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2014-15 Off-season Thread

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So two series are more telling than the entire history of baseball? Seemed like the world series last year featured two offense-heavy teams if I'm not mistaken.

Tell me how many teams over the past decade have gone deep in the playoffs without good defense and bullpen and of them how many won the World Series.

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Some positives coming out of this season:

  • We are still rid of the Prince Fielder contract. Yes, somehow that happened.
  • Castellanos is a legitimate Major League hitter. He may have to be moved from 3B, but he probably hits well enough to play anywhere on the diamond. And we have him for 5 more mostly cheap years.
  • We control the rights to JD Martinez for 3 more years.
  • We have at least 3 legit, young options for middle infield for the forseeable future in Iglesias, Suarez, and Travis.
  • Lobstein has emerged as a passable 5th starter prospect.
  • Porcello finally emerged.

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I wonder if the Tigers broke even this year. I read something a few years ago suggesting they were built to be profitable only after a deep run in the playoffs. We only got one playoff home game in this year...no better than losing the Wild Card at home.

I don't know if the Tigers broke even this year, or if they did so last year even. But I think this big payroll-big revenue strategy of Illitch could be sound business. Some people seem to think that Illitch wants a World Series so badly that he is personally subsidizing the Tigers to a large degree in pursuit of his dream. I am not sure that is the case when you consider the increase in ticket sales, merchandise, concessions and tv rights from having the team be a consistent contender.

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A successful Tigers and Red Wings team gets more people downtown and into the areas that the Illitch family owns a lot of real estate and businesses. Its actually pretty genius how they set it all up and why they've been able to increase payroll so much through the years. I wouldn't worry too much about if they broke even on the Tigers this year. They are worth $4 billion and rising.

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Some positives coming out of this season:

  • We are still rid of the Prince Fielder contract. Yes, somehow that happened.
  • Castellanos is a legitimate Major League hitter. He may have to be moved from 3B, but he probably hits well enough to play anywhere on the diamond. And we have him for 5 more mostly cheap years.
  • We control the rights to JD Martinez for 3 more years.
  • We have at least 3 legit, young options for middle infield for the forseeable future in Iglesias, Suarez, and Travis.
  • Lobstein has emerged as a passable 5th starter prospect.
  • Porcello finally emerged.

I would still add the Price trade as a big positive.

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I don't know if the Tigers broke even this year, or if they did so last year even. But I think this big payroll-big revenue strategy of Illitch could be sound business. Some people seem to think that Illitch wants a World Series so badly that he is personally subsidizing the Tigers to a large degree in pursuit of his dream. I am not sure that is the case when you consider the increase in ticket sales, merchandise, concessions and tv rights from having the team be a consistent contender.

The biggest year attendance-wise was 2008, when we first traded for Cabrera. We had 3.2 million total, 39.5K per game. Of course, that was also the last year of the pre-recession economy. This was the year payroll made the huge jump to $138 MM.

This year, after three division championships, we're down to 36K per game, 2.9 million total. Good thing they're getting extra revenue from the TV contract, I guess.

I just hope this doesn't turn into the Braves' situation, where you can't even sell out first-round playoff games because people's expectations are so high and they get so used to winning...

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One word..."Casinos"....if thats not a moneymaker what is? Probably makes the Tigers G.P. look like peanuts.

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Should certainly be an interesting offseason.

C - I would much rather see a healthy(er) Avila and McCann rather than spend big $ and a draft pick on Martin.

SS - I read in Cafardo's column today that it's expected that Iglesias will be fully healthy and back to his elite defensive self in 2015. I never expected to miss him so much.

OF - A new CF who can field and hit (at least a little) is probably the top priority this offseason. We do not have a player like this on the roster or anyone close in the minors. I have no clue who this player could be. The FA market is terrible at this position, so it will likely have to come via trade.

Hunter is gone, but as long as we get the CFer, I don't think we need another corner OF. Davis + Dirks and Collins should cover one corner and JD the other. It's too bad Aoki is not a CF, he would be a really nice fit.

If a CF cannot be found and we have to fake it again with Davis/Dirks, then Aoki, Melky or Tomas would all be nice additions.

DH - Victor would be very tough to replace. With offense at such a premium, I think he can get a 3 year deal even with a QO attached. I do think that deal comes from Detroit. The only other player on the FA market who can even come close to matching his production is Nelson Cruz, who will also probably get a 3 year deal, so we may as well sign our own guy.

