The names are familiar, ones we have all cheered (and probably jeered) for most of the season. Some will be easy to forget, some we will never forget, but the cold truth of baseball is that player and coaches move on. If the Tigers cannot extend their season, we could be seeing the last of several men who helped get the Tigers this far.
Listed below are potential free agents (and one coach) and what I feel are the chances they would be retained.
Jarrod Washburn (1% chance of returning) came over from Seattle at the deadline, but aside from one sparkling effort versus Kansas City, may have done more to harm the Tigers’ chances than help them. Washburn has been so bad in Detroit that he no longer projects as a type-B free agent. There is virtually no shot that he returns.
Aubrey Huff(8%) Huff was another last season acquisition who failed to live up to the expectations. He did have the big home run against the Jays in September, but his time in the D was filled with 4-3 ground outs far too often. Jim Leyland views him as strictly a DH, so there’s no reason to bring him back, unless he is willing to split time.
Adam Everett (50%) Everett did the job he was brought in to do and stabilized the infield defense. Combining with Ramon Santiago, neither shortstop his particularly well, but that was expected. If Everett wants to return, the Tigers will probably bring him back on another one year deal. If not, there are other defensive infielders ready to come up that could probably hit just as well.
Fernando Rodney (40%) I’d actually be a bit surprised to see Rodney next season, but if the Tigers feel that he is a top-flight closer they may try hard to keep him. If the rest of the league agrees, however, he could easily price himself out of the Tigers’ plans. Either way, he’s due a hefty raise, and I think the Tigers would do well to pass.
Brandon Lyon (75%) Again, if the league thinks he’s a closer, he could command more cash than Detroit would want to spend, but he may have more value to this club than any other. If Lyon returns and Rodney leaves, Lyon would be in line to close. Even if he’s not closing, Lyon has proven that he is an important part of the bullpen and he will not be easily replaced.
Lloyd McClendon (18%) When the 2008 season ended the Tigers pitchers had held them back from being a better club. Chuck Hernandez was shown the door, though he was just two years removed from leading the staff to the best ERA in the league. Fast forward to 2009 and the weak spot on this club has been in the batter’s box. I like Lloyd, but you cannot fire all of the hitters and a new voice may help. I only give him as much chance of returning as I do because of his long history with Leyland.
UPDATE: I’m dumb and forgot the most important guy.
Placido Polanco (85%) There is still a good possibility that Polly will be playing elsewhere next season, but his strong second half helped to keep the Tigers rolling. His defense was sound as always, though he does appear to have lost a step in the field. I wouldn’t assume he would get a long-term deal in Detroit, but if Polly wants a contract for one or two years, I think the Tigers would be happy to keep him. If he does leave, look for Scott Sizemore to get a chance to win the second base job in spring training.