Monday, November 23, 2009
Blogging the Offseason is a 30 team series in which I ask a blogging representative from each MLB team a series of ten questions about their desires and thoughts surrounding the offseason. Check out all of them here.
Today's AL team is the Detroit Tigers and our guest is Ian from the Tigers Blog, Bless You Boys.
1. Rumors are swirling around that the Tigers are looking to cut payroll and that Curtis Granderson might be the first man on the block? What are your thoughts on Granderson getting dealt?
Trying to look at it objectively, it's smart of Dave Dombrowski to see what he might be able to get for one of the few tradeable contracts on his roster. What if a team offers exactly what he's looking for in return?
As a fan, however, trading Granderson would be a huge disappointment. I've written that I think he's the face of the team. The Tigers haven't had many young players worth getting excited about, never mind one that's used his celebrity to help the community. Good centerfielders aren't easy to replace, and I don't think it's a coincidence that the Tigers' re-emergence as a playoff contender has coincided with his addition to the team.
2. Both Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney are free agents. Do the Tigers bring either back? Is it finally time for Joel Zumaya to get the closers job? Assuming he can stay away from Guitar Hero and other video game related injuries.
My feeling is that the Tigers would like to bring Lyon back. Rodney had a good season, but he once again showed how inconsistent he can be. If he's looking for a multi-year contract, Detroit won't be interested. Not with the reliever prospects they're developing. The same goes for Lyon, in terms of contract. But maybe the opportunity to compete for the closer's job persuades him to accept another one-year deal.
Regarding Zumaya, I don't think anyone's convinced he can stay healthy enough to be the full-time closer. The Tigers were probably hoping he'd be ready for that next year, but he became a question mark all over again.
3. Placido Polanco is also a Tigers free agent. He's been somewhat of a main stay for the Tigers for awhile and just took home the Gold Glove. Will the Tigers bring him back? If not whom will they turn to to man 2b?
I don't believe Polanco will be back, and wouldn't be surprised if that decision was made a long time ago. The Tigers have been relatively deep in second base prospects over the past few seasons. One of them just needed to develop by the time Polanco's contract ran out.
Scott Sizemore appears to be that guy. Barring a setback with the broken leg he suffered in the Arizona Fall League, the Tigers think he's ready to take over. If there are any doubts about his recovery, they might offer Polanco arbitration, and maybe he accepts a one-year deal.
4. Edwin Jackson is another name amongst the trade rumor mill thanks to the raise he will likely be due through Arbitration. His slow down in September helped contribute to the Tigers collapse. Do you think the Tigers move him? Do you think they can get him to be consistent from opening day to October?
After the season ended, I never would've expected the Tigers to be shopping Jackson around the league. But there just seems to be too much smoke around these trade rumors. Even with the raise he'll get, he's one of the few players the Tigers can trade. And that late-season swoon may have created some doubts as to how well Jackson can pitch over a full season. I expect him to be pitching for another team next year.
5. The previous 4 questions surrounded cutting salary and internal free agents. Is there basically no chance the Tigers are active players in the free agent market? Are they essentially looking to keep a few of their own and fill some small holes rather than a large splash signing?
If by "active," you mean going after a big name, then no, the Tigers aren't going to do that. But they do have to sign a free agent, either a shortstop or closer. Trading Jackson and/or Granderson probably won't fill both of those holes for next season. But it could free up some money to re-sign Adam Everett or take a chance on J.J. Putz.
6. The Tigers have a lot of money invested in both Bonderman and Willis in 2010. Will either be able to contribute or is the countdown to the end of their contracts already on?
Bonderman is expected be ready to rejoin the starting rotation next season, so the Tigers should get at least some return on the $12.5 million they owe him. Willis, unfortunately, is a lost cause. I'm surprised he was protected on the 40-man roster. But either the Tigers haven't given up on him yet, or they'll try to collect on some insurance while he continues to struggle with his anxiety disorder. It's difficult to imagine him pitching in Detroit again.
7. You've gassed your owner and convinced him to spend like the Yankees, which three free agents are you bringing to Detroit?
The Tigers need a leadoff hitter, so why not get the best one on the market? I'd sign Chone Figgins. (But then I might mess it up by making him play left field.) I'd also sign John Lackey, and give Detroit a fearsome top two in the starting rotation. And since we're spending all this money, why not bring in Mike Gonzalez to be the closer?
I'm gassed after reading that.
8. Which Tigers prospect are you most looking forward to in 2010? And beyond?
For 2010, it's reliever Robbie Weinhardt. 72 strikeouts in 63 innings, between Single and Double-A. And 29 strikeouts in 18 innings during the Arizona Fall League. I'm looking forward to his performance in Spring Training, because there's room for him in the Tigers' bullpen.
Beyond 2010, Casey Crosby is the one to watch. High hopes for that kid, though he's probably a couple of years away. Still, a hard-throwing left-hander would be a most welcome sight in Detroit.
9. I'm giving you the option to cut players without any salary repercussions, is there a single Tigers you would part way with?
See you later, Carlos Guillen. There's really not a role for him, other than at designated hitter. Jim Leyland wants to keep him in left field, even though he didn't play that well out there and would rather play the infield. (But by making his complaints public, he's apparently secured his spot in the lineup.) He hasn't made it through the last two seasons without getting hurt. Oh, and he's set to be paid $26 million over the next two years.
10. Final Question, you've got a crystal ball, the Tigers win the World Series in _______.
2012. By then, it could all come together. Just like the Mayans predicted. Several contracts (and creaky veterans) come off the books after 2011, giving the Tigers the payroll flexibility to pursue top free agents. And most of their top prospects should be ready for the big leagues by then.