Tuesday, March 01, 2005


2005 Season Preview: Detroit Tigers

I don't feel too much like school today, since its still snowing out, so I'll post another teams preview just for kicks. On to the Detroit Tigers, who I feel have a shot at third place due to the upgrades on their roster plus the decline of the White Sox.

Troy Percival, RP: Percival’s strikeouts have dropped the past few seasons. 77-77-52-37 the past 4 seasons. For a guy who is/was considered a power pitcher, that is alarming. Not to the Tigers though. Then again their alternative is Ugueth Urbina, so I am not sure if I should fault them or not. Either way, $6 million per season is a lot to pay a closer who could explode.

Ugueth Urbina, RP: Exercised the option on him for 2005. Confusing only because then they signed Percival. Percival left Anaheim because he wanted to close by himself. Urbina probably will want to close as well, considering he has been doing so for a long time now. Will they deal Urbina? Or just make someone unhappy? I don't expect Percival to pitch many more than 50 innings anyways.

Ramon Martinez, Utility: Well he played a bunch of positions last year. He hit 15 doubles in limited duty. OK his OPS was .659 I’ll stop trying to defend him.

Magglio Ordonez, RF: 5 years, $75 million. Why did this happen. It didn’t have to happen. No one was offering him those years or those dollars. You guys realize if you had played hardball like everyone else instead of trying to make a *splash* then you’d be a little better off right? Seriously, you caved on the years and the dollars. Luckily you got a clause thrown in there to void the contract if the insane knee condition acts up. But now what if it doesn’t? You are paying him $15 million a year for the damage he did against you as an opponent during his peak. You know what he is going to do? Continue to hurt you. Sure he’ll be productive if he is healthy, and that is what you want. But seriously, $15 million per season for a guy who is 31 years old with a knee injury that is going to make a below average defender with a good but not great bat. Oh and don’t forget that the contract can go to 7 years with incentives, WHOO! He’ll be 38 and run like my grandmother by then. But he’ll be a lot richer than grandma.

Acquired via trade: Kyle Farnsworth for pitcher Roberto Novoa, infielder Scott Moore and outfielder Clarence Flowers.

Farnsworth is an issue. Maybe he will be helpful to a Tigers team whose pen could use some more bodies, but he was an issue in the Chicago bullpen. His peripherals are good enough, but for some reason he just cannot pitch effectively consistently day-to-day. Maybe a change of scenery and less pressure in Detroit will help, but probably not.

1) Omar Infante
2) Carlos Guillen
3) Ivan Rodriguez
4) Magglio Ordonez
5) Dmitri Young
6) Rondell White
7) Carlos Pena
8) Brandon Inge
9) Craig Monroe (please not Alex Sanchez, please)

This is a good lineup. Infante should improve, Carlos Guillen (if recovered) will either duplicate his success or regress like other SS's with career surges like him (namely Rich Aurilia) and slide down in their lineup. If Magglio is going to have a real productive season this will probably be the one, as he is getting older fast. The less the Tigers depend on Carlos Pena to be a real masher, the better off he and they are. I expect some regression from Inge for some reason.

1) Nate Robertson
2) Jeremy Bonderman
3) Mike Maroth
4) Jason Johnson
5) Gary Knotts

Much more promising than last year, when Jason Johnson was their "ace". Bonderman is ready to explode I think, and Nate Robertson was effective last season in his first full year. 2.35 K/BB, and a 7.09 K/9. I've heard tidbits that people believe Maroth has finally turned a corner as well (Go former Lowell Spinners, Go!). I hope this corner included more strikeouts per game. Jason Johnson pitched much better in the first half last year, so hopefully he reverts to that. Gary Knotts peripherals don't impress me at all, and they shouldn't. But he is a fifth starter on a third place team so I can't really complain.

Their bullpen is good enough for third, with Percival Lite and Urbina holding down the closer's job, as well as help from Farnsworth and Jamie Walker.

Overall I really think the Tigers are capable of finishing in third place, but I am not too sure of their record. It really depends on how bad the White Sox end up being (or not being, but that doesn't seem right given their roster).

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