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Evaluating the Tigers Starting Rotation for 2013

The Tigers rode their starting rotation to a Central Division title and an appearance in the World Series. The Tigers have insured they will have the same rotation (more or less) that pitched a great postseason for Detroit.

They do have several questions facing them for the 2013 season, can they stay healthy, can Porcello or Smyly take a hold of the fifth job, and can recently re-signed Anibal Sanchez pitch as well as he did down the stretch and in the playoffs.

Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer finished 2012 leading all of baseball in strikeouts. What can we expect from them and the other Tigers starters in 2013?

Lets take a look and see.

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Life After Sanchez: What Moves Come Next for the Detroit Tigers

Just like that, the Detroit Tigers shocked their fans and national pundits—not because they re-signed pitcher Anibal Sanchez, but because of the cost they paid to do it. The reported five-year, $80 million deal (via ESPN) gives the Tigers one of the best rotations and highest-paid No. 3/4 starters in all of baseball. 

Instead of signaling the end of the Tigers’ work, this deal signals the need for at least two more deals before the start of the 2013 season. The Tigers are fully in win-now mode, and they’re going to make deals to win now and worry about the future in the future. 

The first and most obvious move revolves around Rick Porcello. While in theory it is possible—and maybe even rational—for the Tigers to hang on to Porcello as insurance against an injury, it won’t happen. Porcello will be dealt. ESPN has reported that teams interested include Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Seattle, New York (Mets), San Diego and Colorado.

Pittsburgh may be the most likely destination, with relief pitcher Joel Hanrahan being the return. Hanrahan seemed to lose his ability to locate pitches last year, but he still struck out over 10 batters per nine innings.

This is a deal that has been rumored for a little while, with ESPN’s Buster Onley speculating on it even before Detroit re-signed Sanchez. 

I think there would be more to a trade with Pittsburgh then just Porcello and Hanrahan.

First, starters have more value than closers currently. Porcello is relatively inexpensive and is under team control until 2015, while Hanrahan is a free agent after this season. The Tigers may also ask for minor league prospect Brock Holt—a SS/2B who would give the Tigers some depth if there is an injury at the major league level. 

The other deal I think the Tigers will pursue involves left field.

The Tigers want a right-handed bat to platoon with Andy Dirks. I think the Tigers will chat with a former trade partner in Seattle and possibly try to acquire former Tiger Casper Wells. Wells has some power and speed and defends well. He is probably not a full-time player, but in addition to platooning with Dirks in left, Wells is capable of defending all three outfield positions.

Brennan Boesch is the player most likely to be discussed, but it’s possible that both Porcello and Boesch could be included if the Tigers get back an arm or two in addition to Wells. 

Signing Sanchez shows the Tigers aren’t afraid to spend, and one other player they may decide to spend on is shortstop Stephen Drew. Drew was an above-average shortstop until an ankle injury two years ago. Now, two seasons removed from that injury, Drew looks like he is getting back to the player he was before. He’d give the Tigers a little bit more range at short and could be a slight improvement with the bat. 

Moving Porcello and Boesch would allow Detroit to address other needs before the start of next season. The Tigers could acquire a proven closer and a plus defender who bats right-handed to platoon with Dirks.

The Tigers are in a win-now mode, and these deals would allow the Tigers to be in the best position to compete.

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Evaluating the Detroit Tigers Outfield for 2013

The Tigers upgraded their outfield defense and offense by signing Torii Hunter this offseason. However, they now have a glut of outfielders on their roster. The Tigers have to decide if they want to carry one or two extra outfielders.

This decision will shape the roster over the weeks leading up to spring training. It’s a safe bet that at least one if not two of last year’s outfielders will not be with the big-league team when they break spring training. 

I want to take a preliminary look at what we can expect from the Tigers outfield in 2013 and where the battles will take place. 

