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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to defend their three straight American League Central titles.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

REPORT: Tigers come to terms with Alburquerque, avoiding arbitration

Just like that, the Detroit Tigers are apparently through another offseason without an arbitration case going to a hearing.

According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Tigers and Al Alburquerque settled on a deal for $1.725 million, with an incentive clause of an additional $12,500 for reaching the 75-appearance plateau.

For reference, last year was the closest he’s come to that mark, appearing in 72 games.

The two sides met just slightly north of the midpoint between the numbers they’d exchanged. Heyman reported a week ago that Alburquerque’s camp filed for $2.05 million, and the Tigers countered with an offer of $1.375 million.

Previously, the Tigers came to terms with their three other arbitration-eligible players — David Price ($19.75MM), Alfredo Simon ($5MM) and J.D. Martinez ($3MM) — giving them yet another year under Dave Dombrowski without appearing in front of an arbitrator.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Storify of Day 1 of the Tigers Winter Caravan

The Tigers headed out on their Winter Caravan Thursday afternoon. Here's a look at where they ended up, and what they did.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tigers announce 17 non-roster invitees to spring training, including Greiner, Westlake, Mantiply

The Tigers announced Tuesday that they’d invited 17 non-roster players to spring training, which begins with the first workout for pitchers and catchers on Feb. 20.

That number includes seven pitchers, most of whom will be in contention for any remaining open spots in the bullpen.

The Tigers signed lefty Omar Duran (25) and righties Rafael Dolis (27), Tim Melville (25) and Alberto Cabrera (26) to minor-league deals this offseason, while Luke Putkonen and Joe Mantiply are former draft picks. Lottery ticket free agent Joel Hanrahan is back for one more try, after he was unable to return to the mound last season, continuing his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

It also includes infielders Jordan Lennerton and Aaron Westlake, both of whom could make the squad as first basemen, should Miguel Cabrera’s ankle not allow him on the Opening Day roster. Jefry Marte (23) is a third baseman and 33-year-old Josh Wilson is a utility inielder who could replace the role once filled by fellow Mt. Lebanon, Penn., graduate Don Kelly, now with the Marlins.

Outfielder Xavier Avery, a former second-round pick of the Orioles, joined the Tigers on a minor-league deal this offseason, while outfielder Jason Krizan, a lefty-hitting former eighth-round pick of the Tigers, hit .293 last year at Double-A Erie.

There were also four catchers invited. Tigers signed catcher Miguel Gonzalez to a minor-league deal out of the White Sox system, and picked up catcher Manny Pina midseason last year.

Austin Green, a Tigers 13th-round pick in 2013, has yet to play about high-A ball, while the Tigers have high hopes and expectations for Grayson Greiner, their third-round pick in last year’s draft.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Route and stops are set for 2015 Tigers Winter Caravan

The first sign of spring might just be the Detroit Tigers loading up the buses and taking off all over Michigan. Here's the schedule for the upcoming Winter Caravan:

Wednesday, Jan. 21
— West Michigan Whitecaps Winter Banquet, DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, 6-9 p.m.
[APPEARING: Dombrowski, Lobstein, McCann, Trammell]

