to a record of the wrong kind. As an interesting comparison, the Phils team record was 76% saved, Rays 76%, Yankees 82%, Angels 74%, Cubs 65% and RedSox 68%. The Mets for their disasterous closing record of 60% have now acquired Putz and K-Rod. What a difference having money makes!!
I am not a big fan of Fuentes despite him having an 83% liftime closing rate with an 88% success rate in 2008. His $10m asking price is out of our ballpark in any event. Will be interesting to see what rabbit DD pulls from the closers hat. I am sure he will not be relying on Rodney if he can help it.

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