Tag: Andy Dirks

Stephen Drew Getty

Could the Tigers make a play for Stephen Drew?


The Mets and Red Sox have been mentioned most often as possible landing spots for free agent shortstop Stephen Drew, but as these situations often go, he might end up in an unexpected place. Peter Gammons brought up an interesting possibility earlier today:

Jose Iglesias is expected to begin the season on the disabled list due to shin splints, so Drew could fill in at shortstop for now. Once Iglesias returns, the Tigers could potentially play Drew at third base and move Alex Castellanos back out to left field as part of a platoon with Rajai Davis while Andy Dirks rehabs from back surgery. I could see it if Igelsias’ injury was really serious, but otherwise, probably not. It’s an interesting scenario to ponder at the very least.

This wouldn’t be the first time that an injury resulted in a Scott Boras client landing with the Tigers. After Victor Martinez suffered a torn ACL in January of 2012, the Tigers gave Prince Fielder a nine-year, $214 million contract. Stay tuned.

Andy Dirks needs back surgery, out three months

Andy Dirks

Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks is expected to miss at least 12 weeks following back surgery, the team announced.

Dirks had been slated to platoon with free agent signing Rajai Davis in left field, taking most of the playing time as the left-handed-hitting option, so his injury opens the door for Davis to take on a bigger portion of the starts.

Davis brings a ton of speed to the table and is a plus defender in left field, but he hasn’t shown the ability to hit right-handed pitching consistently. Dirks, meanwhile, is a career .278 hitter with a .751 OPS versus righties.

Tigers downplay interest in Nelson Cruz

Nelson Cruz Getty

Nelson Cruz is still looking for a home in free agency and the Tigers have surprised us with some late offseason additions before, so some have speculated that they could make sense as a possible match, but general manager Dave Dombrowski downplayed the possibility when asked by reporters at the team’s annual TigerFest today:

As of now, the Tigers are set to go with a platoon of Andy Dirks and Rajai Davis in left field this season. The Tigers traded Prince Fielder to the Rangers over the winter while Jhonny Peralta signed a deal with the Cardinals, so Miguel Cabrera is the only legitimate power threat in the lineup at the moment. Cruz could help change that, though he obviously comes with a ton of questions, ranging from how he’ll perform after his PED suspension to his age and poor defense. He would also cost a draft pick. It’s not hard to see why teams are hesitant to make a large investment.

UPDATE: Rajai Davis agrees to a two-year deal with the Tigers

Rajai Davis

UPDATE: Looks like the deal is done: two years with the Tigers, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith. The details are unknown.

9AMBen Nicholson-Smith reports that the Tigers are the frontrunners for Rajai Davis. Since, according to Smith, Davis is expected to sign quickly, it would appear that he’s crossing the Ambassador Bridge and heading for Motown.

Davis hit .260/.312/.375 with 45 stolen bases in 331 AB for the Blue Jays last season. Which is sort of what you can always expect from him. If the Tigers want him you’d hope it’s as a fourth outfielder/pinch runner type, but given that they have Andy Dirks in left field at the moment, who knows.

Tigers will be hard-pressed to make big signing this winter

ALCS - Boston Red Sox v Detroit Tigers - Game Five

The Tigers have made a habit of big splashes in the offseasons. Three years ago, it was Victor Martinez. Then Prince Fielder. Last winter, the Tigers signed both Anibal Sanchez and Torii Hunter. Those deals have helped them reach the postseason each year, but the ultimate prize has remained out of reach.

As the Tigers enter this winter with a new manager in Brad Ausmus, it worth wondering just how high the payroll can go. Even with Jhonny Peralta, Joaquin Benoit, Omar Infante, Octavio Dotel and Jose Veras off the books, their current group weighs in at $156 million according to my arbitration guesstimates. That would already be a new franchise high and it’s without making a single addition.

Here’s the current 25:

CF Austin Jackson: $6 million (arbitration)
RF Torii Hunter: $14 million
3B Miguel Cabrera: $22 million
1B Prince Fielder: $24 million
DH Victor Martinez: $12 million
C Alex Avila: $4 million (arbitration)
LF Nick Castellanos: $500,000
2B Danny Worth: $500,000
SS Jose Iglesias: $1.7 million

C Bryan Holliday: $500,000
INF-OF Don Kelly: $1.1 million (arbitration)
INF Hernan Perez: $500,000
OF Andy Dirks: $1 million (arbitration)

Justin Verlander: $20 million
Max Scherzer: $13 million (arbitration)
Anibal Sanchez: $15 million
Doug Fister: $7.5 million (arbitration)
Rick Porcello: $7.5 million (arbitration)

Drew Smyly: $530,000
Bruce Rondon: $500,000
Al Alburquerque: $900,000 (arbitration)
Phil Coke: $2 million (arbitration)
Jose Alvarez: $500,000
Luke Putkonen: $520,000
Evan Reed: $500,000

Just look at all of those arbitration cases. The Tigers have eschewed multiyear deals with youngsters, always going year to year instead. It’s going to catch up with them this year, with the rotation of Scherzer, Fister and Porcello likely to nearly double what they earned last season.

If there are any non-tenders, they’re likely to come from the cheaper players. Coke would seem be the most likely candidate. Non-tendering Kelly and re-signing him to a minor league deal could also work, though that’ll be a minimal money saver.

An obvious choice to free up cash is to trade a starter. Scherzer would bring back a top-notch position player. Porcello wouldn’t, but the Tigers could make themselves better and cheaper at the same time by trading him for a young reliever and moving Smyly to the rotation.

As is. the Tigers need a second baseman, at least two relievers and a utilityman. But that’s not making much of a splash, unless the second baseman happens to be Robinson Cano. I think that’s a big long shot. The Tigers already have Verlander’s salary jumping to $28 million in 2015, and they have to start thinking about an extension for Cabrera, who is a free agent after 2015.

So, what are we looking at? If the Tigers want Infante back for second, that’s going to cost $6 million-$7 million per year on a two- or three-year deal. A closer from the group of Joe Nathan, Brian Wilson and Grant Balfour is going to cost around $10 million per year. Just those two signings would push the Tigers over $170 million without providing any sort of upgrade (Benoit, while not a great bet as a closer going forward, was very valuable last season).

That puts the ball in owner Mike Ilitch’s court. If he wants to add another star, he’s looking at the AL’s second highest payroll, something in the $180 million-$190 million range. It’s a full $30 million higher than he’s ever gone before. Certainly, Shin-Soo Choo or Jacoby Ellsbury would look great at the top of the order. It’d take a whole lot of dough, but it’s the kind of addition Tigers fans are expecting after coming up just a bit short again.