Tigers

Tough Roster Decisions Face the Tigers in the Near Future

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max Scherzer 2

The young and highly performing core of this roster is headed for big paydays very soon. The Tigers are going to have to make some tough decisions in the not so distant future. News flash to Tigers fans, they aren’t going to be able to keep everyone unless this payroll is going to jump by fifty to seventy million dollars, which isn’t going to happen.

Key Players that Could Soon Be Leaving

  • SS Jhonny Peralta – 2013
    • Age at contract expiration: 31 years old
    • Cost to re-sign: $5-7 million per season for 1-3 years
    • Current Contract: 2 Years/$11.25M (2011-12) w/ 2013 Club Option for $6M
  • 2B Omar Infante – 2013
    • Age at contract expiration: 31 years old
    • Cost to re-sign: $3-5 million per season for 2-3 years
    • Current Contract: 2 Years/$8M (2012-13)
  • DH Victor Martinez – 2014
    • Age at contract expiration: 35 years old
    • Cost to re-sign: $7-10 million per season for 1-2 years
    • Current Contract: 4 Years/$50M (2011-14)
  • RHP Max Scherzer – 2014
    • Age at contract expiration: 30 years old
    • Cost to re-sign: $12-16 million per season for 4-7 years
    • Current Contract: 1 Year/$6.725M (2013), has 1 year of arbitration eligibility left.
  • 3B Miguel Cabrera – 2015
    • Age at contract expiration: 33 years old
    • Cost to re-sign: $24-28 million per season for 4-6 years
    • Current Contract: 8 Years/$152.3M (2008-15)
  • CF Austin Jackson – 2015
    • Age at contract expiration: 29 years old
    • Cost to re-sign: $10-16 million per season for 4-7 years
    • Current Contract: 1 Year/$3.5M (2013), has 2 years of arbitration eligibility left.
  • RHP Doug Fister – 2015
    • Age at contract expiration: 32 years old
    • Cost to re-sign: $8-12 million per season for 3-5 years
    • Current Contract: 1 Year/$4M (2013), has 2 years of arbitration eligibility left.
  • C Alex Avila – 2015
    • Age at contract expiration: 29 years old
    • Cost to re-sign: $6-8 million per season for 3-5 years
    • Current Contract: 1 Year/$2.95M (2013), has 2 years of arbitration eligibility left.

The Tigers farm system is rather uninspiring. The Tigers have not drafted well over the last few years and have traded lots of prospects for players at the trade deadline. Replacing some of the players that could leave in free agency will be very difficult, because there is only on prospect that anyone is really excited about.

Internal Options that Could Take Their Place

  • Shortstop
    • None ready till 2015 or beyond
      • 2015 Dixon Machado – Age 21
        • .221/.305/.266 in 4 minor league seasons
      • 2015 Eugenio Suarez – Age 21
        • .282/.369/.404 in 5 minor league seasons
  • Second Base
    • Hernan Perez – Age 22
      • .248/.291/.335 in 6 minor league seasons
      • Played briefly in 2012 in roster pinch
      • Light hitting, solid fielding
      • Ready in reserve role for 2014, starter in 2015 and beyond
  • Starting Pitcher
    • LHP Drew Smyly – Age 23
      • 3.93 ERA in 107.2 Major League Innings
      • Currently in bullpen
      • Major league ready
      • Proven track record
    • LHP Casey Crosby – Age 24
      • 3.80 ERA in 386 Minor League innings over 6 seasons
      • 9.49 ERA in 12.1 Major League innings
      • 2012 debut was not good
      • Power Lefthander
      • Injury Concerns
      • Control Issues
    • RHP Drew VerHagen – Age 22
      • 3.27 ERA in 41.1 Minor League innings over 2 seasons
      • 4th Round Pick in 2012
      • College Player at Major NCAA Baseball Power
      • Unknown, only has 11 appearances in low minors.
  • Third Base
    • Nick Castellanos
      • .315/.364/.440 in 4 minor league seasons
      • Top Prospect
      • Moved to OF to accommodate Miguel Cabrera
      • Currently in AAA Toledo, Expected to be called up in 2013 for outfield duty.
    • Wade Gaynor – Age 24
      • .242/.323/.386 in 5 minor league seasons
      • 3rd Round Pick in 2009
      • Currently in AA Erie
      • Fringe Prospect (Not in any top list put out by any scouting organization)
  • Designated Hitter
    • Cabrera or Fielder will likely take over spot in 2-4 years
  • Catcher
    • Ramon Cabrera – Age 23
      • .294/.362/.403 in 6 minor league seasons
      • Acquired in trade from Pirates for LHP Andy Oliver
      • Currently in AA Erie
      • Projected to be moderate hitting backup
    • James McCann – Age 22
      • .226/.270/.300 in 3 minor league seasons
      • 2nd Round Pick in 2011
      • Currently in AA Erie
      • Good Defensive player already, bat needs to come around.
      • If bat perks up, average MLB starter, if not solid backup
    • Bryan Holaday – Age 25
      • .235/.312/.340 in 4 minor league seasons
      • .250/.250/.333 in 6 major league games
      • Played briefly in 2012 because of injuries
      • 6th Round Pick in 2010
      • Currently in AAA Toledo
      • Adequate defensive player, very light hitter
  • Centerfield
    • Daniel Fields – Age 22
      • .240/.326/.352 in 4 minor league seasons
      • 6th Round Pick in 2009
      • Plus Defender, struggling to hit
      • Currently in AA Erie
    • Austin Schotts – Age 19
      • .274/.324/.395 in 2 minor league seasons
      • 3rd Round Pick in 2012
      • Plus speed and good OBP
      • Leadoff type
      • Currently in A West Michigan

The 2014 free agent class isn’t the deepest class in history, but there is still plenty of prizes to be had. The Tigers have historically been a player in the market, but they don’t have a lot of money to add from the outside, because they have a lot of talent that has to get paid currently on the roster.

