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Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller on the Move

Is the window starting to close for Tigers former top prospect Cameron Maybin?  Nearly three years ago, Maybin was the top player sent by the Tigers to the Florida Marlins in the deal that brought Miguel Cabrera to Detroit.  Maybin has been a disappointment in Southern Florida and as a result, he was shipped to the Padres for a pair of relief pitchers.

In his three years with the Marlins, hit .257 with 12 homers in 144 games.  He continued to struggled with his patience at the plate, fanning way far too often and not getting on base often enough.  He had a brief cameo in the bigs with the Tigers back in 2007 and with the Marlins in 2008.  He got his longest look at the Major Leagues last season when he got a career-high 291 at-bats.

It’s not all gloom and doom for Maybin.  He is only 23 (24 in April) and still possesses great speed and athleticism.  His speed on the bases and in the outfield should serve him well in spacious Petco Park in San Diego.  It’s likely that Maybin will earn the starting center field job in San Diego and should get at least one more shot at proving himself as a full-timer in the big leagues.

The other key piece of the Cabrera deal was Andrew Miller.  Miller, like Maybin, was seen as a future star.  Miller was a lefty pitcher who ripped through the minors quickly with the Tigers.  It may have been a bit too quickly as Miller has never really figured it out at the big league level.

Since joining the Marlins, Miller has a 10-20 record with an ERA of 5.89, a WHIP north of 1.70, and an ERA+ of just 73.  He has been nothing short of a disaster.  While there is still hope for Maybin, I don’t think there is as much hope for Miller.  Miller has not really even shown glimpses of his potential over the past few years.  He has struggled with his control and with injuries from day one.

Miller, who will be 26 in May, is now with the Boston Red Sox.  As much as I don’t like the Red Sox, I would like to see them figure Miller out and get him back on the right track.  Even though guys like Maybin and Miller are no long with the Tigers, I still find myself pulling for them.

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How Good Is Carl Crawford?

Does Carl Crawford have a future in Detroit?

I love baseball’s offseason.  There is always plenty of speculation and there is never a shortage of rumors.  Also, because baseball has no salary cap, there are always more options for each player and that makes it a lot more fun for the fans.  While Cliff Lee to the Yankees seems like a match made in heaven hell, there is always a chance he’ll return to Texas or sign with a team like the Washington Nationals.

The Tigers had a lot of cash come off of the books this season, which could make them major players in the free agent game.  The club has already locked up Brandon Inge and Jhonny Peralta to two-year deals, but there could be plenty of money left to spend.

Carl Crawford is considered one of the top, if not the top, offensive talent on the market.  The Tigers have been connected to Crawford in some rumors already, so let’s shake this thing out and see just how good the guy really is.

Crawford has nine big league seasons under his belt, and each of them was spent with team that drafted him, the Tampa Bay Rays.  He debuted back in 2002 and has racked up nearly 1,500 hits since.

The bulk of Crawford’s value is tied to his speed.  He is routinely among the league leaders in triples and stolen bases.  He also covers a ton of ground in left field, making him above-average defensively.  Crawford has led the American League in steals four times and in triples four times, including this past season.  His career batting average is .296.

That all sounds pretty good, but Crawford is not without a weakness.  He is not the most patient hitter at the plate, something Tigers players have struggled with over the past ten years or so.  Crawford has a career on-base percentage of only .337, which is typically not good for a top-of-the-order bat.  To put things in perspective, Ramon Santiago had an OBP of .337 last season.  Just saying.

That being said, Crawford has done a much better job of getting on base over the past two years.  From 2009-2010, Crawford reached base at a .360 clip, a very good number.  It is possible that some credit for his lower totals and for his recent upward tilt are due to the quality of team for which he played.

Crawford turned 29 this past August, so a five-year deal for him seems realistic.  Do the Tigers want to be in that bidding war?  If the Yankees or Red Sox get involved, it’s possible that a five-year deal could net Crawford $90M or so.

Can you picture Crawford and Austin Jackson patrolling the outfield of Comerica Park for the next few years, though?  I can’t see many balls falling in anywhere with that much speed out there.

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Detroit Tigers: What To Do With Magglio Ordóñez

Should the Tigers keep Magglio for one more year?

As most Tigers fans know, Detroit is finally free of Magglio Ordóñez’s massive contract.  While Magglio was pretty good at the dish last year, he remained one of the most overpaid players in the game as he cashed in checked from the Tigers that totaled $17,825,976.

I think the Tigers would be happy to pay that kind of money to the 2007 Magglio that played in 157 games and hit .363.  However, the 2010 Magglio played in only 87 games.  That means that Ordóñez pulled in over $205,000 per game.  That is actually pretty tough to comprehend.

Regardless of what he made and how little he played in 2010, Ordóñez remains a favorite amongst Tiger fans.  After all, this is still the same man that came to Detroit and signed a long-term deal when the Tigers were really struggling.  This is still the same man that sent the Tigers to the 2006 World Series with his ALCS-winning home run off of Huston Street.

So, with Magglio emerging as a free agent, what should the Tigers do?  Before we chat it up, here are the facts:

  • He turns 37 in January
  • During his six seasons in Detroit, he has missed an average of 36 games per season
  • He is slowing down and will need to DH more than play right field
  • As a Tiger, Magglio’s batting average is .318 and his OPS+ is 118.
  • Over the past six years, only five players have a better batting average than Ordonez
  • Generally, players do not get better or healthier as they enter their late 30s.

So, what should the Tigers do with Ordóñez?  The simpler answers are to “keep him” or “let him go.”  Personally?  I would be fine with the Tigers keeping Magglio in Detroit on a one-year deal in the neighborhood of $4-7 million.  I am not on board with the Tigers giving Magglio the Derek Jeter treatment where they give him a huge deal just because of who he was.

Over the fall and winter we will see how the Tigers choose to handle this situation.  I hope they keep him around, at least for one more season.

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Don Kelly: A Detroit Tiger Disaster

Living way out here in Connecticut, I know that my finger is not on the pulse of what Tiger fans are thinking as much as it was when I lived in Michigan.  However, I feel pretty confident that I am not the only one out there that thinks Don Kelly is a complete and total disaster. 

Why is this guy even on the club?

Let’s take a look at his 2010 season so far and see if we can find any justification for keeping this bag of bones around.  First, I’ll list the positives AND the reasons in which he may be on the roster to begin with—

  1. He can play around the diamond a little bit.  He can play the outfield and the infield and I suppose that is valuable.
  2. He is white.  People in Michigan love white people.
  3. Jim Leyland is head-over-heels in love with Don Kelly.

Now a few reasons not to play Don Kelly.  All factual—

  1. The Tigers are out of the chase and he is 30 years old.  As someone who will be 30 in less than a year, I feel for the guy.  30 is not old in the real world, but when you’re a shitty baseball player taking up space on a big league roster, you are ancient.
  2. His OPS+ this season is 35.  35!!!  I am certain there are pitchers with bigger bats.  In fact, of all players in baseball with at least 150 plate appearances this season, only two players in all of baseball have a lower OPS+ than poor Don Kelly.  Garrett Anderson and Brandon Wood are the two poor saps.
  3. Kelly possesses the power of a butterfly.  He has gone deep twice this season and is currently slugging a pitiful .279.  That mark is “bested” only by Wood and Luis Valbuena.
  4. He is taking up a roster spot.

That final point there is what grinds my gears the most.  The Tigers are now out of contention.  Time to cut Kelly loose.  The Tigers are not exactly stocked in the minors, but they may as well give some playing time to a guy in the minors and see what they have.  We all KNOW what they have in Don Kelly.

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