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Detroit Tigers Links: Alex Avila's beard is still awesome & Darin Downs gets philosophical

Alex Avila's beard is still awesome, Darin Downs gets all philosophical on Twitter, and Chipper Jones basically won life and the Internet yesterday. These stories and more in today's Morning Prowl.

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Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Jackson wants you to know there are 14 days until Pitchers and Catchers report.


Tigers links:

New Tigers manager Brad Ausmus to rely heavily on catcher Alex Avila, Jason Beck

Can I just say one more time how lovely Avila's beard is looking these days?

With Addition of Nathan, Tigers Taking No Chances With Ninth Inning
Where Have You Gone, Johnny Grubb?, Greg Eno

Nathan might be a "real" closer, but I don't think he fixes the bullpen. If the setup guys still can't get it done, it won't matter if Nathan can.

Doug Fister: Washington Nationals may have better rotation than Detroit Tigers
Detroit Free Press, Brian Manzullo

This means basically nothing. Of course he's going to say that about his new team.

Jack Morris: The results are in
SweetSpot Blog, David Schoenfield

Bill James has published the final article of his 10-part series on Big Game pitchers and takes a look at everybody's favorite Hall of Fame candidate,

Victor Martinez unsure of future with Detroit Tigers

Victor Martinez seems unsure of his future with the Detroit Tigers after the 2014 season, saying he wants to stay but he also realizes where he stands on the teams pecking order.

Detroit Tigers' farm system ranked third-worst in MLB
Detroit Free Press, James Jahnke

I'd personally rather have a great team and a lousy farm system than the other way around.

Elsewhere in baseball:

Chipper Jones Rescues Freddie Freeman
Talking Chop, Jane Hammond

If we can look past his awful choice in winter coats, we can fully acknowledge how truly amazing this is.

Ramon Santiago, Reds agrees to minor league deal
FOX Sports, Peter Aiken

Super happy to see Santiago sign with the Reds and get an invitation to spring training. Wish him the best.

The Myth of the Royals and 2014
FanGraphs Baseball, Jeff Sullivan

To me, the Royals made one of the worst realistic trades you can make. Today they’re sitting in a half-decent position, for both the present and for the future.

Angels sign former All-Star Carlos Pena, Brennan Boesch
USA Today

Move over, Mike Trout.

Lance Berkman officially retires after 15 seasons — is he a Hall of Famer?
Big League Stew, Mike Oz

Fat Elvis has left the building.

Tigers tweets:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Watching the <a href="">@ESPNNBA</a> version of Miggy vs Trout. <a href=";src=hash">#BestVsBest</a></p>&mdash; Max Scherzer (@Max_Scherzer) <a href="">January 30, 2014</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>So if cars get better gas mileage but the price of gas keeps going up. Are we really getting anywhere? Just a thought</p>&mdash; Darin Downs (@DDowns99) <a href="">January 29, 2014</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Big W by the Tige&#39;s! Atta baby! I&#39;ll Be trash talking now at <a href="">@SmylyD</a> and <a href="">@toriihunter48</a> all year now!! <a href=";src=hash">#MIZZOU</a></p>&mdash; Max Scherzer (@Max_Scherzer) <a href="">January 29, 2014</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Offense taken! "<a href="">@Verly32</a>: Turning 22 on Friday! That sounds old. (No offense to anyone older)"</p>&mdash; Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) <a href="">January 28, 2014</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Can&#39;t stop singing <a href=";src=hash">#DarkHorse</a> in the car. I swear I sound like Katy Perry... &quot;Are you ready for, ready for A perfect storm, perfect storm&quot;</p>&mdash; Max Scherzer (@Max_Scherzer) <a href="">January 28, 2014</a></blockquote>
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