The holiday season is here and in full gear, and for Tigers fans, the biggest gift so far has been the hiring of former Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach Tom Price as manager for the Toledo Mud Hens — one that might feel like a lump of coal to some. Meanwhile, although there are no former Tigers worth voting for on the 2020 Hall of Fame ballot, there are still hopes that Santa (a.k.a. the Modern Era Committee) delivers a Sweet Lou Whitaker induction, and Miguel Cabrera appears to have been trimming more than just the tree. Speaking of Cabrera, there is a void at his old position in the field that needs to be filled.
Is Candelario the answer at first base?
Jeimer Candelario was acquired in the Justin Wilson/Alex Avila trade with the Chicago Cubs along with Isaac Paredes in what may have been the best trade in general manager Al Avila’s tenure. The Candyman started off hot in Detroit, batting .330 with an OPS of .874 over 106 plate appearances at the end of 2017 while playing third base. Since then, he has left a lot to be desired.
After two lackluster campaigns the past couple of years, which included a lengthy stay in Toledo in 2019, there are many questions surrounding the switch-hitting infielder. While his glove is solid, a majority of his value derives from his bat, without which he is no better than a AAAA-level player. His regression has been an enigma to many, including one unnamed scout.
“I can’t put my finger on his regression. He looks like the same guy to me. … Gets some hits, shows some plate discipline, but I think he’s out of position at first base. … He’s a trade piece for me, because he’s the odd-man out. … This is the merry-go-round the Tigers are. Candelario had a real good audition and now he’s gotta go to third base because Dawel Lugo is the guy?”
With a gaping hole at first base, along with a fair stock of prospects on the far side of the dirt, Candelario’s move across the diamond makes perfect sense when his offense is clicking. When it is not, however, he just adds more dead weight to a historically anemic offense. Hopefully, the Tigers can get Candy goin’ next season.
Miggy’s looking trim
One of Miguel Cabrera’s biggest issues throughout his storied career has been his weight, especially in light of his persistent injuries over a majority of the last decade. A few days ago, Cabrera posted this image of himself looking quite svelte, having clearly shed some of that excess poundage. Whether he quit his arepa habit, has been training hard, or both, a slim and trim Miggy would be a fantastic gift for the Tigers fanbase going into the 2020 season.
JAWS and the 2020 Hall of Fame ballot, Pt. II
FanGraphs’ Jay Jaffe has been releasing his Hall of Fame candidate assessment series, using his JAWS system to analyze each player. Below are links to his three new articles covering players eligible for the honor.
The best Hall of Fame ballot
There have been some bad — and some really bad — ballots shared with the public recently, but this one is one of the better ones, if not the best. Arguments can be made for and against most of the names check-marked, but overall this appears to be the fairest one of them all.
Ballot #10 is from Filip Bondy. Walker (now +3), Kent (+2), Ramirez (+1), and Helton (back to even) gain a vote. Sheffield drops one and falls back to net +1.— Ryan Thibodaux (@NotMrTibbs) December 2, 2019
In the Tracker: https://t.co/bp1RXBnrHI pic.twitter.com/8fW0RffcDk
Who is your All-MLB Team?
Respond in the comments section with your All-MLB Team!
- Tigers tender contracts to lots of players, but nobody new. The team was quiet at Monday’s non-tender deadline.
- Tom Prince named manager of the Toledo Mud Hens. The Pirates bench coach will take over the Tigers Triple-A club.
- FanPost: 5 ways to get me back to Comerica Park in 2020, by community member BT Mike.
- FanPost: Players who could change the course of their careers in 2020, by community member KK18.
- Bless You Boys holiday gift guide and GIVEAWAY! No matter who you’re shopping for, there’s something for everyone on this list.
Around the horn
Eno Saris asks, “What was the most dominant pitch of 2019?” Ten prospects who rebounded in 2019. It might be a wild offseason for the Chicago Cubs. Sorting the skills of non-tendered pitchers. American League notes: Lindor, Wheeler, Yanks, Twins. San Francisco Giants are reportedly interested in Nicholas Castellanos.