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"As long as you don't consider <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=56185">Josh Donaldson</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=66018">Bryce Harper</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=46400">Andrew McCutchen</a></span>, and A.J. Pollack impediments"
four guys, 30 teams.
Granted not all 30 will be in the market and/or looking for OFs but I still like his odds, especially since I don't think Harper and McCutchen will be let go by their respective team.
There were a lot of previous articles pointing out the opt out clause was a "Heads I win, tails you lose" deal in the players' favor, but Trueblood points out the appeal for the teams, it allows them to game the luxury tax rules.
I saw Cashner as rookie in an interleague game against the Tigers. He looked really good. I was sure he had a much brighter future ahead of him than what actually happened.
This is why Pitchers are going for so much money, for every Grienke, Price or Kershaw, there's about a half dozen Cashners that just didn't make it.
A strike out an inning, about three strikeouts per walk last year, a slight improvement over career averages, which are a still respectable 2.7 k/bb and 8 k/9, only about a hit per inning both places... and his <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=ERA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('ERA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">ERA</span></a> went up last year. That doesn't make sense
I see a rebound.. would have rather had him than Pelfrey
A very nice write up.
This also helps the lineup because instead of Maybin and Gose everyday in left and center, they now platoon in Center.
Regarding the Luxury tax, projections had them right at the threshold BEFORE the deal was signed, so they're absolutely paying Lux tax on every dime of it this year, what happens after that, though, depends on what comes out of the CBA, as the author points out, and I would be surprised if the lux tax survives that negotiation, and if it does it will be drastically reduced.
Expect an extension shortly on JD Martinez... offering him $2m under MBTR projections when he's settling for said projection, after they paid a combined $2M over projection to avoid arbitration with 3 lesser players, is directly opposite from how this team does business, I suspect negotiations on said deal are already underway, delayed because Al Avila was busy negotiation the Upton deal.
Most surprising, Ilitch cracked the pizza piggy bank, not for the guy he had a history with, but the guy who, as the author points out, was a better fit.
A technical questions: is there time before "The Book" has to go to press, to include this deal in the overall analysis?
I seem to remember some statistical analysis on this site that seemed to indicate the fatigue of thowing longer stints on any individual start was worse than the fatigue from being sent out with fewer days in between starts.
It seems to me, if you're never going to let a starter go past the 6 innings, and carry 7 relief pitchers to fill the gap, you could use a 4 man rotation and put that fifth starter in the bullpen where he belongs anyway.
To quote <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=82629">Earl Weaver</a></span> "The starts you give to a fifth starter are taken away from the other four pitchers who are better than him.
Rest for everyday players is actually less common because benches are thin, because the 7 man pens have reduced the bench to a fourth outfielder, backup catcher, and some guy who can "play" every position but barely hits better than a pitcher. For this reason, I've been arguing for an increase of the roster to 28
I ran into a Yankees fan the day after the <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Justin+Wilson">Justin Wilson</a></span> for prospects deal. He wasn't happy, but I might have caught him on a bad day.
Am I the only one who thinks <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=46626">Denard Span</a></span> (if healthy) would be a better bang for the pizza buck than Yo?
Tigers have a lot of mid range thumpers but no real high <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OBP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OBP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OBP</span></a> top of the order candidates. Kinsler goes up there by default, and people keep looking at Gose's speed and seeing a leadoff hitter because of his speed, but Span would be the real deal leadoff hitter they're needing.
Putting him at the top of the order creates the "hammock" for whoever ends up in the 2-hole between him and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Miguel+Cabrera">Miguel Cabrera</a></span> (in turn protected by a healthy and non flukey pair of Martinezes), where a solid hitter is protected from his tendency to swing at bad pitches because pitchers won't want to risk walking him. With a suddenly competent at the plate Iglesias, a Gose/Maybin platoon) and a solid hitter replacing the GM's boy at the plate, the lineup goes from three automatic outs to none.
Defensively you have a CF capeable guy in LF which you need because of the park dimensions, and a solid clubhouse guy who can mentor youngsters both in defense and in the virtues of not swinging at bad pitches. Plus he can be had for less than half the price of Cespedes, which is more important than it used to be as every dime of the next contract incurs luxury tax.
You make several good points.
The incident was ugly to be sure, but I'm encouraged by the fact that it's the only one I remember this year. I remember a time when you couldn't go a week without hearing about another baseball player on drugs and another player beating up his wife or girlfriend.
what do the asterisks on the grid signify?
Royals still over the Tigers with all the guys not coming back to KC?
.... which will almost certainly be more than what they're paying Cueto now, else Cueto would not opt out
Dodgers lost Grienke to the D-backs, Price and Zimm already signed in the AL and the Giants got Cueto. The music has stopped the chairs are full and the Dodgers are the last man standing.
Next year is going to be interesting in the NL west.
Al Albuquerque without the control problems is pretty darn good considering that was his Achilles heel.
I was despondent about losing Dave dombrowski but Al Sr is a sipp or bastardo signing away from a perfect off-season
$1 million per start.
I'm old enough to remember when <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=17912">Jack Morris</a></span>, in his Prime was branded a greedy SOB for wanting $1.8m / year.
Price and Dombrowski.. maybe they can talk <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Jeff+Jones">Jeff Jones</a></span> out of retirement to help Little Ricky get his groove back.
What's Next Yoennis? <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=1480">Torii Hunter</a></span> as bench coach?
Seriously, this team is gonna ride Price to the World Series, Dombrowski will show it to his old boss, while wearing it on his middle finger
"Can't win with me, eh old man?"
A GM a year away from getting fired with a team an Ace away from getting to the playoffs? I could see that.
In another time I would have said Pitching guru <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Jeff+Jones">Jeff Jones</a></span> will iron out any flaws in his mechanics or delivery, but alas Jones retired this year.
I think "buyer beware" has to be stamped on any big contract for pitchers in a post <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=969">Barry Zito</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=1117">CC Sabathia</a></span> world, but if you need aces to win and if you don't have them down on the farm, you need to go get them. The old lottery slogan "you can't win if you don't play" applies here.
I realize the Raison d'etra of this site is that everything can be statistically proven and predicted and every cause has an effect, but couldn't the 1mph loss in one year, just be an off year? (see Verlander '08, which predated his '11 and '12 masterpieces)
Boy, do I wish the Hit list formula stat determined the AL Central winner instead of that old, outdated ACTUAL win-loss record stat
Love the Eye of the Tiger reference.
Would have loved to hear your take on Porcello for Cespedes, Wilson, and the other guy.
A carpet cleaner every inning would be excessive
Including a fourth inning stretch as well as the traditional 7th inning stretch would be a more reasonable homage.
Temperature in Hell 33 degrees and falling.
The one thing I would have issue with is the concern that looking like "buyers rather than sellers" would cause them to make a move that "doesn't make them playoff caliber, but costs them a long term asset"
By "long term asset" I'm sure Matthew means young, talented prospect, but the team's greatest asset is fans like acrozelle, and after years of mediocrity and worse, giving them a playoff run, even one that ultimately falls short, would do wonders towards keeping those fans buying tickets long enough for the next great Twins team to develop.
re: the Twins comment, I realize the purpose of the Hit List is to be funny, but a serious column answering the question "Twins: Real or lucky?" would be a good idea
Everything written after the last graph could have come straight from my own thoughts. Everything before it is still pretty good
The tigers climbed to second in the power rankings even as they fall to third in their division, scoring 1 run in two games against a pathetic A's team where they missed Sonny Grey?
I like to see it but I'm surprised the fans of the cardinals, Astrid, nationals, Yankees, totals, and yes the Rays and the Twins arent calling shenanigans yet...
Well I guess the Twins and the Rays can be explained by the fact that they don't have any fans but still....
troubles come in threes, three straight homers, three straight losses scoring less than three runs against three fringe starting pitchers.
I don't think that's the case. This came after Stanton criticized Redmond publicy. If anything this is an attempt to cater to Stanton.
If they really want to help him, they'll get some decent hitters ahead and behind him in the lineup.
Baseball is a zero some game, not every team can be a contender, but man for less than half their history, it hasn't looked like the Marlins have been trying. And it's not just Loria... Wayne Huizenga was no prize either.
It's a shame, too. I've made several business trips to Miami/Ft. Lauderdale in the last year, listened extensively to local sports talk radio, and I don't think I heard the Marlins mentioned once. A whole population pre-disposed to being baseball fans, but nobody cares.
Wow.. Tigers lose 2-1 then win 11-1 to the Twins and go from 5th to second on the power rankings list? I may like to see this, but I can see Cards, Royals and Yankees fans questioning the formulas.
This is what happens when you replace Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, and Justin Verlander for (in no particular order) Shane Greene, Alfredo Simon, and Kyle Lobstein.
No comments on the Sunday night game, where <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=3">Brad Ausmus</a></span> makes several strategic blunders (including a poorly timed bunt call) and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Ned+Yost">Ned Yost</a></span> gets into the opposing pitching coach's head and figures out his strategy mid game, like a truly smart Dartmouth Grad?
I swear if I didn't know it was impossible I would think they switched bodes before the game.
If you think the Gose/Travis trade looks bad now, wait till Gose comes back to Earth.
This trade is going end up hated by Tigers fans even more than Smoltz/Alexander.
But the Worst thing they have done is Rush Victor out there before he was ready, delaying his healing and hampering the lineup. It's 2014 Miggy all over again. They never learn.
Last year it was a walkoff grand slam from a low-power speed merchant, this year a game tying inside the park home run from a backup catcher.
Every year something happens to remind me that if I think I've seen it all, I'm wrong.
Speaking of being wrong, looks like I jinxed <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=60907">Shane Greene</a></span> a couple weeks ago, saying I thought he was the one guy on the team who's above average April might stick.
Love the reference in the White Sox comment to the classic Robin Ventura/Nolan Ryan "fight"
To date, the first thing I think of when Poor Robin is mentioned is that day he got his butt kicked by a dude old enough to be his father.
I always thought the Tigers bullpen was an object lesson that things could always be worse.
Price getting rocked and a snowstorm in LATE April?
There's a "Hell freezing over joke in there somewhere"
I thought that Gose was gonna make up for his poor hitting with his glove. Boy when he cools off and reverts to the mean, trading <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100193">Devon Travis</a></span> for this guy is gonna replace the Fister deal as the most hated deal in Detroit.
Shoulda just put Travis in Center. Would have removed the need to carry both Romine and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=59021">Hernan Perez</a></span> and allowed one more stick off the bench.
Yeah, I know they're 11-5 but that's a mirage. There's a lot of guys who're due to come back to Earth, serious nagging injuries much worse than we think to Victor and Verlander, and all hope of improvement over last year's bullpen just went up in smoke. They'll be lucky to end the season above .500
here's hoping Anibal gets right before Big Pasta goes cold
Bryant's free agency being delayed a year is hardly significant. There's no reason there should be any repercussion, as there's no reason more time in the minors will make him any less likely to become a star. If anything, not being rushed will make it more likely. The idea that the Cubs owe Bryant his fastest trip to the majors and big payday at the expense of their long term ability to win as a franchise and/or their profitability as a business is the next step past ludicrous.
The true outrage is the increasingly high salaries result in increasingly high ticket prices making it harder and harder for the typical American Family to afford to go to games (most of whom live on 1/10th or less of the major league minimum). Telling these people that the true outrage is that a player who hasn't accomplished anything yet now has to spend one extra year getting six figures instead of seven or eight to play a game is appalling.
Every time I hear talk of winning streaks I remember a Brewers team in the late 80's that started the year winning 15 in a row, then losing their next 13. I don't think that team made the playoffs (but there were no wild cards back then and only two divisions per League)
The foot injury to Moya was reported as Plantar Fasciatis, which is exactly what caused <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=204">Albert Pujols</a></span> to have a lost year in Anaheim. This is a very bad time in his development to lose a year.
That aside, I don't know how you can overcome "plate discipline issues" with power. Power doesn't matter at all if you can't make contact.
Update: Shane just threw 8 scoreless innings on the same Pirates lineup that put a year's worth of home runs on <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45578">Anibal Sanchez</a></span> the day before. Still two games is too small a sample size, but "it's just the Twins" doesn't apply anymore.
There's nothing wrong with the current box score.
Things don't have to change every few years just for the sake of change.
while it does appear from the article that Larry Roschild is true hero here, Tigers pitching coach <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Jeff+Jones">Jeff Jones</a></span> has made a career in Detroit of making good pitchers better and helping them maintin good mechanics or recover them mid game as opposed to after multiple bad starts. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=56753">Max Scherzer</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=52353">Doug Fister</a></span> and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=57745">Rick Porcello</a></span> all left Detroit better pitchers than when they arrived (or in Porcello's case after Jones arrived)
So yeah, I'll second the author's buy recommendation on <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=60907">Shane Greene</a></span>
You could argue the Ray/Greene trade WAS a do-over of the Fister deal
to clarify, I was disagreeing (respectfully of course) with Hutzlers, agreeing with Carter. Position of comment might be confusing.
Wow, that's the nicest thing anyone has said about <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=66299">Steven Moya</a></span> on this site.
I would love to be wrong, but I'm very bearish on Moya for the reasons described. There are a lot of pitchers that can make a guy with a big swing look stupid but the real problem is the plate discipline (or lack thereof) This was what turned <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=1425">Brandon Inge</a></span> from an All-Star third baseman to a team mascot, what turned <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45493">Delmon Young</a></span> from a great prospect to a journeymen pinch hitter, and why <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=499">Juan Encarnacion</a></span> never made the best of his five outstanding tools.
Now there's been a bit of a regime change in Detroit recently, so maybe <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=17230">Wally Joyner</a></span> can do a better job teaching plate discipline than his predecessors
I'm thinking the Nathan signing could be a contender for bad moves the Tigers, especially if we could somehow pair it with the infamous <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=52353">Doug Fister</a></span> deal. While technically two separate moves, they occurred so close together that you could argue (and I frequently do) that the motivation for the Fister deal was to clear money to sign Nathan.
I disagree, mainly because I think his latest step forward can be traced not to the improved infield (which never fully materialized thanks to the Iglesias injury), but <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Jeff+Jones">Jeff Jones</a></span> getting him to dump his slider and emphasize the curveball more. If I'm right in the correlation/causation speculation. This step forward looks very sustainable.
Despite his coming to the majors early, the Tigers have been very careful with is use early in his career, so is there any study that shows pitches in the majors wear out an arm more than minor league pitches? If not, there's no reason to assume his recent success can't be sustained, and Little Ricky is gonna be a great pitcher for a lot of years to come, I only wish he would still be doing it in Motown.
Interesting you mention Lester in the analysis, as the Sox having then losing Lester was likely a factor in both this contract, and their acquisition of Little Ricky in the first place.
During last year's trading period there was a lot of speculation that the Red Sox's plan involved trading Lester at the deadline for prospects, then signing him as a free agent, meaning they could have both Lester and some good young players.
But halfway through the plan something went awry. The Cubs swooped in and signed Lester out from under them. Around the time this was happening, there were heated rumors of a Cespedes for Porcello deal with Detroit. The talks appeared all but dead right up until the Lester announcement came out, then within days, the trade was announced, with the Sox trading for Porcello, giving up not just Cespedes, but two throw-in pitching prospects.
So learning their lesson that you can't count on the free agent market breaking their way, they chose not to roll the dice again with Little Ricky, undoubtedly still remembering how they lost Lester.
I agree, with the caveat that other cool obscure cultural references may be substituted.
Before she left, <a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/author/christina_kahrl">Christina Kahrl</a> used to be brilliant at weaving those things into the transaction analyses. Glad to see they haven't completely disappeared.
Normally here I would write a post asking how much longer can Dombrowski keep working is magic with less and less in the farm system and more and more holes appearing and with the end of the blank check from pizza money looming, but I've been doing that for about three years now and it hasn't happened yet.
Nobody's said it anywhere, so I can't confirm it, but I think they're hoping that Kyle Lobstein (who had some serviceable games filling in for an injured Sanchez) will pitch his way into the rotation in spring training. If that happens, Simon goes from a shaky starting rotation addition to an outstanding bullpen addition.
Everyone will deny it, but the re-signing of the Joba is an admission that they lost the Joel Hanrahan lottery.
Other than those two points, Miller's "all of the above" answer mirrors my own take on the situation.
Chamberlin would be a great addition to any pen, don't read too much into his end of season slide, that was a by-product of overuse by a rookie manager with no other viable options.
Coke would be an intriguing reclamation project. It baffles me that he's been so bad the past two years when he was so good immediately before that. The right pitching coach could do turn this guy around. Maybe St. Louis?
I don't think there's anything wrong with Soriano a change of scenery wouldn't fix
Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, is conspicuously absent from this list
I oppose banning the shift. A team smart enough to figure out how to give up fewer runs by strategically moving fielder's deserves to have an edge over a team that doesn't. You've had your mulligan, Manfred. Let's try not to make another dumb move for a few months ok? You don't want to be known as a worse commissioner than bud lightweight
I saw Moya ranked third and thought he was being overrated here the same way local fans and media have been overrating him, then read the rest of the list... he's only at three because this is a week system made weaker by a bunch of stop gap trades. Put another way, he's the leper with the (third) most fingers. Once the ML pitchers figure out they don't have to throw him a strike, they won't, and the year after that he'll be selling insurance.
This is depressing to read about the charred remains of the farm system days after realizing the window is closing for the ML club now that Mad Max is officially gone, and Price is following him out of town next year.
Jim Harbaugh better get that Wolverine program running because that's looking like the only source of Joy for Motown sports fans in the near future.
Mad Max was a great pitcher for a lot of years, and I will miss him this year and next, but beyond that, I'm glad his contract is jamming up the Nats and not the Tigers.
On the other hand, the number of scary contracts already guaranteeing lean years ahead, if keeping Max would have increased the chance of being able to metaphorically wrap ourselves up in a pennant to help warm the cold winters to come... It's not like pitchers will get any cheaper next year when we talk about Price.
So what's worse, paying big chunks of money for 7 years or medium size chunks of money for 14 years, the last 7 when the player is long gone?
Well, it's official, Mad Max is gone. I'd been preparing for this all year but it still stings. I hate to not have his presence in the rotation but that contract would have been scary, particularly if it meant paying luxury tax on a team already losing money and likely to lose more as the Detroit economy takes its toll.
Washington now boasts a Rotation of (in no particular order) Scherzer, Strasberg, Fister and Gio Gonzales?? Even if they don't keep Zimmerman that's gotta be the new best rotation in the league. I'd be tempted to call them the favorites for the World Series, but considering the previous two super rotation, the Phillies and Tigers, never got a ring, I'm rethinking my whole theory about the game goes to the best rotation.
On another note, Max was racking up ridiculous strikeout totals facing full lineups, can you imagine what he'll do now that he gets to face a pitcher every three innings? Watch out Clayton, you got competition for the NL Cy Young now.
I don't know what to think about the pursuit of Big Game James. Could be it was just a rumor to try to get back the leverage that lone wolf leaker destroyed. (in all my years following this team I've NEVER seen anything like that) or it could be Shields' agent trying to drum up interest. If it's legit I don't know what to think. Sure it's less years and less money, but it's for an older less talented pitcher, though still an ace and better than running Simon out there every fifth day. Then again, he's 3-4 years older so a 3 year contract would be almost as risky as the 7 year deal with Scherzer, and there's now ay he settles for three years.
The sad part for me is, the window has gone from wide open to cracked for air, and this time next year, when we do this same story about David Price, it closes.
This is the first time I've ever heard of a Tigers "team official" leaking something that contradicted the official company line.
I had been thinking for awhile, that Zobrist would have been a better fit for the Tigers than Cespedes. He may not have Cespedes power but his OBP is awesome, and he'd be insurance against Jose Iglesias' injuries and Kinsler's age. The Tigers really need OBP rather than power as there are no good in house candidates for the 1 and 2 holes other than Kinsler. Lastly, Zobrist wouldn't have cost Porcello. Ultimately though it wouldn't work because what it would cost is prospects, a lot more than the mediocre package sent to the Reds for Simon and there really isn't anything left to trade.
The Tigers are down to three aces with Porcello traded and Scherzer likely gone. You need three aces to win a World Series. If Price goes to the window is closed. Yes it's expensive but any free agent ace is going to cost at least that much plus a draft pick. There are no future aces in the farm system. Either sign Price long term, change your mind about Mad Max, or resign to closing the window and going into rebuild mode.
It does appear like a salary dump, but it's also possible the reds don't care about FIP. It's pretty clear the Tigers don't either.
Despite my sentimental attachment to Rick Porcello having watched him develop from a kid rushed to the majors to a good pitcher pilloried for not reaching his potential to finally reaching said potential, I don't hate this deal. I actually like it. There was a need for another good bat in the lineup and Cespedes fits the bill. Getting a moderately useful piece for the pen and a prospect too is nice. Sure I'm concerned about Cespedes' poor walk rate, but he's been productive enough despite it long enough that it's not an unreasonable hope for him to continue being productive, and while this is the second lost ace, there's still three on staff, enough to have playoff hopes but not enough to carry a team by itself. Fortunately there's a little more reason to believe this lineup will pull it's weight, which is good because it'll have to.
The other Boston Acqusition, Masterson, intrigues me because I thought that he'd be worth a flier because pitching coach Jeff Jones could bring him back to his old ace ways for less than ace prices. Unfortunately he got $9M which is still apparently more than the current tigers can afford.
And this is what worries me, the parallels between this year and last year. They needed another power hitter (A closer) but they needed to make room under the payroll so they traded Porcello (Fister) in a hurry up move, replacing him with a less costly alternative in Simon (Ray/Krol) and it was the best they could do because of time and money pressures.
Much as I love Max Scherzer and will miss him in Motown, How does Lester's $155m validate Scherzer's ask for $200m? Scherzer is a better pitcher but is he $45m better? Or is this factoring in an anticipated bidding war from all the disappointed Scherzer suitors? Or is this wishcasting on the part of Scott Boras (AKA the Devil's Advocate)?
funny you should say that (haul from Simon better than Latos), because on the Tiger rumor boards, between the time after the rumor of a pitcher coming from the Reds and the time he was named, there was a lot of hope that it would be Cueto, or "at least Latos" or "anybody but Simon". I agree Cueto was an irrational hope, but I would have been very happy with Latos. That said, I understand an underachieving first round pitcher and a future utility player wasn't likely to get anything more than what we got.
I remain depressed about this trade. They did need another pitcher but not this one. At his age, that return to pumpkin second half is far more likely age and return to talent level than any real development. Now to be fair Jeff Jones is a master at turning starting pitchers around (Scherzer, Fister, Porcello and Sanchez all exceeded their previous expectations under his tutelage) but this is the oldest and least talented pitcher he's been asked to work his magic. Porcello, on the other hand, is a young player rushed to the major leagues early just now overcoming that handicap and reaching his potential, HIS second have slump is attributable to fatigue, and easily reversed. Porcello is a top half of the rotation starter forced to the back half by three CY-young winners, and a fourth who could have had one if he had been healthy, whereas Simon is a long reliever who needed a short term hot streak to look like a back end starter. They would have been better off taking a flier on Masterson, who has ace history that Jones could help him recover, or going with the in house options.
