November 26th, 2012

Tigers announce 19 minor-league contracts

The Tigers formally announced their first batch of minor-league contracts, 19 of them, on Monday. Most of the bigger ones were already reported, including Matt Tuiasosopo, Shawn Hill and Kevin Russo. Some are simple re-signings of guys already in the system who became minor-league free agents, such as Argenis Diaz. Some are new, notably former Dodgers reliever Carlos Monasterios and former Angels pitcher Trevor Bell.

For the most part, the deals provide some depth in the Tigers farm system and protection against injuries. Think about where the Tigers might have been without Quintin Berry this past summer, or what Darin Downs meant in a few key games, and you get the idea how moves like this sometimes end up making a huge difference.

Here’s the list so far ….

  • RHPs: Trevor Bell, Cesar Carrillo, Shane Dyer, Shawn Hill, Micah Kellogg, David Kopp, Victor Larez, Carlos Monasterios, Jesse Todd.
  • LHPs: Jose Alvarez, Ramon Garcia, Efrain Nieves
  • Catcher: Brad Davis
  • Infielders: Argenis Diaz, Lance Durham, John Lindsey
  • Utility: Marcus Lemon, Kevin Russo, Matt Tuiasosopo

Monasterios is an interesting deal. The 26-year-old right-hander made 13 starts and 19 relief appearances for the Dodgers as a Rule 5 pick in 2010, tossing 88 1/3 innings before losing the last two seasons to injuries. He had Tommy John surgery in 2011, then needed another season-ending surgery on his ulna nerve last spring. The Dodgers released him in April. If he can make it, he could be a decent depth option for the Tigers in the bullpen.

Monasterios has been pitching as a starter in winter ball in Venezuela, allowing 11 runs on 18 hits over 12 innings.

The deal for Tuiasosopo includes an invite to Spring Training. It’s worth $525,000 if he makes the big-league club. He can ask for his release if he’s not on the big league roster by June 1.

Kellogg, too, is an interesting story, signed out of a tryout at Tigertown in September after going undrafted out of Flagler College last summer. The right-hander will report to minor-league camp this spring.

Tigers get $284,274.50 for each postseason share

As consolation prizes go, this isn’t bad. It’s not all about the money, but they’ll take it.

Major League Baseball released the numbers on postseason shares Monday, from the World Series champion San Francisco Giants to the teams that lost in the Wild Card round. For the American League champion Tigers, the numbers work out to $284,275.50 for each full postseason share.

How does that number work out? It takes a lot of calculation.

The players get a pool of money from postseason gate receipts: 50 percent of the gate from the Wild Card games, then 60 percent of the gate from the first three games of each Division Series, the first four games of each LCS, and the four games of the World Series. That total, according to MLB’s release, worked out to $65,363,469.22.

The Tigers’ share of the players pool works out to 24 percent, totaling $15,687,232.61.

How teams divide up their share comes down to players’ vote. Each team’s players decide how many shares to give, both full and partial depending on how many players were around and for how long. They’ll also give out cash awards to some non-playing personnel.

The Tigers voted to give out 48 full shares, 7.06 partials and seven cash awards. The world champion Giants awarded 50 full shares, 11.10 partial shares and 12 cash awards. Each Giants share was worth $377,002.64, a new record.

For comparison, each Tigers share is actually worth less than they were when Detroit made it to the World Series in 2006. Those were worth $291,667.68, but that team gave out far fewer shares: 39 full ones and 6.67 partials. The total money the Tigers receive from this year’s pool is actually well more than they received in 2006 ($13,344,490.54).

Garcia begins winter ball in Venezuela

The most anticipated winter ball stint by a Tigers prospect in years is underway. Avisail Garcia made his Venezuelan League debut Saturday for Caribes de Anzoategui, going 0-for-3 with a walk, before singling for his first hit on Sunday.

Both games, Garcia started in right field, batting sixth in a Caribes lineup that currently includes another former Tigers hotshot outfield prospect, Gorkys Hernandez.

The plan is for Garcia to spend December with the club leading into the holidays, giving him a pretty long look against good competition while trying to ward off the fatigue factor after his first truly long season (remember, he hadn’t been a September call-up before this year) and a soon-approaching Spring Training (it starts earlier to accommodate the World Baseball Classic).

Garcia has spent past winters playing in Venezuela in their minor league, the Liga Paralela, but hasn’t had extended time up at the top level. This is his year to break through on that level, having established himself as at least someone on the verge of a big league role.

How well Garcia performs in Venezuela will likely play a big part in how soon he can stick in the big leagues. Tigers officials are leaving the door open for him and fellow outfield prospect Nick Castellanos to compete for a roster spot this coming spring, but team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski cautioned earlier this month that they won’t be able to stick just filling the short role of a platoon situation in left field. They’ll have to get enough playing time to justify the promotion, whether it’s an everyday job or more of a true split platoon.

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