Just over three months into his tenure as the vice-president and General Manager of the Detroit Tigers, Al Avila's busy season is here. Free agents are now eligible to sign on with new teams, and the General Manager's Meetings begin today in Boca Raton, FL. Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press looks at Avila's challenges as the busy season arrives for baseball's front offices.
Obviously Avila's most pressing challenge is to find help for the Tigers beleaguered rotation. However, it will be his work rebuilding the farm system that could pay the biggest dividends, if not in 2016 than in the years to come. With a renewed emphasis on developing a homegrown bullpen, the work of relievers in the Tigers farm system will hopefully play a much bigger role than during Dave Dombrowski's years as GM.
Tigers' reliever prospects Jeff Ferrell and Montreal Robinson has so far acquitted themselves very well in Fall League play. Ferrell, who shrugged off a rough start to his major-league career to finish strong, could be a help to the Tigers bullpen in 2016. Chris McCosky of the Detroit News looked at Ferrell, and breaks down Robinson's success with an eye toward his development within the Tigers' system. He also looks at potential future slugger Dominic Ficociello, his struggle to master his own emotions, and how that success led to a strong season with the Double-A Erie SeaWolves in 2015.
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In a new book, Bill James devises a way to evaluate the performance of bullpens, and how to assign credit to managers. Jim Leyland, or his general managers, don't come out looking good at all.
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Sunday's Say Hey baseball round-up from SB Nation. The qualifying offer, rather than penalizing the big name teams, has instead become a way to stockpile draft picks.
Washington Nationals Use Baseball as a Beacon of Hope at Youth Academy - The New York Times
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Cubs are the 'heavy favorites' to sign David Price - MLB Daily Dish, Matt Goldman
It would appear that David Price and Joe Maddon may be reunited on the north side of Chicago. The Cubs already look like perhaps the scariest young team in the game. Sure, get David Price too.
Sell High / A Year Too Early – The Hardball Times, John Marsh
The history of GMs and their successes and failures at moving players as close to their expiration date as possible.
Is the new front office structure actually a good idea? - MLB Daily Dish, Mike Bates
Will the new breed of team presidents and GM ultimately make teams smarter, or more confused? The current trend toward a two decision-maker structure is now being practiced by several forward-thinking clubs. But is division of labor, or the dilution of responsibility for the big decisions?