Thursday, September 23, 2010
Your Party Host Gives His Thoughts on the Upcoming Offseason
So, in my last post I made fun of some hack and what he thought the Tigers should do in preparation for the 2011 season. It’s only fair now that I lay out what I’d like to see the team do. My dumb ideas can't be any worse than his, right? Anyone? Sigh...
Let me preface things by laying out what should be obvious with the club. There are some guys that will definitely begin next year in the D unless Dave Dombrowski has a few too many at a kegger and drunk dials another GM like he did in the Jurrjens/Renteria deal a while back. So hopefully, these guys should be safe. They would be:
Catcher: Alex Avila
First Base: Miguel Cabrera
Center Field: Austin Jackson
Infield: Ramon Santiago
Starters: Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello
Bullpen: Jose Valverde, Phil Coke, Joel Zumaya, Ryan Perry
DH/Second Base/Bench/Disabled List: Carlos Guillen
That leaves question marks at the other catcher, second base, third base, shortstop, the corner outfield spots, DH, two starters, and maybe the bullpen. Good thing there’s money to spend…yikes.
So, let’s take a look at each of these areas, one by one. Keep in mind, though:
1. I’m a moron.
2. I’m not sure exactly how much cash Mr. I is willing to part with next year.
3. Double D and The Marlboro Man share different tastes in players than I do.
4. I’m very unorganized.
5. I’m a moron.
Cool? Let us proceed then.
Alex Avila sucks. There. I said it. But he’s going to be on the team because his Daddy is in upper management and the coaches appear to see something in him. Now Alex may not always be terrible. He’s improved behind the plate from a defensive standpoint. But his line of .228/.323/.661 is an embarrassment. He cannot be our starting catcher…at least not yet.
Gerald Laird is a free agent. Goodbye, G. His line of .207/.265/.566 makes Avila look like Johnny Bench. Plus, his defense wasn’t as solid this year. Oh, and he is nuts. Ask any Phoenix Suns fan.
The minors won’t be giving us any hope at catcher for a couple years, at least, so we must look elsewhere. How’s the free agent pool look, you ask?
Rod Barajas, Josh Bard, John Buck, Ramon Hernandez, Victor Martinez, Bengie Molina, Miguel Olivo (club option), AJ Pierzynski, Yorvit Torrealba (mutual option), and Jason Varitek are out there. Obvously, VMart is the dream choice from an offensive standpoint. Buck is going to be trying to cash in on his career year this season in Toronto. But I have a better idea.
My Plan: Make a trade with the Angels for Mike Napoli. There are several reports that they are willing to move him. He made $3.6 million this year and isn’t a free agent until 2013. Mike has a career OPS+ of 120 and would be a major improvement over the black hole of suck Detroit has gotten from the catcher position since Pudge Rodriguez was shipped out of town. Napoli’s no wizard on defense, but his offense would make up for it in my opinion. Trades are easy to ask for, but I’d at least see what LA of A would be asking for to get Napoli off the books. Let him start 70% of the time and have Alex do the other 30% and some late inning defensive replacement work. Hopefully, he'll learn how to hit without the pressure of being the starter.
Reality: They really seem to want Avila to be the starter. I think they’ll sign a veteran backup to play 25% of the time behind Alex and hope that Avila greatly improves on his 2010 offensive numbers. Hopefully, it’s not Matt Treanor again, though.
Carlos Guillen is probably going to miss much of the beginning of 2011 due to the owie on his kneespot. When he returns, you can probably expect a .270 average, moderate power, and another 2-3 DL stints. Whatever...he's already under contract and could be valuable off the bench. Scott Sizemore was supposed to be the man this year, but being not completely recovered from a Winter League injury contributed to him having a horrible start to his rookie year. Will Rhymes has since won the hearts of the Inge-crowd in Detroit and is a candidate for the job, too.
The free agent crop at second is weak. Ronnie Belliard, Willie Bloomquist, David Eckstein, Cristian Guzman, Orlando Hudson, Omar Infante (club option), Adam Kennedy (club option), Kaz Matsui, Aaron Miles, Nick Punto, and Juan Uribe are all out there.
My Plan: Give Sizemore the job. If healthy, the guy is going to hit. He’s showed that a bit since his September re-call. His glove is Raburn-horrible, but at second base, it’s not going to hurt you as bad as at third or short. As for Rhymes, I can’t get behind him. He just doesn’t have the upside that Sizemore does and has showed me no signs of that changing. I don’t like the idea of keeping Will as a backup, either, because he doesn’t have the arm to play third or short in the majors. My apologies to those of you, though, that just can’t get enough of watching him run around center field in a diaper before games, hopping through the sprinklers. (Yes, I stole that joke from the FJM reunion at Deadspin when they were talking about Eckstein. Hilarious visual, though.)
Reality: Scotty and ‘Lil Will fight it out in Spring Training and they give the job to Rhymes just to piss me off.
