A TALE OF TWO CITIES

(with apologies to Charles Dickens)

By:  Holly Horning

It is their last year before major rebuilding must be done. Their team has the oldest average age in MLB with most of their stars now merely shells of their former selves.

And in anticipation of the major work that needed to be done, they brought in a new President of Baseball Operations, Farhan Zaidi, to introduce new ideas to their team and re-invigorate them much as he did with his former team, the LA Dodgers.

But then something started to happen. Something horrible. They started winning.

The San Francisco Giants went on a prolonged winning streak and rose above .500 and into second place. Fans were excited. Players were excited.

And expectations grew, especially as their manager, future Hall-of-Famer, Bruce Bochy is retiring after this year. Via social media, there is an increasing segment of Giants’ fans who want their team to go for it one last time.

It is a tough decision when you run a team. You risk angering and potentially alienating the fan base if you don’t give them what they want.

Reports have had the Giants wavering on their direction. Reports that also include them, labeled as baseball’s top sellers for this trade season, holding off and potentially becoming buyers in an attempt for that last final push to win.

And this team is eerily similar to another team from 2016. Guess which one…..

This was all under discussion the other day on MLB Radio between a collection of former GMs. And it was one GM who neatly summarized why the Giants absolutely must start selling in earnest.

He said, “(sic) Hopefully, they remember what happened to the Tigers back in 2016 when they waited too long to sell and added years to their rebuild as a result.”

This GM went on to discuss the Tigers and how they created a horrible situation for themselves by not fully committing to a rebuild.

As we know, the Tigers’ rebuild (or “tear down” if you prefer) officially started in July 2015 with the selling off of David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and others in exchange for young, promising players who were expected to be part of the resurrection. Even Al Avila, in his first months, admitted that the team was rebuilding, although he didn’t use those exact words.

But then in the off-season, something happened. The Tigers changed course abruptly. They signed Jordan Zimmerman, Mike Pelfrey and Justin Upton.

This was also the last year for Mike Ilitch. It’s not unreasonable to believe that he decided to try to push this team forward one last time and changed direction mid-stream.

And this time period is when the former GMs agreed that the Tigers made a huge mistake. That they waited too long to rebuild and then didn’t fully commit to the rebuild they started. Also adding that they didn’t move fast enough.

In 2016, they were only in first place a grand total of 7 days, finishing 8 games out of first place. The GMs said it was evident that the team was not going to achieve their goal and yet, they continued to press forward. They kept all their players despite having to know they were at great risk of botching the initial rebuild.

As a result of this strategy change, the Tigers lost time, increased the length of a rebuild, wasted player potential and made it more difficult to trade expensive talent that had also grown one year older. They rolled the dice on players who had great years and should have been traded at the height of their value.

The GMs pointed to how hard it has been to trade their players since and the smaller returns they have received as a result. That is, for the players they have actually been able to trade.


Let’s go back to the end of the 2015 year when these GMs suggested the Tigers should have been busy trading talent during the off-season.

– Miguel Cabrera hit .338 with an OPS of .974.

– Ian Kinsler had the most hits of any player and hit .296.

– Jose Iglesias had a BA of .300.

– J. D. Martinez had a team-leading 38 HRs and 132 RBIs.

– Victor Martinez had solid offensive stats.

– Pitching that year, both starting and relief, was mostly abysmal with only David Price (who ended up being traded) and Alfredo Simon (but just barely) over .500.

SUMMARY – The Tigers had the opportunity to trade all 5 of these players, who had solid, often career-high stats, but chose to keep all five. We’ll also recognize that Miguel Cabrera’s contract was and is the biggest obstacle, even while he was producing great numbers. But for this year and next, there was a chance he could have been traded. Today, he is absolutely untradeable.


Now, let’s look at 2016:

– Miggy had his last healthy year, hitting .316 with 38 HRs and 108 RBIs.

– Ian Kinsler had one of his best years ever – hitting .288 with 28 HRs and 83 RBIs.

– Jose Iglesias’ stats had started their pattern of reduced production.

– Nick Castellanos, in two-thirds of a season, hit .285 with 18 HRs and 58 RBIs.

– J. D. Martinez’s production went down somewhat with 22 HRs and 68 RBIs.

