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Bless You Boys: FanPosts

A Justin Verlander blog with some occasional Tigers coverage

Updated: 2017-12-15T11:48:33-05:00


Why are you a Detroit Tigers fan?


It's just a list of things :

  • Bubble gum
  • Al Kaline
  • Willie Horton
  • Baseball Cards
  • This Week in Baseball
  • The Big Red Machine
  • Mark "The Bird Fidrich"
  • Disco Demolition Night
  • Bleacher Creatures
  • Sparky Anderson
  • Pepsi Tiger Fan Club
  • They are chanting "Lou", not boo
  • Magnum P.I.
  • 35 - 5
  • Al Ackerman and Bernie Smilovitz
  • '84 Tigers
  • Doyle Alexander
  • Cecil Fielder
  • Enie Harwell
  • Jeff Weaver
  • Comerica Park
  • Alan Trammell as manager
  • Pudge
  • Everything 2006 and beyond

I probably forgot a few things. So feel free to add to the list.

Revised: The New Path of the Tigers


In my previous post a month ago I laid out what I thought the new path of the Tigers would be. From cutting payroll, trading off tradeable pieces, and acquiring highly touted prospects and lots of them. In the third day of the Winter Meetings we are finally getting some movement in the market to where a couple deals could be made. So I’ve revamped my deals and taken ideas from information given by insiders to project Detroit’s next moves this offseason. Ian Kinsler seems to be one of the most talked about commodities at the Winter Meetings this week with interest coming from several teams. Namely the Angels, Brewers, and Mets, with the Angels showing the most interest. It seems more and more likely that Kinsler will not be a Tiger for very much longer. So I believe the very active Angels will end up acquiring the Gold Glove Second Baseman. Deal: Ian Kinsler to Los Angeles Angels for Jahmai Jones I mentioned before that Detroit should be trying to acquire as many good prospects as they can. One way to do that is to take on bad contracts. There are several of these throughout the league: Matt Kemp & Nick Markakis (Braves), Jacoby Ellsbury (Yankees), Shin-Soo Choo (Rangers), among several others. For Detroit to take on the majority of these contracts they would likely get a nice package of contracts as compensation for those salaries. I think Detroit could look to the Braves who have Ronald Acuna blocked by Kemp and Markakis in the Corner Outfield positions and could look to dump one of those contracts and open that spot up for him. By acquiring Kemp and his $21 million/year contract (which San Diego will pay $6 million Detroit will get two quality prospects and a potential trade chip in Kemp at the Trade Deadline this summer. Deal: Matt Kemp, Ian Anderson, and Touki Toussaint to Detroit for Warwick Saupold In my previous post I talked about releasing Victor Martinez and eating his albatross of a contract. It seems that this will not be in the cards for the Tigers this year, although it could’ve made sense. Detroit will hold on to V-Mart, but will look to trade him if he bounces back from his physical ailments. They will most likely need to do a Kemp-type deal with him by eating his contract and hoping to get some return. The elephant in the room is the rumor of Michael Fulmer getting heavy trade interest from: New York Yankees. I’m sure there are several others interested, but the team most often reported is the "Evil Empire." So what does Detroit have to receive to even consider a trade for Fulmer? You are probably looking at a Chris Sale type trade with three top 100 prospects and one or two fringe prospects. The Yankees have these prospects, but are they willing to give up their top guys for five years of Fulmer control? Probably, is the closest answer available right now as talks haven’t progressed enough to gauge the intensity of interest from Cashman. Detroit, if they were to pull this off, would need to AT LEAST get Gleyber Torres, Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield, and another prospect of high caliber. Perhaps it is reduced to those three and perhaps you switch out Sheffield for Frazier or Florial, but the package must include Torres. For three years of Chris Sale Chicago received Moncada, Kopech, Luis Robert, and Luis Alexander Basabe. For five years of a 24 year old Michael Fulmer I would expect a similar package of prospects, otherwise Detroit holds him back. Deal: Michael Fulmer to New York Yankees for Gleyber Torres, Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield, and Taylor Widener Detroit has some other pieces that could be moved but a market just hasn’t developed for them this winter. Those being Jose Iglesias, Nicholas Castellanos, Jordan Zimmermann, and Shane Greene. I don’t expect Detroit to be able to trade these players this winter, but could look to trade Greene or Iglesias or Castellanos this summer at the trade deadline. Zimmermann would most likely have to have a bounce back season to regain his trade value and Detroit could potentially deal h[...]

You were supposed to destroy the Sith, not join them!


