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      Percival to the still mediocre Tigers.
    The first big signing of the hotstove season took place, and as a random proud (and quite possibly drunk) Tiger fan informed us all, Troy Percival has signed with Detroit.

    Percival is one of the better relief pitchers in the game, but I have some concern that this could end up a bad signing for Detroit. The cause for concern is of course that Percival is 35, has had arm problems, and has watched his K-rate deteriorate over the last four years (11.1, 10.9, 8.8, 6.0).

    The 2yr/$12M deal is pretty reasonable for a "closer" of his talent, but despite what Troy will say about wanting to be in Detroit, it's pretty likely that because of the concerns I mentioned, nobody else was willing to guarrantee so much money.

    It's a decent risk though, if Troy stays healthy he is an excellent bet to at least remain an above average pitcher. If last years K-rate was just a result of him getting healthy, therefore a fluke, Troy would return to one of the elite relief pitchers in the game.

    It helps immensely when you sign an elite relief pitcher, just because everybody else in the pen slides down into less leveraged situations. Hopefully this means that Tiger fans won't be subjected to seeing someone like Al Levine in key spots next year.

    There is a problem though. Ugie Urbina is not too happy with this. He has made plenty of public comments in the past reiterating his desire to be a "closer". He will not take kindly to being bumped back to pitching in a setup role. So that leaves the option of what I thought the Tigers should have done in the first place.

    Trade Urbina.

    This team isn't good enough to contend yet, and they keep giving these 2 year deals to a lot of players at a little bit above market value. I like the idea, and its helped them scratch back to respectability, but I think they can take it further. In the second year of these deals they need to unload them and try and restock a barren but improving farm system. A guy like Rondell White, Ugie, or even someone like Jason Johnson could probablly fetch a middle of the road prospect come trading deadline. Even more if they cut a deal in early July.

    Re-stock the farm system, re-sign more 2 year deals, and eventually, the mid-level prospects might be able to replace the mid-level free agents for practically free, and the Tigers have enough money to really make a splash on the open market.

    Cough, cough, starting pitching, cough.

    But seriously, the Tigers have been talking to Jeff Kent, who would replace the .317 OBP of Omar Infante at 2nd. Jeremy Bonderman is good, and at times I've seen him be dominant. If he can continue his development, and the Tigers find some way to fill that rotation with anything less than stiffs, they have a chance to be pretty good next year.

    I wouldn't start icing the champagne, but I'd also hold high expectations that the front office should be able to put together a playoff team as early as 2006. I think that's a realistic goal they should have and there's no reason why Tiger fans shouldn't expect it.

    They deserve it after the Randy Smith debacle.