Category Archives: Winter Meetings

don’t start cryin over Lyon


photo by Samara Pearlstein

Because he is no more. Brandon Lyon has been signed by the Houston Astros, pending a physical. It’s a three year deal, which he, uh, pretty much was not going to get from the Tigers. So it’s a good move from his perspective, and another potential 2010 closer knocked out of the running for Detroit.

In other Winter Meetings/irresponsible rumor news:

–Apparently the Tigers are interested in Juan Pierre. The idea of another three-team trade is just exhausting for me right now. I guess it doesn’t matter what goes down, it can’t be worse than Granderson to the Yankees, so, whatever, bring it on, I don’t care anymore.

–The Robinzon Diaz signing was a minor league one. He’s a potential backup catcher. The threat to G-Money, if it comes, will have to come from elsewhere.

–Both Phil Coke and Daniel Schlereth are lefty relievers, which means that Bobby Seay is now available for the taking. Anyone want him?

–I can’t decide if Lynn Henning is a sadist or a masochist. He likes deliberately causing us pain, which would make him a sadist, or he gets some sick kind of thrill out of the abuse he will take for writing something like this, which would make him a masochist. Either way, sod off, Henning.

–Still can’t really process the Granderson move. It’s like my mind has glimpsed that horrible reality and firmly rejected it. With no games going on I can still cling to my fantasy world where Curtis Granderson has not been given over into the slavering jaws of pure evil. I mean… you guys, I’m from Massachusetts. This is NOT SOMETHING I CAN DO. I just… no. It isn’t real. It isn’t reeeeeaaaaaaal.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Originally the contest entries were supposed to be due today, but in light of the EXTREME TRAUMA we have all recently suffered, I’m kicking it up a day. Entries will now be accepted THROUGH FRIDAY, up ’til midnight. Do your part to raise our collectively wilting spirits.

the Worst Thing

Reports indicate that the Tigers/Yankees/Dbacks trade is a go.
eta: Report from The Mothership as of 3 pm Tuesday.

So the Tigers would get:
–Max Scherzer (Dbacks)
–Daniel Schlereth (Dbacks)
–Phil Coke (Yanks)
–Austin Jackson (Yanks)
–maybe Mike Dunn? (Yanks)

The Tigers would give up:
–Edwin Jackson (Dbacks)
–Curtis Granderson (Yanks)
–faith in the inherent goodness of the world

THIS IS THE WORST THING

Trading Granderson was always going to be awful, heart-rending, soul-destroying, etc, but sending him to the Yankees is like… it is like taking the most beautiful thing you can imagine– say a kitten with enormous eyes and soft fur, sitting on a bed of fresh flowers under a rainbow while butterflies soar above it and Mozart plays in the background– and setting it on fire, then dumping it into an open sewer, then setting the sewer on fire, then putting that fire out with nuclear waste, then having sex with a bunch of half-decayed donkey corpses, and throwing those onto the nuclear waste sewer, and setting fire to the whole thing again. That is what Curtis Granderson on the Yankees is like.

As for Edwin Jackson… oh my gosh who will be Justin Verlander’s dugout buddy now??

My problem with the Jackson-for-Scherzer swap is that it doesn’t really help the starting rotation, it just shuffles the problem over. The issue was never that Jackson didn’t help the rotation– because he did– it was that there simply weren’t enough Real Live Actual Starters on the team. So, fine, we pick up Scherzer, great, a new starter… but giving up Jackson at the same time and failing to get a second starter anywhere else in this trade (Schlereth is a reliever) means that the Tigers are right back to where they were before. Before, the rotation was Verlander, Porcello, Jackson, and scraps. Now the rotation is Verlander, Porcello, I guess Scherzer, and scraps. THAT DOESN’T HELP.

But I guess the payroll is reduced, GREAT, I HOPE YOU FEEL REAL GOOD ABOUT THAT, FRONT OFFICE. I HOPE REDUCING PAYROLL WAS WORTH MAKING FANS CRY.

