Tag Archives: Detroit Tigers

Season Preview: AL Central


With Spring Training well under way and the first games already in the books, I figured it was a good time to take a look at my own predictions for the league, and the changes the respective teams have made. Today’s group is the American League Central.

Last Year’s Records
Minnesota – 94-68
Chicago – 88-74
Detroit – 81-81
Cleveland – 69-93
Kansas City – 67-95

Notable Additions

Chicago – Adam Dunn, Lastings Milledge

Cleveland – Orlando Cabrera

Detroit – Victor Martinez, Brad Penny, Joaquin Benoit

Kansas City – Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jeff Francoeur, Melky Cabrera, Vin Mazzaro

Minnesota – Tsuyoshi Nishioka

Notable Losses

Chicago – Andruw Jones, Manny Ramirez, Freddy Garcia, J.J. Putz, Bobby Jenks, Scott Linebrink

Cleveland – NONE

Detroit – Johnny Damon, Jeremy Bonderman, Gerald Laird, Armando Galarraga

Kansas City – Zack Greinke, David DeJesus, Brian Bannister, Gil Meche

Minnesota – J.J. Hardy, Orlando Hudson, Brendan Harris, Jon Rauch, Brian Fuentes

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Who are the Faces of their Franchise? AL Central Edition


Next up in my look at each organization’s Face of the Franchise is the AL Central…

  • White Sox – I think that at this point it has to either be Paul Konerko or Mark Buehrle. Both players have been with the team a long time, and both are known for being with the team as well. Buehrle may have gotten himself into a little bit of hot water earlier in the week regarding his comments about Michael Vick, but I think either would fit this title. Continue reading

Prospect Review – Nick Castellanos


The next prospect up for review is Nick Castellanos of the Detroit Tigers

The Basics
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
How Acquired: Drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the first round (44th overall) of the 2010 amateur draft.
Age as of 4/1/11: 19

Scouting Reports and Statistics

The Baseball Cube

Year     Lg Lev G R H 2B RBI SB BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
2010   GULF  Rk 7 5 8  2   3  0  4  5 .333 .414 .417 .830

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/2/2011.

Prospect Ranks
Hardball Times: #3 (DET – 2011)
Deep Leagues: #111 (Overall –  2011), #5 (3B – 2011)
Bullpen Banter: #5 (3B – 2011)
MLB.COM: #10 (3B – 2011)
Baseball America: #2 (DET – 2011)
John Sickels: #2 (PHI – 2011) B
Baseball Prospectus: #2 (DET – 2011) 4 star
Scouting Book: #8 (3B – 2011), #75 (Overall – 2011)
Top Prospect Alert: #2 (DET – 2011)

Analysis

Castellanos was drafted out of high school by the Tigers in the supplemental first round of the 2010 draft. He agreed to a contract right at the signing deadline in August, and received a $3.45 million signing bonus. He’s another player who didn’t get into very many games during the 2010 season due to signing late, but he did manage to get 8 hits, including 2 doubles, in his 7 games in Rookie ball. The scouting reports about Castellanos rave about his potential to be an excellent player.

From Andy Seiler’s draft report:

Castellanos is as good as you’re going to get for a smooth power-hitter this year. He features one of the prettiest swings from the right side of the plate, and it projects for plus power and plus hitting. He also features average speed, sometimes better, depending on the day you see him. He should stick as a fringe-average runner in the long run once he fills out. Defense is the questionable side of his game. He features an above-average arm that should be just fine for third, but he has a slow release and fringe-average lateral range at times, along with below-average instincts off the bat. He has the raw tools to be a solid third baseman, but there’s some question about his ability to adjust there, as some think he’ll be a liability.

From Baseball Beginnings’ Pre-Draft Scouting Report:

With great hands and an what other players describe as an effortless swing, Castellanos shows the ability to let pitches get deep before going to center and right-center field with power. Defensively, he shows enough balance and athleticism to give him a chance to develop at third as a pro. Arm strength and running are adequate but do not project to be below-average.

Castellanos appears to be another steal for the Tigers at this draft spot, as he had been committed to the University of Miami, and received the 5th highest bonus in the 2010 draft despite being drafted 44th overall. He sounds like he is going to be an excellent hitter, with the potential to be at least solid at 3B in the majors. He is still very young (just 19 to start 2011), but the Tigers have been known to move prospects through their system very quickly. I want to see a full season of stats out of him, but I like what I’ve been reading to this point.

