How Al Avila’s search for a closer landed him K-Rod

The Tigers touched base with clubs before last week’s General Managers Meetings, a regular practice at the start of the offseason to gauge teams’ needs and what they’d be willing to deal. They found a surprising number of teams willing to trade their closer. They also found many of those teams looking for big returns to do so. The Tigers checked in on Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and reportedly Brad Boxberger, but found teams asking on the same high-level prospects that the Tigers felt they needed — not just down the road, but in the very near future.

They engaged in early talks with free agent Joakim Soria, their closer for much of last season, but a heavy amount of interest pushed the expected contract from two years to three. Darren O’Day, meanwhile, is reportedly looking for a four-year contract, according to MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal.

The Tigers wanted to address their bullpen, and closer was at the top of the list. At the same time, they didn’t want to sell out their farm system or take up payroll space budgeted for starting pitchers. So during the GM Meetings, they came back to the Brewers about Francisco Rodriguez.

“With [new Brewers GM] David Stearns, obviously we had reached out before the GM Meetings and just kind of exchanged information like we normally do with clubs as far as needs and that nature,” Tigers GM Al Avila said on Wednesday’s conference call. “And then at the GM Meetings, we had talked about it a little bit more.”

As talks with Soria’s agent lingered, the suspicion grew that the Tigers were preferring their trade options. By Tuesday, this was clearly the one they preferred.

“After all the conversations, we just decided this would be the rest route for us,” Avila said. “We felt that Francisco, with his experience, gave us the best option to close games for us this coming year and gives us the flexibility to continue to add bullpen pieces.

“Also it’s a one-year contract with an option, so it gives us some flexibility there. The overall trade was good for both clubs. The full situation of acquiring a pitcher we were comfortable giving the ball in the ninth inning with his experience, and the full package of the deal, is really what made it attractive for us. And we were able to keep some of the younger guys we wanted to keep.”

Rodriguez, who signed in mid-March after lingering on the free-agent market, will make $7.5 million next year – of which $2 million is deferred to 2018 — on the back half of a two-year, $13 million contract. The Tigers hold a $6 million club option for 2017, or a $2 million buyout. Even if Rodriguez isn’t the closer by season’s end, as long as he’s healthy and reasonably effective, it’s a reasonable deal to pick up the option. Thus, the Tigers get two years of Rodriguez — his age-34 and 35 seasons — for $13.5 million and second-base prospect Javier Betancourt, who was 11th on’s Tigers prospect list but was expected to be at least a year away from the big leagues. There’s also a player to be named in the deal that is expected to be decided later this winter.

The Tigers have been linked with interest with Rodriguez in the past, but have always turned elsewhere. When he was still on the market last Spring Training, Detroit didn’t have the payroll space, turning back to Joba Chamberlain on a $1 million deal for depth. What Rodriguez did as closer last year — 38 saves in 40 chances, a career-best 0.86 WHIP, 6.0 hits per nine innings, and a still-strong 9.8 K/9 thanks to a nasty changeup — caught their attention. While his 20 home runs allowed over the last two years was a high rate, the transition from Miller Park to Comerica Park is expected to temper that.


He became a closer when Troy Percival was signed by… the Tigers

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Olney:”Free agent pitcher Doug Fister is drawing interest from the Detroit Tigers, among other teams.”

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I like the K-Rod acquisition. He may not be Miller, Chapman or Kimbrel, but he was well worth an unproven prospect with plenty of lookalikes in MiLB. Although K-Rod has definitely lost velocity, he has improved his Valverde-type control from his early Angel years. At minimum, K-Rod should prove helpful to the BP, even if he doesn’t pan out as a shutdown closer.

Move #1 for Avila: Shrewd
I’m impressed with this one. Especially since a major component of all transactions now are based in $$$$.
This was a good move if you are not going for an elite closer.
i would prefer an elite closer, don’t get me wrong, but ther are so many holes to fill on this team.

I wanted Dave to get him years ago when he was available. Good signing for Mr. Avila.

former Tiger Corey Knebel was mentioned as one of the relievers in the mix to replace Rodriguez as closer. the Brewers’ GM said the financial component was not the reason for the trade…likes their bullpen depth, trying to acquire best young talent to rebuild.

“Cespedes …his stellar stretch run with Mets likely earned him a bigger contract than the Tigers can fit into their payroll. Either Cespedes or Upton would have to linger on the market for the Tigers to likely get involved”
Upton? Power and good OBP. Streaky?yes, like JD. Projected to make 20 MM/year. And there wil be no good FA OF in 2017.

“Somebody is going to write David Price a big check to sign the left-hander and Zack Greinke will get a lot of money, …
But those guys make up the top tier of pitchers, and as one AL official noted, there probably are only six or so teams that would even think about buying in that kind of neighborhood this winter,…”

If Ilitch wants to go cheap instead of buying an impact FA starter, then Avila will have to package prospects to get one as he did to get K-Rod. He might be able to fill in the rest of the holes with the $45M he is projected by some to be willing to spend. Just wondering, what did Ilitch do with the bucks he saved by unloading Price, Cespedes and Soria last season? That’s gotta be around $15M, give or take..