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Detroit Tigers: Potential Trade Partners for Rick Porcello

The Detroit Tigers have already made one major move this offseason with the signing outfielder Torii Hunter. The question Tigers fans are now asking themselves is what happens next. The Tigers still have needs: a closer, a shortstop with better range and possibly another outfielder. 

A popular target for trade rumors is starting pitcher Rick Porcello. I think a big reason why many fans want to see Porcello dealt are the expectations fans had when Porcello was given a large bonus as a first-round pick in the 2007 draft. Many fans expected Porcello to turn into a front-line “ace” pitcher, not unlike another first-round pick from 2004, Justin Verlander

Porcello will probably never be an “ace” for a team, but he is still a very valuable pitcher. For starters, Porcello is still a very young pitcher at just 23 years of age. Already he has been a major league starter for four years and has two 14-win seasons under his belt. He has been healthy and can be counted on to throw about 180 innings. He is also under contract through 2015. 

In 2011, Porcello matched his fantastic rookie season (2009), when he went 14-9 with a 3.96 ERA and an ERA+ of 114 (from and had the lowest WHIP of his career at 1.336. One reason why Porcello has not been more successful is the lack of an elite defense behind him. 

Porcello is a pitch-to-contact pitcher who does a good job of throwing strikes. Evidence of this can be seen by his walk rate declining to 2.25, good for 28th in all of baseball. However, what killed Porcello this past season was a major league worst 11.53 hits per nine innings. 

So is there a chance the Tigers could shop Porcello, and if they do, can they actually get anything in return for him? I think the answer is yes, but the Tigers need to shop Porcello carefully. 

One team the Tigers should contact is the Colorado Rockies

The Rockies have a very solid infield defense headlined by superstar shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Their outfield defense is solid as well. The Rockies need pitching and more specifically, they need pitchers who either strike batters out or who force opponents to put balls on the ground. 

What would the Tigers want in return? One option which seems like a nice fit with the Tigers would be outfielder Dexter Fowler. Fowler is a little below average as a defensive center fielder, but move him to left and it’s easy to see him becoming a plus fielder. 

There have been rumors about Fowler being offered in an attempt to land a veteran pitcher. Fowler makes sense for Detroit for two primary reasons. First, he is a switch-hitter who has shown improvement with his hitting approach and is probably going to be closer to a .280 hitter with 15-home run power and a little bit of speed (12 steals in 2012). Secondly, he is a young player who fits the need for a solid defender. 

A one-for-one deal between the Tigers and Rockies is not likely. Several minor league players will most likely be included. I think the Tigers could include pitcher Casey Crosby and either outfielder Daniel Fields or Tyler Collins. The Rockies would probably be asked to include a prospect like shortstop Trevor Story. In order to get Story, the Tigers might have to include one of their young outfielders (Andy Dirks or Brennan Boesch). 

This would help Detroit both now and in the future. projects Story to be major league ready in 2015. Currently, the Tigers could address shortstop until Story is ready by either re-signing Peralta for another year or signing Steven Drew to a two-year contract with a team option for a third. Fowler is an everyday outfielder and can man the outfield until either Nick Castellanos or Avisail Garcia is ready for everyday duty. 

The Rockies would get a starter who can actually make it through six innings and who is still quite young and should be able to chew up some innings for a rotation that struggled to make it more than four innings per game last year. Porcello is better than his numbers indicate, and he will benefit from having a stronger defense behind him. 

The Rockies also get a solid pitching prospect in Casey Crosby, who has gotten better each year after Tommy John surgery. Crosby struggled in three spot starts for Detroit this past year, but he is shown good progress with locating his pitches. He is also a strikeout pitcher, which is the type of pitcher the Rockies need. 

Finally, adding a prospect with upside like Fields or Collins is a gamble for the Rockies, but if it pays off, it could give them an above-average outfielder with some speed and power. Also, if the Tigers included Boesch or Dirks, the Rockies would have either a sold bench bat or (in Dirk’s case) a player who can defend all three outfield positions. 