Outlook

I honestly would be shocked if the Tigers moved him too fast, but I could see him start 2011 in Low-A. He has only played 7 games as a professional to this point, and will probably need a decent amount of time at that level before moving to either a High-A or AA affiliate.

Prediction for 2011

.275, 12HR, 65 RBI (Low-A)

Expected ETA

His path of progression seems like he will spend 2011 in Low-A, with 2012 having the possibility of a split between High-A and AA. Based on that progression, I think we could see Castellanos in Detroit in either 2014 or 2015. He’ll be just 23 years old in 2015, and could be there a long time potentially.

Hall of Fame Ballot Review – Alan Trammell


Another candidate on the ballot for the Hall of Fame this year is Alan Trammell, long time shortstop for the Detroit Tigers. Trammell is on the ballot for the 11th time this year, and reached his highest vote percentage last year (22.4%).

Career Accomplishments
4 Gold Gloves
6 All Star Appearances
3 Silver Sluggers
.285/.352/.415
13 seasons with 10+ SB
8 seasons with 10+ HR
7 seasons with .300+ batting average
6 seasons with 125+ OPS+
7 seasons with 5.0+ WAR
66.9 Career WAR

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Free Agent Signing – Victor Martinez to the Tigers


We have the first major piece to fall into place from free agency this offseason, with the news that catcher Victor Martinez has agreed to a 4 year, $50 million contract with the Detroit Tigers.

It appears, according to MLBTR, that Martinez was offered both a 3 year and 4 year deal by the Red Sox, but for less money than the Tigers offered. 

From the Tigers’ Perspective

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Loss of A Legend: Sparky Anderson


News came today that the baseball world lost one of its’ managerial legends with the passing of Sparky Anderson. Anderson was a bit before my time, retiring after the 1995 season, but I had definitely heard of him and knew that he had accomplished a lot as both the manager of the Reds and the Tigers.

According to his Baseball-Reference.com manager page, Anderson became the manager of the Cincinnati Reds for the 1970 season, and proceeded immediately to lead the team to a 102-60 record and the National League pennant. He was the manager for the famous Big Red Machine, leading the Reds to the 1975 and 1976 World Series championships, and only finished out of the top 2 in the NL West once season out of the 9 years he managed the team. He was unceremoniously fired after the 1978 season despite this performance, and ended up as the manager of the Tigers during the 1979 season. He would spend the next 17 season as the manager of the Tigers, winning 2 AL East titles and the 1984 World Series.

Some key accomplishments in his career, according to his Wikipedia page:

  • He was the first manager to win the World Series in both leagues (1975-1976 with the Reds, 1984 with the Tigers)
  • He was the AL Manager of the Year twice (1984, 1987)
  • He finished his career 3rd on the all-time managerial wins list when he retired, and is currently 6th on the list now.
  • He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000 by the Veterans Committee.
  • His #10 was retired by the Reds, and his #11 has been inactive with the Tigers since his retirement.

Anderson seemed to be widely viewed as a class act, and one of the game’s greats. He will definitely be missed, and while a lot of that will be centered around Cincinnati and Detroit, the whole baseball world has lost a legend today.

Season Previews in Review: American League Central


Back during Spring Training, I took a look at each team and made predictions about how each team would do and how I thought their season would go. This was the first year doing this, and I figured now was a good time to take a look back and see how it went. I reviewed the AL East previously, and now it’s on to the AL Central.

Chicago White Sox

Predicted Record: 84-78            Actual Record: 88-74

This team’s record ended up slightly better than I thought it would, but actually finished in the same spot in the standings I believed that they would. They got solid pitching as usual, but not as much from Jake Peavy once he suffered a season ending injury. The move to second base for Gordon Beckham seemed to cause him some serious struggles throughout most of the season, and he didn’t seem to get his bat back until after the All-Star break.

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Trade Deadline Review


Well, we are now officially one day past the non-waiver trade deadline, and there have been quite a few different trades made. It was definitely one of the more active periods in a lot of years. I wrote up the major trades as they happened, and you can read my thoughts with the links below.