2014 Free Agency Options

  • Shortstop
    • Clint Barmes
      • Current Team – Pirates
      • Age 34
      • .248/.297/.389 career
      • 97.1% Fielding Percentage
    • Brendan Ryan
      • Current Team – Mariners
      • Age 31
      • .244/.306/.326 career
      • 98.0% Fielding Percentage
  • Second Base
    • Robinson Cano
      • Current Team – Yankees
      • Age 30
      • .308/.351/.504 career
      • 98.6% Fielding Percentage
      • Cost will be astronomical to sign, 25 Million Plus
      • Yankees will likely extend him before he hits the open market.
    • Kelly Johnson
      • Current Team – Rays
      • Age 31
      • .254/.338/.428 career
      • 98.3% Fielding Percentage
      • Cost: $3-5 million per season for 1-2 years
    • Chase Utley
      • Current Team – Phillies
      • Age 34
      • .288/.376/.501 career
      • 98.3% Fielding Percentage
      • Cost: $8-10 million per season for 2-4 years
      • Injuries are a major concern
  • Starting Pitcher
    • RHP A.J. Burnett
      • Current Team – Pirates
      • Age: 36
      • Cost: $5-7 million per season for 1-2 years
      • 4.05 ERA / 137-123 Career W/L
      • Never had success in the American League, has been very good in the National League.
    • RHP Matt Garza
      • Current Team – Cubs
      • Age: 29
      • Cost: $10-14 million per season for 3-5 years
      • 3.84 ERA / 57-61 Career W/L
      • Performance has plateaued, and injuries are piling up.
    • RHP Dan Haren
      • Current Team – Nationals
      • Age: 32
      • Cost: $13-15 million per season for 2-3 years
      • 3.68 ERA / 120-98 Career W/L
      • Last three years have been worst since his rookie year. Is he over the hill?
    • RHP Josh Johnson
      • Current Team – Blue Jays
      • Age: 29
      • Cost: $14-17 million per season for 1-4 years
      • 3.21 ERA / 56-38 Career W/L
      • Major injury concern, but really good when healthy.
    • RHP Ricky Nolasco
      • Current Team – Marlins
      • Age: 30
      • Cost: $8-10 million per season for 2-3 years.
      • 4.47 ERA / 76-65 Career W/L
      • Mid Four ERA guy in the National League. Will likely not do so well in American League.
    • LHP Jason Vargas
      • Current Team – Angels
      • Age: 30
      • Cost: $8-10 million per season for 3-4 years
      • 4.36 ERA / 42-51 Career W/L
      • Late bloomer who’s W/L record should be better but has played on some really bad teams.
  • Catcher
    • Jesus Flores
      • Current Team – Nationals
      • Age: 28
      • Cost: $2-4 million per season for 2-3 years
      • .241/.289/.375 career
      • Backup quality catcher, but the market is entirely barren of quality starters. Injuries are a major concern.
    • Brian McCann
      • Current Team – Braves
      • Age: 29
      • Cost: $7-10 million per season for 2-4 years
      • .279/.351/.475 career
      • Starting catcher who is very weak defensively but more than makes up for it offensively. Injuries are starting to pile up. Will become a 1B/DH type before the contract expires.
  • Centerfield
    • Curtis Granderson
      • Current Team – Yankees
      • Age: 32
      • Cost: $10-12 million per season for 1-3 years
      • .262/.341/.492 career
      • Ageing and injuries are a concern. Will have to move to the corner outfield in the next few years because of diminished range.
    • Chris Young
      • Current Team – Athletics
      • Age 29
      • Cost: $7-9 million per season for 2-4 years
      • .238/.318/.437 career
      • Has never hit for a high average, but still gets on base very well with exceptional power. Average defender at best.

Overall the Tigers will have lots of critical roster decisions in the not so distant future. The decisions could be very painful, because it’s not very often that you see a Tiger leave in free agency because they don’t want to pay the money. Buckle down Detroit, it may be a very bumpy ride.

About Dorf

Adam "Dorf" Waltersdorf is the Vice President of TMSNX and contributor across the entire Majors Sports Network. He is the Editor in Chief of the Majors East Lansing and an editor at The Majors Detroit and the The Majors Sports Network. He also is the Host of TMSNX's weekly Football podcast "Inside the Huddle" and on air personality for the weekly Detroit Sports Podcast "Motor City Uncut" and the weekly baseball podcast "The Sandlot Report".

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