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 DETROIT TIGERS FREE AGENTS 2010/11

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PostSubject: DETROIT TIGERS FREE AGENTS 2010/11   Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:15 pm

DETROIT TIGERS FREE AGENTS 2010/11

1/25/11

Player Position Former Team New Team Transaction date Notes
1. Benoit, Joaquin RP TB DET 11/19/10 Three-year contract
2. Bonderman, Jeremy SP DET --- --- ---
3. Bonine, Eddie RP DET PHI 11/19/10 Minor league contract
4. Damon, Johnny OF DET TB 1/11 One-year contract
5. Diaz, Argenis SS PIT DET 12/15/10 Minor league contract
6. Everett, Adam SS DET CLE 12/16/10 Minor league contract
7. Fien, Casey RP DET HOU 11/05/10 Minor league contract
8. Frazier, Jeff OF DET WSH 11/16/10 Minor league contract
9. Galarraga, Armando SP DET ARI 1/24/11 Traded for two Minor Leaguers
10. Gonzalez, Enrique RP DET DET 1/10/11 Minor league contract
11. Inge, Brandon 3B DET DET 10/21/10 Two Years - Club option 2013
12. Laird, Gerald C DET STL 12/14/10 One-year contract
13. Martinez, Victor C BOS DET 11/26/10 Four-year contract
14. Ordonez, Magglio OF DET DET 12/17/10 One-year contract
15. Penny, Brad SP STL DET 1/11/11 One-year contract
16. Peralta, Jhonny SS DET DET 11/08/10 Two year contract with a club option for 2013
17. Sborz, Jay RP DET ATL 11/29/10 Minor league contract
18. Seay, Bobby RP DET --- --- ---


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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT TIGERS FREE AGENTS 2010/11   Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:28 pm

Tigers ink Inge to two-year contract
Club locks up veteran third baseman before he hits free agency
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/21/10 5:57 PM ET

DETROIT -- The Tigers are set up to be potentially the most active team on the market this offseason. Their first order of business, however, was to make sure their third baseman stayed put.

Detroit could have looked at the open market or waited out Brandon Inge, who in turn could have tested the open market and tried to search out the best deal. In the end, though, the two-year, $11.5 million contract extension they finalized on Thursday, including a club option for 2013, made too much sense.

The Tigers and Inge know and like what they have in each other, and they know it would be hard to find a better fit with someplace or someone else.

"For us to have him as part of our organization again, and to be in a spot where you can look forward to a lot of moves this winter time, to start here is a perfect place," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said.

Physically, it was an odd place for Inge, who had seen plenty of press conferences on television from the same podium at the Tiger Club at Comerica Park where he sat Thursday afternoon. This was his first chance at it.

"I've been so excited every time I've watched TV and I've seen a new guy sign and they come up here and they put the new jersey on," Inge said. "I get so excited to watch that happen. I think I'm more excited now to be able to keep my jersey on as opposed to having to get another jersey. I'm very excited to be here right now."

The signing completes negotiations that began before the season ended, a relative rarity for the Tigers. But with the potential additions the Tigers stand to make in the offseason, they wanted to quickly move on keeping their defensive stalwart at the hot corner before he could hit the open market.

The 33-year-old was eligible for free agency, having just finished a four-year, $24 million contract he signed after the Tigers' trip to the World Series in 2006. The Tigers have experienced plenty of change since, including an '08 season of utility work for Inge, but his defense at third has become one of the constants for the club.

Inge batted .247 with 28 doubles, 13 home runs and 70 RBIs in 144 games during the 2010 season, while missing two weeks due to a fractured hand. His ups and downs offensively have been long known, from his pair of 27-homer seasons to his second-half struggles the past two seasons, both hampered by injuries. Neither side comes into this deal expecting a vast difference, though they'll work for it to improve.

His strength, though, has been his range at third. His .977 fielding percentage led all American League third basemen, and his 2.83 Range Factor (putouts plus assists per nine innings) ranked second. His nine errors were by far his low mark for any season as a regular third baseman. His zone rating and other specialized statistics have put him above-average at his position. This year, Tigers manager Jim Leyland took to calling him one of the best third basemen in the league.

