This is the new year, and I don’t feel any different. With the timing of the holidays, it has been a long minute since I have had the opportunity to make sure you are up to date on all the relevant — and often irrelevant — Detroit Tigers news. I’m sure a lot has happened since mid-December. Let me take a minute to page through all my notes and make sure I don’t miss any important info. I’ll put it in list form to make it easier to digest.
1. Detroit signed Pete Kozma.
Now that we’re all up to speed on the transactions of the last few weeks, please allow me to share some more recent news of relevance.
Gardy gettin’ busy
After an eventful holiday travel season that was recounted in far more detail than it needed to be by Chris McCosky of The Detroit News, new manager Ron Gardenhire has settled in and is getting ready for spring training. He has started by contacting all of his players on the phone to talk about the upcoming season. There’s some interesting stuff to unpack here, like the fact that his first two calls went to Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez and they both went unanswered. He did manage to get Nick Castellanos on the horn, and that conversation involved discussions on getting Nick ready to try not to suck as badly in right field as he did at third base.
In other Gardenhire news, there was an interesting tidbit buried in this weeks Sunday Notes feature from FanGraphs. Snuggled right in behind an interesting report about how Rick Hahn is constantly trying to stay out in front of the latest trends so as to afford his organization the best advantage is a blurb about Gardenhire’s plans. This might come as bit of a downer to some of the folks who were getting super pumped that Gardenhire knew how to say the word analytics, but Gardy doesn’t have plans to do anything outside the box as the Tiger’s manager this year. While pointing out that he “doesn’t plan to get creative” with this team they offer up this gem of a quote:
“When you’re managing a baseball team you’ve got to come to the ballpark every day expecting to win,” opined Gardenhire. “We’re going to try to teach these guys to play the game with respect and figure out ways to beat people. I want that attitude.”
This certainly sounds like the traditional old school approach to me.
For a team hard pressed to find legitimate middle infield talent to get excited about in the minor league system Isaac Paredes is a potential sight for sore eyes. the eighteen-year-old shortstop came over and turned some heads after he was acquired in the trade with the Chicago Cubs. He’s a young bat the Tigers seem to be rather impressed with based on discussions with minor league coaches. He has continued to impress in the Mexican Winter League. Jeimer Candelario was the big name in that Cubs trade, but if Isaac Paredes can maintain this production as he develops, we could be looking at that Justin Wilson/Alex Avila trade as a one of the best in recent history.
The color of money
Crains Detroit dropped an interesting little nugget on Sunday regarding the Tiger’s finances. Thanks to a one time lump sum payment from the sale of Major League Baseball’s digital streaming rights to Disney, it would seem that the Tigers have their entire 2018 payroll covered before anyone even reports for spring training. While payroll only makes up for a little more than half of the team’s overall expenses for the year, it’s hard to imagine they’ll have that much trouble making up the difference through ticket sales, concessions, and merchandise for the 2018 season (no matter how abysmal attendance might be). The article speculates that the organization could sit on some of this money to do a little buying in next year’s free agent market, but I wouldn’t expect that to happen. The next time someone brings up the financial constraints involved in the new era of the Tigers, take a moment to remember that having enough money to spend really isn’t the issue here.
Baseball is a process
I don’t know what it will take for Daniel Norris to get it all figured out, but maybe this is it?
A kid just threw a pine cone at my car as I drove by. Looked me dead in the eyes & screamed. I'm not even mad. It's -100 degrees today & that encourages me for this next generation that he is outside playing.— Daniel Norris (@DanielNorris18) January 6, 2018
Tbh, I couldn't get mad because his mechanics were much more repeatable than mine. He dotted the outside corner of my vehicle. - I'm working. I'm working https://t.co/HVOflZg65f— Daniel Norris (@DanielNorris18) January 6, 2018