A Busy Week for the Tigers

(AP Photo/Jerry S. Mendoza)

“Right
now I feel like it’s going to be a new season, a new life for me, I’m
going to be a better dad, a better husband, a better player and better
with the fans, too. And with the media, too.”

After spending 142 days of the 2009 season in first place, and
enjoying a seven game lead early in September, most fans believed the
Detroit Tigers would win their division. The season would come down to
a three game series with the Chicago White Sox.

Many factors played a role in the Tigers inability to clinch, but
the one most talked about – Miguel Cabrera’s failure to hit, especially
with runners on base (he went 0 for 11, with an intentional walk)
during the pivotal weekend series.

There was outrage among the fans when it was revealed that Cabrera spent the night drinking and partying with members of the opposing team.

Cabrera, who showed up for the game with visible marks on his face,
had been arrested, and had failed a breath test. There was widespread
speculation that he might have played one of those games hung over.
Anger mounted over his recklessness.

He became the poster boy for many of the teams troubles.

This week, it was announced that Cabrera underwent counseling to deal with his alcohol-related issues.

I applaud him for taking the necessary steps to deal with his
addiction. Although I am still angry about the way last season ended, I
am forgiving of his role (or lack of a role) in that weekend series.

I truly hope that he will continue to fight his demons and I wish him him all the luck in the world.

WINTER CARAVAN

(Robin Buckson / The Detroit News)

The 2010 Detroit Tigers completed their two-day Winter Caravan yesterday. Among the numerous stops, the group of players stopped at Detroit Metro Airport.

Players greeted passengers, scanned tickets, made announcements and
even toured the cockpit of a 747.  You can see pictures published by
the Detroit News here – Detroit News Caravan Pictures.

JUSTIN VERLANDER

An arbitrator will determine Justin Verlander’s salary – if he is
unable to come to agreement with the Tigers. Team Verlander set down a
figure of 9.5 million dollars, while the Tiger’s offered 6.9 million.

If the two sides don’t agree to terms, a hearing will be held between February 1 – 21 to determine Verlander’s salary for 2010.

A Cy Young candidate last season, Verlander won 19 games and had a major league best 269 strikeouts.

He is a guy who will continue to get better over time, and will
undoubtedly rank among baseball’s pitching élite. It is in the best
interest of the Tigers to sign him to a long term deal. I believe that
they will – eventually. Even if he goes through arbitration, it would
still be possible for Detroit to complete a deal before the end of the
season.

Joel Zumaya, Ramon Santiago, Gerald Laird, Bobby Seay, and Zach Miner each avoided arbitration.

JOSE VALVERDE

(John Grieshop / Getty Images)

The newest addition to the Detroit Tigers pitching staff is closer Jose Valverde.

The 6 foot 4, 254 pound pitcher known as “Papa Grande,” made his major league début in 2003 with Arizona.

He saved 47 games in 2007 and saved 45 for the Astro’s in 2008.

He carried a 2.33 ERA in 2009.

According to Tigers manager Jim Leyland,

That
was humongous for us. To know we have a guy at the end, now we can work
backward and piece it all together. The biggest killer in baseball is
to have leads and let them get away. That’s a disaster. He has some
energy and he’s going to (tick) some teams off with that. But better
them than me.

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