2009 Detroit Tigers season

2009 Detroit Tigers
Slogan: "Always a Tiger"
Major League affiliations
Record 86–77 (.528)
Divisional place 2nd
Other information
Owner(s) Mike Ilitch
General manager(s) Dave Dombrowski
Manager(s) Jim Leyland
Local television Fox Sports Detroit
(Mario Impemba, Rod Allen)
Local radio Detroit Tigers Radio Network
(Dan Dickerson, Jim Price, John Keating)
Stats ESPN.com
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The 2009 Detroit Tigers season was the team's 109th season. The Tigers' new slogan for 2009 was "Always a Tiger." It replaced the 2006–2008 slogan "Who's Your Tiger?"

The Tigers ended the season on October 6 with a 6–5 loss in 12 innings to the Minnesota Twins in the tie-breaker game to win the AL Central. The Tigers spent 146 days in first place and became the first team in Major League history to lose a three-game lead with four games left to play.

2008–2009 offseason events

  • The Tigers announced on September 29, 2008, that they would not pick up the $12 million option on shortstop Édgar Rentería's contract, although the team did not rule out the possibility of re-signing him in the offseason. The buyout was worth $3 million. The option was part of the contract Rentería signed with the Boston Red Sox in 2004. He had changed teams twice since then. The roster move was finalized on October 30. The team could have offered him arbitration and received a draft pick from Rentería's new team, but formally chose not to offer Rentería arbitration on December 1.[1] On December 4, 2008, Rentería signed a two-year deal with the San Francisco Giants.[2]
  • On October 17, the Tigers hired Rick Knapp as their new pitching coach,[3] replacing Chuck Hernandez, who took part of the blame for the team's poor pitching in 2008. Knapp had worked for 12 years as the minor league pitching coordinator for the Minnesota Twins.
  • The Red Sox claimed Tiger reliever Virgil Vasquez off waivers on October 28.[4] Vasquez had spent the entire season as a starter with the Toledo Mud Hens, the Tigers' AAA affiliate.
  • On December 8, the Tigers acquired catcher Gerald Laird from the Texas Rangers, in exchange for minor league pitching prospects Guillermo Moscoso and Carlos Melo.[5]
  • On December 10, the Tigers traded outfielder Matt Joyce to the Tampa Bay Rays for starting pitcher Edwin Jackson. Joyce had divided his time in the previous season between the Tigers and Class AAA Toledo.
  • On December 12, the Tigers signed infielder Ramón Santiago to a one-year contract, avoiding arbitration.[6]
  • Also on December 12, in a Rule 5 draft, the Tigers selected left-handed pitcher Kyle Bloom from the Pittsburgh Pirates double-A affiliate, Altoona. Detroit would return Bloom to the Pirates in March 2009. In the same draft, they lost James Skelton, a left-handed hitting catcher, to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Skelton was on Detroit's 2008 40-man roster but was not included on the 40-man cast for 2009.[7]
  • On December 13, relief pitcher Aquilino López became the Tigers' only arbitration-eligible player this offseason to not be offered a contract by the team, making him a free agent.[8]
  • On December 15, the Tigers finalized a one-year, $1 million contract with free-agent shortstop Adam Everett, previously with the Minnesota Twins.[9]
  • On December 18, former Marlins catcher Matt Treanor signed with the Tigers.[10]
  • On January 6, 2009, the Tigers signed former utility outfielder Alexis Gómez to a minor-league contract. Gómez had played on the 2006 World Series team, but had spent the subsequent two seasons in the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins systems.[11]
  • On January 13, the Tigers signed Taiwanese sidearm relief pitcher Fu-Te Ni to a minor-league contract with an invitation to training camp. Ni had pitched for Taiwan at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.[12]
  • On January 14, the team avoided arbitration with relief pitcher Fernando Rodney and utility outfielder Marcus Thames by signing both to one-year contracts.[13]
  • On January 20, the team avoided arbitration with catcher Gerald Laird, starting pitcher Edwin Jackson, and relievers Joel Zumaya and Bobby Seay by signing each to one-year contracts.[14] The same day, the Tigers signed Juan Rincón to a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training.[15]
  • On January 26, the Tigers signed relief pitcher Brandon Lyon to a one-year contract.[16] The same day, the team signed Timo Pérez to a minor-league contract.[17]
  • On February 3, the Tigers avoided arbitration with starting pitcher Justin Verlander by signing him to a one-year, $3.7 million contract.[18]
  • On February 4, the organization outrighted pitcher Eddie Bonine to the Mudhens after clearing waivers.[19] He had spent most of the 2008 season with the Mudhens.
  • On February 24, the Tigers came to terms with relief pitchers Clay Rapada and Freddy Dolsi, and outfielders Brent Clevlen, Ryan Raburn and Wilkin Ramírez, all to one-year contracts.[20]
  • On March 19, the Tigers outrighted relief pitcher Macay McBride to Toledo.[21]
  • On March 29, the Tigers placed relievers Joel Zumaya and Dontrelle Willis on the 15-day disabled list. Zumaya, who had had a history of shoulder problems, was due to be activated April 11, one day after the Tigers' home opener against Texas. Willis was placed on the list due to an anxiety disorder.[22]
  • On March 30, the Tigers acquired speedy outfielder Josh Anderson from the Atlanta Braves for pitching prospect Rudy Darrow. Anderson hit .294 with three home runs, 12 RBIs and ten stolen bases with Atlanta in 2008.[23]
  • In a surprise move, the Tigers released nine-time All-Star Gary Sheffield on March 31. Sheffield, who joined the Tigers before the 2007 season, was one home run short of the 500 club when he was released.[24]


