My Tigers Off-Season and Projected 2013 Opening Day Roster

Free Agency Moves

1. The Tigers exercise Jhonny Peralta’s option. Considering that I’m not a big Jhonny fan, this does not leave me excited. Jhonny’s 2011 season was a career-year anomaly, and we saw a regression to the mean in 2012. I’m also ridiculously tired of people talking about his low error count; it’s a result of his brick-foot range, not some tremendous fielding capabilities. However, the free agent market at shortstop is super thin, and my dreams of trading for Elvis Andrus are unrealistic.

2. The Tigers re-sign Gerald Laird. I laugh every time I see the scoreboard flash “Be Scared of Laird” at Comerica Park, because he’s far from being an intimidating hitter. That being said, he’s a very serviceable backup to Avila and should demand a relatively cheap contract for what he provides.

3. The Tigers DO NOT re-sign Delmon Young. Ninja Turtle Yankee Killer is going to fetch a much higher contract now than he would have if the season ended in September. Regardless of price, I think the Tigers were planning on heading in another direction with the outfield anyway, and V-Mart is going to return to his role as the club’s designated hitter.

4. The Tigers DO NOT re-sign Anibal Sanchez. As much as it pains me to say it, I think the great late-season performance Sanchez put on display for Detroit pushed him out of their price range this offseason. Sanchez would be the fourth starter in the rotation for the Tigers, and I expect Sanchez to sign a big multi-year deal with a team that expects him to take over a role as their number 2 starter.

5. The Tigers exercise Octavio Dotel’s option. Dotel was reliable as the 7th-inning specialist for the Tigers for the majority of the 2012 season, and he brings experience and a wins-driven mentality to the table. Add the fact that his option is relatively affordable, and I think we see him return for another year as the organization’s 7th-inning hurler.

6. The Tigers DO NOT re-sign Jose Valverde. I’m pretty sure that Tigers fans would riot if Dombrowski offered Valverde a contract to stay in Detroit, considering the hell he put them through in the 2012 postseason. Adios, and good riddance, to the fat potato and his chicken bone arms and obscenely torpid delivery to home plate.

7. The Tigers sign Francisco Rodriguez. The man affectionately known as “K-Rod” struggled mightily this year in Milwaukee, logging the highest season ERA and WHIP of his career. This should allow the Tigers to get Rodriguez at a discounted price, and I’m of the belief that this poor showing was the exception in what has otherwise been a stellar career. He’s only 30 years old, he’d join fellow Venezuelans Miguel Cabrera, Brayan Villarreal, and Omar Infante in the clubhouse, and he could take on the role of closer (OR setup man, if Leyland and company believe Benoit would be more well-suited for the 9th inning).

8. The Tigers sign Josh Hamilton. I would much rather see the Tigers go after someone like San Francisco’s Angel Pagan, who could offer a .285 hit clip and 30 stolen bases. However, with fans clamoring for another major offseason signing to push the Tigers over the top, I expect Illitch to open up his pocketbook even further for a (maddeningly inconsistent) power hitter.

Hypothetical Lineup

1. Austin Jackson – CF
2.
Victor Martinez – DH
3.
Miguel Cabrera – 3B
4.
Prince Fielder – 1B
5.
Josh Hamilton – LF
6.
Andy Dirks – RF
7.
Jhonny Peralta – SS
8.
Alex Avila – C
9.
Omar Infante – 2B

Hypothetical Rotation

1. Justin Verlander
2.
Doug Fister
3.
Max Scherzer
4.
Rick Porcello
5.
Drew Smyly

Hypothetical Bullpen

1. Phil Coke, LHP
2.
Brayan Villarreal, MRP – RHP
3.
Al Alburquerque, MRP – RHP
4.
Darin Downs, MRP – LHP
5.
Octavio Dotel, Gap Pitcher/7th inning specialist
6.
Joaquin Benoit, Setup Man
7.
Francisco Rodriguez, Closer

My Red Wings offseason

When the Detroit Red Wings lost to the Nashville Predators Friday night, it was the end of more than a playoff series. The Wings lost in the first round of the playoffs for only the fifth time in the last 21 seasons, and yes, they made the playoffs all 21 times. At the start of the next season this team will be five years removed from their most recent Stanley Cup, with the last three years being early exits from the playoffs. While many franchises would kill for this success, it is not enough, not in Detroit. I have a few offseason needs that I would love to see happen, and if they were to happen it would make the Red Wings one of the favorites next year. The team has cap space and GM Ken Holland decided against using it to make a move at the trade deadline this year. That move will now pay it’s dividends this offseason, allowing Holland, who is one of the best GM’s in all of sports, to work his magic. These are my needs in order of importance.

1. Sign Ryan Suter – Nick Lidstrom is aging and may only have one season left in him. Suter is in the prime of his career and is a physical defensmen who can immediately step in and take over the void Lidstrom leaves, if he does retire.

2. Nick Lidstrom paycut – He is without a doubt one of the best three defensemen to ever play the game and there is no arguing that. However, he turns 42 next week and although his production is still solid, he is no longer a $7 million player. I would over him one year at $3.5 million and if he doesn’t take it, I’d let him walk. Sports is a business and the extra money is absolutely necessary.

3. Sign Zach Parise – Holland will need that money here. It is no secret Parise and Suter want to sign in the same place, so why not Detroit? Parise is a skilled and tough forward who will add more punch to the offense that was exposed in the Nashville series. Parise needs to be a Wing next year.

4. Trade Hudler and Filppula – Don’t get me wrong, I like both of these players. They play both ways and are solid forwards who play well within the Wings system. The downside is they both make $3.5 million and $7 million is too much money for almost no production. They are relatively young so they will have good trade value and we can get some good draft picks for them.

5. More Gustav Nyquist – I came away very impressed with Nyquist’s performance this season and in the playoffs. He is, in my opinion, the best young guy the Wings have and should be a full time NHLer. He played very well and was extremely productive when he was paired up with Datsyuk this season and I want to see more of them together next year.

6. Less Tomas Holmstrom – I love Tomas Holmstrom. He has been a staple of Red Wings hockey for the entire length of his tenure in Detroit. He made his living taking abuse in front of the other teams net, and I still believe he can do that, but that is all he has left to contribute. He was never a skilled guy and he is always a step behind everyone on the ice. He isn’t getting any younger so, as much as it sucks to see, I would like to see his role reduced drastically again.

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Author: Wil Hunter