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Offseason Plan: Detriot Tigers

Arguably the bigest dissapiontment of the 2008 season, the Detroit Tigers will try to retool this offseason. It will be tough, however, because they want to cut the payroll from 135 million to 110 million. They already have about 105 million locked in on contracts, so look for them to either make one samll signing or make a trade to clear salary and then go after a bigger free agent. One player they could consider trading is Magglio Ordonez. Ordonez’s contract is kind of tricky. He makes 18 million next season, and has two 15 million club options for 2010 and 1011. It’s not that bad, but if Mags get 27 more at bats this year (he definatley will unless the Tigers sit him becasue of the options) the options for 2010 and 2011 will vest. If I’m a team looking in to trading for Magglio, I’m not sure I would want to take on 3 years, 48 million for a declining slugger. Plus, if they lose him it doesn’t matter what kind of free agent they sign becasue no right fielder on the market is as good as him, and they would just add tiny pieces if they spent the money on many players. So a Magglio trade is unlikely. The next guy is Carlos Guillen. He has been a good player for them, but will earn 12 million next year and 13 million in ’10 and ’11. This is also unlikely, but because of the weak free agent market for third and first baseman, he could bring back a decent pitcher. It would hurt their team losing this guy, though. That’s it for position players. Next up is starters they could trade. Justin Verlander is safe. They probably want to keep Jeremy Bonderman and see if he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Dontelle Willis and Nate Robertson are the most likely to be shopped. Willis has 22 million left on his deal through 2010. Robertson has 17 million on his deal through 2010. If the Tigers eat 7 million, Robertson might be atractive to some team looking for a veteran starter with upside. If they can do a deal like that I would pull the triger in a second. That would give them 10 million so they can sign a starter like Freddy Garcia or Paul Byrd to a small deal, then sign a reliever. Not great, but it doesn’t hurt. The bottom line is that the Tigers don’t have much flexibility and likely won’t be competing in ’09.