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Like Stripes on the Fur Coat of a Tiger - 12/23

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Have you been following The Spot Starters' ranking of the Top 100 Detroit Tigers? Blake's doing some impressive work on a massive undertaking. And some of the names so far provide quite a nostalgia trip.

The Tigers are one of two major league teams that will have to pay a luxury tax for their 2008 payroll. How much does Mike Ilitch owe the commissioner's office? $1.3 million. The New York Yankees owe $26.9 million.

In his mailbag, Jason Beck addresses the fifth spot in the starting rotation, more Matt Joyce lamentations, and Fernando Rodney's use of the slider.

Also doing some rankings is Motor City Bengals, which is listing their Top 30 Tigers minor leaguers.

Taking an even closer look at the Tigers' prospects down even further, ranking them by position, is Take 75 North.

Blake and I recently discussed whether or not the Tigers' bullpen needed a "proven closer" next season. I wondered if that was why we hadn't heard much about Juan Cruz, while Blake thought the concept was overrated. Viva El Birdos attacks the question with gusto.

LaVelle E. Neal reports that the Minnesota Twins are interested in Brandon Lyon. I wonder how many teams are looking at him as a set-up man, rather than a closer? And where do the Tigers fall on the scale? (via MLB Trade Rumors)

The Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro interviewed James Skelton for his blog. The D-Backs are asking him to report to camp early so he can work out at different positions. (Hat tip to Mike McClary)

Beyond the Box Score takes a look at Derrick Turnbow, breaking down his pitching repertoire with Pitch/FX. How much fun would Rod Allen have with the word "slurve" next season?

And no holiday would be complete without some beautifully illustrated cheer from Samara. Your one-stop shop for holiday wishes from Paws can be found at Roar of the Tigers. Maybe next year, we can get her to draw up a Festivus miracle.