– Victor Martinez had a great year with a BA of .289 and 27 HRs and 86 RBIs.

– Justin Upton had 31 HRs and 87 RBIs.

– A new pitching coach helped the starters that year with Justin Verlander and Michael Fulmer having solid years. Seven relievers had winning records.

SUMMARY – This was the final year to try to trade Miggy, who had one of his very best years. Kinsler, VMart and Upton had terrific years and their value was at the highest levels. Castellanos and Martinez had solid years, somewhat diminished by injuries, but still very marketable.

The Tigers chose to trade no one, despite never seriously contending for the entire year. And this is where those GMs criticized them for not tearing down as much as possible. It was agreed that the team waited 1- 2 years too long.


Now, for 2017…..

– James McCann had one of his best years with 13 HRs and 49 RBIs.

– Miguel Cabrera had the first of his bad years, hitting .249 with an OPS of .748.

– Ian Kinsler regressed somewhat with 22 HRs and 52 RBIs.

– Jose Iglesias’ OPS dropped to .657.

– Nick Castellanos had a great year with 26 HRs, 101 RBIs and .272 BA.

– Justin Upton hit 28 HRs and 94 RBIs.

– J. D. Martinez played only one-third of a season.

– Victor Martinez’s offense dropped off significantly with only 10 HRs and 47 RBIs.

– Pitching regressed significantly with only Justin Verlander above .500 and 3 relievers just barely above .500.

SUMMARY

– This would have been the year to trade McCann while his value was at its highest, instead of non-tendering him a year later.

– Miggy officially became absolutely untradeable and his contract will be an albatross for years to come.

– The Tigers waited too long to trade Kinsler, VMart and Iglesias, who regressed offensively.

– Castellanos, they say, became tradeable at the end of the year, but no takers were found.

– JV, JD and Upton were traded, with the latter two having regressed somewhat. Conceivably, they would have pulled in better prospects if traded a year earlier.

And on a side note, on another MLB morning radio show, a Boston beat writer came on to discuss J. D. Martinez’s potential opt-out clause. He brought up J.D.’s trade to Arizona by Detroit and mentioned that the Red Sox had actually made a better offer to the Tigers for him, but that Detroit won’t do business with Dombrowski and instead accepted the lower offer from the Diamondbacks. (You are now officially permitted to grab pitchforks, tar and feathers.)


All of this supports the GMs’ theory that the Tigers waited too long to rebuild. That they should have continued the tear down Dave Dombrowski started towards the end of 2015 as well as the trading into the 2016 season. Instead, they hung onto players and signed Jordan Zimmermann and Justin Upton instead.

They mentioned how strange it was to start a tear down and then a couple months later, do a 180 degree turn and start signing stars again.

It was agreed that 2016 was the best year for the trades to happen while player values were at their highest and trades would have more easily happened. The next year, 2017, turned out to be too late. The Tigers got very little in return for JV, JD, Kinsler and Upton.

And when you wait too long, other teams know that. They know you are desperate to shed salary and they get the upper hand as a result. When you trade earlier, you have the luxury of more negotiating time in order to get a better deal. Teams know that you’re not completely backed into the corner and are more likely to give you a better return.

As a result of their slow and delayed rebuilding strategy, the Tigers were unable to unload any more of their top earners last year. Nick Castellanos has been sitting on the market for 2 years now. They got no offers for James McCann, Jose Iglesias and Alex Wilson. Instead, those 3 were non-tendered with the Tigers receiving nothing in return. And the same situation could happen again after this season.

All of this makes us think about that adage where it is said a band-aid should be ripped off all at once. So quick that you don’t feel as much pain and you can move forward much more quickly. Instead, it appears the Tigers are still trying to peel it off. It still hurts and will for a long time to come.


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NEXT!

By:  Holly Horning

I am writing this blog on Friday afternoon, in part due to the Tigers travel to the West Coast and the resulting time difference. But it’s also with the impending trade deadline of next Wednesday in mind. I want to get on the record before something happens.

You see, I have some theories. Theories based upon patterns I saw towards the end of last year. Theories based upon who is currently on the trading block. And theories that just may be proven true if the Tigers trade the expected players. And maybe others.

