Nerd of Batman, sports, logic, objectivity, Star Trek, personal enlightenment, Lincoln, the Rays, psychology, mic dropping. Kind've in that order.
Oh boy, it's going to be a cacophony of pronunciation gaffes when it comes to saying Rajai Davis' name. Yea, that from the notorious typo guy. I'm actually quite good with pronouncing abstract words, however.
Davis' lifetime OBP vs. LHP (as he's the other half of the Dirks platoon) is .354. That and his 268 steals on 79% success rate is all you need to know about Davis.
If Davis can replicate his 1.8 WAR from '13, and Dirks can recapture 2012's 2.3, the Tigers effectively have the potential to equal Shin Soo Choo's 2013 WAR of 4.2, for a third, or even a quarter of Choo will make in 2014. REREAD THAT.
The revised Tigers lineup parellels the St. Louis from my perspective. Outside of Cabrera batting third from 1 through 162, there are changeable parts everywhere else.
Davis, Kinsler, Cabrera, Martinez, Hunter, Jackson, Avila, Castellanos, Iglesias
Or...Iglesias, Kinsler, Cabrera, Hunter, Martinez, Jackson, Castellanos, Avila, Davis.
Or...Kinsler, Hunter, Cabrera, Martinez, Jackson, Castellanos, Davis, Avila, Iglesias.
Kinsler, Hunter, Cabrera, Martinez, Dirks, Jackson, Avila, Castellanos, Iglesias.
Of course, injuries, hot/cold streaks and matchups will dictate daily lineups. The point is, Cabrera's batting third and I think Ausmus should and will use pencil for every other Tiger who's expected to play regularly.
Also note that this team should be a mid-tier defensive unit. And that's light years better than what they've been.
You've also got speed which can 1. steal bases 2. score from first and 3. first to third and so many more positive residuals that comes from athletes on the bases.
While I'm pleased with the Davis signing, nothing's going to enhance the return for Doug Fister. So if I'm Dave Dombrowski, I'm crossing everything my anatomy will allow that Ian Krol becomes a weapon in the bullpen. To me, he's the linchpin to making the offseason's whole, greater than it's parts.
The Tigers have one final move that's necessary to complete the recalibration of their team. They need a Dotel-type for the bullpen. Someone proven, reliable and maybe beyond all, durable.
If the market for closers collapses I'm agreeable to a return of Joaquin Benoit at a reasonable rate.
The bullpen now stands this way.
Rondon (1/3 of a season of positive results)
Coke (has to thrive as a LOOGY or he's out of MLB)
Alburquerque (dominate or exasperating, there's seemingly no middle ground)
Those are about as close to locks as I can get.
I'd like Krol there, the veteran arm, then you've got any mix of Crosby, now a reliever, the Putkonen, Reed, Marte-types, etc...
If his shoulder is sound after being traded to and not pitching an inning for the Rays, Jesse Crain could be shrewd and economical addition.
Now that he's flamed out as a hyped prospect, Joba Chamberlain could get his siht together and become a force in someone's bullpen.
Remember, while they need this veteran arm, as unknown or unworthy as this addition may feel upon arrival, if stars align, it's feasible to stumble onto a resurrected Mark Melancon. Here's a list of 2013's top middle relievers based on holds. You don't know many of them. They often come from strange places; reformed failed starters, castoffs from other bullpens with no room, ones that fell off 40 man rosters, would-be closers than couldn't sustain that position, etc...
We're as close as we've been all offseason to having a glimpse of what the Opening Day 2014 Tigers will look like.
Time to battle the sabermetricians again. Numbers are great. I love them to help craft viewpoints and attain perspective. There's also reality. It's a fun little setting more people should strive to visit more frequently.
Projection median for Dirks in 2014: 268/328/407 .323 wOBA 100 wRC+. If D numbers hold from '13, that's 2 WAR player in 500 PA.— TigersProspectReport (@TigersProspects) December 9, 2013
@TigersProspects how is health factored in to that?— Eric Chase (@Eric_Chase) December 9, 2013
@Eric_Chase one has him at 600 PA, one at 500 PA. ZIPS (not included) factors in health. Some systems do, some don't.— TigersProspectReport (@TigersProspects) December 9, 2013
@TigersProspects I'd posit 2 is more achievable with LESS PAs, as a non-started. Could sustain optimal health that way.— Eric Chase (@Eric_Chase) December 9, 2013
@Eric_Chase 500 PA, for me at least, assumes that he'd be hitting against RHP 90% of the time.— TigersProspectReport (@TigersProspects) December 9, 2013
@TigersProspects definitely more optimal. That seems like ALOT of PAs vs RHP. I like him, just unsure of his ability to be healthy for 162— Eric Chase (@Eric_Chase) December 9, 2013
@Eric_Chase of his 484 PA, 398 were against RHP this year. Of 1063 in career, 863 are vs RHP.— TigersProspectReport (@TigersProspects) December 9, 2013
@TigersProspects cool. Take a chunk of that away for maintain health and perhaps OPS vs RH gets closer to .800— Eric Chase (@Eric_Chase) December 9, 2013
@Eric_Chase he started 104 games, appeared in 131. Had 484 PA last year. That's a good amount of PT for him.— TigersProspectReport (@TigersProspects) December 9, 2013
@TigersProspects but admittedly ailing.— Eric Chase (@Eric_Chase) December 9, 2013
@Eric_Chase it's a long season. Guys have ailments.
@Eric_Chase it's a long season. Guys have ailments.— TigersProspectReport (@TigersProspects) December 9, 2013
@TigersProspects some more than others. He's not talented enough to be productive thru a knee injury that sapped his pop.— Eric Chase (@Eric_Chase) December 9, 2013
Andy Dirks has been in the Majors for parts of three seasons. 2012 was his best year. I believe it was a hamstring that limited him to 344 PAs, but in them he accumulated an OPS of .857 and an OPS+ of 129.