The total package Inge provides was something the Tigers wanted to hold on to, especially given their desire to retain Jhonny Peralta at shortstop for next year and seek offensive-minded moves at other positions. When Tigers coaches and front-office personnel met in the season's final days to discuss players on the roster, their unanimous opinion on Inge made it easier.

"Everybody wanted to bring Brandon back, felt it was very important for us," Dombrowski said. "So it was a process that started right there at the end of the season. It was something we hoped we would be able to get done relatively quickly."

Inge has long expressed his desire to stay in Detroit, but he also wanted the security of a multiyear deal to do it. He was believed to be seeking a three-year deal at one point, and had a two-year offer from the Tigers at season's end, but the third-year option proved to bridge the gap.

Inge will earn $5.5 million in each of the next two years, after which the Tigers have to decide on the $6 million option or a $500,000 buyout. It's a small pay cut over his average salary from his last deal, and admittedly less than he might have been seeking when the process began. In the end, though, he didn't want to go anywhere else.

Inge has been in the Tigers organization his entire career, from the time he was selected by them in the second round of the 1998 First-Year Player Draft. He made his Major League debut in '01, and is one of just two players remaining from Detroit's 119-loss season in '03 and its trip to the World Series in '06. Ramon Santiago is the other, but he was traded out of the organization and came back.

"I didn't want to go anywhere else, first off," Inge said, "because I just like the area. I like this whole organization. But on top of it, what we have -- I'm serious when I say we're going to be good for the next couple years. It's not like just a feeling or a false sense of security. We're going to be a good ballclub. It's going to be a difficult team to beat."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT TIGERS FREE AGENTS 2010/11   Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:42 pm

Tigers, Peralta reach agreement on new deal
Detroit commits to shortstop with two-year pact, 2013 option
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 11/08/10 1:00 PM EST

DETROIT -- What began as a Trade Deadline acquisition for a healthy bat in the lineup has ended the Tigers' revolving door at shortstop. And Jhonny Peralta, having just re-signed for two years with a club option for a third, couldn't be happier.

"I want to be with the Tigers," Peralta said in a Monday morning conference call. "Hopefully I can be there for more than two or three years."

The deal is worth a guaranteed $11.25 million, including the 2013 buyout figure, according to a source with knowledge of the agreement. Peralta will make $5.25 million next season and $5.5 million in 2012, with either the $6 million option for a $500,000 buyout after that.

It fulfills a desire Peralta stated all along. Peralta said he wanted to stay in Detroit for a long time, said it the day he joined the team in late July, having just been acquired from Cleveland pitching prospect. It seemed like wishful thinking on his part then, but it became an expectation by season's end.

Peralta's play over the final two months, especially once he moved over to shortstop in early August, won the team over.

"When we made the deal, we knew Jhonny was a solid player, by all means, and he had played well against us," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "We had all the injuries and we were trying to keep our head above water, so really, our move was to address our needs at the end of last season. What he showed over there really opened our minds to the future."

The future for the Tigers at shortstop was pretty much open. They already had Ramon Santiago under contract for next season, but team officials have long expressed their belief that he can wear down with everyday play. Rookie Danny Worth made a strong impression, but his rookie season ended with a left heel injury. Cale Iorg had a torrid finish at Triple-A Toledo, but his struggles in the Arizona Fall League put his prospects very much in question.

Add in Adam Everett's early-season stint before Detroit released him in June, and four different Tigers made at least 24 starts at short. Go back further, and Detroit has had only short-term answers at short ever since moving Carlos Guillen out from the spot in 2007. Peralta's deal, while not exactly a career-making deal, stops the changeover.

"For us, we just really liked the look," Dombrowski said.

Peralta shifted from shortstop to third base in Cleveland early in the 2009 season to make room for Asdrubal Cabrera, but the Tigers found the trade-off of defense for offense by returning him to short wasn't bad at all. Peralta's reliable hands on the ground balls he reached and his accurate arm to first were strengths when paired with Brandon Inge's range at third, which allowed Peralta to shade more toward the middle of the field.

Both Inge and Peralta will be under guaranteed contracts through at least 2012 and possibly a year after that.

"I think they're a good combination together," Dombrowski said, "because Jhonny has outstanding hands and a good throwing arm -- maybe not the greatest range, but solid defense. He knows how to drive in a run, and I think they're a winning combination. We have two quality players on the left side of the infield who are established and who know how to win."

