Tag: Prince Fielder

Nelson Cruz Getty

Tigers downplay interest in Nelson Cruz


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.

Miguel Cabrera is fully recovered from sports hernia surgery; is over his emo about Prince Fielder leaving

AP Miguel Cabrera

Remember that sports hernia that the Tigers pretty strongly implied Miguel Caberea was not suffering from in the last two months of last season? The ailment that got him no time on the DL even though he probably needed it in September? Well, it’s all good now. He feels 100% according to the Detroit News.

But the biggest takeaway from that story is when Cabrera was asked about being sad in the wake of Prince Fielder getting traded. He scoffed at the notion:

Was he shocked the Tigers unloaded Fielder’s huge contract for Ian Kinsler, thus significantly altering the batting order? Yep, he was. Was he saddened by it?

“What do you mean ‘sad?’ ” Cabrera said. “Yeah, he was a big part of our team. When you see somebody get traded, you don’t want that. But I don’t put extra negative things in my head because everybody talks about it. I got a great hitter behind me, and people in the big leagues got a lot of respect for Victor (Martinez).”

Yeah, sure. You weren’t sad, Miguel. You only spent an entire night being all emo on Twitter, posting pictures of Prince. Not sad at all.


Ian Kinsler wants to steal more bases. He might.

Ian Kinsler

There’s a story in the Detroit Free Press about Ian Kinsler’s dissatisfaction with his stolen base totals from last year. He swiped only 15 bases and was caught 11 times. The former total was his lowest since his rookie season, the latter total was his highest ever. He discusses the reasons for why this was in the article and they make sense.

It’ll be interesting to see if, as Kinselr wishes, he’ll be able to improve on that now that he’s in Detroit.  The Tigers were dead last in all of baseball last season in both stolen bases (35) and stolen base attempts (55). This despite having putative speedy fellows like Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter and Jose Iglesias in the lineup. Of course, they also had Jim Leyland at the helm, not Brad Ausmus, and Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera in the lineup and neither of those are guys who you (a) want running; or (b) want to take the bat out of their hands by running when they’re up.

Maybe the Tigers run more under Ausmus. And with Fielder gone — and the speedy Rajai Davis around — you have to figure that they will attempt more than 55 steals. Still, it seems unlikely to me that the Tigers — who were second in the AL in runs per game, after all — are going to radically change their approach. So while Kinsler should wind up with more than 15 steals, I wouldn’t expect a return to 30.

Ranking the best off-seasons so far

Carlos Beltran

We’re almost into 2014, which means we’re only about a month and a half away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training — the official start of baseball. Most of the big name free agents are off the board and thus most teams have already finished shopping or have done most of the heavy lifting already. With that said, let’s look over the teams that have had the five best off-seasons to this point.

5. New York Yankees — Any time you add Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, and Hiroki Kuroda, you have had a productive off-season. The Yankees have committed $328 million in free agency so far and may still spend more depending on how far they get in the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes. The Yankees were shocked, however, when second baseman Robinson Cano opted to take a ten-year, $240 million deal with the Mariners — a team that has finished in fourth place or worse in eight out of the last ten seasons — rather than continue his legacy in the Bronx. The Yankees’ already old and injury-prone infield became even more uncertain as they seem to be relegated to using Kelly Johnson sans Cano. The Yankees also have a bit of rotation uncertainty to address, but that could be fixed by signing Tanaka. Overall, a mostly productive off-season but the loss of Cano hit them hard.

4. Detroit Tigers — The Tigers have had an interesting off-season to say the least. They breathed a huge sigh of relief when they were able to unload the remainder of Prince Fielder’s nine-year, $214 million deal on the Rangers and get Ian Kinsler to show for it. However, they followed up with one of the more questionable trades in recent memory, trading starter Doug Fister to the Nationals for reliever Ian Krol, infielder Steve Lombardozzi, and Minor League starter Robbie Ray. The Tigers are as in win-now mode as any team out there, so the Fister trade could only have precipitated another shoe dropping, but that shoe has yet to drop. Elsewhere, the Tigers added Rajai Davis and Joba Chamberlain along with new closer Joe Nathan. The Tigers should once again be the favorite to win the AL Central.

3. Texas Rangers — There is no doubt the Rangers got better, but the question is at what cost? Acquiring Prince Fielder cost them Ian Kinsler. While they certainly had the depth to afford to do that, they also had to take on Fielder’s gargantuan contract. The Rangers also committed $130 million to Shin-Soo Choo, who may be a platoon outfielder at best. However, the Rangers will have one of the most powerful offenses in baseball in 2014 and should be a pre-season pick to contend at least for the AL Wild Card if not win the AL West outright over the Athletics.

2. Tampa Bay Rays — The small-market Rays raised some eyebrows when they signed free agent first baseman James Loney to a three-year, $21 million deal. In a market flush with first basemen, it was surprising to see the Rays commit three years to a player at a team on the wrong end of the positional spectrum. Loney, however, had a career rebirth in 2013 and the Rays must see a reason for it to continue. Rays GM Andrew Friedman also added reliever Heath Bell and catcher Ryan Hanigan in a three-way trade with the Diamondbacks and Reds, relinquishing only two non-prospect Minor Leaguers. The Rays adequately addressed all of their needs and didn’t get bogged down by a big, expensive contract as is their habit. A pretty standard, productive off-season for them.

1. St. Louis Cardinals — The Cardinals had one need: a shortstop who can hit. The free agent market for shortstops was thin, with just Jhonny Peralta and Stephen Drew at the top, but the Cardinals snagged their guy, signing Peralta to a four-year, $53 million deal. They also traded David Freese and Fernando Salas to the Angels for Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk, a trade that has a lot of upside for the Cards. They have nothing left to do, so they will bide their time until spring training when they will start their quest to win the National League pennant yet again.

Shin-Soo Choo agrees to seven-year, $130 million deal with Rangers

Shin-Soo Choo Getty

UPDATE: CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News are both reporting that the deal is worth $130 million. That’s $10 million less than the reported offer from the Yankees, but when you figure the tax difference between the states, Scott Boras actually did pretty well for his client here.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports hears that it’s a straight seven-year, $130 million deal with a limited no-trade clause and no opt-outs or options. The deal will run through Choo’s age-37 season.

12:15 p.m. ET: Big news on what was originally expected to be a sleepy Saturday in the baseball world, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Rangers have agreed to a seven-year deal with free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News has confirmed the report. No word yet on the exact dollar amount.

We heard earlier this week that Choo had previously turned down a seven-year, $140 million offer from the Yankees, so it will be interesting to see if Scott Boras was able to top that. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels has been coy about his interest in Choo this winter, but they reportedly offered him a seven-year deal at the Winter Meetings.

This is the second major splash of the winter for Daniels, as he traded second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Tigers for first baseman Prince Fielder in November. The Rangers were seventh in the American League in runs scored this past season, but that lineup is suddenly looking quite potent again with Choo at the top and Fielder in the middle.

Choo, 31, hit .285/.423/.462 with 21 home runs, 54 RBI and 20 stolen bases over 154 games with the Reds in 2013. He has a .389 career on-base percentage.