clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bless You Boys names its top 10 free-agent desires

The Tigers should listen to us and grab the top three names on our list right now.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Editor's note: This story originally ran in November but several of our top choices are still available, so if you work for the Tigers please enjoy another look. Or even if you don't, we guess.

The Tigers need some help if they're going to compete for the playoffs -- or more -- during the 2016 season. Free agent help. We at Bless You Boys put our collective minds together and decided to provide the club with some free free agent help. So we took a vote, and former Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann won in a runaway election among our staff members.

But we also addressed the team's other needs, with left fielder Alex Gordon finishing second and relief pitcher Darren O'Day in third on our collective list. With free agency set to open at 11:59 p.m. (ET) Friday, just in time here's how the entire top-10 list looked, and you can find full voting results at the bottom of the post:

BYB's top 10 free agent desires:

1. SP Jordan Zimmermann (10)  [Update: Got him!]
2, LF Alex Gordon
3. RP Darren O'Day
4. SP David Price (3) [Signed with Red Sox]
5. SP Mike Leake
6. SP Zack Greinke (1) [Signed with Diamondbacks]
7. OF Jason Heyward (1) 
8. SP Scott Kazmir (1)
9. SP Doug Fister   
10. SP John Lackey (1) [Signed with Cubs]

First-place votes in parentheses.

So as you can see, we wanted to address the need for starting pitching help more than anything. Although many of us would like to see David Price back in the Old English D, the results of the vote show that we believe that's just not in the best interests of the club -- mostly due to the fact we expect him to command a $200 million contract. You'll also note we passed up Zack Greinke, who'll cost a bit less but still an estimated $156 million (per Fangraphs' crowdsourcing), for that reason as well. Zimmermann, with a 3.66 ERA and 3.75 FIP in 2015, should come in at $115-130 million across five to six years. He's also the youngest of the front-line starters. That makes him a great fit.

Gordon, World Series champ with the Royals, is expected by Fangraphs' readers to sign a five-year deal worth about $90 million. With a .271 average and .352 wOBA in 2015, his 31-year-old season, he put together solid numbers on offense. He's above average with the glove, too, helping the Tigers address multiple issues after the loss of left fielder Yoenis Cespedes. (By the way, he just missed our top 10 and finished 11th.) He's a three-time All-Star with four Gold Glove wins in left.

Finally, our third overall pick was reliever Darren O'Day. The 32-year-old could see a three-year deal worth $21 million after making his first All-Star appearance in 2015. He had a 1.52 ERA and 2.49 FIP in 2015. Setupman? Closer? That's up to Brad Ausmus to figure out come spring training.

Why'd we vote the way we did? Here are a few ballots and justifications:


1. Jason Heyward
2. Alex Gordon
3. Darren O'Day
4. David Price
5. Zack Greinke
6. Jordan Zimmermann
7. Jeff Samardzija
8. Scott Kazmir
9. Joakim Soria
10. Chris Davis

Let's be honest, the only real question anyone is going to have about my list is the last guy there: Baltimore's Chris Davis. He's going to cost a ton and doesn't really have a position on this roster, but I think the offensive upside is too vast to ignore. When right, he hits for average and power, draws walks, and is generally a menace to pitch around. It's crazy in a 2012 Prince Fielder way, but that move should have resulted in a championship. There are other things to fix, but outscoring everyone sounds more fun than another free agent reliever.


1. Zack Greinke
2. Jordan Zimmerman
3. Alex Gordon
4. Darren O'Day
5. Anthony Bastardo
6. Mark Lowe
7. Carlos Villanueva
8. Doug Fister
9. Ian Kennedy
10. Dexter Fowler

My top ten FA choices reflect the fact that a) I want the Tigers to sign good players, and b) I know how to count to ten. If you disagree with my selections, that's ok, you're probably just a mean person who I am definitely removing from my Christmas card list this year.

Jeff Roberts

1. Jordan Zimmerman
2. Scott Kazmir
3. Mike Leake
4. Darren O'Day
5. Mark Lowe
6. Tony Sipp
7. Chad Qualls
8. Doug Fister
9. Brandon Morrow
10. Alex Avila

Pitching, pitching and more pitching. I think the Tigers will only sign one starting pitcher and trade for another. I also think Avila Sr. will attack the bullpen a lot harder than Dombrowski, so I listed O'Day, Lowe, Sipp and Qualls. Doug Fister is always an option for a bounce back season and Brandon Morrow would provide depth at either the rotation or the bullpen. Finally, Alex Avila because he's better than Bryan Holaday.


1. Jordan Zimmerman
2. David Price
3. Zack Greinke
4l Joakim Soria
5. Alex Gordon
6. Yoenis Cespedes
7. Darren O'Day
8. Mike Leake
9. Tyler Clippard
10. Johnny Cueto

There was no real methodology here, besides Jordan Zimmermann would make sense and be a good fit, and I'd really like to see David Price as Tiger again. Realistically though, they can't spend their way out of this. They need a frontline starter, an inexpensive starter, and an inexpensive reliever or two. (Because a big name reliever doesn't necessarily mean they'll continue to play well, as Dombrowski repeatedly learned.) Bypassing the most expensive players while still picking a few quality guys makes sense. And yeah, OK, I miss Yo, too.

Full BYB voting results

1 Zimmermann 126
2 Gordon 92
3 O'Day 88
4 Price 63
5 Leake 60
6 Greinke 58
7 Heyward 52
8 Kazmir 40
9 Fister 36
10 Lackey 30
11 Cespedes 25
12 Cueto 21
13 Zobrist 21
14 Soria 19
15 Iwakuma 17
16 Lowe 17
17 Fowler 17
18 Parra 15
19 Gallardo 14
20 Bastardo 11
21 Clippard 10
22 Chen 10
23 Kennedy 8
24 Lewis 7
25 Anderson 7
26 Qualls 7
27 Burnett 6
28 Happ 6
29 Upton 5
30 Rasmus 5
31 Avila 5
32 Sipp 5
33 Villanueve 4
34 Samardzija 4
35 Span 4
36 Aviles 3
37 Buehrle 3
38 Jackson 3
39 Kelly 3
40 Morrow 2
21 Chris Young 2
42 De Aza 2
43 Davis 1
44 Lee 1
45 Colon 1

Methodology: First-place votes received 10 points, second nine, and etc., until 10th place received one point.

Join in!

Let us know in the comments who you like. Equip yourself with Grant Brisbee's power rankings and Fangraphs' best guesses at how much each will cost, if you wish.