Major Trades

Texas Rangers acquire SP Cliff Lee and P Mark Lowe from the Seattle Mariners for 1B Justin Smoak and 3 minor leaguers
Los Angeles Angels acquire SP Dan Haren from the Arizona Diamondbacks for SP Joe Saunders and 3 minor leaguers
Philadelphia Phillies acquire SP
Roy Oswalt from the Houston Astros for SP J.A. Happ and 2 minor leaguers

Semi-Major Deals

1. New York Yankees acquire RP Kerry Wood from the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later or cash
2. New York Yankees acquire 1B Lance Berkman from the Houston Astros for P Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes
3. Los Angeles Dodgers acquire SP Ted Lilly and IF Ryan Theriot from the Chicago Cubs for IF Blake DeWitt, minor league P Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit
4. St. Louis Cardinals acquire SP Jake Westbrook from the Cleveland Indians and minor leaguer Nick Greenwood from the San Diego Padres, San Diego Padres acquire OF Ryan Ludwick from the St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians acquire minor leaguer Corey Kluber from the San Diego Padres
5. Pittsburgh Pirates acquire C Chris Snyder and OF Pedro Ciriaco from the Arizona Diamondbacks for P D.J. Carrasco, IF Bobby Crosby, and OF Ryan Church
6. Chicago White Sox acquire SP Edwin Jackson from the Arizona Diamondbacks for SP Daniel Hudson and P David Holmberg
7. Minnesota Twins acquire RP Matt Capps from the Washington Nationals for C Wilson Ramos and minor league P Joe Testa
8. Texas Rangers acquire IF Jorge Cantu from the Florida Marlins for minor leaguer pitchers Evan Reed and Omar Poveda
9. Los Angeles Dodgers acquire OF Scott Podsednik from the Kansas City Royals for minor leaguers C Lucas May and P Elisaul Pimentel
10. Los Angeles Angels acquire 3B Alberto Callaspo from the Kansas City Royals for P Sean O’Sullivan and P Will Smith
11. Toronto Blue Jays acquire SS Yunel Escobar and P Jo-Jo Reyes from the Atlanta Braves for SS Alex Gonzalez and minor leaguers Tyler Pastornicky and Tim Collins
12. Los Angeles Dodgers acquire RP Octavio Dotel from the Pittsburgh Pirates for OF Andrew Lambo and P James McDonald

Minor Moves

1. Texas Rangers acquire IF Cristian Guzman from the Washington Nationals for minor leaguers Ryan Tatsuko and Tanner Roark
2. Texas Rangers acquire C Bengie Molina from the San Francisco Giants for P Chris Ray
3. Toronto Blue Jays acquire 1B Mike Jacobs from the New York Mets for a player to be named later
4. San Diego Padres acquire IF Miguel Tejada from the Baltimore Orioles for minor league P Wynn Pelzer
5. Tampa Bay Rays acquire RP Chad Qualls from the Arizona Diamondbacks for a player to be named later
6. New York Yankees acquire OF Austin Kearns from the Cleveland Indians for ?
7. Detroit Tigers acquire IF Jhonny Peralta from the Cleveland Indians for minor league P Giovanny Soto
8. San Francisco Giants acquire P Javier Lopez from the Pittsburgh Pirates for P Joe Martinez and OF John Bowker
9. Atlanta Braves acquire IF Wilkin Ramirez from the Detroit Tigers for cash or a player to be named later
10. Florida Marlins acquire RP Will Ohman from the Baltimore Orioles for P Rick VandenHurk
11. San Francisco Giants acquire RP Ramon Ramirez from the Boston Red Sox for P Daniel Turpen
12. Atlanta Braves acquire OF Rick Ankiel and RP Kyle Farnsworth from the Kansas City Royals for P Jesse Chavez, OF Gregor Blanco, and minor league P Tim Collins
13. Boston Red Sox acquire C Jarrod Saltalamacchia from the Texas Rangers for 1B Chris McGuiness, P Ramon Mendez and a player to be named later or cash

Wow. There’s still stuff coming in as I write this, and in the last hour there have been a lot of these to get done. So who did well here and who didn’t?

Winners

The Yankees – Let’s see if we have this right. The Yankees picked up Lance Berkman to be their designated hitter. They added Kerry Wood to help solidify the back end of the bullpen behind Mariano Rivera. And they got both of them for a pair of players that are of no use to the Yankees, and even got some money in the deals? Really? They already have the best record in the Majors, and have decidedly improved their team with both acquisitions. Oh, and they added to their bench depth with Austin Kearns as well.