Thursday, Jan. 22
— Dave Dombrowski will be the keynote speaker addressing the Economic Club of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce at the Kellogg Center in Lansing, noon-1:30 p.m.
[APPEARING: Dombrowski]
— Employee rally at Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in Detroit, 1:50-2:35 p.m.
[APPEARING: Ausmus, Alex Avila, Bernard, Clark, Farmer, Fields, Hardy, Kinsler, Krol, Lamont, Machado, Martin, Victor Martinez, Nathan, Price, Smith, Verlander, Vizquel, Wilson, Dan Dickerson and Rod Allen]
— Tigers players Nick Castellanos and J.D. Martinez will act as celebrity servers at Buffalo Wild Wings in Rochester Hills, 1:40-2:25 p.m. [Open to the public]
— Players Nick Castellanos and J.D. Martinez will put on a skills demonstration for OU Cares program at Oakland University, and do a Q&A with program participants, guests and OU students, 2:45-3:30 p.m.
— Tigers players Justin Verlander, Victor Martinez and manager Brad Ausmus will participate in a sandwich making contest at Lipari Foods and Winter’s Sausage in Warren, 3:05-4:20 p.m. Alex Avila, Joe Nathan and David Price will act as judges.
[APPEARING: Ausmus, Alex Avila, Bernard, Clark, Farmer, Fields, Hardy, Kinsler, Krol, Lamont, Machado, Martin, Victor Martinez, Nathan, Price, Smith, Verlander, Vizquel, Wilson, Dan Dickerson and Rod Allen]
— Detroit Tigers Kids Club Rally at Sterling Heights High School’s Performing Arts Theatre, 4:45-6 p.m. [Ticketed event open to the public; first come, first served]
[APPEARING: Bernard, Farmer, Fields, Hardy, Krol, Machado, Nathan, Price, Smith, Verlander, Wilson]
— Photo opportunity at Hockeytown Authentics in Troy, 5:15-6 p.m. Fans can take photos with Nick Castellanos and J.D. Martinez, in exchange for new (packaged) warm men’s or women’s socks to be donated to the Neighborhood Service Organization’s Homeless Recovery program. [Open to the public; max of 150 wristbands distributed, starting at 4 p.m.]
— Tiger Talk at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, home of the Triple-A Mud Hens. Brad Ausmus and Alex Avila will participate in a Q&A session at a seated dinner for fans. [Ticketed event open to the public]

Friday, Jan. 23
— Fox Sports Detroit event in Southfield, 10:45-11:45 a.m.
[APPEARING: Victor Martinez, Price]
— Northville Fire Department, 10:45-11:45 a.m.
[APPEARING: Alex Avila, Bernard, Castellanos, Dickerson, Farmer, Fields, Hardy, Krol, Machado, J.D. Martinez, Nathan, Lamont, Smith, Wilson, Rod Allen] Alex Avila and Joe Nathan will take part in 'Suit Up' competition, donning fire gear.
— Michigan State Police Crime Lab in Northville, 11:15-noon
[APPEARING: Ausmus, Kinsler, Martin, Verlander, Vizquel]
— Neighborhood Service Organization in Detroit, 11:30 a.m.-12:10 p.m.
[APPEARING: Dombrowski, Clark, Victor Martinez, Price, Rod Allen]
— DTE employee rally in Detroit, 1-1:40 p.m.
[APPEARING: Ausmus, Alex Avila, Bernard, Castellanos, Dombrowski, Farmer, Fields, Hardy, Kinsler, Krol, Lamont, Machado, J.D. Martinez, Martin, Nathan, Victor Martinez, Price, Smith, Verlander, Vizquel, Wilson, Rod Allen, Dan Dickerson]
— DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, 1:55-3 p.m.
[APPEARING: Bernard, Castellanos, Farmer, Fields, Hardy, Kinsler, Krol, Machado, J.D. Martinez, Nathan, Smith, Verlander, Wilson]
— United States Customs and Border Protection Agency in Detroit, 1:55-2:55 p.m.
[APPEARING: Ausmus, Alex Avila, Clark, Lamont, Martin, Price, Victor Martinez, Vizquel, Dan Dickerson]
— North American International Auto Show in Detroit, 3:15-4:15 p.m. Players will take part in a Q&A with fans at the Chevrolet display area. [Open to the public]
[APPEARING: Bernard, Castellanos, Farmer, Fields, Hardy, Kinsler, Krol, Machado, J.D. Martinez, Nathan, Smith, Verlander, Wilson, Rod Allen]
— Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation in Detroit, 3:15-4 p.m.
[APPEARING: Victor Martinez, Omar Vizquel]

Thursday, Jan. 22
— Lake City Fire Department, noon-12:45 p.m.
[APPEARING: Lobstein, McCann, Trammell]
— Traverse City Chamber of Commerce, 3:15-3:45 p.m.
[APPEARING: Lobstein, McCann, Trammell]
— Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center, 4-5:15 p.m. Following the tour of the training center, team personnel will participate in a Q&A and photo session with military personnel and their families.
[APPEARING: Alburquerque, Al Avila, Billmeyer, Cespedes, Collins, Davis, Gose, Greene, Holaday, Iglesias, Jones, Joyner, Moya, Newhan, Perez, Romine, Rondon, Ryan, Simon, Verhagen, Zeid, Mario Impemba]

