Tag:Jacob Turner
Posted on: February 3, 2012 4:26 pm

More kids to watch: Moore, Montero, Arenado

Heading to spring training 2010, Stephen Strasburg was the big new name, the guy everyone had to see . . .

Until people started talking about Jason Heyward, too. And Aroldis Chapman.

It was still the spring of Strasburg, but it really became the spring of the phenom.

This spring could be the same.

The early focus is again on the Nationals, who seem determined to give Bryce Harper a real shot at making the opening day roster (which they didn't do with Strasburg in 2010).

But there are tons of other names, tons of other young players with some shot at opening the year in the big leagues, and an even better shot at opening eyes this spring.

An early look at a few names to watch, besides Harper, who colleague Jon Heyman wrote about separately:

Matt Moore, 22, Rays. The situation has changed only a little bit since Moore got everyone so excited last September and October. Moore signed a long-term contract in December, which seemingly lessens the financial incentive for the small-budget Rays to have him begin 2012 in the minor leagues. But the Rays haven't yet traded any of their other starting pitchers, so there's not yet an open spot in the rotation. The decision on what to do with Moore will be closely watched.

Jesus Montero, 22, Mariners. He can hit, but can he catch? And can he hit enough to make a difference for the Mariners? Those questions will get better answers during the season than during the spring, but as the key player going to Seattle in the big Michael Pineda trade, Montero will be watched and discussed.

Jacob Turner, 20, Tigers. The Tigers tried for Gio Gonzalez and they tried for Roy Oswalt, but they still don't have a fifth starter. Turner is the most exciting name among many candidates. He's probably less likely to end up with the job than some of the others, but on a team that has no problem with promoting young talent (Justin Verlander, Joel Zumaya, Rick Porcello), he will get a chance.

Trevor Bauer, 21, Diamondbacks; Danny Hultzen, 22, Mariners; Sonny Gray, 22, A's. Who will be the first pitcher from the 2011 draft to make it to the big leagues? Bauer, Hultzen and Gray all go to spring training with some chance, and whether they make it or not, all three will likely excite people every time they're scheduled to pitch.

Nolan Arenado, 20, Rockies. Arenado won a lot of fans among scouts who covered the Arizona Fall League, with one saying: "He's Edgar Martinez at the plate, with the best hitting approach I've ever seen from a young player." The signing of Casey Blake no doubt lessens Arenado's chance to make the team this spring (for now, he's ticketed for Double-A), but if he hits in spring training the way he did in the fall, the Rockies will at least begin talking about it.

Julio Teheran, 21, Braves; Randall Delgado, 21, Braves. The Braves got a look at Teheran and Delgado last year, but with health concerns about Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson, the look this spring may be more significant.

Posted on: January 26, 2012 4:01 pm

What's next for Tigers? Maybe Cespedes

The Prince Fielder signing should push the Tigers' 2012 payroll up over $130 million.

Is there any money left?

Could be, but the Tigers are unlikely to spend it on a full-time designated hitter, or on a fifth-starter candidate who would require a guaranteed major-league contract.

They might, according to sources, still try to spend it on Yoenis Cespedes.

While the team has basically ruled out going after someone like Johnny Damon or Edwin Jackson, the Tigers remain interested in Cespedes, the 26-year-old Cuban outfielder who became a free agent Wednesday. The Tigers have been among the teams showing the most interest in Cespedes, and have had conversations about him with agent Adam Katz.

Cespedes, if he proves ready for the big leagues right away, could play left field, with Delmon Young moving to more of a full-time DH role. For now, the Tigers plan to have Young share left field and DH with Andy Dirks, Don Kelly and Clete Thomas, with Fielder and Miguel Cabrera also seeing a few days as DH.

The Tigers had worked hard to try to add another starter before turning their attention to Fielder late last week. They met Roy Oswalt's asking price, sources said, only to be told by Oswalt that he wouldn't agree to come to Detroit (even after a recruiting phone call from Justin Verlander).

The focus now is on veteran starters who would require less of a commitment, with the possibility that the Tigers don't add anyone before spring training begins. They could then audition Jacob Turner, Andy Oliver, Drew Smyly and others, and then search the trade market if they're not satisfied with what they see.

We've already seen that they're willing to be bold, and that the owner is willing to spend.

When Mike Ilitch told his baseball people that he was willing to make the huge commitment to Fielder, he explained it simply.

"I think the city needs it," Ilitch said. "I think we need it. I think our players need it."

Posted on: December 13, 2011 8:28 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2011 5:40 pm

Tigers, Red Sox among teams in on Gio Gonzalez

When the bidding window for Yu Darvish closes at 5 p.m. ET Wednesday, one team will come away with the chance to sign one of the best remaining pitchers available on the winter shopping market.

The others can turn their attention back to Gio Gonzalez.

The 26-year-old A's left-hander remains the hottest name on the trade market, with the Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rangers and Reds among the teams chasing him. Gonzalez will be arbitration-eligible in 2012, but a team acquiring him would have him under control for four years before free agency, which adds to his value.

For now, though, the A's are asking a sky-high price.

How high? Well, when the Marlins asked about Gonzalez at last week's winter meetings, sources said that the A's asked for budding star Mike Stanton in return. Understandably, that conversation was brief.

The Tigers could have something of an edge in the Gonzalez hunt, because A's general manager Billy Beane is said to be enamored with young Tiger right-hander Jacob Turner. The Tigers would be willing to deal Turner for Gonzalez, according to sources, but they balked at the A's request that they also include top prospects Nick Castellanos and Drew Smyly, as well.

The A's don't see much depth in the Tiger system, and may not agree to a deal that doesn't include both Turner and Castellanos, at the very least.