Winter Meeting rumor mill continues unabated


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

You cats ready for Day Two of this ridiculousness? I’m not sure that I am, but the Winter Meetings don’t care about me. As before, I will update this post over the course of the day, if/as new stuff makes itself known.

–Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon both declined arbitration. Not exactly shocking, but it does throw the Tigers’ quest for closing material into sharper, slightly scarier relief (har har).

–The Mets like Edwin but ‘can’t get the pieces to fit’. So far everything out of Indy has pointed towards the Tigers asking for the sun and the moon to move Jackson/Granderson, which is in my opinion both appropriate and mildly comforting. You tell ’em, Dave! Don’t let nobody push you around, y’hear!

Team currently rumored to be linked to Jackson: Mets, Yankees, Diamondbacks (Dodgers, Brewers?).

–FOX sez the Yankees are interested in Granderson even if the 3-team deal falls through. So even without complicated, many-faceted deals, the danger of THE WORST THING remains potent.

–A Yankee executive sez there is ‘traction’ to the Grandy talks. What.

–Well, they’ve done it. Details and reaction(s) above.

–Apparently the Tigers have signed catcher Robinzon Diaz, although whether it’s a major league or minor league deal is not yet clear. Diaz only played in 41 games for the Pirates last season, soooooo…. I dunno. I would say that G-Money shouldn’t worry too much yet, but with the way this day has gone, who the hell knows.

Winter meeting trade rumors get going

The current rumor is that the Mets have picked up Edwin Jackson. (via Rotoworld, via AOL’s Ed Price) True, untrue, sort-of true, not yet true but soon to be fact? Lobby rumor or actual trade? Don’t know yet. I’ll update this post if/when I hear more.

(eeeek)

Oh, also: the Rangers just got Clay Rapada for cash or a player to be named later. So ends the Clay Rapada non-era in Detroit.

ETA: ESPN’s Buster Olney sez, “The Tigers’ asking price on Edwin Jackson is said by other teams to be very, very high at this point.” Take that as you will.

ETAA: The Mets deny the Jackson trade. Also, the Chicago Tribune, which had indicated that the Cubs had interest in Curtis Granderson, is saying that the Yankees are ‘hot on the trail’ of Granderson right now (tip o’the paw to Billfer). Excuse me, I need to go vomit up my spleen.

ETAAA: THE WORST THING. Jackson, Granderson both connected to the Yankees via rumor. Just a rumor, just a rumor, just a rumor, just a rumor OF ALL MY NIGHTMARES.

ETAAAA: We’ve re-signed Adam Everett! One year deal, allegedly. This is a good thing, a move that pleases me. It’s 5000 times better than picking up, say, Bobby Crosby.

ETAAAAA: Ozzie Guillen at the Winter Meetings is glorious. “Ah, I don’t know all our players. Ask Joey Cora. He knows all of our players.”

ETAAAAAA: It’s 11:30 pm on Monday night. The latest thing I’ve heard on the Jackson/Granderson rumors is this potential/supposed story from the FOX crew, which would have the following go down:

–Diamondbacks get Jackson and Ian Kennedy of the Yankees
–Yankees get Granderson and Dback prospects
–Tigers get Max Scherzer from the Dbacks; Austin Jackson, Phil Coke, and Michael Dunn from the Yanks

Jackson is a 22 year old center fielder (he’ll be 23 next season), pretty much the Yankees’ top prospect. He’s a righty. He hit .300/.354/.405 last season at triple-A. Coke is a 27 year old lefty reliever who had a 4.50 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP in 60 innings in the Majors last year. He’s cheap. Dunn will be 24-25 years old next season. He’s a lefty reliever who had a 3.71 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP in 53.1 innings at double-A last year (2.25 ERA in 20 innings at triple-A, and he got in 4 games for the Yanks proper).

Scherzer will be 25-26 years old in 2010. He’s a right-handed starting pitcher who had a 9-11 record with the Dbacks in ’09, his first full season of big league service. He put up a 4.12 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. He was 8th in the NL for Ks per 9 innings pitched, and he was 5th in hit batters (related?). He has odd eyes.

