Amidst outfield rumors, Tigers focus on pitching

Now that the Tigers are closing in on their pitching needs, the baseball industry is waiting to see whether the Tigers try for one more addition for their offense. For now, however, general manager Al Avila insists pitching is their focus.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com cited sources Monday morning that Detroit is looking at former Tiger Yoenis Cespedes and fellow free agent Alex Gordon as potential outfield options. As of Sunday night, though, Avila said that pitching was their focus at the meetings, and that hitting was a secondary item that could be addressed down the road.

“We feel that if we fix our pitching, we have enough hitting,” Avila said. “That doesn’t mean that you don’t try to tweak something. And it might not happen here [at the Winter Meetings], probably won’t happen here. It could happen in Spring Training. It might happen during the season, where you might make adjustments with the offense depending on need.”

The Tigers have since agreed to terms with right-handed reliever Mark Lowe on a reported two-year contract. They’re still looking for one more reliever, expected to be a left-hander. The top of the lefty relief market still hasn’t moved, with Tony Sipp and Antonio Bastardo at the top of the class and Brian Duensing and Franklin Morales also in the mix. The Tigers are believed to have cast a wide net, though reports of Sipp seeking a three-year deal could give Detroit reason for pause.

Others in the organization echoed on Monday that pitching remains the priority. It doesn’t mean that the Tigers won’t look to improve the outfield. It doesn’t even mean the Tigers have completely closed the door on a Cespedes return. But while the Tigers have been aggressively moving on pitching additions, indications up to this point have been that they could wait out the outfield market. Jason Heyward heads up the free-agent crop, while Ben Zobrist, Justin Upton and Gerardo Parra are also on the list. Zobrist could be the first to sign, reportedly narrowing his choices and aiming for a decision by the end of the Winter Meetings.

If the Tigers do nothing, they’ll likely open the season with a mix of Anthony Gose, Cameron Maybin and Tyler Collins for left and center field. Avila said last week that he’d be “comfortable” opening the season with who they have now in the outfield, but didn’t eliminate the possibility of an outfield addition.

21 Comments

Well not sure what is going on with signing two free agents for a total 14.5 million a year when both are, at the very best, mediocre ball players. Avila is slowly running out of payroll room despite what Illitch says.

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Beck reported there are now no talks with either Cespedes or Gordon. It’s “not happening.”

the big spending for this offseason is over, I believe, unless they move a big salaried player in a corresponding move

will be interesting to see if they delay making Lowe signing official until after Rule 5 draft…and whether PTBNL to Brewers comes from Rule 5

a bit surprising that Avila was able to make all these moves before the Winter Meetings even began. time will tell whether that approach was shrewd or overanxious.

Very true, Woody. But, what keeps running through my mind is Fenech’s take on transactions by the Tigers. The gist of which is that Avila isn’t going after the very best players despite Ilitch’s pronouncements that would be done. So, I guess it’s possibly not so surprising Avila could get early deals accomplished. And I’m conflicted as a result, I see the potential shrewdness of which you spoke,but my heart cries out for more proven impact players for a presumably increased chance to win this season.

I really do wonder how much Mike Ilitch is really in control of the team. He seems frail, surely not as sharp as he once was. Age catches up to us all. Probably best to take what he says with a grain of salt. Even so, it was good to see him participate in the Zimmermann conference. Still has a passion for the game.

MLBTR conjecture regarding Holaday is he could go to Texas, which needs catching, if Salty gets his spot on the roster. The reasoning is that under those circs Holaday would be exposed to waivers since he is out of options. And Holaday has ties to Texas.

The Tigers are reportedly among multiple teams in the hunt for Lawrie who is young and can play either second or third. Nick seems the most exposed given his defensive shortcomings, but his stick came on the second half last season. Alternatively, Kinsler has value and could possibly land a nice return.

Kinsler seems like one of the team leaders (grinder, vocal)…something that Avila highly values, at least in the rhetoric he used recently. An integral part of the team’s immediate plans.

Too bad the owner and the president/GM are on very different pages.
Not sure why AA has not figured out he does not have a regular LHB in the lineup that has power potential. Still talking about a RHB for the OF?
I don’t get it.
If that’s the case and money is not “no object” (double negative intended) then why not hope and dream with Eric Thames. He’s a RHB, OFer (and a good one) whacked 84 homers in Korea and batted over.350 in his two years there. Also stole 40 bases this year.

The destruction of the Tigers team is in place. Mr I is beyond his time to lead this Corporation. Continued theme of win now is no more. AA speaks of rebuilding within is 180degrees the other direction. Tier 1 players were plentiful and AA gets tier 3 players. We must learn from teams and corporations alike the Tigers need a rebuild within the white collared shirts before the blue collars can build a good product that will last into the distant future.
The inconsistency will drive the ticket holders away. They want big names with grit and tough workers. A player like Cespedes to build with the stars in place. Not players beyond there prime with now connection but a 1-2 yr stay.
This team depends on 5-7 minor league players to build the pitching. That is way there is A Toledo team.
I could give many more inconsistency in there actions to back up these statements.
The goal is a ring. Become one as a corporation and execute a clear vision.

I will say that it is a 99.8% chance you won’t see me at Comerica Park this year.
I do not like the way this organization has handled things the last couple of years. I think Dombrowski was too slick and obtuse. Illitch does not impress me one bit. He probably would have excelled as an owner in the bad old days of baseball.
The change to Avila was a bit of positive breather but realistically, his hands are tied tighter than DD’s were.
We have a manager who makes too many mistakes, a coaching staff that has not improved the running game, a rickety and ramshackle starting rotation, zero power from the left side of the plate to balance the lineup, and two question marks that can play both CF and LF, actually 3 if you count Collins.
The thing that irks me the most though is the rhetoric and the BS. It is no honourable to publicly make statements to aggrandize yourself to make fans feel you have a selfless, benevolent owner only to be pulling the wool over the fans eyes by signing stop-gap measures instead of impact players. I will say the Zimmerman signing was a good one and hopefully the KRod one.

Amen and Amen.
A nice train ride or a 4 hr drive you have the NEW Cubs, the best pitching in baseball in Cleveland, KC and Minnesota driving the Central and the so called future in Toledo. Detroit fans are to educated to drink the cool aid there trying to sell. Simple fix was Price or tier 1 pitcher and Zimmerman. Cespedes or Gordon. and real coaches to prepare them. Asmus is to green to jump into mgr position. They missed Maddon when they had a chance.
Now there is a veteran that you can trust to lead the players! All of these show the real incompetence of the Detroit White collared shirts.

For those of you throwing yourselves off the cliff. Baseball is won in the summer, not during the winter meetings. Give the boys a chance. Think back the past 5 years or even longer. Tell me which teams that won in the winter played competitive ball in the fall the next year?

What flavor koolaid do you drink. The game has changed. The game never ends. This is a big corporate business now and don’t fool your self with a simple 162 games attitude. The show begins in April but business is 365 days a year.

Pretty sure people were raving over the White Sox and their deals last Winter. How’d they end up?

Above the Tigers. But I could care less about what others teams do just what my Tigers are doing. If the owner is saying one thing and the GM is doing something different it cause concern.
That is the point.
If they want to rebuild then say it but don’t throw the checkbook statement and act like we are going top tier and then get tier 3 player. Then throw the answer of success on minor league players who are not ready. You will break them and not do justice. Answer today for that is reboot… Tommy John them. There is more to BB then 162 games.

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