Notes: Benoit might complete bullpen dealings

Now that the Joaquin Benoit deal is official and the Tigers have talked about it, we can now look at how this move affects the rest of the Tigers offseason, not to mention what the Tigers’ other moves Friday mean.

We certainly know what the three-year contract means: The Tigers, who have been very reluctant to do multi-year deals with non-closing relievers, had to adjust to market conditions to get the guy they wanted.

“A couple other clubs had made three-year offers on him that were very solid offers on him,” team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. “He was somebody we identified at the top of our list for setup men and we wanted to be aggressive.”

They were aggressive in a way that they weren’t with their free-agent relievers last winter.

“It wasn’t that we couldn’t,” Dombrowski continued. “It’s just that we chose not to. It’s just that in this case we felt comfortable doing that. We were not comfortable doing that last year. The way we checked it out, the way our reports were, on the field and medically, we felt more comfortable here.

“It was very clear that if we were [just] going to go to two years, we were not going to sign him.”

What else became clear out of this? Glad you asked:

  • Though the Tigers talked at season’s end about possibly adding multiple relievers, and the next target was expected to be a left-handed reliever. Dombrowski threw some cold water on that. He didn’t dismiss the possibility, but he certainly diminished it. “I wouldn’t say that that’s our biggest priority at this time,” Dombrowski said. “We’ll be open minded to that, but one of our advantages to our bullpen when you talk about having Joaquin in the eighth inning and Jose [Valverde] in the ninth is that they get right- and left-handed hitters out effectively. We already have Daniel Schlereth. We’ll keep an open mind, but it’s not something we’re going to be going out and actively pursuing at this point.”
  • That said, I still wouldn’t be surprised if the Tigers still looked at the market later in the offseason to see who’s out there among lefties. That part of the market has had a few guys left on the market going into spring training the last couple years. The Tigers have shown interest in Joe Beimel and John Parrish in past years, but haven’t pulled off any deals.
  • Dombrowski said Joel Zumaya is feeling well and on track to be fully healthy for the start of spring training. If he is, he’ll likely serve as a seventh-inning reliever. If you remember, that was basically his role starting out last season until he replaced Ryan Perry as the main setup man.
  • Dombrowski’s comments hinted that they have their eyes on one signing to bolster the middle of their lineup, rather than multiple moves.

And with that, I’m off for the Thanksgiving holiday. Hope you enjoy your turkey day.

14 Comments

The Tigers still need another reliever for the late innings. If they hadn’t moved Phil Coke to the rotation, they’d be all set in the bullpen. But JL cried out for bullpen help both at the deadline and after the season ended, yet their first move was to take out the only reliever with any history of late inning success, other than Zumaya.
The Tigers have counted on Zoomer to fill a late inning role in each of the last four seasons, and they’ve been burned four times. They would be foolish to get burned again. By all means, keep him, just don’t count on him being healthy for a full season.
Relievers are relatively inexpensive. $ 4 million buys a very good set up man. Lefty relievers are more scarce, but can be had reasonably. It costs more to NOT get one, as the Tigers have experienced repeatedly. It makes no sense to ignore the need that can be filled easily and inexpensively, although the Tigers have other more pressing needs, such as two bats, rotation help, and a RH catcher. I have to believe that DD will see who falls through the cracks and make a move later on.
The same applies to the lineup. They DESPERATELY need two bats for the 3 and 5 slots. One bat to replace Damon and Ordonez would be no upgrade. But only one can be a DH, which there are plenty of options to fill. The outfielder is the tricky part- the options are Crawford, Werth, Magglio, or a trade. I see DD getting one big bat first for the OF, then waiting out the DH market. Everyone goes on sale after Christmas.

Victor Martinez. Holy smokes! Tremendous!!!

Well, if Miggy doesn’t win MVP, we can at least console ourselves with this signing. Of course, he still has to pass the physical for it to be a done deal.
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I’m mentally preparing myself for the ALMVP announcement and hope it’s our guy. He deserves it more than the others.

So many are opining about why he went to Detroit. I mean he could have gone to Chicago, or stayed in Boston. The Tigers did give him a 4 year contract for a couple million more than the other teams but evidently, he wanted to come to Detroit. It’s pretty exciting! You’ll get to see them in Lakeland. Miguel coming in second……..most people predicted that and we got Victor as the consolation prize.
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This sure did happen very quickly. The players have to be pleased to have a quality bat like Victor in the lineup.
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Wonder if Mr. Dombrowski is done, yet?

