Monday, October 21, 2013

If I were Mike Illitch....

The news coming out of the Detroit Tigers today is that Jim Leyland is out as the Manager and that changes things greatly of how I would handle the off season if I were lucky enough to own the Detroit Tigers. Since it now seems likely that this team needs a manager and likely an entire new coaching staff my list of the people I would offer this job to wold include Kirk Gibson, Tony La Russa, and Dusty Baker. Not sure how likely any of those choices are right now but that is where I would start looking for my new skipper.

Past that I would make a few personnel changes, and I would have my front office working double time to start looking at where this team is weak. I see three big holes right now; second base, left field, and closer. I would also say that this team needs a new lead off hitter. The hope there is you find a player to fill a hole and bat lead off.

We begin at Second. The Tigers have two in house options. they could resign Omar Infante who they like and who fits in well here or they could give the job to youngster Hernan Perez. That would give them a very young middle defense, but a good one defensively. However, having two weak bats at those two spots doesn't seem likely.

I would explore every option of trading Prince Fielder and his contract to the New York Yankees for Robinson Cano. I would much rather pay him 200 million dollars and have a lead off bat and a guy who is passionate about baseball then Fielder who isn't great defensively and is a post season bust. I want out of that deal, and I would do almost anything to accomplish that this off season. Past that I would keep options open and look hard at resigning Infante.

In Left I would give Nick Castellanos every opportunity to win that job. I would like to see him make the big team out of Spring Training and get regular starts and at bats in Detroit in April and May. I think having Andy Dirks to push him is enough, but I would not rule out inviting someone to Training Camp to push the two of them.

If I am Illitch, and I am near the end, and I want to win a ring before that happens 2014 is an all in year for me. Not only would I resign Maz Scherzer to whatever amount of money keeps him here next year, but I give Dave Dombrowski enough payroll room to go get a legit big time closer. Not knowing the free agent market of yet I do not have a name, but I want a stud. I resign Joaquin Benoit as the set up guy. I also give Bruce Rondon a shot to make the pen as a 7th inning guy for seasoning. Phil Coke is out, and I would want Drew Smyly in the pen for 2014 with an eye on getting him in the rotation in 2015.  I keep Al Alburquerque, but the rest of them are tougher decisions and they need a new left handed specialist.

That is the opening salvo of my outline for a Tigers plan to get better for 2014. That is gonna change a lot but if I were Mike Illitch I don't care about the luxury tax, I don't care how big the payroll gets, I am all in for 2014 with or without Prince Fielder.

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