I'm going to get lambasted in the comments on this one, but I had an idea shortly after the Evil Empire (Yankees) traded for GiancarloStanton. This write-up is only going to feed into the Yankees resurrection as the team everyone hates, hence the title. First of all, it's obvious they are in win-now mode and went all Yankees about it by taking on Stanton's massive contract; with what I can only assume comes with a Jeter gift basket of Valtrex, signed balls, and a notarized copy of the non-disclosure agreement you begrudgingly signed the night before. I feel it was a little premature on their end, but it's obvious they are trying to build a murderers row ASAP based on Aaron Judge's breakout and their playoff run. Get Stanton today, Bryce Harper or Manny Machado next year, and then they will likely suffer on the pitching side of things, but so many balls are going to be flying out of that breadbox of a stadium, no one is going to care. But they should. I propose that the Tigers' current rebuild can capitalize on the Yankees trying to win everything right now by playing to their "weaknesses," along with GM Brian Cashman's ego and almost pathological need to have the better team on paper than the Red Sox, and it would only take one trade. Disclaimer: The Tigers are going to field a miserable team for at least another year with this idea. The Trade: Ian Kinsler, Michael Fulmer, and Shane Greene to the Yankees, Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, and $1 million in international bonus pool spending. The Logic: The Yankees get the rotation piece they so desperately need in Fulmer. He's still young and under control for a five years, and despite a late-season nerve repair by Dr. Death Andrews, he still has a ridiculous track record for a guy who is still only 24 years old. Kinsler is an ideal bounceback candidate for any team and considering they just traded Starlin Castro to the Marlins in the Stanton deal, they could use a second baseman and another veteran presence. Greene would be a nice kicker on this deal to slot in as a middle reliever behind Delin Betances and Aroldis Chapman. It would only cost them about $15 million for these three players, still keeping them under the luxury tax threshold, while they shed the contracts of CC Sabathia, A-Rod, Matt Holliday, Michael Pineda, and Mark Teixeira. The Tigers get one of the best prospects in the game who will still need another year to "fully recover" from last year's Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing elbow. I think Frazier, a.k.a. Ginger Jesus, is going to be a massive star in less than two years and can slot in nicely in the Tigers' outfield while he gets MLB at-bats and can dial in that crazy good bat speed. The bonus pool money is what we use to sign Yoshihisa Hirano over from Japan to act as our closer while our young arms tune up in the minors. The Future: After this deal, the Yankees would be ungodly stacked all around. They would have a controllable rotation piece to match the massive offense upgrade they just got with Stanton, their bullpen would arguably be the best in the league, and Kinsler would be a nice one-year add-on to make a World Series push in 2018 or trade at the deadline should he return to ~4 WAR that he used to average. The Tigers would now likely have a top-five farm system and the time to let everyone in their farm system slowly mature, and Torres to come back from surgery and fill a big-league role quicker than our other younger pieces. Another added bonus is that the Tigers would likely be god-awful for at least two years and gain excellent draft position, and would hopefully use those picks wisely (looking at you, Brady Singer, and a Florida reunion with your old buddy, Alex Faedo) to help the Tigers through this rebuild ASAP. I love our young pieces, and more of them can't hurt. Three years down the road our rotation could be filled with a youth movement to beat the band: Perez, Manning, Faedo, Singer, Norris, Boyd? If two or three of them pan out, we could have a nice li[...]

My (Tigers based) reaction to the Stanton trade


We knew coming into this offseason that the decisions by Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani would drive things, and now both have happened. The direct impact will be on teams like the Mariners and Giants who will have to move to plan B's, but secondary impacts will be league-wide. Yankees Salary Concerns The Yankees now have a serious glut of MLB-level outfielders along with the further complicated total salary picture. Yankees fans will be even more interested in dumping off Jacoby Ellsbury somewhere than they were before. He's owed $21 million over the next three seasons and now figures to be a fifth outfielder. The Yankees would have to give up something in a trade to make it worth someone taking on his contract. The Tigers, for example, could demand a rather substantial package of prospects to take him on. Another thought would be to form a trade that included Ellsbury and Jordan Zimmermann. With starting pitching still having lingering concerns and the outfield pretty much set, I'd pump the breaks on that one. Regardless, the Tigers could then slot Ellsbury's left-handed bat as part of another platoon in the outfield. The problem with all of this is that Ellsbury would have to waive his no-trade clause to make it happen. If the Yankees do try to move him, I could see the same dynamic as the Stanton trade. The Yankees might have to settle for their Plan C or D when it becomes clear that Ellsbury would reject their best options. Another player to watch is Chase Headley. Headley is a switch-hitter who can cover first base, third base, and left field. While a veteran who can cover multiple positions will be helpful on a team looking to give fringe major leaguers space to grow, those are not the positions where the Tigers need depth. While another left-handed bat could help in the outfield, this isn't a significant need. To boot, the Tigers already have multiple players who can cover first and third. In the end, I don't see the Yankees salary concerns having a direct impact on the Tigers. Secondary impact, maybe, but we'll have to see that play out. Reaction in the AL East While we knew the Yankees figured to be a force in the AL East, we figured the real push might not start until the 2019 free agent group was available. Instead, they are ready to go full-speed in 2018. Going into this year, it looked like the Orioles would delay their next rebuild for a year and go for it one last time with their group of popular players. Now, I can't help but wonder if they'll see less reason to do that and kickstart the rebuild now. That would add third baseman Manny Machado, center fielder Adam Jones, and left handed reliever Zach Britton to the list of readily players available by trade. Machado's presence could directly impact Ian Kinsler's trade market since some teams were considering him at third. The Yankees will now have a murderers row of right-handed hitters. This could drive teams looking to compete with them in the AL East, like the Red Sox and Blue Jays, to react by adding quality right handed relievers. Shane Greene's closing experience in addition to the ability to go multiple innings would fit quite well in both bullpens. With all of this talk of Michael Fulmer potentially being traded to the Yankees now, I actually think there's a slightly better chance of him going to the Red Sox. Their starting lineup is likely to consist of Rick Porcello and four left-handers. That doesn't line up well against those right handed bats of the Yankees. Does this happen at all? No, I really don't think so. But Fulmer would bring more value in Boston than he would in New York. More on the market for Ian Kinsler The Stanton trade included Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro. We thought he would be holding down second in New York, but now he's a surprising addition to the trade market from Miami. The Marlins see him as a guy who can be of value to hold down that position for now, but they will certainly be listeni[...]

