I am not one to call it quits. I go with the team, whether it be baseball or football, until the very end. As I watch the reply of today's game (I know the outcome but I just can't seem to pull myself away), I really wish this misery would end. Our team has apparently forgot how to drive in run and our pitching staff has forgot how to pitch this half. So I decided to look into the stats behind this slump a little bit. The Tigers rank in the bottom third of the league in the following team categories:
Batting: Left on Base per game, Grounded into Double Plays per game, Sacrifice Hits/Fly's. This is all while being in the top third in OBP, OPS, Hits and about dead center in the league in terms of runs.
Pitching: Runs allowed, Opponent Left on Base per game, Opponent OBP, Opponent OPS. They were in the top third in terms of Opponent Double Plays and Hits per game.
For hitting, we are really lacking in timely hits. We really need to look to someone that won't necessarily get on base, but will drive the runs in anyway they can. I don't care if this means we need to play more small ball and sacrifice more, we need to do something.
For pitching, we really need to keep the opponent off base. And when we do let them get on, we need to keep them away from home plate much better.
So lets move on to see what positions we will need and who, as of 8/2/10, would be available in those spots come the offseason. Let's assume we buyout Jhonny Peralta's contract, we will be losing (on our current roster) Peralta, Gerald Laird, Magglio Ordonez, Johnny Damon and Brandon Inge for fielders and we will be losing pitchers Bobby Seay and Jeremy Bonderman (I am using this MLBTradeRumors article listing current 2011 FA). So basically we will need a C, SS, 3B, LF/RF/DH, RP and a SP. With the payroll next year, there should be no reason we can't fill in the positions with quality players that will get us wins.
- C - No one in particular is jumping out at me. We could go after John Buck, but he will be wanting big money after having his career year, the same with Miguel Olivo. Victor Martinez is on that list, but hard telling how long he will last at the catcher position
- SS - I think that Peralta is still an option at SS. He isn't the best defender in the world with a -27.7 career UZR, but he has shown a history of driving in runs and has a WAR of 13.3. Cristan Guzman is another possibility. He is an average defender at SS based on his UZR, he has a career 8.1 WAR. He has shown he can sacrifice and has some speed, albeit declining. Other then those two, I wouldn't root for any.
- 3B - We of course still have Inge and his career 15.8 WAR and 33.7 UZR, not to mention his ability to catch and play out RF, not that I'd put him out there. We could also look to Peralta in this position where he has faired better out in the field (-1.9 UZR). There is also the very versatile Ty Wigginton. He has a 7.9 WAR but a dreadful -58.9 UZR at the 3B position. But again, he's quite versatile and could fit out in the field anywhere. A possible sleeper could be Aramis Ramirez. He can drive in the runs, provide Cabby a lot of protection, has a 31.9 WAR and -17.7 UZR. Not the greatest defender, but he will make up for it in his run production.
- LF - There are not many LF's out there that really jump out and make you want to take them, except for Carl Crawford. He is the speedster we could use to release havoc on the bases. He's also got some pop in his bat that will really help drive in the runs. He has a 32.5 WAR and an amazing 116.8 UZR in LF. He would also allow for Jackson to play more Right-Center to cover for...
- RF - ... Adam Dunn. He has a 27.2 WAR and I don't even want to look at his miserable UZR in the OF. But like I said, Jackson could be in more Right-Center to help make up for him. Of course we still have Brennan Boesch. We could just as easily bring back Maggs (and I would like him back but as DH vs RF). Other possible FAs could quite possibly be Brad Hawpe (5.3 WAR, -88.2 UZR) and the very popular Jayson Werth. Werth possesses a 20.0 WAR and 27.9 UZR in RF. He would make the most sense, but I am still not completely sold on him.
- DH - Any power hitting FA could fit in here. I wont go into all the possible names.
- RP - Really, we don't miss Seay that much. I wouldn't mind seeing him walk. What I'm more concerned about it getting a proven veteran in there. Will Ohman has looked good this year, J. J. Putz (sticking it to the White Sox! Although he will be looking to be a closer somewhere), Jon Rauch, Grant Balfour, Dan Wheeler and Scott Downs are just some of the notable names that could be possibilities.
- SP - We do not need a power pitcher. Verlander and Scherzer are power enough. We need a SP (or two) that will eat the innings. We need a guy, or guys, that will keep our bullpen fresh. Someone perhaps like a Bronson Arroyo, the diamond of FA's Cliff Lee, Ted Lilly will be out there, Livan Hernandez, this year Carl Pavano. I also think we might want to take a chance on a pitcher that has been injured the last few years at a cheaper price like Brandon Webb or Erik Bedard.
And of course, we can always look from within for any of these positions. We still have Rhymes, Sizemore, Worth and a number of OF's that we could plug in there until the next year. We also have some decent pitching in the minors. And please don't take this as though I think that all these people will be out there this offseason, I know some of them will be resigned and we all know there's no way we will fill in all these positions. This is all just something for us to think about and look into.
I will be honest. When I decided to do this I did not expect to see what I found. I thought we were doing much better with pitching (just look at Scherzer and Coke lately, for example). I knew we were having our struggles (ie. Porcello) but never would I have thought we were in the bottom third of the league.
Comment, let's talk about it. What do you guys think about these players in these positions? Who else do you think we could/should pursue?
And of course, they lose...
I would also to make note that all WAR and UZR are career based, not season