Offensively, the upgrade was evident. Peralta's 81 RBIs led all American League players with at least 40 starts at short, an impressive total considering the offensive struggles in Cleveland and Detroit. His .249 average, including a .253 clip in Detroit, was his lowest since becoming an everyday player in Cleveland in 2005, but a drop in strikeouts allowed him to be more productive with his outs.

The Tigers aren't looking at him as a middle-of-the-order bat; they're going to fill that role on the market somehow this offseason. But with Peralta batting lower in the order, possibly sixth or seventh, they like their chances at finding more balance in their lineup.

Though an agreement was long expected, negotiations between the Tigers and Peralta on a new deal took up the better part of a month, and didn't really pick up in seriousness until the past couple of weeks. Peralta was hoping to get a two- or three-year deal as a trade-off for taking a lower annual salary than the $7.25 million club option the Tigers made clear they would not pick up.

Both sides were encouraged about getting a deal done once the Tigers officially declined the option last week. Peralta will still get a sizable raise from his annual salaries on the five-year, $13 million contract he signed with the Indians after the 2005 season.

He could have looked for more on the market, but he knew he wanted to be in Detroit. He also knew he wanted to remain at short.

"He was more comfortable at shortstop," Keith Miller, one of Peralta's agents, said. "That's the position he preferred playing. And even going into the open market, the one thing that was Jhonny's preference was playing shortstop."

He was confident enough about it, and about Detroit, that he started a workout plan for shortstop designed by Tigers strength and conditioning coach Javair Gillett. Shedding some weight is part of it, but getting a quicker first step could do wonders for his range.

"I know it's the position where I want to be," Peralta said. "Now I know I need to work out really hard here in the Dominican Republic. I try to do a lot of conditioning, a lot of agility."

He already worked his way into the Tigers' long-term plans.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT TIGERS FREE AGENTS 2010/11   Fri Nov 19, 2010 7:30 pm



Tigers get needed relief by signing Benoit
Right-hander had dominant year as setup man for Tampa Bay
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 11/19/10 1:00 PM EST

DETROIT -- Joaquin Benoit wasn't sure if he was going to have a career left after rotator cuff surgery. The rehab was slow, and the arm was reluctant.

Two years later, after one of the best, quietest comeback stories in baseball, he now has a home in the Tigers' bullpen and one of the biggest contracts ever given to a setup reliever. With Benoit's three-year, $16.5 million deal, meanwhile, the Tigers feel they have their answer to their bullpen woes.

"For us, we think this is a very important move this wintertime," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Friday, when the team formally announced the deal. "We had focused on trying to find a quality bullpen arm who can pitch the eighth inning for us, and we think we've added one of the best."

It was a quick, aggressive signing, but it was fitting. After spending all last offseason trying to prove his health and win a job, he became one of the first major free agents to sign.

A year ago, Benoit was lingering on the market after a risky surgery and a lost season on his resume. He was a reliable, if not spectacular, reliever for years with the Rangers before a rotator-cuff tear in 2008 threw his career into limbo. He underwent major surgery on the rotator cuff, from which a full recovery is anything but certain, and spent 2009 rehabbing his arm.

"It's something that you gamble," Benoit said. "There was a point when I had my rehab in Arlington, [Texas], that I thought it was over. It hurt too much. It's the thought process. It's the process of getting back in shape."

Slowly, steadily, he worked his way back to the point where his arm checked out healthy. Still, he wasn't sure how it would feel once he got back to throwing regularly. He also wasn't sure what he would have on his pitches, whether it was velocity or movement.

In many ways, he had some of the same questions that teams did. The Tigers looked at Benoit last offseason, but his recovery made him a question mark. He remained on the market until the start of Spring Training, when he inked a Minor League contract with the Rays that gave him a spot in camp. He wasn't ready to win a spot in the Opening Day bullpen, but he was close, and he felt the Rays had an opportunity waiting for him.

"It's different when you haven't pitched in a year, a year and a half," Benoit said. "But for me, last year, it was a little to see how my arm would feel. That was the only question. As a pitcher, when you have a surgery and you never in your life experienced that, coming back from it, you don't know what to expect."

He didn't really know all the way through Spring Training. It wasn't until an April game at Triple-A Durham, toiling away in the International League, that he felt confident enough to believe in his stuff.

