Well, it took about a week, but Kenny Rogers appears to have finally figured out how to be his own agent and fill out the paperwork necessary to re-sign with the Detroit Tigers.
Rogers and the Tigers have agreed on a one-year contract. The exact terms of the deal haven't been given, but it's likely for the $8 million that had been discussed all along. In 11 starts this past season, Rogers posted a 3-4 record with a 4.43 ERA.
His importance to the Tigers was all too obvious, as the pitching staff never really recovered from losing Rogers in late March to a blood clot in his shoulder. Detroit's chances of keeping pace with the Indians in August were also adversely affected when Rogers suffered an elbow injury that kept him out the entire month. If he can stay healthy, the starting rotation obviously has a much better chance of performing as it did in 2006.
The question now becomes whether or not the Tigers are done shopping for starting pitchers. Most indications seem to say yes, though I think many of us hope Dave Dombrowski is strongly considering one more starter as insurance against another injury-plagued year from Rogers (or lack of development from Andrew Miller).
** UPDATED at 1:00 p.m.
But re-signing Kenny Rogers isn't the only transaction news from Comerica Park today. The Tigers also signed reliever Francisco Cruceta, who spent last season in the Texas Rangers' organization. In 25 appearances (five starts) with Triple-A Oklahoma City, the 26-year-old Cruceta put up a 3-0 record and 3.02 ERA, with 70 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings. He's also been impressive in the Dominican Winter League, going 1-1 with a 1.08 ERA and 25 strikeouts. (I can't find how many innings he's pitched.)
Cruceta was last in the majors with the Seattle Mariners in 2006. He appeared in four games, accumulating a 10.80 ERA and giving up 10 hits, eight runs, and six walks in just 6 2/3 innings.
If players are coming, that also means players must be going, in terms of the 40-man roster. And in this case, the odd men out are outfielder Timo Perez and first baseman Chris Shelton. Despite his tremendously surprising September, Timo Time had pretty clearly run out once the Tigers acquired Jacque Jones.
As for Shelton, he probably deserves a future blog post of his own. I'm sure there are plenty of other examples in baseball history of one season rise-and-falls. But I can't think of another player who was on top of the baseball world at the beginning of the season in 2006 only to plummet down to the minors and dig himself such a deep hole that he didn't even sniff the majors the following year. Shelton is a classic case of a guy who needs a fresh start in another organization.