While I hate this failed attempt to plug the hole, I don't hate the deal that made the hole, as it solves the lineup and outfield problem. It even makes the previous deal I did hate more palatable because a Gose/Davis platoon in CF is less of an automatic out that Gose everyday and it's more palatable with a great hitter on the other corner instead of relying on AAAA player Tyler Collins or future bust Stephen Moya. Plugging that hole was a victory, though I am worried about the corresponding hole in the lineup might make that victory pyrrhic, and the Simon deal does nothing to make that hole any better.
I actually agree with this, an ending to the Cubs drought would be as good a story for baseball as an ending to the Red Sox drought.
So much like 2008, the Tigers find themselves in a minor cash crunch and a need to get younger and cheaper without getting too much worse, so he pulls out his gun, points it at the Diamondbacks GM and gets him to give up better talent that he gets in return, yet again with Brian Cashman as the wheel man.
Last time he gave up Edwin Jackson and Curtis Granderson for Max Scherzer and Austin Jackson, who were talent upgrades as well as younger and cheaper. Fans hated the deal at the time, but they've long since changed their minds.
This time he didn't get salary relief but he did get an upgrade, and traded the key piece in the deal everyone hated for what he should have gotten, a younger, cheaper version of the ace he dealt who will be ready to contribute before the window closes.
Sure Greene has some question marks given one good year, but pitching guru Jeff Jones has done a great job turning steady, reliable starters into even better starters.
IF Greene stays in the fifth slot, this is a great move, if there's some hope that he gives flexibility to deal one of the other four starters currently in the fold, that's an unreasonable expectation.
On the other hand, this still leaves the team about $4m under the luxury tax with a gaping hole in the OF lineup and a dumpster fire of a bullpen not yet addressed. If the Luxury tax is indeed the line Ilitch won't cross, it's hard to see the remaining holes being addressed without a salary dump move involving one of the four great starters, and that's how Dombrowski got in this mess he just finished cleaning up.
George Costanza's dad already did it as well as it could be done
Agreed, in fact I'm surprised the Fister deal wasn't on this list, as it appears a full out mistake by a man who rarely (but not never) makes mistakes. Even if Robbie Ray pans out, that's a couple years down the road at the expense of the current team that's otherwise in "win now" mode.
At the time I thought they were clearing money for Joe Nathan, as that signing came days later, but if they couldn't afford $10M in Nathan (another mistake but only known with hindsight) in the offseason without dumping Fister why could they afford $7M and their two best pitching prospects for Soria in July (all so he could watch from the pen), to say nothing about Price?
Given that adding a third ace to Kershaw Greinke (those trade rumors turned out to be smoke) would make them nigh-invulnerable, I'm surprised that they waited so long to get in on Lester, and haven't (as far as I know) check in on Max Scherzer yet. Mad Max is the best pitcher out there and what do the Dodgers care about money or draft picks these days?
This trade was the ultimate indictment of Randy Smith but for a different reason, it wasn't because he gave up a boatload of young talent for a washed up malcontent superstar, but because since none of the "young talent" he traded panned out any better than the "young talent" he kept, his incompetents and evaluating talent and building a team was even worse than we already thought it was.
Past articles on this site have identified Dave Dombrowski as the best GM in baseball, and that's validated not because of what he built in Detroit but what he built with the mess he inherited.
what else could the Twins have spend that $10.5 million on that would make them contenders next year? What could they have spent ten times that amount on to make them contenders next year?
I do admit it's surreal to see an average player in the twilight of his career given $10.5 million as essentially a lifetime achievement award. I'm old enough to remember when a superstar making a tenth of that was a big deal.
The trade is only a symptom of the bigger problem, that even if he stayed this wasn't the team he loved anymore, and it was time to move on.
Isn't this the one where the punk kid ends up managing a baseball team? that's not "realistic baseball logic". Plus it had the same saccharine relationship stuff that "Love of the Game" got (rightfully) busted for.
Agh.. the chick flick masquerading as baseball film. Should have "love of the game's" spot on this list too
I would disagree with including "For the Love of the Game" even though I agree with the complaints about the romance between Chapel and Kelly Preston's Character (I forget her name).
The movie is actually two movies inexplicably cut together, a brilliant sports movie and an sappy, poorly written, by the numbers love story with the only connection between the two that Kevin Costner plays the lead in both movies.
Fast forward the love story scenes (as I do at the end of every season) and you get a great story of a down on it's luck team and a pitcher near the end having one last great day in the sun. The on field action, the Vin Scully play by play, the TEAM flashbacks, were all well done. Yes, it's the Rocky formula but it's well crafted Rocky formula.
I would understand someone who didn't have my team bias not putting it on a best list (and even I wouldn't) but there are movies more deserving of a spot on THIS list. "Little Big League" "Angels in the Outfield" and both "Major League" sequels just off the top of my head.
The full Nationals rumor is that they want to trade Fister or Zimmerman to clear money to sign Max Scherzer... an ironic turn of events as the much maligned trade that sent Fister to the nationals was an attempt to clear salary to sign Mad Max long term, but he went and foiled that plan by turning down the offer. Normally I'm amused by irony, but not here.
My point exactly, said "sub 700 OPS" because I couldn't remember if it was high 600's or low 600's and didn't want to look it up.
Bottom line, the gap between a good and average fielder (even at CF) is much smaller than the gap between a good and average hitter. New defensive metrics may make guys like Gose look better in the on paper WAR, but it doesn't affect the wins on the field the same way.
The hole in the lineup putting a third automatic out at the bottom of the lineup. This means they need to get a LF that can really hit instead of rushing Collins/Moya. Either that or dump Avila for a catcher who can hit but doesn't have Avila's defensive skills (much harder to do)
While fourth on the depth chart, 2 and 3 are future utility players he would have quickly leapfrogged, and number 1 is an aging talent likely to regress soon. Not really the "hole" so much as a poor talent exchange and lost resources that can't be applied to fixing the pen. I could have gotten behind Travis for a mediocre fielding CF with a good bat, but not this.
I keep hearing that this is a good deal for Detroit because Gose is such a great defender, makes up for his bat with his glove yadda yadda yadda, but I just don't see it. Yes, the Tigers really needed a good defensive center fielder and they can't afford to break the bank on a replacement, but they're already conceding offense on two positions with Avila at C (don't buy the rumors he's not going anywhere and if he does it won't fix this problem) and Iglesias at SS (assuming he's all the way beck from the stress fractures). Gose makes three, that's an entire inning of automatic outs. That's unsustainable even with a 3-4-5 Cabrera and the Martinez Brothers, plus it gets even worse if the rumors are true and we have to deal with growing pains in LF of whichever of Moya and Collins gets hot in Lakeland this spring. Gose's glove can't make up for a .220 average and an ops under .700 unless he's gonna cover two outfield spots, allowing for a 5th infielder. And trading a solid hitting 2B prospect for him is a serious overpay, even if you don't need him yet.
Now to be fair, it's possible Wally Joyner's looked at this guy's tape and told DD "I can make a decent hitter out of him" and it's possible that there's something else going on that's going make this all make sense, but ever since the classic screwup on the Fister deal, DD's been doing one triage deal after another, each deal designed to patch the hole from the last deal, but creating a hole for the next deal, and he's running out of the cash and prospects he needs to make his magic work.
This team is shaping up to look weaker than last year's team that limped into the playoffs
Before the Price deal, I was intrigued by what Jeff Jones could to with this guy.
In a way I still am.
I personally see Mad Max in pinstripes next year, with the Red Sox bringing back Lester.
I don't see Rasmus as a shoo-in to go to Detroit either, just because he's the least bad CF option on the market. Yes they need a defensive upgrade, but they're already putting up with two holes in the lineup to accommodate defense and C and SS, so if they put another hole in the lineup in CF for defense, that's a whole inning of automatic outs, even on the days when they have the good sense to keep Don Kelly on the bench.
I would like to retract my earlier defense of Brad Ausmus. True he had little to work with but he made the least of what he had. There was no reason to yank Sanchez early, and certainly no reason to back to the same pitchers that let him down the night before. Lastly, Delmon Young was with this team for two friggin years... everyone here knows he'll swing at anything closer to the plate than a pickoff move. And yet, with a team that includes an Ivy league graduate manager, who's a former catcher praised for his baseball sense, a guru pitching coach so smart he's held over and the son of the assistant GM who's so good as a defensive catcher he stays in the lineup even though he can't hit water if he falls from a boat, and none of these people have the good sense to tell the releiver "don't give him anything good to hit".
The season will end Monday, if not Sunday, so on Tuesday, Dombroski needs to call Ron Gardenhire. We lost out on Terry Francona because they kept Leyland a year two long, let's not make the same mistake twice.
As bad as this game was, and it was bad, had Romine not booted the ball and had the bullpen not blown up, they still would have lost the game 4-3, because at every stretch right up until then, no matter how close the Tigers got or good they were, the Orioles were just a little better. And that (like game two last year vs. the Red Sox, was actually more frustrating than a blowout.
The real problem is this is looking like a repeat of the 2011 ALDS where the Tigers advantage in rotation is offset by an advantage in bullpen and lineup.
I do draw some comfort in the true advantage in the Tigers rotation is that it manifests itself in the 3-4 games, when other teams have to reach past their 1-2 aces and the Tigers are still putting Aces on the mound, but with Fister gone, Sanchez hurt, and Little Ricky taking a scary step back in September, I'm not sure that matters, especially when this lineup makes normal pitchers into Aces too.
Still, when the inevitable series loss occurs, I will object to any attempt to lay the blame on Ausmus (at least for this game) it's not Brad's fault Iglesias (who would have handled the ball Romine booted) got hurt, it's not his fault most of the fireman in the bullpen resemble arsonists. Given the facts on the ground, sticking with Mad Max for as long as he did remains the only rational decision (though devil's advocate could argue that you should pull him because you might need him to go on short rest for game 4 or even game 3) When Showalter beats Ausmus this series it won't be because he's a better, more experienced manager, it's because Ausmus was forced to bring a knife to a gun fight.
RJ's thoughts mirror my own. I would like to think that the Tigers could pull this off in five but this roller coaster under-achieving season has given me doubts.
I hold no brief for Yost, but the amount of venom directed at a manager who WON a playoff game and advanced to the next round is pretty surreal.
I agree with JE Canning about a playoff hit list.
Failing that, it seems to me there should be one more hit list Monday, as there are games to be played this weekend.
I'm not here to defend Reuben Amaro, but this seems like a typical 20/20 hindsight shot. I remember the year the Phillies with to the playoffs with a four ace rotation of Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels, and thinking, man there's no way this team gets stopped, because more often than not, the team with the best pitching wins. Luck didn't break his way, but what if it did? Would memories of a victorious World Series take some of the pain out of the lean years to come? "you need the best pitching to win" is just as valid as "never give a pitcher more than 4 years", and it puts a GM in the equivalent of "don't walk him/don't give him anything good to hit" Amaro gambled mortgaging the future would get him a ring today, and he lost. If he won, I have a feeling he'd be getting a very different critique for the same moves.
Here's an outside the box question.. why does any Tigers starter have to go to the Bullpen... Sure most teams like to put their 5th starter in the pen, but most team are forced to use a 5th starter who should have been in the pen in the first place. The Tigers essentially have a 5 ace rotation right now, there's no reason not to start all five, giving each pitcher optimal rest allowing them each to go as long as possible delaying the need to go the suspect bullpen. For that matter there' no need to worry about setting up the rotation or worry about which pitcher starts which game. All there is to worry about is if these five guys can carry this team on their shoulders to the finish line despite the continuously suspect bullpen and suddenly suspect lineup. Remember some of the other teams they face have pretty deep rotations too, and they have more help
I think its more a function of the other teams getting stronger. If the tigers hadn't made the deal they might have dropped even more, like the nays did for standing pat. They have a scary rotation but so do other teams now, and they don't have detroits lineup issues (ajax leaving hurts the lineup almost as much as the defense)
6months ago we thought the pizza money was dried up and DD was on his way to being the next comissioner of basebal, he pulls this masterstroke. This deal does the rare thing of increasing thief odds of winning both this year and next ( and longer if prices price is less crazy than mad max ) and to do it he ripped off Tampa as badly as Washington ripped us off for fister and ended up with a much better player. I'd say the wizard got his groove back.
It's not a perfect deal. They solved the logjam of corner outfielers by clearing centerfield for one. This is like curing dandruff with decapitation. While a fair Exchange in talent in a vacuum, it does leave a gaping hole in the lineup as well as the of defense. Age is very likely to catch up to torii hunter and the law of averages to catch up to Davis and JD. Andy dirks is a huge question mark coming back from injury and he wasn't much to begin with. And careers is as likely to be another domineering as another JD. Still u could argue that anachronism was due for another slump and the As blew a bigger hole in their lineup to get a less talented pitcher. The team is in better shape to win now and in the future with price than without but they aren't the only scary rotation in the playoffs this year, and some of them have better lineups
Always love a tree falling in the woods reference.
It DOES make a sound BTW
I don't care how many games the season lasts but if we're gonna have wildcards, we need to bring back the balanced schedule to cancel out the advantage of playing in a weak division. Sure it would mean the end of interleague play but the novelty of that marketing stunt went out with dialup modems. Besides its ridiculous to have interleague play between leagues with different rules anyway, but that's a whole other debate
what about letting Harper go back to catching?
You would think after 30 plus years of following baseball I'd have the good sense not to turn off a game in the 8th just because my team was down three runs to the best team in baseball.
2B Daniel Murphy to the Tigers? Not with Kinsler knocking the cover off the ball. Even if Murphy plays SS, which is not mentioned, the Tigers are high on the Suarez kid for now and Jose Iglesias when he comes back next year.
I noticed the Tigers weren't included in the buyers despite the clear lack of bullpen help but giving the depleted farm system and conspicuously absent owner, that's probably right. If they're gonna hold of the Royals one more year, it'll have to be with the team as it stands now.
I actually think Zobrist makes more sense for the Tigers than Rollins.... if the Suarez kid comes down to Earth, he can finish out the year at short, when Iggy comes back next year, he replaces Torii Hunter in RF, (maybe this year if Torii doesn't get his mojo back and Suarez doesn't lose his) Best of all, it eliminates the need for team Mascot Don Kelly. Sadly, Dombrowski probably doesn't have chips to pull this off, and the bullpen hole needs fixing. Again.
Yes, love these features
I agree with Franco that the flipside would be funny, too. Start not just with a small market team moving a star, but a fringe playoff team looking to fill holes... (EG Cashman needs a pitcher, Dombrowski needs bullpen, etc
Anyone want to take bets on whether or not Mad Max gets his next complete game in a Tigers uniform?
RE: the Rays comment, yes, it would, especially in the case of David Price because if you have to ask the price for Price you can't afford him.
RE: the Indians comment, so are they playing "wild thing" when he comes up to the mound yet?
those minor league numbers are mostly AA with a small AAA cup of coffee, I'm reluctant to get too excited about projecting that level of success in the bigs based on AA numbers, much I would wish otherwise
"he won't be worse than his 2014 predecessors"
that's faint praise to be sure.
I think they should have kept Worth instead of Romine, some work on that knuckleball and he could help out in the bullpen.
Wonder how many people will actually get the Reds comment
It was masterful BTW
Number 5 wouldn't have been fun at all
Number 8 is just too horrific to contemplate
Time to bring the DH to the National League. There's too much interleague play to justify both Leagues having different rules and there's too many dead spots in the game as it is without adding an automatic out by letting the pitcher hit.
... or that hitters soon give him that nickname
There was an excellent roundtable discussion on the MLB network just under a week ago. I finally got around to watching it yesterday. Bob Costas Moderated and other panelists included Jim Kaat, John Smoltz, Tom Verducci. It was a very thoughtful, insightful serious back and fourth debate on the issue and highly worth watching. It was a refreshing change from the kind of silliness that passes as discourse on the four letter network these days.
8 starting pitchers, 1-4 pitch innings 1-5 of each of their games, pitchers 5-8 pitch innings 6-9, two relievers on hand for emergencies, that's an old school 10 man staff, leaving more bench players for platoons and subtsitutes. With each starter basically working a starter workload, you don't have to worry about stretching out a reliever to be a starter, you can trade them as starters to teams running more traditional usage. Basically it would be like extended spring training for the pitchers, The ones who do well get to be part of a more traditional rotation when the team improves, the ones who do less well go to a more traditional bullpen or get traded, the ones who really do poorly go back the minors or get released.
Limited pitch counts could allow a permanent return to a 4 man rotation. The damage occurs from the fatigue in the later innings when a pitcher who should be removed is forced to "gut it out"
Before we get too excited about Robbie Ray, remember that game was against the Astros, let's see what he does against a major league team first.
Love the Angels, Tigers AND Braves comment
The buzz around Motown is if he does well he can replace Max Scherzer in the rotation next year if they don't sign him. I don't necessarily disagree with that strategy, as the money and years necessary to bring Mad Max back isn't really feasible, but it creates the problem that you're replacing a front line ace starter with a reliable middle of the order guy. This is a problem because the team's success to date has revolved around the team's four aces carrying the team when the hitting and bullpen underperformed. Well one ace (Doug Fister) is already gone in the trade everyone hated and the another is going away due to economics. The bullpen has been even worse due to injuries and underperformance, and the much publicized lineup revamp has cost more runs in power loss than it got back in speed and aggressiveness. And the two remaining aces (Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez) have age and injury concerns respectively. There's no help in the farm system for either aces in training, or trade chips (Ray is the best coming), if the money "saved" by not signing Scherzer isn't funneled to improvements in bullpen and lineup, this team is destined to regress in 2015 to the rest of the AL Central.
To put another way, this is Detroit's last year as a serious WS contender
RE: the Yankees line: Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, and Jacoby Ellsbury were unavailable for comment
RE: the Tigers comment, it actually was the middle finger.
Sanchez is nice guy though, so when asked to show reporters the injury, he politely declined.
I'm sorry, that 262 and 255
What would you guess to be the odds Albert can pass Barry Bonds (another 162) or Hank Aaron (155)?
we got one of those here, but for some reason I don't find it funny
Re: the Astros comment, have we already forgotten Antonio Alfonseca?
there's a "Bush League" joke in there somewhere but I can't quite put it together
Everyone assumes that playing with a brother is a good thing, but what if it's not? There's a lot of talk about the psychological trauma of a younger brother having to live in an older brother's shadow, but what's not as often noted, is that it's even worse in those cases where the younger brother overshadows the older brother. So every day he faces comparisons to his more talented younger brother made more frequent by the fact that they're both on the same team. Now that's probably not the cause of the initial slump, but it could be delaying his climb out.
Fair enough... that was the first free agent reliever I could think of off the cuff, and I thought naming a guy would be funnier than saying "whoever Dave Dombrowski picks up".
In addition to the "accomplishments" you listed for Alex Gonzalez, he also tripled in Alex Avila to tie the game, setting up his heroic walk-off. This is the kind of thing that got Brandon Inge and Don Kelly a ton more fans and at bats than men of their modest skills should have had. Expect a lot of "clutch" arguments to be made on AGonzo's behalf, even as his average sinks to it's true level.
The "confirmation bias" problem from this game will be that the team's trading of speed for defense was the right move, that they won a game the would have lost because they got a key base hit instead of waiting for homers. It's only one game, and the real problem last year was not the offense, but the bullpen (which didn't get fixed by signing Nathan). The only problem with the offense was not the "clogging of the basepaths" we heard about ad nauseum, it was the outs on the basepaths, running themselves out of innngs, much like Nick Castellanos did when he wasted his leadoff single trying to make double out of it. Killing that rally had as much to do with Gonzo's heroics as Aoki did.
Or maybe I'm just suffering from a different form of confirmation bias :-)
Excellent analysis. Surely a bullpen would benefit from a day off (though not as much as we thought by this analysis) but not every team has a Justin Verlander who can give them one. For those teams, I have an alternate suggestion, the 6th starting pitcher. Every team usually has two guys fighting for the fifth spot on the roster and one ends up either converted to a reliever or sent to AAA. I say, keep the odd man out, but run out there every fifth day, the same day as the guy who beat him for the fifth starting spot. One guy pitches innings 1-5, the other 6-9. Each guy only faces the hitters about twice, avoiding the third trip through the order that really causes problems, you can rest the other pitchers that day, and you can save your closer and setup guys for the other days without giving any innings to those middle relief guys that REALLY make you cringe.
Two excellent points, which dovetail with some ideas, I've had. The evolution away from the complete game and towards highly specialized bullpens has resulted in 12-13 roster spots to pitchers where previously 9-10 was sufficient. This results in a much shorter bench, usually a backup catcher, a 4th outfielder and a guy who can play every position but can't hit a lick. For this reason, I've been advocating expanding the roster to somewhere between 28-30 players.
Well this kills my earlier theory of the pizza money drying up.
The only rational (for want of a better word) explanation for this is that after all the bad publicity surrounding the injuries and the failed attempt to lock up Mad Max, the team was desperate for some positive PR and wanted to assure the fans that despite they would not be losing the best player in baseball in the near future. The problem is, this contract is going to become the same kind of albatross that the Fielder contract was and keeping him at this level without substantially increasing salary is going to result in another "Miggy and the Mudhens" team and the rest of the Mudhens resemble Danny Worth more than Nick Castellanos. You can argue this team as constructed, can't win without Miggy and there's no Miggy caliber player on the horizon in the free agent market or the farm system. The problem is, as the author points out, even Miggy can't be counted on to be Miggy for the length of this contract.
NJ, it's not so much what's been said but what hasn't been said, or more appropriately, what hasn't been seen. Mr. Ilitch hasn't been seen in public since he accepted the 2012 WS trophy and he didn't look good. He's missed several functions he used to attend. His heirs are known not to love the game as much as he does. I speculate this way because as you point out "it would explain a lot"
thanks for the kind words,
I should point out that I typo'ed on the year, 2014 is the last year they can field a contender, not 2013.
I'm still writing 2013 on my checks too ;-)
Dave Dombrowski is still the best GM in baseball, but boy has he cut his lead on number 2 this offseason.
The most telling transaction is the one that didn't happen, the Max Sherzer contract extension that wasn't. Not so much the non-signing but the press release issued immediately after. This wasn't a press release you send when you hope to sign a guy in the offseason, this was a press release you send when you've given up and you want the fanbase to know you did all you could. Given what Max was asking (what he could get on the market) there were two choices, Sign Max and let a bunch of other players go, or let Max go. Either way, 2013 becomes the last year the Tigers can field a World Series contender.
Knowing this fact, the previous week's moves make more sense. His shortstop is injured and he no longer has unlimited Pizza money so he can't sign Stephen Drew, he doesn't have prospects left to trade so he can't trade for Chris Owings, but he has to do something so he trades his spare parts for other people's spare parts hoping something will click. If that means admitting one of the guys they got for Fister is just a spare part, that's what has to be done. Sure he's now got a platoon of a guy who can't hit and a guy who'll be playing shortstop with a cane in one hand and his glove in the other, but when all you have to deal is a future long reliever and a utility guy who can't hit or play short, you can call it an error, but not an unforced error.
The same can be said for the Fister deal. It was done within days of the Joe Nathan signing, from this, we can only conclude that something had to be done and done fast to clear money to get their closer, and they had to get the closer. From this we can conclude that Dombrowski is now dealing with financial constraints he never had to before and this, combined with a farm system barren of trade chips, has severely limited his ability to work his magic.