Jason, above:
“At the same time, they didn’t want to sell out their farm system or take up payroll space budgeted for starting pitchers”

That’s the party line. It does’t get an impact starter like Fernandez, Gray or others of that ilk if Ilitich won’t spend enough to get top-of-the-line pitching. And where’s that $15M or so from last season’s transactions?

Otherwise, it’s mediocre upgrades.

They begin paying 6 MM to Texas for Fielder
Raises for the arbitration eligible players, MLBTR projections:Feliz 5.2MM/ Alburquerque 2.1MM /J.D. Martinez $7.8MM ( up from 3)/ Romine 700K/Jose Iglesias 1,75( down from 2MM). The Tigers are always above the projections
Kinsler goes down to 14 MM ( 16MM) but Cabrera goes up to 28MM( 22 MM), VMart up to 18 MM( 14 MM)
Their current payroll, prearbitation: 118.300 ( Must be 116.300 since 2 MM for KRod are deferred to 2018) .
With the projected salaries minus Feliz: 128.650,00. With Feliz 133,850.00 MM.
5.5+ 6+4 + 6 + 4.8 -2: 24.3 Added(h)= 24.3. Price´s salary 19.75

I get all that. I’m using your $45M figure for FAs. Ilitch is one of the richest people in America. It has never been a question if he has the money, it’s a question as to how much he wants to spend..If he wants to go cheap and budget a similar amount to last season, then why doesn’t he at least spend the money he saved from last season? If he doesn’t get impact players by buying FAs, then he will have to package prospects for them. If he settles for mediocre additions, then the Tigers will likely be a mediocre product. The shame of that is some of the major core players are on the cusp of decline.

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Cheap? The Tigers had the 4th payroll in MLB

All things are relative. And I consider a man of Ilitch’s means to be going cheap if he won’t spend to compete at a championship level. Alternatively, Avila can package prospects. The bottom line is the product. I don’t care how the Tigers get there. And as you noted, there will be several teams willing to pay for the best players out there. Ilitch can be one of them if he doesn’t cheap out.

They are paying to 7 players was KC paid to the full roster that won the WS
They will have a healthy Verlander for the first time in two season and a full season of Miguel. Plus Sánchez, Iglesias and VMart.
Those are mot mediocre upgrades.

not mediocre, sorry. Sotrry, the conexion is sluggish

I like being a fan of a team that went to the WS 2x and won 4 division titles in 9 years. That didn’t happen for KC when they were cheap. In fact, Grienke was so chagrinned at the situation he asked out. Is that the model we fans should be satisfied with? If so, maybe we’ll have to wait 20 years or so like the fans of the Royals and Pirates did to hit the playoffs again.

Darline, sorry, but I think you are just wrong here. As ElTigre said 4th in payroll is not cheap. It is spending on a championship level. The problem is the farm has been gutted for years. It’s really hard to count on guys that are in the pinnacle or the decline stage of their careers to increase production. You need the younger guys pushing up to be competitive long term.

They are NOT even upgrades. They are present inventory and comprise some of the core.

I think that’s the point. The core is degrading and we already weren’t satisfied with the results.

$45 million? Isn’t this just a guess? Has MI or AA actually stated that figure as carved in stone? I still have a newspaper article from several years ago about MI doing so much to improve Detroit’s outlook and it didn’t solely include the Tigers but they are certainly a PR bonus.

ElT quoted the figure and he used FanGraphs(?) as his source.

I use Cot Contracts for the figures , guessing they will match their 2015 Opening Day Payroll to avoid reaching the luxury tax. The Tigers paid it only once
Fangrpahs , and Patrick Kennedy ( with far more detail )reached a similar conclusion. Both posts came after my first post about that back in July .

Well, we all have our opinions. I’m not sure if there is a right or wrong. I do, however, know what makes me happy and what kind of money Ilitch has. Frankly, I don’t care how the team is put together. I want to win now given the core group of stars is on the cusp of decline. Once that window for a possible championship run ends and if Ilitch chooses to go into a rebuild mode for years on end as KC and the Pirates did, so be it. Then again, Ilitch could follow the Gugenheim/Stan Kasten model in that eventuality.

spending more money can be part of the solution, but it isn’t the answer. Dodgers are the latest big spenders to fall short. some of the best transactions for Tigers in recent seasons (Fister from Seattle, JMartinez from waivers) cost relatively little money. spending resources (money + organizational talent + draft picks) wisely matters more.

Tigers exposed to rule 5( Mayo, MLB)
Detroit Tigers (5)
No. 1 Michael Fulmer, RHP
No. 11 Jairo Labourt, LHP
No. 15 Endrys Briceno, RHP
No. 21 Edgar De La Rosa, RHP
No. 25 Josh Turley, LHP
Jason also has Montreal Robertson as eligible.
Only 5 spots and they need space for 2 SP and 1 RP at least
Fullmer and Labourt will be added for sure.
Who saw his last day as Tiger?
Váldez? Farmer? Feliz?

MVP: Miguel Cabrera 11th , J.D. Martinez 15th, Ian Kinsler 21st.

I totally understand where Darline is coming from. There is no sense in comparing budgets, teams etc. What this amounts to is how badly Mike wants to win. If he wants to win he will have to buy winners. It’s that simple. $45 or $105. Luxury tax or no.
Win or lose.
This is not a franchise struggling to maintain.

