Saturday, November 21, 2015

Interesting Developments in the Motor City

The Tigers have not made any huge moves yet, with the exception of nabbing Francisco Rodriguez. But they're also in the process of making some very small moves which could help to bring them back on top in the AL Central. And this is a pretty big deal, seeing as the Tigers almost won a World Series 3 years ago.

The Tigers just traded some small prospects to get Cameron Maybin back, who hasn't been a Detroit Tiger since they were a perennial last-place team, back in 2007. So joining a last-place, pitching-deprived Tigers team may feel like nothing's changed for Maybin. Maybin, however, is now a prime outfielder, and could definitely win the LF job over Tyler Collins for 2016.

This doesn't mean anything, really, because the Tigers need to tighten up their pitching staff. Verlander-Simon-Sanchez works well enough, despite some aging, but Kyle Lobstein, Shane Greene and Daniel Norris need to either improve or leave. Norris is probably the most optimistic-looking of the three, and if the other two don't work, they need to pipe in people who do.

The Tigers aren't expected to be a huge force this offseason (obviously), but if they can make little moves that can rebuild their pitching staff, and tighten their roster ever-so-slightly by using smaller players, small trades (like the Maybin one, which barely even got any front-page coverage), and little momentums, they can potentially get back to third or second place.

The AL Central could be a tough division, because the White Sox are one or two big players away from contending, and the Indians have the toughest pitching staff in the central, that could be trouble if backed up by a good lineup. If the Tigers can at least get by those two, and potentially fight the Twins, they could be cooking with gas.

Not saying this could definitely happen, but from the way they've been working so far...the Tigers have a chance.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Solid MVP Choices

Called 'em both. I did think Harper would have to contend with Anthony Rizzo a bit, but I knew he'd get it. Donaldson was a definite.

We've got all our awards won. Ten days 'til December. Ten days 'til Uncustomed Heroes of December.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Some Pretty Intriguing Cy Young Winners

I was skeptical about Jake Arrieta winning, because I didn't know if he'd get it, or if Zack Greinke would get it. It was a bit hazy and skeptical, and I didn't know which of them would win. I didn't think Kershaw would take it, because he's got 3, and he wasn't on his A game all year, but I knew it would be either Jake or Zack.

And I'm pretty happy that Arrieta took it, because that last half of the season really sold it, especially how dominant he was in the postseason. This guy is a landmark arm, and deserved the edge over Greinke, though I could have seen either one winning.

Meanwhile, this guy winning on the AL side was no surprise to me. He was dominant for the whole season, and broke out in a huge way, claiming his fan base, and helping the Astros get to October again. I feel like Keuchel is capable of having a bunch more great seasons like his 2015.

Tomorrow, we've got the MVPs. And while I can pretty much call the AL winner, I'm interested to see how the NL voting goes, because it could be one of two players.

Detroit, K-Rod City

(I'm sorry. That pun hurt to write.)

I still stand firm in my belief that Francisco Rodriguez is one of the best closers in baseball. Sure, his numbers have dropped, and he doesn't breathe power like he did in the mid-2000's, but he can still rack up 30 saves per season, easily. He's had a very nice resurgence in the last two seasons, and has made two straight All Star teams with the Brewers.

The Tigers, for the second season in a row, really, have had trouble finding a permanent guy for the ninth inning. Joe Nathan is basically done, Joakim Soria has proved a better setup man, and none of the younger guys can prove themselves more than middle relievers.

So, Detroit needs a closer, and Milwaukee needs to rebuild. So, trading K-Rod to the Tigers for a prospect definitely helps both parties.

Neither the Tigers nor the Brewers are really gonna be doing anything big next year. The Brewers are trying to rebuild and rethink every position not filled by Ryan Braun, and getting rid of K-Rod helps that. The Tigers are trying to contend again, and are very close to doing so, except they're still a flawed team, and they're clinging too hard to their pillars, Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander.

This should work well, and i'm interested to see the visual of K-Rod as a Tiger.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Predictable, but Well-Deserved

Two amazing rookie players, and two incredibly fitting Rookie of the Year awards. Could not have called any other outcome if I tried.

Congrats to both Bryant and Correa. Here's hoping for careers that are as good, if not better, than their 2015 seasons.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Return to the Island of Misfit Pitchers (aka Philly)

Today, Jeremy Hellickson, the 2011 AL Rookie of the Year, was traded by the Diamonbacks to the Phillies, freeing up some roster space for the D-Backs, who were lugging along his contract like a diseased mule.

Lucky us.

Now, and i mean currently, the Phillies have one of the oddest mixtures of talent swimming around their supposed pitching rotation. Sure, they have actual amazing talents like Aaron Nola, Adam Morgan and Jerad Eickhoff, and those three can definitely lead that rotation. But they also still have people like Aaron Harang and Jerome Williams, who will probably be dealt with later on.

Additionally, they still have Matt Harrison, who was injured last year, but was traded to Philly for (shudder) Cole Hamels. Texas got rid of him because they didn't know what he had left. Again, lucky us.

They also aren't offering anything to Cliff Lee, and we're also assuming they're hanging onto David Buchanan. So, with Hellickson now, that makes a whopping EIGHT pitchers who might be in the rotation next year. i mean, unless they want to give Philippe Aumont another chance.

I highly doubt the Phillies are going to be able to compete next year, but I wish they would decide whether or not they want to be a homegrown team. Because this rotation is swinging between 'homegrown team trying to reestablish itself' and 'last-place team searching for an answer while juggling people who used to be good'. And it's not looking too great.

Friday, November 13, 2015

OH, NO. (or, One Step fourth place.)

Man, first the Rays get stronger, now the Red Sox add one of the best closers in baseball. Baseball doesn't want me to sleep this week, does it?

Kimbrel is consistently lights-out in the ninth, and is one of the most aggressively dominant closers since Eric Gagne. It was bad enough that he had to play my Phillies every once and a while back in the day, so it was good they traded him out of the NL East.

But now...Kimbrel has to face my Yankees in the ninth.

I was fine with LITERALLY ANY OTHER TEAM nabbing Kimbrel. The Sox don't need a closer, because they have Koji Uehara, but because he was injured this season, that scared them, so now apparently they need to replace him with Craig Freaking Kimbrel.

The Padres did get some decent Boston prospects in return, and this is well and good, but this could be a potentially deadly acquisition for the Sox. However...the Sox right now are very run-down, very scattered. They don't have a ton of pitching, they don't have a lot of huge hitters (Papi notwithstanding), and they're very depleted in terms of what they were in 2013. Getting a closer may not help the entire thing.

Kimbrel's gonna give them 40 saves in 2016. I don't think he'll be pitching into the postseason or anything, but he'll be solid.