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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

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.

REPORT: Tigers swap sending Rick Porcello to Boston for Yoenis Cespedes a done deal

When he became a free agent after leaving Cuba in 2011, the Detroit Tigers were very interested in signing Yoenis Cespedes, before news of Victor Martinez’s injury forced them to go in a different direction, and give a huge contract to Prince Fielder.

Last winter, the Tigers rolled back the first part of that offseason’s moves, trading Fielder and his contract to the Texas Rangers.

Now, they may have finally acquired Cespedes as the much-rumored trade with the Red Sox — sending starting pitcher Rick Porcello to Boston — was reported to be complete Thursday morning, according to Fox Sports 1’s C.J. Nitkowski. [CLICK HERE FOR THE UPDATED STORY]

[UPDATES: Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi reported that the Tigers were getting a minor-league pitcher back in the deal, as well, and would use prospects to later trade for a starting pitcher to ostensibly replace Porcello in the rotation. Alex Speier of WEEI in Boston reported that the Tigers were getting two minor leaguers back in the deal.]

[UPDATE II: Speier reported that Alex Wilson is one of the minor leaguers coming back in the deal. A right-handed reliever, he posted a 1.91 ERA with a WHIP of 0.882 in 18 appearances with the Sox last year. Speier later reported that 19-year-old left-handed pitcher Gabe Speier, a 19th-round pick by the Sox in the 2013 draft, is the lower-level pitcher headed to Detroit.]

[UPDATE III: The Tigers later sent Eugenio Suarez and 2013 first-round pick Jonathon Crawford to the Reds for starter Alfredo Simon to take Porcello's spot in the rotation.]

Cespedes spent the final 51 games of last season with the Red Sox, coming over at the trade deadline in the deal that sent Jon Lester to the Oakland A’s.

In 416 games between the two teams over the last three seasons, Cespedes has hit 71 home runs, an average of just under 24 per year, but his .780 career OPS (on-base percent plus slugging) is not exactly menacing. He'd likely play left field and hit behind either Victor Martinez or J.D. Martinez.

Both Cespedes and Porcello will be free agents after the upcoming season.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Tigers swing 3-way deal, trading Robbie Ray, Domingo Leyba for NY's Shane Greene

The Tigers needed a mid- to back-end guy for their rotation last year, one that was financially controllable for years to come.

So they traded veteran Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals to get Robbie Ray in a package of prospects, in what was a heavily-panned offseason deal — only to find out Ray was not quite ready.

So the Tigers tried again apparently.

According to several reports, the Tigers are working on a three-way deal with the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks that would send Ray to Arizona, and bring back Yankees starter Shane Greene to Detroit. [UPDATE: The Tigers officially announced the trade, and will have a conference call to discuss it mid-afternoon.]

New York will get Diamondbacks shortstop Didi Gregorius to replace the retired Derek Jeter.

Sweeney Murti of WFAN reported the deal first.

There is reportedly another player from the Tigers’ system included in the deal, according to Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi, as well as two relievers coming back to Detroit from Arizona, according to the YES Network’s Jed Weisberger. [UPDATE: Weisberger tweeted that he "may have misfired" on the two relievers.] [UPDATE 2: Morosi confirmed it was minor-league infielder Domingo Leyba going from the Tigers to the Diamondbacks.]

Greene, 26, is not even arbitration eligible until after the 2017 season, and won’t become a free agent until after the 2020 season.

Perfect for a team like the Tigers that has a couple of high-priced front-end starters, and needs to fill behind them.

Greene went 5-4 with a 3.78 ERA in 14 starts for the Yankees last season, with a superb strikeout-per-9 ratio of 9.3. He’s a sinkerballer, like Rick Porcello, so he does give up hits, and had a career minor-league WHIP of 1.478.

The best start of his young career came against the Tigers in August, when he threw eight scoreless innings in a 3-1 win. His very next start, he struck out 10 against Tampa Bay.

The last time, of course, the Tigers engaged in a three-way offseason deal with the Diamondbacks and Yankees, they got Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson, Phil Coke and Daniel Schlereth in exchange for Edwin Jackson and Curtis Granderson.