Bullpen? Check. Rotation? Check. Outfield? Check.
Tigers first-year general manager Al Avila had a long list of needs to fill this offseason after the team finished last place in the AL Central, got to work early and took care of pretty much everything. Give credit to owner Mike Ilitch for giving him the financial ability to do so, though. The Tigers appear to be about $20 million over the luxury tax cap, with a payroll somewhere around the $210 million mark today.
But they certainly got a lot for their money. Jordan Zimmermann was the star pitching attraction. With several successful seasons with his name near the top of the Nationals' rotation, and a no-hitter to along with it, the front-line starter will slot in behind Justin Verlander on the Tigers' depth chart. They also added Mike Pelfrey, a move that they call a "scouting" addition more than an analytical one. The hope there is the defense will help him look a little better in Detroit. (We'll see.)
The bullpen saw a lot of reworking. Francisco "K-Rod' Rodriguez came over in a trade with the Brewers, while they acquired setupman Mark Lowe to pitch in the eighth. Justin Wilson will also join the late innings after a deal with the Yankees. All three give Detroit substantial upgrades over 2015.
The outfield will see a new face and the return of an old friend. Early on Avila traded for Cameron Maybin, who should see time mostly in center field this year, and got Atlanta to kick in some cash. In January, the Tigers shored up left field with the addition of Justin Upton, who can do pretty much everything and came on a palatable deal in terms of both cash and years.
In sum, the Tigers are better, and already appear as if they've put themselves in the running for the postseason for 2016. They may make a minor move or two before the end of the year, but the team appears to be set a month to go before the opening of spring training.
The Tigers have made mostly sensible additions across the board, relying heavily on the analytics team for most of them. They're not a sure thing, not World Series favorites, but they have potential to be a pretty good, fun team if things break the right way.
BYB approves of this offseason.
Payroll for luxury tax purposes
- Somewhere north of $210 million ($189 million is the tax line) as of Jan. 19. Includes projected salaries.
Key additions this offseason
- Acquired Justin Upton on 6-year, $132.7M deal. Upton can opt out after 2 years.
- SP Jordan Zimmermann signed a five-year agreement worth $110 million
- Traded for closer Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez. He's signed for 2016 with a 2017 option.
- RHP RP Mark Lowe signed a two-year agreement worth $11 million
- Traded for LHP RP Justin Wilson. He is entering his first year of arbitration eligibility and expected to make $1.3 million.
- SP Mike Pelfrey signed a two-year agreement worth $16 million
- Traded for OF Cameron Maybin. Under control for 2016 with 2017 option.
- C Jarrod Saltalamacchia signed to one-year deal at about league minimum.
What we think about them
- Mike Pelfrey signing exactly what we should have expected
- Defense will make Mike Pelfrey better in Detroit
- Jordan Zimmermann signing a solid move despite decline in fastball
- Will last season's swing change pay off for Cameron Maybin?
- Will Francisco Rodriguez end the Tigers' proven closer curse?
- Mechanical tweaks, health make Mark Lowe an intriguing addition
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia: he's certainly better than Bryan Holaday!
- Tigers take calculated risk in Justin Wilson trade
- Justin Wilson is more than a left-handed specialist
- Justin Wilson can actually get outs when he needs them
- Justin Upton signing a necessary move for Tigers
- RH-heavy lineup no concern for Detroit
Key subtractions this offseason
- C Alex Avila has joined the White Sox on a $2.5 million deal after declaring for free agency
- OF Rajai Davis declared free agency and signed with the Indians.
- RP Al Alburquerque was not tendered a contract and signed with the Angels.
- RP Neftali Feliz was not tendered a contract.
- RP Tom Gorzelanny declared free agency
- SP Alfredo Simon declared free agency
- SP Randy Wolf declared free agency