Monday, January 30, 2012

The latest word on Cuban defector Yeonis Cespedes

According to MLBTradeRumors.com, things are heating up on Cuban OF Yeonis Cespedes, whom the Tigers were rumored to be one of the teams that were interested in signing the former Cuban star.

Yeonis Cespedes

Baseball America’s Jim Callis said that Cespedes would rank in the top 7-15 of the Magazine’s Top 100 prospects list, meaning that he would end up being at the top of the list of any team that were to sign him.

Meanwhile Cespedes’ agent Adam Katz has told people, that “expects to be in camp with one of the Clubs in pursuit, and calls the market for Cespedes “meaningful and aggressive”.

Jim Bowden of ESPN says that meetings are expected to take place here in the U.S in the next 7-10 days, as Cespedes was granted free agency last week, by MLB, with his gaining residency in the Dominican Republic.

I am not convinced that the Tigers will be willing to spend the money to land Cespedes now that they have so much money invested in Victor Martinez, Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and now Prince Fielder. 

Without the injury to V-Mart, I fully expected the Tigers to be one of the teams that would be aggressive in signing the former Cuban star, but while Owner Mike Ilitch has proven that he is willing to spend his money to try and win, i.e.; the Prince Fielder signing, I don’t think the Tigers have enough money left in the tank to go full bore after Cespedes.  I also think that Cespedes play in winter ball, 10 strikeouts in 35 at bats  while hitting 1 HR and only 5 hits, in a very brief winter ball stint in his new home the D.R. has dampened the shine on his star somewhat.

Media outlets are reporting that Cespedes and his agent are looking for a reported contract greater than that offered to Cuban LHP Aroldis Chapman last year, who signed a six-year, $30.25 million deal with the Cincinnati Reds. Cespedes is seeking a 4-6 year deal for as much as $6 million per year. 

While that price tag comes a lot cheaper than the $23 Million/yr deal signed by Prince Fielder it is also more than the Tigers might be able to afford now.

Victor Martinez undergoes left knee surgery

The Detroit Tigers issued the following statemtent around 12:30pm this afternoon regarding Victor Martinez knee surgery.

Here is the link to the press release (if you should want to see)

DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers today made the following announcement regarding catcher/designated hitter Victor Martinez:

Martinez underwent microfracture surgery and repairs to both the medial and lateral meniscus in his left knee on Friday, all of which occurred when he suffered a torn ACL during his off-season conditioning. Friday’s procedure was performed by Dr. Richard Steadman in Vail, CO.

The preliminary surgery on Friday went well according to Dr. Steadman and he is optimistic Martinez will be ready to undergo ACL reconstruction surgery on his left knee in approximately six-to-eight weeks. The Tigers continue to expect Martinez to be sidelined for the 2012 season.

This news shouldn't come as a suprise for anyone who has followed the Tigers off-season.   Of course, as with most injuries, the Tigers are following the very safe and predictable course with the words: "The Tigers continue to expect Martinez to be sidelined for the 2012 season".  

Martinez' injury was the reason for the signing of Prince Fielder, and while Detroit isn't expecting Martinez to return this season, if he does in time for the post -season, the Tigs could very well blast their way to a World Series run, with Cabrera, Fielder and V-Mart if he's healthy.  Add to that the returing Cy Young Award winner in Justin Verlander anchoring a solid rotation.  AL playoff teams watch out!

**NOTE**-  Jason Beck just posted that V-Mart will also have to have surgery on his ACL as well, and that surgery will be in 6-8 weeks, so it is unlkely that Martinez will be back before December so he won't even be healthy enough to get AB's for any post-season run. 

Tigers place 3 in MLB.com Top 100 prospects list.

Jacob Turner
Last week, MLB.com posted their top 100 prospects list for the 2012 season. I’m sure most of you missed it because of the Prince Fielder signing news. So, as always, Tiger Tizzy is here to keep you informed.
Coming in at #15 is Tigers RHP Jacob Turner, who is in the running for Detroit’s #5 slot in the rotation in Spring Training.  Turner is considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball coming in to last season, and despite posting his 0-1 8.53 ERA numbers in his brief MLB career thus far, he remains an elite prospect.  By most accounts Turner will never end up getting to the JV-type numbers in his career - but then again who will, he should end up becoming a solid #2 or at worst #3 starter over his career.  I’m going to date myself here, but I would say that Dan Petry, ended up with a pretty decent career as a #2 behind Jack Morris.

Nick Castellanos
 Next up is 3B prospect Nick Castellanos, who came in as the #51 prospect. The 20-year old Castellanos will more than likely start the 2012 season at High-A Lakeland.  With his decent .312/.367/.436 numbers last year at LoA West Michigan, Castellanos still projects out to be a quality MLB 3b over the course of his career.  His power numbers (7 HR) at West Michigan were less than the club expected, but as many experts surmise, some of his 36 Doubles will end up going for more distance as his frame fills out. 