The pizza money has dried up, so there won't be any big money deal (1 year or otherwise) to Drew. The latest rumor has the Tigers asking about Chris Owings from Arizona, but it doesn't look like the Tigers don't have what Arizona wants, as the prospects have dried up too. Locals are asking what they do with Owings when Iggy is healthy, but the answer should be obvious, put him at second and trade Kinsler for prospects so they can use his money to sign Scherzer (or his replacement). Welcome to the new, fiscally responsible Detroit Tigers.
I still take the minority view on this site that PEDs are every bit the existential threat to the game that gambling is and PED users should be treated the same way Pete Rose was. Despite that, I agree the biggest factor depressing the value of Cruz's contract is not the specter of PED uses, but the compensation attached to the qualifying offer. Drafting and finding young, cheap talent is the only way to build a winning team long term, and losing those draft picks represent a loss of one of the few resources that money just can't buy.
For example, My Tigers badly need one more power hitter to fix the hole in their lineup that they've created this offseason, and Cruz would badly fill this need, but the Tigers system is so badly depleted that I would not advocate the signing of Cruz (even if he were clean) because they simply cannot afford to lose the draft pick no matter how "cheap" Cruz would come.
Great article. Would love to see something similar for my tigers from the 2003 debacle to present
If that improvement in the K and bb ratios holds you could be right. His willingness to swing at everything frustrated me more than his weight and off field issues while he was in Motown
Enthusiasticaly second that emotion. This looked at me, me over team veal ruined the NBA and is ruining the NFL. If Barry sanders never had to showboat why do we have to put up with if from all these players inferior to him. Act like you've been there before.
excellent article. Interesting that pitching every third day doesn't seem to stress the pitcher the same way that high pitch counts on the day he does pitch. This makes sense, as pitchers suffering from fatigue are more likely to make mechanical errors that result in walks, hard-hit pitches, and in the rare extreme, injury. I remember the Braves in the late nineties/early double-oughts, bucked the trend and only used the fifth starter when double headers or lack of off days made it "necessary". Perhaps that fifth starter should be kept on a starter regimen and brought in on in the fifth or sixth inning of the fourth starters start to finish the game. Each pitcher would only pitch 4-5 innings so they wouldn't need to face batters a third and fourth time (when they do the worst damage). You would get the best out of your two fringe starters, get a better pitcher on the mound for later innings than your middlemen, and provide a rest for the bullpen that "the Ace" used to give you but doesn't anymore thanks to the death of the complete game.
This could work for free agent signings as well as trades, with an agent (such as Scott Boras) in place of the trading GM.
That trade game experiment was two of the best articles published at BP this year. I would love to see something similar this offseason.
I love Omar and clearly he fills a gap in KC, but filling their biggest hole? Not unless he picked up a new fastball I haven't heard about. The rotation is pretty weak past big game James.
Meet Jordan Lennerton, Tigers' DH in 2015 (when Vmart's contract expires)
to state the Tigers bullpen needed a shakeup is an understatement, but I don't think it needed this shakeup. Now I'm not complaining about the addition of Nathan and Chamberlain, but they needed to come on In addition to Benoit and Veras, not instead of. With the departure of these two, plus Smyly to the rotation and the retention of Phil Coke and Al Albuquerque, they've done a near perfect job of separating the wheat from chaff of last year's pen... and they kept the chaff.
Excellent point, this and pitch counts are why we are seeing 13 man pitching staffs and benches consisting of one catcher and two multi position utility players. This is also why I frequently call for the expansion of rosters to 28.
So the Yankees have created a surplus of hitters in general and outfielders in specific. If you put ellisbury in center, Gardner in left Beltran and soriano alternating between right and dh, that leaves ichiro on the bench and wells out of town on the next thing smoking, that seems a waste of resources, even for a team with resources this ample. Given that other guys are gonna need the dh spot too and the current Yankee rotation is cc, kuroda and pray for rain, the smart move might be to shop one of Gardner, ichiro, or Soriano for pitching.
I was wishing for a grandy return to motown not for the reason most tiger fans do (hes a nice guy and a positive role model) but because hes a lefty with power ( granted less in comerica than new Yankee stadium) who could cover lots of ground in left and simultaneously shore up the defense and make people pay for walking miggy. Alas a team that can't pay Doug fister can't find $15m per year for brandy. This is a great deal for the mets though because now David wright finally has some protection, he provides good cf coverage and hell be a great mentor and leader for the kids coming up
Scuttlebutt on the internet is next move is Omar infante to replace cano, but isn't that basically what Kelly Johnson is for?
I love your analysis but disagree with the ultimate conclusion. As was pointed out elsewhwhere, cano's value is he hits like a first baseman and plays second base. You could make the same case for McCann at catcher. (McCann isn't the hitter cano is but compare him to catchers and cano to 2bmen and the margins are similar) Ellsbury doesn't have Brandy's power, but hes better defensively running bases and making contact. I make this "trade" as a wash or a slight net positive for the yanks
suggesting = suggestion
A Suggesting, at the trade deadline last year for two players allegedly on the block giving a fictional script of the GM conversations. One was for Hunter Pence, I forget the other one, but they were both hilarious. This seems like something we could again, both the fictional discussion of real trades and fictional discussions around fictional trades such as this one.
Number 4 would be funnier to me if I were "Washington Will" or "Cleveland Cliff" or almost anyone else.
Or this is a bad deal. The guest article linked to by lindbergh in the text points out that he had the highest net WAR of any gm. That doesn't mean he won every single trade was good, just that the good ones significantly outnumbered the bad ones. Sure he got Cabrera for a bunch of guys who didnt pan out, he got Carlos guillen for some shiny objects, but he also traded jairr jurrjens for Edgar rentaria in 08 and in 09 he traded for the useless remains Aubrey huff and Jarrod Washburn when he could have gotten matt holiday for Casey crosby, and ended up missing the playoffs by one game. No one doubts dombrowskis genius but that doesn't mean he can't make a bad deal, especially when finally bumping against the owners payroll ceiling.
Sheehan is looking pretty prescient right now... Tigers just announced a deal with Joe Nathan. Given the timing of the announcement, it's logical to conclude that the Fister money was needed to complete the Nathan signing. We could now re-evaluate this as the Tigers trading Fister for three national prospects and a player to be named later, who was (not much) later named Joe Nathan. This makes the deal a little easier to swallow.
That's a good analogy. The first analogy that came to my mind was a fantasy baseball league where a more knowledgeable player keeps robbing the less knowledgeable players, eventually the less knowledgeable players learn their lesson and learn not to trust the other guy. Perhaps other GMs are now aware of DD's reputation and are approaching his deals with more skepticism. It's also possible that GMs are getting smarter and there are fewer and fewer GMs to fleece. It's also possible that a GM is only as good as his resources, and the farm system has been giving him less and less to trade with, and now perhaps the pizza money is running dry as well (not a full Marlins style fire sale, but apparently "win at all costs" has been replaced with "win on a budget) and he's doing the best he can with what he has. Lastly, it seems that all GMs (Dombrowski included) seem to grossly undervalue a pitcher who gets results without throwing hard.
"With that core in place over the next season or two, and with only modest augmenting from the farm, the Tigers will remain one of the favorites to play deep into October"
This is true as far as it goes, but the Core Anderson lists is missing a big name that was a big part of the previous October runs, making fans wonder fi this is the end of the big spending win at any cost era, or a re-tooling similar to the much maligned but now appreciated Granderson deal.
So is the state of this system largely attributable to losing so many first round picks due to signing free agents and drafting late due to strong records, or is there some issues with player selection and/or development?
Brian Wilson in a Tigers uniform is an attractive prospect, but if this is instead of Joaquin Benoit and not in addition to, this is a lateral move in bullpen quality for a squad that already lost Jose Veras to free agency and (likely) Drew Smyly to the rotation. Given the new era of fiscal responsibility in Motown, that seems the likely outcome and it's a downgrade to a bullpen that really doesn't need a downgrade, on a team that is going be facing more close games due to the downgrade in run scoring.
So with the good young talent about to come up and the Tigers bad combination of a bare prospect cupboard and salary constraints, what's the expected year of Cleveland Displacing Detroit at the power in the division? I was thinking 2015, but it might be next year.
this template (one team has a hole, what options are available to fill that hole?) could work for a lot of really good articles.
Lloyd to the Mariners is the best news ever. This means at least one of Leyland's two hanger's on have finally been pried off, the other one, Gene Lamont did manage to latch onto the new host, but I do think as bench coach, he'll probably do less damage than he did as a third base coach. Hopefully the new third base and hitting coaches he hires will be more effectual than their respective predecessors.
The Veras move is a head scratcher though. Yes, he had some bad playoff games, but he was solid during the regular season, closed well while in Houston, and it's hard to see finding a better reliever for the $4 million he would cost. Maybe they're clearing money for Benoit and Infante but they didn't make qualifying offers to either, so now if they lose them they don't get the draft picks they need badly. If they're saving pennies to extend Scherzer, why are they listening to trade offers? There's a lot of moves here that don't make sense, and if it was anyone but Mike Ilitch and Dave Dombrowski calling the shots, I'd be concerned.
I respectfully dissent, I prefer this format to the slideshow for reading the data.
I'd be interested in reading the mirror image of this article. Rather than list the players and which teams they'll likely end up at, list the teams, and who they'll likely pursue.
I think Johnny peralta would be a good fit in st. Louis. Granted you don't think of the cards as being a big chaser of free agents, but they did sign Carlos Beltran.
Price on the block is an interesting phenomenon. You have to think any team who made the playoffs or just missed who has the prospects to trade has to be wondering if price is worth the cost.
Welcome Brad Ausmus.... Simultaneously a blast from the past and an infusion of new blood. I remember his time as a catcher on out fondly from a time that didn't produce a lot of fond memories. Of all the guys they interviewed to replace Leyland, the is was the best choice (though I would have liked to see Dave Martinez get a shot)
He's a smart guy who'll learn fast, which is good because this is the last year of the window.
that's true as far as it goes, however, as you point out, Lamont got reamed for the same thing that Brookens did this year (i.e. sending guys he shouldn't have) both guys were decidedly overaggressive in sending guys and cost several runs and killed many rallies because of it. Now it could just be two guys with the same (IMO wrong) philosophy, or it could be two guys getting their marching orders from the manager.
As I write this, Jim Leyland is announcing his retirement. As such I need to thank him for the class with which he conducted himself and let the team throughout the year, and while I have acknowledged that he was part of the reason they never made it to the series, I do have to acknowledge that he left the team better than he found it, and to thank him for recognizing when it's time to step down.
In addition to the base running and defense blunders, there was the usual round of tactical blunders. Pulling peralta, one of the few non slumping hitters for his surrogate son down Kelly with a narrow one run lead was indefensible, but even that mistake didn't hurt because his bullpen mishandling pit the game out of reach before kelly had to come to the plate for his automatic out.
He followed the same pattern that failed in the first game sherzer started, but this time it was even less defensible. This time smyly didn't walk the lefty, he got the double play ball they needed. Its not his fault Iggy booted it ( good thing they sacrificed defense to get his glove in there. What Levine said about veras applies here too) smyly is more than a loogy' he's a future starter, he could have stayed and been as likely to get victorino as versa, then he'd have a lefty against big papi, plus he might be looking at extra innings so maybe you need a guy who can go multiple innings, but noooo he's gotta follow righty lefty to the letter no matter how often it doesn't work.
The games base running blunders can't be attributed to lack of speed or tactical blunders, but general sloppiness and poor discipline, and when that affects more than one player, you have to look at the manager too.
But the truly poor managerial blunder that sunk them was in the regular season, when instead of resting might till he got healthy, he let him stay in for a futile run at another triple crown and a feeble run in the playoffs. Now yet again, as with the cards in 06, the twins in 09, the rangers in 11 and the giants last year, we loose to a less talented opponent because Leyland handicaps his team. And this years hurts because everything lined up for us this year. The rotation was perfect the lineup was set, we got home field the yeas. Someone else took out the dodgers for us, and there wouldn't be a long break between series. Three of then four games lost were winnable. All set up but lost because we have to let Leyland rest on his laurels because he's such a nice guy. Next year is probably the last year in this window before age, high payroll and lack of prospects catch up to them. It would be a shame to waste itby bringing Leyland back.
I'm actually surprised the two inning save took this long. The argument for it is similar to the argument for bringing a starter in relief or to start on short rest. It's the playoffs, stakes are never higher and if you lose you have the whole offseason to rest up.
And yes, I am avoiding talking about the game or the next two because I'm out of clever ways to say " it looks grim but with those starters you can't count them out."
Miguel Cabrera stole a base? If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I would not have believed it. Isn't that like the 5th sign of the apocalypse??
Much has been made of the of the lineup juggling as the spark that brought back the lineup in general and Austin Jackson in particular. I submit that in Jackson's case there's other factors at play. Torii Hunter said in an interview that Ajax had been working in the batting cage on ironing out his swing or something along those lines. When Jackson first came over he was striking out in droves, so the coaches worked with him to take out the leg kick which caused him to keep a level head which caused him to see the ball better and caused the strikeouts to go down and the average up. He went through a big slump during the regular season this year when he was falling back into old habits, and the slump stopped when he straightened out his mechanics again. During the 3 for 30 slump, it looked like Ajax was again sliding into old habits but yesterday, appeared to (as Torii stated) iron that out again. That, not the lineup change is probably what turned him around, though you could argue that the lineup change jarred him in a way that spurred him to get things straightened out.
As to the rest of the offense, did they really get their mojo back because of the lineup shuffle, or did they just take advantage of the weak link in the Sox rotation?
Re: Fister. I commented earlier about how everyone else was forgetting Sanchez, but even I was forgetting about this guy. Much has been made of the edge Verlander and Scherzer have over other teams' 1-2 guys but there's an even bigger gap between Sanchez and Fister and other teams' 3-4 guys.
So can the Tigers win two of three with their three aces going? They couldn't last time around.
Lackey got knocked around a bit in the first round but after the "lights out" he suddenly had better command of his curveball and came out a different pitcher the rest of the way. Both pitchers were told to "warm up" during the off period, I suspect that warm up time gave Lackey a chance to iron out what he was doing wrong. Still, I'm not going to go over conspiracy theories. There are a lot of Tigers that have good records against Lackey but somehow didn't come through here. So are we still denying that there's any such thing as clutch hitting?
There's some reports in local papers that Scherzer told Leyland he was tired.
Leyland has his faults but overdependence of sabermetrics isn't one of them. If there's a Leyland mistake here it's depending too much on lefty righty matchups, maybe if he leaves Smyly in instead of bringing in Al squared (one of the historically more shaky guys) for the next righty, you have your best lefty facing big Papi and maybe he gets him, but Smyly's walk of Ellsbury didn't inspire confidence, and you still ended up with your closer faxing Big Papi and before last night Benoit had good success. Much has been made of the bullpen failures but it wasn't reasonable to expect that you were going to shut out the Red Sox for two straight games. They just got beat by a better team.
Leyland's only mistake really was moving Peralta to short to get more offense in the lineup, then squandering that by again starting Don Kelly, whose picture appears in the dictionary under "replacement level player" He sacrificed shortstop defense for left field defense, got no offense out of the deal, and still Kelly still misplayed a ball off the monster. Still though they scored 5 runs so you really can't blame this loss on Leyland, but continued waste of at-bats on Don Kelly for a team desperately in need of offense is indefensible.
Even with three aces ( not just two, everyone forgets the ERA champ ) it's hard to keep this Sox lineup shut out forever, and if you can't score more than one run a game...
Expecting a pitcher to throw a shutout every time out is a lot of pressure to put on a guy, even guys like verlander, scherzer & sanchez
Has any team ever been this dominant in the pitching and yet so close to losing a game as the Tigers were last night?
Oh well, close doesn't count and the tigers are up 1-0 with verlander and mad max yet to pitch. Though his first playoff game didn't do him any favors, this game clearly reminded everyone that Sanchez should be included with the other two in the discussion of aces. The tigers have two aces, not three. Which is good because the entire lineup outside of peralta is in a horrible slump.
It was funny to see all the complaining about the strike zone by the red Sox because the first two innings, I felt like Sanchez was getting squeezed in ways that Lester wasn't, and that's the first time all year I've noticed umpires giving my guys a hard time. It also seemed to stop in the third inning, about the time the Sox started whining.
I can't get too cocky though because buchholz and lackey are just as likely to sonny gray was to outduel verlander and scherzer, especially within the Detroit offense resembling a chevette more than a corvette
This one scares me... As Rathman points out, this is one of the few rotations that can match the Tigers (LA is the other) and this team stacks up better with the lineup (even if you set aside recent slumps and injuries by most of our team) and while I don't know much about Farrell's tactical expertise (he certainly rivals Leyland in getting the best out of his players) Leyland's lineup, bullpen and baserunning decisions consistently have me scratching my head. (Putting Peralta at Short for offense only to put DON KELLY in the lineup? Hit and Run with Fielder on base against a strikeout pitcher? and that's just yesterday) Unless last night's homer is a sign that the real Miggy is coming back, I don't see this one going Detroit's way. I hope I'm wrong.
In Justin's magical 2011 and 2012 seasons there were several games like this one where he would take a no-hitter into the 6th inning or deeper. You got the feeling that every time he went out there he had a chance to throw one. At times this year it looked like that guy was gone, replaced by a still steady pitcher, but it looks like the Old JV is back at just the right time, acting out Survivor's Classic anthem "Eye of the Tiger". For that matter the whole team did.
Gonna be tough against Boston, though, and if by some miracle that works out, very tough against LA too.
Pirates had a great run, even though the season is over, I think they and their fans have earned a big celebration for breaking the playoff drought.
Now they need to build on that and day one of the free agent signing season drop a big bundle of cash on David Price and say, come to Pittsburgh, Be our Ace, and be a hero when you lead our team to the World Series.
There are too many would be contenders who just missed because of pitching (Nationals, Angels, Rangers, Pirates, Braves, D-backs, Indians (please, God, not the Indians)) to imagine David Price back with the Rays. Which is a shame.
under current definition, the Ajax single provided the Game winning RBI, as it put them ahead to stay, but Drakos is right that without the later runs scored, they probably don't win this game.
just the kind of thing I was looking for earlier. Thanks
When I was a kid and used to listen to Ernie Harwell call Tigers games on the radio, when a hitter would get a base hit on a broken bat, he would say, in his smooth, eloquent manner, that the bad had died a hero. The reason I bring this up is Austin Jackson's signal that brought him the game winning RBI and turned the tide in the series was on a broken bat. That bad died a super-hero.
These are some ballsy predictions, Paul. Picking not just the Tigers but more than three runs from a Cabrera-less lineup (whoever that is wearing 24 these days ain't Miggy). If they pull this one out I like their chances in Game 5 but I just don't have a good feeling about this.
No managerial complaints here. There was nothing wrong with the Peralta throw. Odds of even a seasoned OF throwing out that runner at that play were long. It's just bad luck that they finally get a decent offensive outplay and the ace of the day didn't come through. Those three runs in game two would have won that game. Just bad luck. Now for the first time they don't have an ace, but still a steady reliable pitcher. For the first time they don't have an overwhelming pitching advantage and they need one to stay alive. If by some miracle Fister comes through and the lineup hits, the odds shift drastically in game 5, but that will take a miracle, but right now it looks like an A's -Red Sox ALCS
Ok, so Jim leyland, obviously not happy with Andy dirks not hitting and misplaying a fly ball instead of replacing him with jhonny peralta, replaces him with an even weaker hitter in don Kelly?
Plus the usual panic has set in every playoff series the boys go into a slump and leyland panics and runs them out of innings squandering what few ops they did have. Bringing al alberquerque in the ninth was a mistake. porcello should have started the inning. The tight extra inning game is made for the converted 6th starter. If he had, the one hit wouldn't have been disaster and leyland could have gone 5 innings like a starter while melvin war out his bullpen piecing together one short reliever after another.
Sure it may not have made a difference the way gray was pitching and the tigers weren't hitting but if you can't even get your best players on the field you have no business being a major league manager. After this season ( which is probably after this series but certainly after a Boston sweep) the tigers need to find a new manager who isn't coasting on reputation
What's better than having Justin verlander start game 1 for you? Having Justin verlander start game 2 with a 1-0 series lead. Sure the hobbled miggy, questionable bullpen and poor tactical moves by the manager all are concerns, but a three ace rotation of sherzer, verlander and sanchez can paper over a lot of rough spots, and fisters no slouched either.
Still is feel better if we had the real miggy instead of this pale hobbled shadow of miggy
TMI Sam ;-)
Seriously though I'm not neatly as happy to be up 1-0 in a playoff series as I should be. Mad Max,s gen was almost wasted due to a sputtering offense and questionable calls by leyland. There was no reason to send victor in the sixth, or send torii hunter. Starting dirks instead of peralta for platoon reasons makes no sense when peralta is a better hitter even without it. Also wouldn't you rather have him hitting behind victor than Alex (.220) Avila? Failing that better to put him at third instead of Santiago so if the A,s force extra innings like the marlins did, you still have some offense in the three spot. Why yank smyly when he was rolling to bring in benoit for an extra inning, reducing the chance he's available for the next game? You know you're gonna need him.
Oh well, we got verlander & sanchez next two games. Long as the starters keep throwing near shutouts we got a shot
I don't know. I found as many problems with leyland,s game 1 as ken did w/mattingly,s game 2. Jim is a great manager over the regular season but his game to game tactics are very questionable.
It pains me to say this , but the injury that affected his baserunning is now affecting his power, too. Check the September numbers. He's still a guy you don't want to mess with, but he's not the guy described in this report right now either.
I've noticed most of these scouting reports are on famous guys we already know about. (Miggy, McCutcheon, Votto, etc) I think a profile this on a lesser known player that teams are still counting on would be beneficial, too (Ex. on my team: Omar Infante, Austin Jackson, Jose Iglesias, and if you're doing pitchers, Doug Fister and Rick Porcello) I'm not saying I just want guys on my team profiled, I don't know who to suggest on other teams, because I don't know who they are, which is why I'm suggesting scouting reports on less famous players.
I'd like to agree with Franco, but The Rangers in '11 an the Giants last year both showed you can nullify a starting rotation disadvantage with an advantage in bullpen and lineup, particularly if one guy (Nelson Cruz, Pablo Sandoval) gets hot at the right time. And in both those cases, Miguel Cabrera was healthy.
I fully expected to pick the Rays on the strength of their better starter, but this Danny Salazar kid is amazing. If he doesn't get hurt I see him eventually becoming the best pitcher in the AL. I actually think the Tribe pulls this one out.
I see David Price putting the team on his shoulders and carrying them this game
I'm surprised there were enough pitcher's homers to fill out a top 10 list
re: the Dodgers comment:
In other Vin Scully news, the local NBC affiliate aired one hour of Vin Scully reading names out of the phone book and the ratings were higher than half of NBC's primetime lineup.
The double play where iglesias reaches out, tags a runner headed to second, spins and throws out the batter at first was even more spectacular than this one. I expect all these defensive groupies who still can't get over mike trout not getting the mvp on the strength of his stunning defensive prowess in left field should be lining up enthusiastically to support Jose's ROY candidacy, who's doing it at one of the two toughest defensive spots on the field
This demonstrated incompetence at preventing steals hasn't really resulted in an problem with runs scored, as the Tigers pitchers have been preventing runs better than almost anybody despite the fact that stealing a base on them appears to be quite literally like taking candy from a baby.
