Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Zoom, free agents, and Tigers, oh my!

For an article featuring the results of Joel Zumaya's shoulder surgery, Jon Paul Morosi had plenty of VERY interesting free agency nuggets hidden within.

First off, regarding Zumaya, there was good news.

Dr. Heinz Hoenecke reviewed images of the shoulder with Zumaya and his father. At one point, Joel Zumaya said, Hoenecke turned to Joel Sr. and said, "Your son is going to come back throwing the ball like he was."

We can only hope the doctor is right. Considering that Zumaya's shoulder injury was rated a 5 on a 1-5 scale, that's awfully good news. Of course, it's much too early to celebrate, as Zumaya is in uncharted injury territory for a pitcher. As a fan, I'll take whatever good news I can get.

Morosi also had Zumaya comment on the rumors started in an ESPN.com comment thread that claimed he wasn't hurt moving boxes. Zoom was perturbed, to say the very least.

“It’s tough to have people criticizing me, saying I’m a liar,” he said. “I’ve never done anything to anybody to deserve this. It’s sad. It’s nothing I’m worried about. I just want people to know that, when I come out of this surgery, I’m going to be 110%.”

Zumaya defended his initial statements about the injury, saying, “I want people to know the truth: A box fell on me while I was evacuating my home in Chula Vista.”

I hope to Hell that will put an end to of all the unfounded speculation surrounding the injury. I'm tired of reading about it. I'm sure most fans feel the same way. I'm never the type to think everything is some sort of conspiracy, anyway. If the Tigers believe Zumaya, that's good enough for me.

I can also understand why he would feel insulted. All the guy has ever done is give his all for the Tigers and their fans, yet some anonymous message board asshats think the kid is hiding something. Let's just all move on with our lives...

Now comes the free agency talk.

Morosi mentions the Tigers have shown interest in the following free agent relievers...

Todd Jones - It's a given that the Tigers will have interest in his returning, but I think that it's not a sure thing he returns. He's looking for a multi-year deal, and more importantly, with the Tigers in win now mode, is he good enough?

Eric Gagne - The Tigers want Gagne if Jones moves on. To be honest, I think I'd prefer him over Jones, even if Jones wants to return. The Tigers had interest in Gagne at the trade deadline, so here's no reason to expect they think differently of him because of his struggles in Boston. Don't forget, as bad he was with the BoSox, Gagne was lights out with the Rangers.

Unfortunately, nothing is mentioned about the Tigers having interest in Mariano Rivera or Francisco Cordero. Let's hope that is just Dombrowski playing it close to his vest.

Morosi also says the Tigers are open to finding a a better left field option than the current platoon (If the season began tomorrow) of Marcus Thames (I'm perfectly fine with Thames facing LH pitching) and Timo Perez. (PLEASE NO, HELL NO, FUCK NO, NO WAY IN HELL, AND A THOUSAND TIMES NO!)

So it's apparent that the Tigers aren't satisfied with the outfield status quo. The caveat being that any other left field option has to come at an "Affordable" price. That's interesting to hear, after all the win now talk. Even though the Tigers supposedly want to win at all costs, Mike Ilitch isn't willing to spend at all costs.

Thought to be "Affordable" outfield options are...

Cliff Floyd - He's a solid lefty bat, without question. But has he ever been healthy for an entire season? Rather than just guess, I looked it up. He's made it through an entire season in just 1 of the last 5, playing 150 games in 2005. Otherwise, it's been anywhere from 97 to 113 games. If there's such a thing being an old 34, Floyd is it, with that ugly injury history. But he has the left handed pop in his bat the Tigers need. Would Floyd come to Detroit on an affordable 1 year deal? Maybe, as he does have ties to Dombrowski and Jim Leyland, being a former Marlin.

Shannon Stewart - This makes no sense. I don't get the interest in Stewart at all. He doesn't hit with the power you'd expect from a left fielder, and he does so from the right side to boot. He's not even close to being the player he was in Toronto. You'd get Timo Perez style production at 3 times the price.

Ben Broussard - Not a free agent, the Mariners' Broussard would cost the Tigers prospects. Probably not big time prospects, but prospects all the same. To be honest, after the Renteria trade, I'd rather not see the Tigers trade from a rapidly thinning minor league talent pool for a part time LF/1B, when you could find someone comparable, if not much better, in free agency.

Morosi also claims former Tiger Luis Gonzalez (Via his agent, obviously) has expressed interest in returning to Detroit.

Gonzalez is an intriguing left hand hitting option. Though at 39, he's no longer the power threat he was with the D-Backs, he's still respectable with the bat, unlike Stewart. He's rarely hurt, unlike Floyd, who's ALWAYS injured. All Gonzo would cost is money, unlike Broussard, who would cost prospects.

As for "Affordability," Gonzalez has already made his huge money, and knows he won't get another massive, multi-year contract. He'd likely be receptive to a 1 year deal for a few million. Gonzalez wouldn't be around long enough to block Cameron Maybin, and might make a decent stopgap till Maybin is ready. If given a choice between Timo Perez and Gonzo, give me Gonzo.

It's going to be fascinating to see how the Tigers maneuver to fill their needs. We may see radical changes in the Tigers roster over the next few weeks. A new left fielder, a new back end to the bullpen, who knows what the Tigers may have up their sleeves...

Good Lord, I cannot wait for the open season on free agents to begin.


  1. I'm with you on the Luis Gonzalez possibility, Big Al. If he's interested in being the left-handed side of a left field platoon, I like him - and the added pop he'd provide - over Timo Perez.

    I'm not sure how much he has left at 40, but I think him coming to Detroit could bring a nice circle to his career. Randy Smith shouldn't have shipped Gonzalez off (though I think Tiger Stadium's right field overhang messed with his swing), and his career exploded from there. It would be nice to see him finish things off here.

  2. God, that was one of Radar Randy's worst trades, Gonzo for Karim "The Latino Bambino" Garcia. Good Lord, was he a bust! The biggest hit that stiff ever had was in that fight with a Boston groundskeeper a few years ago.

    I'd be just fine with a Thames/Gonzo LF platoon.