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September 21, 2023

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Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds make changes

Earlier this week, The BG News ran a graphic detailing the Cleveland Indians’ 2013 roster (see: Wednesday’s paper, page six, or view the PDF on by clicking “Print Editions” on the right-hand side).

My editor and I agreed it would be fitting to also run similar updates on the off-season scramblings of the Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds, so here goes. My apologies to fans of the Seattle Mariners and Diablos Rojos del Mexico for getting snubbed.


Before we get into any new signings for 2013, let’s look at who won’t be suiting up in Comerica Park’s home team locker room this season.

The two most notable differences come in the team’s decision not to bring back OF Delmon Young and RP Jose Valverde.

Young was a miserable hitter last year, well under the league average. This wouldn’t be so bad if he wasn’t used as the team’s primary designated hitter. He’s been in the league so long it’s hard to believe he’s only 27 years old, just a decade removed from being drafted the first overall pick in 2003. But lousy defense, poor offensive numbers and an offseason spent doing community service and attending tolerance programs after being convicted of a hate crime resulted in the Tigers letting him go.

As for Valverde, the volatile closer was a disaster in the postseason and became a free agent. The Tigers declined picking him up again.

Other losses include Ryan Raburn, now a super-utility man for the Indians, and Gerald Laird, everyone’s favorite 33-year-old hitless, backup catcher, now with the Atlanta Braves.

One of the Tigers’ biggest off-season signings went to starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez, who earned a five-year, $80 million deal. Rick Porcello, Octavio Dotel and Jhonny Peralta were also re-signed or had their club options picked up for 2013.

Essentially, the Tigers only signed one new player for 2013: OF Torii Hunter, with a two-year, $26 million free agent. Hunter is coming off a career year for the Los Angeles Angels as a 37-year-old and his decent offseason may quell some critics who say the Tigers made a big risk paying an older player to play in the expansive Comerica Park outfield.


The Reds had a busier offseason than most teams.

First, the departures: catcher Dioner Navarro and RHP Ryan Madson left as free agents.

One of the biggest trades of the entire MLB offseason came this past December, a three-team blockbuster that included nine players.

The Reds sent Didi Gregorius to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Drew Stubbs to the Tribe.

In return, Cincinnati received the Tribe’s beloved outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and utility infielder Jason Donald. A day later, the Reds also signed Indians IF Jack Hannahan to a two-year deal.

Those three arrivals, all from Cleveland, make up the Reds’ newcomers for this season.

There were also a wealth of re-signings and contract extensions: pitchers Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, Logan Ondrusek, Mike Leake, Manny Parra, Alfredo Simon and Jonathan Broxton were all re-signed for the next one to three years.

Ryan Ludwick will also be back, signing a two-year free agent deal worth $15 million to stay in Cincinnati.

So who had the best off-season—the Tribe, Tigers or Reds?

The Tigers are going to look this season much like they did last year. The Reds have some shake ups in the outfield but the pitching staff is essentially the same and two of the newcomers from Cleveland are bench players anyways.

The Tribe, meanwhile, have a totally new outfield, new corner infielders, a new manager, new guys in the starting rotation and bullpen, a new designated hitter and most of all, cheaper hot dog prices.

I give the nod to the Indians on this one, but this comes with the caveat that these are just “on-paper” projections and we’ll see how the teams shape up a month or two into the season.

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