Maybe the Yanks should change the name of the position to designated misser.
I would not expect to see victor martinez catch again until a world series road game (no dh)
All you can eat?
Many fingers are being pointed at Pujols and Hamilton and rightfully so, but they aren't the only players to underachieve on this team. There was a piece on this very site a few months ago comparing the hitters expected vs. actual production, and only Mike Trout and two others exceeded expectations. When it's only one guy, you can say it's a guy, but when you see this many things go this badly wrong after an owner writes a blank check, a full housecleaning is in order.
Love the rockies comment.
Glad to see Armando's perfect game not just on the list, but at number 2. I can't improve on your statement about how it denied a journeyman a chance at immortality. If it happened to Justin Verlander or Roy Halladay or Felix Hernandez it would be bad enough, but those guys would have still had fame from a great career to fall back on, this one call was the difference between Armando being a legend, or an insurance salesman, and if you look at his ERA for that season after that game, you could very easily conclude that residual upset from this incident (though to is credit he was as gracious as anyone could be at the time) hastened is departure from the MLB.
Also, I just have to note that this was the only perfect game thrown by a Tigers pitcher in a history that exceeds 100 years.
I don't understand allowing only 1 challenge prior to the 7th inning, or why umpires don't get to review as much as managers do in later innings, but on balance, this is a positive improvement
Re: The Yankees comment, but the Yankees won both those games where Mariano gave up those homers. Curiouser and Curiouser
First Ryan Rayburn now wells. Is there a new rule that evertigers castoff outfielder has to pitch an inning for another team? Is clete Thomas still with the twinkies? If so I bet he's on the mound next.
As for Delmons fall from grace, this is what happens when you swing at anything closer to the plate than a pickoff move.
In the good ole days before situational relievers and 13 man bullpens, teams could afford.to keep a guy like wells around as a fifth outfielder or even a platoon mate, but there's just no room on the roster for that sort of thing today. So a player who could potentially blossom in a stable situation suddenly becomes waiver bait. I again propose increasing rosters to 28 players
"gal" should be "team".... Celphone autocomplete strikes again
If a terry francona team was 7 games up on a Jim leyland gal I'd say game over but since It's the other way 'round I'm saying don't shovel dirt on the tribe yet
Salazar pitched much better than than his line indicated. He may have loathing but I think the tribe has found a future ace
RE: the Rays comment: is that a step on the way to the day when some team designates one pitcher for each inning? That would only require a 9 man staff as opposed to the 12 man staffs common now, and any pitcher can do one inning a day right? That's only 162 innings on the year.
Miggy doesn't need the Segway to pay third, he needs it to run the bases.
monkey=kenney autocomplete on my cellphone hurt me yesterday
The MLBPA represents players who lived by the rules as well as the cheaters. Brian monkey said on his show awhile ago that a lot of innocent players are tired of being deemed guilty by association because so many cheaters got off. If this is true (and kenney is as reliable as they come) the MLBPA is actually doing its duty, and kudos to them for not falling into the false assumption that unions should help bad employees get away with breaking rules and poor performance the way most other unions do
"Soul" should be "would"
I love this analysis, and not just because my guy came out on top. The team has been drafting poorly and losing picks to free agency, but he keeps getting other teams to give him the family cow for his magic beans. Of course it does help that the pizza man gives him a blank check, but you'd have to argue that he's made The most of the resources available to him.
DD biggest challenge may be yet to come. The last time the farm was in this bad a shape they fixed it by offering money over slot to talented guys who fell.for signability issues. That road is closed. I also note two years ago he tried and failed to get James shields because he didn't have enough to offer. As bad general managers get replaced with smarter ones, it'll be harder to defend his top trader title. Plus the pizza money is gonna run out sooner rather than later, and there's some scary contracts on the books
Teh tgiers cmoment carcked em pu
Another good one. I don't think DD would give up Thompson ( the next great ace prospect ) for the of they don't really need, unless they also got lopez like Cleveland did.
Please keep in mind you can keep doing these even though the real deadline passed, since this is all role play anyway.
This mirrors my thoughts. The hypothetical worth/Santiago middle infield isn't just a defensive black hole but an offensive one as well. Iglesias while a significant downgrade offensively is an equally significant upgrade from the replacement level poster boys they have at ss now. Garcia while a talented prospect is less touted than Cameron maybin at this age and nobody in Detroit is morning his departure. The ugly truth is ny the time Garcia ie ready the teams window will have closed anyway, so better to plug holes now. Still, if fans are determined to whine about losing Garcia like they whined over losing smoltz, the author is right, blame peralta, not DD. Though I would temper even that by pointing out that without the PED usage, his stats would likely resemble last years disappointment rather than this years all star season, and the same fans hating this deal now soul be cheering a replacement for peralta.
Re: the tigers comment: Only the Jose V's from Houston.
Another smart move by Dombrowski....Rather than pay through the nose for the closer they don't really need, they go bargain basement and get the basic depth they do need.
The only complaint I have now is that middle infield has passed the bullpen as the greatest need on the team. Last year's brilliant deadline acquisition, Omar Infante had a setback in rehab and his injury time has been extended, so we're right back where we were this time last year with no good options at second base, and the added issue that the rebound shortstop Jhonny Peralta is about to be suspended for PEDs. With a very real chance of losing both guys and having no in house options, it's good that DD was able to shore up the bullpen without giving up either of his major (relatively speaking) trade chips left.
more like this please.
Perhaps teams about to lose players to Biogenesis scandals looking for replacements?
The teaser was wrong... the PIRATES comment was worth a year's subscription by itself.
I think he answered my questions indirectly. It's probably going to take Nick Castellanos, Avasail Garcia probably won't do it and there's not much else in the farm system
Given the logjam in the Texas infield, what would it take for Detroit to pry Sardinas Loose from Texas?
The Tigers have 9 teams ahead or tied with them in wins, putting them in the very bottom of the top third of teams (and that's with an unbalanced schedule giving them more games against baseball's weakest division), but the other formulas used in the hit list consistently put them at the top of this list. Is this bad luck or underachieving?
Normally, I would panic at the decline in K-rate more than the recent performance issues, as that's often a sign of a hidden injury, and this team is notorious for pushing hurt players to play hurt "for the good of the team" (see Jeremy Bonderman, Brandon Inge, ironically when he shouldn't have been playing even if perfectly healthy) But the radar gun showed shows he can still bring the velocity, just not with the desired affect, so no panic. His one bad year prior to this was 2008, a year that followed significant heavy use the two years prior. 2013 follows a pattern similar to 2008. This year could be a sign of age catching up to him, or just another off year.
Panic on the overall team however is justified. Given the team is in the worst division in baseball and it's nearest competition has vastly inferior talent, 3 games up after 100 games is not all that impressive. There are 6 teams with better records (plus Baltimore is only .001 behind in win percentage) and that doesn't take into account their easier schedule because of unbalanced opponents. Their record against .500 or better teams is under .500 and these are the kind of teams they will face in the playoffs, and now their injury luck is running out. If they don't put away the Tribe and soon, Terry Francona will find a way to sneak past them like the Twins did in '09 and if not, there's no reason to believe another team with similar (or even inferior but still good) talent won't outmaneuver Leyland like Bochy did with the Giants in the Series last year.
Yes, I'm tired of Biogenesis, I'm tired of PED talk, but you know what I'm more tired of? Seeing the name of a confirmed PED user at the top of both the season and career home run lists, without even an asterisk, and nothing we can do about it. I'm sick of seeing a whole decade of play marked as the "steroid era" because MLB buried it's head on the issue and had to be shamed by Congress to clean up its act. Say what you will about Bud Lightweight and I've said plenty, He and the rest of MLB management should be congratulated for addressing the issue now, because burying the head in the sand because "nobody wants to talk about it" will only make things worse later.
While I found the article generally a fair and balanced summary of the issue, I have to take issue with point 2. Saying that you don't know if a PED use actually affected a player's performance is like saying we don't know Pete Rose's gambling caused him to act in appropriately while he was managing the Reds.
You're right, There really is only three grades of pitchers
Number 1 the "ace"
Number 3, not "ace" but a guy you're happy to have on the mound every 5th day
number 5, the long reliever you settle for because you need a fifth starter
"Presumably, no one will complain about Cabrera’s legitimacy as the MVP if he accomplishes the damn feat again."
I'm not sure I agree, the basis for questions of legitimacy of the MVP vote were that (1) the three triple crown categories are outdated stats and (2) there's another guy leading him in WAR, our new made up state, and WAR is the ultimate be-all end all of value, better than the outdated counting stats and average, even better than OPS, our previous be all end all stat, which Cabrera also led in.
If some other guy puts up a higher WAR there's no reason the same objections wouldn't come up again.
Regarding the Tigers-Tribe duel. The fact that Terry Francona has one 1.5 games with far less talent tells you all that you need to know about Jim Leyland's management skills (or I should say what's left of them)
Two things I wanted to point out on the last game of that tigers tribe series. First the walks to Cabrera and Fielder were semi-intentional. While the approach didn't work in this game, I am surprised that more teams haven't tried it, especially while Martinez was struggling.
The other thing was the weather. It rained on and off the entire night and the field was in terrible shape because of it. There was one very short rain delay early on (chisenhalls 2 run single was on the first pitch back, but I digress) but the rain got much worse later and the umpire could have and probably should've called more delays or even cancelled tba game. Nick swisher fell rounding third preventing him from scoring a key run and It's just dumb luck some player didn't fall and get hurt. These are division rivals so there would have been other chances to make up the game. The author was right to call this game a turning point and while I'm glad it turned in detroits favor, I have to question the decision not to call the game. The fall could just as easily have caused a serious injury rather than just a run and some embarassment.
brilliant analysis. Every time I get frustrated when I see Jim Leyland benching a couple key regulars for one of his AAAA bench role players in a game, I'm going to have to remember this article and cut him some slack.
The problem now is the current trends in specialized bullpens and starters going fewer innings has resulted in a need for larger pitching staffs. teams that got buy with 9 or 10 pitchers in now need 12 or 13. That's three more reserve not pitchers a team no longer has the luxury to carry. This reduces the ability to keep good reserves on hand which in turn reduces the ability to rest regulars which this article shows is a useful tool. For this reason, I believe the rosters should be expanded from 25 to 28 players.
"what's blue and gold and loses a lot?"
Rich Rodriguez, until Michigan finally fired him.
No, I still haven't forgiven.
The Browns scored a touchdown and four field goals but the Bears could only must a touchdown and a field goal.
I didn't realize it was football season already.
If Avasail Garcia weren't currently up with the big team, would he have made the list?
Re: the Braves comment... Freeman shouldn't have a walkup song at all... just some guy shouting "SHAZAM!"
Re: the Pirates comment. Honus Wagner didn't win player of the week because they didn't have one back then. Reporters where too busy carving box scores in stone tablets back then to vote on a new player every week.
It's not just lefty closer he objects to it's a rookie closer, that's two strikes against Smyly in Leylandland.
This ineptness in the bullpen, combined with the lineup card fiascos (calling up Avasail Garcia when Austin Jackson is hurt so he can sit on the bench and watch Don Kelly play center) plus the constant and inept small ball that keeps strangling big innings in their crib, and what they need more than a closer is a new manager.
Miggy and the starters keep bailing him out but with Miggy in a (relative) slump and one of the star pitchers hurt, there's now potential for his mistakes actually hurt.
The guy I want off Cleveland's Team is Terry Francona
Re: the Rangers comment: C'mon Don't be cruel
Excellent article. I was shocked to see two out of three pitchers listed were tigers yet neither of the pitchers who made it were Justin verlander, max scherzer, or even anibal sanchez . When your four and five guys are up for holy trinity status, you know you got a great rotation.
Regarding fister's extreme ground ball tendencies not being a good idea, I disagree. A ground ball a fielder doesn't get to is a single, but a fly ball mistake is a home run, and while there are no gold gloves in the Detroit infield, they aren't the butchers they get portrayed as.
Any chance Mercado can play next year? The Tigers are going to need a SS then if not sooner
To Paraphrase Churchill, Bud Selig is a Modest man, with much to be modest about
Mets, Marlins Reds and Rangers all made me laugh.. 4 in one entry might be a personal best.
Re: the Twins comment: Strikeouts are fascist, ground balls are more democratic.
This is a textbook case of a team desperate for pitching overpaying and getting burned. It's harder to find and develop good pitchers rather than good hitters, plus pitchers are more likely to get hurt, so supply and demand makes it inevitable that if you're trading hitting talent for pitching talent you're going to have to give up a whole lot more than what you get. As the two posters above me pointed out, the Yanks gave up some prime hitting prospects and the pitcher they got wasn't very good.
There really is no substitute for having a farm system that produces an abundance of pitching talent. If you don't, you either pay through the nose in trade to get pitching (The Yanks here, the 90's tribe) or you pay through the nose on the free agent market (Giants for Zito, Yanks for Burnett, Pavano & CC) and in both cases the deals don't work out more often than they do.
Re: the Pirate's comment, I thought "who" was playing the first base position, and "what" was playing the second base position.
You really can't tell the players without a scorecard.
The pirates comment made me smile, not just because of was funny but because I'm so happy Brandon Inge isn't swinging and missing for the Tigers anymore.
Given the Yankees newly found fiscal responsibility combined with Mike Ilitch's recent George Steinbrenner invitation "future Tiger Robinson Cano" makes at least as much sense as projecting every other team's young stars in pinstripes.
Seriously though, luxury taxes go down sharply after one year under the threshold. I suspect the mighty Yankee checkbook isn't dead, just taking a year off.
Jeff Jones is better at most at spotting these things, and Verlander is better than most at fixing these things.
For all his problems with velocity earlier in the year, he was throwing his hardest yet in that disaster game.
The buzz from the clubhouse is he worked on it after the start and believes he fixed the problem.
I would not want to be a Cleveland Indians hitter Tonight
Re: Verlander giving up two bases loaded walks: Temperature in Hell 33 degrees and falling
Its very hard to think of a team in such good shape, both long term and short term as the Rangers (maybe the Braves and the Nationals).
For the most part, I agree that when they lost out on Greinke, Hamilton and Justin Upton. They were smart to stand pat rather than waste money on mediocrity, but I still think Michael Bourne could have helped them. He would solidify centerfield and provide RBI opportunities for whatever slugger they did land next year. Also, the loss of a the draft pick would mean nothing to a team as loaded as this one.
Last year, I breathed a sigh of relief when the orioles took out the rangers in the wildcard game. I don't see anybody taking care of them for us this year, and I'm not optimistic a tigers-rangers playoff series would go any better than the last one did.
the smart thing to do would have been trade Andrus as you suggest, however they signed him to a long term deal instead. Sure they could still trade him, but this makes it tougher.
The other problem is that there are a lot of teams that have loaded up on good position player talent but weak on pitching talent. Therefore supply and demand makes it difficult to trade hitting for pitching without either giving up too much or getting too little in return. Since this is why they didn't sign any mediocre talent when they lost out on both Hamilton and Greinke, I don't see them trading hitting for pitching unless they get a really good deal.
I have a degree on actuarial math from the university of Michigan, my GPA wasn't great and I never got a job in the field, but the diploma's on the wall so I understand things like mean, variance and sample size I'm not one to be scared by the phrase "gory math details ahead" like most, and even my eyes glaze over when the when the WARP formula comes out.
Still, I remember an article on this site years ago that quantified the defensive value of a good defensive catcher vs a good offensive catcher and the defensive metrics at the time showed a completely negligible difference between the best and worst defensive catchers. So small that if it were that small at the toughest position on the field, there would never be a reason to consider defense when filling a lineup card as long as the player was adequate. Fast forward to last year, where I see Yadier Molina as a top 10 WAR player and mike trout rack up more WAR than Miguel Cabrera despite miggys significant edge not just in then triple crown stats but in ops*, and I could only conclude that the brand new stats had gone from under rating defense to overrating it.
This article confirms what I've suspected ever since the MVP debate, the formula overstates defense and base running. Just because all three are part of the game doesn't mean they are equal and until a corrective factor is found, supporters of WAR should hold off on calling non supporters dinosaurs. Either that or start hyping Marte as much as Harper.
*(before anyone tries to read team based bias in my arguments, my favorite tiger is Justin Verlander and I still voted for David Price for Cy Young last year on the strength of his ERA.)
Excellent article. Colin basically makes the point I tried to make in my comment on the harrelson-kinney dustup, only much better. Both sides have valid points, neither side is 100% right and neither is 100% wrong, and the debate is best served by making rational arguments rather than those of a straw man or ad-hominem nature. I would like to see all supporters of advanced analysis adopt the tone of Brian Kinney and Colin where as well as their cause.
It's a shame we can't face Houston every week.
I've enjoyed our reign on the top spot but I fully expect after the upcoming 1 vs. 2 matchup that it will come to an end.
For Nelson Cruz.. "now that's a week" shouldn't that be spelled with an "a"
Yes, Putkonen is a player, and the reason he and Smyly got wins off the Astros is that they got shut down by Rick Porcello and Doug Fister, but the Astros starters matched them pitch for pitch.
Which brings me to the real point. Watching the 14 inning game of the series, after it was tied, virtually every Astros hitter was trying to win the game with one swing of the bat, which resulted in over-swinging and swinging at bat pitches, rather than work for walks, get base hits, get guys over, etc. Then after they lost the first two games by very close margins, they looked very lackadaisical in the field, taking extra time to get to balls that resulted in the Tigers runners getting a lot of extra bases. (something they're really not known for)
Now I realize judging a team by four games is a bad idea, but if this approach is typical this shows a deficiency in coaching that is going to impair the transition of these players from talented prospects to solid major leaguers, and maybe putting that record in pay after all.
Ok there's some sort of error that caused the full Texas joke to get cut off. It should read
"Ian Kinsler has 11 extra base hits, 10 walks, 9 strikeouts... and a partridge in a pear tree"
Mark Fidrych.... The reason I became a baseball fan.
The irony is, with today's medical technology his injuries wouldn't have been career ending.
Maybe, but comparing the racial makeup of baseball fans with the general public is the best way to determine if the problem is a lack of appeal to any one group or the general population as a whole. Gpurcell's numbers would seem to indicate the latter is the case.
Three of those four braves losses took place in comerica park. I hope the pre-series hype about this being a possible world series matchup rings true.
Seeing the headline reminded me of an '06 article on this site that marveled at how the tigers had built a contender with a large number of of players from the island of misfit toys. 6 and a half years later, the same reference is made about the Yankees, even as the tigers are handing out multi year extensions like business cards and good players like torii hunter are coming to them to sign. The final irony, one of those Yankee misfit toys is tiger castoff Brennan boesch.
The two teams have completely switched roles.
I've never been a big fan of harrelsons broadcasts, and his whole dismissal of "sabermetrics" was pretty ridiculous, but I give him props on two things, one was that he was so damn civil about it. The first time someone says Kinney took issue with his comments on saber metrics, hawk just says, people think differently, "and you're one of my favorite guys" . the other thing is that he had a point about beane's success with the As was as much about having those three young aces Hudson, mulder and zito, and their eventual replacements as it was their selection of hitters by OBP rather than old school ways. Ignoring the pitching aspect was IMO a glaring omission in the otherwise great film. It is not however reason enough to completely statistical analysis as hawk does. Conversely, hawks flawed anti numbers argument deserves to be eviscerated but he doesn't deserve to be labeled a flat-earther just because he won't embrace new statistical analysis overnight.
Nice timing spotlighting Upton's red-hot bat and the Tigers Closer Carousel the day before they face off in a three game series with each game nationally televised (Friday on MLB, sat. on Fox, sun on ESPN)
Andrews is probably onto something regarding not signing the closer, though I would add in addition to Hunter there was also increased costs in extensions to keep the current band together. Ilitch has shelled out a significant amount of cash for the team, but I suspect the real issue with not signing Rafael Soriano was the draft pic more than the cash, and the other rumored closers available (Joel Hanrahan, John Axford, etc) haven't fared much better than the Tigers' options, so even now the decision to give Rondon a shot doesn't look so bad in hindsight. I was afraid that Valverde wouldn't get a fair shot from the fans after last season's meltdown but last night seems to have proven they can forgive and forget.
Despite all the strikeouts, the part of that game I'll remember most is backup catcher Bryan Pena after collision for the final out lying on his back holding up the ball in his trembling forearm to prove that he held the ball despite getting plowed over by Smoak. (no complaints, it's a clean pay part of the rules)
Give that it took place about 2am Detroit time it's probably the best shot most Tigers fans missed.
Still though, major props to Mad Max for going toe to toe with King Felix, the best AL pitcher not named Justin Verlander.
The assisted Suicide crack was amusing, but with Prince Fielder hitting behind him and having just earned Player of the week honors for his smoking bat, not pitching to Miggy isn't really an option. You shoulda saved that joke for when Stanton heats up.
So is this list going to follow BCS rules (for want of a better word) and keep Atlanta and Detroit 1 & 2 until their matchup at the end of the month?
I vote yes ;-)
That Phillies comment had me laughing so hard I dropped my tablet
Well I don't know about the other three, but Rookie Avasail Garcia bears a striking resemblance to Miggy. Bat him 8th, have both guys switch unis between at bats?
Frank Tanana went from a hard drinking hard throwing strikeout machine to a devout christian relying on guile and finesse.
Tommy John let some doctor talk him into a crazy surgery where they took a tendon out of his leg and grafted it onto his elbow. It added over a decade to his career thought to be over and got the surgery named after him.
Surely one of these guys would have made the list fictional characters were excluded. ;-)
And if we're gonna include fictional characters, how can you ignore Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn getting glasses? ;-)
Be lots better at guessing which players should get extensions and which shouldn't.
This is the only one that works, because the reason big clubs can offer more extensions the same as with free agent contracts, they can afford mistakes. Both plans boil down to money and you can't won a money game with less money. You have to find a way to compete elsewhere. Billy Beane made this work for awhile by embracing OBP and saber metrics, but then the big market teams figured it out and copied it.
Offer extensions longer, larger and more often, but to coaches, trainers and scouts.
An outside the box idea I've had for awhile. Coaches, trainers and scouts make tons less than players so you could significantly outbid other teams for a tiny fraction of what it would cost to outbid on players. More and better scouts would give you more good prospects. More and better coaches would increase the odds your prospects pan out. More and better trainers means you lose fewer guys to injury. If all this worked you could survive losing talent to bigger market teams because your system was producing more talent.
The extension game is just like the free agent game, you can't
Looking back on my post, I probably shouldn't have said guaranteed, but there's even less reason to pitch to Stanton now than there was to pitch to bonds then. Unless attitudes towards IBBs have changed since '04, I could see Stanton blowing that record away unless hes traded midseason
I think its long past time for rosters to expand. The 25 man roster was set at a time when rotations had four pitchers and the total staff came to 9-10 pitchers. The increase on specialization of pitchers has decimated the position player bench staffs. If a pitching staff has to go to 12-13, the roster should be upped to 28.