A Letter to Santa Paws



Dear Santa Paws,

I"ve been a fan of the Tigers for over 50 years. My late Mother was a huge Fan, and her folks were huge fans. My Mom passed in September of this year and one of our last conversations was of how and why Tram is not in the Hall of Fame yet. So, my wish is for our All-Time Favorite Tiger, Alan Trammell to finally be voted into the Hall of Fame. I'm hoping that the Tiger Execs take this to the limit and show Mr. Trammell what a great player he was for our Tigers and Baseball. If he does not get into the Hall, they should build a statue for him beside Willie, and Al.

Thank you,

David Perry for the Late, Judy Perry

It's time to start getting excited about Brady Singer


The Detroit Tigers are owners of the first overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft after hobbling to a 64-98 finish last season. With that selection comes great responsibility, and of course, much excitement. But no other candidate excites me as much as University of Florida right-hander Brady Singer. For good reason, too. Singer just led the Gators to their first College World Series title in school history, along with the Tigers' first selection in the 2017 Draft, Alex Faedo. The 21-year-old compiled a 9-5 record and 3.21 ERA over a team-high 126.0 IP. He owned a 9.21 K/9 rating and 1.21 WHIP in the summer of '17 en route to being named to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. He dominated the LSU Tigers in Game 1 of the CWS, striking out 12 over seven innings in which he allowed three runs and two walks. LSU's head coach Paul Mainieri commented that Singer was the best pitcher LSU had ever faced in SEC play, while second baseman Cole Freeman raved about his MLB-ready stuff. Singer owns a wicked fastball with good movement. He's not the hardest thrower -- typically sitting in the mid-90's -- but has enough run to keep hitters off balance. His slider is something that's gotten better ever since his arrival to Florida and will continue to baffle hitters at the professional level. The Eustis, Florida native can also add a good build to an already impressive resume. At 6'5", he is the same height as former Tiger Rick Porcello, but weighs just 15 pounds less (190 lbs). That tall, lanky build and slightly unconventional delivery is a plus for Singer. Lastly, and my favorite, is the competitive nature of the young righty. He loves the big stage and thrives with what comes with it, never one to hide his emotion. In a Super Regional Game against Wake Forest in June, the grounds crew elected to bring out the tarp as the rain started to pick up. Singer wasn't pleased. He was livid walking off the mound and even had to be calmed down by a teammate as his postseason start was cut short and he knew he wouldn't return. The ESPN camera crew picked up everything and followed Singer's fit all the way into the dugout. As a fan/teammate/coach, you always want to see a guy itching to take the mound every fifth day, and Singer perfectly encapsulates that. That bulldog mentality shows he is a winner, gamer and someone you want on your team. Check out this mini-highlight reel if you're still not convinced. MLB Pipeline's article published Wednesday has Singer to the Tigers and calls him "the clear choice as the best overall talent in the 2018 Draft class, which some think could be the best since 2011." While Singer isn't a shoo-in yet to be a Tiger come June 4, there's also flashy high schooler Ethan Hankins that Avila has to choose from. Hankins hails from Atlanta, Georgia, and has the best fastball in the draft's Top 50, per MLB Pipeline. Regardless, the decision the Tigers' bosses are tasked with is a good problem to have. Not necessarily because of the record the big league club posted, but because of what a top draft pick can mean to a rebuilding club. This is a good start to said rebuild, and drafting Singer would lead to an even better one. Poll You're Al Avila. Who do you draft on June 4? Brady Singer Ethan Hankins   375 votes | Results [...]

