Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Say Hello to the First New Tiger of the Offseason

With all the signings (and one trade) going on at these GM meetings so far, it’s almost like the Winter Meetings are already happening. Dan Uggla went very quickly for what I find to be a song for the Braves. I didn’t really want Uggla (and apparently I’m the only Tigers blogger to have taken that stance; seriously, for such a small rumor it produced a lot of drooling and mancrushes), so I don’t mind that the Tigers weren’t “more aggressive” (although that’s not a real good accusation to make given that we have very little information as to the negotiations, if there were any), but I feel kind of sorry for Marlins fans (although I do like Omar Infante). This afternoon brought the news that the Tigers have signed their first new free agent of the offseason in setup man Joaquin Benoit. He’s coming off a really good season with the Rays, and he’s a Type B free agent so the Tigers don’t have to give up a draft pick (though they probably will at some point; while we’re on the subject, I believe Magglio projects as a Type A, so they might as well offer him arbitration, since there’s no chance that Scott Boras will let him accept). It’s a three-year, $16.5 million deal, and the reaction to it on the blogosphere is generally positive. I think he’d be a good compliment to Joel Zumaya and Ryan Perry, and if Zumaya hurts himself again, Benoit should be able to slide into an even bigger role. I do have a slight concern that prior to this year, he had a tendency to walk quite a few batters, but the Tigers have prioritized velocity over control for a long time now, so I can see why they wouldn’t find that to be a problem. Overall, I approve of the signing, if for nothing else but the fact that I have no established allegiances to any of the existing relievers like I do the starters, so he’s not a “threat” to anyone (unless the Tigers plan to convert him back into a starter, but that’s unlikely; on a related note, Dave Dombrowski said yesterday that he’s not counting on Andy Oliver to be part of the 2011 rotation, but take that with a grain of salt for now). And with a new setup man in hand, I’d be perfectly happy for them to sign that big bat or two (and maybe a lefty reliever) and then call it an offseason, so that I can sit back, relax, and not stress out for the next four months.

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