Great article covering all the bases. as a lifelong tigers fan I've followed this young man's career from the beginning and its exceeded even my greatest hopes. Of all the parallels Lindbergh draws, I'm most intrigued by the Santana comparison for two reasons. The first is that I remember an evening early in the 06 season preparing to watch a game where the twins were starting Johann Santanna, at the time the greatest pitcher in the AL, and the Tigers were starting that wet behind the ears rookie they wouldn't trade for Josh Beckett. I remember thinking there was no chance my boys win this game. Then I watched this rookie show the poise of a veteran matching Santana pitch for pitch, shutout inning for shutout inning knowing that if he gave up one run he would probably lose, so he didnt give up a run and after the 8th when the backup catcher hit a home run, he bucked down even harder. That was the first day I started believing in this team in general and Justin Verlander in specific. Now other team's fans are looking at Justin the way I was looking at Johann in 06.
Which brings me to the second reason. Within days of this extension being announced, the mets announced santanna will be going on DL again, having a second major arm surgery and likely out for the season. Just because their careers followed similar and intertwined doesn't mean that trend will continue, but the risk is still there. Despite this I'm still happy for the deal because the success of this team is, for better or worse, built around Justin anchoring the pitching staff.
Lindbergh points out the real reason for concern, that this team is going to get very expensive very quickly, with little help in the farm system. He also touches on the reason, Mike Ilitch hasn't much time left and he wants a ring before its over. This is why he's doing a Steinbrenner impersonation without the benefit of the new York market. This team is going to face a very hard landing when this level of spending can no longer be sustained, bit that's all the more reason to go full bore now.
Meanwhile, my Justin Verlander jersey on order.
Polanco in his prime (let alone the shadow of his former self time has made him) as a cleanup or number 3 hitter is laughable. Given the joke of a team around him, putting him in the leadoff or number 2 spot makes more sense for a high OBP low power guy, that this guy is the best option for a cleanup hitter is not just absurd strategy but a punchline to a joke I don't blame marlins fans for not finding funny.
I understand the desire to try to protect Stanton in the lineup but polanco's more likely to make teams think twice about walking Stanton by getting on base in front of him than hitting behind him. Not that it matters. Stanton is guaranteed to set a record for intentional walks no matter where the rest of the dead fish hit.
Rick Porcello and Cameron Maybin.
The Royals seem to have recreated the 90s tribe, lots of talent among position players but very little in the pitching staff. Teams weighted that way seem to do less well than teams heavy on pitching and light on hitting (e.g. the 90s Braves, first Billy Beane playoff A's, the Devil Rays surprise 08 runner up, the 06 tigers rise from the 03 ashes, and the current defending worlds series champion giants)
Regarding the Marlins and RACs complaint about fans "spending other people's money, its generally valid but not so much in this case where the team used a promise to buy a championship team to extract other peoples (tax) money for a new park, then promptly reneged. This was tax money the city of Miami badly needed elsewhere and the third time their contender was shredded. IMO any venom Miami fans direct Loria's way is justified.
Regarding another home for Maurer, two teams come to mind now, the Rangers and the Nationals. Maybe the Phillies. Maybe the Yankees.
Bases stolen on Yadie vs misses by scutaro? What If both numbers are 0?
Love the analysis & the format.
I don't understand how My Boys could sign Torii Hunter, get back a healthy VMart and have their odds go down. Is that a by product of the surging odds for Toronto and Washington? Or the lack of a closer?
Could the Reds entry have looked better if they had signed Bourne rather than trading for Choo ? A slightly better leadoff hitter and a much better center fielder, would have cost more in money but less in prospects.
I agree that cubs packaging Garza and Soriano together is probably a good plan. On the flip side, I think Texas should look into it depending on how far behind the halos they are when Garza gets healthy
That Texas could have such a high ranking system while the major league club is so strong is impressive. Its also difficult to understand why they wouldn't be willing to sign Michael Bourne and/or kyle loshe after they lost out on Hamilton and greinke. If any team can stand to lose a compensation pick its the rangers.
Kind of amazed that four people picked the rays to win it all and nobody picked the dodgers?? I won't squawk about my boys only getting 4 WS winning picks but I can't believe anybody can pick anyone else to win the Central.
I am pleasantly surprised to see I'm not the only one that likes the rays in the east. Even with shields gone that pitching rptation is awesome, surpassed only by the nationals and tigers.
Interesting everyone picks second and third place finishers for individual awards but no picks for playoff games (just who makes it and who wins the series. I'd be more interested in a full playoff bracket than runner up award picks.
Excellent point. I might expand on it say "why hasn't Eck entered the conversation?" (Aside from the post below where its pointed out he's in the HOF) Eck was a very mediocre starter before he became a HOF reliever.
A starter pitches three times as many innings as a closer, and "leverage" can't possibly make up for that because starters face more leverage too. Roger Clemens once said the two most important keys to winning were shutting down opponents on the first inning and shutting them down right after your team scores. Getting ahead early sets the tone for the rest of the game, therefore the first inning just as important as the ninth inning. Same for the inning after scoring, as momentum is a key to victory. Then there's those games where the other team's most dangerous hitters come up in the seventh or eighth inning as opposed the ninth. There's a BP book with a chapter that points out this inning rather than the ninth is the better place for your best reliever. That's three leverage situations more likely to go to a starter than a closer, so starters not only face three times the innings, but three times the leverage.
Starters can't throw as hard because they need to last six innings, and they need a third pitch because getting the same hitter out three times a day is more than three times harder than getting him out once. Closers go one inning so they can go all out and usually only need two pitches. Saying the ninth inning is more important than the other eight innings is like saying home runs in the ninth count more than homers in other innings.
I think there are a lot of twins fans who would agree
You state that you agree with pecota's projection for andurs yet find it low for a guy in the number two spot in the rangers order. Andrus' impending free agency combined with his agent boras's noted desire to let his client test the market combined with Texas stating all but saying they can't afford to sign him makes it highly likely Elvis will leave the building prior to July 31st. Is it possible pecota is smart enough to take this into account?
interesting to see turner's ceiling described as a 2-3 starter now when only a couple of years ago he was described as being a future ace. Makes me feel better about the trade, but its a shame for turner that his new team is making decisions on his future based on their needs ( Detroit rushed him because they needed a fourth ace NOW, Miami will send him down to slow his arbitration clock ) instead of what's best for his development. No wonder his ceiling if falling like it's made from delaminating drywall.
Turner's fine second half is a truer sign of his potential than his spring training struggles now. Marlins fans already think the team isn't serious about ever fielding a winner after the big salary dumps of last year. If turner goes to the minors it will prove them right.
I don't know about Brandon's clubhouse presence being worth 10 wins but I do know his PR guy is by far the best in the business. This guy is the definition of a replacement level player but still gets ink like he's a perennial all star.
Brandon's excellence with the glove and struggles with the bat and strike zone are well reported, what's less reported is that he pitched a fit in the media about switching to third when the tigers signed Pudge then threw another fit when asked to go back to catcher later in his career (this time the fit resulting in the team caving). Perhaps there is such a thing as a 10 win clubhouse guy, but this hypothetical player would not object to a position switch for the good of the team.
The "Brandon Inge is a great guy" meme is an urban legend started by the Detroit media to cover up the fit about the move to third because the thin skinned Detroit management ant stand to have any controversey or criticism reported about its team. When a player struggles it can be pointed out only if balanced with comments that he's "pressing" and that "he's a really nice guy". Most of the comments about Inge's "good character" are akin to the comment that a blind date has a really good personality. I remember saying at one time, I'm tired of hearing about all these nice guys who aren't any good. I'd rather have some assholes who can play. A week later they traded for Gary Sheffield. Be careful what you wish for...
Agreed. Small sample sizes result in large sample errors, and sample size of one results in an error of one, especially in this case where a player's extended time on one team has a strong bias effect.
Since the '03 tigers were a game away from being the worst team in history, I'd be inclined to say His niceness wasn't Mich help. At the very least I have to point out (1) they could have finished last without it and (2) more proof Leo Durocher was right.
Boesch is now a Yankee. He was tearing it up in 2011 before the thumb injury. I don't know why he lost his stroke last year but I have no doubt the same short fences and professional hitting coaches that turned Curtis Granderson from a solid player to an MVP candidate will help BB get his groove back
Andrus for Rick Porcello?
Not that I want to see little Ricky skip town just as he finally becomes The Colorado Kid, but in this case I could get over it.
I take issue with the "bet all unders" as well. Basically, you're trying to turn the "win half" strategy the bookies use and turn it on it's ear but it doesn't work because the of the "juice" factor. The payout on the wins will be less than the loss on the losses, so you'll need 60% of the teams to go "under" to break even. given the zero sum nature of the win-loss totals, this is extremely unlikely.
The only way to beat the house is to have insider information on a specific team that the bookies don't have. This is nearly impossible.
As a claims adjuster I am in fact allowed to take time off from handling claims to attend conferences and seminars because they allow me to earn continuing education credits which keep my license in force. This is not an exact parallel because my attending a conference doesn't impair my ability to perform for my company they way missing spring training does for a pitcher, there's no risk of injury as there is for a pitcher, and the benefits of my attending the conference accrue to my company, not to the general welfare of the insurance industry.
I'm a tigers fan first so I am glad that my favorite player chose my team (and the team that pays him >$20M /year ) over a PR stunt in other countries, and if the writers of BP have an issue with that I need to know now so I can cancel my subscription before the next billing period.
The irony of it is, the thesis is flawed. Non american fans don't care about seeing the best players, they care about seeing their teams beat america. Sending a US super team would make it less competitive and temper interest, not increase it.
Marmols walk rate is almost as bad as rondons.... and rondon wont cost $10 million and a prospect. Amazing how fast the tigers grapeviine got all active all of the sudden after months of silence. I suspect a deal will be coming soon and im not sure im gonna like it
I will second that nomination and point out that Torii's gonna be hitting behind Austin Jackson and ahead of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder
Well yeah, he's a 4-5 guy in a rotation that has verlander sherzer fister and Sanchez, but as Doug points out in his article above and comments below there's reason for hope he finally meets his potential, I understand your skepticism given that we've been waiting for this every year but c'mpn man its spring , the season of hope, when every team is a contender. Save that cynical stuff for September, when the snow starts flying up there in bay city. :-)
(Former Saginaw resident here)
Several months ago an article focusing solely on Porcello noted that he had abandoned his curveball for a slider cited this as a possible stall in his development as an ace.
(I might point out that a more reasonable explanation was sadistic combination of teaching him to "pitch to contact" to save his pitch counts then saddling him with a lousy infield, but I digress)
Anyway, the local media has reported that Little Ricky is now focusing on his curveball again. If this takes, this could FINALLY be the year Little Ricky graduates from sitcom kid to heartthrob singer and gets invited to the "Garden Party" reserved for Aces.
I only hope he's still wearing the Olde English D when that happens.
Rayburn's cratering last season isn't an indictment on the value of punditry so much as an indictment of the value of spring training stats. Rayburn tore up the grapefruit league this time last year then inexplicably lost his stroke during the year. The punditry hype looks bad with the 20-20 hindsight but wasn't unfounded given his spring training hot streak.
I thought the two year v. Three year distinction on comparables was ridiculous, but the injury concern very valid. Not so much the earlier ones but A shoulder injury the pitcher describes as nagging who depends on high velocity and high strikeouts is a concern. Not enough to swing the case to the club, but a worry for a team that depends on his continued success.
On the other hand, if the off season allowed the shoulder to heal, I look forward to mad max taking the next step forward as the rest of his stats catch up to his devastating k/9 ratio.
Valid points re high school v. College. I seized on that because Jason stressed that as a main cause of the system's lower ranking. I'm tend to disagree that drafting an excess of arms is a bad strategy. Its much easier to trade surplus pitchers for hitters than vice versa (the 90s Indians tried it that way and didn't get as far despite a higher number of guys panning out). The only reason it didn't work better here is a lot of guys got hurt, a lot didn't pan out and a lot of guys never got drafted beacause of lost picks. These factors would have doomed a balanced approach just as surely, perhaps even moreso
That's true as far as it goes, however a solid farm system that produces good players on a regular basis is an essential part of of winning at the major league level. The team cannot continue buying up free agents at every position. Eventually arbitration and free agency will make this team too expensive to keep together and when it does they will need more than they have in the minors. For now ilitch is willing to subsidize with pizza money, but that will not last forever.
If anything, I would think an aging core would increase the urge to draft quick developing college kids over the high ceiling high schoolers who need more development time. If they are too impatient now for raw prospects holes in the main team aren't going to enhance patience. The entire team is focused on winning now to the exclusion of any future considerations. This will be a problem when the pizza money dries up.
You can scratch the Max Scherzer hearing from the docket. Mad Max belied his nickname and signed for a very (IMHO) reasonable figure.
So, is the deficiency in the system largely because of the aforemented picks lost as free agent compensation, prospects traded for players and emphasis on drafting college players sufficient explanation for the system's low rankings or are there deficiencies with the scouting or coaching? If so which ones?
This system was devasted during the Monaghan/Randy Smith era and was rebuilt by drafting a lot of hard to sign guys who fell and offered more than slot. Now that that maneuver is no longer available, is it possible to rebuild the system before it's needed to replace a large number of guys on the main club?
Excellent article... Love the disclaimers under the Hamilton and Trout entries...
So did I miss the mirror image article like last year? the one with the 10 candidates to better this year than last? If not, I'd love to see one.
Fat jokes are fun, and Delmon and his older brother have certainly given plenty of ammo for practioners of that genre of comedy, but the real secret making a productive hitter is not cutting the size of his waist but the size of his strike zone. Get him to stop swinging at anything closer the the plate than a pickoff move and watch that OPS rise. Discipline at home plate is more important than discipline at the dinner plate.
Great article... While I grew up a Tiger's fan, I read Weaver's Strategy book when it first came out when I was about 12. It taught me a lot about how baseball works that you just don't learn listing to most of today's TV analysts. It's kind of sad that the majority of fans will remember him for is on the field antics rather than the genius of his "less is more" approach to managing.
Kate Upton is from Michigan, her uncle is a Michigan Congressman and she's dating Tiger's Ace Justin Verlander. If Kate Upton puts on any uniform, it'll be the one with the Olde English D :-)
Rumor has it ahmed is going to be part of a package offered for rick porcello. I know they need a ss after this year but this guys sounds very mediocre and not ready when peralta leaves. I hope the rest of the package is more impressive.
I have to agree "in context" (which is always the proper way to analyze anything) this is a good deal for the Nationals. The team is loaded with youth under control at every position, so if any team can afford to lose a draft pick, even under these draconian terms where you lose the signing money too, it's this one. Plus, if your first draft pick turned out as well as Soriano, you'd be happy. Lastly
I point to the other Nationals news item, Golden Boy Steven Strasberg's limit has been raised to 200 innings. 6 innings a start over 33 starts is 198 innings. Strasberg may fullfill the traditional ace role of putting his team in a position to win most of his starts, he's not fullfilling the other traditional role of giving the bullpen a night off. This makes the need for the elite reliever that much more urgent, and well worth the loss of the pick.
Guess this means Porcello for Borjois isn't going to happen after all. That's OK because I'm in no hurry to ship little Ricky out right before his breakout year, let alone to the major competitor in the AL.
So, of course they got a guy from somewhere else and kept Bourjois... Offense, defense and pitching all look tough, at least as tough as the team that just swept us in World Series. I know it's early but I don't see anyone getting in the way of an all LA world series.
What would you want with a unicorn anyway?
Seriously though, good for a laugh... I particularly loved the Alexander for Smoltz reference because I got sooooo tired of Tiger fans bemoaning the fact that they traded away such a star, never mind that they guy they got one 10 games in a year they won the division by two games, never mind that none of the other prospects panned out so Smoltz by himself wouldn't have made winners of the late 80s early 90s team, and never mind that he probably wouldn't have developed the same in the Tigers' system as he did in the Braves. I used to ask these people all the time if the Knew who Duane James and John DeSilva were. Haven't gotten one right answer to that question yet.
The point "whoever wins the winter doesn't always win 90 games" is well taken, but in light of recent developments it looks like the angels in the west, tigers in the central, jays in the east, and a rangers rays wildcard. Am I reading this wrong or are we potentially, if all goes according to hoyle, looking at a postseason free of yankees and red sox even with the extra team added?
As for the senior circuit, I don't follow it as closely, but is a giants dodgers nlcs as inevitable as a sox yanks alcs used to be?
probably not, but there's added value in removing a prime performer from your closest competitor for the division, because the WAR your adding is also being subtracted from the other competitor
I was ecstatic when I heard sanchez re-upped with the tigers, then I heard the announcement that Rick porcello was now on the trading block and my enthusian was tempered. The team says they won't warehouse a starter in the minors but one man's warehouse is another man's make sure he's ready. Besides having an extra starter comes in handy when one gets hurt, as happened early last year. Finally if the taken was fine with smiley going every fifth day, why sign anibal at all, or trade for him last summer for that matter?
On the other hand, if trading little Ricky gets you a grade a closer, or a younger, better shortstop who'll stay past 2013, or something nice like that, I guess I could get over seeing little Ricky in a new uniform, even if this is the year he finally breaks out.
I'd love to see the look on torii hunters face the day little Ricky is traded, seeing as he gave him a large sum of money to give up number 48.
Kiefer, agreed, though I think the real barrier between Porcello's potential and (impressive) accomplishments to date is the Tigers teaching him "pitch to contact" instead of going after hitters in hopes of keeping the pitch count low. (Jake Turner remarked the same thing on his way to Miami)
My reservations more than Little Ricky's Potential were
1) If someone misses starts with injury you're back to starting the likes of Adam Wilk
2) Anibal replacing Little Ricky is less of an upgrade then replacing Drew Smyly
Of course depending what they get in return I could get over all that.
Breaking news, the Tigers sign Anibal Sanchez. This is news reporting the the digital age, I went to bed thinking he was a Cub and wake up and he's a Tiger.
Based on the analysis above, this takes the Tigers out of the pitching bidding war so the smaller teams get to stay in on what's left, plus there's speculation Rick Porcello might be available in trade to whoever doesn't get the pitcher they want out of the free agent market. I'm not yet sure how I feel about that last part.
In addition to the difference between Hunter and Hamilton, you need to consider the WAR this takes away from their nearest competitor. The CJ Wilson deal had a similar benefit, but the Hamilton deal is bigger because it comes on the heals of Texas losing out on Greinke and Upton, the two things that might have caused them to let Hamilton go, and the traded Mike Young and let Mike Napoli go, two things that they probably wouldn't have done had they known Hamilton wouldn't be there at the end of their "maybe we'll keep you maybe we won't" tour of other options.
Texas will be fine but the Angels have but some distance between them. I'm not confident in the Tigers getting past either team now, even with their "new" signing.
I hate to criticize a deal in 20-20 hindsight, (in fact I used to openly critize my fellow Tigers fans for criticising the Alexander for Smoltz deal) but that Sanchez deal is looking like a bad call. Sure Starting Sanchez instead of Drew Smyly probably improved the team's chances in 2012, but not having Jacob Turner to slide into the rotation severely weakened the 2013 team. (unless Sanchez signs after all)
If there was a way to get Omar Infante without the pitchr part, the better play would have been going after Shields last year (the only pitcher rumored available that would have been worth givig up Turner) or holding on to him and doing it this year, but that assumes the Rays were ready to deal him last year and there's no way of knowing that. Of course if they didn't make the sanchez deal they could add turner to a shields deal now, but again all off this is idle speculation and not really fair to Dave Dombrowski who's been tricking other GMs into giving him cows for magic beans for years now.
The only thing we do know now is that the Tigers lost out on Shields not for lack of trying but because they didn't have enough prospects to seal the deal. So, now the farm system has deterioratedto the point that not only can we not rely on it for improvements to the team, but we can't rely on it for trades to improve the team, leaving the last weapon in the Arsenal as Mike Ilitch's checkbook, and there's two problems with that (1) depending on that is what got us here and (2) that resource is on borrowed time to.
All is not bleak, we still have a great year to look forward to in 2013 and maybe 2014 (barring injuries) but there's going to be some long lean years after that.
With the collapse of New York and Boston, The AL east appears to be anybody's game, and as loaded as the DRays are in pitching they have as good a shot as anyone, so they should be in "win now" mode, while the Royals window won't open up for al last another two years, when age catches up to the Tigers' stars, the prospects aren't yet their to ill the gap, and the pizza funded blank checks stop. However this trade shows the Rays and Royals each acting as if their in the other team's position.
There are rumors of LA following up this signing of Greinke with a run at Anibal Sanchez. If that happens you might as well carve their name on the NLCS trophy now.
When I was a young kid in the late 70's early 80s, the Dodgers were my second favorite baseball team. Looking forward to a 2013 Tigers Dodgers World Series.
Was going to suggest Craiq Paquette is my favorite on the list, but Shane Halter would be even more hilarious.
What about Brandon Inge? Haven't the A's given up on him yet?
Rather than the closer, id like to see the tigers bring back anibal sanchez and look among in house options for closer. Al albequerque, joaquin benoit and yes phil coke are all viable options.
Hamilton while being ridiculously expensive might come cheaper than bringing back anibal sanchez.
Id still rather have sanchez. Sign sanchez then trade rick porcello to the dbacks for justin upton in the other of spot.
My first choice was shane victorino but torii will do nicely.. his high obp is deperately needed in the two hole and his grond covering is badly needed in spacious comerica. This allows every other of candidate to go where he belongs: andy dirks everyday in the other corner but lower in the order, avasail garcia in the minors where he can evolve to his full potential before being rushed to a platoon role, quentin berry on the bench as a fourth of and pinch runner, and brenan boesch on another team where a change of scenery and a real hitting coach might help him get his mojo back.
Additionally, his spot in the two hole removes the urge for leyland to put berry or some other scrub there. Maybe torris willingness to take a walk rubs off on the rest of the team.
A commonly cited reason for torris babip spike has been having albert pujols hitting behind him..... hitting ahead of miguel cabrera and prince fielder might be the only way available to him to impprove on that.
A very intersting thought exercise.
How would signing all those free agents affect your draft picks? How many would you lose in compensation? I ask because you'd have a very short time to build a farm system to replace the aging free agents. On the other hand, a long playoff run the first year might buy a couple years goodwill to build a farm system.
So where does this team play? What's the nickname? Who's the manager? Dont say ozzie guillen
I have to respectfully but strongly dissent. The fact that the move to third enhances his market value does not mean it can be dismissed as a factor enhancing mbps candidacy. You could just as easily dismiss trouts ability to run fast as something that enhances his market value. Anything that enhances a players market value enhances his mvp credentials and vice versa.
Also, stating that poor but better than expected defense is flatly wrong as ironhorse eloquently explained. It was something the tigers needed him to do and he did it, and while no one would say he was great there, he performed adequately, something no one expected him to do, and that performance allowed them to avoid giving another year of at bats to branding inge a brilliant third baseman but useless as a hitter.
Just because a team spends equal time on offense and defense doesn't make the two skills equally important. In inge versus cabrera you have the perfect comparison of the best hitter and worst fielder vs the best fielder and worst hitter and the step down from inge to cabrera defensively is dwarfed by what cabrera bring to the plate offensively. For that matter, the difference in total value offensive, defensive, and intangibles between cabrera and inge dwarfs the parrallel difference between trout and the next angel corner of who would have replaced them. Warp is fine for assessing comparative talent but an mvp calculation the more relevent factor is wins above the player who actually would replace him. In cabreras case that player is a replacement level player. In trouts case the gap is significantly smaller.
