World Series Bound?

With a relatively quiet news flow on the business/stock market front, now is a good time to weigh in on the newly fashioned Detroit Tigers roster with the abundance of moves they have made this off-season.
First, the Tigers have a new manager, Brad Ausmus, filling the very large shoes left vacant by Jim Leyland. Ausmus has kept a couple of seasoned coaches from Leyland’s staff – Gene Lamont and Jeff Jones. This will give Ausmus a good sounding board as he contemplates strategy with the veteran cast of players.

Prince Fielder and Doug Fister are gone via trades, infielders Jhonny Peralta, and Omar Infante, and reliever Joaquin Benoit, were not re-signed, while Ian Kinsler, Joe Nathan, Ian Krol, and journeyman infielder Steve Lombardozzi are all new to the team. So, they give up a below average, power hitting fielder in Prince, a solid hitter and fielder in Infante, a solid hitter but average fielder in Peralta, a bona fide, premier number two/three starter with great control in Fister, and a credible, but not spectacular reliever, in Benoit. In return, they pick up the speedy Ian Kinsler, who is also a solid second sacker, a consistent left handed middle reliever in Ian Krol and, of most importance, a true closer in Joe Nathan.

On balance, the Tigers should be a bit speedier on the base paths next year, have a better defensive unit, unchanged productivity from their starting pitching staff, generate less power, but demonstrate better relief pitching particularly at the latter innings. The big question mark – and what ultimately might decide their World Series fate, is the health and efficacy of their big young closer of the future, 100+ MPH throwing Bruce Rondon. He may very well make the difference between a Division Championship and a World Series Trophy.

Let the games begin!

All comments or questions are welcomed.

Bob Bilkie, CFA