Facing uncertain future, Dye open to move to first base

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dye fielding.jpgWe still have so much to learn about defense, but one thing just about everybody can agree on now is that free agent Jermaine Dye isn’t any good in right field at this stage of his career.
Given the nature of the concepts used to measure defense and the smaller sample sizes being dealt with, stats rarely show a great deal of consistency from year to year. Dye is one extremely notable exception:
2006: -22.5
2007: -21.6
2008: -19.4
2009: -20.0
According to UZR, Dye has cost his team almost exactly 20 runs per year for four seasons running. There’s little doubt that he started his career as a fine defensive outfielder, but he had already declined considerably even before suffering a broken leg in the 2001 postseason. UZR says he was still acceptable until 2005, but that he’s been such a liability since that he was actually a sub-replacement player in 2007 and 2009.
The soon-to-be 36-year-old Dye can likely still contribute with the bat. While he finished last season in a brutal slump that dropped his OPS to 793, he came in at .302/.375/.567 with 20 homers in the first half. He hit .292/.344/.541 with 34 homers in 2008.
He’s also probably capable of making the switch to first base. He lacks an outfielder’s range, but he still moves around OK. Standing 6-foot-5, he’d certainly present a nice target for infielders.
That Dye is clearly open to the idea now makes him a far more attractive free agent target than he was a week ago. It should also help his case that every other notable free agent first baseman hits left-handed. It’d make him a better fit with the Braves or Orioles, two teams relying a great deal on left-handed power. The Mets, Giants and Mariners are others that could consider him at first base.

The Tigers will listen to trade offers on anybody

Miguel Cabrera
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Earlier this week Tigers GM Al Avila said that his club was going to get “lean” and “efficient” and that their days of spending big money are over. Later in the week Avila said that they would not likely offer a long term contract to outfielder J.D. Martinez, who will become a free agent after the 2017 season.

None of those comments necessarily suggested that the Tigers would be conducting a fire sale or anything, and it’s certainly possible to get leaner while still competing. One would assume that the Tigers could cut fat in the middle but still head into battle with their superstars. But that may not be the plan. Buster Olney:

. . . the message being received from the rest of the industry is a dramatic shift for one of baseball’s oldest franchises: They will listen to trade offers on everybody.

Miguel Cabrera. Justin Verlander. Ian Kinsler.


Trading those guys would be a pretty big deal. In both senses of the term.

It would take a blockbuster-sized deal to move such players. Verlander is owed $28 million a year for the next three seasons and has a vesting option for 2020 at $22 million. Cabrera just finished the first year of an eight-year, $248 million deal that will be paying him more than $30 million a year between 2018 and 2023, with an $8 million buyout for 2024. And that’s before the fact that both Verlander and Cabrera are 10/5 guys with full no-trade protection if they choose to exercise it. Beyond that Kinsler is a relative bargain at $11 million in 2017 and a $10 million club option for 2018 with a $5 million buyout. Victor Martinez and Justin Upton are hanging around too.

But for as big a trade would have to be if any one of those guys were dealt, it’d be a bigger deal in terms of team philosophy and direction. Cabrera has confirmed his Hall of Fame credentials in his nine years in Detroit. He’s the best player to wear the English D since Al Kaline and has been the biggest star in the organization for most of a generation. Verlander is nearly as important and nearly as famous. I don’t think it’s likely the Tigers will move either of them because the logistics of such deals would be mind-boggling, but even entertaining deals for these guys would alter the course of the franchise for years and years to come. It happens to every franchise eventually, but I don’t think the Tigers fan base is prepared for it to happen to them yet.

Still: the free agent market is thinner that it has been at any time in years and years. Cabrera and Verlander, if they could be had, would be the biggest splashes any team looking to improve could possibly acquire. Kinselr would be a big get for anyone as well. Al Avila knows that. Even if he’s not ready to part with his superstars, he probably owes it to his organization to at least listen.


The World Series broadcast schedule is announced

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Major League Baseball just announced the broadcast schedule for both Games 6 and 7 (if necessary) of the NLCS and the entire World Series.

There are no surprises here. The World Series games are all on Fox. The pregame show starts at 7:30 and the games themselves start just after 8pm Eastern Daylight Time, regardless of whether it’s Chicago or Los Angeles representing the National League. For some reason Game five of the World Series, scheduled a week from Sunday if it comes to pass, starts seven minutes later than all of the other games. Maybe something super exciting will happen then.