Before the Tigers make this deal, they will want to either re-sign Anibal Sanchez or have another pitcher to take Porcello‘s place in the rotation. The Rockies need pitching badly and may be willing to pay for that pitching. It behooves the Tigers to inquire and find out. 

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MLB Free Agency: Evaluating the Detroit Tigers’ Outfield Options

The Detroit Tigers did not receive good production from their corner outfielders in 2012.

During their latest news conference, the team made some subtle hints at their offseason plans. It will be an outfield bat, not a closer who will top their list.

How much money Tigers general manager Dave Dombroswki will have to work with is a question for which only owner Mike Ilitch has the answer. Dombrowski will have a better idea after he sits down with Mr. Ilitch, however, he suggested there will be a change in the corners for next season, whether it is from within the organization (Avisail Garcia or Nick Castellanos) or via free agency. 

As free agency is about to begin, lets take a look at some of the free agent outfielders the Tigers will take a look at:

(2012 stats are listed in parentheses).


Torii Hunter

(.313 average, 16 home runs, 92 RBIs, nine steals, .817 OPS).

Hunter is the type of player the Tigers are looking for.

He can defend left field and still has a solid bat, with power and some speed on the base paths. He also hits well against left-handed pitching, which was something the Tigers seemed to struggle with this year. 

Hunter is an older player, but one who has shown good durability and minimal decline. There is a good chance Hunter will get a deal with a couple of team options, rather then a long term deal. A two-year, $30 million deal with performance bonuses, plus option years based on performance would probably be enough to get Hunter signed. 


Shane Victorino

(.255 average, 11 home runs, 55 RBIs, 39 steals, .704 OPS).

Victorino has good speed and plays good defense. He is also a switch hitter who would fit nicely into the number two spot in manager Jim Leyland’s lineup.

Like Hunter, he hits well against left-handed pitching and would bring a speed element that the Tigers have sorely been missing. 

Victorino has had two down years, which will probably cost him a couple of years and several million dollars off a new contract. I think it would be a great deal for the Tigers if Victorino took a deal for four years and $40 million, with a mutual option for a fifth year.

My guess is Victorino will end up receiving a contract which is worth more annually, but might be willing to take a little less to play with a contender. Hitting in front of Miguel Cabrera might be a pretty nice pull, as well. 


Melky Cabrera

(.346 average, 11 home runs, 60 RBIs, 13 steals, .906 OPS)

Cabrera probably cost himself at least three or four years off a contract and tens of millions of dollars with his use of and subsequent suspension for PEDs. His 2011 numbers were solid, however, and he wasn’t a horrible player in New York. Cabrera is also only 28 years old, so there’s a pretty good probability he has several more productive playing years left. 

Cabrera is likely to receive an incentive-laden contract with team options to offset the risk the team is taking with him. Detroit would be an ideal situation, as it has good veteran leadership and players who have conquered personal demons before. 

For Detroit, adding another Cabrera to the team makes lots of sense, even if Melky returns to the level of production he had when playing for the Kansas City Royals in 2011. He is a switch hitter who hits off left handers well (.395 in 2012), has some speed on the base paths and plays solid defense. Because of his PED suspension, I suspect a contract for a year or two with two club options at $6 to 8 million would be enough to get him signed. 


Ryan Ludwick

(.275 average, 26 home runs, 80 RBIs, 0 steals, and a .877 OPS)

Ludwick declined his option and became a free agent, so he’s looking to get more then the $5 million option he had with the Cincinnati Reds. Ludwick is a middle of the order power bat, who the Tigers would want to bat sixth, behind Victor Martinez. 

Ludwick, who is 34, is looking for his last “big” contract and will probably be looking for a three or four year deal which will pay in the neighborhood of $7 to 10 million per year. He is still a good fielder, although they may ask him to shift to right field to have a more fleet-footed defender in left.

