If this offseason is any indication, general manager Al Avila’s approval rating probably deserves a bump. That’s because the returns for a number of top-tier players has been extremely underwhelming.
Part of this is due to circumstance. The Miami Marlins were looking to cut money in any way possible after the new ownership group managed to buy their way into debt. And it appears the Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to compete now at the expense of prospects with more upside.
Still, Avila’s returns continue to look better in the face of modest hauls for the likes of Giancarlo Stanton and Gerrit Cole. In what continues to be a buyer’s market, Avila seems to have maximized his return in the majority of his moves.
Jake the snake catcher
Speaking of Avila trades, the piece from the Justin Verlander trade with the least fanfare, Jake Rogers, was just named to MLB Pipeline’s all defense team.
Named to its 2018 All-Defense team, @MLBPipeline says catcher @_JROG_ could be a Gold Glove catcher for years to come. pic.twitter.com/9NMfkxgsiV— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) January 15, 2018
This comes on the heels of Jonathan Mayo declaring Daz Cameron a breakout candidate for 2018 and Franklin Perez being named the Tigers’ top prospect by Baseball America. So, to reiterate, things are looking up.
Is Castellanos next?
While the Tigers have not settled their arbitration with Jose Iglesias, they did wrap up talks with Nicholas Castellanos. With numerous sources indicating that he is on the trade block, it seems that how he is able to acclimate to right field will determine his value. If he is unplayable, the Tigers may not be able to move him. However, if he shows adequate defensive ability, or the team trades him before testing this out, his hitting could bring the team a hefty return.
The stove is slightly above room temperature
It’s been an extremely boring offseason so far, but there has been a fair amount of movement over the last week. It started with the Gerrit Cole trade, locking in the Astros as your 2018 American League favorites. Pittsburgh continued their its off, one that differs quite a bit from the Tigers strategy, by sending Andrew McCutchen to the Giants. And Curtis Granderson just got another deal, heading to Toronto and back to the American League.
Minnesota has also been active, at least in pursuing relief pitchers. They had already signed Zach Duke and Fernando Rodney (yes, mentally prepare yourself for that), and added Addison Reed on the relatively cheap. I don’t know if those are particularly good signings, but they definitely are signings.
Around the horn
Jordan Zimmermann is not done yet. He’s close, but technically still can pitch. You know it’s the offseason when MLive is doing a Tigers Mount Rushmore. Commissioner Rob Manfred may implement a pitch clock for 2018. I’m generally fine with it. Baseball America’s “State of the Game” poll gives some insight into how fans feel about the sport. Alan Trammel was on the Jim Harbaugh podcast.