Wednesday morning Winter Meetings roundup

Winter Meetings Day 3 003

Expect a newsy day from the Winter Meetings one way or another. Brad Ausmus has his first managerial presser this afternoon here in the media workroom, which should attract a crowd, and Major League GMs and managers are meeting today about potential rules changes, including what can be done about home plate collisions. Last but not least, we’re still waiting for agent Scott Boras’ annual impromptu interview session, which always draws a crowd and could draw a question or two about Max Scherzer.

As far as moves go, however, all we have are rumors at this point.

Not surprisingly, news that the Tigers were among the teams to check in with the Dodgers about Matt Kemp this week drew some buzz, as well as several tweets suggesting video-game type of trade packages the Tigers could offer. Before this goes overboard (ok, it’s too late for that), a few things to keep in mind:

  1. The Tigers check in with pretty much every team about trade possibilities at the Winter Meetings. It’s a big part of what they do Sunday evening and Monday morning, sending out scouts and assistants to work the lobby and talk with scouts and assistants from other clubs to see what’s out there. Checking in with a team and having trade talks with a team are two entirely different things.
  2. If the Tigers were unwilling to dive into contract talks for Shin-Soo Choo, as sources said last night, it’s hard to see them picking up Kemp’s contract, which has six years and $128 million left on it.
  3. If the Dodgers are willing to eat some of Kemp’s remaining contract, it’s hard to see the Tigers having prospects to entice them to do so. The Tigers have some quality talent at the top, but to put together a package to make it worth the Dodgers’ while would create more holes than Detroit would fill with Kemp.

Bottom line, I’d be shocked if the Tigers could do much on Kemp. Between the contract and the recent injuries, it’s the type of deal that gets a GM superstar status if it works out, and gets him fired if it doesn’t. Andre Ethier arguably would be a better fit for them, both financially and talentwise.

The other rumor reported this morning came from Peter Gammons and later Pete Caldera of the Bergen Record, saying the Tigers and Yankees talked about an Austin Jackson for Brett Gardner trade. The speedy left-handed hitting Gardner is a year away from free agency, while Jackson has two years left, but Gardner is coming off a better year and has parlayed his speed into more offense than Jackson has. It’s not hard to see a plus from Detroit’s standpoint, but it’s difficult to see the motivation for the Yankees, who actually have too many outfielders at the moment and have been expected to use any potential Gardner trade to try to fill some holes at second base, third base or the rotation.

Lastly, a tweet from’s Jayson Stark cited a source saying the Tigers have told other teams they don’t plan on trading Max Scherzer even though they’re not optimistic about signing him.

And then came a tweet from Yahoo’s Jeff Passan:

It’s pretty much a reinforcement of what we’ve come to expect, though it doesn’t mean the Tigers won’t try to offer an extension to him this offseason.


Timing or not, the Fister trade make even less sense

I can’t even think about that one.

If they trade Scherzer , they better arm a package to get Price in another trade

Or Hammel

If they can’t resign Scherzer, then getting rid of Fister borders on gross incompetence. WTF????

Official: The #Tigers have agreed to terms with outfielder Rajai Davis on a two-year contract.

Marte DFA

“Source tells me #SFGiants are negotiating with Jeff Baker. Rakes lefties, good defender, high character guy. Would fit in Blanco platoon.” Dont you say

Lombardozzi is not a good SS, Perez will remain at AAA. So Iglesias will play every single game or they will have a subpar SS once a week?
Kelly is redundant with Lombardozzi and they need Worth or Perez to play SS. Still , it seems neither Worth nor Perez will be with the team.

Admittedly Baker is an infielder not an outfielder, and doesn’t have speed. However, he’s what a platoon guy should look like. Hit .314 .407 .667 against LHP and only cost $1.375 million.

Why the Tigers wanted to take a really solid to great starting pitcher who was cheap like Fister and give all of his money to a platoon guy on the wrong side of the platoon like Davis is just beyond me. It’s like we’re suddenly living in bizarro world where DD is trying to make the worst moves possible.

This is a better team NOW than last years. And I think it will get better yet.
People compare this year to last. Well the guys we had last year would all be another year older, slower, fatter and with the same inept defense.

How is it a better team than last year? The team is clearly worse. The only place we are better is at closer, and that isn’t enough given that we’ve gotten worse in the areas that carried the team last season.

Starting pitching? Clearly worse. Don’t give me this Smyly = Fister junk. Smyly has a lot of potential but he hasn’t proven anything yet. Sure I hope he works out, but what a huge risk if the Tigers were shooting for the WS this year.

Offense? Significantly worse. I’m fine with unloading the albatross of Fielder’s contract. But we aren’t going to replace Fielder and Peralta with Kinsler, Castellanos and Davis unless Castellanos has an absolute breakout and becomes an All-Star right away. Again, I’d love that to happen, but counting on it is foolish.

Defense? Better, but not significantly We’re much better at SS. That’s about it. Kinsler is ok at best at 2B. Castellanos is not great at 3B. Cabrera isn’t great at 1B. Our OF will be mostly the same. Davis is solid, but will only be playing some of the time.

So, how exactly is this team better? Joe Nathan is great. Outside of him, this offseason has been terrible.