Tigers 40-man and projected 25-man rosters as they stand now (Updated 12/14)


With the Winter Meetings starting next week and the hot stove ready to kick into gear, I figure this is a good time to take a look at not only the Tigers 40-man extended roster but also the projected 25-man roster for next season. It's easy to see a player floating around out there and see the open spot on the 40-man roster, but we should also make sure there's enough depth in place to field a team. Update 12/14: I'm updating this again at the end of the Winter Meetings with recent changes, just to see how they might pan out. Pitchers Let's first take a look at the pitching staff. Here, I've marked 9 pitchers that currently figure to be starting pitching depth. I've also marked each player that can't be optioned to Toledo. Starting Pitchers (5) Bullpen (7) Toledo (currently 11) * Michael Fulmer Shane Greene * Ryan Carpenter * Jordan Zimmermann (vet) Alex Wilson * Artie Lewicki * Matthew Boyd (no option) Warwick Saupold Chad Bell * Daniel Norris Daniel Stumpf Joe Jimenez Veteran MLB Starter * Mike Fiers * Buck Farmer (no option) Victor Alcantara (Outrighted) * Drew VerHagen (no option) Spencer Turnbull Blaine Hardy Sandy Baez Zac Reininger Jairo Labourt Gerson Moreno Gregory Soto Eduardo Jimenez The current depth chart would put either Farmer or VerHagen in the 5th starter slot, but I think it's safe to say Al Avila will find a veteran starter like Chris Tillman looking to bounce back after a bad year. Update: The team has filled that veteran free agent spot with Mike Fiers. But, there's still talk of another free agent like Tillman. I'm not sure I understand that unless they are seriously considering one of the starters for the bullpen. There's been talk of doing that at varying levels with Boyd, Norris, and even Zimmermann. If that's the case, this can make sense. If not, I'd imagine this additional starter will end up being someone who can shuttle between Detroit and Toledo as needed. On the other hand, the team could consider going with a 6-man rotation if all these guys are healthy and performing well. The only way that I can see even considering a sixth starter is if the team carries an extra pitcher and one fewer position player than most. These starters just don't go deep enough into games to be a man down in the bullpen. If there is still room for another MLB-level starter, the following still applies... As an alternative to a free agent, Avila could make a deal with another GM to send him one of their overpaid but still serviceable starters along with a prospect or two. The prospects would make it worth having to pay the extra salary, but the logic about bringing them on still holds. I put together a list of possibilities a couple weeks ago that identified Brandon McCarthy and a few others. That leaves Farmer and VerHagen who are starters who can't be optioned to Toledo without being exposed to waivers. Yes, they could become full-time relievers, but we should still mark them as starting pitching depth for when one of the first five is injured or needs some time in Triple-A. Avila has said that he feels he needs 10 total and I have nine. Look for Avila to grab one additional fringe starter who could split time between Toledo and Detroit. All of this is before the Rule 5 draft. The Tigers currently have one open roster spot and could have another once Ian Kinsler is traded. I'm guessing the Kinsler trade will bring one player who needs Rule 5 protection, though. You'll notice there's a disproportionate number of pitchers on this list to begin with. Avila will have to sneak a few of them through waivers later on when everyone else's roster is at or near full. I have no idea who that might be. Whoever is bumped off the extended roster will make room for another of these reclamation free agents that Avila will be finding. But, here's the take-home message: Every time Avil[...]

A Letter to Santa Paws



Dear Santa,

Wow, I couldn't wait to write and say how good I've been all year and talk about all the stuff I want for Christmas! I've been really good! I know next year's gonna be the best, after all the stuff I'll get on Christmas to make it the best ever!

OK, well, maybe I haven't been really good. I guess I did some bad things this year too. I gave away the fans' favorite outfielder in July and then I took their lunch money in September. Most days, actually. But I wrote them a nice letter saying sorry, too. Mom says you should always say you're sorry so you don't get on the naughty list. Mom kind of wrote the letter too so it would say the right things, but I don't know if it worked.

It's been kind of a tough year, actually, Santa. My dad died in February. He was really rich and really nice. He was the big cheese. He always bought me the best toys, even when I didn't ask for them. Now he's gone and Mom says we can't afford any more new toys for a while.

I don't need any new toys, though. I just want the ones I have to work. The old ones are kind of broken and falling apart. They're mostly all the expensive ones, too, so we can't afford to replace them. I want to give some of them away so that other less fortunate teams can have them, but I don't think they even want them. So if your elves can fix up Jordan Zimmermann and Miguel Cabrera so they work the way they should, I'd really appreciate it.

Actually, I've got a lot of broken toys, but I was thinking maybe I could trade some of them. But nobody wants those ones and anyway Miggy's my favorite and I think the fans would get really mad again if I traded him. They already looked really sad last year when I traded Justin Verlander to Houston and some of them said I wasn't their friend anymore, now Houston was, and then Houston had like a really big party with a magician and things.

I also want a new computer, Santa. I already have one, it's supposed to be really good and they named it after Dad's favorite food, so I kind of like it. It's supposed to go out and find all the best toys for the best prices. But I don't know if it works. I haven't tried it much, but I'm kind of afraid to. Can you take this computer back to your workshop and make it so it always knows which toys are the best and which ones are broken? Then I wouldn't need so much money like New York and Los Angeles have.

If you have room in your sleigh, I'd also really like a Hall of Fame plaque, but not for me, it's for my friends Alan and Lou. They're super nice and they won't say anything bad about anyone, but I can tell they kinda want to. Something about writers. They're a little mad they don't have one when that guy down the block Ozzie Smith does. But I bet they won't ask for one themselves, so I'm asking for them.

Thank you, Santa! See you on the 24th!

