OT: Tigers looking to Nab Brad Penny

Submitted by jhackney on December 22nd, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Tigers have signed Victor Martinez and Joaquin Benoit and re-signed Magglio Ordonez, Brandon Inge and Jhonny Peralta. Not much more pocket room in Illitch's pockets to sign a "big name"? Maybe this is the reason they are not pursuing Carl Pavano? I don't know about you Tiger fans out there, but I was hoping for a bit more in way of signings for them. If given a grade, I would give them a C. What say you?

Sources: Tigers looking at Penny, other veteran starters



December 22nd, 2010 at 1:56 PM ^

I disagree.  The Tigers are built to contend in the weak-ish AL Central and then look to outpitch their opponents in a playoff series.  That's their only path to success - if you try and stack them up spending-wise and star-power-wise to Evil Empire I and Evil Empire II (NY and Boston) they'll fall short every time.


December 22nd, 2010 at 1:12 PM ^

I am an Indians fan, but I do like the Tigers also. I would give them a B. Martinez is a stud and a leader. He is worth the B himself. Peralta is a decent player that when he gets it going, he is a great hitter. The problem with him though is he never got it going for long, at least in Cleveland. The Tigers will be decent again sooner rather than later, especially compared to the Indians :(.


December 22nd, 2010 at 1:12 PM ^

I would actually give this a higher grade than a C.  Prolly more towards the high B range.   I posted a thread about the Carl Crawford signing and how I was bummed about the fact we missed out on him, Werth, and Dunn but after the smart people here on MGoBlog presented good logical facts to me, I wasn't that bummed anymore.


If Detroit got Brad Penny that would be pretty good but for now this hasn't been a bad offseason by any means.  The lineup of Ordonez, Cabrera, and Martinez does sound pretty enticing.  If Brennan Boesch can return to his career beginning form and if Guillen can stay healthy I bet they will have a pretty good lineup.


December 22nd, 2010 at 1:16 PM ^

I would like to hear the soothing voces of the MGoCommunity again then. Brad Penny? Maybe as a reliever. 3-4 with a 3.23 ERA at St. Louis and a 5.61 ERA with Boston. Granted it is in the AL East, but the numbers at St. Louis still don't jump off the map at me. Why not go for Pavano? Is he too much? I don't understand why Illitch doesn't use his pizza magic he uses on the Red Wings for the Tigers. If he buys the Pistons, he better not treat them like the Tigers.


December 22nd, 2010 at 1:38 PM ^

he is now the best avail. pitcher on the mkt

he will get a stupid deal from someone, way too much $ for way too many years

we did take a run at carl about 4 years or so ago when the yankees got him

he basically stole money from NY, after he got there he let himself go and was continually injured, I would not want to give this guy 3+ years at 40m or so

if you did not like signing benoit you will hate pavano

this is one carl thats not so hot


December 22nd, 2010 at 1:14 PM ^

I actually think they've done pretty well. Getting Magglio back (for less money) is key, Martinez is really good and fits a need, and Benoit is a good pickup as well. We never had a chance at anyone like Crawford. Plus, I understand why Dombrowski is being cautious given the economy and ownership situation. It hasn't been a great year (like 08, and we all remember how that turned out) but it hasn't been terrible.


December 22nd, 2010 at 2:15 PM ^

Magglios ten million for one year was a good signing with little risk involved for the Tigers. 

I like the Martinez signing this guy is a top tier player but will split time between DH and catcher which means you will seeing more of....ugh Alex Avila. 

As much as big money for relievers seems to be frowned upon by the MLB elitist media, I cant help but look back upon the 06 season and see the critical role relief pitching played in that pennant run. In other words if Benoit can do what he did last season, the Tigers did good here. ( praying for Zumaya to stay healthy )

The biggest question for me is LF, Rayburn was absolutely on fire down the stretch this past season and Bosch at the beginning of the season was hitting seeds on first pitch fastballs. I think Rayburn is more than likely the every day LF, I dont think that what we saw was a flash in the pan last year but, was hopefully a kid that has toiled around in the bigs for years with Tigers and hes now getting it. Bosch i believe is more of what you saw in the second half of that last year.

I think theyve made enough moves to be a legitimate contender in the AL central even though i believe the Sox will be the favorites.