The trout vs cabrera debate is not just warp vs old school stats, there's also a bias towards the young, new, and fast paced over the big, slow and steady but solid and reliable. Warp is preferred because its a new stat that allegedly covers everything while batting average homers and rbis are outdated stats. Similarly trout is young new and flashy while cabrera is big slow and been around for awhile.
While trout adds base stealing and speed to power, the sum of all those tools doesn't produce as many runs as cabreras power without speed. If you add the total of runs scored and runs batted in and subtract homers ( to avoid double counting) cabrera comes out ahead. Ratio stats may be better for comparing talent because they equalize games played, the player who plays more games and produces more runs is more valuable. For these reasons, I conclude that trout is the more talented player, but cabrera is the more valuable one.
The tigers need bullpen help but not necessarily a closer. They have been eliminated from the playoffs two years in a row by teams who didn't have marquis closets but solid bullpens with multiple contibutors from top to bottom. The smart play would be to pick up several cheap but good relievers off the waiver wire and go with bullpen by committee. The money it would take to get soriano is better spent bringing back anibal sanchez or bringing in shame victorino to hold down left field and the two hole. A 1 to 5 combo of Austin Jackson, victorino, miguel cabrera, prince fielded, and victor martinez is a lineup even leyland cant screw up.
imminent = innings
auto correct on my cellphone really messed up this message, petty = pitcher
Zurich = Zito
I Love Dirks as much as you and if the team stands pat, putting Dirks in right field and the two hole and leaving him alone is the best plan for 2013. I also agree the other two guys you mention are comers but I would like to see the Tigers avoid their usual tendency to rush a guy before he's ready, get disappointed in his progress, and then give up on him. Garcia's devlopment is better served by allowing him to spend a year in triple a hitting against both righties and lefties than locked in a platoon on the big club. Also, the word on Nick is the OF transition isn't going well and I'd rather keep him and third so he's ready when Victor's contract ends and we can do a three way job share at the corners and DH with him and Miggy.
All that in mind, putting Dirks in RF and leaving him alone but bringing in a high obp ground covering guy for LF and the two hole makes the most sense, provided he accepts a short term deal because your point about blocking the kids is well taken.
Since My Wish for the Tigers is to find a high OPB, Good defensive OF who can hit in the two hole and cover LF in Comerica (which is practially a second centerfield) I'm interested in takes on players who might fit that role. I see BJ Upton is covered, but I'm interested in takes on Shane Victorino, Michael Bourn, and anyone else that might fit that bill.
Before Coke spiked the glove, which I agree is awesome, he had an even more "early celebration moment" than Verlander's. On the game ending popout, he did the customary point to the ball to the infielders could spot it, but did it in a way that it doubled as a "we're number 1" moment.
Your concern about the Tigers hurting themselves is well founded. I remember watching a game where some one compared the Tigers 3-4-5 hitters to the Lions starting 3 linebackers. The Tigers hitters came up heavier. They're probably tougher too.
I had mixed feelings about watching Mike Ilitch accept the ALCS trophy, I was happy for him, but man, he's in really bad shape. I'm honestly concerned he won't be able to "wait till next year"
Then again, Verlander might not fare as well having to face Pablo Sandoval as a division rival rather than just in the World Series and the All Star Game
There really is no defense for lamonts sending fielder. Yes he runs with heart but a big heart only takes a huge slow body so fast, that every run in a game is precious is an argument for caution not recklessness. This is nowhere near the first time lamonts ineptness has cost the team dearly. Also, bum only needed 80 pitches to go 6 imminent. Fisters needed 100 over the same period. This is not a knock on fister but on hitting coach mcclendon who just can't teach his jitters to work counts like the giants do. Leylands biggest mistakes are not in managing his own but hiring his buddies instead of competent coaches.
Bums lower velocity is probably a concern long term but short term it probably helped him, as it made him more of a finesse petty like Zurich and those guys givetigers more trouble than fireballers like sabathia
Given the infante's record against vogelsong and berry's slow regression to the mean, infante rather than berry should be in the two hole. I know lineups are small things but it games with great pitchers on both sides games are decided on small things. ( case in point two rallies in game two killed by questionable baserunning risks ). No knock on sanchez, but scherzer should be starting this game. After looking at fisters summers, mad max's heat will be even tougher to adjust to due to the difference in styles. A week ago mad max grabbed a broom, tomorow he may be all that prevents a giant sweep
I won't claim to speak for all Tigers fans, but most that I know, myself included don't "want" to believe the end is near, we simply fear that's the case, not just because of the loss, but how devastating it was. I agree with Apbadadogs that if they get the road split they're still alive, but on the other hand, if they don't win this game and stem the momentum, they get swept.
Forget game 3, THIS is a must win game for the Tigers. That wasn't just a blowout loss, it was a breakdown on normally reliable factors that shakes a team to it's core. If they don't offset that with a win and now, the snowball will continue and the Giants will do to the Tigers what the TIgers did to the Yanks
Agreed, I don't even care about the two homers to Panda, that has happened and will happen, my main source of concern is he lost his mental compsure after the ball hit the base and never got it back. If the ball doesn't hit the base Cabrera makes the play and the Giants' big rally never happens, but it's still up to the player to hold concentration and not let something like that throw them, and that never happened to Justin, until today. That more than anything is why I'm scared. This was the equivalent of that point in "Miracle" where the Russian's pulled their goalie, and Rusell pointed it out to the team. It was the first clear sign that the Russians were in trouble.
Besides the obvious issues to the team, this is a blow to his own reputation as well. The talking heads were already making hey over Justin's past problems in the postseason, now that he has a bad game that can't be attributed to inexperience or bad weather, expect that meme to gain strength.
I regret the error, on both counts
Really really hard to find anything good about this game if you're a Tigers fan like myself. I could brag about predicting The Tiger's hitters struggling with Zito, but all that does is make me want to channel John McClain in Die Hard and say "I hate it when I'm right."
There were no bad umpire calls but a lot of fluky things happened and it seems every break went the Giants' way. I know that sounds like a sore loser's comment but c'mon, A ball that hits the base that would have been a sure out that prevented Sandoval's second home run and Zito's RBI single? Not one but two miracle diving catches by Pagan? That wierd double play on Delmon and Fielder? There's a lot of random rare events every one breaking for Frisco.
This wasn't just a loss, this wasn't just a big loss, this was the kind of confidence braking loss that makes future wins harder. Their struggling stars (Sandoval and Posey) showed signs of breaking, out ours (Cabrera and Fielder) didnt. Our Ace, who always comes up big in the clutch, completely lost his composure on the mound after the third base fluke and the second Panda Homer. Our closer failed to get through the garbage time stint to get his confidence back. There's no silver lining anywhere to point to better things in better games. And worse, the desperation latch ditch play of brining in Verlander on short rest in game three and game seven, now doesn't look like a plan that'll help.
I can't even complain about Leyland's pinch hitter and pitcher selection. By the time he had to make a decision, it was over.
I'm not jumping off a ledge, because it's still a great season, but I just don't see anything anywhere to help me believe the Tigers are here for anything other than playing Goliath to SF's David.
The Giant's disadvantage with the DH in AL parks is more than offset by the Tigers losing their DH when they play in SF. Tiger pitchers aren't used to hitting and SF pitchers are less useless with the bat than most. The difference in OPS between the Tigers pitchers and the SF pitchers is about the difference between Miguel Cabrera and Brandon Inge at 3B. Pinch hitting isn't an option because it means giving up the starter advantage for a bullpen disadvantage. With all that in mind, while I share your contempt for making hitters bunt (a terrible waste of outs) making Tiger's pitchers bunt is the least bad option because what's the downside of taking the bat out of the hands of guys who don't know what to do with it?
The Sanchez before Scherzer thing is probably an abundance of caution giving Scherzer's shoulder scare at the end of the year combined with Leyland's desire not to monkey with the order as it is. There's arguments for going three pitchers and lining up Verlander for 1, 4 and 7, but given Verlander was less awesome than usual in his last start (though still awesome) and the need to stretch these guys as long as possible, and Sanchez currently pitching as well as the three aces, the four man rotation makes more sense.
As much as I enjoyed your Zito vs. Verlander comparison, Crafty lefties are the Tigers' hitters Achilles Heel, and just might match Verlander pitch for pitch given the relative strength of the lineups they face.
I hope your right and I'm wrong but I see this as a very close, nail-biting seven game series and honestly don't know who'll win game seven.
I'll admit I was rooting for a Cardinals rematch, not because I wanted revenge for '06, but I felt that Giants would be the tougher team. They're one of the few teams in the playoffs with starting pitching as deep as Detroit's. Combine that with a more solid bullpen, and the loss of the DH in national league parks (and SF pitchers aren't as useless with the bat as most) and I'm not sure you can call the Tigers the favorite.
I do think this will be a seven game series with several low-scoring games with one run margins, the kind of classic series neutral observers should love, fans of the teams will be biting their nails the whole way.
how ironic that the only Yankee pitcher I was afraid of turned out to be the only pitcher the Tigers really roughed up.
After three games of being stymied by standout pitching performances, a struggling offence finaly busted out for a big 4 run rally. No, not the Yankees' offense, the Tigers'. The most unreported story of this seris is that the Yankees pitchers (other than ace Sabathia) held the Tiger's offense to very low totals, it's just that Tigers' pitchers were even tougher.
CC's failure to produce when needed is at least as stunning as those of A-rod, Cano, Et. al. when compared to regular season performance, reputation and salary. We'll see if the NY media turns some attention to him, or if the continue to solely whack the A-Rod Pinata. I can't really feel too sorry for a guy cashing a check that big, but doesn't really seem fair that he's taking the brunt of the criticism for a team-wide failure.
Looking forward to the '06 rematch. Since then, the Cards have lost Albert Pujols, the Tigers have added Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, and (presumably) the pitchers have taken extra infield practice.
Bring 'em on.
It was more than that. There were a higher number of foul balls in this start than any other verlander start. There were a lot of 3-2 counts indicating tba yanks are getting back to their old approach of working counts to wear down pitchers, and it helped. They forced a high Lucy count which resulted in a rare hanging breaking ball which mines crushed, then they got two solid base hits to get ibanez up. If coke doesn't throw that perfect 3-2 slider and instead grooves an easy fastball rail is the new Mr. October. It pains me to say it but the yanks didn't lose this game, they just ran out of time.
Tonight's rainless rainout begs several questions. Does the day off help the yanks because now cc pitches this game on full rest or hurt them because now he can't pitch game 7? Does the time off help the hitters get their minds right or give them more time for the slump to eat at them? Does this beak up the slump or what little momentum they worked up in the ninth yesterday? And what about the tigers? Coke wasn't available tonight but now he is. Does leyland go with hot hand coke or give valverde another shot ? Is the time off enough for papa grande to get his mojo back? What about tigers hitters ? They haven't scored much more than the yanks. Does a day off help or hurt them ?
Actually, the ninth inning rally showed the kind of signs of life that usually indicate a long slump is finally breaking, (tex's ground ball with eyes for example) combine that with CC putting the team on his massive shoulders and they might just dodge sweep tonight.
A couple days ago, Mitch Williams on MLB Network commented on a screen display of the three big hitters striking out on Fister pitches. It was initally put up to point out, as Lindbergh does here, that all three guys swinging at bad pitches. Williams, after echoing that point, also noticed that the position on their shoulders was opening up and not shortening their swing to make contact. This is, Mitch continued, not a good strategy against guys like Fister because they're not gonna give you pitches they can drive.
The Yankees used to be great at making these adjustments, but now they aren't, and even if they do it now, against Verlander and Scherzer in spacious Comerica, it may already be too late.
I'm renewing my prediction from the previous post (minus the conditional win in game 2 that's happened) Verlander does his thing Tuesday and Wednesday, Mad Max grabs the broom and sweeps what's left of the Yanks out of town.
I agree bummer about Jeter. I wanted to win but not this way.
I remember thinking in the 6th inning as it was happening that whoever won the two out at bat between Russell Martin & Doug Foster would win the game. I was right for the wrong reason.
I thought on replay Cano was safe in the second inning . I remember growing up my wise uncle once told me that bad calls even out eventually. I think this makes up for Joyce messing up armando gallaraga's perfect game.
I rag on leyland for his qustionable tactics with early bunts, quick hooks, and team collapses so to be fair I need to give him props when the team shows heart and comes back after papa grande's tater fest ( fyi papa grande means big potato not big daddy). And for going with a new closer when the old one shows he's lost it.
Today's game is a clear must win for the yanks. If they lose they have to face a rested verlander without their short fences and without their captain and the next day max scherzer grabs abroom
I was despondent when the game four loss made it impossible to use Justin Verlander in game 1, but then I see that the Yankees will have the same problem with CC Sabathia in game 2 and with those back to back double digit inning games, their bullpen will be a lot more taxed then ours. Plus as you point out, there's a pretty solid rotation in Detroit after Verlander, much more so than the Yanks after CC. And if the O's have one more miracle in them...
I've been ragging on Leyland for putting Q in the 2 hole so many times because of his second half slide, but I gotta give the kid props, he game up huge this game.
I agree with you about Leyland's bunting decisions being questionable in spots. Leyland does have a tendency when the team slumps to overdue the small ball. You could defend that as a reaction to the week lineup beyond Jackson, Cabrera and Fielder. It's long past time to put someone other than Delmon Young in the 5 hole. Now the only good candidate for either the 2 hole and 5 hole is Andy Dirks, and you can't use him twice, but at least Leyland could use him to plug one of his two holes. His constant insistence to keep cyphers above and below the big guys have allowed opponents to effectively pitch around them.
I was bugged by the bunt decision too. Yanking Sherzer early with diminshed velocity makes sense given his recent injury history. The Dotel choice is questionable. Rather than one of the situational guys, this would have been a great place to use a starter moved to the pen, who could pitch to both righties and lefties, but he used Rick Porcello yesterday. The biggest mistake remains putting Quentin Berry in the two hole instead of Andy Dirks.
This loss is gut wrenching not just for the 9th inning collapse, but this means Verlander needs to start game 5 which means he can't start game 1 of next round, assuming they can get there, which with momentum and home field to the A's, is something we can't assume
I agree... this is starting to look like last years Texas series, where a superior rotation is nullified by decided advantages in bullpen and lineup. At this point, I don't understand why anybody ever gives Miguel Cabrera or Prince Fielder a pitch to hit. I can totally see Mad Max keeping the A's under three runs, and still losing.
Leyland got away with one tonight. Asking Andy Dirks to bunt with two men on, taking the bat out of the hands of his one good lower order hitter was bad enough, then pinch hitting for Avisil Garcia with Berry, a Cinderella who's clearly past midnight, then generally clearing making sure every light hitting infielder ended up in the game as pinch runners so they could go station to station like the guys they replaced, to brinking in Coke, and his .300 plus opp. batting average instead of Porcello, who thrived last year in playoff pen duty, all but assured himself he was going into a gunfight with only a boy scout knife. It's just dumb luck they only needed a sac fly to win at that point, because you know damn well new tam Mascot Don Kelly didn't have anything more in him.
sure he's up 2-0 but he's show Bob Melvin (and Joe Girardi or Buck Showalter) that there's no reason to ever pitch to Prince Fielder, and if they can just wear down the starter and get to the pen, they can beat these guys.
I find myself in compelte agreement with the last quote... Now granted I'm a little bit biased but I think the importance of speed and defense is overrated both generally and in this debate.
3B is at least as important as CF defensively, and despite a lot of naysaying in the beginning of the season, his performance there was adequate, and how great was Trout's CF if he keeps getting moved to a corner? Adequate defense at 3B is more valuable than any level of corner OF defense.
A stolen base gets you one quarter of what you need to score a run, a home run gets you the whole thing, plus more runs if guys are on base. The Angel's lineup has more reliable hitters, where the Tigers are very weak past Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Austin Jackson, Making Cabrera more valuable to his team as well as the better hitter.
I agree that this is the best narrative, and it's also the perfectly valid one. For starters, "whoever their third basemen would have been" is former team mascot Brandon Inge.
The emotional "where would the team be without him" argument is just as important to traditional MVP voters than the straight up numbers analysis, and that cuts just as solid for Cabrera, because this lineup would be decimated without Miguel, while a the A's would still have a lot of great hitters, Albert Pujols among them.
The two game cushion on the palehose is nice but I can't fully enjoy it because every time I start to feel good about this team's chances they go on a multi-game skid, often against an otherwise hapless team like the Twins.
To make matters worse, the Max Sherzer shoulder injury is troubling. A shoulder injury is the worst thing to happen to a fireballer. If he doesn't go, this takes what's left of their hopes of winning a playoff series behind the shed and shoots it. If he does go, and he's a shadow of his former self, we get the same outcome, with the added fear that if the Tigers follow history and pressure Max to cowboy up and play hurt, they may end up wrecking his arm like they did with Jeremy Bonderman.
I mean sure I'd much rather loose to the Yanks or the Rangers in the first round than not go to the playoffs at all, but still...
Losing streak in Porcello's starts combined with a Royal's pitcher Guthrie actually having a pretty good record, combined with Santiago hancuffing the Tribe, doesn't look good for my boys holding a share of first place this time tomorrow
I'm actually surprised to see the Tigers with a higher playoff percentage than the White Sox (granted it's a fraction of a percent). Every time the Tigers pull into a tie the wheels fall off. Much has been made of the easy schedule but the Tiger's record again Central teams other than the White Sox is vastly inferior to the White Sox's record againt Central teams other than Detroit. I guess people are banking on the better pitching but Sherzer's hurt and you never know which Rick Porcello or Sanchez is gonna show up.
With Justin Verlander a dark horse Cy Young candidate and Miguel Cabrera a major MVP candidate, has there ever been a team that won both awards back to back?
That would be a good thing, Keifer. I didn't go after Lamont but he's another Leyland Lackey who needs to go as much as McClendon... I remember being disappointed when neither one got the Boston Job last time around.
Truth is, they're only the start of the problem, I think there's a fundamental breakdown of coaching at every level. The hitting coaches need to start telling the kids to lay off the pitches in the dirt and the pitching coaches need to stop teaching "pitch to contact"
The case against Leyland goes well beyond this years disappointing season. With the exception of last year, every year he's been here could be descrbed as an "underachieving" year.
2006 looks great on paper with the World Series appearance, but a collapse in the final months against weak opponents allowed the Twins to sneak in and take the Central division, forcing the Tigers to settle for the wildcard and the Yankees instead of an easier opponent in the playoff... they overcame that with a stunning upset of the Yankees, and got lucky when the A's pulled off an upset of their own, but the loss in the series was directly attributable to poor fielding by all starting pitchers, which speaks to a lack of discipline on the part of the managers.
2007 started strong and but was followed by an even more severe second half collapse resulting in a complete missing of the playoffs.
2008, the first year of the Miguel Cabrera era, team was predicted to score 1000 runs, but this year the collapse was in the first half, the second year was too little too late.
2009, the team missed the playoffs completely, again watching a September lead evaporate by failing to put away weak AL Central teams, losing the one game playoff with the Twins for the division.
2010, not really Leyland's fault, some cash dump trades would pay off long term but consigned this year's team to an 81-81 record.
2011, was the jewell in Leyland's Detroit record. Solid second half surge put away the division decisively, followed by a sound thrashing of the Yankees in the first roung. The loss in Texas was to a better team with no clear breakdowns like the '06 World Series.
2012, feels like '08 all over again, lots of guys (Brennan Boesch, Ryan Raburn, Jhonny Peralta, and Alex Avila) all underperformmed compared to last year's record to varying degreed. Ironically, I'd say this is more a failure of hitting coach Lloyd McClendon than Leyland, but the only way to get McClendon out is if Leyland is no longer around to protect him.
This turnaround for Sanchez better take, pushing him back and fister forward resulted in an injury that will cost at least one fister start, at that to the tab that already includes Jake Turner... and this rental is becoming more expensive than a summer in the hamptons
Blanton being the "worst pitcher on that list" isn't really a reflection on his lack of skill so much as the distinguished names on the list, much the way last year being the 5th best starter on his team was nothing to be ashamed of given the team had Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels. As a Tigers fan I'd happily take Blanton over every starter not named Justin Verlander (especially the new kid Sanchez we grossly overpaid for) and while this year's k/bb ratio is an abberation, the last guy to graduate from med school is still a doctor and the worst pitcher with a k/bb ratio over 3 is still a guy I want taking the ball every fifth day for my team in the regular season and every third game in the playoffs.
The answer to the Orlando Hudson question (washed up or quitting?) lies not in statistal analysis but reviewing of game film. Is his recent drop in K/BB ratio a result of missing a lot more good pitches or swinging at bad ones? Swinging at bad ones would in indicate a loss of plate discipline which would indicate quitting, while missing more good pitches would indicate diminished skills. Though questioning whether or not it matters is a valid one, because is if he's quit on the Pads, he may quit on the next team, and if he's done, he's done. One would think Padres management would have traded him for something, anything if they could rather than give him up for nothing, so the release would seem to indicate a lack of interest on the part of other clubs in giving Hudson a second chance, indicating that it may not, in fact matter.
The Tigers have been struggling more with offense than pitching lately, so I expect they'd be more interested in Victorino than Hammels or Blanton, espectially now that Austin Jackson has pulled something and is day to day.
I still own and proudly wear my Rodriguez Tigers Jersey, partially because at these prices I can't afford a replacement and partially because I do remember how he signed with my team when no one else would, helped bring along the Tigers first new crop of young pitcers in decades, and was an essential piece of the '06 World Series team.
Thanks for the memories, Pudge.
I apologize.. I forgot to make some indication that I was being facitious
Jeez... sweep a team in their first series and they lose all sense of humor. (still being facetious)
Agreed, this team is not going to score 1000 runs, so anyone writing that they might needs to cease and desist immediately. The last time the team was predicted to hit the 1000 mark, they tanked horrible, and I do not want to see a repeat of that jinx.
Ugh... why did y'all have to bring up Randy Smith on the eve of the great season to come?
I can't wait to see the three ace rotation of Kyle Sleeth, Kenny Baugh and Matt Wheatland. They should be helped along in development by steady stable reliable catcher Mitch Melusky
I watched the game where the ball struck Cabrera, and it wasn't just Leyland who said that ball would have struck anyone but the ESPN broadcasters said the same thing, and with neither the Yankees or the Red Sox on the field, they had no reason not to be objective.
On the other hand, "Marlins Jersey, Not Marlins Jersey" represents a certain anti Tiger Bias, while the whole diagram represents a rather contemptible disdain for fat people that if applied to people based on race or religion would not be socially acceptable. I'd also like to know what a change in jersey and a tatoo have to do with either weight or hitting prowess. Lastly, that "2nd toungue" you identified is probably tobacco.
I'd like to point out that both Cabrera and his new, larger teammate have missed fewer games then the svelte Jose Reyes over the last two years. I'd further note that Cabrera's defensive shortcomings are both overrated and dwarfed by the benefits of getting the team mascot off the field out of the lineup.