It first came to light in 2017 when the Tigers essentially pushed the Justins – Verlander and Upton – out the door. It was an open secret that it was due to the need to shed as much salary as possible.

Last year, Al Avila, in customary fashion, announced to the world which Tigers were on the trading block – Nick Castellanos, James McCann, Jose Iglesias and Alex Wilson. And not so coincidentally, all 4 had the team’s most expensive contracts. (We are excluding Miguel Cabrera and Jordan Zimmermann for obvious reasons including the fact that they are absolutely 100% non-tradeable.)

The Tigers could not move any of them but at the end of the year, they non-tendered everyone but Nick.

This year, Nick remains on the list and is joined by Shane Greene and Matthew Boyd. And depending upon who you ask, Joe Jimenez is also “for sale.”

After Nick, Greene and Boyd are the Tigers most expensive players excluding players on 1-year contracts.

Do you see where we are potentially headed?

But now it gets interesting. There are several national reports that say the Tigers are also interested in shopping Blaine Hardy and Daniel Norris.

Would you be surprised to know that after Castellanos, Boyd and Greene, these two are next in line, salary-wise?

I was always of the mind that they, too, given the pattern, would be traded but not until the off-season.

They are the last of the Tigers making 7-figures. Everyone else is making league (or very close to it) minimum.

But there’s also one other Tiger we shouldn’t forget and he’s making just slightly more than Matthew Boyd.

Michael Fulmer. $2.8 million for 2019 with another arbitration set for the off-season.

The same guy whom the Tigers took to arbitration last year. Remember, the Tigers prided themselves on not having arbitration hearings for decades. Michael was the first.

Fulmer, as you know, just recently had Tommy John surgery and will not be able to even pick up a baseball until sometime during the winter. The Tigers say that recovery is 14 months which would put his return at the end of next season at the earliest. But as many TJ experts will tell you, that first year back is very rocky while pitchers attempt to regain their control. Just ask Trevor Rosenthal who had the surgery almost 2 years ago and is still trying to get his form back.

So, the question to ask is whether the Tigers will pay Fulmer approximately $3 million to essentially sit on the sidelines for most or all of next year. The same guy who had multiple injuries when he was with the Mets farm system and elbow, knee and now arm surgeries in just over 2 short years since being traded to Detroit.

Considering that Matthew Boyd makes just $200,000 less than Michael, probably not.

Fulmer, of course, is not tradeable given his current condition. Don’t be surprised if the Tigers non-tender him in the off-season. Their plan may even be to try to re-sign him back to a minor league contract once he’s throwing again.

So why is this happening?

Is it because the owner is bent on cutting payroll in order to make another yearly profit?

Because most teams have systematically reduced their payrolls as much as possible and are, as they say, “rebuilding”?

Is it due to the contracts awarded to Miguel Cabrera and Jordan Zimmermann?

Or all of the above?

I’ve written about it here in Totally Tigers over the past months. That those two salaries would force Al Avila to make deeper cuts into more players’ salaries.

This year and next, Miggy and Zimm alone are making 45% of the team’s entire payroll. And as the Tigers continue to cut payroll, their percentage of the payroll will grow. A situation that will significantly decrease available payroll and flexibility. A situation that will probably ensure Avila has to get creative and sign the least expensive reclamation projects available in order to fill whatever holes appear.

So as we go through these next 3 days, let’s keep track of those trade rumors.

And in this case, it just may be that the last cut  is the deepest.


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OPEN MIKE!

microphoneIt’s the last Sunday of the month, folks, which means it’s your day! This is the day for you to be heard. Today is the one day during the month (normally) where you get the opportunity to comment on the Tiger topic of your choosing.

This is the one day of the week where we open up the comment parameters for you, so you can really get those juices flowing. Comments on THIS DAY ONLY can be expanded to a maximum of 8 sentences.  So pick a topic and let us hear from you!  What’s on your minds?


 Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum response length.  All rules are at:   https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

 

 

THE SATURDAY SURVEY

The Saturday Survey offers another way for readers to weigh in on a relevant topic.   So here is a poll to gauge the pulse of our baseball-lovin’ peeps.

As always, we welcome your comments, so please vote and then submit your reasons ( 4 sentences max!) for how you voted in the usual comment box.  Don’t forget to come back later and view the results!