The Rangers – With a decent lead in the AL West, the Rangers went out and got themselves an ace starter (Lee), a solid catcher who can help them play defense at the position (Molina), a run producing right handed bat who can play two positions (Cantu), a backup infielder who will be able to spell their third baseman and shortstop, and fill in while their second baseman is on the disabled list (Guzman),  and moved a player that they had soured on for some prospects. They are the prohibitive favorite in the AL West at this point, now being 8 games ahead of the 2nd place Angels and 8.5 of the 3rd place Athletics. They plugged nearly every gap they had in their team, and will go into the pennant chase with a very good chance of being in the World Series at the end of it.

The Angels – Even though the moves may end up being more for next season, acquiring Dan Haren to give them a very good 1-2 punch in their rotation for “some magic beans” as Matthew Berry put it on the Fantasy Focus podcast was a stroke of genius. Callaspo also gives them a solid hitter to play at 3B which they had sorely been missing. While it may not be enough to catch the Rangers, they gave up very little of value to do both trades.

The Pirates – They took D.J. Carrasco, Bobby Crosby, Javier Lopez, Octavio Dotel, and Ryan Church and turned them into a major league backstop (Snyder), two solid potential major leaguers (Bowker and Martinez), and 2 higher end, albeit risky prospects (Lambo, McDonald). Someone must have put something in Neal Huntington’s coffee that helped out a lot. They did extremely well to turn a lot of random pieces that aren’t really that helpful into all that.

The Royals – Pieces that aren’t for the future: Podsednik, Ankiel, Farnsworth, Callaspo. All moved for players with varying levels of upside who can help with the rebuilding process: Lucas May, Tim Collins, Jesse Chavez, Gregor Blanco, Sean O’Sullivan, Will Smith. Not the most amazing group of players, and definitely no high-end prospects here. But the Royals have a lot of high-end prospects already, and need others to help give them some balance as well with regard to position scarcity and depth overall. Very well done today.

The Padres – They gave up a pair of pitching prospects to acquire a much needed outfield bat, and a utility player who should provide some value over the remainder of the season. Nothing too major here, and definitely nothing that mortgages the future. I like the Ludwick acquisition, as he could see an improvement with a change of scenery. I’m not 100% sold on the Tejada acquisition, but they didn’t really give up that much to get him in my opinion.

Losers

The Nationals – The trade of Matt Capps was nice, netting them a very good catching prospect in Wilson Ramos. But the way that they handled Adam Dunn leading up to the trade deadline was inexcusable. They clearly had not made up their mind as to what they wanted to do with him, and in the end they simply ran out of time. They clearly could have gotten more for him had they moved him instead of waiting for his free agency to play out, and the only reason to do that would have been to get him signed to an extension (which they didn’t do either). Not sure what happened here, but we’ll see if this was a really bad plan from the start.

The Dodgers – In a division where they are 7.5 games back of the leader and 5 games back of the wild card leader, the Dodgers decided to go for it, sending prospects Brett Wallach, Kyle Smit, Lucas May, Elisaul PimentelAndrew Lambo, and James McDonald (along with Blake DeWitt) to other teams to acquire: the remainder of this season from Octavio Dotel, Ted Lilly and Scott Podsednik, and also Ryan Theriot. I’m pretty sure that if they had offered those players to the Diamondbacks they would have been able to get Dan Haren, Kelly Johnson, and a bullpen arm. I’m also pretty convinced that they could have offered that group to the Mariners and gotten Cliff Lee, Jose Lopez and possibly David Aardsma. I’m not at all impressed with what they did here, and are only one bad week from being completely out of the race.

The Orioles – It’s a tough beat, but they were only able to move Will Ohman and Miguel Tejada, and would have been served by moving Ty Wigginton and Kevin Millwood, among others. Unfortunately, neither player has been playing well of late, and had essentially managed to knock their own values down to next to nothing.

The Twins – They needed some help in the bullpen, and really could have used another starting pitcher behind Francisco Liriano and Carl Pavano. Unfortunately, they only filled one of those gaps, and at a cost that seems high even considering that the prospect that they gave up had no place to play in the Twins’ future.