I don’t know if Ludwick will want to leave the National League where he has had most of his success. If he is willing to sign for three years and $28 million, I think he would be a good investment for the Tigers, assuming none of the other players on this list work out. 


Angel Pagan

(.288 average, 8 home runs, 56 RBIs, 29 steals, .778 OPS)

Pagan is a center fielder by trade, but would fit in well in Detroit, where he would improve the defense in left and allow Andy Dirks and Avisail Garcia to platoon in right. He would also bring speed to a Tigers team that is in need of more speed on the base paths. 

Pagan is a switch hitter who is able to handle left handers reasonably well. He doesn’t hit for a lot of power, but would be a nice fit at the number two spot in the Tigers lineup. At 31, he probably won’t get a really long contract, but a three to five year deal isn’t out of the question. 

I suspect Pagan will get a contract which will pay $7 to 8 million a year. I think the Tigers should offer him a three year deal with a fourth year option at $7.5 million per year. Pagan is obviously not the Tigers’ first choice, but he would be a nice prize if they can’t land Cabrera or Victorino


I think the Tigers are most likely to target Hunter, Victorino or Cabrera, with Ludwick being an option if the other three sign elsewhere.

The Tigers got very little pop from their corner outfielders last year. Not including Delmon Young, the top six corner outfielders (based on games played) combined to hit just 24 home runs, or two less then Ryan Ludwick

Corner outfield is clearly a big void which needs to be filled, but the Tigers aren’t looking to get caught with a long contract, especially with the development of Avisail Garcia and the projected play of Nick Castellanos.

The one thing we know for sure is the Tigers will be looking to improve their outfield as they try to finish what they started last year.

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5 Reasons the Detroit Tigers Will Win the AL Central in 2011

The Tigers are in a tight race this year with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox for the AL Central title. I think the Tigers will claim their first central title since 1987. I think there are five main reasons why the Tigers will come out on top in this division race.

1. Justin Verlander

The Tigers ace is on pace to have a Cy Young and possibly a MVP award to add to his shelf, but more important to Verlander is reaching the playoffs. Verlander has about eight more starts this year, and I would bet he’ll win at least six of those starts. While the rest of the rotation will be needed (more on that in a minute), the Tigers know they have an above average chance to win every time Verlander steps on the mound.

2. Miguel Cabrera

The Tigers are lucky to have two players who should be in the MVP talk. While Cabrera hasn’t put up the numbers some would expect, he has, and will, carry the Tigers offensively down the stretch run. The Tigers will need Cabrera to provide offense on a nightly basis if they are going to be able to pick up wins for the back half of the rotation.

3. Jose Valverde

Valverde is 36-for-36 in save opportunities, and is the type of pitcher the Tigers can rely on to close out victories. The bullpen has had issues, and the Tigers will need the rest of the ‘pen to step it up. Having an elite closer gives the Tigers the advantage in close games. 

4. Delmon Young

Young will finish the season like he did last year: strong. With Brennan Boesch in front and Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez behind him, Young will get opportunities to see decent pitches and get on base. Young also has good power which, next to good pitching, wins baseball games. 

5. Brandon Inge

Yes, I know half of you just swore, or threw your computer. However, I think Inge will hit better than he has, and his defense will be critical—especially in games where Doug Fister and Rick Porcello pitch. It will be as a late defensive replacement that Inge will have the biggest positive impact. 

The Tigers will win the central—they have the pieces, they have the guts and they have five guys who will guide them to their first AL Central title, and hopefully a long playoff run.

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Detroit Tigers May Look To Trade Market To Fill Void in Right Field

With the ungodly signing of Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126 million contract the cost of outfield help has gone through the roof. The Tigers are most likely working pretty hard to get a deal in place with Magglio Ordonez to be the right fielder in 2011. However, because of the lack of outfield depth on the free-agent market, Ordonez might be able to land a ridiculous deal. If that happens the Tigers may be forced to look to the trade market.