On July 30, the Tigers traded outfielder Josh Anderson to Kansas City for cash considerations.[25]

On July 31, the Tigers traded rookie left-handed pitcher Luke French and left-handed pitcher Mauricio Robles to Seattle for veteran left-handed starting pitcher Jarrod Washburn.[26]

On August 17, the Tigers traded pitcher Brett Jacobson to Baltimore for Aubrey Huff.[27]

Season highlights

The Tigers' home opener was on April 10 against the Texas Rangers.[28] The Tigers won that game 15–2, which included a grand slam by Miguel Cabrera and finished the series with a sweep.[29]

The Tigers swept their rivals the Indians in Cleveland during the second weekend of May.[30] The Tigers also completed back-to-back sweeps in May, against the Athletics and the Rangers. The Tigers also completed back-to-back sweeps in late June, over the Brewers and Cubs.

On May 15, the Tigers hit 2 grand slams in a game, only the third time in team history.[31]

On June 19, Instant replay was used twice in the Tigers' 10-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers at Comerica Park, the first time that's happened in league history.[32] Miguel Cabrera's third-inning single off the top of the wall is called a home run after instant replay review shows that it had actually cleared the wall. Contrarily, Dusty Ryan's fourth-inning home run was overturned to a ground rule double. Later that weekend, the Tigers won the series with a sweep.

On May 19, Dontrelle Willis and four relief pitchers combined to throw a one-hitter in a 4–0 Tigers Victory. Willis had a stretch in which he retired 17 straight batters [33]

The Tigers completed back-to-back sweeps against the Indians and Rays in early September.[34][35]

The Tigers held the 1st-place position from May 8 until they lost it to the Twins in the tiebreaker game on October 6.

The Tigers swept the Indians for the third time of the season in late September.[36]

Regular season

Season standings

AL Central W L Pct. GB Home Road
Minnesota Twins 8776 0.534 49–33 38–43
Detroit Tigers 8677 0.528 1 51–30 35–47
Chicago White Sox 7983 0.488 43–38 36–45
Cleveland Indians 6597 0.401 21½ 35–46 30–51
Kansas City Royals 6597 0.401 21½ 33–48 32–49


2009 Detroit Tigers
Pitchers Catchers



Other batters



Record vs. opponents

Kansas City4–43–59–98–109–91–96–122–42–65–41–93–34–38–10
Los Angeles8–25–44–54–24–59–16–45–512–710–94–28–114–414–4
New York13–59–94–35–35–14–25–57–07–26–411–75–412–610–8
Tampa Bay10–89–92–63–52–59–12–43–37–114–63–53–614–413–5

Game log

Tigers win Tigers loss Game postponed
Game log

Player stats

Through September 17, 2009


Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Wilkin Ramírez15114.36413
Miguel Cabrera160611198.32434103
Magglio Ordóñez131465144.310950
Alex Avila296117.279514
Ryan Raburn11326176.2911645
Plácido Polanco153618176.2851072
Ramón Santiago9326270.267735
Marcus Thames8725865.2521336
Curtis Granderson160631157.2493071
Adam Everett11834582.238344
Josh Anderson *7416540.242016
Clete Thomas10227566.240739
Don Kelly315614.25003
Carlos Guillén8127767.2421141
Brandon Inge161562129.2302784
Gerald Laird13541393.225433
Jeff Larish *327416.21647
Aubrey Huff *4010620.189213
Dusty Ryan12264.15404
Dane Sardinha *12313.09703
Brent Dlugach430.00000
Matt Treanor *4130.00000

Pitchers batting statistics not included

Starting pitchers

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Justin Verlander352401993.45269
Edwin Jackson332141393.62161
Lucas French *729⅓123.3819
Rick Porcello31170⅔1493.9689
Armando Galarraga29143⅓6105.6495
Alfredo Figaro517226.3516
Jarrod Washburn843137.3321
Dontrelle Willis *733⅔147.4917

Relief pitchers

Freddy Dolsi *610001.693
Brandon Lyon57643132.8751
Fu-Te Ni2900032.9319
Bobby Seay63630273.6137
Fernando Rodney64243303.8859
Ryan Perry4701064.0051
Zach Miner4575164.5256
Joel Zumaya *2933174.9430
Juan Rincón *710005.2310
Nate Robertson2512005.3525
Eddie Bonine800005.9613
Clay Rapada *200007.712
Jeremy Bonderman601009.315
Casey Fien601009.826
Chris Lambert *2010014.854

