It was another seasonal period of short-term veteran additions for the Detroit Tigers.
Signing the main league
- Jonathan Schoop, 2B: One year, $ 4.5 million
- Julio Tehran, RHP: One year, $ 3 million
- Nomar Mazara, OF: One year, $ 1.75 million (plus incentives)
- Wilson Ramos, C: One year, $ 2 million
- Jose Ureña, RHP: One year, 3.25 mil. USD (250,000 USD of available performance incentives)
- Robbie Grossman, OF: Two years, $ 10 million ($ 500,000 available annually)
- Derek Holland LHP: One year, $ 925,000 ($ 150,000 incentive available)
- Total consumption: $ 25,425MM
Trade and receivables
Significant signing of juvenile leagues
- Brandon Dixon,, Nick Ramirez,, Austin Romine,, Ivan Nova,, Jordan Zimmermann,, Travis Demeritte,, Sergio Alcantara,, Anthony Castro,, Jorge Bonifacio,, Dereck Rodriguez,, Dario Agrazal,, CJ Cron
On January 18, 2016, the Tigers inked Justin Upton on a six-year $ 132.75 million free agent agreement. The first overall selection in the 2005 draft was a three-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger Award winner. He was the fourth-ranked MLBTR free agent in the 2015-16 free agent class. Entering his age of 28, in his only year with Padres he started a 4.2 bWAR campaign. In short, he got it.
Upton, however, will not stay long. He left in mid-2017, trading with the Angels, who reworked the contract to avoid a opt-out clause Upton could launch after 2017. Had he stayed in Detroit to complete the deal, Upton would have entered the final year of that contract this season.
Somewhat astonishingly, GM Tigers Al Avila – which took over in August before the season at Upton – did not sign any free agents in their multi-year contract with Upton. The nearly five-year drought ended this off-season. Come down, Robbie Grossman. The left player of the former A signed incredible two-year, a $ 10 million deal to achieve this important orientation in rebuilding the Tigers. Make no mistake is an important landmark.
Detroit has not yet recovered from the renewal that began in 2017. The signing of Grossman is not exactly analogous to the intention to fight the contacts we have seen in the past Jayson Werth,, Jason Heyward, or even George Springer this winter, but Grossman’s contract represents an important signal that the Tigers believe the time is coming when they will be ready to fight again.
The timing is right, given the arrival of so many acclaimed pitching looks Casey Mize,, Tarik Skubal, and so on, Matt Manning. So far, however, it has not been shown that these youth contribute to influencing the mainstream. Their career, however, is just beginning.
As for Grossman, he has flown under the radar for the past five seasons as a productive striker. Last year he was particularly good in 192 board appearances for A’s. It cut .241 / .344 / .482, good for 127 wRC +. Enough is enough in almost all aspects of the game, including gloves. He walks at above-average speeds, avoids strikes at above-average speeds, runs better than most, and sets his position well enough. It doesn’t hit a ton of power, and it’s not elite at all.
For the Tigers, Grossman’s deal – like the rest of their offense – wasn’t as important in catching upside down. The ceiling on their roster is rising or falling with the happiness of their young players: Tables, Skubal, Willi Castro, Akil Baddoo, Gregory Soto,, Bryan Garcia, and finally, Manning, Isaac Paredes,, Spencer Torkelson,, Daz Cameron,, Riley Greene, and others. Grossman represents a desire to raise the floor for this team and prevent the kind of disastrous season that could slow down their organizational momentum.
Also, Jonathan Schoop is returning to a one-year $ 4.5 million transaction. Schoop hit .278 / .324 / .475 last season in 177 appearances on the board, a solid 114 wRC +. He’s better on defense than you might think, given his plate strength profile. It was worth 4 times above the 2020 average, only lagging behind Adam Frazier i Nicky Lopez among other elementary students. He also added the ability to play first and third during spring training.
Wilson Ramos has long been thought of as a stick catcher, but the Tigers are feeling good enough because of his ability to bring these young staff to the Majorses to sign him on an affordable one-year contract. Jake Rogers he hopes to apply for the position in the long run, but can take time with the 26-year-old with veteran Ramos in hand.
Similarly, Jose Ureña and Julio Tehran hope they will not keep the young hands of the Tigers. Tehran surprisingly won a spot on the rotation while it was on a minor league deal this spring. He showed some promise, if he doesn’t go back to the guy who was in Atlanta, at least publish better numbers than 2020. He was a mitigated disaster for the Angels with a 10.50 ERA / 6.19 SIERA over 31 1/3 innings. During the nine starts, he twice went into a depth of as many as five innings, especially struggling to keep the ball in the yard. He served 12 home runs, while throwing out just 20 shots.
Ureña started five starts in 2020 with a 5.40 ERA, but it was largely consumed by a strong stall of young candidates for rotation in Miami. How much will remain in Detroit’s rotation will depend on a number of factors, including the way it costs early in the season.
Derek Holland came out of spring training with real positivity in terms of his re-speed and ability to make a difference for the Tigers from the pen. Truth be told, he’s a cheap dice for the Tigers, who will need a plethora of bull weapons to survive a 162-game season and protect their young weapons. Holland may have some worldly wisdom, which itself was once a promising rotation in the World Series team. He fulfilled some of those promises as a member of the Giants rotation in 2018, but some rough seasons have passed since then.
The same can be said for Nomar Mazar, who overlapped with the Netherlands in Texas during the 2016 season. There was a legitimate hope that a change in the landscape could trigger a break with the White Sox in 2020, but a complete lack of power diminished those expectations. It hit only .228 / .295 / .294 in 149 board appearances with a meager .066 ISO. There is little reason to expect that Mazar’s power has completely evaporated, so the Tigers will give him another chance to “come into his own” as their everyday right-backer. If nothing else, he doesn’t even turn 26 by the end of April, so a breakthrough is not unthinkable. However, it is difficult to ignore the records. If he manages to collect wRC + north of 100, it will be the first time in his career.
Baddoo rounds out their off-season passes. Taken in the draft of Rule 5 by the Twins, the fast outfielder had only 29 games in High-A in his name before this season. He showed good approach and was a bit of a pop in the little juvenile action he saw with Minnesota, but he should have a chance to play in Detroit.
It seems unlikely that the 22-year-old is holding on all season, but then he launched a home run on the first field of the Major League that he saw. The next day he hit the grand slam, and the day after that he went to the singles. Suddenly, there is little excitement around the natives of Silver Spring. Through four games, he designed a comic line of triple slash lines .455 / .455 / 1.182. One day Baddoo will play a Major League game and won’t score a goal, but that hasn’t happened yet. The hype train left the station and the room was worn out.
None of these moves are meant to move in a needle like, say, Upton into the past. But with this bag of veterans, the Tigers hope to foster a more competitive atmosphere, a structural foundation that will allow children to grow the space at their own pace. This team is unlikely to compete this season, they are more or less unanimous to finish last in AL Central, but it is debatable that even a month or two of competitive games could be useful for the youngsters on the list. At best, young players like Mize and Skubal take off, and the rest of the squad is capable enough to give the Tigers some legs as a surprise team in the first half. Alternatively, any of these veterans could turn around in the allotted time, and none will be difficult on a long-term book – not even Grossman.
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