Mixed Bag

The Astros – They were able to get out from under a lot of the big dollar contracts owed to Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, and got back at least a reasonable return. Brett Wallace will slot in at 1B to replace Berkman, and J.A. Happ will fill Oswalt’s slot in the rotation. But time will tell if they get anything other than salary relief for Berkman, and Happ and Wallace will have to be very good to replace the value of Oswalt in my opinion.

The Phillies – They gave up a lot more to get Oswalt than they got back in return for Cliff Lee, who would have played a similar role for the Phillies this season had he not been traded. Oswalt will need to be the piece that moves them over the top for this one to really be a winner for them.

The Diamondbacks – They acquired a pretty good young pitcher in return for Edwin Jackson (Hudson). But they practically gave away Dan Haren, a better pitcher who was not that much more expensive than Jackson. They got back a bunch of garbage essentially for their second catcher Snyder. Crosby is a free agent after the season, and Church and Carrasco are both likely candidates for a non-tender after the season. They also did not move Kelly Johnson and Adam LaRoche, both of whom had a lot of value built up despite poor performance of late. Some of the players they acquired could turn out to be good, but it remains to be seen.

The White Sox – They really could have used a bat, and it sounds like they were trying to get one by acquiring Edwin Jackson. I honestly can’t remember the last time I heard about a player being acquired with the hope of moving him to another team, only to have that other team tell them it wasn’t enough. Jackson is a nice pitcher, but is not that much better than Hudson should be.

Overall, a very exciting trade deadline, and there is still the possibility that we will see a lot more trades before the waiver deadline of August 31st.

Trade Retrospective: Juan Gonzalez


This week’s trade retrospective looks at the trade of 2-time MVP Juan Gonzalez from the Rangers to the Tigers on 11/2/1999. This trade was Gonzalez, P Danny Patterson, and C Gregg Zaun going to the Tigers in exchange for P Alan Webb, IF/OF Frank Catalanatto, P Francisco Cordero, C Bill Haselman, OF Gabe Kapler, and P Justin Thompson.

The Background

The Rangers, after a 95 win season and a 1st round elimination from the playoffs, were looking to cut payroll, and saw an opportunity to potentially move a large portion of salary in Juan Gonzalez. Gonzalez was slated to make $7.5 million, and would be a free agent after the 2000 season.

The Tigers had just fired their previous manager, Larry Parrish, and were looking for some much needed improvement on offense. In addition, they were moving into their new stadium to start the 2000 season, and wanted to make a big splash.

The Moving Pieces

Gonzalez slotted into the heart of the Tigers lineup for the 2000 season, and slated to play RF. Patterson was put into the Tigers bullpen as a reliever, and Zaun was actually traded to the Royals as a part of a conditional trade prior to the start of the 2000 season.

For the Rangers, Frank Catalanotto was to be used as a bench/super utility player for the Rangers. Francisco Cordero was put into the bullpen, Haselman’s spot was to replace Zaun as the backup catcher for Pudge Rodriguez, and Gabe Kapler was penciled in as the starting center fielder. Alan Webb was sent to the minors, but the big loss was Justin Thompson. Thompson was coming off of 3 solid seasons, and had been widely viewed as the centerpiece to the trade. Unfortunately, he suffered a torn rotator cuff early in 2000, and did not make his debut with the team that season.

What Happened Next

The Tigers unfortunately didn’t build a whole lot of offense around Juan Gonzalez, and the team actually played just as bad as the previous year. They finished 79-83, good for 3rd in their division. Gonzalez posted a solid season, but definitely not up to his expected standard. He posted a .289/.337/.505 slash line with 22 HR and 67 RBI in only 115 games. Gonzalez was also vocal in his complaints about how large newly-opened Comerica Park played.

The Rangers fell to a 71-91 record in 2000, and were still lacking pitching behind Kenny Rogers and Rick Helling. The team got some solid production out of their new CF, Gabe Kapler. He posted a .302/.360/.473 line with 14 HR, 66 RBI, and 8 SB. Haselman and Catalanatto were reasonable backups off the bench.