No love for the Prince Fielder signing? A huge risk in response to a catastrophic injury to a key player? Sure the prospect of Cabrera at third was giving defensive fetishists the vapors, but Miggy was acqutting himself pretty well over there up until he took the ball in the face, and that would have happened to anyone. Plus, the offensive boost will completely wipe out the defensive issues. I may be biased, but I think this is deserves a top 10 spot more than the Rockies signing an average pitcher who walks to the mound with his glove in one hand and a cane in the other.
So what is the problem with the Tigers' system? Sure they've been winning lately so they have to draft later and they've been signing a lot of free agents and losing picks to compensation, but it doesn't seem like that in itself accounts for a 27th place finish. Are they picking the wrong guys or are the coaches and instructors screwing them up? Are they losing more prospects that other teams to injury? Is that just bad luck or are they running their prospects into the ground?
I wouldn't sweat the system with the talent on the team now, but in 3-4 years they're going to need a better system, can this be reversed in that time?
How about a mirror image to this list... 10 guys due for a breakout or 10 guys due to rebound this year. After all, this is spring, the season of hope and positivity ;-)
The biggest complaint about baseball is it's slow boring very little exciting things happen, removing the pitcher's automatic out every 3-4 innings would partially address that complaint.
Edman made my major point about most of the team locked up and therefore the system won't need to produce much in the future.
Ironically the adage "the best deals are ones you don't make." Before the Fister deal was made, Turner was offered to the Rockies for Ubaldo Jiminez. The Rockies turned down the deal, so the Tigers got a better pitcher in Fister and kept their best trade chip so instead of just missing the playoffs and needing to find another pitcher they have made the playoffs and still have their ace in waiting. Sure Dombrowski rolled all sevens last year with Fister, Young, Betemit and the Ubaldo deal that wasn't, but in '09 the deals for Aubrey Huff and Jarrod Washburn both came up Snake-eyes and the team lost the division by one game. Not an indictment of Dombrowski but just a point that not every deal works out.
A further indictment of the system is that it's been a long time since I've heard of a traded Tiger's prospect coming back to haunt the team the way Smoltz did. This is concerning because eventually Mike Ilitch is going to stop signing blank checks, and the other GMs are going to stop giving Dombroski prized cattle for his bags of magic beans. In the mean time each big name free agent signing costs a top draft pick that could be used to rebuild the system. This should not be read as an indictment of the team strategy because There will be several fine playoff appearances and World Series Runs before the day of reckining comes, but it will come and it needs to be prepared for.
Is the reason the cupboard so bare at this point simply a funtion of later draft picks from success combined with lost draft picks as free agent compensation, or is there issues with the teams scouting and/or coaching? I've long felt a large number of this team's hitting prospects have propblems with plate disclipline a large number pf pitching prospects get hurt, and a large number of both just flame out. Does this happen more with Tigers than other teams or does it just seem that way to me because I follow this team closer? If the former, is the problem with the players they pick or coaches rushing too many pitchers and not properly instructing hitters?
So it really happened, the Yanks made a salary dump trade...
Temperature in Hell 33 degrees and falling.
Is this upgrade going to be enough to help the Yanks edge out the D-rays for the division? How about edging out the Angels-Rangers runner-up for the wildcard? Could this be the first year the playoff go on without the Yankees or the Red Sox? It would be worth it just to see the hear the disappointment in the voices of ESPN's baseball coverage teams.
Re Turner: Agreed that getting the ball over the plate and inducing weak contact are different skills, and even third different skill is inducing swings and misses, a skill I wish Tiger pitching coaches would stress more than this "pitch to contact" attitude that's turned Rick Porcello into a steady reliable journeyman rather than the next great ace he was billed at when he was drafted. Pitching to contact is also a questionable strategy when you consider the defensive infield the Tigers are going to run out there this year (Cabrera 3B, Peralta SS, Rayburn 2B, Fielder 1B)
Re:Castellanos: very valid concerns regarding getting into bad habits to accentuate power, especially in this organization that doesn't seem to have a single hitting coach that can teach the virtues of laying off bad pitches.
Re: Crosby: He's a TJ surgery survivor, so hearing he's struggling with command is as suprising as the eastern Sunrise. Must as I admire his pluck overcoming this, I wish they had pulled the trigger on the Crosby for Matt Holiday trade. Had they tried to boost the lineup this way instead of settling for Aubrey Huff, they would not have needed the one game tie-breaker they lost to the Twins that year.
Re:Smyly, best case for him, he gives Turner just enough competition he doesn't get complacent but doesn't press and ends up in the 5 slot, then gets flipped for a hitter when the inevitable Delmon Young crash comes, or the defensive atrocities at third and become too much to bear, or the bullpen loses yet another arm to traumatic injury.
The Tigers have found a remedy for their replacement level Third basement, but it's drawing a lot of criticism
Cabera's numbers more than anyone's shows that there's a difference between "big" and "unathletic" (well except maybe his new teammate's).
I'm reminded of a comment John Kruk once made "Lady, I'm not an athlete, I'm a ballplayer"
Now if only the athlete in the leadoff spot would swing at fewer bad pitches and become a better ballplayer... watch Miggy and the Prince put up filthy RBI totals too.
Agreed with Jack Thomas. As a Tigers fan, I am very happy.
A spirited defense of signing Fielder AND a well formed case for Trammell's induction into the hall of fame (whose absence is the biggest voting travesty in baseball, well, sice Trammell got hosed in the 1987 AL MVP vote).
Great Article, Jay, Love to see my boys get some solid balanced analysis.
Obviously we need to stop telling Porcello to pitch to contact and start going after guys agressively like Verlander and Scherzer.
Fister doesn't replace Penny but Phil Coke. Penny's replacement is yet to be determined (likely Jake Turner or one of the lesser pitching prospects)
Delmon Young's bat was just find during his brief time with detroit while playing LF. Granted the high k-rate, small sample size and bad numbers over longer period in Minnesota makes one wonder if that will continue. (especially if he's move from in front of Miggy and Fielder to behind them).
The full move of Cabrera to third need not happen yet. I suspect this year it will be largely limited to the 18 interleague games. The real issue comes next year, but even then, there are other things that might happen. Vmart may not come back from the injury even next year. If he does, Delmon may crater they way you'd expect a guy with his plate disclipline and history to crater. And we haven't at all covered how Miggy at third could block Nick Castellanos.
If anything, the DH should give the NL an edge in interleague play. During the half of the games in the NL park, the AL team loses one of it's best hitters and AL managers have to make decisions they're not used to making, while in the AL park, they suddenly get to add an extra hitter and find the game strategically easier than the one they're used to. Some other factor is canceling out this edge and then some.
The reason NL pitchers numbers go down when they hit the AL is easily explained. Instead of faxing a pitcher every 3-4 innings, they now have to face a full lineup. The struggles for NL hitters switching leagues is much harder to explain.
Regarding defense, I remember an article several years back on this site comparing defense between the best and worst defensive catcher. The figures were so small that they were dwarfed by the tiniest of incremental changes in offense.
As long as Cabrera can be adequate at third, even if he's worst in the league, the resulting upgrade to the lineup from making Inge rather than Vmart the odd man out is going to dwarf any contrubution the team mascot's admittedly impressive definsive skills might be.
I think Leyland will. Sure sometimes his lineups leave me scratching my head but this makes too much sense not to do.
During the ALCS the idea was floated that if the Tigers got to the World Series (and lost a DH) that Cabrera would move to third and Vmart would play first in order to get both hitters plus Avila into the lineup (A martinez at catcher and Avila at third plan was nixed because Vmart's knee was balking even then)
If they were willing to roll those dice in the World Series I can't see not doing it in a few regular season games this year as a trial for next year when (hopefully) he has to do it for real.
Someone upthread suggested Vmart at third, perhaps rotating Vmart and Cabrera between Third and DH that year is an option depending how well the knee heals.
I second Jack Thomas' emotions. Barring another horrific injury and next year's ALCS is Angels vs. Tigers, regardless of what the only two teams ESPN cares about do.
Only days after I was complaining about the team essentially standing pat and losing one of their best hitters, they go and get and even better replacement.
Sure for this money I would have rather had Jose Reyes, because then there's no logjam when/if Vmart returns, but that wasn't an option by the time Vmart got hurt. By the time that happened, the choice was inferior retreads like Damon or Pena, or this. Kudos to the team for taking the higher risk/higher reward scenario.
First all fat bigotry aside both men move better than you'd accept big men to move and while Cabrera at third is a scary prospect, it's not doomed to fail (he wasn't much smaller when he did it last time)
As to the logjam, rather than saying when Vmart returns, we need to be saying "if" that ACL is a pretty horrific injury and "missing all of next season" could easily become "all of this season and half of next" or maybe even "career ending" I think it's better to have three guys for two positions than to settle for a one year stopgap, only to find out Vmart can't come back or isn't what he was.
Sure this fix for the 2012 problem will create problems in later years, but they're smaller problems and there's more time to deal wtih them.
Another potential solution? One of these guys can play Left Field when Delmon Young inevitably comes back to earth.
Soo... as the Tigers give up on a once promising pitcher, a once promising hitter they gave up on who made them regret it signs with another team, when he was the least bad candidate among available free agents to patch the hole in their lineup from VMart's injury... and the Tigers hit the snooze bar, role over and go back to sleep.
Their activity this season consists of giving up on Zumaya, giving up on former first round pick Ryan Perry, trading him for less touted pitcher actually more likely to contribute in the pen, and signing old guy Dotel to replace their once promising injured reliever (not Zumaya, the more receont one Al Albequerque).
That's a whole lot of treading water for last year's 89 win (by pythagorus) who just lost their second best hitter from a lineup that didn't need any new holes.
They still might edge out the Royals for the weakest division in baseball, but this isn't a team ready for a WS run much less repeating last year's first round upset. And what's worse there's no sign outside of the usual spin that management even cares.
jmoore, The problem isn't that they can't find the spot for the additional useful platoon player, it's that (a) they won't be able to find the useful platoon player it's that (b) you don't replace Vmart with a useful platoon player, you replace him with an everday player.
Had the Tigers at the beginning of the free agency period signed Aramis Ramirez, they would have a huge jump in production over what they were settling for with the team mascot at third, and when the unthinkable happens, you put him behind Miggy and the penalty for walking Cabrera is restored. If they had put Jose Reyes at second (or put him at short and put Peralta at second) you have a real leadoff hitter, a huge upgrade over the stiffs at second, and if the unthinkable happens, there's still a penalty for walking Miggy but this time it's in the form of additional men on base instead of another dangerous hitter behind him. Different but equally effective.
Now, all the good options are gone, so they have to settle for a less attractive option that won't work as well, and it'll be just as costly because their desperation removes their negotiation leverage. They'll shrug their shoulders and say "we tried" but we couldn't predict the injury, and the syncophantic Detroit sports media will cover for them, but injuries are a fact of life and shame on the team for putting themselves in a situation where the team doesn't havve the talent to overcome one bad injury.
The only problem with this plan is that the current plan is to platoon Rayburn at 2B with Ramon Santiago and for Delmon Young to be the everyday left fielder, With 3B being manned by a platoon of Brandon Inge and Don Kelly.
(pause for audience laughter)
Say what you will about the wisdom of Rayburn at 2B (and I've said plenty) Rayburn and Young can't be mediocre fill in's for VMart when they're already being counted on to be mediocre contributors elsewhere. So in addition to the step down from Vmart to Rayburn or Young, you also have a step down from them to their replacements. Combine this with the fact that Miggy's WAR takes a hit now that there's no good reason to pitch to him. Plus Young's tendency to swing at bad pitches means there's no reason to pitch to him unless Miggy's hitting behind him.
The real problem isn't the injury, the real problem is their lack of interest in improving the weaknesses in their lineup made the loss of one of the true solid hitters that much harder to overcome. Now they have to spend even more money (or prospects) for even less talent just to get back some fraction of what they've lost.
In spite of this, there's really no change, they won the East by 15 games last year, now have a full season Doug Fister and Delmon Young, and no other team in the AL Central did anything to improve. Vmart's loss alone doesn't cost them 15 games. Sure this takes any hope of advancing in the playoffs out back and shoots it in the head, but that dog already wouldn't hunt thanks to offseason complacency
Full Disclosure Time: Justin Verlander is my favorite player on my favorite team.
T. Keifer has a point that at bats more than innings are a truer metric of value to the team.
The Pitcher while only starting 1/5 of the games, on the days he starts he's as important to the score as the other 9 guys combined. Indeed, the hitters "rotate" just like the pitchers they just do it on an at-bat instead of innings basis, so while the starter is in 25% of his team's games, the hitter is in about 11% (1/9th) of his team's at bats.
Now that's a crude summary that doesn't take into account defense and reliever's, so try another way. Montanabowers cites about 256 innings as a back of the envelope figure for a pitcher (very close to Verlander's actual numbers) Figure three outs plus 1 hit or walk (a very conservative WHIP estimate) per inning that 256 innings comes to well over 1,000 at-bats. On the hitter side 162 games times four at bats per game is 648.
Now neither takes the defensive portion of the game into account but as the author points out, the pitcher is more involved defensively, too, he's in on every pitch thrown but the other players only on balls hit to them (except cathers and first basemen). Granted they still have to be alert but it isn't enough to counter the double at bats ratio mentioned above.
In summary, the argument that the pitcher isn't deserving of the MVP because he's not an "everyday player" just doesn't hold water. Detractors who point out that pitcher's have a Cy Young Award and Hitters only have the MVP have a point, but this is better resolved by starting a Willie Mays Award to be given to the best all-around non-pitcher, leaving the MVP as the most valuable player (be he pitcher or hitter)
How about Jeff Robinson? Led the AL in Wins at the All Star Break in 1988 when a misterious circulatory ailment took him out of the lineup. He never pitched again that year and was never the same after that.
Tigers wouldn't do it... but not for the reason you think. Sure it would wreck what's left of the farm system, but the current group of regulars plus Hamels wouldn't need farm help for awhile. The real problem is the Tigers have all but said they won't add another $20M player and does anyone think Hamels will get less than that when he hits the open market? Can't give up Turner for a one year rental and Philles would want more than Turner and that flotsam and Jetsam.
The real case against the Tigers:
The Ordonez-Guillen money is mostly going to get eaten up by contract and arbitration raises for existing players.
Once Boesch gets over his hand injury he'll be fine as an everyday corner OF, and Young is going to get a year to prove himself in the other corner (but not a long term deal) Not an ideal situation but an argument to assign scarce payroll and trade resources to the bigger gaping holes at 2B and 3B
Dave Dombrowski has openly stated they can't afford too many $20M players and that they like "role players" which means the boss is not willing to up the payroll in uncertain economic times and doesn't want to admit it publicly.
Now if Beltran could still play center....
The Yankees are what the poker players refer to as "pot committed" even if they don't have the best hand, they have so much in the pot that a loss at this point would be catastrophic so they have no choice but to stay in and hope the other guy has an even worse hand than they do. Jaffey has very effectively and eloquently outlined just how poor the Yanks' pitching options other than Sabathia are. For this reason I fully expect them to throw a big chunk of money not only at Sabathia, but CJ Wilson and at least one other starter in this year's free agent market. Whether they get all three, or get the right three is an open question, but the Yankees simply have no other option at this point.
If they let CJ walk, it's hard to call them favorites to win the division unless they replace him with a free agent pitcher of equal or greater caliber given the three aces the Angels hold. On the other hand, their perfomance this year has proven that you can overcome an opponent's rotation advantage with an equal and opposite bullpen advantage.
Third time's the charm.
The Tigers were hoping that by now they'd have younger cheaper options at closer than Valverde among their boatload of inhouse drafted pitchers and swag from the Granderson deal, but Joel Zumaya just can't get healthy, Ryan Perry and Daniel Schlereth aren't ready, Charlie Furbush and Chance Ruffin were shipped off to get Doug Fister, and Al Albuqerque never looked right after that concussion. Still too soon to give up hope on any of them, but also not the time to roll the dice in the free agent market. Plus, signing another free agent closer costs them another compensation pick better spent filling the gaping hole at second base or someone to hold down third until Nick Castellanos is ready other than team mascot Brandon Inge.
I do think it would be smart for the Tigers (or any team for that matter) to scour the available relievers and see if you can get something from the scrap heap who can either (a) give you quality innings or (b) flip at the deadline for useful prospects to a contender desperate for bullpen help.
re: Jackson being made into a #1 starter... If Dave Duncan couldn't do it, the smart money is against the next guy pulling it off.
He's still a guy you want taking the mound for you every fifth day, but an ace? ... don't hold your breath unless blue is your color.
They also won't be paying Brad Penny next year, which helps offset some of the extra Verlander money, They could still put up about $20M to get Reyes but about 6 other teams can and will too, that's going to be a big bidding war. Jimmy Rollins would be a decent consolation prize for losing the Reyes bidding war. I really hope they have the good sense not to trade Jacob Turner. They're going to need more than one solid ace to be more than the leper with the most fingers in the AL Central.
Putting Reyes at Short and Peralta at third still leaves a gaping hole at second. The better play would be leaving Peralta at short and Reyes at Second. Sure that leaves Inge at third and a gaping hole there, but just until Castellanos is ready. There's no 2b help in the system (and please keep the Sizemore rants to a minimum, he's still more likely to be Chris Pittaro than Ryne Sanberg).
I don't think the pitcher is a good idea, there's enough promise yet in Turner that I'd rather see him in 5th slot than sign another guy to block him, and both Scherzer and Porcello have shown signs of stepping up that I'd rather not have to give away a compensation pick for the next Brad Penney when the team really needs those picks to rebuild the farm system.
They really need to get some bullpen help. Valverde and Benoit are getting old, Al squared looked shakey after his concussion, and none of the youngsters looked ready contribute, let alone pick up the slack, and the ACLS showed us that a strong bullpen can overcome a pitching deficiency. Plus, if you stockpile relievers you can flip your excess to contenders desperate for bullpen help for prospects.
The thing that really needs to change is third base coach Gene Lamont and Hitting Coach Lloyd McClendon need to go and be replaced with younger, better options. I'm tired of seeing runners sent that don't have a shot and hitters swinging at pitches in the dirt. (Austin Jackson and Inge are the worst offenders but the problem is lineup wide) And while Leyland's pros outweigh his cons, if he won't let his washed up Pittsburgh lackeys go, he needs to go too.
Indeed, which begs the question why did the third base coach send him? That and sending Austin Jackson caused the team to run themselves out of two rallies that could have prevented the extra innings, and the Cruz grand slam from happening. Right now the biggest problem with Leyland's managerial game is protecting his longtime lackeys at third base coach and hitting coach, instead regularly offering up his outside hire pitching coach as the sacrificial lamb to keep the old gang from Pittsburgh together.
A great win to be sure, but the Tigers are not alive yet. Down 2-1 and starting another soft tosser. When two soft tossers go back to back, the second guy often suffers because hitters have time to adjuster, add to that yet another hitter with a hobbling injury, this time the protection that keeps teams from pitching around Miggy. Watching Victor Martinez run the bases after the homer looked to my like how you celebrate a pyrrhic victory. Sure he's going to cowboy up and get back in the lineup today but if the strain takes away his effectiveness (as Avila's fatigue appears to have done with him) that's almost the same as him not playing. I love these guys and glad they got this far but these cats still have to be considered extreme underdogs at this point
I thought the situation was dire for my boys yesterday but things are so much worse now. They're not just down 2-0, they're down 2-0 with all their best hitters either out with injury, hobbled by nagging injuries or just slumping, they pushed their second ace up to pitch on short rest, burned their setup man and closer and still lost the second game. Leyland stubbornly refuses to pitch Verlander in game 4 even though the rainout game him an extra day's rest, meaning unless both the two soft tossing pitchers come up big, the next time he may have to exercise his arm is when he lifts the Cy Young award at the presentation ceremony.
Might as well get a head start on the "Kiss 'em goodbye" column for the Tigers. For the "bold move" I propose an obvious choise (sign Jose Reyes) and a less obvious one (replace Leyland's Lackey hitting coach with a real hitting coach who can actually teach hitters to lay off pitches in the dirt)
The game 2 rainout gives Leyland the option to play Verlander in game 4 with same rest he would have had in game 5 if the series progressed normally. It also makes his questionable move of putting Scherzer in game 2 on short rest less questionable because it's less short rest, it also makes A Fister starting game 2 a more viable option, yes that would still be short rest for him but it would bring us back to alternating between the hard throwers Verlander and Scherzer and soft tossers Fister and Porcello. It also gives the option of going putting Verlander in 1, 4 and 7 which leyland was foolish to dismiss out of hand. I stand by my defense of his ALDS strategy, but his ALCS do have me scratching my head. still no amount of brinksmanship can make up for losing a hitter a day to injury, rain that seems to come and go when it most benefits your opponent, and your ace reacting badly to being unfairly squeezed by the umpire. (calling into question whether pushing more and sooner starts by the ace would really work). It looks like the Tigers are once again bringing a knife to a gunfight, and this round the oppenent appears to have better aim.
Its not a sixth sense so much as the ability to look past the game to game micro issues and think about what's best for the overall season. Much as I hate to perpetuate age based stereotypes this ability to balance long term as well as short term concerns does seem more common among elder statesmen such as leyland.
Everyone was chiding him for stubbornly refusing to pitch verlander in relief but he didn't, he won anyway and now he has his ace lined up for the first game of the next series, giving him an option to use him for three games, an opption he wouldn't have if he listened to the pundits who think they know better
I have to think that if you're tempted to bunt your #2 hitter in the second inning I think the bigger problem is not your willingness to throw away outs (though that's still an issue) but that you have a guy in the 2 hole that you don't think you can trust. Granted options are limited with Brennan Boesch hurt but Magglio's average hasn't atrophied anywhere nearly as bad as his power and he does have a knack for getting clutch hits (his game 4 homer against the A's in '06 is likely the main reason he got to come back this year). That seems to me a better option for the 2-hole than your leper with the most fingers at 2nd base.
Which brings us to the real problem, Santiago starting as 2nd base at all is a problem, a comedy of errors starting with kicking Polanco to the curb for no good reason, rushing Scott Sizemore than giving up on him, then hoping against reality that Carlos Guillen has a year of middle infield left in him or that Will Rhymes can hit. Given this string of midjudgements by the otherwise brilliant Dave Dombrowski, Leyland was left with the unenviable choice of Ryan Rayborn or Santiago at second. Rayburn hits better when left alone (something the team will never do) but his defense is a bigger train wreck than Peralta's.
Say what you will about Leyland's tactical missteps and I've said plenty, the real problem is they had an inferior lineup going in and it's been further hobbled by injuries. The fact that they so easily beat the self destructive Indians and White Sox to get this far doesn't change the fact they brought a knife to a gunfight, and their only hope to avoid rapid lead poisoning is the pitcher that failed on game 1 part 2
Hard to believe about a month ago everyone was mourning the lack of close races in this year's season and proposing radical ideas such as expanding the playoffs (actually that wouldn't address the problem but Bud Lightweight shamelessly used it to sell the idea so the league could cash another batch of broadcast rights checks) And then we get not one, but two chokes/comebacks rivaling the '69 Mets.
