Source: Tigers, J.D. reach 2-year deal

Source: Tigers, J.D. reach 2-year deal

The Tigers have come to an agreement on a two-year, $18.5 million deal with outfielder J.D. Martinez, pending a physical, a source told MLB.com's Jason Beck on Monday night. The club has not confirmed the deal. The news was first reported by Robert Murray of Baseball Essential.

Martinez, 28, spent the last two years in Detroit, having signed with the team prior to the 2014 season. He enjoyed a career year in 2015, batting .282/.344/.535 with 38 homers and 102 RBIs and earning his first All-Star nod.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Six Tigers primed for bounceback 2016 seasons

Six Tigers primed for bounceback 2016 seasons

DETROIT -- For all the buzz about the Tigers' offseason moves, the fate of their 2016 season rests more on three of the club's longest-tenured players.

The better Victor Martinez can swing for power left-handed, the better the Tigers' chances for an otherwise right-handed-hitting lineup. The longer Miguel Cabrera can remain healthy, the longer Detroit can stay in the playoff race. On the pitching side, the Tigers' rebuilt rotation looks a lot better with a healthy, effective Justin Verlander at the top.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Miggy healthy, ready to go in 2016?

Beat reporter Jason Beck answers fans' questions

Inbox: Miggy healthy, ready to go in 2016?

A lot depends on Miguel Cabrera regaining leg strength and home-run power. After two offseasons of inability to work out, he is finally able to. How goes it?
-- Bill S., Ohio

It goes. Cabrera is healthy and working out, by all accounts, and he has been pretty active on Instagram posting photos of his workouts. Formal full-squad workouts at Spring Training begin on Feb. 23. Spring Training games against big league clubs begin on March 2.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wilson prepared for consistent role in bullpen

Wilson prepared for consistent role in bullpen

DETROIT -- After all the offseason moves, the Tigers still have a place for Alex Wilson in their bullpen. In a sense, that hasn't changed.

In another sense, having a steady, consistent place in the bullpen pecking order would be a major change for Wilson. It could prove to be a significant boost for his pitching.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Boyd sets sights on staying in Tigers' rotation

Left-hander to rely on experience in his battle for the No. 5 spot

Boyd sets sights on staying in Tigers' rotation

DETROIT -- Matt Boyd spent the final nine weeks of last season in the Tigers' rotation. He will spend Spring Training competing for the chance to start in 2016.

If Boyd exits Spring Training with the fifth spot in the rotation, or if he makes it to Detroit soon after, he'll thank the lessons he learned from his late-season stint.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Saupold takes international stage for Australia

Tigers' pitching prospect gets shot to showcase talent

Saupold takes international stage for Australia

DETROIT -- The World Baseball Classic doesn't take center stage in baseball until next spring, but for Warwick Saupold, his time on the international stage starts now. The Tigers' Minor League right-hander will be part of Team Australia's pitching staff next week, when it takes on three other Pacific countries in a qualifier tournament for a spot in next spring's main event.

It's a massive honor for the 26-year-old hurler, an under-the-radar international signing by Far East scouts Glenn Williams and Kevin Hooker four years ago. It's also a chance for him to showcase what he can do in bigger competitions.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Source: Tigers sign Cuban SS Laffita

DETROIT -- The Tigers dipped into the Cuban end of the international market, signing shortstop Leonardo Laffita to a pro contract.

The deal, first reported on the Pelota Cubana baseball blog and later by Baseball America, includes a reported $250,000 bonus that will count against the Tigers' international signing pool for the signing period that began last July. The club hasn't confirmed the transaction.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers not seeking 'Groundhog Day' do-over

Club happy with all of its offseason outfield moves

Tigers not seeking 'Groundhog Day' do-over

DETROIT -- Groundhog Day, an unofficial holiday normally associated with a large rodent and its long-range weather forecast, has taken on a second life as a holiday for do-overs ever since Bill Murray lived the same day over and over in the 1993 movie. Don't expect the Tigers to spend the day looking for a re-do on their offseason dealings, including the outfield moves they made before signing Justin Upton.

Detroit's trade to bring Cameron Maybin back to the organization in November and the signing of free agent Mike Aviles to a one-year, $2 million contract a month later came at a time when the Tigers were looking to tweak their outfield rather than make a major splash. Though reports around the Winter Meetings suggested that Detroit was monitoring the higher end of the free-agent outfield market, the Tigers' work at the time was more about due diligence than any serious pursuit.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Bullpen set or more moves on horizon?

Beat reporter Jason Beck answers fans' questions

Inbox: Bullpen set or more moves on horizon?

How does the bullpen look at this time? Wouldn't one or two more trades work to fully strengthen it, until Bruce Rondon, Jeff Ferrell and Drew VerHagen have more seasoning?
-- Keith M., Maumee, Ohio

Five bullpen spots are filled with closer Francisco Rodriguez, Mark Lowe, Justin Wilson, Alex Wilson and Blaine Hardy, with VerHagen in a good position to win one of the remaining two spots. With enough arms still on the market, the possibility remains for one more free-agent signing, maybe on a Minor League deal, maybe on a lower-risk one-year contract. But I would expect at least one bullpen spot to go to a young reliever.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tiger Stadium site to be used for youth sports

Detroit Police Athletic League expected to break ground on project in April

Tiger Stadium site to be used for youth sports

The Detroit Police Athletic League, a non-profit organization working to create safe and supportive places for children to play, is expected to announce Tuesday that it has the funding to move forward with a new youth sports facility at the old Tiger Stadium site at Michigan and Trumbull.