Last year Dirks battled through a balky knee to to his most PAs ever, 484. As tweeted, Dirks was without power due to the knee, finishing the season with a slugging percentage of .363. To create some context, Jose Iglesias' career slugging percentage is .354.
He's injury prone, and you can't effectively project his worth without factoring in his inability to stay healthy.
In a more brusque way of putting it, ain't no way he's reaching 600 PAs, and 500 will likely be a challenge too.
Leave him on the bench, limit his PAs to mostly right handers, and perhaps in a more calculated situational role, Dirks can recapture his 2.3 WAR productivity of '12.
On the precipice of MLB's Winter Meetings in Orlando, so far the Tigers have dealt one of their starters, for a very dubious return, obtained a decorated closer, and shed Prince Fielder's burdensome contract while acquiring a replacement for the steady Omar Infante and a potential leadoff hitter in Ian Kinsler.
Dave Dombrowski, whose grade can't be any more than an INC at this very second, travels to Orlando with the spoken words that they're about done. From MLive's Chris Iott last week, "We'll just wait and see what takes place," Dombrowski said. "We'll have conversations with clubs. There are some free agents out there. Again, it's Dec. 4, but I don't anticipate any of the major names that are being thrown out there." It's likely posturing, also, he didn't rule out T-R-A-D-E.
To quote the great Snoop Dogg, based on the Tigers moves this offseason they had their mind on their money, and money on their mind. The budget was not endless. We can surmise they had never had the intention of financially chasing a title, breaking towards that $189 lux tax and recklessly spending their portion of the incoming TV windfall.
With Granderson and Beltran, both of whom I desired for Detroit at a time this offseason, both off the market, many peg the Tigers, regardless of Dombrowski's statement, as a potential destination for Shin Soo Choo.
I hope not.
From their course of action so far, I cannot see the Tigers spending what I project it'll take to sign Choo; 6 years $108 million. Again, I can't spending that much for a lot of OBP, a little pop, good fielding and dwindling success against left handed pitching. I know I sound ultra critical, but in a handful of seasons, it'll be painful for me to think you're paying someone nearly $20 million to do something a little leaguer to do - take four pitches. I'll develop that type precise plate discipline in my minors thank you very much.
There's no such thing as a healthy Andy Dirks. If he could stay off the DL, I'd LOVE his 344 PA and 2.3 WAR '12 season off the bench. Limiting his playing time may allow him to sustain better health.
It seems all but decided that Nick Castellanos will be the Opening day third baseman. Eh, I'd have him in the OF/1B/DH/3B mix, but you wanna re-ordain his third baseman-ship, it's tolerable.
The Tigers need an outfielder. LF or RF. Yep, Hunter COULD slide to LF.
After coming across this yesterday, The Yankees have received significant interest in Gardner, and are willing to trade him, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person requested anonymity in order to speak freely. The organization does not plan to deal Gardner, who they view as a versatile, valuable player. But they will listen to offers as they attempt to fill various voids on their roster. That's from NJ.com's Andrew Mccullough.
The Yankees, who Rob Neyer says were a 71 win team, and Tigers can help one another.
Gardner will make around $4 million in arbitration this year, and next year he'll be a free agent, just like Max Scherzer, except Scott Boras is not his agent.
With CC Sabathia at nearly 2900 career innings, coming off a nearly replacement level year (making at least another $75 million), the Yankees undoubtedly need a new ace to place in a rotation with Kuroda, Nova, and possibly, Michael Pineda.
Scherzer wouldn't been an appealing trade piece to most teams because there's little chance Boras would bless an extension. I suspect that wouldn't be the case if Scherzer were to become a Yankee. I sense most Tiger fans are coming around to the reality that they can't and shouldn't give Scherzer what Boras will ask for. I think the Yankees would gladly settle with Boras/Scherzer on 6/150, 7/175, or perhaps that 7th year is some type of option.
The Yankees get their ace, the Tigers could get their left fielder, and potentially offer him a reasonable extension. Yes, Gardness struck out 152 times last year. He also STILL produced an OBP of .344.
Scherzer is the reigning AL Cy Young winner and owner of a 2013 6.7 WAR. Gardner was a 4.2 guy.
One for one wouldn't work for me.
The Tigers need more potential bullpen arms. The one Yankee that jumps out at me in that sense is former starting prospect Dellin Betances. Last year in Scranton the 6'8" Betances transitioned to the bullpen. Outside of some control issues, it worked. 84 innings, 52 hits, 11.9 K/9 a 1.12 WHIP and a 2.68 ERA. Exactly the type of power arm the Tigers need to continued restructuring their bullpen.
With Scherzer gone the Tigers rotation is down to Verlander, Sanchez, Porcello and Smyly. They obviously need a starter. While he's not quite what he was in Tampa, Matt Garza, for the same deal Ricky Nolasco got from Minnesota (4/49), I'm in.
Garza's 12 plus Gardner's arb at 4 (or an extension which is feasible since it's Hunter's final year) is not much more than what Scherzer will settle on in arbitration this winter.
1. Gardner LF
2. Hunter RF
3. Cabrera 1B
4. Martinez DH
5. Jackson CF
6. Kinsler 2B
7. Avila C
8. Castellanos 3B
9. Iglesias SS
In reality, you've got a ton of lineup flexibity among Kinsler, Hunter, Jackson, Gardner and at some point, possibly Castellanos.
Dirks, Holaday, Kelly, Lombardozzi.
Verlander, Sanchez, Garza, Porcello Smyly.