Dave Dombrowski has shown himself to be an aggressive, gutsy GM. He’s pulled off deals that have worked extremely well (Cabrera, Jackson and company) and some not so much (Renteria). His successes and failures haven’t stopped him from going all out to try and make his team better. Also, knowing how much owner Mike Ilitch likes big-name players, it would not be surprising to see Detroit go after a “shocking” trade. These are two trades I think the Tigers should look into, or at least think about. 


Trade One

Detroit sends SP Andy Oliver, Armando Galarraga, OF Brennan Boesch or Ryan Raburn, and RP Brandon Wise to Milwaukee for OF Ryan Braun and a PTNL (Player to be Named Later).

Two important elements of this: First, Braun would have to OK the trade, and second, Detroit might not be willing to give up major-league quality players to land Braun. 


Why Detroit Would Make This Trade

Braun’s numbers are impressive, despite an apparent decline over the last year. He’s averaged over 31 home runs, 107 RBI and hit above .300 for the last three years. Braun would probably hit fifth, with Victor Martinez moving to the third spot in the Tigers lineup.

The PTNL would probably be a draft pick somewhere between rounds 2-5, which Detroit would probably spend on a pitcher. It became very clear last year that the Tigers absolutely needed to add some more punch to their lineup and adding Braun and Martinez would accomplish that. If Boesch is sent, Raburn will get the chance to start in right, and if it’s Raburn who is sent over, then Boesch will battle with Casper Wells to be the starter in right with the loser being the fourth outfielder. 


Why Milwaukee Would Make This Trade

First, if I were Milwaukee I would want Raburn over Boesch. Raburn hits for a higher average and has shown pretty good power, plus he is a player who can play a lot of positions giving the Brewers some flexibility with double switches and the like. Boesch is a player who seems to project as a high strikeout/above average power guy. It wouldn’t surprise me if Boesch ended up being a player who hits 30-35 home runs with 160 or so strikeouts. 

Also, Milwaukee has made no secret of its need and desire to add pitching to a club that had one of the worst ERAs in the senior circuit last year. Oliver is one of the highly regarded LH starters in the minors, and is considered a candidate in Detroit for the fifth spot in the rotation. He projects as a top three pitcher and would give balance to an improving Milwaukee rotation. 

Galarraga is a pitcher who I think is better suited to play in the national league. He is still young enough and cheap enough that he is worth the flier. If nothing else, Galarraga has shown he can pitch in the majors and would add depth.

Brandon Wise is one of the better minor-league bullpen arms for Detroit. He should be able to compete for a big-league spot, and adds depth for a team in desperate need of pitching depth. 


Trade Two

Detroit Sends SP Andy Oliver, OF/IF Ryan Raburn, SP Bryan Villarreal, SS Jhonny Peralta and OF Avisail Garcia to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Arizona sends OF Justin Upton, SS Steven Drew, and SP Mike Belfiore.

Things to note: Justin Upton would have to waive his no trade clause to Detroit. Also, I’m not sure what MLB’s rules are on trading players who have just signed. I think if you pulled Drew and Peralta out, both clubs would be able to tell their fans they are in a better position after the deal.


Why Detroit Makes This Trade

The Tigers are trying to add some bulk and defense to their outfield. Upton is still a very young player, who is still developing. He is an above average defender, hits for average (career .272), with some power (19 HRs and 25 doubles averaged over the last three years) and still strikes out too much, but does have a career OBP above .350.

In Drew the Tigers would get a player who is an improvement defensively, with a higher batting average and almost exact power numbers (16 HRs and 35 doubles). The other advantage for the Tigers is Drew is several years younger. Mike Belfiore would give Detroit a pitcher to replace Bryan Villarreal in the lower rung of the Tigers system and would be a developmental pitcher for Detroit. 


