It’s the season of opting! Folks are opting in. Other folks are opting out, and the free agent market is taking shape.
This week we head into the General Manager meetings where some things may come into clearer focus. All the MLB executives will be meeting in perfectly sanitary Scottsdale, Ariz. where a high concentration of sports jackets and alcohol could lay the foundation for future offseason happenings. MLB.com thinks we might get some insight as to who has enough duffel bags full of cash to land Gerrit Cole, how the third base market might shape up, and what might happen with some familiar names like Francisco Lindor and Kris Bryant.
It’s not exactly breaking news that Doug Mientkiewicz is out as the manager of the Toledo Mud Hens. Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press has some ideas as to why, and some input from the former manager. After 2018, where he took a Mud Hens team that didn’t possess a ton of talent and turned it into something productive, the Tigers talked him into signing a two-year deal. A year later, they sent him packing. Mientkiewicz is of the belief that he wasn’t as accommodating to the ideas of the big club as they would have liked. A reluctance to agree on what he felt were premature promotions and his pushback against duties that weren’t related to his coaching responsibilities made him less of a “yes man” than the Tigers would prefer in the position.
Mientkiewicz still bristles at the way the organization pushed the youth movement through 2019 in the “Road to Detroit” campaign, and has some very definite feelings about the team pushing guys to Detroit who, in his opinion, weren’t anywhere near ready to be there. There are some additional thoughts on failures to properly handle struggling players, like what he sees as the teams unwillingness to take a public perception hit and demote a struggling Daz Cameron to Double-A for a couple weeks so he could relax and get his head straight.
Fenech looks at the dismissal of Mientkiewicz as an opportunity to ask an important question: “Do they want people who are going to make a difference, or do they want people to nod their heads and keep doing what they’re doing?”
Fifteen to consider
Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic has done a little digging into the free agent market and come up with 15 guys he feels the Tigers could consider this offseason. There are names that we have considered here at the site already, like Yasiel Puig and Eric Thames. There are also some former Tigers in Alex Avila and Curtis Granderson. It’s a pretty valid list, but nobody who is going to break the bank. Personally, if they were to sign anyone he mentions, I’m all for bringing Dirty Curty back to the D for a last go-round.
Bad Alex Anthopolous?
In the eyes of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), it seems that Atlanta Braves General Manager Alex Anthopolous might be doing a little Misbehavin’. The MLBPA has launched an investigation into some comments he made during a recent conference call where he spoke about checking in with different teams around the league to get a feel for what they may be looking to do in free agency. Tony Clark and his friends at the Players Association are not fans, and see Anthopolous’ comments as violations of the collective bargaining agreement and the whole part about how “clubs shall not act in concert with other clubs.” It seems to be the latest volley in a war between owners and the MLBPA. Anthopolous has already issued a statement clarifying what he said on the call, but I doubt the MLBPA cares all that much.
The Piano Man is coming to ruin your outfield
In unsurprising yet somewhat bothersome news, the Tigers will allow their outfield turf to be effectively destroyed by a dad-jeaned sea of aging humanity moving in ways that some might describe as dancing to Uptown Girl when Billy Joel rolls into town on July 10. The Tigers don’t play a home game for seven days following the show, but I’m not really Keeping the Faith that the grass is going to recover in time. Comerica Park held no such concerts in 2019, but after watching terrible things happen in the outfield, it couldn’t hurt that much to let Billy Joel join in the fun.
Around the horn
How Anthony Fenech went overseas and still couldn’t escape baseball. MLB.com has their way-too-early division predictions and they like the White Sox in the Central. (The Tigers get mentioned exactly zero times). The San Diego Padres unveil their new uniforms and brown is back. The Pittsburgh Pirates GM search is reportedly down to three candidates.