Don’t know how much I credit this rumorlicious report right now, but it’s something to chew on. If this was really what we got back for Grandy and Edwin, would it be worth it? :/

Dave Dombrowski readies his weapons


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Cell phone! Blackberry-like device! Stat book! Free agent list! Scouting reports! Caffeine! Striped shirt!

WINTER MEETINGS, GO!

Don’t forget to finish up your entries for The First Ever RotT Photo Contest of Incomparable Awesomeness! They’re all due on December 10! That’s this Thursday. I’ll accept ’em up until midnight EST. And then we shall all experience awesomeness, together, with ridiculous cartooned Tigers.

Is Joyce for Jackson just?

photos by Samara Pearlstein

Of course as soon as I bother to dig into the JJ Putz stuff in any kind of depth, it starts looking like Putz is in the middle of some sort of gargantuan Mets/Racist Logos/Mariners threeway, and the Tigers look like they’re about to do something else entirely. The rumor of the hour has them trading Matt Joyce to the Rays for pitcher Edwin Jackson.

Jackson has been used by the Rays as a starter, although I suppose it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that the Tigs could try him as a closer. He’s a 25-year-old right-hander who mostly throws a 93-95 mph fastball, supported by a mid-80s slider. He has not had much trouble with injuries, with his only DL stint to date coming back in 2004, when he had a strained forearm.

Just looking at win shares, this move seems OK for the Tigers: Jackson put up 10 win shares according to the Bill James version of the metric in 2008 and Joyce put up 6. A swap of the two would thus have the Tigers up 4 wins. Yay?

In 2008 Jackson put up the following numbers:

4.42 ERA (which y’all know)

1.51 WHIP (the lower this number is, the better, ’cause you want to give up as few walks and hits per inning pitched as possible)

.301 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play; this is kind of a measure of a pitcher’s luck, and unusually high or low numbers indicate that he got either unusually lucky with fielding behind him or unusually unlucky. In this case .301 is only a little higher than typical [around .290ish], so this season probably wasn’t too weighted by defensive luck for Jackson)

5.30 K/9 (the higher this number is, the better, ’cause you generally want to throw a lot of strikes per 9 innings)

1.40 K/BB (the higher this ratio is, the better, ’cause you want to throw more strikes than balls)

10 win shares (up from 2 the previous season)

Just out of curiosity and for the sake of comparison I had a look at Justin Verlander’s numbers again.

4.84 ERA (worse than Jackson)

1.40 WHIP (better than Jackson)

.305 BABIP (definitely getting towards the high side of typical, so he was a little unlucky)

7.30 K/9 (MUCH better than Jackson)

1.87 K/BB (better than Jackson)

8 win shares (down from 15 and 16 in the previous two years, but the fact that ’08 was an off year for Justin shouldn’t surprise anyone)

Jackson was a fairly highly touted prospect with the Dodgers, but no one is going to say that he’s as good as Justin Verlander; I still think it’s at least worth pointing out that Justin in a serious down year still did better than this kid, significantly better in some categories.

And for the lulz, here’s Nate:

6.35 ERA (worse than everyone)

1.66 WHIP (worse than everyone, but not as bad compared to Jackson as one might hope)

.343 BABIP (pretty high; Nate got seriously unlucky with the defense behind him in ’08)

5.76 K/9 (understandably worse than Justin but worryingly better than Jackson)

1.74 K/BB (again worse than Justin but better than Jackson)

1 sad lonely win share (down from 14 and 8 the previous two seasons)

I dunno about you guys, but that does not exactly fill me with confidence.

After the 2008 season I really, really hate to say that the Tigers don’t need extra bats, because that is obviously not true. But I reckon it’s fair to say that the Tigers need pitching MORE. No team can ever have too many arms, and this is doubly and triply true for the Tigers, where the Spazzosaurus runs rampant and the minors are still recovering from past trades.

