2010 Detroit Tigers: An Exercise in Roster Building

[Editor's Note: Promoted from the FanPosts, for the sake of some off-day discussion.]

So, to get our minds off of Twins-hate season, I figured that I would write something about the 2010 Tigers roster to change the subject. Everyone around here knows that I've been of the opinion that we should sell the role players to make the team better for 2011, but I've been thinking, and I believe that we have a shot to contend next year provided DD makes the right deals. The Royals and Indians will still suck, and the Twins and White Sox will have to take a lot of risks, so there is an opening as well. So, I've decided to reconstruct the roster to contend in 2010. More after the jump.

I devised a set of rules to begin with when playing with the roster. They follow.

1. The primary goal is to develop a winner. Cutting payroll is nice, but Mr. Ilitch wants a winner, and it doesn't matter what the payroll is- if the Tigers lose, we lose more money than if the Tigers win and we jack payroll by 20 MM. Why? Nobody wants to spend on a loser.

2. If we can make moves to cut payroll, we do.

3. We use every asset we have, but we do not trade prospects. The goal is to contend next year, but not at the expense of building a dynasty for 2011.

4. Sacrifices must be made. Team favorites will go in favor of prospects and free agent signings.

5. All free agent signings must be short term and cheap- I'm looking to a lot of role players to complement the core of Cabrera/Verlander/Jackson/Granderson.

6. Defense is still important, but we've also got to score more runs. So we are willing to sacrifice some defense for offense, but not much.

7. NEVER BUY BULLPEN PITCHERS. We've got enough in-house to solve all our relief problems now that DD and David Chadd spent an entire draft hoarding them. Plus, relief pitchers are volatile as is.

Expected roster for the 2010 Detroit Tigers

C: Gerald Laird (arb eligible)

1B: Miguel Cabrera ($20MM)


3B: Brandon Inge ($6.6MM)


LF: Carlos Guillen ($13MM)

CF: Curtis Granderson ($5.5MM)

RF: Magglio Ordonez ($18MM)

DH: Marcus Thames (arb eligible)

BN: Alex Avila ($400K)

BN: Ramon Santiago (arb eligible)

BN: Clete Thomas ($400K)

BN: Ryan Raburn ($400K)

SP: Justin Verlander(arb eligible)

SP: Edwin Jackson (arb eligible)

SP: Rick Porcello (1.025MM)

SP: Nate Robertson ($10MM)

SP: Jeremy Bonderman ($12.5MM)

RP: Bobby Seay (arb eligible)

RP: Fu-Ti Ni ($400K)

RP: Zach Miner ($400K)

RP: Ryan Perry ($400K)

RP: Casey Fien ($400K)

RP: Dontrelle Willis ($12MM)

RP: Armando Galarraga ($400K)

Total Salary: $101.825MM (not including arbitration for Laird, Thames, Santiago, Verlander, Jackson, Seay)

*league minimum is roughly $400K


Resign Ramon Santiago at 1yr, 950K

Razor Ramon is a great bench player who deserves to stick around.

Resign Bobby Seay at 2yr, 3MM

Ladies and gentlemen, the likely closer for the 2010 Detroit Tigers. A reliable relief pitcher who doesn't always give us heart attacks. Not Joe Nathan, but cheap and reliable.

Trade Marcus Thames for prospects

Yes, this is the first major sacrifice. But Thames is getting very expensive very quickly, and this is an easy way to save between $2-3MM.

Trade Gerald Laird (arb eligible) for prospects, Alex Avila ($400K) becomes starting C, Dusty Ryan ($400K) becomes reserve C

Another (probably) controversial move- but Laird is arbitration eligible and likely making more than $3MM next year. While stellar defensively, he's been worth the same as Avila (.9 WAR) in 300 more plate appearances. Selling him high to a team looking for a good defensive catcher could net us something nifty and could save us some cash. Plus, Dusty Ryan makes a cheap backup.

Sign Justin Verlander at 5yr, 55MM

Our first big move is locking up Verlander at a Greinke comparable contract (this one is $4MM for 2010, $6MM for 2011 and $15MM for 2012-2014). Locking up the ace is a good move, and this should save us some money in the long term while giving us another anchor to build around.

Sign Edwin Jackson at 5yr, 48.5MM

Another Greinke-style contract, Jackson takes 3MM in 2010, 5MM in 2011 and 13.5MM in 2012-2014. Lock up another building block for our future dynasty.