From there, Benoit went about convincing the rest of baseball, starting with the Rays. By season's end, nearly everyone believed, especially those teams looking for relief help.

Once the Rays recalled him from Triple-A Durham in late April, Benoit not only earned a coveted role as the setup man for closer Rafael Soriano, but he came to be widely considered one of baseball's best eighth-inning relievers. The consistency of his pitches -- and his results -- was uncanny.

His fastball bumped up to the mid-90s, his slider had bite and he added an effective changeup to his arsenal of pitches, making it difficult for hitters to make solid contact.

The basic numbers were solid enough: Benoit allowed just 30 hits over 60 1/3 innings, with 11 walks and 75 strikeouts. Opponents batted just .147 against him, and he allowed just two of 23 inherited runners to score. He walked just 1.6 hitters per nine innings, a better ratio than he had ever posted, as was his ratio of 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

Though opponents swung at nearly 40 percent of Benoit's pitches outside the strike zone, according to fangraphs.com, he wasn't simply a swing-and-miss reliever. Opposing batters hit .192 on balls put in play, more than 50 points lower than his ratio in any previous season. Just 11 of the 30 hits he allowed went for extra bases. Six of them were home runs.

"I think I was the same type of pitcher as I was before," Benoit said. "It's more right now I don't have anything bothering me. I don't try to change my arm slot to get better movement, so now I'm more aggressive. I feel like I'm healthier and I think more confident."

Situationally, the numbers held up. First batters went just 7-for-61 with one walk and 22 strikeouts. Opponents went 3-for-28 with 10 strikeouts with runners in scoring position. He allowed two sacrifice flies with a runner on third and fewer than two outs, but nary a hit, as opponents went 0-for-6 in those situations.

The Tigers saw enough of him during a four-game series sweep by the Rays at Tropicana Field in late July. Once the season wound down and the Tigers began scouting potential free agents, they took a longer look.

"We thoroughly scouted him," Dombrowski said, "but not any more than we would thoroughly scout any player. We have a scout, Jeff Wetherby, in Tampa, [Fla.], who saw him pitch a lot last year. Knowing he was a free agent like a lot of other people in September, we would've watched him a little bit more than we did earlier."

Dombrowski said at season's end that the Tigers were looking for a reliever like Brandon Lyon, who was a consistent shutdown presence in the eighth inning for the Tigers in 2009, while also taking an occasional save situation. Detroit tried to re-sign Lyon last offseason with a two-year offer, but it couldn't match the three-year, $15 million deal he received from Houston.

The Tigers weren't going to take the chance of coming up short this time. Benoit's reported contract is believed to be the longest Dombrowski has ever offered for a reliever in Detroit, the longest contract for a non-closing reliever with the Tigers since Danny Patterson signed a three-year, $7 million contract in 2002. According to reports, it's the largest given to any non-closing reliever since Scott Linebrink signed a four-year, $19 million deal with the White Sox three years ago.

"A couple other clubs had made three-year offers on him that were very solid offers," Dombrowski said. "He was somebody we identified at the top of our list for setup men, and we wanted to be aggressive."

Benoit, who had enough of waiting for a contract last winter, didn't wait. He did not get the closing opportunity some wondered he might receive for next year, but he might eventually get it in Detroit. He'll set up next year for Jose Valverde, who enters the final guaranteed season of his contract before Detroit must decide whether to pick up his $9 million option.

"I think if I can do it again next year, then I can try to go to a different role," said Benoit. "But right now, I'm just enjoying what I'm doing. And I don't want to do something that I'm not 100 percent as good as what I'm doing right now. So I can try it for one or two more years. And I know with the Tigers right now, we have a great closer in Jose Valverde."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT TIGERS FREE AGENTS 2010/11   Fri Nov 19, 2010 7:33 pm



Alburquerque, Tigers agree to big league deal
By Corey Brock / MLB.com | 11/19/10 5:00 PM EST

The Tigers announced on Friday that they have agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Alberto Alburquerque on a Major League contract.

Alburquerque, 24, was 2-4 with a 4.98 ERA last season for Tulsa, the Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.

Alburquerque currently has a 1.26 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings pitching with Aguilas in the Dominican Winter League.