Jackson has a (to this point) healthy arm and youth (two things not possessed by, say, JJ Putz). Matt Joyce is young and has the potential to be quite a good player, but the Tigers need pitching more than they need outfielders. I assume that this would be the thinking behind a Joyce/Jackson trade, if it does indeed end up goin’ down. I can understand it, but, given what Jackson did last year, I’m not quite ecstatic about it.

(Numberz in dis post mostly from Fangraphs and the ’09 Bill James Handbook sittin’ in my lap.)

What about this Putz fellow?

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

We finally have a developing market! Closers for the win! Let loose the celebratory doves and so on.

K-Rod has gone to the Mets, and Kerry Wood looks like he’ll be getting into bed with the Racist Logos.

The Tigers have not signed a closer yet, but as we all are sadly, painfully aware, the bullpen is an area of DESPERATE NEED for these cats, and the Tigers have accordingly had their paws in discussions about Brian Fuentes, Joe Beimel, possibly Chad Cordero, and JJ Putz. The Putz talks have been pretty active, thus: this post.

As with Jack Wilson, let’s go through and look at this with the clarifying power of bold font.

–What does JJ Putz have to offer us?

–What would JJ Putz cost?

–Is JJ Putz worth that cost? and if not, why not?

–Isn’t ‘putz’ an actual word?

What does JJ Putz have to offer us?

Putz is a power pitcher. He mostly throws a fastball in the 95 mph range (he throws it anywhere from 78-67% of the time, according to Fangraphs), mixing in a mid-80s splitter and a slider with similar velocity, which would probably strain his arm if he was starting but is fine for a closer. He’ll be 32 years old in 2009.

Here comes some boring stuff!

In 2008 Putz posted an ERA of 3.88 and a WHIP of 1.60. He threw 10.88 K/9 and had a 2.00 K/BB ratio. Just for comparison, look at what Jonathan Papelbon, a dude we can probably all agree is an elite closer, did last year: 2.34 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 10.00 K/9, 9.63 K/BB. Pretty big difference, right?

Thing is, Putz’s ’08 numbers were very atypical. I know that an ERA of 3.88 seems kind of great because we’ve gotten horribly used to whatever bloated numbers Fernando’s going to put up, but in 2006 Putz had a 2.30 ERA, and in 2007 his ERA was 1.38. His WHIPs in those two years were 0.92 and 0.70. His K/9s were 11.95 and 10.30, and his K/BBs were 8.00 and 6.31. Those are numbers that easily rival Papelbon’s.

The problem, of course, was injury. Two different injuries, to be exact: in early April Putz landed on the DL with inflammation of the cartilage around his ribs, and he hit the 15-day DL again in June with a hyperextended elbow (which was then aggravated in rehab through a comedy-of-errors-esque miscommunication with the team).

His K/9 numbers have been fairly consistent, so even in his down year he was throwing strikes. His K/BB ratio was way outta whack in 2008, though, meaning that Putz was walking many more batters than he usually did. Putz was DL’d on April 2, so by the time he came back he had effectively lost most of April and was playing pitching rhythm catch-up for much of the first half. His timing was all shot to cat poo. It’s even possible that this contributed to the elbow injury that came later; it’s certain that it was a major factor in his unusually high walk rate.

IN SHORT: When healthy, Putz is one of the elite closers in the AL. When in the midst of an injury-dinged season, he walks a lot of dudes and is still not really worse than, say, Fernando Rodney.

Putz is also a Michigan native who grew up in Trenton and went on to become a MICHIGAN WOLVERINE. So at least one tiny part of my brain loves him unconditionally. I feel it’s only fair to mention that.

What would JJ Putz cost?

This is all pure rumor, of course, but the names Jeff Larish and Matt Joyce are being tossed around quite a bit. The most bruited-about seem to be a ‘Jeff Larish plus unnamed pitching prospect X’ rumor, a ‘Matt Joyce plus unnamed pitching prospect X’ rumor, and a ‘Jeff Larish plus Matt Joyce plus maybe unnamed pitching prospect X’ rumor. I would sincerely, SINCERELY hope that that last rumor is unrealistic crazypants.

