Welcome to the second installment of the Bless You Boys Detroit Tigers Offseason Plan Project.
Two years ago, I ripped off our friends at South Side Sox (now mostly located at Sox Machine) and posted a template that covered the necessary decisions that lay ahead for the Tigers with what basically amounted to a Choose Your Own Offseason option afterward. We were pleasantly surprised to see more than 30 responses from you wonderful people, many of which ended up much better than the Tigers’ actual 2017 roster. Unfortunately, we skipped out on this exercise last year, in part because we knew the Tigers were going to be boring as all hell and didn’t want to get our hopes up.
This year might be more of the same. We also might see the Tigers start to spend a bit more, even if they don’t get that much better. Or they might surprise us and go after a big-name free agent. The point is, we don’t know, which could lead to a lot of excellent, varied responses this winter. Normally, we would wait until after the World Series to kick this off, but the Tigers got their work started early so we figured we would as well.
If you’re new to this, welcome. The template below starts by tying up loose ends on the Tigers roster. After that, it’s up to you. Trades and signings are now your call, and you have the entire league and free agent market at your disposal.
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 try to keep things semi-realistic. The Tigers aren’t going to suddenly bust out a $300 million payroll next season.
MLB Trade Rumors has a list of the 2018-19 MLB free agents. Remember that some of these players have contract options that will be exercised (looking at you, Madison Bumgarner), so use your best judgment to determine which players will actually be available on the free agent market.
Be realistic. This doesn’t mean you have to sign two bargain bin free agents and call it a day. It just means that your post won’t be taken very seriously if you sign Bryce Harper to a one-year, $10 million deal because he’s “coming off a down season.”
Get creative. This probably won’t be a problem for you guys — it certainly wasn’t last time around — but unique responses increase your chances of your post landing on the front page.
Ask questions. If you don’t understand something, just ask! Salary rules can be complicated, and even we have to rely on Patrick’s wisdom at times. Use the comments below to shoot us any questions you have, or drop them in the comments of any other offseason plans you see.
Have fun! This goes more for those commenting on other offseason plans. We want to use these posts as a way to jump into offseason discussion about what moves the Tigers could potentially make this winter. It takes some guts to put your ideas out there on a public forum like this, so please keep that in mind when reading and commenting on something you might not agree with.
Last time around, we turned this into a contest for a few t-shirts from our friends at BreakingT. We haven’t come up with a cool design in a little while, so the reward for this little endeavor (besides positive gratification when the Tigers pull off one of your suggestions) is still to be determined. We’ll be sure to update you if and when we lock down a cool prize.
[Insert your name]’s Offseason Plan
You can choose to offer the following players the contracts listed below for the 2019 season or non-tender them (i.e. not offer them a contract and allow them to leave as a free agent). The salaries listed are based on MLB Trade Rumors’ arbitration projections. Feel free to explain any of your tougher decisions.
- Nicholas Castellanos: $11.3 million
- Shane Greene: $4.8 million
- James McCann: $3.5 million
- Michael Fulmer: $3.0 million
- Matthew Boyd: $3.0 million
- Alex Wilson: $2.8 million
- Daniel Norris: $1.4 million
- Blaine Hardy: $1.2 million
Note: Louis Coleman and Pete Kozma were recently outrighted by the club to the minor leagues on Wednesday, but refused assignment and have elected to become free agents.
Contract options (pick up or buy out)
Pending free agents (re-sign or let go)
- Victor Martinez: made $18 million in 2018
- Jose Iglesias: made $6.28 million in 2018
- Francisco Liriano: made $4 million in 2018
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia: made a pro-rated portion of the league minimum in 2018 (we think)
Note: When updating this post, I realized that Casey McGehee was once a Detroit Tiger. The worst is behind us, y’all.
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:
Jose Iglesias (two year, $18 million): The Tigers still need a starting caliber shortstop in 2019, and Iglesias is as good a stopgap as any available this winter. He’s a familiar face, one that will resonate a bit more with Tigers fans than another glove-first starter, and should provide solid value for that dollar amount so long as he hits like he did in the second half of 2018.
If you choose to trade any players, propose a deal that sounds reasonable for both sides — and be sure to add in the return. There aren’t many Tigers with no-trade protection remaining after the team’s recent sell-off, but check Cot’s Contracts if you aren’t sure. Here’s an example:
Trade Nicholas Castellanos to the Atlanta Braves for Kolby Allard: The Braves returned to contention sooner than expected in 2018, but quickly realized that they aren’t quite on the same level as some of the elite teams in the game. They are still loaded with pitching prospects, but are still a bit lacking on the other side of the ball. Nick Markakis is a free agent this winter, and the Braves now have a hole in right field that Castellanos can fill for a year before some of Atlanta’s positional prospects are ready for full-time duty.
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 few weeks. And have fun!