The PAL is expected to break ground in early April on a new $11.3 million L-shaped headquarters that partially encloses the old Tiger Stadium playing field, which will be used for baseball and other youth sports.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers' Fulmer on Top 100 Prospects

Right-hander ranked No. 52 as team's lone representative

Tigers' Fulmer on Top 100 Prospects

DETROIT -- The Tigers still have work to do to restock their farm system, something they're trying to do even as they focus on winning now. Their deadline deals last July, at least, netted them a prospect on the latest MLB.com Top 100 list.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stars come out for first Miggy Ball

Stars come out for first Miggy Ball

MIAMI -- We knew Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera could clean up with runners in scoring position.

On Thursday, he showed he can clean up for a good cause, too, donning a tuxedo for The Miggy Ball to help raise money at his foundation's inaugural charity event at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, where Cabrera makes his offseason home.

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David Furones is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Get ready to root in '16 with some of the craziest fan outfits of '15

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Get ready to root in '16 with some of the craziest fan outfits of '15

Yes, we're still technically in the depths of winter -- we'll remember you as you lived, Camden Yards -- but baseball fans should take heart. The snow is (kind of, sort of) melting! Pitchers and catchers will be reporting in just a few weeks! We're nearly in February, which is the month directly before real, live baseball begins! 

OK, fine, so we're not quite out of the doldrums yet. Still, we swear that baseball is coming sooner rather than later -- which means it's time to get back in touch with your inner fan. And so, on this National Clashing Clothes Day, we give you the some of the wildest fan wardrobes of last season. May they inspire you for the season ahead, like the striped zebra pants of your dreams:

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Red Wings to honor Tigers' greats at Coors

Kaline, Cobb among Detroit legends depicted on goalie Howard's mask

DETROIT -- The Tigers haven't played at Coors Field since 2011, but they'll be represented when the Red Wings take the temporary ice there next month for the NHL's Stadium Series game against the Avalanche, thanks to goaltender Jimmy Howard.

When the Wings and Avs meet Feb. 27 at the Rockies' home park, Howard reportedly will have a personalized goalie mask that honors Tigers legends Al Kaline, Alan Trammell, Kirk Gibson, Ty Cobb, manager Sparky Anderson and broadcaster Ernie Harwell. The likenesses of all six are painted on the sides of the mask, while the top of the mask lists the Tigers' World Series titles (1935, '45, '68 and '84).

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Daniel Norris: Lived in van, beat cancer, ready to pitch

After inspiring offseason journey, lefty looks ahead to 2016

Daniel Norris: Lived in van, beat cancer, ready to pitch

DETROIT -- Daniel Norris beat thyroid cancer. Then he surfed in Nicaragua. He also went back home to Johnson City, Tenn., where he served as the grand marshal for the annual holiday parade.

And he drove his van to Oregon with filmmaker Ben Moon, a trip that lasted three weeks.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gibson to help Tigers' baserunners this spring

Gibson to help Tigers' baserunners this spring

DETROIT -- A decade after Kirk Gibson last coached with Detroit, and two years after he managed the D-backs, the former Tigers great will be heading to Spring Training next month as a guest baserunning instructor. Tigers general manager Al Avila announced the hire during his appearance Wednesday at the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association luncheon at Hockeytown Café.

Gibson, who worked on baserunning -- emphasizing secondary leads -- during his three seasons as a Tigers coach under then-manager Alan Trammell, was invited by manager Brad Ausmus. He'll work alongside Omar Vizquel, who serves as the baserunning coach on Ausmus' Major League club, and Tigers Minor League instructor Gene Roof.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

MLB's most improved: Retooled Tigers

Cubs, D-backs and Red Sox turn in next-best offseasons

MLB's most improved: Retooled Tigers

No Dave Dombrowski? No problem for the Tigers -- at least not in the short term.

It's still surprising that owner Mike Ilitch dismissed Dombrowski last August. It's tricky to deconstruct that move, especially since the Red Sox pounced on Dombrowski only two weeks after he cleaned out his office at Comerica Park.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers add prospect Eaves, deal Marte to Angels

Tigers add prospect Eaves, deal Marte to Angels

DETROIT -- The Tigers regained some organizational infield depth Wednesday, acquiring infield prospect Kody Eaves from the Angels in exchange for corner infielder Jefry Marte.