SP - I do believe Max is gone and that's fine. I believe replacing him was a big reason Price was brought in. I think they probably bring in a back end guy on a short term deal and there are plenty to choose from.

RP - Nathan isn't going anywhere, but I do not believe he will be counted on to be the Closer. Soria will be brought back. DD will probably bring in another solid setup man and hopefully add a couple FA fliers. RPs are much cheaper to acquire in the offseason than at the deadline, as we have seen year after year.

I love Rondon's potential but I don't think he can be counted on for much in 2015. He had TJ in late March. Maybe he's a factor in the 2nd half, but I think whatever we get from him next year is a bonus.

All this said, it would not surprise me in the least if DD did something more drastic, perhaps dealing Kinsler or Price or Sanchez or Porcello or Castellanos.

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DD made 4 major trades this past year and only his first - the Prince for Kinsler deal is a clear winner.

The Fister deal was obviously the worst and it still stings quite a bit. DD made that deal, probably the worst of his tenure, to clear some payroll. I can't help but wonder if there's more of that to come.

Also, if Fister is never dealt, DD's next two deals are probably unnecessary. Can't imagine he goes after Price if we have Fister. So we get to hold onto Smyly, Jackson and Adames.

With Smyly in the BP all year, does the Soria deal happen? Considering Soria was the only RP acquired, I think that deal is also probably unlikely. Maybe DD gets another arm, but not such a pricey one.

With Fister, Smyly, Jackson and Knebel are the Tigers any better off in 2014?

Maybe, maybe not, but I don't see how they are any worse and I would gladly return Price, Soria, Ray and Kroll for Fister, Smyly, Jackson, Knebel, Thompson and Adames.

Fister and Smyly and what they will get paid in 2015 is likely to be better value/performance than Price and whoever our #5 starter is. It's not out of the question that Knebel's value is on par with Soria next year. Unlikely, but Knebel will make league min and we'll be paying Soria the going rate for a high-end setup man (who we could sign in the offseason for only $).

Jackson is nothing special, but if 1.5 years of him fetches Nick Franklin (a player TB coveted) then 1 year of him net a solid RP or a useful prospect. Thompson could see some big league time in 2015 and could have been a replacement for Porcello or Fister in 16. Even if he and Adames never fit into the Tigers' future, they only increased their stock post-trade. Either or both could have been used to fill another, more pressing hole.

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In the game today it was mentioned the Tigers were interested in Miller. Anything to this?

Yes, it was reported the Tigers had a deal in place for Miller at the deadline, until Baltimore stepped up and offered a more appealing prospect.

...even though Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski traded for Joakim Soria, in July widely considered the best available reliever, and nearly traded for Andrew Miller.

As it turned out, Miller, the lanky left-hander, ended up with the Orioles just before the July 31 trade deadline expired, and was electric in his postseason debut against the Tigers Thursday.

So, how close were the Tigers to getting back Miller, the prospect they once traded for Miguel Cabrera?

“Close,” a high-ranking baseball source told The News.

The source, who had direct knowledge of trade talks, said the Tigers made a “very fair offer,” but ultimately, the Orioles stepped up with a player the Red Sox apparently coveted more, minor-league lefty Eduardro Rodriguez.

Source: Tigers were

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Should certainly be an interesting offseason.

C - I would much rather see a healthy(er) Avila and McCann rather than spend big $ and a draft pick on Martin.

SS - I read in Cafardo's column today that it's expected that Iglesias will be fully healthy and back to his elite defensive self in 2015. I never expected to miss him so much.

OF - A new CF who can field and hit (at least a little) is probably the top priority this offseason. We do not have a player like this on the roster or anyone close in the minors. I have no clue who this player could be. The FA market is terrible at this position, so it will likely have to come via trade.

Hunter is gone, but as long as we get the CFer, I don't think we need another corner OF. Davis + Dirks and Collins should cover one corner and JD the other. It's too bad Aoki is not a CF, he would be a really nice fit.

If a CF cannot be found and we have to fake it again with Davis/Dirks, then Aoki, Melky or Tomas would all be nice additions.

DH - Victor would be very tough to replace. With offense at such a premium, I think he can get a 3 year deal even with a QO attached. I do think that deal comes from Detroit. The only other player on the FA market who can even come close to matching his production is Nelson Cruz, who will also probably get a 3 year deal, so we may as well sign our own guy.

SP - I do believe Max is gone and that's fine. I believe replacing him was a big reason Price was brought in. I think they probably bring in a back end guy on a short term deal and there are plenty to choose from.

