Tigers lose Venezuelan Summer League team

The Tigers have enjoyed a scouting and developmental advantage in Venezuela as one of the few Major League teams left with both an academy in the country and a team in the Venezuelan Summer League. They’ll still have the academy, but the VSL is done, postponed for the upcoming season due to lack of participation. The Cubs are reportedly pulling out, which would have left just three teams.

The decision did not catch the Tigers by surprise, given the situation in Venezuela.

“It is disappointing, because it was a good league and it served a real important purpose,” general manager Al Avila said Saturday at TigerFest. “But because of the political situation, a lot of teams have moved out. You can’t have a league with only two or three teams. A lot of teams have a second team in the Dominican Republic with the Dominican Summer League. We’re looking more into adding a team in the [Florida] Gulf Coast League.”

The GCL is a step up from both the Venezuelan and Dominican Summer Leagues, so it’s not necessarily an even exchange. Experienced pro players who would have been in line for the DSL will more likely get a promotion to the GCL, leaving younger players in the Dominican. The Tigers have an academy and a facility in the Dominican, but not necessarily big enough to accommodate two teams.

The Venezuelan academy will remain in place, Avila said. The Tigers will continue to field a team there for the Parallel League, essentially the minor leagues for the Venezuelan Winter League.

“It wasn’t a tough call to keep [the academy] open,” Avila said. “We knew that this was probably coming to come down the road, and we planned to keep it open. It’s a necessity for us.”

62 Comments

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Jason, how about an article on players on the Tiger’s 40 man roster and the number of options remaining for each. Seems like there are a half dozen or son for whom 2016 is their last year and many will clearly not make the 25 man roster.

Not sure who this guy is or how accurate his numbers are but he definitely put a lot of research into his article.
Victor is the cleanup hitter for this team and the only LHB power threat (though he has never been actually considered a “power hitter” per se). His contribution this year is essential to a productive lineup.
I thought last year that Alex Avila was the key to our offensive success and I will state that I believe Victor has that onus thrust upon him this year.

i agree, Vic Martinez seems to hold the keys to this Tiger offense. If Salty makes the 25 man, he’ll give them some additional LH power. He’s probably the one to play 1b when Cabrera gets a day off or DH.
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i don’t think the GIDP is going to go away anytime soon for this Tiger offense. If the lineup goes Cabrera-VMart-JD-Castellanos-McCann/Salty, that is a lot of below average speed baserunners (except JD) in a row. the high K and GIDP totals will be frustrations for the fans when the team offense has those inevitable slumps over a long season.

Thanks Dan. On that site they also had a great article on J-Up.

Has anyone here ever heard how Andy Dirks made out with his latest back surgery? I think he had it last spring when he was let go by the Jays’ organization.
Hope he is well.

FanGraphs has posted its 2016 MLB projections. The Tigers are now listed at 82-80 with the best RS/G in the game. The run differential, which I have harped about regularly, is better by far than last year’s dismal finish of -114. The pitching is projected to be only marginally improved and the worst overall in the Majors with a 4.63 RS/A. .

Henning suggests Tiger fans aren’t liking Steven Moya because of his strikeout ratio.
I am a firm believer in Moya.
Who hear would not have wanted a Dave Kingman, Reggie Jackson, Jim Thome, Adam Dunne, Sammy Sosa type on their team? Especially a LHB?
Fans may not like Moya (I am not so sure Henning is actually right about this), but I have a feeling they will.

There is a lot to like about Moya’s upside.Run-producers who can play defense don’t come along with great frequency.

Lynn does that. He creates a strawman argument, pitting “the fans” against himself so he can explain why they’re wrong. It’s as if “the fans” all have one brain.
My opinion is that the Tigers brass is handling these youngsters perfectly, and are giving them time to develop. A guy like Moya especially, you want to put him into a position to succeed. I tend to think he will.

A propos of WBC qualifier rosters announced, Carlos Guillén is team Venezuela´s GM. His team is playing the Venezuelan Final, again

Guillén´s team won the championship. Joining Magglio as successful from the other side of the aisle. One as owner and the other as President

So it’s Marte coming off the roster?

