Detroit Tigers Offseason: A Month Late and a Million Short

Blake VandeBunteContributor IJanuary 1, 2010

DETROIT - OCTOBER 1:  Manager Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers is thrown out of the game by home plate umpire Angel Hernandez against the Minnesota Twins during the game on October 1, 2009 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Alright, my thoughts on the moves so far this offseason are late. At any rate, hate them or love them, here they are.

It would be an understatement to simply say that the Detroit Tigers have entered a rebuilding phase.

It has become a reality that we are all dealing with in our own ways. Common solutions include denial, rage, optimism, sadness, and/or the bottle of your choice.

Our offseason activity thus far has done everything but confirm that a fire sale would not be taking place.

Gone is Gold Glove second baseman Placido Polanco, back once again with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Relievers Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney both declined arbitration and found new homes as well. Lyon is now a member of the Houston Astros, and Rodney is a member of the Angels.

Curtis Granderson was traded to the Dark Side, also known as The New York Yankees. Edwin Jackson is now a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Marcus Thames was released; he’s still looking for work.

Heck, even Dusty Ryan was dealt; he’s now a member of the San Diego Padres.

Don’t worry though, the D-Train is still a Detroit Tiger.

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The sky is falling, and many fans feel betrayed because GM Dave Dombrowski dismantled “their” team. A team that was just one win away from the postseason is a team no more.

The masses have rallied with pitchforks, torches, guns, knives, crude comments, and a desire to destroy Dave Dombrowski for his ummm...unpopular moves, I guess.

Although unpopular and ballsy, the moves were justifiable. Before you add me to your shit list too, set aside your feelings and actually consider the moves.

Consider the cost of keeping the free agents. Consider the upside of the prospects that we gained.

Suddenly, it’s a crime to sell high on a player who is declining and due to make some serious coin? Why not overpay two relievers who just had career 
years too?

People are quick to complain about the lack of depth in our farm system. Don’t they realize you can only trade away players with value to obtain highly touted prospects?

I doubt that many GMs were knocking down doors to obtain Nate Robertson or Dontrelle Willis.

It’s unfortunate that Grandy, Polly, and E-Jax are gone, though...take a shot, pour out some liquor, and turn the page.

This season is now the perfect opportunity for the Tigers to become more aggressive with some of their prospects.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not advocating the promotion of Casey Crosby or Jacob Turner; that’s a bit much. I understand and agree with the proper development of young players. However, I feel that several of them need to be pushed harder this season.

Fans are angry that the team hasn’t been active in adding free agents. Why fill our remaining holes with more dead weight, though? Keep the payroll where it is until some of our current dead weight is...umm...dead.

Let this be an open audition.

Someone is bound to emerge and impress. Sure they will have growing pains; so did Perry and Porcello. 

Why not prepare for 2011, a year that we can seriously compete?

A year of payroll flexibility. A year that Turner, Crosby, and Oliver could also be ready for the show.

With several spots in the bullpen wide open, Daniel Schlereth, Cody Satterwhite, Robbie Weinhardt, and Casey Fien all deserve an audition. Not just some innings this March in Lakeland; a serious look.

As for the position players I speak of: Jeff Larish, Wilkin Ramirez, Casper Wells, Austin Jackson, Ryan Strieby, and Brennan Boesch all deserve consideration.

Rather than calling them up just to pinch-run, let’s try giving them an actual chance to prove that they belong. Again, someone in that group will emerge.

Worst case scenario, at least a few of those prospects will shine. Heck, maybe several of them succeed, and those that do will be playing for peanuts under team control.

Then, after the season, several bad contracts come off the books.

The Tigers can then hit the free agent market to fill whatever holes remain. Committed payroll is currently under $50M for 2011.

Even if they decide to scale payroll back, several options still exist.

While it’s still too early to name players, it’s still fun to consider some of the names that might be available: Joe Mauer, Albert Pujols, Derek Lee, Carl Crawford, Derek Jeter, Manny Ramirez, Lance Berkman, Aramis Ramirez, and Jimmy Rollins.

Before someone suggests that I’m simply forfeiting the 2010 season, I’m not.

After sitting back and thinking about things, though, the moves make sense to me. Sit out one year, evaluate what we have, then spend some cash.

All of this sounds so familiar.

Oh, yeah, Dave Dombrowski has done this before; he’s no rookie. I’m not ashamed to say that I’m with DD on this one.

Keep your cool; this year won’t be so bad.

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