RP - Nathan isn't going anywhere, but I do not believe he will be counted on to be the Closer. Soria will be brought back. DD will probably bring in another solid setup man and hopefully add a couple FA fliers. RPs are much cheaper to acquire in the offseason than at the deadline, as we have seen year after year.

I love Rondon's potential but I don't think he can be counted on for much in 2015. He had TJ in late March. Maybe he's a factor in the 2nd half, but I think whatever we get from him next year is a bonus.

All this said, it would not surprise me in the least if DD did something more drastic, perhaps dealing Kinsler or Price or Sanchez or Porcello or Castellanos.

No need for me to type out my thoughts. I agree with all of what Irvink wrote.

Avila will be cheap. Use him less and play McCann more. Combined we should get decent production out of them. Assuming Brad can wrap his head around the concept of a platoon.

I'm all for signing Aoiki and putting him in center. I'm not real familar with KC's farm, I'm not sure if KC has a player to take his place and would be willing to let him go. And if KC makes him a QO, I'm thinking Aoki might just take it.

I absolutely agree, we shouldn't count on either Dirks or Rondon. If we get anything out of them it should be viewed as a bonus, but we shouldn't plan around them.

In general, where do people see Moya fitting in for 2015?

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Miggy, Kinsler & Iglesias are all set. I don't know if Castellanos can make it as a 3B, but I don't know that he's any better in the OF. As much as I'd like a stud defensive CF, I don't see one in FA .. & continuing to trade away minor-league talent will kill us in the long run. If you move Castellanos to LF, you then have JD Martinez in RF & Davis in CF. Then make a play for Hanley Ramirez & put him at 3B.

Spend the rest of your money on the bullpen.

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Some random thoughts:

Overall, we don't need to panic. JV needs to be just average rather than horrible, Miggy's bounce-back needs to offset VMart's regression, we need Iggy and Bradley to nail down critical defensive upgrades at SS and CF, and Dirks/Davis to improve RF defense, and we need a bullpen that is competitive rather than horrible. We need to acquire a top-level setup guy who can step in for Nathan if necessary.

- Catcher: Avila has got to retire for his own bloody good. We need two catchers. Maybe McCann is one of them. I don't know who the other might be. Don't know what to expect production wise....assume roughly the same for now.

- First Base: Cabrera, expect a +15 run bounce back

- Second Base: Kinsler, after his horrific 2nd half and going on 33, what to expect? I don't expect replacement level, but I'm not expecting much more than average at this point either. Hopefully no big loss in production here...assume -10 run drop.

- SS: Iglesias: assuming he's healthy, offense a little better (+5), defense way better (+10)

- 3B: Nick: assuming he stays there, offense a little better (+10), defense a little better (+5)

- LF: JD: he will probably need a full season to produce the runs he did with his great 2014...no change

- CF: Jackie Bradley: perfect fit for us....improve defense by +15 runs

- RF/4th OF: Dirks/Davis: improve defense by +15 runs

- DH: resign VMart: no other viable option....won't repeat awesome 2014....down -15 runs

- Bench: different cast, roughly similar results

Position players overall: +50 runs/defense

Pitching:

JV v. JV: expect a bounce-back, 20 runs saved vs. 2014 (90 vs. 110)

Price: expect about the same as Smyly/Price in 2014

Porcello: hopefully about the same as 2014

Sanchez: add 60 innings vs. 2014, 20 runs saved vs. replacements over 60 innings

5th guy: Lobstein/??? 30-40 runs worse than Scherzer

Overall Rotation: about the same

Bullpen:

Nathan: probably back again, I'm going out on a limb to suggest a modest improvement

Joba: oh hell no...if he comes back half of Comerica will collapse

AlAl: Brad doesn't seem to like him...not sure about his future

Coke: Brad seems to like him a lot...he'll be back...not sure what to expect

Other: DD has got to get at least 2 good free-agents and some other pieces...the remaining options in the system are completely horrible.

Overall bullpen: if it doesn't improve by at least 20+ runs saved and 3+ wins then DD and Ausmus will have failed at a major task that is the most dependent on the sound decision-making and management of the GM and Manager. I'm expecting a 20+ run improvement.

Obviously as this season demonstrates, the Tigers can have a bad bullpen and still make the playoffs in the Central....and while the playoffs may generally be a crapshoot among roughly similar teams, the Tigers' bullpen was far worse than the competition this year IMHO. In a playoff picture that seems to involve lower/tighter scoring, in my opinion the bullpen will be increasingly key to playoff success.