Detroit designated Marte for assignment last week to make room for Justin Upton on the 40-man roster. The Tigers had 10 days to work out a trade for him, let him go on waivers, outright or release him. In the end, they worked out a deal.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Petriello

High heat: Verlander's run fueled by new fastball approach

Spin rate of 2,491 rpm on his heater was highest in baseball

High heat: Verlander's run fueled by new fastball approach

In the midst of what turned into a very nice rebound season for Justin Verlander, an interesting pattern emerged. Like most pitchers, he was much more effective the first time he faced hitters. But in Verlander's case, he took that to something of an extreme:

Verlander, 2015, times through the order (performance)
1st PA: .497 OPS against
2nd PA: .705 OPS against
3rd PA: .709 OPS against

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Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. He has previously written for ESPN Insider and FanGraphs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: What does future hold for Tigers outfielders?

Beat reporter Jason Beck answers fans' questions

Inbox: What does future hold for Tigers outfielders?

Now that the Tigers have signed Justin Upton, do you think they may not sign J.D. Martinez long term and hope Steven Moya develops, or do you think they are giving up on Moya and use him as trade bait in July?
-- Mike H., Lansing, Mich.

I think Moya's situation is independent from Martinez. For one thing, Martinez is still under control for two more seasons (as is Upton with his opt-out clause), and the Tigers will have to decide something on Moya before then, since he has only one year of Minor League options remaining. Besides that, scouts have varying opinions on Moya, based partly on whether they believe he can make more consistent contact. The huge difference in Moya's prospect rankings across different publications reflects this. While Moya's winter ball results help, a hot start at Triple-A Toledo would do a lot for him, both for this organization and others. I also still believe the Tigers would like to get a multi-year deal done with Martinez.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Avila makes mark, brings balance in first offseason

Avila makes mark, brings balance in first offseason

DETROIT -- The line from Tigers general manager Al Avila at the Justin Upton news conference last week sounded familiar.

"There is no perfect team," Avila said in looking over the squad he has assembled in his first offseason in charge.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers' Venezuelan summer team shut down

With not enough clubs, VSL postponed for season; Detroit's academy there stays open

DETROIT -- The Tigers have enjoyed a scouting and developmental strength in Venezuela as one of the few Major League teams left with both an academy in the country and a team in the Venezuelan Summer League. They'll still have the academy, but the VSL is done, postponed for the upcoming season. The Cubs reportedly are pulling their club, which would have left just three teams.

The decision did not catch the Tigers by surprise, given the situation in Venezuela.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fans' enthusiasm shines at annual TigerFest

Fans' enthusiasm shines at annual TigerFest

DETROIT -- Tickets for TigerFest had sold out long before Justin Upton became a real possibility to wear a Detroit uniform. His arrival didn't put extra people through the turnstiles, but it didn't hurt the mood of the 7,000 or so who attended.

Three days after Upton's news conference at Comerica Park, he finished what might have been the longest introduction for a Tigers player. He stuck around for the Winter Caravan earlier this week, then became one of the highlights of TigerFest, where fans welcomed him with open arms.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gibson encouraged by Tigers' moves, praises Upton

Gibson encouraged by Tigers' moves, praises Upton

DETROIT -- Tigers fans welcomed Justin Upton to town with open arms on Saturday at TigerFest. Other new arrivals such as Jordan Zimmermann, Mike Pelfrey, Mark Lowe and Justin Wilson were greeted warmly as well. But the most welcomed sight at Comerica Park was the familiar face of Kirk Gibson, still energetic and smiling as he continues his battle with Parkinson's disease.

The former Tigers great joked with fans as he shared memories of 1984 with teammate Alan Trammell.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rondon recovering from mosquito-borne virus

Reliever misses TigerFest, expected to healthy for Spring Training

Rondon recovering from mosquito-borne virus

DETROIT -- Like in previous years, the vast majority of players were in town for TigerFest and the Winter Caravan. Two notable exceptions, closer Francisco Rodriguez and utilityman Mike Aviles, couldn't make it for personal reasons.

The other prominent player missing, reliever Bruce Rondon, has been dealing with a virus contracted from a mosquito bite, general manager Al Avila said. Reports earlier this week identified it as the chikungunya virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel alert for people going through Venezuela and other South American countries for a different virus, known as the Zika virus.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Terence Moore

Ilitch's passion apparent in Tigers' upgrades

Owner OKs record payroll to fuel Detroit's quest of World Series title

Ilitch's passion apparent in Tigers' upgrades

If you're an uncommitted fan, and if you're looking for somebody to hug this season, why not Mike Ilitch of the Tigers?

Between selling pizza and running the Detroit Red Wings, Ilitch has owned the Tigers since 1992. He's now 86, and he remains wonderfully obsessed with grabbing a fifth World Series championship for the Tigers and their first in 32 years.

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Terence Moore is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Where will Ausmus bat J-Up in Tigers' lineup?

Manager could slot newly signed outfielder in No. 2 spot

Where will Ausmus bat J-Up in Tigers' lineup?

DETROIT -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus came to town for the Tigers Winter Caravan with a pretty firm itinerary from the team, from visits at the Detroit Police Department and Livonia Fire Department in the afternoon to a Toledo Mud Hens charity dinner at night. By contrast, Ausmus had to change his vacation plans for the team last week.

Ausmus was packing up for a family vacation to Jackson Hole, Wyo., last week when he got the call from Tigers general manager Al Avila, who said he was on his way to Arizona to recruit Justin Upton. Ausmus was on the next flight from San Diego to Phoenix.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.