Friday, Jan. 23
— Northern Michigan Rotary Club Alliance Business Breakfast at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, 9:15-10 a.m. [Ticketed event open to the public]
[APPEARING: Alburquerque, Al Avila, Billmeyer, Cespedes, Collins, Davis, Gose, Grene, Holaday, Iglesias, Jones, Joyner, Lobstein, McCann, Moya, Newhan, Perez, Romine, Rondon, Ryan, Simon, Trammell, Verhagen, Zeid and Mario Impemba]
— Zehnder’s Snowfest in Frankenmuth, 2-3 p.m. Guests are encouraged to donate items for care packages to be sent to troops overseas. [Open to the public]
[APPEARING: Alburquerque, Al Avila, Billmeyer, Cespedes, Collins, Davis, Gose, Grene, Holaday, Iglesias, Jones, Joyner, Lobstein, McCann, Moya, Newhan, Perez, Romine, Rondon, Ryan, Simon, Trammell, Verhagen, Zeid and Mario Impemba]

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Hall of Fame ballot for the IBWAA

I joined the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) a few days ago, and one of the perks of membership in that organization is immediate eligibility to vote for the Hall of Fame. I'm still six years of covering the Tigers away from gaining that right with the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA), of which I'm also a member.

I gave the vote a lot of thought over the last two days, and below is the ballot that I submitted.

A few key things to note about the IBWAA ballot:
• Barry Larkin (voted in to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA in 2012) has not yet been voted in by the IBWAA electorate, so he's still on the ballot.
• The revers is true for Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza, so they do not appear on the ballot below.
• The IBWAA limit for voting is 15 (I used 13 of those slots), which makes it much easier to clear the present log-jam of worthy candidates, without having to leave some off.

And, finally — yes, I voted for Alan Trammell, even though I think it's highly unlikely that he gets anywhere close to the requisite votes in his final year on the ballot. I think it's far more likely that he gets voted in by the veterans committee down the road, hopefully at the same time as Lou Whitaker, which is his fondest wish.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Doug Fister's paying for your Christmas Eve Starbucks fix — while it lasts

Doug Fister's paying for your latte fix.

The former Detroit Tigers pitcher had one way of giving back to the fans on Christmas Eve, tweeting out a picture of the back of his Starbucks card, with the instructions of having fans tell their barista to scan the picture for a free drink. "Merry Christmas Eve! Have a Starbucks on us!" the tweet (below) read.

UPDATE: Apparently, Fister's fans moved swiftly. Later on, the Nationals pitcher tweeted out the following —

Still a pretty cool gesture from one of the game's good guys.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tigers trade for Alfredo Simon to replace Rick Porcello in the rotation

With Rick Porcello reportedly traded to the Red Sox earlier in the morning, that meant the Tigers were back down to just four reliable starters (and a possible spring training battle between rookies for the fifth spot), unless they did something else.

So they did, trading for the Cincinnati Reds' Alfredo Simon, giving up Eugenio Suarez and 2013 first-round pick Jonathon Crawford.


"He’s always been a pitcher that’s had premium stuff. ... He pitched in the bullpen early in his career, and was always a guy that never quite got over that hump of being a really good pitcher. Last year, his performance on the field matched his stuff," Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said in the press conference announcing the deal, of Simon. "He has an above-average fastball, and quality stuff."

Simon, who slots right into the rotation, will be far cheaper than Porcello next season (he made $1.5 million last year to Porcello's $8.5 million), and both third-year arbitration eligible. Both will be free agents after the upcoming campaign.

But Simon will be 34 (Porcello is 25), and is coming off his first full year as a starter, earning All-Star honors, going 15-10 with a 3.44 ERA, with a 1.207 WHIP and a FIP of 4.33.