Pitching overall: 20+ runs saved improvement.

GRAND TOTAL: 70+ net runs improvement in 2015 (re-sign Price and VMart, Iglesias back, acquire J Bradley, new #5 SP, at least three new bullpen pieces, no Scherzer, no Torii). Maybe a couple of wins better depending on the pythag variance/luck.

Edited by sabretooth

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Some random thoughts:

Overall, we don't need to panic. JV needs to be just average rather than horrible, Miggy's bounce-back needs to offset VMart's regression, we need Iggy and Bradley to nail down critical defensive upgrades at SS and CF, and Dirks/Davis to improve RF defense, and we need a bullpen that is competitive rather than horrible. We need to acquire a top-level setup guy who can step in for Nathan if necessary.

- Catcher: Avila has got to retire for his own bloody good. We need two catchers. Maybe McCann is one of them. I don't know who the other might be. Don't know what to expect production wise....assume roughly the same for now.

- First Base: Cabrera, expect a +15 run bounce back

- Second Base: Kinsler, after his horrific 2nd half and going on 33, what to expect? I don't expect replacement level, but I'm not expecting much more than average at this point either. Hopefully no big loss in production here...assume -10 run drop.

- SS: Iglesias: assuming he's healthy, offense a little better (+5), defense way better (+10)

- 3B: Nick: assuming he stays there, offense a little better (+10), defense a little better (+5)

- LF: JD: he will probably need a full season to produce the runs he did with his great 2014...no change

- CF: Jackie Bradley: perfect fit for us....improve defense by +15 runs

- RF/4th OF: Dirks/Davis: improve defense by +15 runs

- DH: resign VMart: no other viable option....won't repeat awesome 2014....down -15 runs

- Bench: different cast, roughly similar results

Position players overall: +50 runs/defense

Pitching:

JV v. JV: expect a bounce-back, 20 runs saved vs. 2014 (90 vs. 110)

Price: expect about the same as Smyly/Price in 2014

Porcello: hopefully about the same as 2014

Sanchez: add 60 innings vs. 2014, 20 runs saved vs. replacements over 60 innings

5th guy: Lobstein/??? 30-40 runs worse than Scherzer

Overall Rotation: about the same

Bullpen:

Nathan: probably back again, I'm going out on a limb to suggest a modest improvement

Joba: oh hell no...if he comes back half of Comerica will collapse

AlAl: Brad doesn't seem to like him...not sure about his future

Coke: Brad seems to like him a lot...he'll be back...not sure what to expect

Other: DD has got to get at least 2 good free-agents and some other pieces...the remaining options in the system are completely horrible.

Overall bullpen: if it doesn't improve by at least 20+ runs saved and 3+ wins then DD and Ausmus will have failed at a major task that is the most dependent on the sound decision-making and management of the GM and Manager. I'm expecting a 20+ run improvement.

Obviously as this season demonstrates, the Tigers can have a bad bullpen and still make the playoffs in the Central....and while the playoffs may generally be a crapshoot among roughly similar teams, the Tigers' bullpen was far worse than the competition this year IMHO. In a playoff picture that seems to involve lower/tighter scoring, in my opinion the bullpen will be increasingly key to playoff success.

Pitching overall: 20+ runs saved improvement.

GRAND TOTAL: 70+ net runs improvement in 2015 (re-sign Price and VMart, Iglesias back, acquire J Bradley, new #5 SP, at least three new bullpen pieces, no Scherzer, no Torii). Maybe a couple of wins better depending on the pythag variance/luck.

I think a +70 improvement in run differential is a pretty tall order and very ambitious goal. Not opposed to it, but I just don't see it as realistic at all. Remember, there will be other injuries, too. It's not like we'll have the entire team healthy all year. Next year, Price or Verlander could get hurt. Or VMart (if we resign him). Who knows. This year exposed our lack of depth at most positions. We need to be better prepared.

One guy whose name I have not heard mentioned at all is Hanrahan. We get the first crack to resign him, and I hope we do. He's not old, and hopefully he will be ready to go by next spring. A bounce-back year from him could really help. Not saying I would count on it, but what do we have to lose?

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Yes, it was reported the Tigers had a deal in place for Miller at the deadline, until Baltimore stepped up and offered a more appealing prospect.

Miller is going to have 20 teams trying to sign him. The contract floor is probably 3/21 and he will probably end up as the highest paid non-closer reliever. I hope DD signs him.

