Happy 2019 everybody. The NFL playoffs are underway, signaling the slow progression toward the winter months when we will find our baseball excitement in mundane things like cryptic quotes from the front office in random news reports and the signing of guys you are vaguely familiar with to minor league deals [Ed.: I think we’re there already].
But worry not! Before you know it, you will be more excited than any human should about equipment being loaded onto a truck bound for Florida. Until then, you can watch hockey, pretend you like basketball, and keep up with all the relevant Detroit Tigers news here.
MLB Trade Rumors took some time to evaluate the AL Central and point out three needs for each team in the division. When it came to Detroit, you won’t be surprised to hear that the number one focus was Nicholas Castellanos. They are of the opinion that the Tigers need to find a buyer, and that, despite interest from several teams, they haven’t yet been able to move him because the price is “exorbitant.” That’s their word, not mine. The rest of the list is rounded out by (a) a continued focus on acquiring flippable players and (b) rebuilding the farm, both of which they believe the team is currently accomplishing.
Moving closer to home, Rob took a look at three more needs for the Tigers before we hit spring training.
End of a streak
The Tigers haven’t gone to arbitration with a player since 2002. Sixteen years is a pretty solid streak, but it’s looking quite likely that it won’t be extended to 17, according to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News. There are a few reasons that might be the case.
For one, assistant general manager and general counsel John Westhoff, who has been negotiating these contracts since 2002, has taken a step back and is in more of an advisory role now. While Westhoff is still involved, director of baseball operations Sam Menzin, senior director of analytics and baseball operations Jay Sartori and team counsel Alan Avila are handling the bulk of the negotiations.
Having new personnel negotiating is a factor, but it’s not the only one. Despite parroting the oft-heard line that there is no mandate to cut payroll, the team continues to act in ways that indicate otherwise, and Castellanos is due an estimated $11 million in 2019. His defense is going to be a sticking point on his value, and if this team thinks they can squeeze a few dollars their way here, I would guess they are going to try.
If you are not yet in the know, former Tiger outfielder (and owner of one of the thicker necks I’ve laid eyes on in my four decades on this planet) Andy Dirks has himself a podcast. For the latest installment, he sits down with our old friend Gene Lamont. I haven’t listened yet, but I’m sure it’s a riveting, wide-ranging conversation that covers topics like how to properly windmill your arm to send a guy who is obviously going to be out toward home without tearing a rotator cuff, and roughly how many times a day Jim Leyland says “horses***.”
Accentuate the positive
Just to remind ourselves that the 2018 season did indeed have some redeemable moments, you can take a look at the video of some of the Tigers’ longest home runs of the year in 2018. They aren’t all off the bat of Jeimer Candelario, but it feels like they are.
Miggy’s got it in the bag
Here’s a funny little story about Miguel Cabrera showing up for an offseason workout with all of his gear in a Sephora shopping bag.
Miggy Cabrera showed up to a workout today with Salvador Perez and Gerardo Parra with all his baseball gear in a Sephora shopping bag. Legend.— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) January 4, 2019
(via Parra's Instagram) pic.twitter.com/j50PNJC80H
You may not know what a Sephora shopping bag is, or what Sephora is, for that matter. That’s fine. You don’t need to. Just imagine that you went to Macy’s and they gave you one of those heavy duty paper bags to carry your stuff home in. Now imagine putting your baseball gear in that bag to take to the practice facility. Finally, imagine not caring one bit if anybody gives you static because you won a triple crown and they didn’t. Bring your stuff in a garbage bag if you want to, Miggy. Nobody gets to tell you what to do.
The rich get richer
Remember the days of having $39 million to drop on a guy who is only going to be a setup man? The Yankees do; they’re still living them. The Yanks inked Zach Britton to a three year deal for just shy of $40 million over the weekend. The free agent glacier inches slowly forward.
Around the horn
The New York Mets acquired Keon Broxton from the Milwaukee Brewers for a few prospects. How to catch a baseball game in Cuba. Dusty Baker wants to harness the power of the sun (Insert your own joke here about it be doing done “the right way”). Darren Oliver was baseball’s Forrest Gump.