Your pal,

The Detroit Tigers

The Sunshine's Funtime Pokemon Baseball Team


We've hit peak off-season doldrums, as outside of the Braves organization getting gutted like a fish and discussion over which free agents to sign (that bargain bin), there's not a whole lot going on for us fans. With that in mind, Grace challenged us to create a baseball team comprised of Pocket Monsters (POKEMON) as a fun exercise. My first ever video game was Pokemon Red, played on a shiny new Game Boy Pocket back in the early 1990s; my brother had Pokemon Blue, and we shared a link cable (for trades) and charge packs (AAA batteries are so expensive for a system that burns through them like Prince Fielder through a fan's nachos). I later moved on to Pokemon Yellow, which allowed you to get all three regular starters as well as having the series' mascot, Pikachu, to start off (veteran Red and Blue players will note that you can of course get a Pikachu in Veridian Forest near the beginning of the game). I tried moving up to Gold and Silver, but the new time mechanics got a bit frustrating, and the internal cartridge battery died on my Gold, so I stopped there. Due to this, my Pokemon Baseball team will be primarily characters from Red and Blue. Pitchers Starting pitching: -Magmar: This flame-type, humanoid Pokemon has an incredible Heater. -Blastoise: Has dual cannons on his back for maximum velocity on his fastball. -Hypno: Doesn't have the greatest stuff, but has an uncanny ability to hypnotize batters with his breaking ball. -Marowak: Good luck hitting his signature pitch the Bone Club, which has a late-movement boomerang action. -Scyther: Throws a devastating Cutter. Relievers: -Onyx: Rock solid relief. -Eevee: Super flexible fireman role, changes as needed. -Jolteon: That reliever with the lightning stuff, but has accuracy issues. -Flareon: Classic fireballer. -Vaporeon: Tends to get overshadowed by all the other similar choices, but surprisingly good (that's a water-type joke cause there's a bajillion of them). Closer: -Gengar: Will haunt your dreams and eat your soul. One guy you do not want to run into, as his pitches appear to vanish in front of you. Lineup Catcher: -Dugtrio: Quick, not too flashy, and very underrated power. Just don't mention his defense, which is pretty weak. First base: -Machamp: You want dingers? This guy will hit dingers. Slow on the base paths, but crushes baseballs. Probably needs to be tested for steroids. Second base: -Hitmonlee: Great speed and range, pairs well with the SS. Shortstop: -Hitmonchan: Great glove and arm strength, pairs well with the 2B. Third base: -Pinsir: Defensive wiz, nothing goes over his head (his reflexes are too fast and he'd catch it). Outfielders: -Articuno: First of three legendary players, ice in his veins. -Zapdos: Second of three legendary players, always electric at the plate. -Moltres: Third of three legendary players, hot-headed and ready to fire up his teammates. Designated hitter: -Gyrados: Has a tendency for line-drive HRs, which fans call Hyper Beams. Bench Pinch hitter: -Dragonite: He's got power and surprising speed for a big guy. Pinch runner: -Chansey: Catching them is totally up to chance. Utility players: -Mr. Mime and Ditto: Have an uncanny knack of copying the player they're substituting for. Bonus Coaches: Head Coach: -Mewtwo: Powerful, has good control over the clubhouse, and an almost psychic ability to determine correct bullpen usage. Bench Coach: -Snorlax: The Gene Lamont of Pokemon. First Base Coach: -Sandslash: Doesn't do much, seems pretty cool though. Defensive specialist. Third Base Coach: -Primeape: Wild, wacky, and prone to hysterical arm-flailing movements during play. Hitting Coach: -Charizard: Looks cool, hard hitter....but not nearly as useful as people thought he was. Pitching Coach: -Beedrill: Has had a long career as a pitchi[...]