Woody, concerning the Dodgers, I agree their large salary did not guarantee a WS championship but it allowed them to regularly put out competitive players. and win their third consecutive division championship, a franchise record.The Dodgers accomplished that despite losing numerous quality players to the DL for various lengths of time. The list included position players Ellis, Grandel, Kendricks, Turner, Rollins, Hernandez and Puig. They also lost pitchers Ryu, McCarthy,Nicassio, Frias, Hatcher and Jansen.

Also, when I mentioned the Gugenheim/Kasten model it was because of their winning strategy. First, they poured $100M into the park to make it once again an inviting place for fans. Second, they poured millions of dollars into win-now quality players, after years of neglect by the prior ownership, so fans would engage and re-engage the Dodger product. Finally, they rebuilt the farm system so future players would be both controllable and affordable I think the strategy was brilliant and resulted in a huge appreciation in organization value as well as all the fanancial perks associated with attendance, TV revenue, sales, parking, etcetera. And, now the club is set up to remain competitive in the long term.

I wish there was a way to edit. I can see I missed some players like Crawford, spelled some words and names incorrectly and unnecessarily hit punctuation marks and/or missed them entirely.

I would argue, we’ve had a lot more recent success than the Dodgers. And we came from a worst place 100 loss season.
I guess I am not sure of your point. I think we can all agree that the Tigers could have made better decisions on players to keep and go after. But, hindsight is 20/20. I feel like ownership and DD spent and got championship quality teams.
I am sure ownership could go in the red for the forseeable future to bring in every big name player. But what do you do, when you can’t manage all those egos and they still lose? Think about how well it worked for the Yankees. I rather see a team that stays competitive and plays winning baseball on a nightly basis. You don’t need a team full of superstars to do that. You need a team of hungry guys working together.

TigerFan…Like I’ve commented many times in the past, I was happy with the 9-year run of the Tigers and DD”s pursuit of impact players. I am not happy about what looks like a strategy change by Ilitch to have Avila hunt through the bargain bin for deals.especially at a time the window is closing for many core players. Again, Ilitch is loaded. The issue is how much he is willing to spend, not whether he has the money. As far as the Dodgers go and as I noted before, the prior ownership was cheap and did not re-invest in the product. Instead, ownership pocketed the money. All that was revealed in the McCourt divorce proceedings if you wish to research it. Since Gugenheim/Kasten took over, it has been an entirely different matter and money has been put out for impact players, regeneration of the park and a farm rebuild. The results pretty much speak for themselves.

If the Tigers want to sign free agents Davis, Simon, Avila, Gorzelanny or Wolf they should have very little difficutly in doing so since not other team seems to even consider them in any rumors I have been reading.
My response would be that only Rajai has value to this team. And if I’m GM I wouldn’t spend to much on him either.

Labourt, Fullem, Robertson added to the roster
Could the PTBNL be a rule 5 eligible player no added to the roster?
“Brewers getting PTBNL in K-Rod trade. Tigers might. Al Avila: “It could happen that way, but it may not. … It’s complicated.”
If the player is not drafted, he would be the PTBNL ?
Or the Tigers will pick someone if available and then send him to the Brewers?

Yeah, I’m keeping an eye on that little piece of business.

Brewers pick ahead of Tigers in Rule 5 Draft. since they’re in rebuilding mode, I suppose they could roster two Rule 5 picks, but would be unusual.

Received an interesting tidbit from my pharmacist this morning. NL MVP Harper is nearly a year younger than ROY Bryant. Was Trout in the same situation when he won the AL MVP?

here’s what BB America had to say about Robertson:
‘RHP Montreal Robertson—One of the more surprising protection decisions, Robertson has a solid arm (92-96 mph fastball) and got to show it in the Arizona Fall League but has below-average control limits his projection.’

Maybin is the RH OF

Krol and Speier gone

Krol definitely has potential. Maybin Maybe, more. I like him better than the idea of re-signing Rajai, even though he will be more expensive. Cam is entering his prime and his ceiling may not have been approached yet. Rajai is exiting his prime and is inferior defensively.
The scary thing here though is if Al figures his OF is now set. He well could. Cameron would get more playing time filling in for Gose and Collins than Rajai would.
Spier was a longshot at best. It will be interesting to follow Krol. He just needs confidence.

BTW: he will make 8 MM

5.5 paid by the Tigers. Paul says
DRS has him as worse the Gose in CF
But “Cameron Maybin is a good outfielder with plenty of experience in center field,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said in a statement. “He is coming off of a solid offensive season in 2015 and brings speed and athleticism to our club. Brad Ausmus and the coaching staff will determine Cameron’s role during spring training.” Detroit Free press

Krol gone is the best part of the trade. He was worse than Coke. A Batting Practice pitcher

Entering a FA year this may not be horrible. It is high for a platoon OFer though so I am thinking AA is dreaming of him becoming the super star he was supposed to be and play him in left.

I like the acquisition of Maybin. He gives strong depth to the OF and can be a legitimate fill-in for Gose or Collins.He’s younger than Davis with more upside. And he’s a steal compared to what Fowler would demand. Still, Maybin is unlikely to provide the impact of Cespedes or Upton and he cost Krol, who could end up being dynamite. Or, maybe a big flop.