The Net Moves

Tigers – First Level

  • Gonzalez had turned down an 8 year, $140 million dollar extension shortly after being traded to the Tigers. Although he posted a solid season by most standards, it was not the production that they were expecting from him. At one point, the Tigers had a trade in place during this season to send Gonzalez to the Yankees for Ricky Ledee and minor leaguers Randy Keisler and Drew Henson. However, Gonzalez had a full no-trade clause, and would not accept the trade if the Yankees required him to sign a 1 year contract extension first. As a result, he stayed with the Tigers throughout the 2000 season, and left via free agency.
  • Danny Patterson spent the next 5 seasons with the Tigers, posting a 10-11 record with a 4.02 ERA in 183 2/3 IP.
  • It is unclear what, if anything, the Tigers ended up receiving in return for C Gregg Zaun.
  • After Gonzalez signed with the Cleveland Indians, the Tigers received 2 compensation picks. They used these picks to select Mike Woods and Matt Coenen, neither of whom ever played in the Majors.

Rangers – First Level

  • Alan Webb was a minor league journeyman, who only played the 2000 season with the Rangers organization. He was out of baseball by 2005.
  • Frank Catalanatto spent the next 3 seasons with the Rangers, really only as a starter in 2001. 2001 was his best season with the team, as he hit .330/391/.490 with 11 HR, 54 RBI, and 15 SB. He left via free agency after the 2002 season.
  • Francisco Cordero pitched in the bullpen for the Rangers until the 2006 season, when he was traded at the trade deadline to the Milwaukee Brewers for Nelson Cruz and Carlos Lee. He posted a 21-20 record with 117 saves, a 3.45 ERA, and 1.36 WHIP while with the Rangers.
  • Bill Haselman was with the Rangers as their backup catcher up through the 2002 season. He left via free agency, and signed with the Tigers after the 2002 season.
  • Gabe Kapler was with the Rangers until the trade deadline in the 2002 season. He posted a .280/.342/.433 line with 31 HR, 155 RBI, and 36 SB in the time there. He was traded on July 31, 2002 to the Rockies for OF Todd Hollandsworth and P Dennys Reyes.
  • Justin Thompson may be the saddest part of the whole trade, as he never really recovered from his injuries, and was not able to pitch in the Major Leagues for the Rangers until 2005, and only make 2 appearances as a Ranger. He was granted free agency after the 2005 season, and retired part of the way into the 2006 season.

Rangers – Second Level

  • Todd Hollandsworth played in 39 games for the Rangers in the 2002 season, posting a .258/.327/.417 slash line with 5 HR and 19 RBI. He was granted free agency after the season, and signed with the Florida Marlins.
  • Dennys Reyes went 4-3 in 15 appearances . He posted a 6.38 ERA and a 1.795 WHIP, and did not return to the Rangers after the season.
  • Carlos Lee had an excellent portion of a season with the Rangers, hitting .322/.369/.525 with 9 HR, 35 RBI and 7 SB in 59 games with the Rangers. He left via free agency after the 2006 season, signing with the cross-state Houston Astros.
  • Nelson Cruz remains with the Rangers to this date. 2009 was his first full season as a regular player, posting 33 HR, 76 RBI, and 20 SB along with a .260 batting average.
  • The Rangers received two compensation picks for losing Lee, which they used to draft P Blake Beaven and OF Julio Borbon. Borbon is currently on the Major League team, and Beaven remains in the minor leagues.

Overall Reactions

This one was pretty ugly overall. The Tigers thought they were going to get excellent production out of Gonzalez, and hoped to sign him long term. Neither of these came to pass. The Rangers spent that season trying to unload salary and lower costs, only to go out after the 2000 season and spend a quarter of a billion dollars to sign Alex Rodriguez. The Rangers, to me, pretty clearly won this trade. 6 years of Francisco Cordero, 3 years of Gabe Kapler, and the pieces to acquire Nelson Cruz and Julio Borbon. Obviously, the unfortunate thing with this is the amount of people who lost out related to this. There was Gonzalez, and his stubbornness about the fences at Comerica, which cost him well over $100 million dollars. There was Justin Thompson, who unfortunately never was the same once he was traded from the Tigers. Neither team really benefitted immediately from this trade, but the long term effects continue to make this one a winner for the Rangers.