He was DFA as soon as Upton was signed

Waiting for a new tread. Nice read on ESPN about Norris and his road trip in his VW van. Also, Fister got a 1 year, 7 million deal from the Astros. It’s approaching 50 degrees here in West Michigan. Seems like the last day of march instead of January. Go Tigers, 2016!

Saw a nice piece recently on MLB Network about Terry Collins. He lauds Jim Leyland for giving him his first job in MLB when Gene Lamont moved on from Pirates to manage the Chisox. Collins had worked several years in the upper level of Dodgers’ minor league system.. When he came to Mets, Collins chose uni #10 in homage to Leyland. also notable is that Collins is a Midland native..

It’s obvious that there is more behind salary negotiations than meets the public eye, but it does seem that the Tigers should just simply sign JD before this goes to arbitration.
They will lose arbitration, unless they completely persuade arbitrators that JD isn’t worth snot. And if they do that, well they just LOST arbitration in another sense.
They can’t cheap out (on a relative pittance) after the contracts they afforded newcomers Zimmermann and Upton. It would not look good in the press nor in the clubhouse.
Avila has made some astoundingly good moves this off-season I can’t understand why this has deteriorated into an issue.

Not sure what a veteran like Mark Buhrle would command on the market but he would not hurt our team in our park.
Pretty much seems like there is little interest in him but the guy knows how to pitch.
Crafty lefties (remember Kenny Rogers) are nice to have. And no, I am not saying the same about Randy Wolfe.

Always liked Buhrle. How is he with cameras?

Maybe I missed something (again, LOL) but isn’t Buehrle retiring?

Do any of you follow Daniel Norris on social media? This is an incredibly cool guy.

Just what I find on the Tiger web. He is a genuinely unique individual. A throwback. I like his faith and outlook on life. Besides that, you never trade a pitcher who hits a HR in Wrigley, clearing the fence in center on… what was it?, his first AB. Yeah, I’m pretty sure there’s some kind of unwritten rule that comes into play. Hey we’re gettin’ about a comment a day on here since the Upton signing. The bears are all finally sleeping after the huge meal.

Tigers dodged a bullet and did the right thing with JD IMHO

Very thankful!

They were already above luxury tax. AAV is used for it. But payments are based in actual spending then it lowers the payments in 2016

Per Baseball Reference, the estimated Total Payroll with Options for 2016 is $198.5M and $213.4M for 2017 for the Tigers. I’m not sure Benefits were factored into these estimates. In any event, the Tigers are well above the Luxury Tax limit for this year. Next year is unclear as the CBA still needs to be hammered out. Mr. I stood tall again this offseason and spent enough money to at least make the Tigers competitive on paper and while their window of opportunity remains open. FanGraphs projects the team at 82-80 with a much improved run differential. I think the pitching still needs bolstering, but it doesn’t look like it will again be one of the worst staffs in MLB.

I am wavering on the pitching issue. FanGraphs does not project well for the staff, but its health and depth seem much better than last year. Today, I’m going with my gut. Tomorrow may be different if I have an upset stomach.

Winder of the Rays would do something with Longoria? Maybe Castellanos, Moya and Boyd? They would have to provide some salary relief.
Just havin’ fun!

My feeling is the SP staff needs an upgrade “not a tweak” as Sanchez and Pelfrey are question marks, Norris and/or Boyd will be above average over the season. I wouldn’t
mind another role player BP addition as well. Position players seem above average and ready to go. Will Mr. I authorize more $$$ for a more solid upgrade to the rotation?

I should have stated predictions of 82-80 do not bring excitement and promise to the type of payroll Mr I has so far blessed! We need to win more than 90+ to be dominant in the competitive Central in 2016! That means JV, Zimm & Sanchez (or another) need to be innings eaters and post 16-18 Wins each and eat 200+ innings.