Now Ilitch needs to open up that checkbook as he reportedly said he would and start spending, as predicted by Heyman and Henning, for impact starters and more BP help. Although I have adjusted to the $45M figure espoused on this blog and expect expenditures in that range, I obviously still hope for more investment in players by the Tigers..

Two pretty good trades (we hope) so far, and the wallet hasn’t even been cracked yet.

The trades cost salary.Depending on who you listen to, the net outlay is $10-$15M out of the proposed $45M.

the two trades have cost Tigers $16m all things considered

K-Rod gets $5.5M per Sharp. Maybin gets $5.6M after the Braves pick up $2.5M per Paul. That’s a total of $111M, minus Krol’s $515K and the MiLB contracts for Betancourt and Spier. Ergo, the net could be a tad over $10M, depending on who has your ear.

Well you can subtract 6 million for Rajai too.
He easily would have go that.
Two guys I am wondering about are Feliz and The Shark. Both guys have nice arms but both are trending to being over-rated as well. The Shark threw a beauty against us toward the end of the season and I think a clunker too.
Both guys will get substantial raises even though they had stats that pretty much stunk. Such is the life of a MLB pitcher!
We need a LHP in the pen to back up Hardy who is pretty much a lock. I don’t ever get too excited about Kyle Ryan. I’d love to see a quality pick-up this year but if not Matt Boyd might be considered to transition.

Cot´s contracts:
Current payroll: $126,400,000.00 ( with 2 MM def and 2.5 MM paid by Atl) : 121.9 for 7 players and Fielder

As Iott pointed out, make it 122.9. Nathan buyout. I noticed that Cot´s did not include it but …
He has the payroll ,with the arbitration players included:
at $140.2 million with Feliz. $135 million without Feliz.
The luxury tax is 189 MM. But according to Kennedy( BYB) that is kind of a nominal limit. The real one being lower due to bonuses, players participations and some intrincacies of the rules

The price on Feliz, if he is signed, is not set in concrete.. As discussed on previous blogs, he could be non-tendered and then signed at about $3M. See Beck’s comments on the blog and his previous article on the matter for his input to that effect..

Nobody said otherwise. That why Iott present two scenarios. 3.3 is the minimun amount he can be offered without non tender him. Non tender means he would be a FA.

You have him down at $5.2M in the figures you just presented. I can’t read between the lines nor can I read your mind.

Actually a lot of this seems like deja vu. I thought all of this money stuff for Feliz was pretty well covered before, including his potential FA status should he be non-tendered.

One: 5.2 is the MLBTR projection.
Two:3.3 is the minumum amount he can be offered under the rules of the CBA
Three :I presented the payroll with him at 5.2 and without him.Same did Iott
Four: I was just replying to your comment about signing him for around 3MM
You want Illitch to spend his money but he built his hockey arena with the city´s money, so good luck with that

Now, you have clearly made your points. As I have said before, I’m pretty sure some of this communication stuff is translation-related (Google?). But, I want to make it clear whether we are are agreed or not, I appreciate your information and your opinions.

Cameron Maybin. That was a surprise. Remember when he was considered the ultimate “gold nugget” in the Tiger’s farm system. I would imagine the rest of the “moola” is for pitching.

How the rotation works out is obviously very important. One could argue that the front part of the rotation (JV and Anibal) maybe as big a problem as the back end. JV showed signs of “smartening” up last year without compromising his bulldog mentality too much. But he is another year older. Anibal got clobbered last year and is suspect physically (as well as another year older). My point is neither is a lead pipe cinch to pitch like an ace for the whole year. And I guess my real point is they had better not cheap out looing for a #3 type pitcher. In fact they should be looking at a #1 type if they honestly expect to contend.


Maybin and Miller were untouchable per DD. Then Cabrera was available. Waiting for more hot stove as we are getting 5 inches of snow. Just made a snowman with my Grandkids. Go Tigers 2016!

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will be interesting to see how Ausmus uses Maybin. has played CF exclusively since leaving Detroit. should have larger role than Rajai Davis. having 2 CFs playing side-by-side would be expected to bolster the OF defense. always a bit wary of Tigers’ trades with Braves…

It seems likely Maybin will slot in as a RHB to platoon with both Collins and Gose, at minimum. On an historical note, Maybin was selected one pick before McCutcheon was chosen in the draft.

BB America’s analysis of Maybin: ‘He played a combined 109 games between 2013 and 2014, spending time on the shelf with injuries to his wrist, biceps and shoulder, among others. At his best, he offers a combination of modest pop, speed and excellent defense. He spent only one season in Atlanta, hitting a career-high in home runs, and moves back to Detroit in the fourth trade of his career. He’s an upgrade in center field offensively over Anthony Gose and rates as a comparable defender.’

Braves beat writer says that trade saves them $6.5m. they have Cleveland castoffs Bourn ($14m) and Swisher ($15m) on the payroll next season.

Actually, except for their respective ages and salaries, there wasn’t much difference between Gose and Maybin last season. Maybin turns 29 at the start of 2016 and is coming off a career year with a .267 BA, .327 OBP and .370 SLG with.23 SBs. His DRS was a -16. By comparison, Gose won’t be 26 until August and is coming off his first full season in which he posted a .254 BA, .321 OBP and .367 SLG with 23 SBs. His DRS was -12.

