Due to my belief that their payroll may become bloated with aging, soon-to-be former stars, I think you're familiar with my worries that the Tigers won't be able to emulate the Cardinals' lengthy run of prosperity. *Again, I'd pay Castellanos, Porcello and Smyly right now rather than the extension you want for Cabrera or Scherzer*
The Tigers didn't trade Max Scherzer, and as of this moment he hasn't been extended (which is fine), and they're in win-now mode, but hopefully they have an eye not necessarily on the budget, but on the future.
I DO believe the Tigers ownership and front office CAN straddle the win now/success in the future line.
The Tigers are an American League front runner, as they've been for the better part of the last 8 years, but let's go back to last year.
Twelve months ago a Tigers vs. Nationals World Series was a popular premonition.
The Tigers, after being swept in October 2012 by the Giants, had added Torii Hunter and retained Anibal Sanchez. They nearly held up their end of the popular prophecy by coming within a few games of another World Series appearance.
The emerging '12 Nationals appeared to be slightly ahead of schedule with a NL East crown and 98 wins. Disappointingly they fell to the Cardinals in the NLDS, even after jumping out 5-0, then failing to maintain a 7-5 9th inning advantage in the deciding Game 5.
That's motivation to storm into the 2013 campaign.
Bryce Harper had a full season of MLB experience. The Nats could finally unleash Stephen Strasburg for an entire year (AND PLAYOFFS). The resigned Adam LaRoche was coming off a powerful 33 homer season. The bullpen had a new anchor with Rafael Soriano signed to close. Dan Haren was mixed in to secure the middle/end of the rotation. Steady Denard Span was acquired to patrol center and lead off. Lastly, it would seem likely that former All Star Jayson Werth would give the Nats more than 81 games in 2013.
It was almost senseless NOT to pick the Nationals to make the leap from East champs, past the NLDS, to the World Series.
Then, 2013 happened.
Danny Espinosa forgot how to be good at baseball. Ryan Zimmerman could reach first base...with throws. Span was average. Werth was MVP-worthy...if he'd not missed 30 games early. Harper tried to take on a wall at full speed, and lost. Haren looked retired until the All Star break. LaRoche's power went out and Drew Storen, likely from being jerked around roles, had an ERA of a 4th starter in the American League.
It took Washington until August 27th for the Nationals to climb past the even mark for good. They finished the final two months playing .630 ball which helped them to 86 wins, but still 4 short of even the second wild card.
The season preordained to end around Halloween, didn't even reach October.
I was in step with the hiring of Brad Ausmus and the Tigers decision to reshape the DNA of their ball club into a more athletic and versatile bunch, that also reckoned it was time to not be dismissive of poor defensive players.
Now...I'm worried. I see a dark, stormy cloud hovering over the Tigers season.
You're probably beginning to think back to the 2008 Tigers team that had lofty expectations and finished in last place with 74 wins. At the prime age of 25, Justin Verlander had a season that won't be believed once his career concludes; 11-17 4.84 ERA 1.40 WHIP.
No shock, but Andy Dirks is hurt. It was a frightful idea to depend on his health anyway.
Jose Iglesias has an ailment that's as mysterious as the missing Malaysian plane. He'll play this season, but when?
I actually wrote this blog up at 11am, but our site's criminal admin somehow erased every word I typed.
Since then, Anibal Sanchez had his start scratched today with shoulder pain.
Oh, and that Doug Fister trade we all despise. *I can accept it if Ian Krol comfortable assumes the role Smyly played last year. Krol must be a weapon, or DD deserves all the scrutiny he gets*
At this point, there's no need for jump-out-of-the-building panic, but if I were you, I'd locate and know how to pull the fire alarm if needed. Maybe even dial the 9...
On the possible replacements for Iglesias.
- Jimmy Rollins would've suited the Tigers nicely, even with his $11 million this year, and the same year to vest in 2015. He's already clashed with new manager Ryne Sandberg, and his general disinterest - aside from selfishly targeting team records - has Philly ticked.
Rollins said he will not waive his 10/5 rights that allows him to block a trade to any team.
That's unfortunate. Enjoy missing the playoffs AGAIN. And losing nearly 90 games AGAIN. And possibly having your plate appearances strategically massaged in the summer as the Phillies fade from the race and prevent you from reaching your vested option.
I think Rollins would actually be viewed more heroically for asking for a trade to Detroit right now, than many years from now, after he owns those team records and expects positive acknowledgment for his self-seeking deeds.
Rollins should be helping the Phillies pay some of his salary to go try and win a second World Series with the Tigers.
Yes, 11 is a hefty price for Detroit, but the Phillies should chip in if Rollins were to waive his 10/5 right. The personnel cost would likely be little for the Tigers seeing as the Phillies could use the salary relief and expunging Rollins before he becomes a true cancer is best for everyone.
No, Rollins isn't close to his former-MVP-self, but his defense is still plus, he still has his legs, and you'd get as much offensively from him, as Iglesias wouldv've provided.
At this second, it's not happening.
- Stephen Drew? Lose a top pick, pay something like $14 million, and hope he plays more games than he usually does (he's prone to being injury prone) for a good, but not great player? En, Oh.
- Nick Franklin, too, could be costly. His prospect status has waned, but the Mariners have something the Tigers need. Franklin's minor league .819 OPS is a bit inflated because of the hitter-friendly leagues where he matriculated, but his 96 OPS+ rookie campaign in '13 wasn't a total flop.
But again, will Seattle try to extract premium talent from the Tigers, which they already possess little of?
If Franklin does land with the Tigers soon, expect him to push Ian Kinsler to an outfield role next year, lessening the loss of Torii Hunter, who's in the last year of his Detroit deal.
Did you check to see where the fire alarm is?