Two posts in one day? I don't even know who I am anymore.
Tom Gage wrote this yesterday at the Detroit News site. I'm here to offer my take on it. Joy for all.
Tigers could make changes at four positions, including pitcher, for 2011
Only in Detroit could an article be written looking towards next year on the day that the team takes over sole possession of first place. I assume this was written before the game, but still.
Nearly halfway through this year, let's talk about next. It's never too early.
Okay, I’ll bite. I’ve been more excited than anyone about the possibilities of 2011 with the contracts of D-Fail, Our Hero, Bonduh, and Binge coming off the books. What do you have for us, Tom?
That's not to say the Tigers aren't going anywhere this year. They might.
You do watch Tiger games, right?
They very well could. There is more than a half-season left.
They’re in first place.
But even if they do make some noise this season,
First f-cking place.
/checks score of current game
Well, they were.
what will they look like next? Possibly a lot different.
So far, we have “might”, “very well could”, “even if they do”, and “possibly”. Is Tom Gage writing this or is it Peter King?
Don Kelly “might” be the worst hitter in the majors.
Joel Zumaya “very well could” drink himself to death after blowing up his arm again.
“Even if they do” beat out the Twins this season, Ozzie Guillen “possibly” may have sold the souls of his children to Satan to win the Central again.
More after the jump.
They could have a new catcher, new shortstop, new third baseman, new outfielder, and a couple of new starting pitchers.
They also could call up rookies at every position and say “eff it”. It’s worked well in 2010.
Let's review the status of each position.
Each position? Are you sure? That’s quite lofty. Okay, I’m with you. Don’t screw me over here.
Catcher -- Alex Avila will be back, but Gerald Laird can be a free agent. He's making $3.95 million this year and still has a chance to interest the Tigers in bringing him back,
/promises to hang self if they do
but it's doubtful they would commit for more than a season to him -- and at this point, even that is far from likely.
Avila has won the job. He even looks better defensively than Laird does on most days. G’s a nice guy (when his family’s not around), but I’m sick of nice guys that can’t hit a baseball playing for the Tigers.
There’s a plethora of experienced catchers in the 2011 free agency class that could be decent, cheap backups for Avila. Rod Barajas, Josh Bard, John Buck, Toby Hall, and Bengie Molina stand out. And if you want to be greedy, Victor Martinez is a free agent. So is AJ Pierzynski, but I don’t think my heart could stand that.
First base -- Miguel Cabrera will be in the second season next year of the most lucrative portion of his contract. He moved up from $15 million to $20 million this season -- and stays at $20 million next year.
Whatever they give him, he is underpaid.
Second base -- There's no reason to think it won't be Carlos Guillen again at $13 million. But 2011 is the last year of his contract.
There’s no reason to think that Carlos won’t shatter his fibula rounding second base any time now. He is the sole remaining horrible contract remaining on this team for 2011, but has tremendous upside if he stays healthy and quits throwing side-armed. Don’t touch him with a ten foot pole in 2012, though.
Shortstop -- A position that will have to be addressed. The Tigers have never believed that Ramon Santiago is an everyday player and the jury will remain out about Danny Worth for quite a while.
No, I’m pretty sure the jury got back a while ago on that one. Worth is guilty of sucking at hitting a baseball. I don’t know where Double D has this factory producing scrappy, boring, white kids that can’t hit, but it needs to be destroyed immediately.
Trouble is, there isn’t one free agent shortstop next year that I would want playing for the Tigers, with the exceptions of Derek Jeter and Jose Reyes. And you know they’re not going anywhere. (Jeter is God in Yankeeland and the Mets have an option on Reyes.)
I’m still holding out hope for a trade for Arizona’s Stephen Drew.
Third base -- This could be the most interesting, and most talked about, uncertainty throughout the rest of this year and into the offseason -- unless, that is, the Tigers make it a moot point sooner than that.
Remember the backlash of trading Curtis Granderson? That will be nothing if the Tigers don’t re-sign Detroit’s favorite retarded son, Brandon Inge.
Brandon Inge is in the final year of his contract at $6.6 million. He's basically been at that salary for three years, bumping up from $6.2 million in 2008 to $6.3 million last year. Small increments, in other words.
Also overpaid. Inge is getting older and has showed little to no signs of getting better at the plate. Yes, he plays good defense, but not good enough to justify $6 million+ a year.
What if the Tigers were to offer him a two-year extension for $14.5 million right now?
I would go on a drinking binge that would probably end my life.
Would he be interested?
I friggin’ hope so. No one in their right mind would offer him that with his injury issues, declining range in the field, and lack of production.
He'd have to be. But would they be interested in such a contract? Possibly.
You don’t know anything, do you? Start hanging out with Henning. He knows everything. Just ask him, he’ll tell you.
For one thing, $7 million for 2011 and $7.5 million for 2012 wouldn't break the bank,
No, but it would cause it to tremble a bit. Why not just give Don Kelly $5 million while you’re at it. He doesn’t deserve it, but heck…it won’t break the bank.
and the Tiges know full well what they would be getting:
Excuses? Repeated epic fails at the plate?