MLBTR posted an article about Maybin yesterday, where he was projected to take over the role of Davis. He would platoon with Gose in CF and also probably spend time in LF unless the Tigers find an addition there.

I will miss Rajai as he provided, along with the rest of the team, one of the most memorable games in several years. That game was on June 20, 2014, when the spirit of the 1984 World Series champs entered the bodies of the 2014 Tigers and they played like that ’84 team played. Never game up, but just kept adding base runners and Rajai hits a walk-off Hr. One of my favorite and most memorable games in several years.

Never gave up

Looks like it is all about the pitching now. As well it should.
Tigers can hope Collins can play well at this level and they can dream the other LHB (Moya) surprises and wins a job. Either way the OF is set. They have rolled the dice on Maybin and Collins fulfilling roles.
Time to look for a breakthrough deal. Jose Fernandez?

I love the idea of Moya. I’m just not sure his raw power will compensate for his BA and SOs at this stage of his career. Defensively, Moya has the gift of tools. Fernandez? That would be sweet. The Marlins count him as untouchable as do the A’s with Gray. Of course the A’s said Donaldson was untouchable.

“they didn’t want to sell out their farm system or take up payroll space budgeted for starting pitchers”
But will they try to get someone like Shelby Miller or ,even better, Tyson Ross? both fit the team
Would they take back Smyly? his shoulder problems make him the most probable TB starter to be traded.

a question for the stat guys: what happens when you take a CF with a Defensive Runs Saved rating of -16 and put him in a corner OF position? does having a smaller area of field to cover cause predictable changes in that number?

As a point of comaprision: Gose , career, -10 in CF ( mostly with Tigers), -3 in RF 6 in LF ( with Jays)
But Davis, career -9 in LF , 6 in CF, 2 in RF
Of course, CoPa is known for the unusually large LF

Nightengale from USAToday says Dodgers have strong interest in Zimmermann…unclear if he’s a Plan B in case of not signing Price/Greinke or in addition to one of those.

Defensive metrics are suspect, even according to FanGraphs. With that in mind, FanGraphs favors UZR over DRS. Although the methodologies are similar, UZR prefers multiple years (3 optimally) of data to determine its level whereas DRS uses a rolling one-year basis and doesn’t work well with smaller sample sizes. There are of course other variations, but the 2 systems are more similar than not. As a point of note, the top qualifiers at CF from 2012 thru 2015 (3 years) per UZR were Lagares and Gomez at 43.5 and 35.3, respectively. Surprisingly, to me at least, some of the worst were Fowler (-25.4), Bourn (-12.4), Trout (-9.5), and McCutcheon (-8.4).

“Maybin was supposed to become a star. Instead, he’s been a slightly better, right-handed-hitting version of the 25-year-old Gose. In other words, athletic and less than the sum of his parts, particularly in terms of consistent statistical production.

Meanwhile – this has nothing to do with Maybin – earlier this summer, someone who has a history with Gose questioned whether he truly loves the game. What that could possibly mean in respect to his performance going forward is something I won’t venture to guess.”

i suspect there’s going to be some good competition for playing time among Gose-Maybin-Collins if all remain healthy. Collins is somewhat disadvantaged in that he hasn’t been a touted prospect like the other two. Avila’s comments after the trade indicate a belief that Maybin has more upside in his game yet. he was very good before the All-Star break last season hitting .289 with .356 OBP.

Anybody else notice that there has been zero talk about Tiger Free Agents outside of detroit?

These FA’s are lower tier so it should not surprise us that there is little if any interest this early in the cycle. It shows how much value the rest of the league puts in the retreads that DD signed though!

The thinking goes that most teams outside of the Cubs, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants and Red Sox have minimal chances of landing Price, Greinke, Johnny Cueto or Jordan Zimmermann

Please remember, Tigers don’t make a big splash like a Marlin does. They predate, target and take their quarry. Thank you in advance.

Is Avila keeping Lloyd on ice for next season, if Ausmus implodes again?

That could be the case . Toledo is a hop, skip and a jump up I-75 . If Brad should falter.

I beginning to really hate the second Evil Empire: “Rick Porcello received ~$20M AAV after one above-average season in a five-year span, per ERA+. Agents will remind teams of this.”
Second tiers will be looking for 20 MM/year

Yep, money has really bumped up. I commented a few weeks ago about how the percentages of owner/player distribution have changed and that the Players Association would target even more money for the players in the near future. Well, i just read that Boras has already jumped on that bandwagon.

Dan, also not too surprising to me regarding most of the group. But Davis had a nice September and might hook on with someone who needs a spot player. Despite his age,he might have a little left in his tank. Avila is a bit of a surprise to me. He’s still fairly young with some past highlight film moments. Plus his OBP and framing probably should appeal to analytics-oriented organizations who need a catcher. Maybe Avila is asking for too much money and/or won’t settle for a backup position.

I don’t think Alex is physically capable of regular play. I actually see him as something of value as opposed to our other FAs. Rajai has value too, but your points on Alex are valid. He gets on base, he is good in the club-house. he is catcher-“smart”, bats LH, has power and can handle a pitching staff and a mentoring role.

McClendon is a Mud Hen!

