Sean Casey is still a Detroit Tigers first baseman. I guess that’s something of a surprise given all the trade-talk revolving around the need for a power-hitting first baseman lately. He signed a one-year deal worth around $4M.
Lee of Tiger Tales isn’t a big fan. Bilfer of DTW doesn’t seem to be either. Posters in Bilfer’s comments seem mixed. Brian at Tigerblog is pro the deal. In other words, feedback is quite mixed as best I can tell.
My personal feeling is this isn’t the greatest thing in the world, but I don’t exactly think it’s that big a problem either. I thought Casey did a nice job while in Detroit. He almost carried the team for large swaths of his three months or so, including in the World Series. A fairly memorable number of would-be hits seemed to be stolen from him during September. He’s a contact guy, which sometimes causes problems, but he was actually among Tigers leaders for RBI % and had 30 RBIs in 184 at-bats.
The problem with Casey is he portends to be more of a patient batter, but when he joined the Tiger lineup, he just seemed to fall into the swing-now-ask-questions-later concept of the rest of the team. Small sample size, but his pitches per plate appearance went down. His walks per plate appearance dropped by half. His strikeout-to-walk went from about 1:1 to 2:1. We hope that’s not the Sean Casey that plays in 2007. His OBP was way down from his .368 career to under .300. I don’t think that will continue, but that’s a gut that says he’ll return closer to form.
In the end, with the Sheffield signing, first base being a huge producer wasn’t a huge requirement. This is still a team with a huge run differential due to strong pitching, and it returns all the best pieces of the pitching puzzle with another — or first — year of experience. It was just a team that needed a few more runs, a bit more patience. And I think it’s got that. The concern is that with so many older players, there’s some breakdown risk. So I’m going to say this was a good move because it allows for future flexibility and keeps Jeremy Bonderman in a Tigers uniform. It’s not a real strong or aggressive move, but I don’t have any problem with it.
GM Dave Dombrowski said he’s done tinkering with the lineup. We’ll see. He’s probably telling the truth.
Walker inked by Orioles
Jamie Walker is obviously a guy Tigers fans like. He’s a class character. He gave some good seasons and quality innings and had an ERA to reflect it. The Orioles are paying him $12M for 3 years. Good for him. I don’t think it causes any problems for Detroit’s pitching staff though, someone else can be plugged in, in my mind, Wil Ledezma.
Detroit still might keep an eye open for a reliever through a trade or free agency, but that crop isn’t real great.