Grace's Pokémon team


I have watched Pokémon since I was small. I had most of the original TV series on VHS tapes and saw most of the episodes multiple times. I have played nearly every Pokémon game made all the way up to X&Y, and I watched the anime up to Black & White. Needless to say, when I came up with this week’s FanPost Friday prompt, I was pretty excited to draft my own Pokémon roster. So without further ado, here’s my list! (Note: I linked the Pokédex entries for each Pokémon so you can see what they look like if you don't know them.) Pitchers Starting pitching: Beldum, Groudon, CharizardWith a cannon for a body, Beldum would make an excellent starter. He’s a robot and therefore could go the distance regularly. Groudon is the only Legendary on my list. His scowl and 11’6", two thousand pound frame make him quite intimidating.Charizard has a wingspan that would give Chris Sale a run for his money. His long tail would help with stability during his pitching motion as well. Relievers: Octillery, SpoinkOctillery is an octopus who can use his spout to pitch and put up great velocity. But he isn’t very big, so he wouldn’t have a ton of stamina. Spoink is a tiny pig with a ball between his ears. He has a spring to hop and gain enough altitude to pitch. Closer: CacneaShe has an electric arm, since her arms alone make up nearly half her body. Cacnea even wears a crown, proving she has a good closer’s mindset. Lineup Catcher: AipomAipom is a monkey with a hand at the end of his tail. He can use it as a glove to catch anything that comes his way, deftly preventing wild pitches and passed balls. First base: VictreebelThe pitcher plant Pokemon, Victreebel can gobble up throws from third, short, or second to complete plays with ease. Second base: Plusle(see below) Shortstop: MinunPlusle and Minun are a team, like any good double play combination. They’re small, but pack a punch. Who knows -- they could be the next Tram and Lou. Third base: HitmonchanThe boxing Pokémon Hitmonchan already has gloves on. He’s also fast, so he’d be great at the hot corner. Left field: DiglettDiglett can burrow under the ground then pop up wherever he wishes -- perfect for an outfield position with a lot of ground to cover. He’s small, though, so he’d be better in left than center. Center field: Pelipper Pelipper is a pelican, so he can fly around a vast center field and catch pop-ups and fly balls in his spacious bill. Right field: LombreHaving a lily pad on his head gives Lombre an advantage in the outfield, where most of the time he wouldn’t have to throw the ball quickly. Designated hitter: GravelerGraveler has four burly arms to hold the bat and he’s made of solid rock. He’s slow but powerful -- a textbook DH. Bench Pinch hitter: Farfetch’dA little duck with a leek, Farfetch’d already has his bat in hand. He’s a dependable fellow too, taking his tasks very seriously. Pinch runner: ArcanineNot only is he a tiger, Arcanine is incredibly fast. He’d light up the basepaths with his signature move Extreme Speed. Utility player: Ditto or EeveeI tried not to use any from the Pokémon blog post, but this one is just too accurate. Ditto can transform into any other Pokémon, making him the ideal utility man. The next best choice is Eevee. She can evolve into almost any type, including Glaceon, an Ice type, and Umbreon, a Dark type. What do you think of my roster? Poll What grade would you give my team? 21% A 6 votes 32% B 9 votes 11% C 3 votes 0% D 0 votes 7% F 2 votes 29% Don't know 8 votes 28 votes [...]

Another Avenue for Prospects: Absorbing Undesirable Contracts


There's a potential Tigers trade idea that I'd like to explore a bit league-wide. This thought came to me from two different places over the last few months. The first was the talk that the Tigers might package Jordan Zimmermann and Michael Fulmer as a way to get out from underneath Zimmerman's bad contract. Now, before you have a conniption, that trade would be a tremendously bad idea for the Tigers. I actually imagine being on the other side of a deal like that, just at a much less extreme level. I see no reason to absorb a multi-year deal at $20+ million a year. And, I see no reason to expect a cheap controllable All-Star in return. I'm thinking we absorb a one- or two or maybe even three-year contract on a serviceable but over-paid veteran. In return, we'd get a few promising youngsters who should crack the majors in 2020 or so. I have to tip my hat to Ben Rosener over at Motor City Bengals who suggested this in this post. Ben delved pretty deep into a handful of trade possibilities including the possible return, but I'm going to cast a wider net. I'm also going to rely on the analysis done by the folks at MLB Trade Rumors in their Offseason Outlook series. I'm also going to leave the possible return in these trades to others who know much more than I. There are a few ways that trades like these could be done: Simple salary dump: Tigers receive an undesirable contract as well as some desirable youngsters and send nothing in return. This strikes me as relatively unlikely considering the optics for both teams. Obscured salary dump: Tigers receive both the undesirable veteran contract and desirable youngsters but return low-profile placeholders in return. These could be guys that could be placed on waivers anyhow or maybe minor leagers who just aren't performing in a way that looks like they'll be successful long-term. The trade partner probably holds on to them as a way of filling out their MLB or MiLB rosters, but doesn't hold their breath looking for long-term value. Trade enhancer: The Tigers already have a trade brewing with a contender and the Tigers take on one of their undesirable contracts to enhance the return. If it's for a guy like Ian Kinsler, that could mean taking on a struggling veteran who is making about the same amount as him. Assisting in a fire sale: Team A is trading away a desirable contract and expects a sizable prospect haul (think: Giancarlo Staton). They are willing to expect a lesser haul if the receiving team is willing to take on an undesirable contract as well. Team B doesn't want to do that, but the Tigers step in as a third team. Team A sends the undesirable contract to the Tigers and receives a portion of the prospect haul from Team B. Trade partner looking to make room: Team A is sending an expensive but sought after player to Team B, but they need some help making salary room. Team B would love Team A to either eat some of the salary or take on one of their pricey veterans instead, but Team A isn't interested. (Again, think Stanton.) So, the Tigers receive the undesirable contract from Team B and prospects from one or both of the other teams in the deal. This isn't about being excited to bring on the veteran. It's about being able to eat the contract better than the other team can, fill a need the team had anyhow short-term, and build a future winner using the young guys that come in the deal. Miami Marlins (outlook) When it comes to shedding payroll, the team that should come to mind first is the Miami Marlins. Some of their contracts, with Giancarlo Stanton topping the list, have surplus value and will net some future value for them. Clearly, the Tigers won't be trading for Stanton or anyone else of immediate value. But, there are a few guys who aren't playing up to thei[...]