Second less valuable catcher in MLB, Alex Avila:

Notice the much maligned Holaday, little sample and all that, is above the otther two catchers

The overall rating for Avila doesn’t surprise me. But Avila’s OBP is actually decent over his career, which has appeal.. I didn’t see a grade for framing, which I read Avila was decent at. Frankly, what surprised me was how low McCann’s BWARP was. He is in Avila Land..

Like I commented before, some team that will grab Avila will do so with the idea he is a backup. That club will probably hope he can return to 2011 form (.389 OPB and 6.0 BWARP) given his age. That’s probably a pipe dream.because he is likely incapable of “regular play” as noted by Dan.

Cabrera to Wilmer Reina:
“Cabrera said that at 32-year-old he notices the difference in terms of physical preparation, and that getting fit takes longer.

“When passes the time is the routine is harder to cope with. You need to start working earlier. It is no longer the same pace than when you had 22, 23 or 25 years. Discipline is getting harder and if one wants to play 15 or 20 years in the Major Leagues has to accept that change in your life and try to acquire another working method to obtain the consistency you need on the playing field. “said the champion bat in the American League.

On his training plan he confessed to not be doing any different than usual exercise and focuses on “mobilizing the ankle (right) to return to its natural state and does not have limitations when it comes to play”, he said.

“For now the important is strengthen the area of the ankle to put enough weight on the leg back, to have a better balance and that the effort is normal to connect the ball.”

Regarding Avila, I’m repeating what I said several months ago, but his stroke doesn’t look right. What I have read and seen about V-Mart kinda epitomizes that a swing should stay long thru the contact zone. Avila’s stroke doesn’t do that. To me, it loops and then slices thru the zone, minimizing his chances at solid contact. I’m obviously no baseball expert, but I read and extrapolate from what the experts have to say.

DD seems to have gained the attention of Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez has lost weight, conditioned himself, is set to move to 1B and will play winter ball for the first time since 2004 to continue to work thru rehab issues. If the Panda similarly tries to recover from his miserable last season, the results could prove to be be a very decent infield upgrade for the Red Sox, and maybe 2 Comeback of the Year candidates.

Ramirez is oft-injured and his motivation is questionable IMO. he did seem motivated for awhile in LA when Puig arrived and became an instant sensation.
As for Alex Avila, I haven’t looked at the numbers to confirm, but suspect his hitting has been hurt more than most by the overshifting being regularly used. feel badly for him regarding the concussions. unfortunately some of the enduring memories of his time in Detroit for me were injury related.

according to BB America, the Dodgers have signed 17 and 19 year old position players from Cuba for outlay of $21.5m which is then doubled by penalty to $43m for exceeding their international bonus pool limit.

Woody, saw that too For your info, I read an explanation. The Dodgers are stocking their farm with controllable and affordable players without paying out for draft choices. Since they are already at the international penalty phase they are signing as many legit prospects as possible because for the next few years they will be limited to $300K per year. The beauty of that for the Dodgers at this juncture is other MLB teams apparently are unwilling to bid this year against the Dodgers given their present willingness to spend.

The Dodgers reportedly have signed 28 international players since July 2.The total expenditure is conceivably well in excess of $87M, after factoring in luxury tax expenditures.

The White Sox signed Avila for $2.5M. He will presumably pair with Flowers behind the plate.

ElT, I really couldn’t find what I wanted about Avila’s framing on Fangraphs, so I researched him on Baseball Prospectus. I t seems Avila has had some statistically decent framing years in the past, but was absolutely horrid last season.

Avila was my favourite Tiger for a while even before his big year when he hit just about .300 and 20 HRs. He caught a lot of games that year and was a big reason the team won 95 games. That was the beginning of the end IMO as the knee problems took over his career. I hope Cellular Field treats him well.

Pitch framing………
I caught the end of an MLB Network thing last night and a panel was asked, I believe, what they would tell the commissioner on how to improve the game. Bobby Valentine’s answer was electronic strike zone. He said “you don’t get to have your own strike zone.”
Anyway, the Avila deal sounds like a good one for all parties involved. Best of luck to Alex. He gave it 100%.

Of the top 50 FAs per CBS, only 5 have signed thus far. Of that group the only one not to be re-signed by his former team was Avila.

Alex would have been a good fit here but his relationship with his GM would have contaminated everything and anything. He is in a good place for all concerned.

I agree with that.

I really don’t understand why Heyward seems such a hot commodity. If he played SS and put up 13 HRs with 60 RBIs and stole 23 SBs while hitting .293 as he did in 2015, I’d say a big yes to him. But, he is a corner outfielder! About the only offensive stats of Heyward that strongly appeal to me are from 4 years ago when he struck 27 HRs with 82 RBIs and stole 21 bases. Maybe his potential offense remains intriguing enuff to teams to maintain interest. Otherwise, I don’t get it.

More on Heyward, in comparison to our corner OFer, JD. Last year, Heyward had 9 assists and a FPCT of .990. JD had 17 assists and a FPCT of .993. In terms of offense, Heyward hit .293 with 13 HRs and 60 RBIs. JD hit .282 with 38 HRs and 102 RBIs.