As a baseball fan I enjoyed it but as a Tigers fan, I wish the Sox would have held on because I would rather have faced their weakened pitching that the Rays, perhaps the only team in the AL the Tigers' won't have a pitching edge against. Of course my real disappointment was they finished one win short of being able to face the wildcard instead of the Yankees in the first round. (another interesting race that got buried by the wild wildcard races)
Mostly good ideas, but I think going after the NFL's PR guy might end up rivaling the Dunn contract for poor deals.
One of the best episodes of the West Wing involved a flashback to Press secretary CJ's days with a PR firm where her boss was chiding her for one of her clients not winning enough awards, she responded with a rant on how she couldn't help the client because his movies were bad, and no amount of PR could change that.
Why is that relevant here? The NFL isn't popular because their PR guy is good, the NFL is popular because they take care of their business. To cite your own examples, steroids aren't a problem because they had good PR they're not a problem because they instituted testing before things got out of control instead of going into ostrich mode like Bud did until major records became a mockery. They didn't resolve their bad seed problem with a media campaign, they resolved it by Roger Goddell giving sterner fines and suspensions (he's actually gotten pilloried for it by a lot of media know it alls but it's made the fans appreciate it) And lastly, the labor strike didn't affect the popularity not because of a PR campaign but because it was resolved before a single regular season game was canceled. If you want MLB to have better media popularity, the NFL guy bring over is not the PR guy, but Commissioner Goddell to take over after your one day tenure as commissioner. Even the last commissioner, Paul Taglibue would be an upgrade from Bud Lightweight Selig.
On an unrelated note, if you're going to keep wildcards, (and I agree with that) then you need to bring back the balanced schedule. It's unfair to give a potential wild card team an edge over another team because they play in a weak division.
In his youth with the expos I made some cash betting on expos games he pitched because I got good odds and he always pitched above that sorry teams talent. For that reason he became my favorite non tigers pitcher. I thought when he moved to the Yankees having a good team behind him would elevate his game and he'd develop into a cy young winner (a pitching version of what granderson has done.) Obviously, that did not come to pass. The k rate speaks to a tremendous physical talent but the struggles under the ny microscope and the tender mercies of ozzie guillen suggest a deficiency in the immeasurable but equally important areas of "heart" and "guts". Pitching at a stellar level requires mental as well as physical toughness the inverse correlation between Javy's success and the pressures of contention suggest that's he's blessed with the former and not the latter.
The tigers have a huge hole at 2nd, an otherwise solid lineup (third is a problem until castellanos replces inge ) and $20m coming off the books with magglio and guillen. The points of concern are noted but to have an infield of alex avila, miguel cabrera, reyes, jhonny peralta, and castellanos, I would love to see dombrowski roll those dice
Despite all the press Billy Beane gets for scouting hitters with his OBP the real secret to his sucess was having Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, and Mark Mulder all simultaneously pitching like aces early in their career, and he didn't have to pay a huge amount of money to land them as free agents. Why am I bringing that up here? The Angels besides the good Weaver have Earvin Santana and Dan Haren, three solid aces. The secret to winning big long term is not having one ace but three, even if Texas holds on to Wilson, where do they get the other two? Sure Texas is ahead now but I like the Angels to close the gap, and that team more than either the Yanks or the Redsox is the only group of pitchers I think can stand up to the PHillies' aces over a seven game series.
I Have to second amacrae's point about the Juan Gonzales deal, "all that talent" didn't really amount to much, Kapler and Thompson both fizzled badly after that deal (did Thompson pitch a game for Texas?? This move highlighted Randy Smith's incompetence not for making but deal but because the organization he presided over was so poor at drafting and developing talent that neither the list of players he kept or the players he traded really amounted to anything.
The most questionable deal by the Tigers has to be Dontrelle Willis, not the acquisition along with Miguel Cabrera, but the long term contract they signed him to immediately after. A runner up would be trading Jair Jurrjens and Gorkys Hernandez for Edgar Renteria.
I remember being disappointed that the Tigers had to settle for Victor Martinez after they lost out on Adam Dunn. Now Im obviously glad it worked out the way it did.
A piece couple pieces of trivia no one's pointed out yet. Delmon is the Younger brother of Dmitri Young, who's drinking, drugs and general scumbag legal troubles resulted in him letting the team down not once but twice at a time when they desperately needed a left handed power hitter. Here's hoping alcoholism, overeating, wife beating and general attitude problems don't run in the Young family.
This is probably the best the tigers can do to patch up the lineup post deadline but is is enough to prevent the customary leyland-tigers second half fade? My heart wants to say yes but then my head thinks I sound like charlie brown running to kiick the football swearing that this time ill kick that ball to the moon.
The Tigers offered their ace in waiting Jacob Turner to get Ubaldo from the Rockies. I'm very glad the Rocks turned them down, even if it meant he ends up in Cleveland, because as badly as I wanted Ubaldo in Detroit, Losing Turner means the price is too high.
Mitch Williams of the MLB network thinks there's something wrong with Ubaldo, that he's hiding an injury, his drop in K rates makes me think he's on to something, and now those K's are going to be even harder to come by now that he doesn't get to face a pitcher every 3 innings.
I'll call it a good deal now that we know the PTBNL is Chane Ruffin and not Nick Castellanos. I love this deal. Granted Fister is no Ubaldo Jimenez but he didn't cost Jake Turner. Getting Jiminez and losing Turner would have been a pyrrhic victory, and Im grateful to the Rockies for turning down that offer, even if they did turn around and put Ubaldo in Cleveland.
Dodger's right about Wells but I really think the player who should have gotten more mention was Charlie Furbush. His Mariner debut leads me to believe he may be yet another in the long line of traded players to do better after leaving Detroit and getting better coaching elsewhere.
The problem with PECOTA predicitions is that the team at the start of the season (When the projections are made) is often very different than the team at the end of the season. The White Sox in particular, where Ken Williams frequently makes big mid season deals which radically alter the makeup of the team and could cause drastic variances from the PECOTA projection. That and injuries represent two factors that I imagine would be nearly impossible to account for in PECOTA projections.
On the positive side the Tigers could have cited the economy and all the bad contracts and stood pat with the rotation, calling the signings of Benoit and Martinez good enough to make another run at the weakest divisiton, talking up the "perfect game winner", but instead they chose to upgrade the rotation replacing the unlucky Little Cat with a lucky (we hope) Penny.
On the other hand I liked the idea of keeping Unlucky Armando around not because he's so valuable but with three guys vying for the last two spots, you can afford to lose one, with only two you're back to hoping to run the table, though at least the odds improved somewhat.
I also have to question the logistics involved. Designating the guy for asignment one day after signing him to a contract? trying to trade him when everyone knows he's about to be released? Granted the Snakes rode in and saved the Tigers with an offer (again) and it's unlikely that they would have gotten more in trade by playing it smart, but the unforced error is disappointing and suprising, as Dombrowski's not one to do this sort of thing.
Back to the bright side, while the execution is a little sloppy, there appears to be a solid effort to produce a winner, something I wouldn't have said this time last year.
I wanted to work in lines about a snakebit Armando ending up with the Diamondbacks, or how he's basically the poster boy for Leo Durocher's most famous quote, but I just couldn't do it. Instead I'll just wish him luck in his future endeavors.
Single Digit Sums up the strategy pretty good, and it's actually pretty sound. The pitching is the most important part of the game and the hardest talent to find, so it makes sense to stress pitching heavily in drafting and development. As expensive as this strategy as been, it would have been much worse if they tried it the other way, putting the money in the draft picks into position players and tried to sign top notch pitchers as free agents. Various teams are much smarting such big money signings as Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Carl Pavano, and the Indians of the 90's has a hard time getting good pitchers in exchange for the excess hitters. The strategy is sound what has held the Tigers up is the excecution. The '06 Tigers beat a high powered Yankees team with three solid aces (four if you cound Nate Robertson who pitched like one that year only) and an average hitting lineup, and only a run of bad luck doomed them in the playoffs, since then they lost one of those aces (Kenny Rogers) to age and two (Robertson and Jeremy Bonderman) to injury (the latter of which a was an inexcuseable tragedy of abuse and neglect) and have since only gotten one back (Edwin Jackson, later upgraded to Max Sherzer) Porcello, billed as the next ace in training, hasn't quite gotten there.
For some reason, the increased drafting of pitchers hasn't resulted in the required developed talent to field a full contender, much less give them the excess to trade for position players. I don't know if this is a case of drafting the wrong guys (CHadd actually came years after the Ilitch Dombrowski regime began) or if it's poor instruction at the minor league levels, but they seem to have a hard time getting a top notch player out of anything but a first round pick and now for two straight years they've been forced to sacrifice for free agents, a disturbing catch-22 as their ever increasing need to sign short term free agents reduces their ability to land long term talent in the draft could result in a serious decline just as KC's farm system starts bearing fruit.
They also seem to have a larger than average number of players lost to injury, Crosby is only the latest in a long line of casualties from Kenny Baugh to Matt Wheatland to Nate Cornejo to Bonderman and now possibly Porcello.
The irony is the year they settled disastrously for Huff they could have had Matt Holliday for Casey Crosby, but chickened out, fearing Crosby would come back to haunt them the way John Smoltz did. A shame because not making that deal caused them to lose the division that year by one game where making that deal in '87 caused them to win it by one.
Anyway, my point in all this is that the strategy is very sound, and the Tigers' recent lack of success is attributable not to the overall roadmap but to their frequent zigging when they should be zagging (with questionable non-signings just as prevalent as questionable signings)
I agree with the write up on the Penny situation. While This really does add just another question mark to the rotation, it's less of a question mark than the Little Cat (who's numbers last year took an unexplained dive after his stolen brush with greatness) or the Coke, who may be a solid reliver but seeing a starter in him strikes as the same kind of wishcasting that made them see a ML second basemen in future insurance salesman Scott Sizemore. Now they have three candidates for the back two spots in the rotation, so instead of running the table, they only need to hit on two of the three, and considering how iffy the all american beverage and the gratious loser are, I'm happy the organization decided to spend a few million dollars finding a Penny, hoping it brings good luck.
The real problem is the Front end of the Rotation, They have two solid aces in Verlander and Scherzer, but The Kid, having been billed as the next Josh Beckett when the Tigers broke the unofficial draft salary cap to sign him, hasn't taken that step forward and has had a very troubling decline in K-rates that is either a sign of poor coaching (the old "pitch to contact to get them to bounce out on 1-3 pitches rather than strike out in 4-5" mentality I thought left with Cluck) at best and an unreported injury (like what turned the Bondo Kid from a future ace to waiver bait) at worst. Without a third ace, I don't see this team catching it's rivals in Chicago and Minnesota.
I'm sure this article when to "press" (or the online equivalent) Before the Tigers signing of Brad Penny became official.
I would love to see Blanton as the 4th, or even 3rd, starter in the Tiger rotation as I have some minor questions regarding the current Number 3, Rick Porcello, and the band of releivers and mudhens contending for spots four and five. I wouldn't even mind seeing the Tigers take on the full contract, though I suspect with the pizza money already thrown around, Mike Ilitch and Dave Dombrowski might. I would be concerned (as I'm sure Dombrowski wouldalso be) about what the Tigers would have to give up, plus the Tigers seem convinced that Phil Coke will adapt from the pen to starting without incident, Armando Galarraga is deserving of another year in the rotation solely based on his perfect game, and Porcello will rebound from this sophomore slump to be the Ace everyone thought it was destined to be. Unfortunately all this strikes me as the same kind of wishcasting that caused them to see a future star in utilitman/insurance salesman Scott Sizemore.
Update: Magglio Ordonez just signed with the Tigers for $10M over one year, declining two year offers out of loyalty to the Tigers. I have to second Dwinning's comments on Magglio vs. the the Mudhen outfielders, but I have to disagree with both him and Hotstatrat on Sizemore Vs. Guillen. The Tigers kicked Placido Polanco to the curb (even refusing to offer arbitration to get compensation if he left because they couldn't risk him staying) He got his full shot and he looked more like Chris Pittaro than Chase Utley. Whether they misjudged his talent or saw what they wanted to see because they didn't want to play PP anymore is an open question but what isn't open is Sizemore, his potential has been weighed and found wanting. He's a AAA infielder at bast and an insurance salesman at worst. Hoping that Guillen can stay healthy for one more year is remote hope but more hope than expecting anything more from SS. And having been once burned by Scotty, I don't blame them one bit for bringing back Maggs one more year and giving Wells another year of seasoning in Toledo. Agreed on Inge though. I still don't understand the organization's love affair with this guy.
A well written and fair minded appraisial of where the Tigers and and where they're going. There was however one glaring omission. Magglio Ordonez. The team declined his option but have voiced interest in bringing him back at less money, and Mags has voiced some interest in coming back, but nothing's happened on that front in awhile, and since then Crawford, Werth and Dunn have signed on with other teams, leaving several suitors looking for an alternative. While nothing's been reported, it's possible they might see Maggs as a consolation price. He's lost some power but still hits for a solid average. Is he worth bringing back? How does that change the lineup prognosis if they do? If another team lures him away, are there viable alternatives still available? Are there alternatives that they should consider before Maggs?
The Sox are going to beat the Yankees by becoming the Yankees. I'm choking back the bile as I say this but it's looking increasingly like ESPN is right, this is a Yankees-Red Sox world, the rest of us just live in it.
You have the figure the price on every other available corner OFer out there just went up, as the Angels suddenly have a lot of money burning a hole in their pocket and a hole in the OF where they thought they were gonna put Crawford.
Love the reference to the Larry Miller "5 stages of drinking" routine. When references Monty Python and Spinal Tap become commonplace, leave it to Christina to turn the obsure reference dial up to 11 by digging up old HBO stant up comedy specials.
I was wondering that as well... I combed the archives and can't find anything on V-Mart, or Beniot for that matter.
Basically, V-Mart was a consolation prize for losing out on Adam Dunn, which now that Dunn landed with a division rival, said consolation prize looks less like a silver medal and more like a lifetime supply of Rice-a-Roni. Still he's nice protection for Cabrera, and IF they bring back Magglio, and IF he can repeat last year's production in RF, they should have a slightly better lineup, better enough to pass the Twins and Chisox who also upgraded? I remain skeptical when they settled for Inge at third, Raburn in Left, and the leper with the most fingers of last year's failed 2b prospects.
Benoit was a huge overpay for a guy with one good year, but given the disaster of last year's pen, it's a stretch work taking, with Zumaya coming off yet another catastrophic injury.
Worth isn't an option to replace Inge at the hot corner, not just because he hits like an middle infielder, but because he's the leper with the most fingers among the shortstop options. (he's actually the only one who could play short besides Guillen, who's allegedly too old and banged up to do it, but he's covering the same area at 2B, so there's no way to reconcile those two pieces of organizational spin) Clearly the best option is to start Raburn at second and Move Guillen to third, where his range is no longer an issue and his arm never has been. But for some reason Leyland doesn't like Rayburn so they're going to bring back Sizemore instead, to justify their rushing him to the big leagues earlier this year. Now there is a defensible argument that there's still major league potential in Sizemore, that the slow start was attributable to recovery from major ankle surgery, major leak jitters, etc. However, the best way to access this major league potential would be to put him at his natural position and let the old veteran with bad knees and a good arm go to third, but instead they're going to add learning a new position to the stress of learning to hit major league pitching. This is a plan guaranteed to turn Sizemore into an insurance salesman rather than a major league hitter, and there's no apparent reason for it but a manager's stereotypical old-man stubborness and a GM's stubbornness not to admit he made a mistake. All in all this is just a symptom of the long term disease, with or without Inge, with or without making the right moves to replace him, the Tigers have brought a knife to the AL Central gunfight. The only surpise is this year it'll be the Sox and not the Twins winning the right to get killed by the Yanks in the playoffs.
Giving the Tigers the benefit of the doubt, the "pitch to contact" strategy might have been an attempt to the keep his pitch count down, (ground ball out usually takes fewer pitches than a strikeout) but since the Tigers have ruined so many pitchers letting them pitch hurt (Bonderman, Zumaya and now Ryan Perry, to say nothing of all the guys before that you've never heard of) leads me to believe that the "pitch to contact" is a (flawed, IMO) philosophy that seems to be taught to every pitcher in this organization except for the truly elite (Verlander) the imported (Scherzer grew up in the Arizona system) and the uncoachable (Zumaya). Nate Robertson's first year with Detroit he nailed down a rotation spot by going after hitters tenaciously (a "K" an inning the first half of the year) and then trailed off on the K rate and became very average after that. This preceded the injury enough to not be a sign of that but a sign of a coach feeding him the "Pitch to Contact" mentality. A mentality just as frustrating as the inability of the Tigers to instill any sort of plate discipline in their hitters. The talent on the team has improved recently not because of any improvement of instruction, but in spite of it, as the signing of David Chadd as put more talent into the meat grinder enabling more to come out the other end. This won't improve until (unless?) the cronies of Leyland are forced out and replced with coaches who actually know what they're doing. That's not likely to happen until Leyland decides to stop resting on his laurels and retire. Everyone in town overrates Leyland's abilities because he happened to be there just as the talent finally turned around, and he's a nice old guy who says colorful things when you put a microphone in front of him (ie. Sparky 2.0)
If the Tigers are going to try to boost their offense by wishcasting Carlos Guillen able to play infield positions again, they might as well go all the way and put him back at short, leave Worth at 2B and kick what's left of Adam Everett to the curb. Guillen's injury problems have always been with legs, never with arm. If he has enough left to handle the range at 2nd, he's got the range to handle short, and arm's never the been his problem. (I'll resist the urge to be petty and ask if that's the case why move him off short in the first place) Of course all of this would be moot if they hadn't let Placido Polanco go for nothing last year because they tried to wishcast future insurance salesman Scott Sizemore into a major league second basemen. Here's hoping the pixie dust does better granting Guillen his lost youth than it did granting Major League talent to Sizemore.
A Tiger's Fan hopes that Scherzer's struggles are what they say they are, just a minor problem with the arm slot that some time and instruction can straighten out. On the other hand, the sharp decline in velocity and K-rate is often a sign of serious injury and this team has a history of ignoring payer injuries and pushing guys to play through them when they've been short on players to make a drive. One needs only look at Jeremy Bonderman at the end of this rotation, struggling to be Frank Tanana 2.0 and hold down a back end spot of the rotation when he should be an ace alongside Verlander and Porcello.
The Scott Sizemore situation is a different case altogether, they had the perfect second baseman in Placido Polanco but didn't want to pay them, so they wishcasted that Scotty was going to perform the sort of miracle his namesake on the Enterprise was more famous for and step in and fill the gap. Unfortunately, the clock has struck midnight on this Cinderella. Credit the Tigers for admitting they screwed up here, but not as much we would if they had the good sense to keep Polanco one more year, or at least offer him arbitration to if he bolts anyway you get a draft pick out of the deal. Now they're still looking at four gaping holes in the lineup (SS, C, 2B, 3B) unless Carlito finds his youth and holds down 2B, a huge if when you remember it was his range, not his arm that "forced" the move from shortstop.
Amacrae, that last option is the most likely scenario. In addition to failing to teach him a changeup he was rushed to the majors at 19 and forced to take heavy workloads before he was ready because the team had no talent at the time (his rookie year was the 119 loss '03 campaign where he had to be pulled from his last game to avoid losing 20) The season of his first big injury was the result of him pitching hurt for several games, turning a bad injury from worse to career threatening. The official word is that he didn't say anything, but Detroit Media is notorious for covering for the Tigers, what really happened is he was pressured to go when he wasn't ready because the Tigers needed an ace to take the team on his shoulders and cover up for deficiencies elsewhere. He and Zumaya were both rushed again in last year's 163 game heartbreak, with tragic results. This attitude only recently changed with Verlander's higher pitch count a necessary evil combined with the desire to bring Porcello along slowly, and every other pitcher on the '06 staff being hurt or unreliable. Still, the fact that so many good pitchers are coming through the system now when so few did pre Verlander is more a function of improved scouting than improved coaching.
Scherzer's first two outings were just as disastrous as Bonderman, maybe there was something to that motion causing injury problems. A great pitcher with no problems suddenly having problems is reminiscent of Bonderman and the beginning of his end. I find myself hating the big trade not for the loss of Granderson but the loss of Edwin Jackson.
Inge got a lot of love for playing through two bad knees and got a pass for the second half dive in production for that reason, but the real reason he fell apart and the real reason he'll fall part this year is not the knees but that he will swing at anything closer to the plate than a pickoff move.
Dead Heat between Tigers and Twins Before Injury? What about the White Sox? I'm sure I saw previous BP projections had all 3 team neck and neck for the title of leper with the most fingers in the AL Central. Much as I wish it were otherwise, the Sox have more pitching and hitting depth. The Tigers changed a lot of faces but nothing to indicate ne net positive improvement on last year's offense that couldn't score in a whorehouse with Bill Gates' wallet, plus neither Bonderman nor Scherzer have looked good in camp so far and the Tigers are counting heavily on both. Nathan's loss is a blow to the Twins, but as Brock points out that's only about 4% of the team's innings and the thesis that importance of closers is over-hyped is a frequent BP staple. Don't forget the Twins pulled out last year's miracle with their second best hitter on the DL (I wish I could)
I was 6 years old when I first watched a baseball game with My Grandmother, as she told me about this guy named Mark Nicknamed "The Bird" like Big Bird, and was hooked by his infectious enthusiasm for the game. I was very sad when he fell apart, but it hooked me long enough that the Tigers became a big part of my life from then on, watching game after game narrated by George Kell (who we just recently lost as well) and Al Kaline, learning more and more about the game every year, and by the Time Fidrych flamed out I latched on to a new core of players I grew up with Jack Morris, Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Lance Parrish, etc. Growing up with them and celebrating with them my Freshman year when they won a World Series together, watching my heart break with them in '87 falling just short. Sitting in the Stands on my 21st birthday and watching Travis Fryman hit his first home run, getting the game winning RBI, right up until bittersweet World Series loss of '06. I can't imagine my life without Tiger baseball, and the end of the guy that started it all for me is sad beyond words.
My first job was keeping score for softball games for my hometown's recreational softball league. It didn't pay much but when you're too young to drive and within Bicycling distance of the ballfields getting paid to watch baseball and softball is a pretty good deal. Since then I still buy a program at every game I attend just to keep score during the game.
With all due respect, Will, it's VERY much like the Tigers to try to pull something shady. I've been following the Tigers for the majority of my three decades on this planet, and pretty much ever since a Pizza man has owned the team they've always been about protecting their public image first and winning somewhere else down the line (Ironically, neglecting the latter in favor of the former has resulted in failing misrably at both) but if they felt that lying about Dontrelle's state of mind hid the embarassing mistake they made in trading for him, they'd have no qualms about doing it. The same logic applied when they refused to talk about the mysterious release of Dmitri Young short after his return from rehab.
As to Bonderman, the reason there's no timetable could be entirely attributable to the fact that the Tigers don't know what they're doing. All the local reporting was that both Bonderman and Zumaya were on track to fully recover from their catastrophic injuries... right up until spring training and the rosy predictions had to be supported by actual performance, suddenly they were both on the DL. They're now compounding the mistake by Rushing porcello to cover their incompetence in team building the same way they did with Bondo in '03. Between Smoltz and Verlander there's a list of once highly touted pitching prospects destroyed by the incompetence of the Tigers in diagnosing injuries and developing talent. This is why they'll repeat '03 before they repeat '84 or even '06