Tigers lose Dirks to waivers, make qualifying offers to Scherzer, Martinez (updated)

As expected, Max Scherzer and Victor Martinez received qualifying offers Friday. Andy Dirks, meanwhile, received a waiver claim and a change of scenery to the Blue Jays.

Those were the highlights of a flurry of Friday moves by the Tigers, who picked up the $7 million option on Joakim Soria and did a whole lot more beyond that. Essentially, they set their 40-man roster for the start of what promises to be a busy offseason.

Detroit also purchased the contract of outfielder Wynton Bernard from low Class A West Michigan and outrighted the contracts of utilityman Don Kelly and reliever Evan Reed to Triple-A Toledo. Shortstop Jose Iglesias, left right-hander Drew VerHagen and relievers Bruce Rondon and Luke Putkonen were reinstated from the 60-day disabled list.

The Tigers had until Monday to extend one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offers — the average annual value of baseball’s top 125 contracts — to free agents. Scherzer and Martinez now have until a week from Monday to decide on it, but will almost surely decline, as both are expected to garner lucrative multi-year deals on the open market.

By extending qualifying offers, the Tigers set themselves up to receive compensation picks in next summer’s First-Year Player Draft should Scherzer and Martinez sign elsewhere. Detroit has avoided qualifying offers in recent years, but with Scherzer and Martinez in line as potentially the top pitcher and hitter on the market, the offers made total sense.

Dirks was in a different situation, eligible for arbitration this winter after what amounted to a lost season to injuries. The 28-year-old outfielder, a part of Detroit’s outfield from 2011 to 2013, underwent back surgery in March, then suffered a a series of setbacks — including a hamstring strain — that thwarted his rehab assignment in July and August.

“When will he be 100 percent? I don’t know that answer quite at this time,” team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said at his season-ending presser earlier this month. “We still have to make some decisions in that regard.”

That answer still wasn’t clear for them to go into a second year of arbitration with Dirks. Dombrowski had expressed the need for a left-handed-hitting outfielder in the mix, but decided Dirks wasn’t the answer.

“We had made the decision based upon his current health situation,” Dombrowski said Friday in an email, “and not being sure if we could count on him for next season.”

The Blue Jays, who have a history of offseason waiver claims under general manager Alex Anthopoulos, took the chance. With that, prospects Tyler Collins, Daniel Fields and Steven Moya stand as the only left-handed-hitting outfielders on Detroit’s 40-man roster.

Also claimed off waivers was lefty reliever Patrick McCoy, who goes to Baltimore after pitching in 14 games out of the Tigers bullpen, allowing six runs on 21 hits with 13 walks and 11 strikeouts.

Bernard earned Midwest League MVP honors at West Michigan, albeit as one of the older players in the league. The speedy outfielder batted a league-best .323 (164-for-507) for the Whitecaps with 30 doubles, six triples, six home runs, 47 RBIs and 45 stolen bases in 131 games.

Bernard would have been a minor-league free agent had he not been added to the 40-man roster. The move puts him in line to spend Spring Training with the Major League club.

Kelly and Reed are likely to decline their outright assignments and elect to become free agents, but Dombrowski said the team could still re-sign Kelly. The Tigers did that after the 2012 season and ended up re-signing Kelly to a minor-league contract two months later. They kept Kelly on their 40-man roster last offseason and avoided arbitration.

Still to be decided is a $5.4 million club option for catcher Alex Avila, who would otherwise be eligible for arbitration. Since Avila isn’t eligible for free agency, the Tigers have until Nov. 20 to pick up or decline the option.

31 Comments

I thought they might want to keep a Dirks.

strong left handed outfield defender who does all the small things right? we don’t need one of those!

what we need are poor defenders like Hunter, Martinez, Cuddayer, and/or Rasmus!

Rasmus is not a poor defender. He is a very good defender. However, he strikes out way to much. They call him “K”olby with a “K” here in Toronto. But he can track down balls very well. But they don’t need another 230 hitter who strikes out every 2.5 at bats. Avila already has that job for us.
.
— Bob

i haven’t seen him play but if you look at all 24 MLB CFs that had at least 700innings in 2014…he ranks 21st. http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=cf&stats=fld&lg=all&qual=700&type=1&season=2014&month=0&season1=2014&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=25,d
.
compare him to Rajai – Rajai is better in CF. I’d rather sign Torii for RF and play Rajai in CF.

DD will cut dirks yet is fully confident rondon will be healthy and pitching well by spring training. unbelievable!

Losing McCoy was far worse, that mean they will try again with Phil Krol

I have read once and again about signing someone to replace Scherzer,.. Done, his name is Price. Smyly needs to be replaced ( 2014 , 2015 opening day)

DD:
“We have the most generous owner in baseball you could possibly have in sports. But we’re in a situation where $200 million payrolls aren’t what is common here. … It’s a situation where we’re really in a spot that if you’re going to have four starters being paid and you’re going to have a couple superstars in the middle of your lineup, that means there’s not as much availability to do some other things. And you have to determine what you’re going to do.”

can we stop overpaying starters and middle of the lineup guys, then? have you ever heard of what happens when you put all of your eggs in 1 basket?