Outstanding defense, but a confusing hitter who's capable of impressive power, yet also capable of frustrating slumps.
All that for $14.5 million? HOLY SH-T! What a deal!
It doesn't look like a strong upcoming field of free-agent third basemen -- in fact, not strong at all -- so the chances of Inge returning are enhanced by that.
It’s not great, but it’s a lot better than the shortstop class, especially if some options aren’t picked up. Adrian Beltre’s will probably be picked up in Boston…it’s pretty low for as well as he’s playing. Aramis Ramirez would look good as a Tiger, and I doubt that Chicago will pick up his $14.6 million option (but I could be wrong, maybe, possibly, etc…). Eric Chavez will be out there, but he’s an injury time bomb. Bill Hall used to be good. Ditto for Mike Lowell. Jhonny Peralta, Ty Wigginton, and Miguel Tejada are other options.
But there are trade possibilities as well.
Which you aren’t going to go into or give examples of? Why bring it up?
At this point, however, it seems marginally more likely than not that Inge will remain a Tiger.
If they give him more than one year at $6 million again, I will burn down the Fox Theater as a warning to quit pissing me off.
Johnny Damon will probably move on to another team. What he does in the second half could change that, but no matter what he contributes, it seems unlikely at this point -- considering his base of $8 million -- that he would be back.
He might be gone, but he could be back. I feel like I dialed a psychic hotline.
But yeah, with the emergence of Killer B, I doubt Johnny will be back unless he’s willing to take $3 million a year.
Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch still will be in the infancy of their major league careers, of course, so no changes there.
Agreed. Unless Dave goes crazy and deals one of them with prospects for Cliff Lee. If he does, I’m becoming a Blue Jays fan. (Shut up, Jen.)
Magglio Ordonez 's option for next year will kick in (unceremoniously for a change) in the second half. But it's for $15 million instead of the $18 million he's making this year. It's also the last option year of his contract.
Had to get in a shot on Maggs there, didn’t you? I don’t know why anyone would want to play in Detroit. The “legit” media is so negative here. At least my snarky comments are meant as humor. Do you guys even like baseball anymore?
Jeremy Bonderman , at $12.5 million, is in the final year of his contract, and while he's been pitching well, he's won only three games.
Grr…that’s the worst argument you could make. Yes, it’s Bondo’s fault when the inept offense can’t score runs. Die in a dumpster fire.
This is a future that's even tougher to call than Inge's.
No it’s not. Not by a long shot. Brandon Inge, while not my favorite Tiger, is beloved by the city and there would be an outrage if a decent attempt is not made at keeping him around. If the Tigers say bye-bye to Bondo, no one would blink an eye. He’s been an underachiever his entire career in Detroit (when not hurt) and his inability to learn a third pitch or carry on even one intelligent conversation with anyone does not justify his huge salary. Offer him market range for a 4th starter and if he doesn’t like it, he can go pitch in Arizona with the other castoffs.
Neither Max Scherzer nor Armando Galarraga is signed for 2011, either. But neither one can be a free agent.
Max is going to be in this rotation for a long time. Armando’s 15 minutes of fame are up and if he can be traded for anything of value, I say do it ASAP.
Justin Verlander , meanwhile, starts taking huge salary leaps: Up from $6.75 million this year to $12.75 million next year, en route to $20 million in 2012 and for the two years after that, as well.
Hooray for JV!
Wait. That’s it? Not going to touch on Porcello? No mention of the bullpen? What about the bench guys? You lied to me, Tom Gage. That’s okay. I’ll take it from here.
A big problem with the 2010 Tigers has been the lack of hitting off the bench. With no Marcus Thames to pinch hit late in games, the Tigers have been stuck with letting guys like Danny Worth and Gerald Laird pinch hit. That is just sad. Money should be there to sign an experienced role player like Gabe Kapler, Eric Hinske, Reed Johnson, etc. Or, they could go with one of the kids again. Who knows? But guys like Worth and Kelly coming off the bench is not helping anyone on offense.
The pen is young and won’t be going anywhere. Only Bobby Seay is a free agent next year and the team has shown that they don’t need him anymore. The one thing the Tigers organization does have is a deep pool of talented relievers in the majors and minors, so we should be set, especially with The Big Potato signed as the anchor for next year already.
Kid Rick will be fine. He’s done well in Toledo and will be back with the team soon. But with all the big money available to Dombrowski in the off season, I expect him to try and land another big free agent starter. Erik Bedard, Bronson Arroyo, Jon Garland, Rich Harden, Jeff Francis, Aaron Harang, Cliff Lee, Ted Lilly, Kevin Millwood, Carl Pavano, Ben Sheets, Chris Young, and Brandon Webb are just some of the names that will be looking for new deals next year (some do have option issues).
And don’t overlook Nate. He’s a free agent after 2010. Harf.