Good point. Heyward has always been one of those guys that athletically stands out and consequently seems to have a high ceiling. He does give you excellent defense and a LHB. He would also give you a lot less room (financially) to sign a couple of starters. My hope lies within. And that is Moya. He could solve a plethora of problems for AA. It is a longshot though.

Well, I would say the points I made about Heyward’s offense were pretty much reiterated in that article. And I would agree Heyward is very good defensively, but there is no way I would rate him as defensively important as Simmons. So, this is a situation where I feel defensive metrics does not tell the whole story. But, thanks for the info and I’ll bet you love his resultant WAR..

Per Fangraphs: “For position players, the largest point of contention is measuring defense and estimating the positional adjustment. Our measures of both are more uncertain than our measures of offense, so players who get a good amount of their value through their defensive ratings likely have more uncertainty about their WAR value than players who have a defensive value closer to average.”

This describes Heyward’s situation, in my opinion.

think Upton and Heyward are both very good players. I just don’t see them as worthy of star-type contracts. Both players showed early promise that has never been consistently actualized during their careers.

In reflecting about what a star-type contract is, I’m not even sure what that presently means. What I’m sure about is MLB is now a $9B industry and that revenue has really bumped up. I’m also pretty sure there is a redistribution of wealth processing between owners and players that will be addressed in the fast approaching CBA. So, leave it to say I’m confused about the money thing as far as what teams have to spend and how much players will make.. And I will likely remain that way until things are sorted out a little better by the big boys.

it seems crazy to me that Dodgers can spend $84m on international minor league talent in one season, exceeding some major league payrolls. one step closer (perhaps the tipping point) to an international draft. I suspect that MLBPA wants their guys getting the vast majority of a team’s expenditure, not having it siphoned off to free agent prospects who may never accrue service time. the domestic draft got out of whack and was modified. it seems the Dodgers have thrown the international free agency system into a bit of chaos too. the Dodgers are not the only team to exceed the allotted spending in that system, but have done so to such an unprecedented degree that change will surely occur.

Per the Justin Upton article> So the WSox need an upgrade in right field because Avisail Garcia isn’t cutting it? Maybe DD did right in trading him?

Maybe so. His DRS and UZR were pretty poor. But Garcia is only 24 and playing for the minimum salary. Plus,He led all of MLB in assists in 2015.

Melky will be 32 next season and has a much bigger contract. His offensive production wasn’t much better than Garcia’s in 2015. Upton would be an upgrade over either guy. But would he be worth the price, especially in comparison to the cost for Garcia?

Uh huh. Prince was being pandered too and Avasail brought us Iglesias. Excellent deal. AG was “Little” Miggy here and not much more than a novelty.
Jason, my computer is old, though not nearly so old as me, so by the time I scroll down to make a post I often forget what I was going to say. It can’t be too time consuming to give your underlings a new heading every week would it? I know it would be appreciated.

Bruce Rondón added to Magallanes roster. He could debut today,

Finally an interesting rumor. Tigers’ camp in serious talks with Jordan Zimmermann’s camp. It would be great to get Zimmermann and it would be so much fun if I had a camp of my own.

A recent MLBTR post has a couple of interesting items. One is the idea Heyman is not worth the projected bucks, an idea with which I totally agree. The second is probably more pertinent to the Tigers at this time as they seem out of the pursuit for Heyman. That is, Zimmerman is in the sights of the Tigers. He may not be one of the very best FAs and has a first round choice attached (albeit the Tigers are nuanced in that regard) unlike Price, but he has a very good track record despite some recent performance concerns. The bottom line is it looks like the Tigers are finally focusing on an impact player. .

Interesting comments on MLBTR concerning team spending, about which I have been harping: “In today’s cash rich environment, any team can compete for a top free agent. ” It is debatable how valuable Heyward is when compared in production/money brackets with Cano and Fielder, as noted by Johnson on 11-28-15.

He is the best second tier. While he was a little hittable last season but his SO/9 remains high and his BB/9 low.CoPa should take care of the HR/FB rate.
Then, a a trade for the 4th SP?

Keep trading for #1 SPs!!

Dan, agree with you. Tigers did the SP #4/#5 acquisition last year and it did not pan out. Create some competition #1/#2 but check the egos as well as the competitive spirit.

The only reservation I have with Zimmerman would be the length of a contract (6 years being touted) to a 30 year old pitcher.
Otherwise, the guy is a bulldog, and an innings eater and a dogged competitior. Should fare well at Comerica.

Looks like this is for real. My favorite pitcher on the Nats to the Tigers. He’s everything you stated, Dan.
So we all look cool, there are two Ns, Zimmermann. Ryan Zimmerman has one N.

So far this looks like a good deal for the Tigers . Something to look forward to .

Sucks to be “uncool”! That should put to rest any talk of them being brothers!
Good acquisition and we still need two more soutpaws. One quality late-inning guy and a solid starter.
So far we have had some workmanlike additions signed by a workmanlike GM.
We still need something a little more to get excited about to build our hopes and offset our predictble manager.

145.9 is the current payroll, 8 players plus Fielder and Nathan
162.2 with the arbitration players included

Getting someone like Ross ( the one with SD) or Shelby Miller would mean goodbye to Fulmer or Norris. Both and more for an Ace

I guess the payroll figures all depends on who has your ear. According to Baseball Reference, the Tigers are at $154.9M in estimated payroll for 2016. That figure includes currently signed players,an estimate of arb awards, pre-arb contracts and league minimum players to complete the rosters.

