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 DETROIT TIGERS FREE AGENTS 2011/12

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PostSubject: DETROIT TIGERS FREE AGENTS 2011/12   Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:59 am



DETROIT TIGERS FREE AGENTS 2011/12
http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/news/hot_stove/y2011/free_agent_tracker.jsp?teamAct=det

12/12/2011

Player Position Former Team New Team Transaction date Notes
Balester, Collin RP WSH DET 12/09/11 Traded for Ryan Perry
Betemit, Wilson 3B DET --- --- ---
Dotel, Octavio RP STL DET 12/09/11 One-year deal with option
Gonzalez, Enrique RP DET --- --- Minor league free agent
Guillen, Carlos 2B DET --- --- ---
Head, Jerad OF CLE DET 11/21/11 Minor league contract
Laird, Gerald C STL DET 11/18/11 One-year contract
Ordonez, Magglio OF DET --- --- ---
Penny, Brad SP DET --- --- ---
Perry, Ryan RP DET WSH 12/09/11 Traded for Collin Balester
Purcey, David RP DET PHI 12/09/11 Minor league contract
Rhymes, Will 2B DET --- --- Non-tendered
Santiago, Ramon 2B DET DET 11/30/11 Agreed to two-year deal
Santos, Omir C DET DET 11/16/11 Minor league contract
Thomas, Brad RP DET --- --- Minor league free agent
Valverde, Jose RP DET DET 10/28/11 Club option exercised
Young, Matt OF ATL DET 11/07/11 Minor league contract
Zumaya, Joel RP DET --- --- ---


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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT TIGERS FREE AGENTS 2011/12   Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:04 am

Tigers exercise 2012 team option on Valverde
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/28/11 12:36 PM ET

DETROIT -- Teams will spend the next three days announcing some difficult decisions on contract options. Jose Valverde's option won't be one of them.

For the Tigers, in fact, it was about as automatic as Valverde's save situations this year. So they didn't need to wait through the weekend to announce that they're picking up the right-hander's $9 million salary for next season.

Valverde's option was part of the two-year, $14 million deal he signed with the Tigers as a free agent before the 2010 season. It wasn't always looking like a certainty that the Tigers would pick it up. When Detroit signed Joaquin Benoit to a three-year, $15 million deal last fall, Benoit had the appearance of a closer-in-waiting. Then Valverde went 52-for-52 in save situations between the regular season and playoffs.

The Tigers reaped the benefits of having Benoit and Valverde as a late-inning duo this year, going 77-0 in games they led after seven innings and 83-0 after leading through eight. Another year with them at the back end of the bullpen gives Detroit a major advantage going into 2012.

Valverde's 49 saves set a new franchise record. By going 49-for-49 in save chances, the Big Potato not only obliterated Guillermo Hernandez's single-season Tigers mark of 32 consecutive saves, he posted the second-best perfect saves season in Major League history. Eric Gagne's 55-for-55 performance for the 2003 Dodgers is the only higher mark.

Valverde's saves weren't always easy, especially down the stretch. But in the end, the numbers were dominant. He allowed just 52 hits over 72 1/3 innings in the regular season, with 34 walks and 69 strikeouts. Opponents batted just .198 against him with five home runs.

The 49 saves and 70 games finished led Major League pitchers this year.

Break down the stats to just save situations, and Valverde's numbers were even stronger. He allowed just three earned runs on 26 hits over 49 innings, with 20 walks and 50 strikeouts. Two of those earned runs came on homers.

For those efforts, Valverde was named MLB Delivery Man of the Year earlier in October. He could end up with some AL Cy Young Award votes when the balloting results are released next month, though the award itself will most likely go to his Tigers teammate, Justin Verlander.

The contract option, obviously, is another recognition for what he means to this team. With 75 saves over two seasons in Detroit, Valverde has a strong chance to become just the fifth pitcher with 100 saves as a Tiger, joining Willie Hernandez, Todd Jones, Mike Henneman and John Hiller.

"I think we're both right-handed, but I think after that, the comparisons kind of go away," Jones said during the AL Division Series. "Jose has had an amazing year. He's an amazing closer. People don't really realize how hard 50 out of 50 saves is until you watched me or had a chance to go out there yourself.

"He's a fierce competitor, and I think everybody enjoys him in the clubhouse. Everybody on the team has said nothing but great things. He's just had an amazing year."

The results for a Tigers team that won its first division title since 1987 provided the substance behind a style that has made Valverde one of the game's unique personalities. Time and again, his save celebrations have delighted fans and irked opponents, whether it was a crossing of his arms or a dance around the mound. His superstitions before he throws a pitch have become ingrained in Tigers fans' memories.

"I don't know what I do [after the game]," Valverde said earlier this year. "You guys can tell me what I do, but I don't know. Somebody told me you do something different. I told him I have no idea what I'm doing. I swear to God. When I'm pitching, I'm not paying attention to what I'm doing. My mind is on doing my job quick and that's it."

With his option decided, he won't have to worry about his job for next year.