Sure would have been nice to get Kemp. A dynamo player. Miggy going to 1st base is like putting a gold glove there compared to last year. He was better at 1st base than Prince ever was and Prince was so short and stocky, he couldn’t make the plays. I’m very excited to see him at 1st base. We have a great 2nd baseman, one of best shortstops in MLB. So many changes for the whole team to get used to. It will be a challenge, for sure. It might just break Jim’s heart if we go to the World Series and win!

Davis plays all the OF positions, which should make him our fourth outfielder replacing Don Kelly . He needs to get at least eighty starts and 350 ABS to give him the best chance at getting us those forty steals. Sure DK will see some PT in the OF but most of his starts this season will be at 3B.

Dombrowski: Our depth is better, you’ve still got Ray pitching in AAA, Jose Alvarez can protect us, Hernan Perez is at AAA, McCann is at AAA
MLB network

Dombrowski: I think people will find out that Robbie Ray is a good young pitcher that is on the verge of pitching in the big leagues

Dombrowski: We go out and sign a Joe Nathan, sign Rajai Davis today, we’d like to come up w/ another bullpen arm, it gives us flexibility

Jamie—a cada uno lo suyo. Kinsler is actually a better all around defender than Omar. Castellanos basically replaces Prince. His addition improves both corner infield spots. He can run also circles around Prince on the base paths. Fister over Smyly? Fister gave us everything he had for 2 and a half years. No one can, or should, expect anything more than that from him. The timing on letting him go is correct. Not so sure about the return we got. That remains to be seen.
As to rumours today—-No to AJ for Gardner, No way. And the Tigers being interested in Ervin Santana? Makes no sense whatsoever..
I’d like to see Chavez on the bench instead of Donny Kelly.

I mentioned Chavez a week back or so – he still can rake – he’s long in the tooth tho. I’d rather just go with italian don kelly and tell the original don kelly good bye.

There is no way we want Davis starting 80 games. He is a black hole against right handed pitching. Just horrible. You might as well go get Ryan Raburn back.

Actually, last year, Raburn hit circles around Davis against RHP. Raburn was .243 .320 .485. Davis hit .228 .273 .321. That’s awful for a SS, let alone a corner OF.

If Davis isn’t glued to the bench against anything but lefty starters, we are in a heap of trouble. People get all excited about his speed, but the dude cannot hit right handed pitching. He’s never been able to.

Jamie said it perfectly so i’m going to repeat it: (hope you don’t mind!)

“If they can’t resign Scherzer, then getting rid of Fister borders on gross incompetence. WTF????”
By Jamie on December 11, 2013 3:24 pm

resigning max to a long term big bucks contract exceeded gross incompetence.

giving away Fister, w/o any certainty for Max, made no sense.

hey DD, there is LESS flexibility now. Boras now knows we really need to resign Max, whereas before (w/Fister as a Tiger starter), Tigers would have been in a much stronger bargaining position.

Why would we need to resign Max? Spend the money in better places – so what max had a great 1.5 years – gotta know when to walk away.

i’m sorry i was unclear. i’m mostly concerned w/ the decimation of our starting lineup, not the re-signing of max per se.

our staring lineup was so dominating last year. so i simply don’t understand why we would risk losing 2 out of the 5 guys. my fear is that max/boras’ leverage has greatly increased following the fister trade, which means less flexibility in starting pitching, and probably a more expensive contract for max.

and i know DD has produced some hugely successful teams. but what i don’t understand is why, when they were so successful last year, is the team being overhauled rather than tweaked. so many good guys aren’t coming back.
…… all this confusion is leading to frustration.

We lost a starting pitcher in Fister and as I stated before I am sad. Other than that, I think the team has improved. The defense is much better. We have a proven closer. We have speed. We have a new manager. We have not even played a game with this new look team. I don’t understand why some of you think DD is not a good GM. He put together a team that has won THREE division championships in a row and has gone to the WS twice. Go Tigers!

On the Fister trade, I’ll again say it hinges on the future of Robbie Ray. The future cannot be predicted so there is no hindsight on future events. Right now I hate the trade but I may change my mind in the future without the use of hindsight.
I’m sure Neil Degrasse Tyson could have said that better.

Not thrilled with the Davis signing or getting rid of Fister – I keep thinking to myself there is a bigger picture I am missing – I hope I see it next year.

I keep telling myself the same thing – it will make more sense by the end of these meetings or next year.

WELCOME TO DETROIT JOBA. Hopefully a 2 year deal – Joba hasn’t been good the past year or so – hopefully he rebounds.

DD picked a good player to sign here – I think – lots of reasons to think Joba will bounce back. Hopefully though, DD signs 1 more bullpen arm.

Good Job(a) David!

$2.5MM contract — is that 1 or 2 years then?

1 year

Hope I’m wrong but I was somewhat convinced he lost it…now I’m sure DD has lost it. Joba basically has had 2 good seasons out of 7. Bizarre.

Somebody might have said this already……would DD be building this type of team if Leyland was still the manager? I am looking forward to seeing how Brad manages these guys.

I was glad to hear Torii speak up on MLB Network re: the new homeplate collision rules. He’s right. There are 2 sides to every story. Will the second baseman be next? Even our new manager has some reservations about it. A.J. Pierzysnki said a month ago he considers blocking the plate as his job. There have been changes in HS and college ball, but how will it affect runners coming home in a tie game or playoff game, or any game? How would you like to lose a game because your player ran too hard to score the winning run.

The more rules they add, the more they become the NFL. Re the NFL, I went from being a season ticket holder in the 90s to not even watching it today.

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