Detroit Tigers Links: Questions, Joe Nathan, Tram HOF, Hanrahan’s future
By Matt Pelc
The Detroit Tigers approach the eve of the opening of Spring Training (though many players were in attendance ahead of the mandatory report date on Monday and Tuesday) with several questions. MCB staffer Tom Zahari explores them in his latest for the Detroit Free Press.
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We’ve talked a lot about how Joe Nathan needs to be better in 2015 and Brad Faber thinks that is possible, but only if the 40-year old alters his game.
We lamented yet another Hall of Fame snub for Alan Trammell in early January and we have compared his numbers to fellow shortstop Barry Larkin. Tony Paul reports that, as it turns out, the Hall of Famer Larkin is just as baffled over the snub as we are.
Joel Hanrahan is far from a dark horse to make the Detroit Tigers’ opening day roster. If he is healthy and able to record outs effectively, he’ll make the team. But Chris Iott states that may not be as sure of a thing as we all believe because of the quirks of his minor league contract.
5 questions on pitchers and catchers – Tom Zahari, MCB Special to Detroit Free Press
"1. How will Justin Verlander perform in 2015?Verlander needs to have a bounce-back year, and he should have one. After his core surgery before last season, Verlander was not the same pitcher he was in years past. A full offseason of workouts along with adding over 20 pounds of muscle should help him, especially with his fatigue problems. Verlander got progressively worse as the game went on with opposing batters’ stats skyrocketing once Verlander passed the 50 pitch threshold.Without Max Scherzer, the Tigers need Verlander to step up and regain his status as ace on the Tigers’ staff along with David Price. I don’t think Verlander will win the Cy Young Award, but he should at least not be the center of controversy on the Tigers’ staff in 2015 like he was in 2014.2. Will the bullpen be any better this season?"
Detroit Tigers’ Joe Nathan Must Learn To Succeed Without The Help Of Blazing Fastball – Brad Faber, Rant Sports
"Obviously, some might point to the now 40-year-old Nathan’s age as a factor. However, many have also been quick to point out that he just had back-to-back All-Star appearances with the Rangers from 2012-2013 at the ages of 37 and 38, accumulating 4.3 fWAR over that two-year period. So if Father Time is indeed part of the problem, why did Nathan’s decline seemingly happen so fast and suddenly rather than slow and steadily?Well, there may be a little bit more to the story. There is some evidence to suggest that the warning signs may have already been there at the time the Tigers brought him aboard.While Nathan indeed had a fine year in 2013, one can see that he may have been getting a bit lucky. For starters, the first thing that stuck out about Nathan’s 2013 was his microscopic 1.39 ERA. However, while his ERA estimators were not bad by any stretch of the imagination, they were all higher than his actual ERA, with his FIP, xFIP and SIERA settling in at 2.26, 3.27 and 2.75 respectively, suggesting that some regression was coming."
Larkin baffled Trammell’s not in Hall of Fame – Tony Paul, Detroit News
"“Let’s talk about Alan Trammell. He’s a Hall of Famer,” Larkin said last week, while in Detroit to enter the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. “He belongs there, he should be there.“You look at the numbers, and it’s not just numbers. It’s how he did it, how long he did it, him and Lou Whitaker.”Whitaker is an even sadder case than Trammell, having not even seen multiple years on the Hall of Fame ballot because of a low vote total his first year.“When I was growing up watching baseball, those were two guys I watched,” said Larkin, a native of Ohio and a University of Michigan alum. “When I came up here at the University of Michigan, those were two guys I watched, those were guys I idolized.”Larkin and Trammell, 56, now an executive in the Tigers’ front office, saw their playing careers overlap for much of the 1980s and 1990s, with Larkin with the Reds and Trammell with the Tigers. They even traveled abroad together once, for a baseball showcase."
Release clauses, retention bonus deadline could have effect on Joel Hanrahan’s future with Tigers – Chris Iott, MLive
"• Contract: Hanrahan signed a minor-league deal with the Tigers in the offseason. That contract will pay him $1 million if he makes it to the majors with the Tigers and includes incentives that could pay him up to $2.5 million more.• Release clauses: Hanrahan has a pair of release clauses in his contract, the first for April 30 and the second for June 5. Hanrahan has the option of demanding to be released on either of those dates if he is not on the big-league roster. That would allow him to seek a new deal elsewhere.• Retention bonus: The latest collective bargaining agreement requires Article XX(B) free agents who sign minor-league deals — Hanrahan qualifies — to either be added to the big-league roster or released prior to a deadline of five days before opening day. If the club does neither, then the player is due a retention bonus of $100,000.That means the Tigers will either need to: include Hanrahan on their opening day roster, and thus guarantee his $1 million big-league salary, by March 31; release him by March 31; or pay him a retention bonus of $100,000."