Putz is set to make $5.5 million in ’09, with either a $9.1 million club option for 2010 or a $1 million buyout. (sauce) There is basically no way in hell that the Mariners would throw in any money, so if you were even tempted to think along those lines, get that nonsense out of your brain. Set in the context of all the money the Tigers did NOT spend on their new catcher or shortstop, though, this is almost a non-issue.

Is JJ Putz worth that cost? and if not, why not?

This really depends on which particular ‘cost’ we’re talking about. Is JJ Putz worth Jeff Larish plus unnamed pitching prospect X plus the at least $6.5 million he’d be owed? I would say YES. Easily.

He had a, for him, very down year. He had injuries. The cartilage inflammation thing skeeves me out a bit because it, like most inflammation injuries, is a repetitive stress injury, and by their very nature those injuries tend to recur. The particular cartilaginous bits we’re talking about with Putz are the ones where the ribs articulate with the breastbone in the center of the chest; a pitcher could get inflammation here either because of back motion (pulling his arm far back near the top part of his delivery) or front motion (pulling his arm sharply across his body as part of his followthrough).

So, yeah, it’s a delivery issue, and I don’t like that, especially for power pitchers (hello, Rich Harden; hello, Kyle Farnsworth).

Buuuuuuuuut, this was not an issue with the arm itself– not the shoulder, not the elbow, not the bicep. It was also not an oblique strain. While there’s potential for recurrence, there is a lot LESS potential for recurrence than most other pitching injuries in the same injury class (i.e. repetitive stress-induced inflammation). The hyperextended elbow I am willing to treat more like a freak injury, especially if his wonky timing from the rib thing contributed to it.

The point is that, although an injury risk is definite and present, he’s still easily worth Larish + pitching prospect + the money, given the seriousness of the Tigers’ need.

If the trade involves Matt Joyce, however, I am much, MUCH less sure that it’s a good deal for the Tigers. Larish has power, but he is 26 years old and his ‘natural’ position is first base– insofar as he has a position, because despite the training the Tigers have tried to give him at third, he is still probably most and best of all a DH. Joyce, on the other paw, has power, is 24 years old, and plays outfield.

Joyce is a LOT more valuable than Larish, and I’m not just saying that because of the kitten and his burgeoning superheroic tendencies. Powerhouse seafarin’ blog USS Mariner agrees and goes into a little more depth.

A JJ Putz who had not suffered from those injuries is probably well worth a package including Joyce, especially to a team whose current closing situation hinges upon Fernando Rodney staying healthy (not especially likely) and pitching well (not especially likely), and/or Joel Zumaya getting and staying healthy (not especially likely) and having matured somewhat (I’m not holding my breath). But the injuries are canon, so just say no to moving Matt Joyce.

Isn’t ‘putz’ an actual word?

Yes it is. According to my Dictionary Widget, it is “a stupid or worthless person”, or vulgar slang for, uh, male anatomy. However, I think putz-the-noun is usually pronounced with the same kind of very short U as the U in the word “butts”, as in “of all third baseman butts, Brandon Inge’s is the finest.”

JJ Putz’s name is pronounced with a slightly longer U, like the one in “puts”, as in “it puts the lotion on its skin”. I have heard lazy sportscasters pronouncing Putz with a wicked long U, like it rhymes with “flutes”, but this is apparently incorrect. And now you know… the rest of the story.

Adam Everett set to become the latest striped cat without a bat

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Some places are reporting this as a done deal, but it’s not official yet, so, as with last night’s Laird news, read on with the understanding that something might crop up at the last second and derail us all.

That said, it looks like the Tigers have signed Adam Everett, light-hitting shortstop extraordinaire, to a $1 million, one year deal.

Everett put up an OPS of .601 last year, which is… well, you know how sometimes you see a number and it’s so bad that you just burst out laughing? Like when Fernando was putting up those ERAs of 46.00 or whatever? An OPS of .601 is kind of like that. Everett had limited playing time in ’08, but his career numbers are not markedly better.