Their payroll is just above the Giants

Re : Scherzer
DD acted the right way
Scherzer hired Boras.
The Tigers traded Fister to make room for him
They offered him between 144-154
He rejected it and kept playing the ” the good guy””act and the “I want to remain in Detroit” card trying to make Ilitch overpay like he did for the pretended 1B
DD just set , or tried to set ,the record straight. He played hard, you play hard.
BTW: Verlander did not want to sign with Detroit when drafted but his father convinced him that signing was the right thing to do( Henning says) and helped to make the Tigers winners
But who is the fan´s darling? the “good guy”

You got it right ET.

ET, who did Verlander want to sign with? Strange, but this is the first off season that I won’t be upset by whatever trades/FA acquisitions transpire. Despite the decent record, 2014 to me was an uninspiring season. And not just because they failed miserably in the playoffs. I thought unloading Prince would be the answer. It was a start. Tigers started out running and stealing in what seemed was going to be the new successful formula. Then the running slowed, the BP collapsed, (although saying it collapsed infers that it was ever at a level to collapse from), SP, BP, defense, and hitting all took turns finding ways to lose. They finally won when they needed to, but proved once again a team not built for the playoffs. KC and SF will be models other teams will try to copy. Speed and defense plus power arms in the BP. KC almost won. Bumgarner was the difference. Tigers are still slow. At this point I won’t miss Max. I love Victor, but wonder if keeping him in light of Miguel’s being prone to injury would be money better spent elsewhere. Maybe better to reload with youth than to keep trying to win with aging veterans.

He wanted to remain in college and be drafted by another team. It was 2004

Was going to say the same ET. Would love to keep Victor if they could get him to agree to 2 years, maybe 3 but not thrilled with that. Wouldn’t mind seeing a couple of those young LHB OFs make the team.

Charlie Wilmoth [http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/10/central-notes-maddon-dirks-giambi-indians.html#disqus_thread] wrote something interesting

The Cubs‘ decision to replace Rick Renteria with Joe Maddon seems “a little dirty,” but the baseball world will go on, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes. The Rays believe the Cubs tampered with Maddon while they had him under contract, and others in the game aren’t happy that Maddon’s situation led to Renteria’s firing. Rosenthal notes that if MLB can prove the Cubs tampered, the Rays could demand a promising young player in compensation, maybe even a player as talented as Javier Baez or Addison Russell. Here’s more from the Central divisions.

can’t blame Maddon for looking around when he has opt out clause. I suppose his agent worked behind the scenes to see what other options he might have. wouldn’t be tampering, I wouldn’t think, if he or his representatives in fact made first contact. too many unknowns at this point to implicate anyone.

So far the moves have been good ones. It’s too bad about Andy but DD realized you can’t keep regarding him as a building block on the team. He may make a come-back but I am glad management is not pretending he is something he is not—-anymore.
I totally understand keeping the, thus far, disappointing Soria. I never liked Reed much and Donny Kelly’s time has most certainly come.
I for one, will miss Max. I hope he has another Cy Young type year. But I doubt it. He was certainly too costly (and risky) to keep. A paralyzing contract like the ones given to JV and Fielder would have been debilitating to the club.
Marty has the right idea about Victor–I hope that happens

Normally I would agree that clubs will try to copy from the WS participants but this was a bizarre postseason. Neither team won 90 games or their respective divisions. A manager’s decision here and a called strike there and you get an entirely different matchup. The games were that close.
On a lighter note, the “window” for winning the WS is 2015, 2017, and 2019. The Giants will win it the other years.

Yeah Rich. With those years in mind, you can negotiate some creative contracts:-)

Thanks for the Verlander answer ET. Regarding Max, I’ve always liked him. Wish the Tigers could keep him. But his declining the Tiger offer this past spring left me wishing we’d traded him and kept Fister. Of course I wanted to keep Fister regardless. I do like Max, but we’re kidding ourselves if we think players, as a whole, put loyaly to cities ahead of egos and money. Why should they really? It’s a business. It’s we fans who chose to live in the fantasy world of loyalty and love…..Whoa….I think that’s the biggest line of crap I’ve ever come up with. Sayin’ a lot…..All right!

players come and go for their own reasons, like any other employee of any other company. certainly harder for fans to let go of players who are publicly likable and perform well.

Bultler option declined today. ..could be a cheap replacement for Vmart….

I like Butler but I think if they were going to replace Victor with a dedicated DH he would likely be a LHB.

Twas thinking butler could play 1st, but that’s even worse than Vmart playing 1st

As october 2013,
Jays GM had “claimed 39 players , 21 were DFA’d within a couple of weeks. Ten of the 39 cleared waivers and went to the minors”.
Dirks wont play with the Jays
BTW: bad knees and bad back playing in artificial turf?

exactly re: artificial turf for Dirks. He won’t be in Toronto long.

Andy McCullough ‏@McCulloughStar 2h2 hours ago
Billy Butler is holding a conference call, set up by the Royals, at 12:30 pm. He wants to stay.

Unlike some guys.

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