The Tigers have won three straight AL Central titles. If continuity was their main objective, they could have turned to Lloyd McClendon, a member of Leyland’s staff who has managed in the majors before.
Instead, it will be Ausmus. He managed Israel’s team for the World Baseball Classic, but his main experience in the dugout still stems from his playing career. It’s certainly a break from the more traditional path in which a manager might serve as a coach or minor league manager for a while before being hired to run a major league team.
Joe Nathan would be an ‘absolutely perfect fit’ for Detroit Tigers - Brian Manzullo, Detroit Free Press
The bad news is Joe Nathan turns 39 years old on Nov. 22, seemingly toward the end of his MLB career, but the negatives end right about there. Even at his age, he saved 43 games in 46 chances last season for Texas, posting a 1.39 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and allowing just two home runs in 67 appearances.
In his career, Nathan has 341 saves, a 2.76 average, a 1.09 WHIP and 912 strikeouts in 858.2 innings.
With free agency now open, time for Detroit Tigers to go shopping - John Lowe, Detroit Free Press
Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin Soo-Choo, the top leadoff hitters who are free agents, received qualifying offers from the Red Sox and Reds, respectively. To sign either player, the Tigers would have to give up their first-round pick and meet what likely will be the large contract request of agent Scott Boras, the legendary negotiator who represents Ellsbury and Choo.
Bullpen, speed top Tigers’ wish list in free agency - Tony Paul, Detroit News
The Tigers need need bullpen help, both a closer and middle relievers. Joaquin Benoit could be gone, Jose Veras almost certainly will be gone, and Drew Smyly might be heading to the rotation next year if Rick Porcello is traded.
And they need speed. With this roster, it’s usually station to station. Somehow, they need to get faster and need to manufacture more runs. And if they can find one man to help play all those voids, and play left field — the one position both up for grabs and readily available on the market — that would be ideal.
Tigers’ Arbitration forecast: High pressure front moving in - Patrick O’Kennedy, Bless You Boys
While the Tigers have seven players who are eligible for free agency, at least temporarily reducing their payroll by almost $24 million after declining the option on Jose Veras, they also have nine players eligible for arbitration for the 2014 season. These nine stand to get pay raises of approximately a combined $16.6 million if they’re all retained. There are also six veterans under contract who will make a collective total of $13.25 million more than they earned for the 2013 season. The net impact would be an increase in payroll of $5.85 million before the team replaces any departing free agents, including Omar Infante, Jhonny Peralta, and Joaquin Benoit.