Adam Everett’s gone. Ramon Santiago will be a career backup. Cale Iorg has yet to turn into Cal Ripken to Dave Dombrowski’s disbelief. But Jhonny Peralta’s been surprising everyone by playing some decent shortstop since being rescued from Hell/Cleveland. He’s even hitting the ball again. He has a $7 million club option for 2011 that could be a short-term solution for the Tiger shortstop problem that we’ve had ever since Carlos Guillen started breaking down.
Free agent options include Alex Gonzalez (club option), Omar Infante (club option), Cesar Izturis, Derek Jeter (hahaha), Edgar Renteria (HAHAHAHA)…and that’s about it. Yuck.
My Plan: You have to pick up Peralta’s option. The cupboard is bare in the minors and the free agent crop is weak. Jeter and Jose Reyes aren’t leaving New York. Jhonny has played well enough to get a look next year. 2012’s crop of free agent shortstops is a bit better with Jason Bartlett, Yuniesky Betancourt, Rafeal Furcal, JJ Hardy, Jimmy Rollins, Jack Wilson, and Marco Scutaro available. Of course, we could always try to trade for Stephen Drew…
Reality: They pick up Jhonny’s option. If he falters, Danny Worth is your man!
Brandon Inge is a free agent. Finally. His OPS+ of 95 in his contract year is probably his ceiling at this point in his career. While he still more than holds his own defensively at third base, I think it’s about time for the Inge Era to finally end in Detroit. The prick has made enough of my hair fall out at this point.
Free agent options are Adrian Beltre, Pedro Feliz, Omar Infante (he’s everywhere!), Aramis Ramirez (ridiculous player option that he’ll cash in), Miguel Tejada, Ty Wigginton.
My Plan: See if Beltre will take a 3 year deal in the $12 million/year range. That will bridge the gap until Nick Castellanso is ready to become the next Travis Fryman. Beltre’s a scary guy to get behind for too long, but he’s amazing on defense and showed that he can still hit this year with a line of .325/.371/.564 and 28 homers. No risk, no reward, right? If it can’t be worked out, re-sign Brandon for $5 or $6 million. He’s better than the other free agent options. I just threw up in my mouth typing that.
Reality: Inge returns on a one or two year deal. Fat girls with lower back tattoos squeal in delight.
CORNER OUTFIELD SPOTS
Brennan Boesch is going to turn out somewhere between his first half Babe Ruth numbers and the abortion that he’s been for the second half. But that’s a big gap…who knows? Magglio Ordonez and Johnny Damon are free agents, and are probably better candidates to DH at this point in their careers. Casper Wells, Clete Thomas, and Ryan Raburn are still around. Don Kelly is terrible at baseball. What do we do?
Other than Maggs and JD, free agent options include Carl Crawford (not gonna happen, kids), Pat Burrell, Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns, Jason Kubel (club option), Scott Podsednik, Manny Ramirez, Marcus Thames, David DeJesus (club option), Brad Hawpe, Jose Guillen, Andruw Jones, Xavier Nady, and Jayson Werth.
My Plan: First, throw Don Kelly into a pit of cobras. I think that goes without saying.
This is tough. I’d love to sign Dunn, but he’ll be expensive and I’d rather give the big money to Beltre and a pitcher. If Beltre says no, though, offer a three year deal to Dunn. Adam’s a dumpster fire on defense and doesn’t want to be a DH, but his automatic 40 homers a year would be the protection that Big Mig has been lacking his entire stay in Detroit.
Magglio has said that he wants to return to Detroit and as long as Scott Boras doesn’t ask for the the world, I say bring him back on a two year deal, club option on a third. Magglio played decent defense this year and at worst, could be the DH in 2011.
Werth is, like Crawford, a desirable choice, but , again like Crawford, is going to be very expensive. He just hired Boras as his agent and Scotty’s already declaring that Werth deserves to be paid top dollar. Trouble is, his numbers aren’t THAT great and are impacted a big deal by his home park in Philly. So, he’s out. Manny’s about done and I think Jim Leyland would want to strangle him within a week. DeJesus could be interesting if the Royals don’t pick up his option. And with me, Marcus is always welcome back in Detroit…as long as it’s part time.
But if Adam Dunn isn’t the answer, I can live with the idea of a Boesch/Wells combination at one of the outfield spots. Brennan’s going to be fine, in my stupid option, and Wells has showed enough to me to deserve a backup spot on the team.
Long story short…Boesch in left, Magglio in right. If we don’t get Beltre, try to sign Dunn to play left. Wells is the backup with Raburn possibly being used as part of the Napoli deal. Oh, and slow, painful death to Don Kelly. Of course.