It is Christmas in July!  (Well, it is the 27th so technically a couple days after….)  Given this, what’s on your wish list as the gift you most want to receive?  Let’s not get greedy – you can only ask for one thing.


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TWICE AS NICE

By:  Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning

Every day, the trade deadline gets closer and closer. And all the same names continue to be mentioned as Tiger players who could be traded by the end of the month.

With Nick Castellanos, Matthew Boyd, Shane Greene and Joe Jimenez all on the trading block, the Tigers have made a couple new signings.

Kurt and Holly will give their answers to the following question regarding the Tigers’ acquisition of Trevor Rosenthal and Edwin Jackson.

Let’s take a look at this week’s question for our writers.


The Tigers have recently signed Trevor Rosenthal and Edwin Jackson to contracts. How should we interpret these moves?


KURT

The 2 moves speak loudly about what is expected at the trade deadline. It’s fairly obvious what the Tigers intentions are for Trevor Rosenthal. He, without a doubt, will become the new closer after Shane Greene is traded. He’s got a big arm, has been a closer before his TJ surgery and now gets a shot to get back to the major leagues. Rosenthal will gladly accept.

Edwin Jackson starts his second tour of pitching duty for every team in the major leagues. I’m kidding, of course, but doesn’t it seem that way? Even though Edwin has signed a minor league contract, the Tigers are starving for any living and breathing starting pitcher to fill out their rotation. And if Matthew Boyd is indeed traded, expect Jackson to immediately be promoted and added to the rotation.

Yes, they are that desperate.


HOLLY

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet your new Tigers 9th inning guy and innings-eater!

I am not concerned with their ages, history or career trajectory because that’s not why the Tigers signed them. At this stage of the game, and given the current team performance, these two are merely warm bodies who will plug the holes in the roster created by injuries and trades. This year is done so it’s time to stick a fork in it and simply fill in the abyss with minimal effort and money.

The Tigers have already been down 1 starter for nearly half a year and if Matthew Boyd is traded, that will create yet another opening for Jackson to fill. Or Turnbull’s….. or Norris’….or Zimmermann’s….you get the picture. He’s a 2-month rental with a miniscule salary.

Rosenthal is the warm body who will replace Joe Jimenez or/and more likely Shane Greene when they get traded. Let’s face it, the Tigers no longer need a true closer at this stage of the game and Rosenthal is a veteran presence with an admirable track record who can impart wisdom to other relievers in the bullpen. He’s also being paid MLB minimum.

They cost almost nothing but their veteran presence and advice on such a punishing team could be well worth their signings.


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FAIR OR FOUL?

By:  Holly Horning

It’s always interesting to see a comparison between the local and national media when it comes to analyzing the Tigers. Case in point was a radio show on MLB vs. an article in one of the local dailies.

Like clockwork, the newspaper did an advance article to “prepare” fans for what is expected to be disappointing returns on the players the Tigers may receive in exchange for this year’s four on the trading block: Castellanos, Greene, Boyd and Jimenez. Advance PR in an attempt to minimize fan blowback.

On the other hand, two former GMs spent some quality time discussing the Tigers’ situation and they seemed to think that Detroit should receive some significant value in exchange for at least 2 players.

They explained that currently, there is a dearth of quality starting pitching in MLB and despite his current record, Matthew Boyd is one of the top trade candidates currently on the market. If you dig into his stats, he ranks rather impressively in a number of categories. Also take into account that he is still young, makes a very reasonable salary and has 3 more controllable years.  Catnip.  No pun intended.

They also mentioned Shane Greene and the fact that so many contending teams are in dire need of bullpen help.

Which brings us to what fans believe. Currently, many are torn between whether this is an actual rebuild or a continued tear down.

So why don’t we explore how valid it is to keep each player or trade them?


NICHOLAS CASTELLANOS

God knows that the Tigers need his bat in the lineup but the rationale for trading him remains solid because of his salary and his limited skill set. After Miggy and Zimmermann, Nick is the Tigers’ highest paid player at just under $10 million. And it doesn’t help that his agent is Scott Boras.