December 22nd, 2010 at 2:24 PM ^

I'm not a Tigers fan, but I don't get why everyone hates Avila so much. He might not hit that well, but he's definitely no Gerald Laird. Besides, with the catcher position there are many other things you can do to add value as a catcher. I think he handles a pitching staff pretty well and calls a good game. He's thrown out 31% of baserunners the last year and a half which is darn good. In the AL Central, where you have teams that like to run, that's very important.

I know he only hit .228 last year, but you can make up for that in other areas of a lineup. That's part of the reason signing a guy who's a great-hitting catcher--but not a great-hitting DH who will primarily play there--didn't seem like the best move to me. Besides, he's only 23 and think that, for a guy probably brought up too early, he will improve there.


December 22nd, 2010 at 1:16 PM ^

2010 WAR: 1.1.  If it's anything more than like 1 year, 4-5 million, it's probably a pretty terrible deal.

I think this has been an awful offseason for the Tigers.  They overpaid massively for a reliever (and gave him a multi-year deal, which is just a terrible idea), and their big signing is a guy whose value comes largely from the fact that his bat is so good for his position, who they now appear set to DH him and take away most of his value.  

The only signing I was a fan of was the Ordonez one, mostly because it's short and relatively cheap relative to the value he'll provide.  


December 22nd, 2010 at 1:50 PM ^

That WAR represents just 9 starts because he tore his lat muscle and missed the last 4 months of the season.

But that does bring up an even bigger issue. No one really knows how healthy he will be. I wouldn't expect too much given the injury and the stats of 2 months in the NL Central following a dreadful '09 in the AL East (was he going to perform at that improved level all season?). 

I would sign him with an incentive-laden deal that allowed to hedge against that risk. If signed for the right amount of money, it could have huge upside. But also don't think you would be able to just pencil him in for 30 starts.


December 22nd, 2010 at 1:31 PM ^

Not much out there for Tigers to grab...

We have a very solid rotation.  We would be grabbing Penny to be our 4/5 guy.  Verlander/Max/Porcello is a solid 3 man group (ranked #7 in the big by Buster Olney)

Cabrera is an absolute stud, we just signed a guy to protect him and brought back maggs to get on base in front of him.

We needed a solid set-up man and Benoit was the best available.  Back end of the rotation is pretty solid and could be sick if zumaya gets his act together (I know, I know)


December 22nd, 2010 at 1:46 PM ^

I don't understand your take on the Tigers here. You really want them to spend so much money and years on free agents that are over 30? This years free agent class was not that good. With the few good players (Dunn, and Crawford etc), you knew their pricetags would have shot above what they are really worth and I for one am glad we didn't go after them with all that money and all those years.

I Think they have done a good job. They aren't done in my mind. We also have some real good guys coming up (C. Wells, Boesch (maybe), Sizemore, J. Turner). If one or two of them make an impact this year, this team will definitley compete in the division for the pennant.

They would have had a great chance to make the playoffs last year had it not been for all the injuries. Our lineup also was pretty damn good for most of the year. I am excited for this year and if Zumaya can be anything close to what he was, our bullpen will be dynamic.


December 22nd, 2010 at 2:04 PM ^

I think you are right about that. In the past few years, we have been burned by deals for aging players. See: Renteria, Aubrey Huff (Except they decide to somehow regain form with the Giants in the playoffs), Jarred Washburn, Sheffield, and maybe even Guillen aka Mr. Glass. I would say Martinez is another one, but with very little options at catcher, and the fact that we HAD to have an insurance policy for Avila, this is a deal that made sense.

I was really hoping that with all of our shitty salaries coming off the books that we could land some great player, but there just wasn't much there. Look at Jason Werth. That guy is not worth over $100,000,000. Adam Dunn would have been fun to have at Comerica though.


December 22nd, 2010 at 2:10 PM ^

Which would make signing Penny another signed aged player. Maybe for a year and low money, but this has the potential to be a diasaster in waiting. Aren't there any players in Toledo that could do just as good of job as Penny for a lower cost? Then we can wait and put the money in the piggy bank until a perfect fit shows up next offseason.


December 22nd, 2010 at 2:15 PM ^

Definitely with you there. My guess would be that they would be worried about a rookie or young player going in the tank (like Boesch did) and Penny would at least be consistently average.

Overall I would say, playoffs are a definite possibility with this team this year. We would have to have a 2006 type run to get to the W.S, so I doubt that. The Twins and White Sox really shouldn't run away from us in the division.


