Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tiger Targets Choosing Different Destinations

It's still very early in the off season, but several Tiger targets (confirmed or rumored) have already headed elsewhere. BJ Ryan is a Blue Jay. Billy Wagner is a Met. Bob Howry is a Cub even though, according to Peter Gammons of ESPN, the Tigers offered him 1.5 million more. Kyle Farnsworth is reportedly close to a three year deal with the Yankees (according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports). On the potential trade front, Javier Vazquez has apparently included the Tigers on the list of six teams to which he can not be traded (found near the bottom of this News Day artcle).

Again it's early, but so far we are getting reminded that Detroit is still not an attractive destination for free agents or other players with a choice in where they play. This is not something that a lot of Tiger fans like to hear after watching losing seasons for more than a decade but it's becoming more and more clear each year that the Tigers will not be able to buy their way out their struggles. I'm convinced that the Tigers are not ever going to be a consistent winner or even an occasional winner until they start developing young talent on a regular basis. This is not said out of frustration in their failure to make early moves. It's something I believe to be true even if they do make a Major League signing or two.

With blue chip prospects such as Justin Verlander, Joel Zumaya and Cameron Maybin and other promising young players such as Brent Clevlen, Jordan Tata, Jeff Frazier, Jeff Larish, and Kyle Sleeth on the horizon, the Tigers appear to have a more impressive collection of minor leaguers than they have had in years. Now, that is in comparison to some pretty poor crops of the past but the organization does seem to be moving forward. They need to continue to accumulate players through draft, trade and foreign free agency and they need to develop them into Major Leaguers who can either help the parent club or be traded for other players at positions of need. It will be a long process but I think it's the only way the Tigers will see success again.

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