Good Monday morning, and welcome to day one of the long harsh winter without Detroit Tigers baseball. I am not generally one to agree with the “bad baseball is better than no baseball” saying. When January rolls around and the snow is on the ground, and my mind has had enough time to convince itself that bad baseball isn’t actually all that terrible to watch, I start to change my tune.
Baseball is not completely over yet, though. While we don’t have a Tigers game to look forward to, Monday holds not one, but two bonus games featuring the Colorado Rockies against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Chicago Cubs against the Milwaukee Brewers. Glad we could help out, Brewers fans.
Model for a rebuild
With the Tigers in the infancy of what will certainly be a multi-year rebuild, general manager Al Avila talked with the media over the weekend and pointed to the Brewers as a good model for what Detroit could do. It would seem the idea is to acquire prospects while bringing payroll under control so money can be used for bigger free agency and trade moves when the time is right. We’ll see if Avila can execute on that basic plan.
Here’s what the offseason may hold
Part of the rebuild discussion involves some decisions that will need to be made this offseason. Namely, the Tigers need to decide what to do about Nicholas Castellanos, James McCann, and Jose Iglesias.
The story on Castellanos remains constant; is the offensive benefit worth the defensive liability? If they wanted to trade him, what could they realistically get in return? Iglesias is also something of a known situation right now. With little to no trade interest around him during the season, it would be easy to see a slow free agent market that could make a return to Detroit good for all parties involved.
Then we come to James McCann. Avila said that the decision on whether to bring him back next year is going to be a tough one. I can’t help but wonder what is so tough about that decision, though. McCann has had several years to prove he is worth keeping around, and he has failed to bolster his case. I think we have seen what we’re going to get with McCann, and it’s probably not leaps and bounds above what the next guy in line has to offer. Bring me Grayson Greiner for 2019, and we’ll see what he can do.
Some minor cleaning
Another potential offseason change could be effectuated this October when Al Avila, Ron Gardenhire, and Director of Player Development Dave Littlefield meet with the organization’s minor league staff. There is apparently “a way” the big league club would like to see things done across the minors, and it’s not currently being executed to their satisfaction. Gardenhire possesses a strong desire to not have to bark at guys wearing a Tigers uniform about basic fundamentals like hitting the cut-off man, and wants to make it abundantly clear to the minor league coaches that they need to get on board. Anything that improves the product at the major league level is something I’m for, seeing as we’ve certainly seen a litany of dumb baseball in recent years in Detroit. Hopefully this is a step toward changing that.
Norris to keep pitching
The season may be wrapping up for most Tigers regulars, but Daniel Norris has some plans to keep pitching for a bit. He is scheduled to head to Dominican Winter Ball for a short stint before he embarks on a trip where he’ll play some All-Star exhibition games in Japan. The extra work should be good for Norris, who is still trying to get back into the swing of things after missing a big chunk of 2018 due to injury.
After the extra game work, he plans to forgo his normal winter routine of photographing owners of locally sourced west coast coffee roasters who are on skateboarding sabbaticals to remote locations in South America, and instead will work with the folks at Peak Performance in Santa Barbara, Ca. with possible extended work in Houston with Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon.