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 News on what will happen to the Team before 2009 season

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PostSubject: News on what will happen to the Team before 2009 season   Sun Sep 07, 2008 9:55 pm

JON PAUL MOROSI | INSIDE THE TIGERS
BIG DECI$IONS: With 2008 a bust, Tigers have payroll matters to weigh

September 7, 2008

The Tigers' postseason hopes expired long before Labor Day, and mathematical elimination is close at hand. One of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history is nearly over.

Many fans already are thinking about 2009. Dave Dombrowski is different.

Dombrowski said in a telephone interview last week that he will keep his focus on 2008 until the final out of the season. He said he has not met with his advisers -- or owner Mike Ilitch -- regarding next year.

"Every year, we wait until the end of the season," said Dombrowski, club president and general manager. "We haven't had any 2009 meetings at all."

The Tigers will have spent roughly $134 million on their major league players by the time this season is over. And they are in fourth place.

It's impossible to say what next year's payroll will be. It could go up. It could go down. It could stay roughly the same. Ilitch surely has an idea of what the number will be, but a spokesperson for him referred an interview request to Dombrowski.

For the following reasons, though, a significant drop in payroll would be a surprise:

• The Tigers have sold more tickets this year than last: a total of 3.19 million through Thursday, according to vice president of communications Ron Colangelo. (Last season's mark of 3.05 million had set the franchise record.) Robust revenues generally enable teams to spend on talent.

• Let's say the Tigers retain all their players already under contract for 2009. Let's say the Tigers do not make any external upgrades, preferring instead to offer salary arbitration to players they already have. And let's say the Tigers do not sign anyone to a long-term contract this winter.

Under this very conservative (and very unlikely) scenario, they would still have a payroll of about $120 million. Think about that.

• According to a person familiar with the team's financial model, the Tigers would be able to sustain a payroll of $110 million based on revenues alone. There is no indication that the team has any plan to drop its payroll below that figure.

• Ilitch wants to win a World Series very badly. He authorized a payroll increase of nearly $40 million before this season. He called Dombrowski two days before last Thanksgiving and suggested trading for Miguel Cabrera. He generally has given Dombrowski great latitude with the payroll.

Ilitch also said this, roughly one year ago: "If a player comes along and we need him, somehow you always try to figure out how you can get him."

It's doubtful that one poor season has entirely eroded Ilitch's confidence in the front office. In all likelihood, the Tigers will be viable participants in the off-season marketplace, attempting to improve their roster like the rest.

Many questions

At this time of year, it's easier to ask the questions than answer them.

How much can be spent on free agents? Which area is the top priority for improvement? Are long-term contracts a good idea, given how many brought such a low yield this year?

Unfortunately for the Tigers, they are in the same spot now that they were one year ago: They do not know who their everyday shortstop will be next season.

Actually, they are in a less desirable position, because they had Jair Jurrjens and Gorkys Hernandez in their organization one year ago. Now they are playing for the Atlanta Braves, after the deal that brought Edgar Renteria to Detroit. Jurrjens has won 12 games, tied for the lead among major league rookies.

Renteria is no longer the shortstop the Tigers believed they were getting. They could decline his $12-million option for 2009, and they probably will. In that event, it would be possible for Detroit to re-sign Renteria at a lower salary.

As unlikely as that may seem, it's worth noting that only one potential free agent -- Orlando Cabrera of the Chicago White Sox -- has started more games at shortstop than Renteria this season.

And if they decide to consider someone's backup ... well ... why not give internal candidate Ramon Santiago a chance?

In the end, if Tigers officials determine that neither Renteria nor Santiago can handle the job in 2009, then they are more likely to trade for a shortstop than sign one.

Pitching needs

Of course, the Tigers need pitching, too. That's obvious. But finding it could be tricky.

Two young right-handers (Justin Verlander and Armando Galarraga) are set to pitch in the rotation next year at reasonable salaries. We know that much.

Three others -- Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis -- have signed long-term contract extensions. They will make a total of $29.5 million in 2009 and $34.5 million in 2010.

So, the Tigers already have five starters, right?

Not exactly.


None of the three who signed a lucrative deal is currently in the rotation.

Bonderman is out for the season following surgery. Robertson is in the bullpen with a 6.30 ERA. Willis has not appeared in a game for the Tigers since June.

Can you count on one of them making the rotation out of spring training? Two of them? All of them?

