Good morning and welcome to your final Detroit Tigers News post of 2018. For baseball reasons alone, I think we are all glad to see this year enter into the rear view mirror. The harder pill to swallow is that 2019 could very well be worse. Happy New Year, everybody.
A King’s ransom for Castellanos?
If you have been reading the site recently, you probably already know that a couple of teams have been kicking the tires on Nicholas Castellanos. Namely, the Los Angeles Dodgers came a calling just about a week ago. The word around the campfire is that the asking price for the man who knows not what quality defense is was pretty high. That word was confirmed more recently when it was reported that general manager Al Avila told the Dodgers that they would need to give up outfielder Alex Verdugo or catching prospect Keibert Ruiz.
Unsurprisingly, the Dodgers balked at giving up either Verdugo or Ruiz for the defensively challenged Castellanos, who’s only under control for another year (at a projected $11.1MM). The 22-year-old Verdugo ranks as the Dodgers’ No. 1 prospect and baseball’s 32nd-best farmhand at MLB.com...Ruiz, 20, is the Dodgers’ second-ranked prospect at MLB.com, which places him 39th overall.
This may seem like a big ask, but I, for one, am more than okay with this. There is plenty of time to find a landing spot for Castellanos. Asking big at the beginning is a good way to settle into a more reasonable trade return down the road.
We’re most improved!
The folks over at MLB Pipeline named their five most improved farm systems and (spoiler alert) the hometown team made the list. The credit for an improved minor league program that now sits just outside the top 10 goes primarily to Casey Mize and the 2018 draft class, but they also mention the acquisitions of Isaac Paredes and Daz Cameron [Ed.: Which happened in 2017, but yeah, sure, MLB].
Paredes’ and Cameron’s performances at Double-A seemed to impress the powers that be. It’s weird to think about the Tigers with a good farm system. While that’s all well and good, I’m not going to get too excited until we start to see that translate to the big club.
Norris needs to step up
Nestled snugly into an AL Central update from MLB Trade Rumors earlier last week was a little nugget from an Anthony Fenech mailbag regarding what the signings of Tyson Ross and Matt Moore mean for Daniel Norris. The short of it is that the bearded gentleman of yet-to-be-reached potential will have nothing handed to him. Ross and Moore are there to make sure young Daniel can feel, feel, feel, feel the heat.
A fascinating look at former Tigers owner John Fetzer
I’m sure that many a sports fan, upon hearing of a perplexing front office decision from their favorite team, has wondered if the top brass are making informed decisions, or if they are simply throwing darts at the wall or relying on an Ouija board.
Well, in the case of former Tigers owner John Fetzer, the Ouija board thing may have been a viable choice. On his way to amassing a fortune and having a heavy hand in two World Series championships for the club, Fetzer relied quite heavily on a variety of new age spiritual techniques based on his interests in the paranormal and metaphysical.
A new book by Brian Wilson (not Pet Sounds, Brian Wilson) of Western Michigan University takes a deep dive into Fetzer’s life. This article from the Free Press gives you a glimpse inside the Fetzer Institute, where the employees are encouraged to build upon Fetzer’s belief in intuition and various spiritual practices. The article, among many other things, recounts a tale of Fetzer, unsurprisingly, working with Mark Fidrych during his breakout year. It’s pretty fascinating.
Death of the long ball?
In his most recent article, CBS Sports’ Jonah Keri writes to inform us of the death of the power hitter. Using Nelson Cruz’s recent one-year, $14.3 million contract, Keri uses these pesky things called statistics to show that top-level teams are demonstrating success with less reliance on the long ball (which I’m now unsure if chicks still dig). It would appear that analytically savvy front offices are finding a variety of ways to produce runs that don’t involve smacking the hell out of the ball.
That said, Keri points out that power still plays, and he wonders if maybe we should see things shift back in the other direction in the not too distant future.