Victor Martinez (Photo: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

Random Thoughts: The Offseason So Far

A few things I’m pondering as I wipe the dust off of my blogging machine…

Torii Hunter signing

Hunter did himself a giant favor during the 2012 season, hitting over .300 for the first time in his career (.313 to be exact), hitting 16 HRs, and driving in 92. Pretty good for a guy who turned 37 last summer, and he’s gone and parlayed that into a nice 2-year, $26MM contract with the Detroit Tigers.

Spendy for a guy that age? Probably a little. I’m sure some of the masses will explain to me that it’s not my money that’s being spent, so I should just keep moving. Fair enough. But don’t expect those same offensive numbers in cavernous Comerica Park: probably isn’t going to hit 16 HRs (I’d be shocked if he got more than 8, to be sure), and he might not hit .300, either. I’ll settle for .280 and maybe surpassing the 24 doubles that he hit last season. That’s not asking too much, is it? I mean, in all reality, it’s not his offense that I’m real excited about as it pertains to this roster, anyway. It’s his defense I crave.

Given the talent the Tigers were running out to right field for much of the 2012 season, a trained seal would be an upgrade defensively. So it stands to reason that Torii and his 9 career Gold Gloves is a welcome addition to what was a very questionable defense at either corners of the outfield. During the postseason, I was gushing at the prospect of prospect Avisail Garcia‘s defensive ability in right field – notably gunning down Coco Crisp at the plate on what was a perfect throw – but the addition of Hunter will give Garcia time to grow without rushing him to the show so soon. Avisail does provide a sense of insurance should something happen to Torii during the season.

(And if you’re waiting for me to bring up some comments that Torii brought up in an LA Times article, you’ll be waiting a while… as any nonsense that falls out of his mouth has little to do with how he’s played or will play baseball.)

Brennan Boesch

Brennan has been the subject of some trade talk… for some reason… during this offseason. It’s curious as to why: simple observation of Boesch suggests that he’s got an awful swing, Delmon Young-like plate discipline, and below average defense. Not exactly a glowing scouting report for a guy who’s probably going to get a raise via arbitration this winter.

So is there hope for Boesch? Of course there is. But mostly with his bat, though.

When Boesch does connect with a Major League issued baseball, he’s been known to put a charge into the ball. And while he’s not posting monster power numbers in his limited playing time, the potential is there, as well as some of his shots up the gap. But recognizing that teams caught on to him quickly has made Brennan a flash-in-the-pan, and he’s not figured out a way to improve on his plate discipline. Granted, the Tigers as a whole haven’t been great in PD in the past, but as a pro baseball player you should probably figure out a way to adjust/fix what is wrong. Either that, or shorten your career.

Boesch hitting .240 in his part-time duty shouldn’t warrant a raise, but he’s likely going to get one anyway. But with Andy Dirks likely to man the other corner outfield, the bench or AAA seems to be the most useful place for the free-swinging Brennan. As far as trade talk is concerned, you probably shouldn’t assume that any real talent would come back to the club in return. Probably.

Victor Martinez

I missed Victor last season. I probably speak for all Tigers fans when I say that. Especially since we had to watch the aforementioned Delmon Young DH in his place all season. But it’ll be rather curious to see how a year away from regular

baseball activity will affect him in his return from shredding his knee last offseason.

The hope is, that the rabid fan doesn’t expect him to hit .330 and drive in 100 runs. He’s probably not going to do that. Setting the bar low here would be useful for avoiding certain disappointment when Martinez doesn’t do all that he’s done over the course of his great career.

Since he’s recovering from that knee, and he just turned 34, I’m going to set his target batting average at around .270. That’s by no means a great number, and is eerily close to what Delmon hit last season (.267). But Victor will likely walk more than Delmon ever will (Delmon walked 20 times last year, up from five in 2010), and he’ll still drive in a few runs, if the first 4 in the lineup are to be Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, and Prince Fielder. Not having super expectations for the upcoming season on Victor will help make the pleasant surprise that much better if he can exceed said expectations and play like he did before he got hurt.

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More Random Thoughts to come, as I get myself back in the saddle again. Already getting excited about the upcoming season.

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Tags: Brennan Boesch Detroit Tigers Torii Hunter Victor Martinez

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