"We are pleased to add a quality arm to the organization like Alberto Alburquerque," Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said in a statement. "He has pitched well in winter ball in the Dominican Republic, and based upon our reports, we feel he will compete for a spot in our bullpen."

Alburquerque has a career record of 12-16 with a 3.96 ERA in 114 appearances, including 21 starts, at the Minor League level with the Chicago Cubs (2004-09) and Rockies (2009-10).

The Tigers now have a full 40-man roster.

Earlier Friday, the Tigers completed a three-year, $16.5 million deal for reliever Joaquin Benoit.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT TIGERS FREE AGENTS 2010/11   Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:08 am



Martinez sees winning opportunity in Motown
Switch-hitting slugger excited about Tigers' young talent
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 11/26/10 12:33 PM EST

DETROIT -- The busiest shopping day of the year for most people, fittingly, was the biggest day of the offseason for the Tigers. They didn't get a bargain, but in Victor Martinez, they got the holiday gift they wanted all along without waiting in line at the store at three in the morning.

In a free-agent market that boasts the speed game of Carl Crawford and the raw power of Adam Dunn, the Tigers targeted an overall hitting package in Martinez, whom they had followed from afar during his days in Cleveland. Martinez, in turn, had admired the Tigers and their free-spending ways from the other side of the AL Central for years.

It took an assist from MVP candidate and fellow Venezuelan Miguel Cabrera, but with Friday's announcement of their four-year, $50 million deal, it was a match. For the Tigers, it was the latest step in what has been the most aggressive offseason shopping plan in baseball.

"There were some good players out there this wintertime," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said in a Friday morning conference call. "There's not an abundance out there, but there are a few out there. In Victor's case, we looked at it as quality player overall, a winner, a leader, somebody who can drive in runs, somebody who can hit from the left hand side, with the ability to help us as a catcher."

He will help as a catcher, but he won't be the regular catcher, at least not if everything goes to the current plan. Dombrowski said that the Tigers plan to have Martinez catch part-time, two or three games a week by their estimates, and have youngster Alex Avila catch the rest.

"If I can do anything to get this team better, I'm more than happy to do it," Martinez said. "If this team's going to be better with me as a DH, catcher, first baseman, it don't matter to me. Bottom line, I just want to win. I want to win bad."

But it wasn't Martinez's mitt that was their primary concern. His proven, switch-hitting, run-producing bat, responsible for a .300 career batting average, three seasons of at least 108 RBIs, and an average of 20 home runs a season -- is what Detroit was looking for to place around Cabrera in the batting order.

While the Tigers added an important piece by signing setup man Joaquin Benoit last week and kept key cogs by re-signing Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Inge, they had made no secret about adding an established hitter. After watching opponents intentionally walk Cabrera 32 times last year, most by an American League player since 1993, and coyly pitch around him countless other times, they wanted somebody to at least make opponents think about the risk of doing it.

Though manager Jim Leyland said he hasn't yet decided whether to bat Martinez ahead of or behind Cabrera, depending on how the rest of the roster looks this spring, Martinez fits either role. He batted behind Travis Hafner during their glory days in Cleveland before moving up in the order the last couple of years to bat third. His .307 average and .856 OPS with runners in scoring position, his .312 average with runners on base, and his .350 average with a runner on first and two outs back up his well-earned reputation as a run producer.

It was a big enough priority that even Cabrera stepped in.

"He knew that we would have some freedom to do some things this wintertime," Dombrowski said, "and he had volunteered to me that anything he could do, don't hesitate to ask. When we had identified that really our No. 1 individual that we would pursue in the middle of the lineup was Victor, we reached out to Cabrera. So, he called [Martinez] and talked to him. And after we made the offer a week ago, he followed up asked if there was anything he could do and really kept in touch."

It was a first free agent driven in from Cabrera, who either scored or drove in 26 percent of Detroit's runs this past season. But it wasn't a reluctant recruiting effort on Martinez.

"I've been playing against Miguel for a long time, since winter ball here in Venezuela," Martinez said. "I was playing against him when I was in Cleveland and he was already in Detroit. He did make a few phone calls, and I expressed to him the desire that I want to make it happen and I want to go to Detroit, because I really see a great team. It is a great organization and a good team to build around the young talent. They give me a chance to win.