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 2011/12   Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:57 am

Tigers to monitor free-agent market
After last year's quick deals, club will let offseason develop
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 11/03/11 6:31 PM ET

DETROIT -- The Tigers had identified their major free-agent targets by this point last offseason. They had Victor Martinez and Joaquin Benoit inked to contracts by Thanksgiving weekend, and had Magglio Ordonez back in the fold barely a week after the Winter Meetings. They knew what they wanted, and they moved on it aggressively.

This will not be one of those offseasons. It's not that the Tigers don't know what they need. It's the challenge of going about finding it in this market.

"I don't think we're going to be rushing out like we did last year," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said on Tuesday. "We're in a different situation than we were last year, where we identified a couple guys right off the bat in Martinez and Benoit.


"We're still prepared -- I don't mean to say that we couldn't make a move if the right move came about -- but I wouldn't think we would make a real quick move. I think we'll take more time to go through it and let it work itself out."

The Tigers were freed up to talk contracts with free agents from other teams starting on Thursday, but the process isn't going to work nearly that quickly. They'll be going through names next week when Dombrowski meets with his assistants, scouts and other team officials.

Even after that, unless something changes, it's difficult to see them targeting any one particular player like they did with Martinez and Benoit. At this point, unless something changes, that includes free-agent shortstops Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins, who wouldn't answer all the Tigers' infield needs.

Realistically, the perfect infielder for the Tigers isn't out there. The ideal leadoff hitters on the market, the guys who would give Detroit an alternative atop the order while Austin Jackson matures as a hitter, all play other positions. A power-hitting second baseman like Kelly Johnson fits the style of a Ryan Raburn, who's already under contract for next year but who Dombrowski said isn't a full-time second baseman. Aaron Hill's numbers were good once he got out of Toronto, but his Blue Jays struggles hard to ignore if he's going to return to the American League.

Both Hill and Johnson have their appeals. Johnson is a left-handed hitter who hit left-handed pitchers remarkably well until this year, and whose power could conceivably play at Comerica Park. Hill had enough speed and instincts to steal 21 bases in 28 tries this season, nearly matching his previous career total of 23 stolen bases in his previous six Major League seasons.

Both Johnson and Hill have been accomplished hitters batting second in the order, a spot that has been almost as much of a revolving door as second base. But they both obviously come with questions. The second basemen after that are known more for specific skills and experience, from 37-year-old middle infielder Jamey Carroll to former AL Central rival Nick Punto to Ryan Theriot.

The market at third base has a better top name with Aramis Ramirez, but an older one at age 33. After that, it's a very thin market, one that could possibly include Hill shifting over.

Those are the primary needs Dombrowski identified in his end-of-season session with reporters on Tuesday afternoon at Comerica Park. And though Dombrowski didn't identify anybody by name, he did give his evaluation of the market.

"I don't think they're real strong," Dombrowski said of the free agents. "And that's why, too, not only free agents, you'd also have to talk about the possibility of trades, too."

The Tigers certainly will. They haven't yet, Dombrowski said, in part because of all the general manager changes around baseball.

"We'll explore both," Dombrowski confirmed.

They might even take a look at the free-agent shortstop market, where Reyes and Rollins loom large. But the plan right now is to keep Jhonny Peralta at shortstop. It isn't just financial, though Dombrowski said they'll probably stick with two $20 million players in Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera. Part of it is keeping Peralta at shortstop, where his return this year seemingly brought out the best in him.

Asked if he expects Peralta to stick at short, Dombrowski said, "I would think so. Would I say 100 percent? No. Would I say most likely? Yes."

In past years, the Tigers have taken a close look at speed players under the question of how they'd fare as they age with the possibility that their speed diminishes. Reyes has averaged 57 stolen bases for every 162 games with the Mets to go with dynamic doubles and triples potential, similar to Carl Crawford a year ago, and won the National League batting title in a contract year. He doesn't turn 30 years old for another year and a half.

Yet, with the contract expectations for Reyes, a five-year contract would take him toward his mid-30s. A seven-year contract along the lines of Crawford would carry Reyes firmly into that age bracket. But then, if Reyes earned a Crawford-type contract, it wouldn't come from Detroit.

Rollins is further along, with his 33rd birthday coming late this month. His speed and average numbers have dropped, though his .268 average last year was close to his career clip of .272. But Rollins is believed to be seeking a long-term deal. It's questionable at best whether either would entertain a position switch.

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 2011/12   Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:23 am

Tigers sign Darin Downs to minor-league deal
BECK'S BLOG
Posted on November 4, 2011 at 6:00 pm

The Tigers have signed free-agent lefty Darin Downs to a minor league contract, according to a tweet from his agents at Sosnick Cobbe Sports.

It’s not a headline deal by any means, but it’s the kind of depth signing that sometimes pay dividends. Downs, who turns 27 the day after Christmas, is pitching winter ball in Venezuela right now after spending the summer in the Marlins farm system at Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans. His pitching coach with the Tigres de Aragua is Greg Sabat, who coaches in the Tigers system.

Combine Downs’ Double- and Triple-A numbers, and he went 5-7 with a 4.66 ERA over 18 starts and 14 relief appearances, striking out 87 batters over 112 innings. Until then, he had just about an even ratio of strikeouts to innings pitched for his pro career, getting swings and misses with finesse and deception rather than power.

Downs was born in nearby Southfield, but went to high school in Florida.


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