Why Arizona Makes This Trade

The Diamondbacks have a new GM who is trying to build up the big-league team and the farm at the same time. Last year’s team really struggled. In Oliver and Villarreal they would have two of Detroit’s better pitchers from the farm. Oliver a left-handed starter would most likely start the season as the No. 3 or 4 pitcher and could improve from there. Villarreal is a developmental pitcher, but put up very solid numbers in two stops this year.

Ryan Raburn has been considered a better fit in the NL because of his versatility. Raburn is a step down defensively, but could end up with the same or slightly better power. Raburn can play any of the three outfield spots and can also play 1B, 2B and 3B. Peralta is affordable and the club would have the option for a third year. Avisail Garcia is considered one of Detroit’s top outfield prospects. He projects to hit for average and power, and play better defense. It is possible Garcia makes it to the majors in 2012.


Ramifications for Detroit

I believe either of these deals would help the Tigers in 2011, however with both of them the Tigers would need to make a couple of moves after the deal to solidify their depth. If Raburn is included in either deal, I think there is still a chance they try and sign Maggs to a one to two-year contract.

Also, Detroit would probably want to target another pitcher to compete for the fifth spot in the Tigers rotation. I would love to see the Tigers follow up a deal like this with a Carl Pavano and Magglio Ordonez signings. If Magglio isn’t signed, then Casper Wells/Ryan Raburn/Brennan Boesch will fill his spot.


Projected Tigers Lineup for Both Trades

Milwaukee Trade

1. CF Austin Jackson (.293, four home runs, 34 doubles, 103 runs, 41 RBI)

2. 2B Will Rhymes (.304, one home run, 12 doubles, 30 runs, 19 RBI)

3. RF Magglio Ordonez (.303, 12 home runs, 17 doubles, 56 runs, 59 RBI)

4. 1B Miguel Cabrera (.328, 38 home runs, 45 doubles, 111 runs, 126 RBI)

5. LF Ryan Braun (.304, 25 homes runs, 45 doubles, 101 runs, 103 RBI)

6. DH Victor Martinez (.302, 20 home runs, 32 doubles, 64 runs, 79 RBI)

7. SS Jhonny Peralta (.249, 15 home runs, 30 doubles, 60 runs, 81 RBI)

8. 3B Brandon Inge (.247, 13 home runs, 28 doubles, 47 runs, 70 RBI)

9. C Alex Avila (.228, seven home runs, 12 doubles, 28 runs, 31 RBI)



1. Justin Verlander

2. Max Scherzer

3. Phil Coke

4. Rick Porcello

5. Free agent/minor-league call-up


For Arizona Trade

1. CF Austin Jackson (.293, four home runs, 34 doubles, 103 runs, 41 RBI)

2. SS Steven Drew (.278, 15 home runs, 33 doubles, 83 runs, 61 RBI)

3. LF Justin Upton (.273, 17 home runs, 27 doubles, 73 runs, 69 RBI)

4. 1B Miguel Cabrera (.328, 38 home runs, 45 doubles, 111 runs, 126 RBI)

5. DH Victor Martinez (.302, 20 home runs, 32 doubles, 64 runs, 79 RBI)

6. RF Magglio Ordonez (.303, 12 home runs, 17 doubles, 56 runs, 59 RBI)

7. 3B Brandon Inge (.247, 13 home runs, 28 doubles, 47 runs, 70 RBI)

8. 2B Will Rhymes (.304, one home run, 12 doubles, 30 runs, 19 RBI)

9. C Alex Avila (.228, seven home runs, 12 doubles, 28 runs, 31 RBI)



1. Justin Verlander

2. Max Scherzer

3. Phil Coke

4. Rick Porcello

5. Armando Galarraga/free agent/minor-leaguer

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Jayson Werth or Magglio Ordonez Should Be Detroit Tigers’ Next Target

The Detroit Tigers have already made a big splash in the 2010 offseason. Victor Martinez and Joaquin Benoit were key signings for Detroit. 