Team Preview – Detroit Tigers


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Gerald Laird SP 1 Justin Verlander
1B Miguel Cabrera SP 2 Rick Porcello
2B Scott Sizemore SP 3 Max Scherzer
3B Brandon Inge SP 4 Jeremy Bonderman
SS Adam Everett SP 5 Nate Robertson
LF Johnny Damon Bullpen
CF Austin Jackson CL Jose Valverde
RF Magglio Ordonez RP Joel Zumaya
DH Carlos Guillen RP Phil Coke
Bench RP Ryan Perry
C Alex Avila RP Bobby Seay
OF Clete Thomas RP Zach Miner

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
CF Austin Jackson Trade (NYY) CF Curtis Granderson Trade (NYY)
SP Max Scherzer Trade (ARI) SP Edwin Jackson Trade (ARI)
P Daniel Schlereth Trade (ARI) 2B Placido Polanco Free Agency
RP Jose Valverde Free Agency RP Brandon Lyon Free Agency
LF Johnny Damon Free Agency RP Fernando Rodney Free Agency

Top Prospects: Austin Jackson (OF),  Jacob Turner (P), Casey Crosby (P)

2009 Review

The Tigers’ 2009 season was a very good one for the team, which unfortunately ended after a loss in game 163 to the Twins. The Tigers finished 86-77, 1 game back of the Twins for the AL Central crown. Led by manager Jim Leyland, the Tigers started off the season with the unexpected release of DH Gary Sheffield, despite being owed over $10 M for the season. Another surprise was that top prospect Rick Porcello, all of 20 years old, made the opening day rotation despite only being in the minors for one season, at high-A.

The Tigers got some excellent performances out of their players, especially in the rotation. SP Justin Verlander led the rotation with a 19-9 record, 3.45 ERA and 269 strikeouts, with offseason acquisition Edwin Jackson providing excellent innings as well (13-9, 3.62). Porcello did well also, posting a 14-9 record with a 3.96 ERA. 1B Miguel Cabrera led the offense again, posting a .324 batting average to go with his 34 HR and 103 RBI.

The Tigers unfortunately endured some distractions during the season. Among them were the decision by Jim Leyland to keep SP Justin Verlander on regular rest toward the end of the season so that he would be slotted to start the last game of the season on regular rest, and giving the ball to rookie Rick Porcello should they have to play into the playoffs. Another huge distraction during the last week of the season was 1B Miguel Cabrera’s arrest early on October 3rd. The Tigers had been in full-force collapse to that point, as they had a 3 game lead on the Twins with only 4 games to play.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Tigers spent a large portion of the offseason trying to shave payroll some, and succeeded by moving CF Curtis Granderson to the Yankees as a part of a huge three team deal. They have slotted in prospect Austin Jackson to replace Granderson in CF, and will sorely miss Granderson’s bat. They’ve gone younger, with 2B Scott Sizemore coming into spring training as the starter at 2B. This team is going to be built around their excellent pitching. Look for them to have a very dominant top 3, with Verlander, Porcello, and newly acquired Max Scherzer.

My main concern with this team is the amount of unknowns. 2B Scott Sizemore and CF Austin Jackson are both rookies, and it remains to be seen whether or not they will be able to provide similar production to the players they are replacing. Will Rick Porcello hit a wall after such a huge jump in innings pitched last season? Will Max Scherzer be able to stay healthy this season, and will Justin Verlander be able to repeat his excellent 2009 season? This is a team that has a lot more questions than answers at this point, and I feel like they will need a lot of things to break their way to end up at the top of the division in 2010.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

SP Justin Verlander and 1B Miguel Cabrera are far and away the best fantasy players on this team, with CL Jose Valverde providing value with the amount of saves he gets. Beyond that, there’s a lot of players that will be useful in deeper leagues (Sizemore, Laird, Inge) and players who are high-upside, high-risk types (Jackson, Porcello, Scherzer). A player to watch during spring training would be Jeremy Bonderman. Bonderman is trying to come back from a lost season due to injury, and did provide good value as a starter when he was healthy previously. New addition Johnny Damon will look to repeat his excellent 2009 season, but I can’t really foresee that occurring. He’s going to be 36 this season, and will be going from the extremely hitter friendly Yankee Stadium to Comerica, which should play a lot more neutral.

Prediction for 2010

The Tigers have retooled, and are making a run at the division again in 2010. However, I don’t think that this team as constructed is necessarily going to be good enough to catch either the Twins or the White Sox. They’re going to need some unexpected performances from someone on this team, and it’s never a good thing to have to rely on getting those.

82-80, 3rd in the AL Central