It was quite the week that was for the Detroit Tigers.
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At the start of the week, we had Victor Martinez and Max Scherzer officially opting for free agency. We had rumors about V-Mart going elsewhere. We had rumors about guys coming here. Then we had V-Mart signing for four-years, $68 million and a surprise trade of the player who on the day of his trade was named the Tigers’ top prospect.
Finally we have V-Mart finishing second in the MVP race and while that was not a surprise it brought up the voters own sense of entitlement and own set of rules that we’ve seen way too often.
We are trying something new here at Motor City Bengals, a best of the week feature–a ICYMI if you will. Catch up with what you missed or relive the great stories of the last week.
First up on Monday, Tom Zahari wondered if after so many close calls and “wait ’til next years” if the team has run out of second chances and their championship window has closed.
"If the Tigers are going to have another World Series or bust year in 2015, they will have to do it with more than just retooling moves. The Tigers will have to make some drastic decisions that will reshape the team. The move could be signing a big free agent or making some sort of drastic trade to reshape the clubhouse. If the Tigers keep treading water, they will eventually drown. The Tigers will have to be smart with their moves. If they make the wrong moves, they could end up like the Detroit Pistons. If they make the right moves, the Detroit Tigers could become the Boston Red Sox of 2013 without the beards and win the World Series."
"His defense is nothing to praise, but it’s better than what the club currently has. The Tigers outfield is among the league’s worst. I don’t care if we have to throw a glove and cap on Mike Illitch himself, just get somebody out there other than what the team already has. He gets on base, which is how baseball games are essentially won, and he will likely come cheaper than most. I would expect Aoki to make 5-7 million a year, and at least a three year contract. One and two year deals won’t be enough to reel him in. Other players such as Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus will most certainly fetch much larger contracts than Aoki. The team doesn’t need to sign big name guy, just a man that is fully capable of playing above average baseball."
After the V-Mart signing, Josh took a look at the deal.
"His new deal is colossal in comparison to his old one, and to be entirely honest, this worries me a bit. Yes, Victor Martinez has carried the Tigers to victory too many times to count. There are days when he puts on shows that can only make crowds watch in amazement. But can he keep it up?The fact that he’s strictly a DH helps, but it seems highly unlikely these numbers continue. I sure hope I’m wrong, but he’s still a human, or at least I think he is. The club had no choice but to sign him back as it’d be incredibly difficult to fill the void he’d leave. But for this type of money, it makes me sweat a bit."
Late night Wednesday, the Tigers sent Devon Travis to Toronto for Anthony Gose. This move has left some fans excited and some fans with heartburn. When I tackled the subject, I was somewhat in the middle.
"Gose was apparently an attractive option for the Tigers because he bats left-handed and gives them a possible platoon partner for Rajai Davis. Like Davis, also a former Blue Jay, Gose has wheels but a shaky bat. In 94 games with Toronto, the 24-year old hit .226 with a .604 OPS and 15 stolen bases in 94 games. In 51 games at AAA, Gose hit .244 with 21 stolen bases.The Tigers seem to feel his bat is secondary to his glove and while he has potential at the plate he’s an above average defender–something you need for 81 games in spacious Comerica Park.It is not easy being a top prospect for the Detroit Tigers. When you reach the pinnacle it is almost like you are the survivor of a horror movie. Then you are the first to be brutally murdered in the sequel. That means that Steven Moya had better be watching his back…."
Thursday brought the news of the MVPs in baseball. Los Angeles players swept the awards with Mike Trout winning for the Angels and Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers. These were both great picks, however voters thought process on voting is just laughable as I discussed.
"That’s fine until you consider [MLive beat writer Chris Iott] placed two pitchers in front of Martinez. A DH plays much more baseball in a season than pitchers do. I will acknowledge they don’t play defense for the most part (37 appearances in the field for Martinez in 2014). Make no mistake, I am an equal opportunity MVP guy. Pitchers, DH and position players–they should all have an equal chance. If they had a great year, they should be considered for the MVP. But it seems to me Iott makes a case against pitchers in his anti-DH stance despite voting for two of them."
News came on Thursday that the Tigers were looking at offers from other teams on Alex Avila and that the Cubs and Red Sox were possible suitors. I think everyone likes Avila for his guts and his defense, but the Tigers need a little more from the position hitting wise. Avila will also be a free agent next season, so the team may try to get what they can. Blair Tatrault took a look at how the pounding Alex has taken may have taken a toll on his career and his declining offensive numbers may never come back.
"Though Avila has since been medically cleared to resume full baseball activity, recent studies have warned athletes of the debilitating effects of serial concussions. By any measure, Avila fits the profile of an athlete who is at risk of consequential brain injury should he continue to suffer further blows to the head.As a player, Avila’s major league career has been distinguished by his overall defensive acumen, and he is generally recognized as one of the finer catchers in the game.He deftly handles a pitching staff, throws well, and is especially adept at framing pitches and blocking balls in the dirt.Unfortunately, Avila’s offensive development has not tracked his success behind the plate. Since his promising All-Star season in 2011, when he hit .295 with 19 home runs and an OPS of .895, Avila’s hitting has steadily declined in each successive year."
I hope you enjoyed our first Reader’s Digest version of Motor City Bengals and hope you join us for another week of great articles!