Detroit has said it would like to have a lower payroll than it had in 2010. After adding $29 million in new contracts (Brandon Inge, Jhonny Peralta, Martinez and Benoit), Detroit still has room to add another contract or two and still remain under the $60 million it dropped.

As it stands right now, Ryan Raburn is being viewed as the everyday left fielder, which eliminates Carl Crawford from coming to Motown. Dave Dombrowski said this week the only opening currently was in right field.

The right field opening brings up two predominant names: Jayson Werth and Magglio Ordonez.

Tigers fans are familiar with what Magglio brings to the table. Ordonez was having a resurgent year before his ankle injury prematurely ended his season. Werth has been a late bloomer but has rounded into a solid outfield power bat. 

I believe the Tigers should try to add Werth. Last season Werth batted .296 with 27 home runs and 46 doubles. He’s a career .272 hitter, but I would guess he’ll end up in the mid .280s for the duration of his next contract. If he plays in Detroit, I would expect him to hit 40-50 doubles and 20-25 home runs while driving in 90-100 runs. 

Magglio, who is a career .312 hitter, would provide leadership as well as some pop and at a much cheaper price. Maggs was on pace to hit 16 home runs and have over 100 RBI. The biggest question Ordonez faces is the health of his ankle. If he is 100 percent healthy, he will be a nice addition to whichever team signs him. 

One of the side effects of a possible Werth signing would be the availability of Brennan Boesch, Casper Wells and Clete Thomas as trade bait, which could land the Tigers another reliever or starter, draft picks or minor league talent.

There is a possibility Tigers owner Mike Ilitch will push Dombrowski to throw a boatload of money at Carl Crawford. While that is not a likely scenario, it would push Raburn to right field and would give the Tigers one of baseball’s best defensive outfields and a very, very strong top of the lineup. 

If Werth or Crawford is signed, the Tigers would have their outfield pretty well set for the next five to seven years.

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Detroit Tigers 2011 Offseason: Victor Martinez Heads Best Free Agents for Motown

So far the Detroit Tigers have locked up Brandon Inge and Jhonny Peralta. Yet there is still a boatload of money to be spent and several key positions it needs to be spent on. The following are who I believe the Tigers should target and why.


C/DH Victor Martinez

Martinez provides the Tigers with two of their needs. One, he is a switch hitter and two, he can play catcher. The Tigers need to add some pop and protection for Miguel Cabrera. Martinez is a professional hitter (.302, 20 HR, 79 RBI). V-Mart can also spell youngster Alex Avila when the Tigers face a LH pitcher. 


LF Carl Crawford (.307, 19HR, 90 RBI)

The Tigers have been talking about being aggressive and targeting some offensive help. Crawford helps solidify the outfield defense and his a track record of being able to hit for both average and power. He has tremendous speed, and has hit in the No. 3 spot for Tampa (also where I think he would hit for Detroit). While his home run numbers may drop in Detroit I think his triples would increase.


SP Carl Pavano (17-11, 3.75 ERA, 117K)

I really think Dave Dombrowski goes after Pavano to be the fifth starter in Detroit. I think management would love the No. 5 spot to be a left-hander, but Pavano would give the Tigers a reliable inning-eater at the back of the rotation (221 in 2010). DD tried to sign Pavano in 2005 and I think he succeeds this year.


RP J.J Putz (2.83 ERA, 54 innings, 65K) or Matt Guerrier (3.17 ERA, 71 innings, 42K)

The Tigers need a right-handed reliever and either of these pitchers would be a great addition. Putz would be a nice addition to Perry in the set-up or seventh-inning role. Guerrier has been a solid relief pitcher and would provide a reliable veteran presence in the pen.


RP Pedro Feliciano (3.30 ERA, 62.2 innings, 56K) or Scott Downs (2.64 ERA, 61.1 innings, 48K)

With the Tigers moving Phil Coke to the rotation there is a major need for a solid left-handed pitcher in the pen. Feliciano has put up solid numbers, but is more of a situational lefty, putting up much better numbers against left-handed hitters.