* No longer on active roster

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Toledo Mud Hens International League Larry Parrish
AA Erie SeaWolves Eastern League Tom Brookens
A Lakeland Flying Tigers Florida State League Andy Barkett
A West Michigan Whitecaps Midwest League Joe DePastino
A-Short Season Oneonta Tigers New York–Penn League Howard Bushong
Rookie GCL Tigers Gulf Coast League Basilio Cabrera

See also


  1. Detroit Tigers Official Site December 1, 2008 Tigers Won't Take Risk with Renteria
  2. "Giants sign free agent infielder Edgar Renteria to a two-year deal". Archived from the original on June 21, 2009. Retrieved June 19, 2009.
  3. Detroit Tigers Official Site October 17, 2008 - Rick Knapp named Tigers pitching coach
  4. Detroit Tigers Official Site October 28, 2008 Red Sox Claim Tigers Hurler Vasquez
  5. Detroit Tigers Official Site December 8, 2008 Tigers Seal Deal with Texas, Get Laird
  6. Detroit News December 8, 2008 Santiago, Tigers agree on 1 year contract
  7. Detroit News December 12, 2008 Tigers grab lefty Bloom
  8. Detroit Tigers Official Site December 13, 2008 Lopez Left Out as Tigers Offer Contracts
  9. Detroit Tigers Official Site December 15, 2008 Tigers agree to terms with Adam Everett
  10. Mlive.com December 18, 2008 Tigers announce signing catcher Matt Treanor
  11. Detroit Tigers Official Site January 6, 2009 Tigers sign Gomez to minor league deal
  12. Mlive.com January 13, 2009 Detroit Tigers sign Fu-Te Ni
  13. Mlive.com January 14, 2009 Fernando Rodney, Marcus Thames sign with Detroit Tigers to avoid contract arbitration
  14. Detroit Tigers Official Site January 20, 2009 Tigers Ink Four, Ponder Verlander Terms
  15. Detroit Tigers Official Site January 20, 2009 On Rebound, Rincón Inks Minors Deal
  16. Detroit Tigers Official Site January 26, 2009 Chance to close landed Lyon in Detroit
  17. Detroit Tigers Official Site January 26, 2009 Pérez Signs Minor League Deal
  18. Mlive.com February 3, 2009 Tigers, Justin Verlander avoid arbitration
  19. Detroit Tigers Official Site February 4, 2009 Tigers Outright Bonine to Triple-A
  20. Detroit Tigers Official Site February 24, 2009 Tigers Come to Terms With Five
  21. Detroit Tigers Official Site March 19, 2009 McBride Outrighted to Triple-A Toledo
  22. Detroit Tigers Official Site March 29, 2009 Tigers Place Willis, Zumaya on DL
  23. Detroit Tigers Official Site March 30, 2009 Tigers Acquire Anderson from Braves
  24. Detroit Tigers Official Site March 31, 2009 Tigers Release Sheffield Archived April 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  25. "Detroit Tigers Official Site July 30, 2009 Tigers send Anderson to Royals for cash - Oufielder moves to fourth Major League ballclub in career". Archived from the original on August 6, 2009. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  26. Detroit Tigers Official Site July 31, 2009 Tigers acquire Washburn from Mariners - AL Central leaders add veteran left-hander to all-righty rotation
  27. Tigers acquire infielder Huff from O's - Veteran brings left-hand bat to lineup and versatility in the field
  28. 2009 Detroit Tigers Regular Season Schedule
  29. "MLB.com 4/12/09 Inge starts, finishes Tigers' comeback". Archived from the original on June 22, 2009. Retrieved June 20, 2009.
  30. "Detroit Tigers Official Site May 10, 2009 Stingy Tigers sweep behind Porcello". Archived from the original on June 21, 2009. Retrieved June 19, 2009.
  31. "MLB.com 5/15/09 Tigers get Raburn, Inge grand slams". Archived from the original on June 22, 2009. Retrieved June 20, 2009.
  32. "MLB.com 6/19/09 Tigers rain down runs on Brewers". Archived from the original on June 22, 2009. Retrieved June 20, 2009.
  33. "MLB.com 5/19/09 D-Train won't be denied in second start".
  34. Tigers.com September 3, 2009 Polanco comes through for Tigers win - Victory in 10th extends lead in AL Central to five games
  35. Detroit Tigers Official Site September 6, 2009 Tigers sweep behind Inge's heroics - Slugger ropes go-ahead grand slam in ninth inning
  36. "Detroit tigers Official Site September 24, 2009 Tigers sweep Tribe, pad AL Central lead - Bats, Verlander help Detroit reduce magic number to eight". Archived from the original on September 27, 2009. Retrieved September 25, 2009.
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