Reality: Dombrowski will flirt with Crawford and Werth, but will get scared off by their killer price tags and, more likely, the Yanks/Sawx bigger offers. Magglio will be brought back on a one year deal. Boesch will get the other spot with Ryan Raburn, Clete Thomas and/or Casper Wells coming off the bench. A veteran such as DeJesus or Guillen may be added if they aren't confident enough in Boesch/Raburn.
Johnny Damon is a good player, a great leader, and a fun player to watch. But he won’t be back next year and isn’t what we need from a DH. We need power out of the spot and protection for Cabrera. Who’s available?
Pat Burrell, Jason Giambi, Vladimir Guerrero (mutual option), Hideki Matsui, David Ortiz (club option), Manny Ramirez, and Jim Thome are all free agent candidates.
My Idea: Sign Jim Thome. Please. I wanted him for the 2010 season and the Twins reaped the benefits instead. Thome can still draw a walk and hit the ball as far as any guy in the game. Plus, this way Justin Verlander won’t have to give up homers to him constantly anymore.
Reality: Magglio and the returning Guillen split time at DH. Ugh. That means the outfield will be more of the same of Raburn’s inconsistency, Wells’ uncertainty, and Thomas’ being terrible.
So my unlikely lineup vs. the probable lineup looks like this:
CF: Austin Jackson CF: Austin Jackson
SS: Jhonny Peralta 2B: Will Rhymes
RF: Magglio Ordonez DH: Magglio Ordonez
1B: Miguel Cabrera 1B: Miguel Cabrera
DH: Jim Thome SS: Jhonny Peralta
3B: Adrian Beltre RF: Brennan Boesch
C: Mike Napoli LF: Ryan Raburn
LF: Brennan Boesch 3B: Brandon Inge
2B: Scott Sizemore C: Alex Avila
I can dream, can’t I?
Now, obviously, the Tigers are going to spend SOME money this offseason. If they do, I think it’s more likely that it’ll be on the pitching staff. We’re looking for two starters and the rest of the bullpen.
Armando Galarraga and Jeremy Bonderman have been the main #4 and #5 guys this year. Bondo’s a free agent, bad at pitching, and a colossal idiot. Galarraga is one of the most inconsistent starters in recent memory. Andy Oliver, Jacob Turner, and the other kids are still probably at least another year away. If we look at the free agent market, we can only probably afford one top starter.
The free agent class includes Bronson Arroyo (club option), Erik Bedard (mutual option), Justin Duchscherer, Jeff Francis (club option), Freddy Garcia, Jon Garland (mutual option), Rich Harden (mutual option), Aaron Harang (club option), Cliff Lee, Ted Lilly, Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Carl Pavano, Brad Penny, Nate Robertson (ha!), Jeff Suppan, Javier Vazquez, Brandon Webb, Jake Westbrook, Dontrelle Willis (who?), and Chris Young (club option). Whew. Lots of options, here.
My Idea: Offer the world to Cliff Lee. Overpay if you have to. Cash, hookers, blow, his own Little Caesars franchise…whatever it takes. Look, with the money coming off the books, we can afford two big contracts, I assume. Thus, plan on using one on Beltre/Dunn and then make Cliff Lee a Verlander-type deal. Scherzer and Porcello are costing you nothing for another couple seasons, after all. If you add Cliff Lee to those three guys, the Tigers are immediate favorites in the Central and Top Three in the American League, no matter what lineup you throw out there. Cliff Lee knows the Central like the back of his hand and would be an amazing addition. Forget his numbers in Texas…that park’s a joke. In Comerica he’d be amazing.
If he ends up a Yankee (sigh), try to make a reasonable deal with a Garland, Pavano, or Westbrook. They’re not all-world, but they’d all be good options as a #3 or #4 starter. Spend the money you save on the offense.
Give Galarraga the #5 spot. Why not? He tries hard.
Reality: Much like Crawford and Werth, DD will kick the tires on Lee, but I can’t see them signing him with the Yankees out there. Bondo goes bye-bye and Armando gets brought back with Ted Lilly being added through free agency. God help us.
Valverde, Perry, and Coke are a good start. Zumaya should be back, but for how long until his arm explodes and Lynn Henning starts writing emo poetry on the News site again? The kids are still there: Weinhardt, Schlereth, Ni, etc. Hopefully Brad Thomas has some sort of bizarre kangaroo accident Down Under. I believe that Zach Miner and Bobby Seay are dead. Also, Eddie Bonine sucks. Free agency has about a billion guys out there, too. Lots ‘o’ options!
My Idea: We need three guys. Weinhardt and Schlereth get two of them. Through free agency, we add Grant Belfour or Jesse Crain. Maybe JJ Putz, if we have to. Is a long reliever necessary if we have JV, Mad Max, Rick, and Cliff Lee?
Reality: No new major faces. Unless you count Zoom.
So there you have it…my ignorant, uneducated thoughts as we head to the offseason. One thing’s for certain: it’s going to be an interesting winter in the D.
I can’t wait.