But during this age and time, the guys who are offensively strong and defensively weak, are a throwback to pre-analytic days. Add in the size of Comerica’s outfield and it makes sense to trade Nick. Especially since he is a free agent at the end of the year and the Tigers risk getting absolutely nothing in return if they can’t trade him.

SHANE GREENE

He’s been brilliant this year but the Tigers are rarely in a situation now when they need a closer who will save a game. And as we all know, relievers are an unpredictable bunch when it comes to consistent performance from year to year.

Greene is also one of the Tigers most expensive players at $4 mill this year and due a sizable raise for next year, his last one before free agency. While the Tigers are cost-cutting, it also makes sense to sell at peak value in both performance and controllability. To keep him makes him a rental next year which will also diminish his value.

However, while he is a closer with this team, it is universally-believed that he would be the 8th inning guy for most contending organizations. So that takes a little of his maximum value away. Still, it makes sense to trade him.

JOE JIMENEZ

All of a sudden, he got thrown in the trade mix and it really is a puzzle as to why. He is young, making MLB minimum and controllable for the next 4 years.

Sure, he’s had his struggles this year but to give up on him in less than a year doesn’t make sense. The fact that Tampa Bay is interested in him makes us wonder if they see something in him that the Tigers don’t – given that their analytics department is far superior. And Joe fits the type of player that Tampa Bay loves.

Could the desire to trade him be based upon the Tigers need to get as many prospects as they can because they aren’t successfully developing them here? Or is it because the Tigers were prepping him to take over the closer’s role and now they don’t see the need for one anytime soon?

MATTHEW BOYD

He is the most concerning trade candidate of all. Of course, you build a team around Boyd. But now that he’s on the trading block, it means 1 of any 3 things – and none of them good.

1. They are in desperate need of prospects for a team that hasn’t shown they can develop their own.

2. Those who analyze arbitration salaries say he’s due somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 mill next year and the Tigers have been systematically dumping all their highest-paid players. And he will eventually go to FA with Boras as his agent.

3. The Tigers don’t believe they will be in contention anytime soon and by the time they are, Boyd will be much older and pulling in a significant salary.

Boyd is the hardest player to let go. He was obtained as part of the Tigers rationale for the first wave of rebuilding and now he is being used once again as part of the “rebuilding” mantra. Trading him simply doesn’t say good things about the timeline of this rebuild – if that is indeed what the Tigers are doing… or the farm system…or the money Ilitch is willing to invest.

And the final factor that will be responsible for getting quality returns?

Al Avila himself.

His negotiation skills are suspect given his track record as GM. We know the names of players he’s signed. But there’s also the report that he signed off on Jim Leyland’s desire to sign Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison. Wouldn’t you like to see the rationale for those moves? Or even the analytics report on them?

But it’s the constant running of his mouth that defeats any successful trade opportunities. The “open season” need to trade Tigers. The desperate tones. The constant public proclamations and beating of the trade drums. The equivalent of allowing fellow poker players to see your entire hand.

When you allow others to know your strategy and your needs, you end up with the least amount of power and leverage. It’s hard to believe that he worked for Dave Dombrowski for 27 years and didn’t learn any tips from the master of trading.

Who knew that we’d be yearning for the good old days of Trader Dave when we knew that even if tortured, he’d never reveal his trade intentions. With Dombrowski, we never knew a trade was in the works, until after it happened.

Do you miss those days as much as I do?


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HOW LOW CAN IT GO?

By:  Holly Horning

Ah, 2003. Now that was a year.

A year historically described in baseball annals as one in which the Tigers had:

– a farm system that wasn’t producing

– large contracts being paid to veterans not producing anywhere near to expectations

– huge holes in the starting rotation

– non-existent offense

– players being constantly shuttled back and forth from Toledo

– no player signings of any significance

Does this sound familiar at all?

Will lightning indeed strike twice?

Will the bad taste of 2003 be eclipsed by this year’s results?

Ok, in this case, 2019 is known as a “rebuilding” year according to the Tigers. But for us, we know it still to be yet another tear down year. The organization is not rebuilding anything. Not yet. They are still tearing the team down as evidenced by yet another season in which 4 more players are on the trading block.

Now, we understand what constitutes rebuilding. Why it needs to be done. We understand the selling off of players, the long strings of losses and all of the extended pain that this entire process brings.