Rounding out the Tigers 3 prospects is a kid who has gotten an awful lot of publicity over the past few months, like this mention by GM Dave Dombrowski, (via Jason Beck’s blog) and being on the list of this post on fangraphs.com, which gives another look at the Tigers top 15 prospects.

Drew Smyly
Without any further delay, coming in at #82 is LHP Drew Smyly. Smyly is described as a solid #4-type starter.  Smyly, throws 4 pitches well with good control, but his lack of “plus” velocity will limit his upside, but his make-up and control should enable him to be a solid MLB starter as he progresses. 

You can find the entire list of prospects here.

Smyly and Castellanos have been invited to Spring Training in Lakeland as non-roster invites.  You can find the entire list of non-roster invitees here, as well as key dates for Spring Training 2012.

With Turner, the Tigers should have a nice compliment to Justin Verlander at the top of the rotation in the near future, and if Smyly ends up progressing as the Tigers perceive, he will add nice depth and solid LH arm to a strong right-handed rotation of Verlander, Turner, Porcello and Fister. Castellanos reminds me, from everything that I have seen, as a Travis Fryman-type player at 3B, albeit with slightly less average but more power.  Turner and Smyly should be entrenched in the Tigers rotation by the end of 2013, with Castellanos joining them as a fixture at 3B by the end of 2014 if not sooner. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tigers rotation update, how Comerica might affect Fielder’s blasts


According to an interview on ESPN radio this afternoon, Tigers prospect Drew Smyly has a “legitimate chance” to open the season as the Tigers #5 starter.  So said Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, who was being interviewed (presumably) about Prince Fielder as opposed to Drew Smyly.  

For those of you who don’t know much about Smyly.

The Left-handed Smyly is the # 3 prospect in the Tigers system according to Baseball America. Smyly features a fastball in the 87-92 mph range, with a slider and curve as well as a splitter-like change up, that will allow him to be a #3 or 4 starter in the bigs.

I was wondering about what a difference the dimensions of Comerica Park would play on Prince Fielder’s HR numbers compared to Miller Park and the folks at ESPN’s stats and information department were kind enough to do some number crunching. 

For 2011, 9 of Prince’s 24 HR would not have cleared the fences at Comerica with 1 that might or might not have gone out.  All of the nine were hit from Left-Center field to Right-Center, so Fielder might have to adapt and become a little more pull heavy with his swing to compensate, if he is going to duplicate his one HR every 15.3 AB ratio. 


With Smyly not having quite as much upside as Jacob Turner, who projects out to be a solid #2 or #3 rotation guy, being a LH pitcher might give Smyly the edge needed to finish off a very RH heavy rotation of Verlander, Fister, Scherzer and Porcello.   Also vying for the # 5 slot are fellow LHP’s Andrew Oliver and Casey Crosby, the Tigers #4 and #5 rated prospects by Baseball America respectively. 

Regardless of who ends up with the #5 spot, I am curious to see how Oliver, Crosby and Smyly end up pitching at AAA Toledo and for the Tigers this season, as none of the three LHP’s end up projecting into the Tigers lineup down the road, according to BA. 

Something to keep in mind, regarding Fielder and his power numbers, his HR total might take a  slight dip, at least at home, but I would expect to see a rise in Prince’s Double and maybe the occasional Triple numbers as many of Fielder’s blasts that don’t clear the fences, end up being chased around spacious Comerica Park.  I don’t know about you but seeing the 5’11”- 275lb Fielder headed into second base or rounding it into third is not a sight that the infielders of the AL will look forward to seeing.  I fully expect Prince to keep up his ranking of being in the top 5 in Slugging Pct in all of baseball, in 2011.


(Just a quick reminder, when I post here on Tiger Tizzy, any paragraphs entirely in BOLD font, is my opinion)

Tigers Payroll for 2012.

Taking a look at the potential 25-man roster for the 2012 season I have assembled the payroll for the team for the upcoming season.

Obviously some of the players and roles have yet to be defined with Spring Training reporting date of Feb 19, 2012 still 23 days away, this is a guess on my part of who will be filling what role for the Tigers.

