Detroit Tigers Links: DD explains Gonzalez release, Miller’s pink backpack & Joker Marchant renovations


Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski explains decision to cut ties with Alex Gonzalez – James Schmehl, MLive

"“It’s a situation as we’ve been able to watch him play that we think he’s had a great career, done a fine job, had a great spring training,” Dombrowski said. “But we need to have a little more range defensively at shortstop.”“We thought we’d take a little chance on it. Thought it was something worth taking the gamble,” Dombrowski said. “As we had a chance to watch him, had a chance to get a feel, we just didn’t see it getting better, so we thought, with the emphasis on defense for us at shortstop, we thought it was important to get someone who had more range.”"

There is really no way to spin this trade. The Tigers not only got a lemon, they got a rotting lemon. Danny Worth had a good spring and should have been given a shot over an aging player who was a non-roster invitee on Baltimore this spring. He’ll get his shot now, but the Tigers surrendered Steve Lombardozzi for nothing.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Miller gladly accepts pink backpack – George Sipple, Detroit Free Press

"Tigers right-handed reliever Justin Miller now possesses the pink backpack. The backpack is given to the pitcher with the least experience in the bullpen, and it has already passed from Evan Reed to Ian Krol to Miller this season.“I got that about five seconds within walking in the door,” Miller said. “Krol was real quick to fire the backpack over. It’s rite of passage. I’ll take it with pride.”"

Miller pitched two scoreless innings in an 11-6 drubbing on Friday night. He had better pitch well, because the Tigers won’t carry this many relievers for long and one of the pink backpack brigade will likely be demoted.

Spring Training in Lakeland: Detroit Tigers Add Value – Kathleen Munson, Lakeland Ledger

"Baseball fans numbering 116,226 attended 15 spring-training games this year at Joker Marchant Stadium, with 60 percent coming from out of the area.In addition to an estimated 27,000 room nights booked by fans in local hotels and motels, 11,500 room nights were booked for major and minor league players, and staff.With the increased competition from other cities and states to acquire spring-training teams, the city of Lakeland and the County Commission are funding a $37 million expansion and renovation project out at Tigertown. Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature have committed as much as $20 million in matching funds to Lakeland and the 14 other spring-training cities in Florida to support their stadium improvements."

While teams in Florida are content to jump from town-to-town or leave for Arizona, the Tigers and Lakeland have forged a relationship that lasts back to 1934 and 1966 at the present location of Joker Marchant Stadium. The stadium will undergo major renovations after Spring Training 2015, which will displace the Single A Lakeland Flying Tigers for one season. Renovations will include a concourse that stretches the entire perimeter of the stadium, new seats and dining options behind the left field berm and revamped seating along the third base bleacher area. One of the best stadiums in all of Spring Training will get even better.