But is this truly an intent to rebuild this team or is something else going on?

Some fans have had their suspicions. But it was an interview with Ron Gardenhire the other day that should have us concerned.

And it should have us thinking about what really constitutes a rebuild and at what point does it cross over into a situation when the actual fiber of an organization is being stripped.

We know that the rebuilding process starts with the shedding of contracts and high-priced players. Solid, performing players are traded away and they are replaced, at first, by journeymen who will add stability and fill the holes until the youngsters arrive. Normally, the process is only supposed to take a year or two until the first wave arrives. But some of these positions have been on hold now for 3 years in Detroit.

The Tigers actually created holes, especially up the middle, this year. And their solutions haven’t worked. Yet, they decided not to go out and get more capable bodies – a number of them still unsigned from free agency and undoubtedly interested in an inexpensive short-term contract to be able to re-showcase their value.

There’s no doubt that Al Avila would have liked to bring a warm body or two on-board. But he couldn’t because he wasn’t being given the money to do so.

The starting rotation became decimated 2.5 months ago and the Tigers have been working with a 4-man rotation since then. Every week, Al and Gardy have to decide who is going to pitch when that spot in the rotation comes up. Yet, despite the great need for another arm, the money, once again, wasn’t forthcoming.

Red flag? You betcha.

And now, we are faced with losing another starting pitcher, Matthew Boyd. And this is when Ron Gardenhire diplomatically pleaded with management through the media to keep him.

In part, because the Tigers will be losing their other starters, Spencer Turnbull (currently on the IL) and Daniel Norris, sometime in early September due to their innings limit.

If this does indeed play out, then the only remaining member of the starting rotation is….(At this point, I have to ask you to sit down and put down any sharp objects.)

Jordan Zimmermann.

We are at the point of having cut so much that there are no longer any viable solutions left when these holes need to be filled. Will there be anyone remotely capable of coming up from Toledo to pitch? We’re being told that the youngsters are still not ready. Those who may get a “taste” of the show can hardly be expected to instead fill a rotation spot for the rest of the year.

The holes in the roster are increasing and they are not being filled. At this point, we have to ask if this is part of the tanking plan in order to finish dead last and get those top draft picks or……… if this has gone beyond that plan and turned into something else.

Tanking in order to reap the draft rewards is one thing. And we understand the rationale for doing just that. And tanking will also qualify you for those 2 additional revenue streams courtesy of MLB.

But are the Tigers taking this one step further and turning this organization into one that is purposely non-competitive? Failing to fill roster spots and the rotation? Making both the manager and the pitching coach beg the Front Office not to take anyone else away?

The reason for doing this is, of course, money-based. And it’s not coming from the Front Office. It’s coming from the owner and based upon his priorities. (And we’ll delve into his rationale in a near-future blog so please save your comments about this aspect until then.)

In the meantime, the dangers of this possible course of action – apart from setting a new MLB record for losing – will impact the Front Office, the players and of course, the reputation of the Tigers within the baseball world. Their ability down the road to attract desirable players and executives.

There are currently 5 teams being investigated for their actions that seem to support them pursuing a non-competitive strategy. All 5 have taken their payrolls down to the nubs and focused on signing players for the MLB minimum.

The aftermath of the July trade deadline will tell us more about how low the Tigers will be going in stripping down the roster – or the organization.

There is a world of difference between tanking in order to rebuild and tearing down for financial profit. The first is a temporary strategy that is meant to get the team back on its feet. The latter is an attack upon the organization itself.

I know how depressing this all sounds. I want to be able to tell all Tiger fans that there is a shred of hope. That there are good signs. There aren’t – not just yet.

What I can do is to end this analysis by hopefully putting a smile on your face courtesy of comedy and a favorite tv commercial.

It is the Hyundai ad with Jason Bateman as the elevator operator. He is in charge of the elevator from hell – yelling “Going down!” as he takes people down, down, down to their worst nightmares.

Floors designated for root canals, jury duty, colonoscopies, “the talk”, middle seats on airplanes and vegan dinner parties. “Going down, way down!”, we’re told.

Let’s truly hope that when we get on that elevator in the future and tell the operator that we’re going to a Tigers game, he doesn’t tell us “Going down, way down”…….