Shedding light on the darkness that is the Tigers rebuild



It's hard to be optimistic regarding the current state of the Detroit Tigers.

A belly-up 2017 campaign that saw J.D. Martinez, Justin Wilson, Alex Avila, Justin Upton and Justin Verlander dealt kicked off a full-fledged rebuild, and the next man up on general manager Al Avila's checklist appears to be Ian Kinsler.

The trade talk and speculation resurfaced Monday surrounding the Tigers' second baseman. According to's Jon Morosi, the Los Angeles Angles and New York Mets have looked into the possibility of acquiring Kinsler via trade, including some preliminary conversations.

What does this mean?

Well, for starters, it's growing unlikely Kinsler will be a Tiger in 2018. Lynn Henning of the Detroit News tweeted that this move could come as soon as the Winter Meetings, which take place December 10-14 in Orlando, Florida.

Secondly, and probably most importantly, this is to be the norm over the span of the next few seasons for the Tigers organization. We've officially reached the rebuild mode, and '18 will be the inaugural season of it.

We're going to get used to a carousel of a starting lineup from maybe everywhere but the first base position (that Miguel Cabrera guy is still in the picture, you know).

It more than likely won't be fun, but does it have to be that way? Can we put a positive spin on this for a second?

Just think. We liked what we saw from Jeimer Candelario's second-half audition. Management was so set on the future of Dixon Machado that Andrew Romine was pitched to the curb in order to make room for the savvy infielder, who surprised with his bat last season. Mikie Mahtook emerged as a spark-plug, a la Cameron Maybin in 2016.

A trio of Michael Fulmer, Matthew Boyd and Daniel Norris has the potential of being sneaky good. Fulmer's coming off elbow surgery, and Boyd and Norris hopefully are ready to part ways with their growing pains.

Shane Greene found his niche in the closer's role. Joe Jimenez appeared in 24 games, struggling appearances albeit, but still could hold a prominent role in the back of the 'pen entering his age-23 season in April. James McCann, Jose Iglesias and Nicholas Castellanos are set to step up to fill the shoes of the veteran leadership that was traded away in 2017.

New leadership, too. Ron Gardenhire is best known for getting a whole lot out of nothing with the small-market Minnesota Twins from 2002-14, including six division titles. He'll have a tall task with this group at the moment, but he does have experience (and success) in this department.

So, there: A core. A very, very fresh bunch, but one nonetheless.

It'll undoubtedly take a handful of seasons until Detroit baseball is back on the map, and we know that. But for now, let's do our best to enjoy what we have.

The young talent now and the moves made over the next few years will only lay the groundwork in the effort to bring October baseball back to the Motor City.

We'll get there. I promise.

"Now is the winter of our discontent..." November/December Open Thread.



Since there is so little of major consequence going on in the world of baseball, I thought an open thread might be useful to discuss miscellaneous topics over the next few weeks.

Here are a few topics:

  • So far the Tigers have signed minor league contracts with four youngish players--pitchers Mark Montgomery (27) and Kevin Comer (25), along with infielders/utility players Niko Goodrum (25) and Edwin Espinal (23). Do any of them have a shot at the majors any time soon?
  • Monday, Nov. 20, is the deadline for teams to finalize their 40-man rosters prior to the Rule 5 Draft. Which players will the Tigers protect, and maybe more interesting (since the Tigers have first dibs), which promising players will other teams leave unprotected?
  • The Arizona Fall League ended yesterday, but the Tigers have at least three players playing in Australia, most notably 17-year-old Jack O'Loughlin, plus at least four players (or now 5, counting Espinal) in the Dominican Winter League (Jairo Labourt, Paul Voelker, Dawel Lugo and Sergio Alcantara) and four more in Venezuela (including Harold Castro and Arvicent Perez). How are they doing?

Feel fee to discuss any other baseball-related topic here. I expect random things will come up for discussion right on up through the end of the year, if this thread survives.