Edited by RatkoVarda

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Miller is going to have 20 teams trying to sign him. The contract floor is probably 3/21 and he will probably end up as the highest paid non-closer reliever. I hope DD signs him.

Can we possibly afford Nathan, Soria and Miller? If so, will there be ANY money for the other areas of need?

Don't get me wrong, the bullpen absolutely sucks and needs to be fixed. That should probably be priority #1 in the offseason, if only to make the fans feel better. But I'm thinking we need to examine cheaper options than Andrew Miller. There are always quality arms available in the offseason for more team friendly deals (think Chad Qualls last year.)

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Can we possibly afford Nathan, Soria and Miller? If so, will there be ANY money for the other areas of need?

Don't get me wrong, the bullpen absolutely sucks and needs to be fixed. That should probably be priority #1 in the offseason, if only to make the fans feel better. But I'm thinking we need to examine cheaper options than Andrew Miller. There are always quality arms available in the offseason for more team friendly deals (think Chad Qualls last year.)

I wish the Tigers would be the team that is able to discover a Miller type. Perhaps the Tigers should look for failed starters who only have two pitches to convert to relievers.

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I'm all for signing Aoiki and putting him in center. I'm not real familar with KC's farm, I'm not sure if KC has a player to take his place and would be willing to let him go. And if KC makes him a QO, I'm thinking Aoki might just take it.

I wouldn't bet on Aoki taking a QO. My understanding is he isn't happy with how he was used this year. There have been suggestions that Ned Yost doesn't trust him as a player and he has picked up on that.

I also don't know if he can play center well enough to pencil in for more than a few games either. I think he is a RF.

He is a bit of an odd lot - I'd say if he were on a great team, he'd be a 4th OF, but I believe he wants to start and there are definitely teams out there that will take a guy who can OPS+ 100, run well and play a good RF. Probably will have a WAR of 1 or something the next few years.

I like Aoki better than Hunter moving forward, FWIW.

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I wish the Tigers would be the team that is able to discover a Miller type. Perhaps the Tigers should look for failed starters who only have two pitches to convert to relievers.

we did find JD Martinez

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Agree for the most part with comments here. Assuming the Tigers have ~ $25M to spend I would prefer:

* If Vmart get's 3 years than you need to let him walk and just take the draft pick - I believe this is what will happen (and the town will panic)

* Assuming Vmart is gone, take the $20M that would have been needed for him and spend $18M to sign Martin (4/$48 is my guess) and Butler (2/$13).

* Leaves $7M for the pen - either on 2 "chances" or signing a Luke G or Miller

* Trade for a defensive first CF. Bradley is a fine target - leaving Dirks/Davis as back up if the "new" CF doesn't work out.

Roster:

C Martin

1B Miggy

2B Kinsler

SS Iglesias

3B Nick

LF Davis/Dirks

CF Bradley?/Dirks

RF JD

DH Butler

Bench:

Dirks

McCann

Suarez

Collins (may be Perez but I'd prefer another bench bat here)

SP

Price

JV

Sanchez

Porcello

Lobstein/Drew V/Ray/couple vet's

Pen

Nathan

Soria

Rondon

AA

Rendon

Miller

Hardy

Overall, not all is lost for sure. I don't think a huge blow up is needed and I think the Tigers can & will go into 2015 as favorites in the Central with a good chance to compete for the WS crown again.

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I haven't read the thread so pardon me if I'm repeating something:

Next year the Tigers will have the following:

Castellanos will have a full year of 3b under his belt.

Iglesias will be back at SS

JV, Cabrera and Sanchez will be back from injury.

Torri Hunter will be gone.

Dirks will be back.

V-Mart will hopefully be back.

Avila will probably be forced into retirement which means McCann is the catcher.

Ausmus will have the next 4 months to reflect on mistakes.

That leaves CF and the bullpen that need to be taken care of in the off season.

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Aoki is not good defensively in RF. He's an upgrade over Hunter but he is below average.

Per Fangraphs:

2012: Aoki was 7th out of 18 qualified RF in UZR/150 (had to set cut-off at more than 850 defensive innings) (UZR/150 = 4.5)

2013: Aoki was 8th out of 18 qualified RF in UZR/150 (UZR/150 = 4.3)

2014: Aoki was 6th out of 15 qualified RF in UZR/150 (UZR/150 = 7.7)

Edited by Mr. Bigglesworth

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