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QUESTION OF THE WEEK

It’s time again to hear from our readers!   Today is the day to let us know what you’re thinking on a selected topic.

Sunday is the one day of the week where we open up the comment parameters for you, so you can get those juices flowing.

Comments on THIS DAY ONLY can be expanded to a maximum of 8 sentences.

We can’t wait to get your thoughts on the following topic:


Which Tiger player do you think will bring the most talent to the Tigers at the trade deadline?  And why?

Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

THE SATURDAY SURVEY

The Saturday Survey offers another way for readers to weigh in on a relevant topic.   So here is a poll to gauge the pulse of our baseball-lovin’ peeps.

As always, we welcome your comments, so please vote and then submit your reasons ( 4 sentences max!) for how you voted in the usual comment box.  Don’t forget to come back later and view the results!


The Tigers have won only 6 games (through Thursday’s game) since June 5th  and are tied with the Orioles for fewest wins (29) in MLB.


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

 

TWICE AS NICE

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

Every day, the trade deadline gets closer and closer. And all the same names continue to be mentioned as Tiger players who could be traded by the end of the month.

Today, our writers discuss the likes of Matthew Boyd, Shane Greene, Nicholas Castellanos and Joe Jimenez; all with varying degrees of trade interest.

Holly and Kurt will give their answers to the following question regarding the Tigers and their trade possibilities.

Let’s take a look at this week’s question for our writers.


As we all know, the Tigers have announced that Nick Castellanos, Shane Greene, Matthew Boyd and Joe Jimenez are on the trading block. What should we expect to happen to each of them by the end of the month trading deadline?


HOLLY

The trend in baseball over the past couple of years has favored the teams in need over those needing to trade their players. It is almost impossible to receive top prospects anymore because most teams have learned to hang onto them for dear life.

Combine that with Al Avila’s trade track record and I don’t believe the Tigers will end up with players who will comfortably give hope to the rebuilding process.

Matthew Boyd is the best bet to be traded for his combination of some top pitching stats and status as a controllable player for 3 more years. Avila will definitely push to trade him as it is expected that Boyd will earn $6+ million in 2020 after his first year of arbitration and Chris Ilitch will no longer pay out that kind of money. It’s just disconcerting that the Astros appear to be the top candidate – the same team that fleeced Avila over the Verlander trade.

Shane Greene is the next likeliest to leave as dependable bullpen arms are always in high demand. But he is not viewed as a closer by most of the other teams so don’t expect the Tigers to get a lot in return for him, despite his outstanding numbers.

Joe Jimenez is a surprise trade chip as he’s only 24 and still has a number of controllable years left which makes me wonder why (and not in a good way) the Tigers even want to consider trading him. All of these factors will surely spark interest as they have in Tampa Bay, but without a real track record to show solid value, I don’t expect the Tigers will receive much in return.

And finally, Nick Castellanos will be the toughest to trade given that he’s been on the trading block for 2 years now with nary a nibble due to his defensive liabilities. The Tigers will be desperate to send him to another team rather than non-tender him at the end of the year without any compensation – a fact that other teams understand and will use to their advantage so don’t expect much in return as a result.


KURT

Matthew Boyd’s strikeout rate and his 3 controllable years continue to head the list of his most desirable advantages in relation to most or all of the other pitchers who have been mentioned in trade talks across the league. He should draw the most interest, with the only negative being his propensity to give up the long ball.

Also, good bullpen depth is always valuable in the playoffs, so an opportunity to add an All-Star reliever to your pitching staff makes Shane Greene a desirable trade piece. I don’t think there is any doubt he will be leaving by the end of the month.

The value of Nicholas Castellanos has always been a tough call. As we know, he is one-dimensional and will not win a single game with his defense. But he can help win games with his bat. It’s just a matter of how respected his offense really is. Not many people paying attention expect him to be a hot commodity, but expect him to be traded nonetheless, regardless of the return.

If there is anyone I expect to stay with the Tigers, it’s Joe Jimenez. If the Tigers are looking to get good talent in return, this is not player who is going to draw it. Plus, in the current environment, for a pitcher who has been an All-Star within the last 12 months, he shouldn’t be someone the Tigers will look to deal.


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