touched on this recently in regards to my opinion that Jose Reyes is not an option for the Tigers, but I thought I’d expand on it and throw my two cents in on the 2012 roster. Everyone else is doing it…why not Your Party Host? Let the rosterbation (TM Kurt Mensching) begin!
So let’s explore who’s in place, who is needed, and whether or not there’s any money out there to pay for them. We have a 25 man roster to fill. Let’s begin.
Catcher: Alex Avila (approx $500K)
First Base: Miguel Cabrera ($21 million)
Second Base: Vacant
Third Base: Brandon Inge ($5.5 million)
Shortstop: Jhonny Peralta ($5.5 million)
Left Field: Delmon Young (approx $6.3 million)
Center Field: Austin Jackson (approx $500K)
Right Field: Brennan Boesch (approx $500K)
Designated Hitter: Victor Martinez ($13 million)
Bench: Don Kelly (approx $800K)
Bench: Ryan Raburn ($2.1 million)
Starter: Justin Verlander ($20 million)
Starter: Rick Porcello (approx $4.2 million)
Starter: Max Scherzer (approx $3.9 million)
Starter: Doug Fister (approx $500K)
Closer: Jose Valverde ($9 million)
Relief: Joaquin Benoit ($5.5 million)
Relief: Phil Coke (approx $1.3 million)
Relief: Ryan Perry (approx $500K)
Relief: Daniel Schlereth (approx $500K)
Relief: Al Alburquerque (approx. $500K)
Relief: David Pauley/Duane Below (approx 500K)
Okay. That’s 25 roster spots, 4 of which still need to be filled. Approximate numbers listed here are what MLB Trade Rumors has estimated the players’ salaries will be after arbitration or whatnot this offseason.
In the 21 spots filled here, Detroit’s payroll is already at around $102.1 million. Now we come to the dreaded deferred payments that players are still owed from prior contracts. They are as follows…
Magglio Ordonez: $3 million
Jose Valverde: $2 million
Gary Sheffield: $1.5 million
Ivan Rodriguez: $2 million
Yes, we still owe $8.5 million on these prior contracts that you don’t hear much about. So up the 2011 payroll to $110.6 million so far. Add in that Jacob Turner will be paid $1 million to likely begin the year in the minors, and we’re up to $111.6 million.
And by the way, the entire 2012 payroll was $107 million. Even if Mr. Ilitch ups the team payroll substantially, like say $15 more million, are you starting to see why the Tigers cannot afford a Jose Reyes or CJ Wilson without robbing Fort Knox this winter?
So what does Dave Dombrowski do now? The most important thing, in my opinion, is solving the problem of second base.
Second Base Options
1. Lots of reports suggest the Tigers are very interested in Atlanta’s Martin Prado, a solid second baseman and candidate to bat at the top of the order. There’s even a rumored trade in the works with Prado and Delmon Young being the principal players involved. That would be great since Prado will make around $4.4 million in 2012, close to $2 million less than Young. Even better, we wouldn’t be forced to watch DY waddle around left field for an entire season on defense. (Yes, I soured on him, despite his postseason homers.) Then, the Tigers have a little more room to get a Coco Crisp, Rick Ankiel, or David DeJesus type player to fill out the outfield. Pretty sure Josh Willingham will be too expensive. Anyway, I love the idea, but a Braves beat writer is saying it isn’t going to happen. We’ll see.
2. Danny Worth could be given the job at the league minimum of around $500K. No one other than Lynn Henning wants this to happen.
3. Ramon Santiago could be re-signed, but he wants to play full-time and will want a multi-year deal and over $3 million a season. Why do that when you already have a younger version of the same player in Worth? So, no.
4. Kelly Johnson is a Type A free agent. I doubt the Tigers would find it worth giving up a 1st round pick in order to sign Johnson.
5. Orlando Cabrera is 37 years old and I hate him.
6. Clint Barmes is 33, a Type B free agent, and has a lifetime OPS+ of 78. We might as well just start Don Kelly.
7. Adam Kennedy is 36 and shitty.
Solution: Pray for Prado. Do whatever it takes to get him before the Rockies do it. Otherwise, look for the team to overpay to keep Santiago for whatever reason. I miss Scott Sizemore. (EatapileofshitKurt.)
Next we move to the bench.
We have two bench spots to fill and they need to be cheap. One spot will probably be filled by Andy Dirks or Danny Worth. Why not both? Because they don’t want to kill Alex Avila, and Victor Martinez cannot be counted on to be the second catcher this year. So the other spot goes to a catcher outside the organization. Who’s available?
1. Ryan Doumit is a guy I would LOVE to have. Trouble is, I think he’s going to be out of our price range.
2. Kelly Shoppach seems to be everyone’s favorite choice and I’d be cool with that if Doumit isn’t able to be signed.
3. Jose Molina is 36, a Type B free agent, and the shittiest Molina. Pass.
4. Gerald Laird is still bad at baseball. The Tigers are rumored to be interested. If so, the Tigers are fucking dumb as shit.
5. Ramon Hernandez is 36, a Type A free agent, and will be too expensive.
6. Ivan Rodriguez…just kidding. He’s 40 and delusional. Let someone else make that mistake.
7. Omir Santos could be re-signed if the team really is in a payroll bind. We might as well let Leyland’s kid catch in that case.
Solution: I can see DD signing Laird just to piss me (and Grey) off. But probably Shoppach or Molina at around $2 million.
One spot left…the fifth starter.
Obviously, my dream candidate would be someone like Mark Buehrle, a left-handed proven starter that will eat innings and get the job done. But due to the money issues listed above, I don’t see this happening, especially with around ten teams interested in Buehrle’s services.
Internally, they could go the cheap route and go with some combo of Turner, Below, and/or the kids in Toledo. I hope not, for all our sakes. Turner isn’t ready. Neither is anyone else, in my opinion. Last year, I suggested the Tigers buy low on Brandon McCarthy. They didn’t listen, Oakland did, and Oakland enjoyed a great comeback year out of McCarthy while we got to “enjoy” Brad Penny for a season. What guys could be a cheap diamond in the rough this year?
1. Erik Bedard is great when healthy, but is healthy about as much as Joel Zumaya is.
2. Bruce Chen is a Type B free agent. He is also Bruce Chen, so I’d prefer to stay away from him.
3. Bartolo Colon is 39 and 450 pounds. No thanks.
4. Jeff Francis could be a cheap lefty option. He’s a finesse guy…in other words, he kinda sucks. But remember, we’re looking for a reasonably priced #5 guy. Not an ace.
5. Freddy Garcia is 36 and a Type B free agent. I’d be surprised to see the Yankees let him get away considering that he saved their rotation last year.
6. Rich Harden’s only 30? Too bad Dan Petry has a healthier arm nowadays.
7. Dontrelle Willis. Hahahahaha…
8. Kevin Millwood is 37 and awful.
Solution: Heck if I know. That’s why Dave is in charge. Francis is my choice if you can get him for less than $2 million, which is what he made in KC last year. He’ll at least keep the spot warm for Turner, once the kid is ready.
I understand these options aren’t as exciting as “OMG trade Rayburn and BINGE for David Wright LOLZ”, or “sign Reyes, Wilson, Beltran, Broxton, and Nathan since Ilitch is gonna die soon and doesn’t need the money”. Believe me, in a perfect world, I’d like to have another power bat, a legit leadoff man, and more help in the bullpen. But I’m trying to be realistic here, and not a mLunitic.
But there is one important thing to remember for the upcoming winter months. Dave Dombrowski has always been full of surprises. Why should this offseason be any different?