With the recent breaking news of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson headed to Los Angeles, it's already exciting to talk about baseball again. The 2011-12 offseason is proving to be a financially historic off-season for the league.
Let's be honest here: The Tigers, so far, have not been active in the free-agent market at all this offseason. Although the Tigers have been brought up often in signing rumors, not much has been done—yet. The Tigers are included in both the Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes talks, but how much are the Tigers willing to dish out to two players who have yet to play a single inning in the big leagues?
So, for now, let's consider what we already have. Ramon Santiago has been locked up for the next two years, as well as having brought back defensive specialist catcher Gerald Laird. But there still are moves the Tigers must make within the organization.
Alex Avila must be signed to an extension. As a young, key piece to the team, this coming season is the final season before he becomes arbitration eligible.
In order to keep this team in contention, Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski must re-sign some important pieces including Avila and fellow starter Jhonny Peralta.
It is imperative that the Tigers re-sign their All-Star catcher. Alex Avila is a young 24 years old and still has his entire MLB career ahead of him.
He had a breakout year last year while earning his first All-Star appearance as well as receiving his first Silver Slugger award for the American League.
Avila will become arbitration eligible following next season, and it's about time that Dombrowski fork money over to Avila, who looks to be a part of the Tigers' organization for many years to come.
Yes, he's still under contract until after next season with an available club option for 2013, but it's worth to consider taking a look at Peralta for the long term.
He had a career year last season, batting .299 while launching 21 home runs and driving in 86 runs. He is almost automatic in the field, posting a career-best .988 fielding percentage. Although his contract isn't up until next season, keeping Peralta safely within the organization is surely something the Tigers want and hope to do.
I swear, it better not happen again. Austin Jackson is still, and should be, the one Tiger in the lineup with the most potential. Potential to be great, to be more exact.
Consider the hypothetical fact that if the Tigers were to win the bidding war for Yoenis Cespedes, he would probably bat at the leadoff spot for skipper Jim Leyland. This, in fact, takes much more pressure off of a very young Jackson who would also most likely make a switch to left or right field.
Jackson needs to be re-signed. He is young and hasn't even gotten close to reaching his full potential. Like former Tiger and MVP runner-up Curtis Granderson, he needs to cut down on his strikeouts. If Jackson can settle down at the plate and use his speed to his advantage, Jackson can be a premier player for this team.
Sign him now while he's young and cheap. If not, Detroit will regret it.
It wouldn't hurt to experiment with Phil Coke in the starting rotation. If it doesn't work out, the Tigers can feel relieved that they actually have a guy like Coke waiting in the bullpen. Coke's one year, $400,000 contract will run out and the Tigers cannot afford to lose a quality relief pitcher such as Coke.
A brilliant mid-to-late inning man, Coke proved time and time again during the season that he can pitch in the clutch. The Tigers must sign Coke to what I expect to be a two or three year deal following the upcoming regular season.
Although Fister is basically on the Tigers for at least the next four years due to arbitration—why not just sign him now?
Making a move to firmly keep Fister in Detroit could be a wise choice for Dombrowski and the team. During the second half of the season, and postseason, Fister really proved his worth as an MLB pitcher.
He solidified his role in the Tigers starting rotation and will play a prominent role in the years to come. Inking Fister and bounding him to the Tigers shows Detroit's commitment to the newcomer and will prove to Fister his role in a future championship run.