Happy to oblige, guys! It happened pretty fast.
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Kathy

Hey Pup, I check the rumor mill several times a day, but I got word of this signing from YOU. Pretty cool, hey?
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I can’t remember if the Tigers have ever acquired a guy who was my favorite on another team. I’m obviously in favor of this one. Keeping the deal to four years is a good move, even if it cost more. I guess they’re serious about that “money coming off the books” thing. I think Victor will get more time at catching than some anticipate. I like Avila; heck, who wouldn’t like Alex? I think he needs another year to grow into a fulltime catcher and, in the future, Martinez can slowly move over to a DH job. I don’t think Victor is as defensively challenged as some say.
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This signing leads me to believe that Maggs is coming back.
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–Rich

Pup,
Same here! I got to spread the news around the office. Rich, it seems like Victor was a Tiger killer and now we have hime. I always respected him and his 300 average. We must sign Maggilo. I don’t care what it costs, it will be worth it. We will have chemistry!!! I hope the manager reads this. Go Tigers, 2011. –Dave

I think Victor wanted to come here if he got a fair offer, yes. He gets to hit in front of or behind Cabrera, both prime spots for one to excel. If Miguel and Magglio attempting to calm Victor in that Sheffield-Carmona brawl is any indication, he has friends on the club. Sounds like a win-win. And we filled two holes with one signing. I’m still kind of in shock that DD got the guy I wanted.
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I agree with Tigerdog that we need more relief help. Zumaya, like Guillen, unfortunately continues to be an injury waiting to happen. I think we’ve passed the opportunity to get a good return on Zoom, so keep him but don’t pin all the hopes on him. And you can say the same for Carlos. These are both good guys to have on the club and you just hope they can remain relatively healthy.
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As far as Hamilton winning the MVP, I can accept that. Even though the voting had been done, you could see during the Yankee series what Josh can do. You can’t take anything away from Cabrera; the way he came back from last year’s calamity was every bit as inspirational as what Hamilton has done. I can’t compliment Miguel enough. He grew up right before our eyes. For a person that I don’t know personally, I couldn’t be prouder of that young man. He aced it in every way possible.
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–Rich

Smart money tying your #5 and catcher position into one $12.5m package.
$22m spent on Maggs and a SP will put the 2011 payroll around $117m compared to this years opening day $134m
Love it that he seems to have turned down Chisox 3yr/48m.

I also see Maggs coming back. I can’t see how he wouldn’t want to with the addition of V-Mart and there is a spot waiting for him in the outfield and he could also sneak some time at DH on days V-Mart rests or catches, allowing Raburn some ABs as well. Put Maggs 1st half and Raburn 2nd half together and you have a helluva player!
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I agree also that we need another starter. I read where we might be interested in Brandon McCarthy. I am not real high on him but I do remember several years ago that he had a pitch (curveball?) that was astounding in Spring Training and looked like an ace in the making.
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It’s amazing that teams are still biting on D-Train. If he has control problems in Spring Training, though, I think his career may be over unless he wants to go to Indy ball.

Tigers seem intent on signing free agents who historically don’t hit well at Comerica.
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VMart is a sign that management is serious but he is not the answer. Crawford was the big deal and then a power bat. They now have created a backlog at catcher, threatened Avila’s development and added questionable power in the big ball park.
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I smell hope and dream on the horizon.

So far, so good I like the Benoit and V Mart additions, but the lineup has not yet been upgraded. Two guys gone in Damon and Magglio, and one good bat added. The Tigers still need an outfielder to bat third, whether that’s Ordonez or another big bat.
Needs are a starting pitcher, an outfielder to bat third, and a reliever to replace Coke in the bullpen.

The thing I like most about Martinez is his consistency. Look at his career numbers and they are very similar month to month, year to year and in various situations such as late inning pressure situations, etc. The things that are mildly concerning are that he hits far worse as a DH than as a C or 1B and that his numbers at Comerica are not very good. That said, he had several seasons where he hit over 300 at Comerica and one year hit 3 HR there, so it doesn’t seem to be the ballpark as much as maybe the pitching (his numbers overall against the Tigers even in Cleveland are not up to his career numbers) or if they caught him when he was in a slump or something. His career numbers suggest he hits better on the road slightly than at home anyway, which is more of what we need. We had much less problem scoring at Comerica, remember.

Sweet move bagging VM……..one more guy from Venezuela for me to love. I know some of you don’t agree, but I’d like to see Maggs back.

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