Midnight tonight brings about the deadline for tendering arbitration eligible players a contract. Seven Tigers, listed below are up for arbitration this year:
-Tim Byrdak (Signed $715,000 contract, avoiding arbitration)
-Chad Durbin (non-tendered)
I will update this as the day goes along.
If I had to guess, I would say all will be tendered a contract. Chad Durbin is probably the most doubtful of the bunch, as his swingman role can be easily replaced by Yorman Bazardo. There seems to be a sentiment that Marcus Thames is expendable now, but so long as Jacque Jones and Curtis Granderson are roming the outfield, it will be nice to have two right-handed outfielders on the bench. Ryan Raburn can't platoon with both of them.
Also, Baseball America's much improved Transactions section is reporting Detroit has signed relievers Francis Beltran and Marcelo Perez as well as re-upping starter Jon Connolly.
Beltran is a former highly rated Cubs prospect. His name may soun familiar, because he was part of the package sent from Chicago to Montreal in the Nomar Garciaparra trade. He spent the next couple of seasons in and out of Montreal/Washington's bullpen, and was a reliever for the Orioles' triple-A Norfolk Tides this past season. Old scouting reports I see of Beltran tell me he fits the mold of Cruceta and Bautista with a fastball in the mid-high 90's and command problems. He's had a ton of shoulder problems throughout the years, so I am not certain if the fastball is still that high. Beltran will probably be spending the year in Toledo's bullpen.
Perez has spent his entire career in the Mets system, and was in AA last season. A righthander with low-mid 90's heat, he has always put up good strikeout numbers in the Mets system. Perez will be a candidate for the Toledo and Erie pens in spring training.
Jon Connolly returns to the system, where he will likely be filling into the Erie/Toledo rotation role he filled this past year.
I'd expect a much larger wave of free agents to be announced in the coming weeks. It really won't make too much sense to make predictions of the Toledo rosters until those guys are announced.
No sooner do I post this than I realize that Chad Durbin was the only non-tender today. Overall, this makes sense. As I mentioned above, Yorman Bazardo seems to be slotted into the sixth starter/swingman role and will probably do a better job at it.