Sunday, September 3, 2017

Pic of the Week

The Tigers' Mikie Mahtook takes a pitch in the shoulder
Friday against Cleveland Indians.
One of those moment of impact photos that captivate me.

But this also gives me a chance to make a quick comment on the roster-deadline revamping the Detroit Tigers pulled off Thursday.

First they unloaded Justin Upton and four years of his $22 million a year contract onto the Angels. Upton is having a fine season, but he's already 30 (time flies); the Angels keep investing in the wrong years of big name players. (Mike Trout the obvious exception.) I suppose the Angels justify getting Upton on the basis of needing a bat in their pursuit of a wild-card berth, since Albert Pujols, despite his RBIs, isn't getting the job done. And Josh Hamilton finally comes off their books after next month. But they're stuck on a treadmill.

Then, just before the deadline, Justin Verlander agreed to waive his no-trade clause. He'll pitch now for the Houston Astros.

The Tigers did rather well in that deal, getting three outstanding to decent prospects for the aging ace.

So the Tigers, who were on the same treadmill as the Angels, are suddenly well on their way to a cheaper, younger roster. They still have Miguel Cabrera, who still has six years at $30 million left on his deal and is, by Baseball Reference's version of WAR, a replacement level player, and Jordan Zimmermann and his 6.08 ERA, but they have pared payroll considerably with their in-season moves.

Mahtook himself would a more interesting piece if he were younger. He's 27 and just getting his first sustained opportunity to play in the majors. He's hitting fairly well, but this may prove to be his peak season.

Which brings us to the underlying issue of the Tigers rebuild. They will be younger and cheaper next year. That's not necessarily the same as high-ceiling.

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