The Red Sox have been mentioned more often as interested in A's closer Andrew Bailey, but sources said they have shown just as much interest in Gonzalez. Adding Gonzalez to a rotation that already includes Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz would give Boston a very strong top four.

Similarly, the Tigers like the idea of adding Gonzalez to a group that includes Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Rick Porcello.

The Rangers and Blue Jays are two teams whose interest could be affected by the Darvish decision, as both have been mentioned as heavily interested in the Japanese star. The Darvish market is tough to call, because in a system that relies on blind bids, teams have even less reason than usual to signal their intentions publicly, and even more incentive to send out misinformation.

The Reds are searching for a top starting pitcher, too, and have been in contact with the A's, as well as the Rays (James Shields and others) and Braves (Jair Jurrjens). But the A's asked the Reds for a huge package headed by Yonder Alonso.

The Phillies also talked to the A's about Gonzalez, but the A's weren't overly excited in a package that would have included Domonic Brown and some younger, lesser pitching prospects.

The A's have told teams that they want only young, inexpensive players back for Gonzalez and Bailey, preferably players with less than one year of big-league experience.

They have also said that they don't plan to trade Gonzalez and Bailey as a package, because they don't believe that any interested team has enough available players to get both of them.

Posted on: July 30, 2011 10:25 am
Edited on: July 30, 2011 1:57 pm

Tigers call up Turner, trade for Fister

The Tigers have found their starter. And a reliever.

In a bold move that addressed both their main needs at once, the Tigers acquired starter Doug Fister and reliever David Pauley from the Mariners, for a four-player package that is headed by Double-A third baseman Francisco Martinez and also includes pitcher Charlie Furbush, outfielder Casper Wells and a player to be named later.

Fister should solidify a Tiger rotation that includes Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Brad Penny. The Tigers called up 20-year-old super-prospect Jacob Turner to make a spot start Saturday against the Angels, but they said Turner would return to the minor leagues immediately after the game. Fister will make his first Tiger start next Wednesday against the Rangers.

The Tigers were reluctant to trade Turner, and even more reluctant to pay the price that the Rockies were putting on Ubaldo Jimenez (thought to be at least Turner and Porcello, with outfielder Brennan Boesch also mentioned). With Rays starter James Shields unavailable (at least to them), they settled on Fister as the next best option.

Upgrading the rotation was a huge priority, because the Tigers are 19 games over .500 when using one of their top three starters (Verlander, Scherzer and Porcello), but just 4-16 (and 0-7 since mid-June) when they have used a fifth starter.

Adding to the bullpen also became a priority lately, because of concerns about how well middle reliever Al Alburquerque would hold up. So the Tigers, who were already talking to the Mariners about Fister, expanded the deal to include Pauley.

Seattle had at first expressed a reluctance to trade Fister, but the Mariners relented. Wells, who spent part of this year in the big leagues, could help their woeful offense immediately. And Martinez, a 20-year-old in Double-A, gives them a potential big bat for the future.

The Tigers were willing to include Martinez because they have depth at third base, in 19-year-old Nick Castellanos, currently at Class A West Michigan.

Wells has hit .286 in 100 career big-league games. Martinez is hitting .282 with 46 RBI at Double-A Erie. Furbush, who has a 3.62 ERA in 17 big-league games this year, should also help the Mariners.

Turner, who has been pitching at Double-A Erie (and was scheduled to start for the SeaWolves Saturday night), is expected to return to the minor leagues after making his big-league debut.

The 27-year-old Fister is just 3-12 in 21 starts this year for the Mariners, but that has more to do with Seattle's woeful offense. His ERA is 3.33, and his 1.17 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) is less than that of Tim Lincecum, C.J. Wilson, Felix Hernandez and Jon Lester, among others.

The Tigers scouted each of Fister's last two starts, including when he allowed just three runs in seven innings in a 4-1 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday night. In Fister's five starts this month, the Mariners have scored just three runs total while he was in the game.

Fister makes just $436,500, and came into this season with just over one year of major-league service time, so he won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season.

The 28-year-old Pauley has a 2.15 ERA in 39 appearances for the Mariners this year.

Posted on: May 24, 2011 10:37 am
Edited on: May 24, 2011 12:15 pm

Coke to DL, Andy Oliver to start for Tigers

The Tigers' rotation depth is about to be tested.

We're about to find out if Andy Oliver is ready.

The team announced Tuesday that Phil Coke is headed to the disabled list with a bone bruise in his right foot, and that the 23-year-old Oliver will take his place in the rotation on Saturday against the Red Sox. Coke, the Tigers' fifth starter, was hurt in Monday's 6-3 win over the Rays.

Oliver and 20-year-old Jacob Turner are the Tigers' top two pitching prospects, and also represented the team's best options if they needed another starter during the season. The hope was that they wouldn't be needed too soon.

Oliver proved he wasn't ready last year, going 0-4 with a 7.36 ERA in five midseason big-league starts. In eight starts this year for Triple-A Toledo, the left-hander was 4-3 with a 3.26 ERA, with 48 strikeouts and 20 walks in 49 2/3 innings. Oliver started again Tuesday morning, but was limited to 38 pitches because he'll have just three days' rest before Saturday's start in Detroit.

The Tigers didn't immediately put Oliver on the big-league roster. Instead, they replaced Coke with Adam Wilk, who can pitch out of the bullpen until Oliver is needed for Saturday's start. To make room for Wilk on the 40-man roster, they designated Robbie Weinhardt for assignment.

Coke is 1-5 with a 3.81 ERA, but one of those losses came in relief. The Tigers have gone 3-6 in his nine starts.

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