He does have the reputation of a really good defender, which is surely why we signed him. It is starting to look like the Tigers are taking a step back from their previous offseason moves, going away from offensive monsters like Cabrera (probably assuming that we’re as set with that as we can be at the moment) and instead shoring up the infield defense with guys like Laird and Everett and, yes, Inge back at third.

The Tigers have spent at least the last couple of offseasons bringing in sluggers, or guys they sincerely (and perhaps too optimistically) hoped would be sluggers. The concentration on defense right now is part immediate necessity– we had no shortstop, we had no catcher– and part a reaction to the kind of moves that have been made in winters recently past. We ALL know that the Tigs need to step it up when it comes to pitching next season, both starting and relieving, and wicked good infield defense will be a big help there.

Hell, not even wicked good… an infield defense that does not include Edgar Renteria at short and Carlos Guillen’s creaky old knees at third should be enough to be a (comparatively) big help.

Really the only worry I have is health. Sadly that is a not-inconsiderable concern, as Everett had a bloody lot of shoulder problems last year, and that is obviously REALLY BAD for a shortstop. If he can stay healthy– and unfortunately that’s a pretty big ‘if’– and if we assume right off the bat that he’s not going to hit, this should work out OK.

With that in mind, I’m generally a fan of this move. The contract is short and cheap, which is exactly what we were looking for, and Everett shouldn’t be so full of himself as to complain about splitting time with Santiago.

Perhaps most importantly, he’s also a dorky-lookin’ little guy, which should make for some fun ‘shops and cartoons.

(Hat tip on this one to Firebrand of the AL‘s Evan Brunell, who alerted me to the trade via text. Thanks, man.)

Gerald Laird, pretty much a Tiger

photo by Samara Pearlstein

As of right now, which is… uh, 1 am Sunday night/Monday morning, FOX Sports is saying that the Tigers have managed to snag Gerald Laird from the Rangers for Guillermo Moscoso and some other as-yet unnamed cat. At more or less the same time, the official Tigers site has up a story saying the deal is ‘likely’ but not yet official. Grain of salt, best laid plans, last minute disaster, etc: pick your own favorite caveat, just in case this ends up falling apart before it’s finalized.

Laird is 29 years old, and managed to get through all of last season with only one injury, a hamstring strain that sent him to the 15-day DL in late June. He made $1.6 million in 2008. He is not a magical sparkly unicorn at the plate: he hit .276/.329/.398 last season, with career numbers slightly under that.

Paws knows that an OPS of .727 is not going to save us, but Inge had a (significantly) worse OPS last season. Saltalamacchia did worse than that. Pudge hit worse than that. Jason Varitek hit worse than that.

So, whatever, he’s not 2000!Pudge. Laird is a defensive catcher. That’s cool. We like defensive catchers, and we need them with our occasionally psychotic pitchers. Of course last season we all fell into the trap of hand-waving lineup holes by assuming that the rest of the bats would be more than capable of picking up the slack, and that worked out about as disastrously as was possible. But I still think most of us will agree that we can make that offensive sacrifice for the catcher.

Perhaps most importantly, Gerald Laird is– not to put too fine a point on it– about ten squintillion times better for the Tigers than Varitek would have been. That is basically all we can ask for.

I just realized I’ve started two posts in a row with the phrase ‘As of right now’. That’s got to break some rule of good blogging or other. Curses.

ETA: This trade is now official. The other Tigers pitcher in the deal is 17-year-old Carlos Melo.

fresh rumor out of the winter meetings: baseball to be played next season

Ah, I do love the winter meetings. Aggressively mediocre players getting offers of more money than I will probably ever make in my lifetime. Pitchers with their arms kept in their sockets solely due to the wonders of duct tape getting multi-year contracts. Managers wearing hilariously poorly-chosen shirts. Scott Boras laughing himself to sleep every night on a bed of dead puppies and crushed dreams. It’s the MOST wonderful time of the year!

