While there is still baseball going on — this year’s World Series could shape up to be a real classic — the offseason is in full swing for 28 other MLB teams, including our beloved Detroit Tigers. No major moves have been announced yet, but with the true end of the season fast approaching, that won’t last long. General manager Al Avila has already announced that changes are coming for the Tigers, giving this offseason a rather ominous tone at its outset.
Whether you expect the best or the worst, let’s have some fun! Our friends at South Side Sox have been running a “Choose Your Own Offseason” scenario for a couple years now, and we’re going to join in on the fun this year. The template below will lay out the decisions the Tigers have ahead of them after the World Series, and then you have free reign to make the moves you think will vault the team back into contention!
First, some tips and instructions.
Copy and paste the template into a FanPost. If you have not written a FanPost before, you will need two things: (1) an active SB Nation account registered at BYB (the “join” button is at the bottom of this post), and (2) the link to the FanPost section, which can also be found on the right side of our home page.
Cot’s Baseball Contracts has the Tigers’ payroll obligations. There is no payroll cap on this fun little endeavor, but remember that the Tigers will be looking to get back underneath the current $189 million luxury tax threshold.
MLB Trade Rumors has a list of the 2016-17 MLB free agents. Remember that some of these players have contract options that will be exercised (looking at you, Wade Davis), so use your best judgment to determine which players will actually be available on the free agent market.
We’re still working out the details, but a few lucky writers will win one of our Tigers-themed t-shirts from BreakingT! We have already teamed up to create the Van Man and Fulminator t-shirts, and a few winners (selected at random by the BYB staff) will get their hands on a shirt of their choosing.
Now, the fun part.
[Insert your name]’s Offseason Plan
You can choose to offer the following players the contracts listed below or non-tender them (i.e. not offer them a contract and allow them to leave as a free agent). Feel free to explain any of your tougher decisions.
- Jose Iglesias: $3.2 million
- Nick Castellanos: $2.8 million
- Justin Wilson: $2.7 million
- Andrew Romine: $1.2 million
- Alex Wilson: $1.2 million
- Bruce Rondon: $900,000
Contract options (pick up or buy out)
- Cameron Maybin: $9 million option, $1 million buyout
- Francisco Rodriguez: $6 million option, $2 million buyout
Pending free agents (re-sign or let go)
- Erick Aybar: made $8.5 million in 2016
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia: made $8 million in 2016
- Casey McGehee: made $1.1 million in 2016
Note: The Tigers did not pay out the entirety of these salaries. Aybar spent most of the season with Atlanta, who sent $2 million to Detroit in the trade. Saltalmacchia received nearly $7.5 million of his salary from the Miami Marlins, who signed him to a three-year deal prior to the 2014 season. McGehee was payed a prorated portion of his $1.1 million salary while he accrued major league service time.
If you choose to sign any free agents, name the player(s), the maximum contract offer you would extend to them, and a brief explanation. Here’s an example:
Alex Avila (one year, $3 million): The Tigers need a backup catcher with Saltalamacchia’s departure, and Avila’s offensive platoon splits pair well with James McCann. Avila is also familiar with some of the pitching staff, which should make for an easy transition.
If you choose to trade any players, propose a deal that sounds reasonable for both sides. Remember that players like Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, and Justin Upton have varying degrees of trade protection in their contracts (see the Cot’s Contracts link above for more details). Here’s an example:
Trade J.D. Martinez to the Dodgers for Yasiel Puig: The Dodgers have been trying to rid themselves of Puig for a while now, and almost struck a deal with the Milwaukee Brewers for Ryan Braun earlier this year. Martinez is cheaper, younger, and better than Braun, although under contract for a shorter period of time.
It’s one thing to list all the moves you want to make, but like seventh grade math class, you should show your work! More detail makes for a more interesting FanPost, and thus more commentary. We’ll be sure to promote the more thoughtful efforts to the front page over the next couple weeks. Try your best to be reasonable — the Tigers aren’t going to go out and sign Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon, after all — but have fun!