December 22nd, 2010 at 2:23 PM ^

Yeah, this is presumably the motivation behind pegging Phil Coke as a starter earlier in the offseason.  He was a very good starter in the minors before the Yankees moved him to the pen (because they didn't need starters) in the middle of 2008.   He's got three pitches and a good frame so the tigers think he can maybe pull off what CJ Wilson did last year.   Hopefully him and galarraga can hold the #4-#5 starter fort until oliver shows up next year and turner shows up in 2012. 


December 22nd, 2010 at 3:42 PM ^

I think you don't understand some of the basic rules surrounding free agency (I'm not trying to be a dick, just making an observation).

Free Agency signing are almost by definition players that are "past their prime" as a player needs to be a pro for six seasons in order to be eligible. Considering that most guys break in at 23 or 24, they're 29 or 30 by the time they're signed - about 3 years away from the decline phase. Martinez is around 31 - again, pretty common for a free agent. Given that tons of teams offer young, productive players "extensions" where they offer them a substantial raise (from the league minimum to a few million) in exchange for buying up their first 2 or 3 years of free-agent eligible career at a sub-market price (for instance, the Mets gave David Wright a raise from $300K to $7.35 mill a year in order get his 3 years after he'd become a free agent and be making over $20 million a year).

So yeah, when they get free agents, they are, frequently, over the hill. That's why building through free agency is hazardous.

Luckily, they managed to develop young guys like Verlander, draft enough top prospects so they could trade for a still young Miguel Cabrera, and develop guys like Granderson so they could trade for a quality young CF and a top notch pitcher (Scherzer, Austin Jackson).


December 22nd, 2010 at 2:38 PM ^

Good point. I should rescind his name from the list. He needs at least another year in the minors hopefully to develop into a stud. Maybe Oliver this year? Definitly don't need another career like Bondo, who didn't have time in the minors to ever develop a 3rd pitch.


December 22nd, 2010 at 2:03 PM ^

I like most of the Tigers acquisitions this off season. It would be nice to get Penny into the rotation, he'll be relatively cheap and is more likey to be a contributor to the rotation rather than Bondo or Armando. This move seems more like a low risk high reward scenario.


December 22nd, 2010 at 2:09 PM ^

This is good to hear. They definitely need another starter.  Against good teams, you can't roll your guys out there and just throw it down the middle and let the undertalented opponents make outs.

Great news. 

Who can honestly say what we have in Porcello right now?


December 22nd, 2010 at 2:11 PM ^

Dombrowski's methodical.  None of the moves are particularly awesome by themselves, but he's building a good roster for 2011 without sacrificing much financial flexibility after next season.  All told, these moves give the Tigers a solid roster that can contend in the AL Central in 2011 and 12 without giving out long, exorbitant contracts to anyone:

(1) The Inge and Peralta signings are not sexy, or all that interesting, but these are good moves because there were no better alternatives.  They're both close to average players and unless you want to go out and spend $80mil on adrian beltre there aren't any viable 3B on the FA market and SS is even thinner.  Holes filled adequately, move along.  

(2) Victor Martinez is a solid bat at a reasonable cost.  he'll catch twice a week, spell Cabrera at 1B and DH the rest of the time.  Would maybe have preferred dunn's bat, but he doesn't give you the positional flexibility that VMart does.  Hole filled nicely.

(3) the Benoit deal looks a little rich, but he solidifies the back end of the bullpen.  again, not sexy or interesting, but a decent little move that fills a hole. 

(4) Same with Magglio: Werth and Crawford are better, sure, but they got ridiculous contracts elsewhere.  Again, resigning an aging RF for 1 year isn't exciting, but it's a smart way to fill a hole without committing too much salary into the future. 

(5) Starting pitching: We've not gone after pavano because he'll want at least a 3 year deal and we don't want to tie up too much money/years in the rotation when we have (a) scherzer and porcello getting more expensive over the next 3 years and (b) a handful of guys - coke, oliver and turner - likely moving into the rotation in the next few years.



December 22nd, 2010 at 2:50 PM ^

I think that's overstating it.  If he gives us 200 (high leverage) innings of 3.00 era ball over three years, that's worth $16mil.  Non-closer relievers are getting PAID this year, for whatever reason, so benoit's deal isn't really an outlier:  Feliciano got $8m/2yrs, Jenks got $12m/2rys, Crain got $13m/3yrs, Downs got $15m/3yrs, Putz got $10m/2yrs, and Takahashi got $8m/2yrs. 