Does Avila suck? Al Avila and the State of the Tigers


The 2017 Detroit Tigers were like a burning, on fire 2000 Chevy Silverado. You want to know more, but you're afraid to get too close. The Tigers finished with the worst record in baseball at 64-98, and won just six games in their last month. Not good. Once the deadline ended, many fans felt underwhelmed by the returns of Wilson, and especially JD. The Tigers also traded our lord and savior Justin Verlander. Some fans have taken it a step further, offering to pay for a one-way ticket to Indonesia for their dear GM (sorry Indonesians). But, has Avila been that bad? Should we send him as far away from Detroit as possible? Well, if you're going to fire a man, you need to first need to remember what type of situation he entered in. The State of the Tigers, April 2016 The 2015 Tigers missed the playoffs but were highly successful in their "retooling." As a result, the Tigers had young rookies in Fulmer, Norris, Boyd, and a couple of other solid prospects. They still had Miggy. JV himself was about to enter a Cy-Young caliber season (I will hate Tampa writers forever). However, baseball doesn't work like the NBA. You can't win it all with a couple of good players. You can’t even win it all with a bunch of great players. You need a team. You need MLB regulars at every position, and you need as many talented backups as you can get. The Tigers 2013 lost in the ALCS because they didn't have enough depth. So, did the Tigers have enough depth in 2016? They had McCann, Miggy, Kinsler, Iglesias, and Castellanos in the infield. J-UP, Maybin, and JDMart in the outfield. They had the runner up MVP in Vmart at DH. On paper, that looks pretty good. But how was their depth? What happened if someone got hurt? Behind the starting lineup, we had Romine, Alives, McGehee, Aybar... I think you get the idea. There was no Javier Baez to fill in for anyone who got injured. Pitching was the same way, with the great Buck Farmer and Kyle Ryan as reserves. Now, you might be asking, "If our depth sucked so much, why didn't Avila get anyone?!" The answer is simple: We were out of resources to acquire additional players. In baseball, there are two forms of currency: prospects and actual money. The 2016 Detroit Farm system: ranked in the bottom 5 for farm systems by basically every prospect evaluation you could find. The 2016 Detroit Tigers Payroll: started with a payroll of $198,593,000, and finished the year with a total payroll of $212,044,266 (ref: baseball prospectus Cots), which ranked third in all of baseball. With our limited resources, here are the moves the Tigers did make in 2016: Jordan Zimmermann: Signed for $110 million over five years, Zimmermann was supposed to be the marque' signing of the offseason. Many in the media speculated that he would sign for six years and about $130 million, but he ended up taking less to be in the Midwest, near his family. Unfortunately, he had shoulder issues in his first and second season in Detroit and has not lived up to expectations. He did have an injury history (Tommy John surgery in 2010), but he had averaged over 200 innings in his last fours seasons. If you anticipated Zimmerman developing neck issues, you should buy a lottery ticket. Other SP options that year: David Price (signed for 217M and now has elbow issues), Zack Greinke (signed a 6-year $206M deal as a 32 year-old at the time), and Johnny Cueto (signed for $130M-was great for 2016, but isn’t looking pretty from 2017-on: 4.52 ERA in his second year and didn’t opt out). J-UP: Our late, dear Mr. Mike Ilitch wanted another bat in January. He was determined to get one last star for a championship in Detroit by any means necessary. As previously reported he[...]

It would be "stupid" not to maximize a player's value


The Tigers have begun the long dreaded rebuild and if September was an example of what these next few years will be like, Chris Ilitch may want to consider free Prozac prescriptions for all season ticket holders. Al Avila did a good job in jump starting the rebuild by trading away his best players for numerous prospects, but there is still a long way to go. We all know that the way to expedite the rebuild will be to continue trading away major league players for prospects. The one problem is that Avila is nearly out of trade chips. Ian Kinsler and Jose Iglesias are the most obvious players to be moved, but they hold little value to most contenders. Shane Greene is new to closing and Avila is probably better off holding on to him with the hope that he will repeat last year's performance and build more value by the trade deadline. And as we all know teams tend to overpay for relief pitching at the deadline. Alex Wilson needs a bounce back year to have any value. Nicholas Castellanos is all bat and the free agent market is flooded with bat-first corner outfielders who can't field. Jordan Zimmermann has been injured and his contract is underwater and Miguel Cabrera is under contract until the end of the century. No one else has any serious market value except Michael Fulmer. Avila has to at least consider trading him if it can shave a year or two off the rebuild, but there are a few things he has to consider and take into account. First, Avila has to judge when he thinks the team will be in contention again. And by contention, I mean playing .500 ball and possibly slipping into the second wild card spot. The most optimistic and unrealistic view would be 2019, but for that to happen everything would have to go right for the Tigers. Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd will have to perform to their potential, Zimmermann will have to pitch competently and either Beau Burrows or Franklin Perez will have to claim the fifth spot and pitch better then most rookies do. Cabrera will have to stay healthy and hold off father time, Dawel Lugo will have to have a good rookie year, Dixon Machado will have to have be as good as Iglesias in the field and better at the plate, Jeimer Candelario will need to be a 2-3 WAR player and James McCann will have to stop turning strikes into balls. Castellanos will need to play better defense than he ever did at third while continuing to hit, JaCoby Jones will have to learn how to hit, Mikie Mahtook will need to learn how to walk, Mike Gerber will have to be a good fourth outfielder and Christin Stewart will have to hit at the Major League level. The bullpen will have to limit its meltdowns to once every few weeks. And finally, a good portion of the Tigers' top prospects will need to be in the high minors and capable of at least replacement level performance when called up to fill in for injuries. Little of this seems likely (especially McCann learning to frame pitches), so 2021 or 2022 seems more reasonable. Fulmer is controlled through the 2022 season. If Avila's planned window opening coincides with some of Fulmer's controllable years then keeping him makes sense. If not, then there is every reason to try and maximize his trade value. Second, Avila needs to look at this years crop of free agent pitchers, and it shouldn't take him long. There is Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta, both of whom are in their 30's and expensive. Then in the second tier is Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn, and CC Sabathia who are also in their 30's (37 in Sabathia's case). They'll be overpaid but should be adequate enough to hold down back-end rotation spots. There is not much left if you're a contending team in need of pitching and many teams w[...]