It's officially the 2008-2009 offseason, and for the first instalment of "Around the Way", we'll take a look at what the Tigers have done thus far.
- Rick Knapp named Pitching Coach: The Tigers fired former pitching coach Chuck Hernandez at the end of last season and have now find his replacement. Rick Knapp worked in the Minnesota Twins' minor-league systems as the Pitching Coordinator for a while now and takes his "Strike first" attitude into a struggling pitching staff. In 2005, Knapp was appointed to work with Matt Garza; we see where he is now, almost a World Series champion. Rick Knapp will have plenty of starters to work with: Verlander, Bonderman, Galarraga, Robertson, Willis, Garcia, and possibly Miner and the young heat thrower, Rick Porcello.
- Vasquez claimed by the Bo-Sox: Virgil Vasquez had his times with Detroit over the past few years. In 2007, he made a few spot starts to fill in for injured pitchers and didn't perform as expected. With the many, I mean many, good starters in the organization, the Tigers decided to place him on waivers. When they did, the Red Sox snagged him. Vasquez went 12-12 with the Toledo Mud Hens last season, so the move gives Virgil a fresh start. The move opens up a spot on the 40-man roster; nobody has been named to fill the void just yet.
- Jones, not Todd, to return to 'pen: Jeff Jones was dismissed from his duties at the end of last season because Detroit wanted to let the new pitching coach hire his own crew. After consideration, Rick Knapp and the Tigers agreed to bring Jones back. Both Knapp and Jones' careers' started in the minor leagues back in the 1980s.
- Detroit declines 2009 options: The Tigers had the option to bring back Edgar Renteria, Dane Sardinha, and Gary Glover in 2009 and they elected to bring back...none of them. Renteria struggled from the plate and in the field last season, to the dislike of fans and coaches. He was signed before last season to fill a void at shortstop, and honestly, he left after making the void bigger. Sardinha was a backup catcher that the Tigers called up around midseason to get a look at. Other than a great triple, they didn't see much of anything out of the young Hawaiian. Gary Glover was picked off of waivers from the Rays to add a veteran to the bullpen. He performed well off and on, and with the return of many pitchers for the Tigers this upcoming season there was just no room for Glover on the roster.
Look for more "Around the Way" in the weeks to come.