Tigers Off-Season Now Begins

With the body of the 2011 season still warm from the defeat in the ALCS, the Tigers organization, and especially the front office, are going to have to fill some glaring holes on this team. Taking care of those gaps will begin right away, if not already, and the process for putting the 2012 team together begins.

I understand as a fan wanting to mourn the loss, or heck, even be angry over losing the series to the Texas Rangers. Personally, I think losing the series provided the Tigers with a blueprint to become more successful for 2012. In other words, I’m over it, let’s move on.

Texas put a complete team on display for the Tigers and their fans. Texas possesses talent on offense, defense and pitching at levels which Detroit just simply couldn’t match, especially when fighting injuries. How many times did you find yourself saying in this series, if it becomes a bullpen contest, the Tigers are going to lose? I know it came out of my mouth.

Did you find yourself asking, how in the heck is Nelson Cruz batting 7th? Or how about, who in the heck is Derek Holland? The Texas Rangers simply have depth on their roster that the Tigers don’t have. Given the numerous holes the Tigers have, David Dombrowski and staff are going to have their work cut out for them.

Some areas the Tigers need to improve:

Second base-

The Tigers need to find themselves a full time 2nd base option. Whether or not that comes from free agency or a trade, a full time guy that can defend a little and provide some on base percentage at the top of the order is almost essential. Few teams fail to get on base in front of their big hitters like Detroit.

Third base-

With Brandon Inge in the fold for next year, and apparently Wilson Betemit not, the Tigers need to find some offense at this position. Brandon Inge’s defense is no longer superb enough to make up for his batting struggles.

Corner outfielder-

The Tigers need some serious pop, and probably a 3rd spot in the order hitter. Magglio Ordonez‘ stint with the Tigers is likely done, and it isn’t a done deal that the Tigers are going to bring Delmon Young back. Couple that with an injury to Brennan Boesch and corner outfield production is an issue.

Fifth starter-

David Dombrowski is going to have to go out and find another one year rental as a 5th starter for the Tigers. Hopefully a little more effective than Brad Penny. I don’t think the Tigers can just throw Jacob Turner into that role at this point, and having some veteran competition would be helpful.

Relief pitching-

I can’t believe I am saying this with all of the Tigers resources they have either used in the draft or spent in free agency, but this is still an issue. Benoit and Valverde are more than solid, but the rest of the pen is a question mark. Another guy or two could help out.

Team speed and baserunning-

This has been an issue for forever. It hurts the Tigers defensively, and it hurts them in pushing runs in. It’s not just about team speed either, it’s about taking the extra base on a single to right field. The Tigers have to preach aggressiveness, and I’m not sure why it’s taking them this long to adjust their lineup to their home stadium.

Backup catcher-

If Victor Martinez can’t catch 40 games a year, then the Tigers organization is going to have to go out and find one. Omir Santos isn’t going to be the answer, and it doesn’t look like there will be an answer internally for a couple years yet. The bad thing about this is, it is going to cost a roster spot elsewhere as Victor Martinez is going to be on the roster as a DH only in that event.

This is a pretty big grocery list for the Tigers to be shopping for, and it may not all get done. It may not need to considering the Tigers won the A.L. Central with all of these issues present in 2011. All things considered, it’s quite a testament to the Tigers and their season given the deficiencies the club had.

Time to get to work Mr. Dombrowski.

*As the off-season rolls along all of us here at MCB are sure to be taking a look at more specific solutions, rumors, and deals that may involve the Tigers during the off-season.

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Tags: Bradon Inge David Dombrowski Derek Holland Detroit Tigers Jose Valverde Magglio Ordonez Nelson Cruz Texas Rangers Victor Martinez Wilson Betemit

  • mnbengal

    I think they should offer Betemit a 1 year deal, he was pretty good after they got him despite all the K’s and it seems like Leyland lost all confidence after Betemit K’d several times in the playoffs – then we never saw him again, given the fact that Inge should only play against lefties they should bring Wilson back – only cost about 1M for a 1 year deal and we got 23M freed up after dumping Maggs, Carlos and Penny.

    • MCBjohnverburg

      @mnbengal I wouldn’t mind. I think he would be a good stop gap solution, but I don’t think he is a Leyland fave, so I think that is going to seal his fate and be playing elsewhere.

    • ChrisHannum

      @mnbengal Those weren’t just strikeouts, they were the ugliest strikeouts you’ve ever seen.

      • MCBjohnverburg

        @ChrisHannum@mnbengal True,I don’t think Leyland likes him much as a player. Though that is just speculation on my part.

        • ChrisHannum

          @MCBjohnverburg@mnbengal If he played third better than Raburn plays second, that might be different. I’m already on record in calling for a new platoon partner for Inge in 2012.

      • ZacSnyder

        @ChrisHannum@mnbengal The hope of Type B compensation is enough for me to at least offer Betemit arbitration. Worst case scenario is he accepts and they pay him (relative) peanuts while searching for a trade.

    • ZacSnyder

      That doesn’t mean the Tigers have $23 million to spend. The Tigers have about $10 million in additional salary for players already signed. The big bucks in Verlander’s deal kick in next season.

      • MCBjohnverburg

        I think most people miss this point, so I am glad you brought it up. They most likely pick up the option Valverde, and possibly offer Young arbitration. But the built in raises are going to take away from some of that. Still I don’t think money will be an issue that keeps Ilitch from giving the go ahead on acquiring a player.

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  • opus132

    The organization is at a crossroads. Do we want to be a second-tier team that can win in a bad division only to be badly outmanned in the playoffs, or do we wish to compete with the best? If we are out of it next season (not likely but not out of the question) I would love to see us unload any veterans we can save Verlander and Cabrera and build a young core that can truly match Texas, NY, Boston, and Philly in talent and depth.

    • MCBjohnverburg

      @opus132 I think the Tigers have talent Opus, it’s just their weak links are pretty terrible, and there is a decent amount of them for a team in the playoffs. They did beat the Yanks, and gave the Rangers a battle, but I don’t see the depth needed to compete on that level if these injuries occured in the regular season.

  • DarinEmery

    Problem Solution- Reason

    2nd/OBP/Speed Jamey Carroll- quick/+ defense/.368OBP over last 2

    3rd Jhonny Peralta- better defensively at the hot corner

    SS/OBP/Speed Marco Scutaro- quick/great D/.356OBP over last 3

    OF/OBP/Backup C Ryan Doumit- Plays C,1,RF/.339OBP over 2/switch hits

    5 starter/bullpen Tom Gorzelanny- LEFTY/Can go to pen

    Bullpen Takashi Saito- Low BB rate & era/GREAT IN PLAYOFFS

    I feel that non of these remedies will cost much, or make us have to give up anything. Also, I would be just fine with keeping Peralta at SS and riding it our with Inge the last year of his contract. I just couldn’t help but think of how it’d be nice to have that extra defense and base running ability with Scutaro.

    • ChrisHannum

      @DarinEmery Scutaro is 35, stole only 4 bases last year and had the worst defensive season of his career. Boston also has an option on him and might not let him go (but you’re right that they probably will). Peralta had the best defensive season of his career last year – at short. I wouldn’t mess with something that’s going so well. Carroll is 38. Even Cal Ripken I wouldn’t have wanted to sign at 38. Doumit I have to assume will be looking for and able to find a starting job somewhere.