Traded Ryan Perry (RHP) to Washington Nationals in exchange for Collin Balester (RHP)
Analysis: With the signing of Dotel, the back of the Tigers bullpen was running out of room, and after the season of struggles, the Tigers decided that Perry's best bet might be a change of scenery, in addition to the fact that he was likely behind at least four, and probably five if you count Al Alburquerque, in the late inning relief pecking order. While Balester fits a similar profile as Perry (mid-20's, inconsistent performance, lots of shuttle time between the big leagues and Triple-A), he came up as a starter, and has the profile to be a multi-inning reliever, a role that the Tigers did need filled. He posted a 4.54 ERA with a 3.86 xFIP in 35 2/3 innings last year, with nearly a strikeout per inning and a 2.4 K:BB ratio.
Posted by Wez, 12/10/11
Signed Octavio Dotel (RHP) to a one-year deal with a club option
Analysis: The Tigers were hoping to add a veteran reliever to help solidify their bullpen after a 2011 stretch run highlighted the disparity in usefulness between the Tigers back end of the bullpen and the rest of the group. Dotel has been a reliable reliever for his entire career (now spanning 13 teams) and should fill a similar role for the Tigers. The signing does mean the final two or three bullpen spots will see increased competition for them come spring training.
Posted by Wez, 12/09/11
Re-signed Ramon Santiago to two-year deal worth $4 million
Analysis: The Tigers explored the market, but didn't appear sold on any of the various free agent options out there, as they went off the board with the organization expressing little interest. After investigating a possible trade for Martin Prado that didn't work out, the Tigers appear set to move forward at second base with a combo of Ryan Raburn and Santiago. While it's not a blockbuster move, without acquiring a top notch hitter to play at the keystone, the Tigers will have solid pop and versatility at the spot between the duo.
Posted by Wez, 11/30/11
Re-signed Omir Santos (C) to minor league deal
Signed Jerad Head (OF) to minor league deal
Analysis: A couple of solid organizational depth signings, as Santos will get an invite to big league camp and will once again be viewed as insurance for the big league club. Head meanwhile has been a very productive outfielder in the Indians' organization the past few years and should help provide the Tigers some flexibility when it comes time to set minor league rosters.
Posted by Wez, 11/29/11
Signed Gerald Laird (C) to one-year deal
Analysis: The Tigers were in need of a backup catcher to help alleviate the workload from Alex Avila, and so they turned to a familiar face, who accepted a one-year deal for $1 million. While not all fans are enthusiastic about bringing Laird back, he's a solid defensive catcher, works well with the pitching staff, and was willing to accept a clear backup role in which he'd only play in 30-40 games over the course of the year. It's not a blockbuster signing, but more than adequately fills the need.
Posted by Wez, 11/19/11
Outrighted Cale Iorg (SS) to Toledo
Analysis: The moves for the most part were expected, as an arm like Casey Crosby was a no-brainer to protect, and could even compete for a bullpen spot this spring. Likewise, Hoffman and Stohr both have live arms with late inning and potential and could have been gobbled up. Neither Hernan Perez nor Avisail Garcia appear close to the big leagues, but both are valued assets to the organization, and a team could easily try and swipe them and stash them on the back of a big league roster for a year, especially someone like Perez, who could still move quickly up the ladder.
The decision to remove Iorg from the lineup was a relatively easy one, not due to his struggles at the plate the past two years, but rather due to major shoulder surgery that has in question whether or not he will be ready for the start of the 2012 season. Between that and a rough offensive profile, the possibility of him being snagged as a defense first guy plummets, and means he's likely safe for awhile as he tries to sort through his offensive game.
Posted by Wez, 11/18/11