December 22nd, 2010 at 2:55 PM ^

1. He's 33 years old.

2. He's getting $5.5 million per year, which means he'll basically have to hold last year's level of production to justify the salary. 

3. His BABIP last year was an unsustainable .201, which is a full 100 points lower than where it should have been.

4. His strand rate last year was an unsustainable 95.1% (!). 

5. He struck out almost 2 batters per 9 innings more than he had in any previous year in his career.  

6. He's a middle reliever.  Given the inherent volatility of reliever performance (due largely to the small number of innings they pitch), 3 year deals are almost always bad, because you have no idea what you're getting from year to year unless you're getting Mariano Rivera. 


December 22nd, 2010 at 3:12 PM ^

I know all that, that's why I didn't predict his ERA would be 1.34 again.  His ERA based on his peripherals last year should have been 2.43.  Even if you add a run to that number, a guy with a 3.40 era over 200 high leverage innings is worth $16m. 

But since you're being a negative nancy, let me highlight the positives: he came back from a year off following surgery throwing harder than he ever has, and apparently is healthy.  7/1 k/bb is elite and is no accident.  Dombrowski has scouts that apparently love the guy. 

Do I think he ever repeats 2009?  No.  Does he have to in order to be worth his contract?  No.  Would I have signed him to this deal?  No, for the reasons you stated, but I think it's perfectly defensible. 


December 22nd, 2010 at 3:20 PM ^

last year was so far out of line with his career averages that I'm skeptical he can repeat anything close to it for 3 years.  If it were a 2 year deal, I think I could grin and bear it.  If he returns to 2008 form, for example (5.29 FIP, 5.71 xFIP) then it's a complete albatross.  And even if he falls in somewhere in between, it's not great unless they're planning on getting a ton of innings out of him.  


December 22nd, 2010 at 3:34 PM ^

I mostly agree, except I think it's pretty clear that he was pitching injured for a good portion of 2008 - velocity dropped, GB% dropped - and his 2010 is not so out of line with his 2005-2007 FIPs which averaged 3.50. 

But bottom line is that it Dombrowski couldn't really trust perry or zumaya to own the 8th inning next year, so he had to go out and pay going rates for a setup guy.  I didn't like the 3rd year any more than you do, but 5.5m a year is close to market value for these kinds of arms anymore, as shown by the other reliever contracts I cited. 


December 23rd, 2010 at 12:06 AM ^

I don't get the signing. Overpaying for an aging, middle reliever (!), one year removed from major injury, with a career year so far out of line with his historical averages...

We could have saved a few bucks and brought up one of the 20 major league ready relief pitchers we have in the minors right now or is DD not saying we have that kind of depth this year? /s

It would have been much more acceptable on a 2 year deal.


December 22nd, 2010 at 4:26 PM ^

Penny or Webb as another starter is fine with me


Galaragga can then go as a bullpen/ spot starter guy

Verlander/ Scherzer/Porcello/Penny or Webb/ Coke ???


I think the way this bullpen is shaping up, if it can stay healthy it has real potential, and don't overuse Zumaya !


December 22nd, 2010 at 6:10 PM ^

Don't know why people want Pavano. He's got the highest asking price for FA pitchers out there and it won't match his production. He's been great against us, but mediocre against everyone else. Plus, he's a type A FA, which means we'd have to give up a draft pick for him. No thanks.

Trader Jack

December 22nd, 2010 at 7:09 PM ^

The only reason I'd be remotely interested in Pavano is because everytime he pitches against the Tigers he absolutely kills us. But ask the Yankees how giving that guy a long term deal turned out.

Steve Lorenz

December 22nd, 2010 at 11:21 PM ^

The Werth contract killed the free agent market. He was drastically overpaid and basically eliminated everybody except New York and Boston from signing Crawford. Instead of reaching and overpaying, they're more likely to make a small signing here or there, let Maggs and Guillen come off the books and make a run at the big names next year. 


December 22nd, 2010 at 11:50 PM ^

No other suitable thread for this, but we had a current Tiger, Weinhardt, over at the family's house today. Still a great guy, and he had many, many great things to say about Tigers fans. Also got to see some of his "initiation" photos. Him as a mickey mouse hooker, still weird, even 3 hours later. Damn you, Bonderman!

Robbie should be all of your favorite Tiger, and no, his mom didn't explicitly tell me that, but kind of.