Good news everyone, Chris Ilitch has made his first foray into extension-land, backing his words that the Tigers were going to spend money this offseason. Today the Tigers announced they’d re-signed fan favorite second baseman Jonathan Schoop to a two year deal worth 7.5 million a season with an opt out in 2022 (much to the chagrin of a VERY vocal minority that wanted him traded for a 40 FV prospect).
Schoop, 29, was likely days away from getting DFA’d in May after hitting a paltry .180/218/243 for a .461 OPS from opening day to May 8th. He has now found himself as the focal point of the Detroit offense. Schoop is a key cog in the rebuild machine as he’s brought his statline up to a cool .289/.333/.468 for an .801 OPS, with 18 homers and a nice 2.6 bWAR.
Since May 10th, Schoop has torn the absolute cover off the ball, hitting .328/.374/.549 for an incredible .923 OPS. This move allows the Tigers to let Paredes cook in Toledo for another season and let him develop instead of thrusting him into the lineup and counting on him to be an immediate producer for the ballclub.
All in all, this is tidy work from Avila. Mutual interest from Schoop wanting to stay and Avila wanting him back likely kept the VAUNTED Scott Boras from capitalizing on Schoop’s blistering last three months of baseball and is hopefully a sign of things to come from Chris Ilitch’s wallet and into our hearts.
Oh now I know writing this article is going to be very fun given how Tigers Twitter reacted to the drafting of Jackson Jobe, so why don’t we get right into it. This might’ve been the best start to a Tigers draft that we’ve seen in a very long time. In drafting Madden and Jobe, the Tigers have seemingly selected two frontline starters that can help the team compete for years to come.
Jackson Jobe, 3rd overall
The controversial pick, the pick that’ll have Tigers Twitter ranting and raving about for the foreseeable future just like a certain Tigers writer has done for last three years about Mize and Kelenic.
Prep shortstop Marcelo Mayer was available for the Tigers at three. Mayer would’ve filled an organizational role that the Tigers desperately needed, and they still passed on him to get the guy they felt most comfortable with. This is where the disconnect is, with scouts and experts raving about the Jobe selection while Twitter goes on about how much this pick sucks and how Jobe is an abject failure from a lame duck GM. The actual scouts that work in baseball for a living did nothing but rave about how talented Jobe is and how this pick was utterly fantastic, crediting the Tigers for sticking to their guns and listening to the scouting and analytics departments about Jobe.
To quote what a scout told me about Jobe: “I love Jackson Jobe. He’s the best prep arm I’ve ever scouted but taking prep arms that high is historically, objectively risky. That’s just the facts… but Jobe is the arm in this class who could be SPECIAL.”
This is pretty in line with the scouting report we got in this tweet from Brian Sakowski:
3. Tigers: Jackson Jobe, RHP, Okla. HS. Top prep arm in the class, potentially 80-grade slider, into upper 90’s this spring, CB/CH both project above average, spin data is absurd, case to be made this is the highest pure upside pick in the class. #DetroitRoots#PGDraft
Jobe features a potential 70 fastball and a 3200 RPM slider that’s a potential 80 (the max on the 20/80 scale), and two above average pitches in his change and curve, 55 on that scale. The wide array of pitches make his arsenal an absolutely elite and eclectic mix, a mix that will keep hitters from being able to sit on certain pitches because the others in his arsenal lag far behind. With an underslot value for Jobe at that, it was the perfect fit for them and helped set up their next pick.
This isn’t a make or break pick and the Tigers have had great success with prep pitchers, more specifically in flipping them, and his profile is completely different than Beau Burrows’ was. Jobe is a window extender, possibly. They’ve really pushed their elite talents through the farm to the show fast in the past when they’ve felt it necessary, with Porcello and Turner both within two years of draft, but if they slow play it he could be to the Tigers what Dustin May and Walker Buehler are to the Dodgers: window extenders.
Ty Madden, supplemental A, Pick 32
And to the steal of the draft, Ty Madden. What an outrageous fall for Madden, for reasons that range from signability concerns to data driven concerns that MLB Network mentioned about his fastball, though no one is completely sure. The Tigers will take this and run laughing all the way home yelling “no take backs.” Ranked #9 by MLB pipeline, he’s got a prototypical pitcher’s frame at 6’3 and 220, and is an absolute unit on the mound with a high 90’s fastball and a good slider.
Brian Sakowski has another great succinct report:
32. Tigers: Ty Madden, RHP, Texas. This’ll be an overpay, Madden was in play in the top 10 overall. FB up to 98-99 mph, slider is plus pitch that misses bats, big performance for Omaha club, good value for sure. #PGDraft
Madden may need work on a change-up but it doesn’t seem like it’s that far behind and the Tigers have shown the ability to help pitchers develop a third pitch, especially changeup (remember Michael Fulmer?) so there are a lot of encouraging signs here and a lot to like about these top two picks. Some publications have concerns that Madden may be a reliever long-term with his limited arsenal but other reports that are floating out there are very encouraged by his changeup, even with his limited use of it.
The Tigers are able to replace two elite graduating pitchers in Mize and Skubal with two incredibly elite arms, and one of them has flat out, seemingly, Cy Young-caliber potential. It’s time for Chris Fetter to work his magic in the offseason with these guys, and the rest of the Tigers coaching staff in the minors to assist him and the players and turning them into the best possible versions of themselves.
Because he got traded to the Oakland Athletics after all!
Mike Fiers was one of many Major Leaguers put on trade waivers this week and, unsurprisingly, the Oakland Athletics claimed him on Friday. The teams then had 72-hours to work out a trade, or the Tigers could pull Fiers back or let Oakland claim him. The deadline was at 1:30pm today. At 1:28pm according to Lynn Henning), the two teams hammered out a deal.
The Cleveland Indians solved—for relative values of “solved”—their center field issue today when they and the Tigers worked out a swap for Leonys Martín.
Martín will likely platoon in CF with Rajai Davis for Cleveland. The Tigers also included pitching prospect Kyle Dowdy, a 25-year-old right-hander who has spent time with both Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo. Dowdy carries a 4.74 ERA across both levels of minor league ball, to go with a 8-8 record.
A day after another forgettable outing in a long string of forgettable outings, the Tigers decided they had finally seen enough of their erstwhile closer, Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod, if you missed it, was called upon to keep the Tigers close in a 5-3 game, but quickly loaded and unloaded the bases, giving up a grand slam to Robinson Canó. Afterwards, he declined to speak to the media. One suspected it might not be long until the other shoe dropped.
And indeed it did.
Today, the Tigers finally severed ties with K-Rod, ending a (recently) fraught relationship full of role shuffling, blown saves, homerun balls, and accusations of miscommunication:
The #Tigers have released RHP Francisco Rodriguez and placed OF Alex Presley on the 7-day concussion DL
The Tigers recalled the hard throwing Bruce Rondón to replace K-Rod. Rondón, who’s been something of an enigma during his Tigers tenure, was shuttled to Toledo after several rocky appearances out of the bullpen in April. He’s come up with mixed results in Toledo, which include a robust 11.1 K/9 and an equally robust 6.1 BB/9, but he’s been much better lately.
In his last ten appearances, Rondón has thrown 10 innings, allowed 2 runs, struck out 12, and walked only 3. It’s imperative—for both the Tigers and Rondón—that the right hander has a strong return.
As for K-Rod, the veteran closer departs as the fourth all-time saves leader (h/t Chris McCosky), and may very well be destined for Cooperstown. It’s sad K-Rod’s ending in Detroit couldn’t be more of the storybook variety, but age catches up to us all one way or another.