Based on the information listed below, the Tigers will be adding over $9.5-Million  over 2011 to their payroll:  

2012$116,814,500
2011$106,953,000
$9,861,500

25 Man roster
1B
Fielder
23,000,000
2B
Raburn
2,100,000
3B
Cabrera
21,000,000
SS
Peralta
5,500,000
C
Avila
425,000
LF
Dirks
414,000
CF
Jackson
440,000
RF
Boesch
430,000
DH
Young
6,750,000



BN
Kelly
900,000
BN
Inge
5,500,000
BN
Laird
1,000,000
BN
Santiago
2,100,000



SP1
Verlander
20,000,000
SP2
Fister
436,500
SP3
Scherzer
3,750,000
SP4
Porcello
1,344,000
SP5
Turner
1,375,000



CL
Valverde
9,000,000
SU
Benoit
5,500,000
SU
Dotel
3,500,000
RP
Coke
1,100,000
RP
Pauley
422,000
RP
Schlereth
418,000
RP
Balester
410,000




$116,814,500


Including V-Mart and Alburqueque contracts (injured)
Cabrera
21,000,000
Verlander
20,000,000
Fielder
23,000,000
Valverde
9,000,000
D Young
6,750,000
Benoit
5,500,000
Inge
5,500,000
Peralta
5,500,000
Sherzer
3,750,000
Porcello
1,344,000
Dotel
3,500,000
Raburn
2,100,000
Santiago
2,100,000
Turner
1,375,000
Coke
1,100,000
Laird
1,000,000
Kelly
900,000
Avila
425,000
Boesch
430,000
Fister
436,500
Jackson
440,000
Schlereth
418,000
Balester
410,000
Dirks
414,000
Pauley
422,000
Alburqueque
414,000
V Mart
13,000,000

$130,228,500

As always please leave your comments and feedback below and thanks for visiting Tiger Tizzy.

Prince Fielder Introductory Press Conference with Photos

Prince Fielder
Yesterday afternoon the Detroit Tigers officially announced the signing of 1B Prince Fielder to a 9-year $214-Million contract.

With his Agent, Scott Boras next to him and the key players of the Tigers brass, including owner Mike Ilitch, GM Dave Dombrowski and Manager Jim Leyland sitting at the table, after passing his physical, Prince Fielder was introduced as a Detroit Tiger in front of a packed crowd of media at Comerica Park.



As Columnist Mitch Albom points out the signing of Fielder is a BIG deal. Meanwhile, Michael Rosenberg points out that the Tigers are trying to keep everyone happy, for now.

Agent Scott Boras and Fielder
Tony Paul of the Detroit News reminds everyone that Fielder isn’t the first of his clients that Scott Boras has brought to Motown, when the Tigers needed, and the News also shows what the Tigers batting order might end up looking like with Fielder and Cabrera.

You will notice that Brandon Inge ends up with the short end of the stick, which is nothing new for the longest tenured Tiger. Jason Beck noted that Inge found out the Fielder news through the media and not from the Tigers brass and he’s not a “happy camper”.


GM Dave Dombrowski, Fielder, Owner Mike Ilitch
and Manager Jim Leyland
Drew Sharp, was critical of the signing as he announced on ESPN on Wednesday, “ Logically this deal, makes not one damn bit of sense for the Detroit Tigers, long term …what your saying is you are going to pay Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, two guys who are basically the same player offensively and unfortunately defensively, close to $45 Million annually, ... and to move Cabrera to 3rd base, they tried that in ’08 when the Tigers first acquired him, it was a disaster”. But he (Sharp) tells everyone that owner Mike Ilitch wants to win a World Series, and will pull out all the stops to do so.

So does the Fielder signing bring an end to the Tigers moves for this off-season?? Dave Dombrowski was asked that question, and he worded his answer carefully, as Beck shows.

For those of you who want to see the transcript of the entire press conference, the folks at Mlive were kind enough to post it, and you can find it here

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Heavy Hitting Prince joins Tiger$



It’s been a little over 24 hours ago that the shocking news broke that the Detroit Tigers were the team to land the last ‘big” free agent on the market; Prince Fielder.

It’s been 7,008 hours since I updated Tiger Tizzy. That number just might be the same number of errors that get committed by the Tigers infield during 2012.

Obviously the injury to Victor Martinez created a hole in the lineup that GM Dave Dombrowski and Owner Mike Ilitch decided needed to be filled, and fill they did.

Of course, within minutes of the Fielder signing, twitter and Facebook both exploded with the humorous announcements “Little Caesars Hot N Ready pizza’s was $5.99 now $59.99” etc, etc.

The AL Central was the Tigers to lose for 2012, with the Twins and White Sox losing ground to the Tigers in 2011 and in the off-season, with the Twins biggest signing being Josh Willingham, or is it Joel Zumaya?? , and losing Michael Cuddyer, while the Sox only signing (thus far) being Jason Frasor.

Here’s to the start of 2012 on Tiger Tizzy and there’s nothing better than some big news to kick off the baseball season and what I honestly hope will be one of the most entertaining blogs in all of baseball.

My plan for 2012 is to make sure that the 2012 Detroit Tigers season coverage and Tiger Tizzy site gets updated at least once a week. I have NO EXCUSES for not doing so before but the past is just that…the past.

Keep reading and I will keep writing about your favorite baseball team, the Detroit Tigers here on Tiger Tizzy.