With the Roman pizza king's propensity for big free agent splashes, this pre-Christmas tweet by Bob Nightengale should not come as a surprise to anyone:
"The #Tigers appear to be sitting back waiting for Yoenis Cespedes, whose price may be dropping."
Yet it caused quite a stir. This was, after all, the first mention of the Tigers being back in on Cespedes since GM Al Avila's declaration that the team was out. Also everyone is desperate for any baseball related news (see: me resorting to exploiting JD's lack of sleeves for clicks.)
Anyway, that tweet should simply be read as commonsense speculation. It would be foolish to think Avila and owner Mike Ilitch weren't monitoring the Cespedes saga (it's basically a saga at this point) as well as the price tags of fellow free agents Justin Upton and Alex Gordon.
The Tigers have been lying in wait for quite some time now (Mike Aviles signings don't count). And I don't see it as Cespedes or bust as much as spend or don't spend.
Walkoff Woodward with a fair point:
Something to keep in mind: despite Mr. I's proclamations the Tigers haven't yet given any indication they're willing to go over the lux. tax— walkoffwoodward (@walkoffwoodward) December 29, 2015
When speculating whether the Tigers will make the leap for another big ticket free agent, most are using past signings as their guide. But if you take the Tigers' moves since the Jordan Zimmermann signing in a vacuum, it would indicate that they are positioning themselves to stay just below the Luxury Tax.
After the initial Nightengale tweet, the Cespedes market seems to be taking some form. The Orioles and White Sox appear to lead, while the Angels, Giants, and Rangers also remain in the mix. There has been little mention of the Tigers other than the usual "they may come out of nowhere with thousands of pizzas."
I don't think the Tigers end up making a move on Cespedes. While he is a plus defender and lit the world on fire last year, he is also 30 and a six-year deal would be another lagging production contract. At this point, it seems unlikely that the Tigers will make any additional moves. But for those on #TeamSpend, the best-case scenario is for the Cespedes figure to come in lower than expected. This could depress the earnings of Gordon and Upton enough to entice Ilitch to move. That said, its tough to underestimate an owner's desire to win.
Aroldis Chapman and the Yankees' terrifying bullpen
Yes, I would say that "Three Armed Bullpen Monster" is the best way to describe what teams will be facing if they enter the seventh inning trailing the Yankees. Pinstripe Alley breaks down what this means for the Bronx Bombers.
So you're saying there's a chance
SB Nation's Grant Brisbee lists why every team in the American League thinks they have a chance for 2016. The Tigers' outlook is especially glowing: "The Tigers will always be contending or at least pretending to while Mike Ilitch is still in charge."
Hooray for saving 25 dollars
The MLB will offer single team MLB.TV packages for 2016. And while I do love checking in on the Arizona Diamondbacks from time to time, most people will presumably opt for this option. Unfortunately this does not fix the blackout restrictions, so I will still be muting the White Sox games.
My worst nightmare
This is completely irrelevant, but Tuesday I learned that a baseball game was postponed due to an excess amount of Tarantulas. Dear. God.