As many people in the baseball world know, the Tigers have a lot of money coming off the books. Dontrelle Willis, Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson, and Magglio Ordonez just to name a few.
The first half of the season showed us one of the best bullpens in the game powered by Phil Coke and Jose “Papa Grande” Valverde. Unfortunately, as good as they were in the first half, they were equally as bad in the second. It seemed as if no lead was safe. After Joel Zumaya went down, the team went down. So, I want to look at some of the options the Tigers have to fix the late inning problems.
TREVOR HOFFMAN: The all time saves leader is in an interesting predicament. He struggled in 2010 and ultimately lost his closing job to John Axford. It is unclear if Hoffman will retire or give it one more try. Much like Kenny Rogers did in 2006, he could mentor some of the younger pitchers. I would not offer anything more than a 1 year contract worth about $2MM with bonuses based on performance, but if he were to comeback, I think he would fit in well in Detroit.
RANDY CHOATE: Choate is considered a lefty specialist and that would definitely be his assignment regardless where he signs. It seems as if every great team has a reliever who specializes in lefties. If you think of the 2006 World Series bound Tigers, they had Jamie Walker fill this role who would be more or less of a one and done pitcher. Though important, this role is not one that you want to spend too much on and a 2 year deal worth $6.5MM would work just fine.
JOAQUIN BENOIT: Benoit was signed to a minor league contract last year by the Rays, but ended up with the MLB club and did great. He was a great set up man and perhaps one of the better available relievers around. I would offer something along the lines of 3 years and $11MM.
HEATH BELL: San Diego said this week that they would be willing to listen to offers for Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell. Heath Bell might not be as realistic as others, but is still worth talking about. Bell could fit in as a set up man in Detroit. I could only imagine, Verlander goes 7, Bell comes in for the 8th, and then Papa Grande closes it out. Game over. I would offer Ryan Strieby, Cale Iorg, and cash considerations or a player to be named later for Bell.
There are others that could possibly come to Detroit, but I think that these 4 are worth taking a chance on. I think that 1 or 2 of them would be perfect. Bullpen help is definitely a priority though.
The 30 MLB teams have been narrowed down to 8 teams. It is time for the playoffs. So far today we have seen 2 games played and 1 in progress.
The big story is Roy Halladay’s pitching performance in today’s NLDS match-up between the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds. The Big Red Machine sent Edison Volquez to the mound and the Fighting Phil’s sent Mr. Harry Leroy “Roy” Halladay III. Volquez went 1 2/3 innings giving up 4 hits, 4 runs, (all earned) and 2 walks. That was all the Phillies need as the bullpen was able to hold the Phil’s to 4 runs, but the Doc was dealin’. Halladay went into the 9th throwing a shut-out and a no-hitter giving up nothing but a meaningless walk to the Red’s right fielder, Jay Bruce. The first batter of the 9th was the Cincinnati back stop, Ramon Hernandez and quickly flew out to second basemen Chase Utley. Then Miguel Cairo pinch hit for pitcher Bill Bray. Cairo flew out in foul territory to the third basemen Valdez. Then the all-star second basemen, Brandon Phillips, came up. Like all of the other Red’s, Phillips was 0 for 3. Then on a 0-2 slider, Phillips hit a slow dribbler right in front of home plate and the Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz nearly over ran it, but recovered to throw out Phillips. The game was over. Roy Halladay threw a no-no in front of 46,411 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. It was enough to rename a month after Halladay’s nickname, “Doctober.” This was the first time since Don Larson’s perfect game in the World Series in 1956 that a pitcher threw a no hitter in a playoff game. It’s Amazing. Halladay took the win and Volquez took the loss.
Earlier in the day the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays faced off. The Rangers sent ace south-paw Cliff Lee to the mound while the Rays countered with an ace lefty of their own in David Price. Price went 6 2/3 innings giving up 5 runs, (4 earned) 9 hits, and punched out 8. Cliff Lee was great going 7 innings, 1 run, (earned) 5 hits, and striking out 10. Nelson Cruz and Bengie Molina both went deep for Texas as Molina led the offense for Texas going 3-4 with 1 homerun and 2 RBI’s. Ben Zobrist was the only Ray to leave the yard. He led the offense going 2-4 with 1 homerun and 1 RBI. The Rangers were able to take Game 1 at a score of 5-1. Cliff Lee got the win and David Price got the loss. Neftali Feliz shut the door for Texas with a shaky save but a save none the less.
The Yankees and Twins are currently playing in the bottom of the 7th with the score at 6-4 with New York in the lead. I’ll have more on that game tomorrow.
That’s about all that’s going on in the MLB Playoffs tonight. The San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves play tomorrow at 9:30 PM ET on TBS.
Well, we are a little over half way through the season and Tigers fans have a lot to be happy about and one of them is there all star first basemen. I knew he was high up in all of the tripple crown stats but I didn’t realize how high, in fact, after 82 he is winning the tripple crown in the entire majors. He is deffinitly the first half MVP. The funniest part though is that he isn’t even starting the all-star game. That is deffinitly pathetic. He is on pace to have over 40 homeruns, about 150 RBI’s and hit in the .340’s. When you try to match up stats, there is only one other player who can be put into the same sentence as Cabrera, and that would be Mr. Jose Alberto Pujols. They are on in the same. Now I know that every Cardinals fan is outraged but just look at the stats. Since 2008, which was Cabrera’s first season in Detroit, they have very similar numbers. Now Cabrera’s (92 homeruns, 303 RBI’s and .315) numbers are a little lower than Pujols’s (104 homeruns, 312 RBI’s and .331).
The Tigers are currently 45-37 and .5 game ahead of the Twins in the ALC. They are going for the sweep against the O’s tonight at 7:05. Max Scherzer is pitching for Detroit and has been pitching very well since coming back up from AAA Toledo. Hopefully the Tigers can take the game.
As I look outside my window here in Detroit, I see sunlight,I hear birds chirping, and best of all… no snow. This can only mean one thing, spring is here. The Tigers are playing preseason games and the Opening Day seats are sold out, dang. Cabrera finished rehab, Damon is ready to win, and perhaps best of all is that the D-Train may still have a little bit more steam in his engine that we thought. I mean have you seen his spring stats. I’m rooting for him as the 5th starter. Maybe he can pull a few wins out of the air. Nothing serious, just something like 12 wins and an ERA around 4.00. That would be a win in my book. You pretty much know what your getting out of Cabrera. He’ll bat .310-.320, hit 35 homeruns, and drive in 100 runs. Damon will steal some bases, but won’t get a high average. He will be very clutch though, when there is a runner on base or we need a big hit, he clock in. Verlander, I don’t know. He’s having a bit of a rough spring, but then again, he made a run at the Cy Young last year, so. You can fill in the blanks, he is to much of a gray-area pitcher for me to guess. Austin Jackson will be better than Curtis Granderson, but the similarities are kind of scary.
2006-Curtis Granderson stands on the foul line as the national anthem plays on opening day
2010-Austin Jackson will do the exact same thing
2006-Curtis Granderson heads to the plate as the 1st batter of the season
2010-Austin Jackson will do the exact same thing, again
2006-Curtis Granderson headed out to take center
2010-Austin Jackson will do the same exact same thing… yet again
2006 and 2010-Detroit has opening day in Kansas City
Well, I guess what I’m trying to say is, GO TIGERS!