Sign Rick Ankiel at 1yr, 5MM

Yes, his bat's been crap. But he's got a great glove and an even better arm and that bat has upside. This is a risky move, but I think Ankiel might be willing to do it in order to regain some value. If this doesn't work out, the Tigers can always call up either Wilkin Ramirez or Ryan Streiby to play some corner OF.

Resign Adam Everett at 2yr, 3MM

Opie's been a great shortstop in the field, and I'm willing to make the sacrifice in offense here. Plus he deserves a 2 year deal- this will make sure he resigns with us.

Sign Carl Pavano to a 1yr, 2MM contract with 5MM in incentives

He's been an absolute pain for us to face. What better way to avoid facing him? Pavano is a quality innings-eating option (worth 3.5 WAR this year) and he'd fit in wonderfully in the back of our rotation.

Trade Dontrelle Willis ($12MM) and Carlos Guillen ($13MM) to the Cubs for Milton Bradley ($9MM 2010, $12MM 2011)

This move sounds absolutely nuts, and I know I'm going to get slammed for it. Sure, Bradley is a clubhouse cancer. Sure he's a health risk. But I'm willing to bet that he'll shut up on a contender. Plus he's hitting .257/.378/.397- that OBP would play well at leadoff. And we can play Ordonez and Bradley at DH/LF so they both stay healthy. We also jettison Willis, who the Cubs can rehab, and say goodbye to Guillen, who is still a competent hitter that the Cubbies can slide in RF or LF. I'd be willing to throw in up to $13MM in cash to get this deal done (Guillen's 2011 salary) as well, but I think the Cubs are desperate and that they'd take this if offered. If not, we could always just deal them Willis and dump Guillen as well.

Trade Zach Miner (arb eligible) for prospects.

This is a great idea- deal the starter to someone who needs a starter- and it also saves us on what Miner would cost in arbitration.

Offer Placido Polanco arbitration, let him walk. Replace with Scott Sizemore

Yes, everyone loves Polly. Yes, his glove is great. Yes, he makes a lot of contact. But he's an expensive player who is going to want to get paid like an expert glovesman (which he is) and an above average bat (which he is not). Some team will hand him a nice contract this winter, but we should not be that team, especially when we have the solid and cheap Scott Sizemore down on the farm. An upgrade with the bat (less contact, but good on base ability and better power) and a slight downgrade with the glove (Sizemore's slightly above average), this is a good lateral move that saves Detroit oodles of bucks next year.

Move Jeremy Bonderman to the bullpen

Remember when I called Bobby Seay the closer of the future? I may have lied. Bondo may never regain all his stuff and he may never be able to start again. But if he gets his slider back, he may be a decent shutdown closer for the Tigers.

Prepare to have a revolving door in the bullpen

Not a move in and of itself, but we have so many good relief prospects we can afford to mix and match beyond the big four (Seay, Bondo, Ni, Perry). To start out with, I recommend Armando Galarraga taking Miner's old job, Casey Fien grabbing a role in the 'pen and Alfredo Figaro working in mop-up relief.

The DemonDeaconsBaseball proposed 2010 Detroit Tigers Roster

C: Alex Avila ($400K)

1B: Miguel Cabrera ($20MM)

2B: Scott Sizemore ($400K)

3B: Brandon Inge ($6.6MM)

SS: Adam Everett ($1.5MM)

LF: Magglio Ordonez ($18MM)

CF: Curtis Granderson ($5.5MM)

RF: Rick Ankiel ($5MM)

DH: Milton Bradley ($9MM)

BN: Dusty Ryan ($400K)

BN: Ramon Santiago ($950K)

BN: Clete Thomas ($400K)

BN: Ryan Raburn ($400K)

SP: Justin Verlander ($4MM)

SP: Edwin Jackson ($3MM)

SP: Rick Porcello (1.025MM)

SP: Nate Robertson ($10MM)

SP: Carl Pavano ($7MM)

CL: Bobby Seay ($1.5MM)

SU: Jeremy Bonderman ($12.5MM)

SU: Ryan Perry ($400K)

LOOGY: Fu-Ti Ni ($400K)

MU: Casey Fien ($400K)

MU: Alfredo Figaro ($400K)

MU: Armando Galarraga ($400K)

Total Salary: $109.575MM (down from 115.085MM in 2009)

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This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the <em>Bless You Boys</em> writing staff.