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Morning Prowl: 40-Man Roster Decisions, Placido Polanco's Market Value, and Van Slyke's Replacement

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At The Detroit Tigers Weblog, Bill Ferris looks at the team's 40-man roster, which currently has 44 players on it (due to some being protected on the disabled list). So the Tigers have some decisions to make, especially as some minor leaguers will need to be protected. Bill speculates who the first cuts will likely be.

The San Francisco Giants re-signing second baseman Freddy Sanchez last week seemed like a harmless enough transaction. But Tiger Geist immediately pounced on how that could affect the Tigers. Will Sanchez's deal determine Placido Polanco's price on the free agent market? Could Polanco be worth more?

Lynn Henning talked to Jim Leyland about retaining Lloyd McClendon as hitting coach. Leyland called it "a legitimate question" but doesn't think McClendon is the reason for the Tigers' offensive struggles this season.

Tigers Tracks responds to Steve Kornacki's report that the Tigers have three candidates to take over Andy Van Slyke's vacancy on the coaching staff. The three finalists are minor league coordinators Gene Roof and Mike Rojas, and Double-A Erie manager Tom Brookens.

Jason Beck has re-opened his inbox (mailbag) for the offseason and addresses two key questions on fans' minds: Will the team pursue a veteran closer in free agency and could Brent Dlugach be a suitable replacement for Adam Everett at shortstop?

Aaron Gleeman lists five second basemen the Minnesota Twins should look at signing for next season. Guess who the top choice is.

If you've often thought that Leyland must issue more intentional walks than any other manager, you're right. In each of the past two seasons, Leyland called for the most intentional walks in the majors, according to John Dewan.

More from Dewan: He's compiled his Fielding Bible Awards for 2009. Unfortunately, no Tiger made the cut. You can read an explanation of what determines the awards at the Fielding Bible website.

On ESPN.com's Arizona Fall League blog, Jason Grey writes about former Tiger Andrew Miller's efforts to revamp his delivery. The big change is to try and stop throwing across his body, which is what the Marlins believe affected his control.

In light of the weekend's Milton Bradley-for-Vernon Wells trade rumors (that have since been shot down), Buster Olney lists 10 bad contracts teams are carrying that could be a match for Bradley. One of them is a Detroit Tigers pitcher.

(And since the article is ESPN Insider content, I'll say that the player in question wasn't on the Tigers' active roster at the end of the season.)

Speaking of Olney, Mack Avenue Tigers responds to his weekend post that discussed some players who might not be offered contracts by their current teams (or non-tendered, since they're under club control). One of the guys Olney mentions, which could interest Tigers fans greatly, is Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy.

I'm guessing that not too many Tigers fans would be excited about Jarrod Washburn returning to Detroit next season. It appears that's not going to be an issue, however, as Washburn sounds like he wants to go back to Seattle. (That sounded like a strong possibility back in July, when the Tigers acquired him.)