This is part of a series of posts in which we call out all 30 teams for their wily offseason moves and tragic offseason blunders.
If anything, the Detroit Tigers can look to their division rivals for assurance that nothing is settled in the spring. Much like the White Sox after their 2005 World Series appearance, the Tigers are bringing back all but one of their players for 2007, and in addition, bolstering their lineup with the addition of slugger Gary Sheffield and adding
dinousaur veteran reliever, and forever Omar Vizquel hater Jose Mesa to their bullpen.
The fact that Gary Sheffield seems to be happy in his surroundings (coming to play for his former manager) has to be a good sign for the Tigs:
“I don’t think he’s going to let guys get complacent,” Sheffield said. “He’s going to push them, because we haven’t done anything yet. Getting to the World Series is great, but it’s not what everybody comes to Spring Training for. You come to win. If it had happened, then I would say something different. But that’s the goal, and that’s going to be the mission from Day 1 in Spring Training: Prepare like you want to win. That’s what it’s about.”
The Tigers’ immediate plans seem to build upon their surprising success of last year; yet a lot is riding on repeat performances by young players.
Craig Monroe, Brandon Inge, Curtis Granderson, Marcus Thams; all names of “young and exciting” players as the saying goes, the most important of which, Monroe, can become a free agent after 2008, having signed a one-year contract this off-season.
The Tigers do have their young rotation secured through at least 2008, though; Bonderman and Verlander have multi-year deals through 2009, and Robertson signed a one-year deal this off-season, avoiding arbitration. The other young arm, Mike Maroth, is also signed through 2007, but with mid-season injury problems, as well as unmet expectations, his future with the Tigers may depend on a breakout 2007.
Having a good mix of veteran leadership in Ordoñez, Rodriguez, Sheffield, Rogers, and of course, Manager Jim Leyland, the Tiger ship seems poised to least make a run at a repeat World Series appearance.
Offseason grade: B+
Acquisitions: Gary Sheffield, Jose Mesa
Losses: Jaimie Walker
Projected Lineup, Rotation and Closer
CF Curtis Granderson – .260 / .335 / .438, 68 RBI
2B Placido Polanco – .295 / .329 / .364, 52 RBI
C Ivan Rodriguez – .300 / .332 / .437, 69 RBI
RF Magglio Ordóñez – .298 / .350 / .477, 104 RBI
1B Gary Sheffield – .298 / .355 / .450, 25 RBI
DH Sean Casey – .272 /.336 / .388, 59 RBI (with Tigers)
LF Craig Monroe – .255 / .301 / .482, 28 HR
SS Carlos Guillen – .320 / .400 / .519, 85 RBI
3B Brandon Inge – .253/ .313 / .463, 27 HR
Justin Verlander – 17-9, 3.63
Kenny Rogers – 17-8, 3.84
Jeremy Bonderman – 14-8, 4.08
Nate Robertson – 13-13, 3.84
Zach Miner – 7-6, 4.84
Todd Jones, 37 SV, 3.94