Top American League Off Season Moves By Division

by on January 10, 2011   3 Comments

While the National League added some of the better pitchers in the game, the American League retained some of the top hitters on the market and added to their list of elite hitters at the National League’s expense. This is the second list of teams that have improved themselves within their divisions. Keep in mind this doesn’t mean these teams will do the best when the season begins, just that they have made the best off season moves so far.

Top National League Off Season Moves By Division

by on January 1, 2011   3 Comments

There are few big names left on the Free Agent Market. Some teams may have missed out on their top choices and have resorted to their back up plans. The Texas Rangers have done this after falling short in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes by signing Brandon Webb. Webb is a gamble, but has a high reward if he can return to his 2006 Cy Young pitching form.

No team can ever fully expect to fill the holes exactly how they mapped out before the off season started.  This off season is a great example of that. Once your ideal player has been taken as a general manager you must move on to the next best option. The following is the first of two  lists of the teams that made the moves to best improve themselves within their divisions. It doesn’t take into account the long term impact a big contract may have, just how it helps the team this season.

Free Agent Relievers

by on December 27, 2010   No Comments

Once the World Series finishes, baseball’s off season begins. Baseball’s off season is more complex then just waiting for spring training to start. It is a time of reflection, hope and decisions. The General Managers of every team must assess what they have and determine what they need. Twenty-nine GM’s must look at their teams and ask what went wrong? And how can they fix that? While one GM celebrates briefly a World Series victory, he then has to worry about how to improve his team so it can repeat.

GM’s, who are plagued with questions about how to build a winning team, fail more often than succeed. Of course, what is success? Is success only when a World Series is won? Or only if the team reaches the playoffs? Maybe it is measured if the team substantially improves from the season before. Realistically it depends on the market and the expectations going in. The Pittsburgh Pirates may consider the season a success if they win 70 games, something they have not done since 2004, whereas for most other teams 70 wins would be a complete and utter failure. Then it is World Series or bust for teams like the Yankees or Phillies.

Fire Jim Leyland after the All Star Break

by on December 19, 2010   3 Comments

Every tiger fan has a soft spot for Jim Leyland. He is after all partially responsible for delivering the tigers from futility. In 2006 he inherited a team that had just lost 500 games in their previous 5 seasons including an abysmal 119 losses in 2003. In his first season he changed the clubhouse from a group of players who had no idea how to win into a team that worked hard for 9 innings and didn’t know how to lose. Or rather, they didn’t know how to lose in the first half.

In five seasons with the Tigers Jim Leyland has amassed an impressive winning percentage in the first half. With a record of 254 and 187 and a winning percentage of .576 he has not failed to have a .500 record in the first half with the tigers.

2010 Tigers Rookies: Pitchers

by on December 15, 2010   No Comments

Last season some of the tigers starting pitchers struggled, but by the end of the season the rotation was starting to look like the strength of the team. Justin Verlander at just 28 will be anchoring a younger staff with Scherzer and Porcello as the 2nd and 3rd starters. Phil Coke is supposed to be the 4th starter despite only starting one game in his career. He will be the oldest pitcher on the staff unless Galarraga wins the 5th spot. Galarraga will be 29 by the time the season starts and Coke  will turn 29 during the season. The final spot is open for competition where the inconsistent Galarraga will have to win the spot from rookie Andy Oliver among other competition.

The tigers bullpen was a weakness of the team and will need to improve if the tigers have any hope of competing for the playoffs. They have added Joaquin Benoit to help their bullpen but will rely heavily on 2010 rookies Robbie Weinhardt and Daniel Schlereth.

2010 Tigers Rookies: Infielders

by on December 10, 2010   No Comments

Last season the Tigers opened training camp with a hole at 2nd base, and once again may be opening the season with a hole in the same position. Scott Sizemore ended up filling that hole, but was ineffective at the plate and was eventually sent down after about a month and a half. That opened the door for Danny Worth, while they waited for Carlos Guillen to return from injury and fill the position. Injuries to other tiger infielders, including another to Guillen reopened the door for these guys, as well as a new candidate in Will Rhymes.

Carlos Guillen is still in the tigers plans at second base, but that is no reason for these young players to be discouraged. It isn’t even known if Carlos will be able to start the season at second, and once he does start playing it is only a matter of time before he goes down with another injury. Perhaps a negative point of view, but history is not on his side.

2010 Tigers Rookies: Outfielders

by on December 5, 2010   No Comments

Going into the off season there were plenty of questions about who would play what position come 2011. There were really only two known answers, Cabrera at first and Austin Jackson in centre field. Every other position had uncertainties, including the other 2 outfield positions. At some point this season the answer will be Casper Wells or Brennan Boesch.

2010 Tigers Rookies: Alex Avila

by on November 30, 2010   2 Comments

This past week the Tigers signed all star catcher Victor Martinez to a lengthy four year contract. At first glance, this looked like bad news for Alex Avila, the tigers rookie catcher looking to take over the reins as the tigers number one catcher in his sophomore season. He had already started to take the job from Gerald Laird by the end of last season.

Avila doesn’t have to worry. The tigers signed Martinez for his bat, not his catching liabilities. V-Mart instead will see time in the tigers everyday line up at DH and will start at catcher only when Avila needs a rest. It gives the tigers a little flexibility with Avila, if he under performs then Martinez might see more time behind the plate.

Detroit Tigers: 2010 Rookies

by on November 22, 2010   No Comments

Last season the Detroit Tigers dressed several rookies. Some were planned from day one while the rest were called up due to necessity. They could almost field a full line up of their rookies from last season. This article will look at what they did at the major league level, while later articles will look at what they did at the minor league level and the contributions we can expect from them at the majors next season.

Three rookies made the team out of camp but Scott Sizemore didn’t play well enough with the big club to remain the whole season and Alex Avalia platooned most of the year with veteran catcher Gerald Laird. Austin Jackson stuck the whole season as the primary centre fielder for the team. He led the team in many categories including games played, at bats, hits, triples and stolen bases.  He also finished second to teammate and American League MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera in runs scored and total bases.

Austin Jackson Should have Won ROTY

by on November 16, 2010   2 Comments

The Detroit Tigers traded away their fan favourite centre fielder Curtis Granderson last season. In return they received top Yankee prospect Austin Jackson. Scouts believed he was major league ready and the Tigers slated him in to be their 2010 opening day centre fielder. It was tough for Tigers fans to see Granderson go, but the promise of Austin Jackson was great and a solid rookie season would help ease the pain. Some analysts predicted Jackson to win the American League Rookie of the Year.

The analysts that picked Jackson to win should have been right.