One reason I like Dave Dombrowski is how quickly he gets to work in the off-season to fill any holes in the ball club. ESPN’s Buster Onley takes note of this as well, though giving credit to Jim Leyland’s decisiveness, in a recent blog entry:
If you’re around Jim Leyland for 10 seconds, you quickly ascertain that he is among the most decisive people in the game. He knows what he wants, communicates what he wants, and even if his choices don’t work out, well, he’ll live with that. He has opinions and he is sure of them — such as his request to open the 2006 season with Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya in the big leagues.
So it’s not surprising that the Tigers have addressed their off-season questions more rapidly than any team in the game.
This is a trait that can be very helpful in the competitive free agent market since you can sometimes avoid drawn out bidding wars that end up costing the organization more money or losing out on opportunities that won’t be available later in the off-season. But for me I enjoy having known players to look at or complain about, so here we are in mid-November and we pretty much have a complete Tiger lineup:
- Curtis Granderson
- Placido Polanco
- Gary Sheffield
- Magglio Ordonez
- Carlos Guillen
- Edgar Rentaria
- Ivan Rodriguez
- Jacque Jones / Marcus Thames
- Brandon Inge
Last year Billfer put the Tiger’s offensive projections between 5.342 and 5.042 runs per game (or 5.404 runs per game factoring in Thames and Chris Shelton) based on the ZiPS projections. The Tigers clearly overachieved with the team averaging 5.475 runs per game in 2007.
While the 2008 ZiPS projections for the Detroit Tigers haven’t been posted, at least that I saw, using the same lineup analysis using Bill James projections puts the Tiger offense earning between 5.578 and 5.224 runs per game with Jacque Jones and between 5.710 and 5.307 runs per game with Marcus Thames.
No matter how you cut it, that is a nice improvement for the Tiger offense and likely as equally as nice an improvement on defense.