Last year, the Tigers reportedly were at $172.3M, which was good for the 7th most in MLB. In no certain order, the teams ahead were NYY, Boston, Texas, WSN, LAD and San Fran.

810 1/3 innings after TJ surgery.

I think Links of MLBTR summarized the Tigers’ starting situation pretty well: ” Detroit once boasted an elite rotation but after losing Max Scherzer and David Price in recent seasons, they’re in need of reinforcements. Additionally, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez have become unreliable due to injuries and performance decline. Now the Tigers have a stronger rotation in 2016 and beyond thanks to the addition of Zimmermann.”

What a nice surprise getting Zimmermann! He’s always been a good pitcher, but he endeared himself to me when reading he makes his home in Wisconsin. A tough guy.

perhaps Zimmermann’s roots in Wisconsin made the Tigers a preferred destination due to geography. maybe that will come up at the press conference for his signing.

these guys are gonna get paid wherever they go and being closer to home matters significantly to some.

Bruce Rondón debuted: H, 14 pitches. 2 Hits , 1 K, 0 runs

“The general rule for a pitcher who undergoes Tommy John surgery is that his reconstructed ligament will last eight to 12 years, though exceptions occur on both sides of that range. Zimmermann, according to that time frame, will be most vulnerable from August 2017 to August 2021. His new deal will run from 2016 to ’20”

Aníbal is 8 years removed from TJ

very difficult to comeback from 2nd TJ surgery for some reason. it’s what Nathan and Hanrahan are facing.

repeat of an earlier ElTigre post:
The thinking goes that most teams outside of the Cubs, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants and Red Sox have minimal chances of landing Price, Greinke, Johnny Cueto or Jordan Zimmermann
that’s a swing and miss from one of the national writers with Detroit connections. how could that happen?

The price fell well above the projections. MLBTR had him at 126 and Cameron had him at 140. But a buyer´s market is the wrong time to seek a contract after TJ . In the link above too

so in other teams’ eyes, strike one on Zimmermann was having had TJ surgery in past, strike two is velocity drop last season, and strike three was a sufficient supply of other similar quality starters on the market this offseason?


I hope Jordan enjoys bullpen implosions!

Why so negative?

Jason will be interviewed on MLB Network “Hot Stove” in just a few minutes.

good interview so far, and he talks about the McClendon hiring.

See you all after we get a new Blog heading!

Press conference at 4:30 PM

December 2: Deadline for teams to tender a contract offer to their pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players

A topline SP under 30yo and around the $100m mark provides flexibility.
$200m SP contracts provide a noose.

So far, $11M (conservatively) for Maybin and K-Rod. Another $22M for Z-Man. That is at least $33M, maybe more. Ilitich says he is willing to spend and Avila has targeted another starter and 2 more BP guys. No way the final cost will be under the $45M cap floated on this blog, if those deals come to fruition.

Signing an innings eater like Zimmermann might make the 2nd bullpen guy not quite so necessary. We’ll see how it shakes out.

Avila: We still plan on going out and getting another SP. We’re still out there looking for at least 1, maybe 2 relievers at this point.”

Maybe 2 ? My guess, if Feliz is non tendered and can be resigned under more favorable terms

Charlie Furbush, non tender candidate

Chelsea Janes:
Zimmermann said he was second or third choice for other teams he talked to. Tigers had him at top, could get things done quickly, so signed.

Katie Strang:
Ilitch on approaching payroll threshold/luxury tax: confirms he’d be willing to go over it to acquire the caliber of players needed

That’s what I said before you said he would go BK and I caved in to the $45M. Is it your turn to cave in?

And I have a question about payroll. Why the discrepancies between reports on the numbers? Different bases, payroll at start of season versus end of season?

“Tigers owner Mike Ilitch said he was “irked” after former Tigers starter Max Scherzer rejected the Tigers’ bid and signed with the Washington Nationals following the 2014 season”

not sure why Ilitch would be irked. he’s worked with Boras quite a bit thru the years, knows how he operates.

They made him an offer, Scherzer said Ok and then came for more

I’m sure this is out there, but here is Zimmermann’s salary breakdown — backloaded: $18m, $18m, $24m (2018), then $25m in ’19 and ’20.

22 for luxury tax purposes

According to Baseball Reference, Zimmermann’s agent is with Relativity Baseball which also reps Cabrera, Verlander, Alex Wilson, McCann, Moya and…Rondon

I like the acquisition of Z-Man, who I believe is an impact player. But, I just had to compare his stats to Max, who continues to get get hate from the Faithful. I wonder if Z-Man is now receiving similar treatment from Nats fans? Anyway, Z-Man was 13-10 with 22 QS of 33 in 201.2 innings last season. His ERA was 3.66 with 164 SOs and a .264 BA on top of a 1.20 WHIP. By comparison, Max was 14-12 with 23 QS of 33 in 228.2 innings. His ERA was 2.79 with 276 SOs and a .208 BA on top of a 0.92 WHIP.

Z-Man and Max were paid nearly the same last season and Max doesn’t hit above Z-Man’s new purported annual contract amount until 2019. Makes me wonder.

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