Delmon! Geez man what on earth is wrong with you?
The Young brothers have grown real old on me over the years.

Do you remember 2008? I think the Tigers can win 90. Last year was…..well is history. 8 days! Go Tigers!

Having stowed away on the Tiger truck to spring training, here’s my report on day two:
Spent a comfortable night in the trunk containing catchers gear, using chest protectors for a bed.
In order to make myself drowsy for sleep, I read a chapter of Charles Leerhsen’s “Ty Cobb – A Terrible Beauty.”
I used Paws’ costume for pajamas (the guy just threw them in the truck after pretending to help load the truck for the cameras) and plan to wear it the rest of the trip.
I have widened the air hole in the side of the trunk and am finally breathing much better.
Rather than drink water from a bottle like some lowlife, I am instead sipping it from athletic cups. I know, classy of me, right?
The precise location of the truck is somewhere near the SC-GA border…..I guess.
Will spend the rest of the trip creating a story for why I am in an equipment truck, but will definitely shout “BOO!” when the guys open this trunk. Can’t wait to see their faces.

Very funny. Go easy on the water Rich. It’s a long trip. One question we’re mostly all hanging on,…err, does Paws wear an athletic cup?

Hey, Rich, if you see any of those orange baseball caps that everyone seems to detest………………

Avila has done a very skillful job this off-season IMO. BUT, this is not a sure-fire contender. Too much is based on career performances and successful injury rehabilitation. The big IF is if the top 4 starters (other than JV who needs only 75% of one) has a career or near career year and Pelfrey exceeds his career year by 25% then we should be OK on that front. Norris is the only one I believe will have a technical career year. And that could mean very little relatively speaking.
The bullpen is better on paper for sure and should translate to better performance. But with bullpens you never really know.
Our lineup is essentially the same. I think I like Upton better than Cespedes but can he truly make that much of a difference of Yoenis? Collins, yeah for sure but we had Cespedes for over a half-year and the team struggled.
That brings me to rehab. Victor, Iggy and Miggy all have to be pretty much injury-free. That is unlikely to happen.
We need consistent outstanding performance from top to bottom. There is not much room for “error”. We need someone (please insert the name of Nick Castellanos here) to pleasantly surprise everybody. Maybe some of the same from our CFers too.
McCann should be steady but perhaps somewhat underwhelming offensively. I’m kinda ready for that but really do like his abilities, character and energy.
The only thing guaranteed is that each and every one of us is likely to remain a Tiger fan for 2017.

Dan…Liked your analysis very much. Agreed with many, but not all, of your points. The team looks more competitive now than the way it was structured at its finish last season. Health is certainly a big issue, but DD left some depth in the pitching staff and in the minors as a result of of his deadline deals. I think he has helped us lots this year even though he is now gone. And Avila has done much if not all to fill many of the holes on the roster. Nick? He has been a feature article for the Tigers for a long time, but he is still young and has improved both defensively and offensively. I admit I have been very critical of him in the past, but I can also see why so much hope has been placed in him by both the Tigers and by you.

Hunter and Latos to the Tribe. They may have won the under-the radar offseason while keeping their possibly best-in-baseball starting pitching pretty much intact. Some of the Saber people believe the Indians are the best in the Central. The White Sox may end up being the favorite should they acquire Desmond and an impact OFer as conjectured. This whole Central thing is getting more interesting with time.

The Indians finished second in the AL in team ERA last season whereas the Tigers finished last. That’s a lot to make up.

System check.

It’s so cold today I wish I had actually stowed away on that truck.
This is shaping up to be a very interesting season with multiple teams in the hunt, not only in the AL Central but in most or all of the divisions. I hope Tiger fans will temper their expectations and enjoy it.

Hope springs eternal, from a recent Terry Pluto post: “I’m intrigued by Joba Chamberlain, who has been in Goodyear for several weeks and supposedly dropped 20 pounds.”

As long as it wasn’t 20 pounds of beard growth.

