The Tigers and Stephen Drew could help each other out, and the Royals come close to picking a fifth starter.
Could the Tigers and Stephen Drew rescue each other? News surfaced over the past couple of days that Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias could spend most of the 2014 season on the shelf with long-term injuries to both of his shins. Detroit’s only internal replacement is Hernan Perez, who turns 23 on March 26 and did little at the plate in a 71-plate-appearance sample last year.
Which teams' glass slippers best fit the six still-unsigned top-50 free agents?
It was new and exciting in November, mundane in December, and comforting and familiar in January. But by mid-February, speculating about likely landing spots for attractive free agents is as tired as publicly celebrating the Beatles.*
Granted, the alternative would be talking about the sort of stuff that otherwise occupies us early in spring training: what players look like; what players look like from afar; what players might look like from afar, if we could see them; what players look like upside-down; meaninglessquotes about team chemistry. There’s only so much we can do to combat the boring until real baseball begins.
The hard-throwing right-hander, who turns 37 on March 18, has secured only one multi-year deal to this point in his career: a two-year, $11 million contract that came back to bite the Angels before he moved on to Tampa Bay. Rodney earned $2 million in 2012 on a one-year pact with the Rays, who exercised a club option to retain him for $2.5 million last year.
With a strong outing versus the Braves and a home run at the plate, Jose Fernandez did his best to convince Rookie of the Year voters on Wednesday.
The Wednesday Takeaway
One of the questions Sam Miller proposed earlier this week was whether backstop Jeff Mathis has had any effect on Jose Fernandez’ increased curveball usage since the start of June. With the Marlins absent Mathis behind the plate on Wednesday due to a bruised thumb, the proposition was put to the test. Being paired with backstop Koyie Hill for the first time all season, Fernandez didn’t shy away from his curveball, relying on the offering for 36 of his 100 pitches. For the young Marlins hurler, it was his highest curveball rate in a start without Mathis behind the dish and just a tad less than his average with his veteran battery mate.
An object lesson in implementing the shift drawn from two consecutive plate appearances.
Out here on the internet, the things we know for sure about defensive shifts are easily outnumbered by the unknowns. We’re still mostly in the dark about some pretty fundamental information: how often shifts are used, how effectively they’re implemented, and how much hitters can alter their approach to combat them. What data we do have indicates that shifting is becoming more common, and some anecdotalevidence suggests that it works. But there’s still considerable cause for skepticism and, judging by the dramatic team-by-team differences in the rates at which shifts are applied, nothing close to an industry consensus.
One thing we know with some certainty is that the shift can be almost as frustrating for defenders as it is for batters who have to hit into it. Earlier this year, Astros starter Lucas Harrellexpressed frustration after a loss in which he felt that the shift had hurt him, saying,
With two hits in four at-bats, Doug Fister has the highest wOBA on the Tigers. Miguel Cabrera checks in second at a cool .466 mark. Third place on the list is occupied not by Prince Fielder, but rather by Tuaisosopo at .435 (Fielder has a .390 wOBA and ranks fourth). Sure, Tuiasososopo has done it in just 75 plate appearances but with production like that, one has to wonder if he will start to eat into Andy Dirks’ playing time in left. Dirks edges Tuiasosopo in defense, but the Tigers aren’t known as a team that will keep a producing bat off the field for the sake of defense. Tuiasosopo doesn’t have an impressive minor-league résumé, with an average under .250 the past two seasons in Triple-A. But he has shown decent power, reaching 14 and 12 homers in those two years. His playing time is still too limited for mixed leagues, but I’d kick the tires on Tuiasosopo in AL-only leagues hoping the ride continues.
I’d been nursing a nasty cold for a week or so. It started in my head, but had migrated to my chest. I don’t like to take drugs—I’m a teetotaller, truth be told—but I’d resorted to DayQuil and cough syrup just to be able to get out of bed. It makes the walk across the footbridge from BART to the Coliseum something of an adventure—my steps unreliable, I felt like I was gliding rather than walking.