Downs has quietly been one of the most reliable and quality lefties in baseball. He is effective against both righties and lefties, which provides added value in Detroit.


I think the Tigers would like to sign five players to major league contracts. I expect at least 2-3 of the above players to end up signing in Detroit. I think if they were able to sign five they would place themselves in a position to be the favorites in the AL Central and would be able to make a serious run for a World Series title.

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Bold Suggestions For Tigers Offseason Spending: Big Names To Motown

Detroit Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has said the Tigers will be aggressive this offseason. He has already locked up Brandon Inge and will have a deal in place for SS Jhonny Peralta. This will allow Dombrowski to focus on the big bat the Tigers need in their lineup. If I was the GM these are the two moves I would attempt to make this offseason. 

I believe pitching wins, and the Tigers have three of the best young pitchers in baseball. They also have one thing in common; they’re right handed. The Tigers need a lefty, and there just so happens to be a lefty on the market: Cliff Lee

I know the chances are remote at best. However, if the Tigers were to offer Lee a front loaded, six-year, $145-150 million deal, he’d listen. Front loading the contract allows the Tigers to have more flexibility as their young players reach arbitration. 

The Tigers rotation would look something like this. Justin Verlander, Cliff Lee, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Phil Coke (or a young pitcher allowing Coke to return to the ‘pen). They would have without doubt one of the top, if not the top, rotations in all of baseball. 

To address the need of a power bat to hit behind Miguel Cabrera I would look to the trade front. The Milwaukee Brewers have been open about looking to trade slugging first baseman Prince Fielder. Fielder will be a free agent after the 2011 season, so the Tigers would want an extension before agreeing to the deal. 

Who would they send? I would put together a package which would include Andy Oliver, Jay Sborz, Ryan Strieby (or Brennan Boesch) and Ryan Raburn or Casper Wells.

A heavy price? Yes, but well worth it. Field had an off year (32 hrs, 83 RBI and .261 BA), but that would have double the next closest HR total the tigers had, and would have been the leader outside Cabrera for RBI.

For Detroit, Fielder would be the DH, except to give Cabrera a day off. The other thing this could do is enable the Tigers to resign Magglio Ordonez to a reasonable contract (two years, $11-15 million). The Tigers lineup would look like this: (2010 stats in parenthesis)

1. (CF) Austin Jackson (.293, 181 H, 27 SB)

2. (2B) Will Rhymes/Scott Sizemore (.304, 12 doubles, 191 ABs)/(.224, seven doubles, three HR, 43 ABs)

3. (RF) Magglio Ordonez (.303, 12 HR, 59 RBI)

4. (1B) Miguel Cabrera (.328, 38 HR, 126 RBI)

5. (DH) Prince Fielder (.261, 32 HR, 83 RBI)

6. (SS) Jhonny Peralta (.249, 15 HR, 81 RBI)

7. (LF) Ryan Raburn/Brennen Boesch (.280, 15 HR 62 RBI)/(.256, 14 HR, 67 RBI)

8. (3B) Brandon Inge (.247, 13 HR, 70 RBI)

9. (C) Alex Avila (.228, seven HR, 31 RBI).

The pitching rotation would look like this: (Lee and Verlander could be switched)

1. Justin Verlander (18-9, 3.37 ERA, 219 Ks)

2. Cliff Lee (12-9, 3.18 ERA, 185 Ks)

3. Max Scherzer (12-11, 3.50 ERA, 184 Ks)

4. Rick Porcello (10-12, 4.92 ERA, 84 Ks)

5. Phil Coke (7-5, 3.76 ERA, 53 Ks)*

If Detroit was able to make these moves I believe they would be a front runner for the American League Pennant and would challenge for the World Series Title, not only this year, but for future as well.

*Pitched in the bullpen.

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