"Miguel was a good part of it, to be honest. But, I think the most important thing was what I said earlier. I used to play against the Tigers a lot, and I can see the way these guys try to improve the team each and every year. They just put a competitive team on the field each and every year. I really want to win and this is the team that I choose."

It was a strong enough decision on his part that he became the first of the big-name free agent hitters to sign -- before Crawford, Dunn and Jayson Werth. From the Tigers' standpoint, it was not by coincidence.

"When we approached him, we were in a position that we were hopeful to move things along relatively quickly," Dombrowski said. "Because, when you don't make moves quickly, you might miss out on some other things."

Whether there's anything else in store for the Tigers is something they weren't answering. Dombrowski indicated that with Martinez now at DH, Ryan Raburn moves into more playing time in the outfield. With the infield largely set, he added, and Austin Jackson in center, their options essentially focus on one corner outfield spot.

"You're really only talking about one other spot," Dombrowski said. "We'll have to analyze."

Addng another run producer might leave Martinez batting third. If the Tigers were to re-sign Magglio Ordonez, a scenario Dombrowski didn't want to address Friday, Martinez could bat fifth.

Martinez's agent, Scott Pucino, said there were "at least six teams pretty strong" pursuing Martinez, though he wouldn't go into the teams. But all those years competing against the Tigers and manager Jim Leyland, of whom Martinez is reportedly a fan, made a difference.

For the vast majority of those games, Martinez watched Tigers hitters close up from his role behind the plate. Now that he'll be spending more time in the batter's box, and more time out of the field rather than playing defense, he admits he has an adjustment to make. Just 136 of his 4,224 career plate appearances have come as a designated hitter.

"When I was with the Indians I used to hit behind one of the best left-handed hitters in the game, Travis Hafner," Martinez explained. "I used to ask him, 'How do you do it as a full-time DH?' Man, he was a really tough out, and I was always on him. He was the one who told me, and I learned from him a little bit. There's a lot of stuff going on, when you're not in the field."

There's plenty going on in Detroit this winter. But the Tigers' biggest need appears to be filled.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT TIGERS FREE AGENTS 2010/11   Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:34 pm

Tigers clear room by designating Miner
Recovering from surgery, versatile righty can re-sign with club
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 11/29/10 2:20 PM EST

DETROIT -- The Tigers opened a roster spot for newly signed catcher Victor Martinez on Monday by designating right-handed reliever Zach Miner for assignment, potentially parting ways with the versatile swingman after a season lost to Tommy John surgery.

The move clears up one of Detroit's potential arbitration decisions. Miner was eligible for arbitration and would've been a non-tender candidate later this week, so he'll automatically become a free agent after Thursday's 11:59 p.m. ET non-tender deadline. By designating Miner, though, the Tigers still hold the rights to try to re-sign him.

If he does re-sign, it basically means that Miner will continue his rehab from Tommy John surgery as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training rather than as a member of the 40-man roster. The Tigers expect him to be ready for the start of camp, so he would have a chance to compete for a spot again. If Miner goes elsewhere, he would likely have to seek a Minor League deal with a Spring Training invite from the Tigers or another team.

Miner, who will turn 29 in March, was a versatile member of Detroit's pitching staff for the better part of four seasons until right elbow pain in camp this past February derailed his season before it could start. Originally diagnosed with elbow tendinitis, Miner tried to rest and rehab his elbow, nearly making his way back before he suffered a major setback in an extended spring game in mid-May. He was diagnosed with a partially torn elbow ligament and underwent surgery around Memorial Day weekend.

If Miner is healthy and in camp with the Tigers, he has a chance to compete for a long-relief job or maybe serve as a starting candidate, depending on Detroit's remaining moves this offseason. Either way, he'll need to regain the movement on his sinker and establish himself again as a ground-ball pitcher.

Miner posted a 7-5 record and a 4.29 ERA in 2009, allowing 101 hits and 45 walks over 92 1/3 innings in 51 games, five of them starts. He owns a 25-20 record and a 4.24 ERA in 157 Major League appearances since the Tigers called him up as a fill-in starter in '06.

The move eliminates one of the non-tender decisions the Tigers faced by Thursday with their arbitration-eligible players. Detroit will still have to decide whether to offer contracts to starter Armando Galarraga and reliever Joel Zumaya.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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