Now that the exhibition of excellence is over, Tigers fans can return to their reality of a team that is just not going to win many games moving through the summer. While the franchise looks to shed some of its best players for future considerations, there are many forks in the road ahead for general manager Al Avila and his staff. How they navigate those paths will be important in how successful the rebuild becomes.
The best and worst trade deadline scenarios
One of the few things Tigers fans have to look forward to in the second half of 2019 is the July trade deadline, and what transpires before it expires. While the general fanbase is split on whether the franchise is heading in the right direction, the decisions made over the next three weeks will factor in heavily on the path of the rebuild.
Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic takes a look at the best- and worst-case scenarios in how the Tigers brass handles the impending player transactions, breaking it down to individual players. Essentially, the best-case scenarios are that players like Matthew Boyd, Shane Greene and Nicholas Castellanos are traded for appreciable hauls; the worst-case scenarios all involve the absence of a trade, and in Castellanos’ case, getting stuck with him and a qualifying offer.
Hopefully, the Tigers can make some clever deals on the heels of Al Avila’s contract extension and accelerate the rebuild with new, shiny prospects.
Jake Rogers and his approach to reaching the big leagues
Jake Rogers spoke with MLive’s Evan Woodbery and discussed how he has dealt with his advancement through the minors, as well as his imminent promotion up to the majors. Between his ability to make adjustments and his mentality when it comes to performing every day, it appears Rogers has the right stuff.
After returning to Double-A Erie to start the season, the highly-touted backstop quickly earned a trip to Toledo with his offensive outburst (to the tune of a .963 OPS) to match his superlative performance behind the dish. With the motley crew of catchers ahead of him on the major league depth chart, it would not be a surprise to see him sporting the Olde English D within the next month.
Mud Hens catcher Jake Rogers with some postgame thoughts after the All-Star Futures Game. pic.twitter.com/OP8rHbFzff— Brian Buckey (@BrianBuckey) July 8, 2019
The grand takeaway from his interview is that while Rogers is excited about potentially being the first fruit of the Justin Verlander trade to ripen at the big league level, he is doing his best to keep a level-headed approach to the game and to just keep doing what works best for him.
A look at Chris Ilitch’s decision making
Newcomer to The Athletic and contributor to Crain’s Detroit Business, Bill Shea weighs in on the decisions that de facto Tigers owner Christopher Ilitch has made from a fiscal perspective. Keep in mind that 54-year-old heir is the figurehead of ownership, as he is empowered as the “controlling trustee” of the trust that technically owns the Tigers, but other family members are included in that trust as well.
The article provides a thorough background on the head of the Ilitch’s constellation of businesses. Shea discusses how the failure of the District Detroit mixed-use development project has generated a lot of controversy, and could possibly be diverting attention (and dollars) from the baseball franchise. He goes on to mention that, “Ilitch is not known to regularly consult a formal council of advisers, and there’s no board of directors at the Tigers”, suggesting that he could possibly be spread too thin in his oversight.
In regards to the contract extension, that decision was solely on Ilitch, and was the biggest decision made during his tenure as the acting owner of the team. Given that he had intended to extend Avila during spring training, it appears that — at least from afar — the heir to the franchise has been content with his performance and results. The article goes into detail on how those manifest, but long story short, the Ilitch ownership has all the math worked out in their favor.
The best Home Run Derby contest in a generation
Although New York Mets slugger Pete Alonzo took home the 2019 trophy, Toronto Blue Jays rookie Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. put on an historic show, cranking more home runs than any player ever in the event with a grand total of 91 round-trippers.
Alonso, who managed to escape the wrath of Vlad in the earlier rounds by virtue of how the bracket was set up, put on a hell of a show himself. He launch dinger after prodigious dinger to all fields, and while he didn’t match his competitor’s raw numbers, Alonso undoubtedly earned his victory.
Shane Greene’s 1-2-3 inning
Around the horn
Cabrera is fed up after three days of bad pitches. There is still a lot of love for Chet Lemon. Shane Greene is excited about the All-Star Game. The Detroit Free Press takes a look at the Tigers’ top prospects. Justin Verlander said ahead of the All-Star Game that he would not throw 100 mph. Bob Nightengale wonders if MLB’s doping problems have returned (or did they ever really go away?). Emily Waldon’s thoughts on eight players she scouted from this year’s Futures Game. Tommy Pham has a proposal on how All-Stars are selected. How a rebuilt Ryu reinvented himself to become MLB’s most dominant pitcher.