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Monday Tigers News: Tigerfest means spring camp is only a few weeks away

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We look at the state of the organization, who is getting prepared, and how they’re doing it.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals
Tore up from the floor up
Peter G. Aiken

If you had the opportunity to take part in the 2019 Winter Caravan, I hope you enjoyed yourself. For those like me, who live in other regions of the country, we are once again happy to live vicariously through the rest of you so that we may see content flow forth in regards to the operation of our favorite team. If you aren’t up on all the news that came out of this busy Tigers weekend, allow me to help you catch up.

Bankrupt on Selling

Well, if things weren’t a little weird between right fielder Nick Castellanos and the Tigers prior to the weekend, they might be now. As General Manager Al Avila was, in some bizarre universe where this is a good idea, openly broadcasting that nobody is interested in his current right fielder, Nick’s agent was spreading the good word that Nick wants to win baseball games. It doesn’t take a genius to see that Detroit isn’t the place for that over the next few years. With that knowledge firmly in hand, the young Castellanos would prefer that he be traded. Soon. Like before the season soon. This sure feels fun. Personally, if he has to say much at all, we’d prefer Avila come on like Scott Boras when talking about a guy he has for sale.

Dukes Up

With the signing of Gordon Beckham and Kaleb Cowart the gaggle of middle infielders currently signed to deals with the organization is growing, and Niko Goodrum is not one to sit back and see what the throw a bunch of junk at the wall approach means for him. While he’s banking on most of his time coming at second base, he realizes the organization is going to let a whole mess of folks fight it out for who is going to log the most time up the middle. That’s partially why he had himself fitted for 16 different ball gloves this off season. I guess when you don’t know where you’re going to play you need to be ready to play anywhere.

Broke

Echoing the statements of many a middle-aged man, Jordan Zimmermann was quoted as saying “Everything went wrong when I turned 30” when talking about his tenure with the Tigers over the weekend. It seems a slew of injuries continued for him past the 2018 season when he went to see a doctor in September and found out he was all tore up, and not in the good way the kids like to talk about. His right adductor was torn 100%, his left was torn 80% and one of his core muscles was 50% torn. I’m not a medical professional, but I don’t think that’s good. Zimmermann isn’t even sure how long those issues had been plaguing him. For what’s it’s worth, he got himself all patched up and says he’s feeling good heading into 2019. Seeing is believing, my friend.

A Different City

Kaleb Cowart was about to get a fresh start in Seattle, until he wasn’t. Thanks to the Mariners not having the roster space, Cowart gets the shot to somewhat re-invent himself in another new city. When Cowart was drafted he was a guy who showed promise in both pitching and with the bat. The Los Angeles Angels decided to go with the bat, and the ensuing seasons have not been super great.

Detroit is hoping to polish up the pitching side of things and maybe find themselves a two-way diamond in the rough. That is, after all, the business the organization has placed itself in these days. If he’s gonna stick, he’s going to need to show it in spring training. Cowart, like an underdog hero in an eighties action movie, is out of options, so he’s going to need to go Over the Top to show that he belongs on the roster, or the team will be forced to put him on waivers where he will most likely get scooped up.

Breakthrough

WHOOP! WHOOP! Stand clear! That siren you hear is the alert for what might be our first Best Shape of His Life #BSOHL story of Tigers spring training. Matthew Boyd is fifteen pounds lighter, and it’s all part of his master plan to break through to the next level of his game. Homeboy did DNA testing. #Science. If you want to learn more about the diet of a starting pitcher than you would probably care to know, Matthew Boyd shares it with you. Get pumped. Maybe not curling a bar with cinder blocks on the ends of it like Mark Wahlberg when he was knee deep in the Funky Bunch pumped, but pumped nonetheless. I’m thinking more of a “I’m kinda interested to see what this does for Matt Boyd’s season and that gives me something to look forward to,” pumped.

One Chance

Grayson Greiner is 26. He has 30 games of major league experience. He is the starting catcher for the Detroit Tigers. To Greiner’s credit, he is relishing the opportunity. He’s doing the hot yoga. He’s working on ways to be more of a vocal leader for the team. He’s trying to be ready for the gig. He should. Ron Gardenhire has stated very clearly that Greiner is his guy. The team has brought in Bobby Wilson and Hector Sanchez to stash in Toledo in case they are needed, but if I’m Greiner I’m taking that as further indication that I’m in pretty good shape.

Building nothing out of something($$)

If you have a subscription to The Athletic, or if you don’t and feel like paying money to get angry, you should read Cody Stavenhagen’s article on Al Avila and what I am assuming must be his overly burdensome as well as unnecessary line to toe in regards to the state of the Tigers organization. Come for the part where he says — again — that there is no mandate to cut payroll, even though he continues to hack off long term financial obligations like gangrenous limbs. Stay for the part where he expects us to believe the team doesn’t have any money to spend until 2021. There’s also a very heavy reliance on the development of young players while touting a more advanced approach from the front office.

Advanced approaches are supposed to help a team figure out ways to win, like recognizing market inefficiencies. The most current market inefficiency appears to lie in the ability to acquire undervalued free agents at a discount. A market where the Tigers, and most other MLB teams, appear to be reticient to spend. Why do you suppose that is?

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