It's impossible to know. But it's also impossible for the team to initiate its off-season business without first determining how many starters it would like to add -- and at what price.

To look at it another way, the starters who signed long-term deals have contributed a total of 10 wins. So, is the best solution to find a pitcher somewhere else and give him a multiyear contract?

The irony is that this would be a prime off-season to look for free-agent starters. CC Sabathia, Ben Sheets and presumably A.J. Burnett, who can opt out of his deal with Toronto, will be at the top of the market. And there is good depth after them.

• Chicago Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster, a hard thrower Dombrowski acquired and promoted during his time with the Marlins.

• Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Derek Lowe, a sinkerballer who would benefit from Comerica Park's pitcher-friendly dimensions. He's from Dearborn, too.

• Los Angeles Angels right-hander Jon Garland, who owns a 9-1 lifetime record as a visiting pitcher at Comerica Park.

• New York Yankees right-hander Carl Pavano, whom the Tigers pursued fervently when he first became a free agent after the 2004 season.

The market also should have a number of intriguing free-agent relievers, but it's not clear how much money the Tigers will budget for the bullpen. Would they really consider giving Francisco Rodriguez $75 million over five years to be their closer, when the sixth, seventh and eighth innings are of equal concern?

At this point, anything is possible. With a few changes, the Tigers' pitching staff could return to the strength it was in 2006. But spending money doesn't guarantee improvement, either.

The Tigers have learned that much this year.

Contact JON PAUL MOROSI at 313-223-4097 or jmorosi@freepress.com
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PostSubject: Re: News on what will happen to the Team before 2009 season   Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:46 am

Why not sign Freddy Garcia for next year?
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PostSubject: Re: News on what will happen to the Team before 2009 season   Mon Sep 08, 2008 11:09 am

tigersaint wrote:
Why not sign Freddy Garcia for next year?

Sounds like they may sign him this year. Within the next week.
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PostSubject: Re: News on what will happen to the Team before 2009 season   Tue Sep 09, 2008 2:05 am

GoGetEmTigers wrote:
tigersaint wrote:
Why not sign Freddy Garcia for next year?

Sounds like they may sign him this year. Within the next week.


Yay2
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PostSubject: Re: News on what will happen to the Team before 2009 season   Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:54 am

How long until JL is Fired? Is there room in the payroll for a new manager? lol2
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PostSubject: Re: News on what will happen to the Team before 2009 season   Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:24 pm

Ohios#1TigerFan wrote:
How long until JL is Fired? Is there room in the payroll for a new manager? lol2



Leyland ain't going anywhere rant rant rant rant
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PostSubject: Re: News on what will happen to the Team before 2009 season   Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:31 pm

I think we should look into Burnett and Dempster!
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PostSubject: Re: News on what will happen to the Team before 2009 season   Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:32 pm

gdennis59 wrote:
I think we should look into Burnett and Dempster!


thumbs up
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PostSubject: Re: News on what will happen to the Team before 2009 season   Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:42 pm

And a new SS!!!
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PostSubject: Re: News on what will happen to the Team before 2009 season   Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:44 pm

gdennis59 wrote:
And a new SS!!!


Nod
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PostSubject: Re: News on what will happen to the Team before 2009 season   Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:38 am

For some reason I cant see any of the posts from yeasterday. Or this morning for that matter.
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PostSubject: Re: News on what will happen to the Team before 2009 season   Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:10 am

gdennis59 wrote:
For some reason I cant see any of the posts from yeasterday. Or this morning for that matter.

Same here...is the forum down?
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PostSubject: Re: News on what will happen to the Team before 2009 season   Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:25 pm

the site seemed to screw up last evening. I was posting an article, and as I sent it, the site said nothing was there....

I don't know what was happening.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
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PostSubject: Re: News on what will happen to the Team before 2009 season   Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:41 pm

ok. *whew* now I can see posts again...
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PostSubject: Re: News on what will happen to the Team before 2009 season   Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:45 pm

Some are still missing, like yesterday's GDT!


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
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PostSubject: Re: News on what will happen to the Team before 2009 season   Tue Sep 23, 2008 1:45 am

GoGetEmTigers wrote:
the site seemed to screw up last evening. I was posting an article, and as I sent it, the site said nothing was there....

I don't know what was happening.

Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: News on what will happen to the Team before 2009 season   Tue Sep 23, 2008 1:45 am

GoGetEmTigers wrote:
Some are still missing, like yesterday's GDT!


No
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