Entering the offseason the Tigers knew they needed to add a big bat for the middle of the order, as well as solving their first base dilemma. The wounds from the Tigers’ World Series defeat were still fresh by the time the Tigers added Gary Sheffield in the first big move of the baseball offseason, then solved the latter issue by resigning Sean Casey at what now appears to be a bargain.
The Tigers headed into the meetings with only one potential objective; find a suitable replacement for Jamie Walker, who took advantage of the buyer’s market and received $11 million from the Baltimore Orioles. But with setup men that held opposing hitters to an average under .200, the Tigers certainly weren’t desperate.
They did nevertheless add a left-handed pitcher that will compete for a job in the ‘pen, when they acquired Edward Campusano from the Milwaukee Brewers through the Chicago Cubs, who selected Campusano in the Rule 5 portion of the draft with the express purpose of sending him to Detroit.
Campusano split time between class-A Peoria and Double-A West Tenn, where he was the team’s closer at both levels. He converted 25 saves and had an ERA below two at both levels.
Campusano will join a competition with Wil Ledezma and a likely yet-to-be-determined left-hander, who the Tigers will acquire between now and the start of spring training.
Acquiring Campusano was the only actual move the Tigers made while at the Winter Meetings, but the Tigers made other headlines on Friday, when it was reported by numerous sources that the Tigers had come to an agreement on a contract extension with Brandon Inge.
Inge, the longest tenured Tiger, has manned the hot corner for the Tigers for three years now, and was a year away from free agency before the Tigers locked him up. Inge, hit .253, while setting career highs in runs scored (83), home runs (27) and runs batted in (83).
Inge received a four year deal, believed to be worth $24 million that will keep him off the market until after the 2010 season.
The Tigers are still likely to explore the possibility of working out a long term deal with right-handed pitcher Jeremy Bonderman. Bonderman was one of two pitchers in baseball this season to post 200 innings and strike out 200 batters. Whether or not the Tigers and Bonderman will be able to come to terms is another story.
One final note; Campusano wasn’t the only player involved with the Tigers that left their former team. The Florida Marlins snagged right-handed pitcher Christian Martinez in the Double-A portion of the draft. Martinez has battled injury problems for the past two seasons, but has been successful on the mound when healthy.