First, Happy New Year. Second, I didn’t write last week for a variety of reasons, one being school starting and two, the Tigers are doing nothing.
Which, incidentally, people are still complaining about (this post is going in an angry direction!), especially in light of the Yankees going out and picking up Michael Pineda (a trade which I don’t love for them, but that’s neither here nor there) and signing Hiroki Kuroda (which is a very good move, but that’s also neither here nor there). The charges levied against the Tigers, of course, are that they’re sitting idly by while the rest of the AL beefs up. Sure, they are good enough to win the AL Central, but the AL Central isn’t the World Series, right?
To which I say, what exactly do you want the Tigers to do? They’re set at catcher, first base, shortstop, and probably two outfield positions, as well as DH. Unfortunately for them, it just so happens that the positions they might otherwise look to upgrade (left field, second base, and possibly third base) are extremely thin this offseason. Last we saw, the Braves were asking a king’s ransom for Martin Prado, who isn’t worth that kind of haul. It’s not feasible. The Tigers should not be making moves just for the sake of making moves. That sort of thing gets teams in trouble.
Similarly, the Tigers’ rotation is set from 1-4, and they’re not going to give out a big money, multi-year contract for a fifth starter. If Roy Oswalt can indeed be had for one year and $8 million, I’d be all over that, but otherwise, guys like Kuroda and Edwin Jackson were never coming here. In fact, if the Tigers feel Jacob Turner is ready, they can just ride the rapids with him (and similarly, they don’t NEED to trade Turner for a high-end starter, either). I’d imagine they’re waiting out the market and looking for a nice deal on a veteran fix for a year. They’re out there. Be patient and relax.
Similarly, the bullpen is what it is. Jose Valverde and Joaquin Benoit are capable of anchoring the back, Phil Coke can get lefties out, and the addition of Octavio Dotel means they should be able to get through the 7th, 8th, and 9th pretty efficiently on most nights. While I’d like to see them add another reliever, they don’t need to aggressively go out and overpay for one.
So my question again – and if you have an answer, by all means, leave me a comment – what should the Tigers be doing that they aren’t? I don’t think they’re sitting on their hands on purpose. Second and third basemen are hard to find, the demands for starting pitching on the trade market is high, the fifth starter market has not passed them by yet, they’re reasonably comfortable with the bullpen, and Yoenis Cespedes isn’t eligible for free agency yet. I know there are people out there who subscribe to the “win now” theory and believe we should be trading the farm for the likes of Martin Prado, but one can be in “win now” mode without being unreasonable about it. But for those crying about Brandon Inge and Ryan Raburn, please, check the market and tell me who you like more.
The bottom line is, the Tigers picked a poor offseason to need a second and third basemen, because there really aren’t any. I understand the frustration with watching American League rivals upgrade while the Tigers stand pat, but frankly, the Tigers are in a position where most of the positions that need upgrading are positions that are really, really difficult to upgrade in this market. Believe me, I wish there were better options at third base as much as you do – but the fact is, the market is more shallow than the cast of Jersey Shore.
And now, the weeks that were:
- Yoenis Cespedes confirmed that the Tigers (and five other teams, including the White Sox, Indians, and Marlins, who have openly admitted to be planning an aggressive pursuit) had shown serious interest in signing him when he officially becomes a free agent, which could happen this week. He proceeded to inexplicably play in the Dominican Winter League and go 0 for his first 6 with 4 strikeouts. It’s like we shouldn’t judge a guy based on two promotional videos or something (nor should we judge him based on two winter league games, either).
- The Tigers were “down the road” in trade talks with Chicago about Matt Garza. And then they weren’t. I’ve read so much conflicting information on the Tigers’ interest or non-interest in Garza that I don’t know what to believe anymore, but the consensus seems to be that they’d be willing to include Jacob Turner, but far more hesitant to throw in Nick Castellanos. I’m personally not sure I’d do Turner-for-Garza straight up, but hey, I’m not making the decisions, and quite frankly, it looks unlikely at this point anyway.
- Somehow, some rumor got started that the Tigers and Kerry Wood may match up, but even before he inevitably re-signed with the Cubs, that was never going to happen.
- And at least we’re not the White Sox. Still.