USAToday picks the White Sox to take the division with 90 wins (as good a guess as any). I think the Pale Hose will be tougher simply because Alexei Ramirez is no longer there to commit a fielding gaffe and give us rally extending extra ABs.

Vizquel named team Venexuela manager by the GM Carlos Guillen for the Classic

Venezuela.They are expected to meet the coming days to talk about the team

STATS review of Tigers’ offseason:
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http://www.stats.com/insights/mlb/offseason-analysis-detroit-tigers
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One fact which is rather startling: ‘The last time a Detroit bullpen posted an ERA below 3.75 was in 2006 (3.55), and before that it was 1990 (3.26).’
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Other bits: ‘Tigers relievers struck out 18.0% of opposing hitters in 2015 (only the Twins fanned fewer), as their SO/BB ration was a major league-worst 1.96’
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‘Price produced a higher WAR as a Tiger (3.7) than Zimmermann did over the whole of 2015 (3.0)’

2006 Zumaya, Rodney and Walker did a fine job keeping the ERA down, Jones saved 40 with 5 plus
While I like the Zimmermann signing I see Verlander as the Ace “replacing” Price.And Zimmernann as the second starter.

All that blog talk earlier this off season about Fowler seems now as silly as I then figured.. He just seemed so overvalued and not worth a match to his QO and a draft choice. The numbers the O’s are purportedly now offering, 2 years and $20M, seem much more in line with his real worth and ability.

Mr. I still wants to win and he is willing to spend to do it. But he’s not crazy. The luxury tax never meant that much to him. Still, he wants the best players even if by his own admission the bucks were not the issue. But,Fowler just never qualified in that regard IMO..

The irony and humor to all that earlier talk about staying below the tax cap is Mr. I never said anything to that effect, as far as I know. The only ones seemingly over concerned about spending were some commenters, whose money it is not. The guy is loaded and wants to win.

The last thing is, even though I like JZ and I think he has historically proven very dependable, he is not an ace. Although I also think the Tigers staff is improved, it could still use bolstering. Pelfrey is a very big gamble on top of health concerns for both he and other starters as far as being tilting points from being competitive to being strong contenders for a WS championship. Thankfully, DD already established some pitching depth with his deadline deals at a point when the Tigers were among the worst teams in MLB and had players of value who were pending FAs. I said it then and I still firmly believe it. DD did the right thing at the right time.

Bruce Rondon is in camp and apparently not being relied upon for much of anything; something many of us desired for the past three years. If he contributes, so much the better.

I like the Parnell signing. Not much risk for the money and potentially lots of upside at his age.

Hi Tiger fans – been a while since I posted. Question for the veteran spring training folks – are tickets hard to come by? Do they need to be ordered or can we walk up day of? I have never been and might actually be in Florida the week the Blue Jays (my husbands team) plays the Tigers so we thought that might be a fun day!

Hi Tiger Girl. We were there 2 years ago and went to a Tuesday game against the Jays (wife and kid’s team). It was packed. We pre ordered and I am glad we did. We were on the bleacher benches down the 3rd base line. There were a lot of Jays fans there (my wife and kid’s team).

There are a lot of Canadian people who go down to just follow the Jays around so it might be busy again. However, with how bad our Canadian dollar is right now against the US $, less people may be travelling. So you never know.
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One thing I know for sure …. if you go, you have to make sure to have the strawberry shortcake!!! 🙂
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— Bob

There are always tickets for sale in the parking lot.

There are always tickets for the berm, at the least. I’ve walked up and bought a berm ticket and then got creative with the empty seats, but that’s when I’m alone. If you want shade, see about pre-ordering tickets.

Mr Beck,
The article you penned today on the Avilez’ daughter was very uplifting. I think it is important enough to contribute it to your Blog with its very own heading. I know you are swamped right now but this something every fan should know about.

Tiger Girl, don’t forget about possibly seeing the Jays in Dunedin. Lovely little town on the gulf coast with a walk/hike/bike trail that stretches for miles. We stayed there a lot. Some hotels within walking distance of the ballpark.

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