Really, it’s all about the rumors. Rumors are the lifeblood of the winter meetings. They keep the reporters occupied and the websites in a frothy mess of up-to-datedness (excepting of course this particular website… REAL writers don’t have to deal with FINALS and OH GOD HUGE PRESENTATIONS IN FRONT OF COMMITTEES OF PROFESSORS WHO POSSIBLY HATE YOU AND YOUR ARTWORK). They make managers feel like they’re on the cutting edge of hip-itude, or something, and they make players feel wanted, which is important when you’re working with a bunch of grown men who have the average maturity of an emo middle schooler.

Since the closest RotT can get to the winter meetings is Rotoworld (which I have, for the record, been reloading OBSESSIVELY of late), we have just kept our royal collective ear to the ground here in frigid ol’ Michigan for some of the latest and clearly greatest Tigers rumors out of the southern lands.

Rumors!

Matt Stairs to the Blue Jays sounds like a done deal. I liked what the rotund little fellow brought to the field at the end of the year, but not enough to want to shell out more than a bare minimum to retain him. Basically he brought spirit, and since spirit is a great intangible, it has always been my general belief that it should be paid for with accordingly intangible amounts of money.

Other teams think that Chris Shelton is a hot piece of man meat. Perhaps not in those exact terms, but other teams have been asking Mr. Dombrowski about him. You can just imagine the conversation. A general manager sidles up to Dombrowski in the lobby and pulls him aside. “Hey, Dave. You know that sexy little red-headed thang on your roster? Help a fella out and let me have that number, willya? I just have such a weakness for that shade of orangey red…”

The Tigers want a left-handed reliever wicked bad. Jamie Walker was a pristine LOOGY last season, and good for him, parlaying that into a honkin’ big contract. I don’t necessarily think that he would’ve retained that same level of production, and even if he does, it’ll probably only be if he’s used the way Leyland (correctly) used him: as a LOOGY. So good luck to him, but now we need something like him in the ‘pen. I have no idea who we should get. Whoever it is will probably be worse than Walker06, but hopefully not too much worse.

Craig Monroe is available for the right price. And that right price is: one moderately nice leather belt.

We need to restock the system with catching prospects. Well, so does everyone else is baseball, but STILL. I know I’ve been harping on this and I’m going to keep right on harping on it until we clone Pudge and raise his freakish, pre-aged little clone babies in a sketchy lab somewhere in Lakeland.

Jeremy Bonderman is not being traded. If you say otherwise, I will find you, and eat your spleen. It would be D-U-M dumb to trade Bondo now. Given his age and his current skill level, AND his potential skill level, you really would have to get back something fairly ridiculous to make it worthwhile. I believe what I said before was “Albert Pujols and the secret to the presence of dark matter in the cosmos.” I think that still stands.

Mike Maroth is probably the most likely starter to be dealt. That doesn’t mean he’s going to be dealt. Here at RotT we haven’t detected any particular noise in that area, unless you count the ‘Mike Maroth and cruddy prospects for Brian McCann, Andruw Jones, and a pile of gold doubloons’ trade that exists only in my head. But if any of the starters end up on the block, I’d be least surprised to hear it was Maroth who went. I do kind of want him back; he’s been getting better and better every year, and was well on his way to another great year last season, but hey. It’s like I always say… if wishes were fishes, we’d all be feasting on cod.

Roman Colon neck spasms REVEALED! Apparently he had a herniation in his neck. I assume that means a herniated disk? As is distressingly usual, the official site gives almost no medical information. Since a ‘hernia’ is technically any spot where some inner structure (tissue, organ wall, etc) protrudes through the wall normally around it, it could refer to a number of things… a bit of spine slipping out of place, a tendon or muscle doing something wonky, etc. He had surgery to correct it and will only just be starting to throw in March, so he’ll probably still be on the DL when April rolls around.

Jim Leyland is the talk of the ladies at the winter meetings. Oh hellz yes.