Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008: Disappointment In The D

Hopefully, I don't forget anything here...

*Preseason favorite to win it all...didn't even make playoffs

*Uncertain future for the guy in charge

*History of falling apart late in the season continues

*Underperforming, overrated, past-their-prime "superstars"

*Annoying injuries

*Terrible defense

*Rumors of problems in the locker room

*Stupid mistakes every game

*Questionable trades

*Supposedly less talented team overtakes them in the standings at the end of the season

*Pissed off fans

*Offense not nearly good as advertised

*Guys throwing the ball look overmatched

dallas cowboys Pictures, Images and Photos

I am SO glad that I'm not a Cowboys fan.

Who'd you think I was talking about?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Emptying My Sack

Tiger santa cat Pictures, Images and Photos
Ho, ho, ho, DesigNators. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Quazy Quanza, and whatever other holidays you goofy "normal" people celebrate. Real simple, today. There's nothing to talk about still in Tiger Land, so here's my holiday shopping list for our Detroit Tigers.

Justin Verlander: Quaaludes. Something to calm you down, big guy. Don't put it all on yourself. Sure, the other four(teen) starters we use this year will probably suck. But that's not your problem. You can only win one game at a time.

Joel Zumaya: One of those big plastic bubbles that they put sick kids in. Go from being "Glass Joel" to "The Bubble Boy". Anything to keep your dumb ass healthy until and through the regular season.

Dontrelle Willis: An old VHS copy of "Sweatin' To The Oldies". You, my friend, are a fat bastard. That's not who we need. We need the lean, mean, goofy-motion pitching machine that we thought we were getting when we traded the entire farm system for you and Miguel. Drop some weight, get your motion back, and win Comeback Player of the Year.

Curtis Granderson: A bus to hit Grady Sizemore and put him out for the year. I don't want it to kill him, I just want the AL sportswriters to pay attention to what we have in center in Detroit. Andy Van Slyke said that if he had a daughter, he'd want her to marry Curtis Granderson. That's high praise, my friends. Maybe crazy and creepy, but high praise, nonetheless.

Fernando Rodney: A pair of those glasses that Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn wore in Major League. Maybe this way, Rodney can find the strike zone more than twice per inning. Also, maybe he'll finally realize that he's wearing his hat the wrong way.

Dave Dombrowski: A closer to fall in his lap at a cheap price. If you believe what you're hearing around the league, price expectations for Fuentes and the remaining relievers are dropping. Double D needs one or two guys to at least make it look like he's trying out there.

Gerald Laird: Bigger feet. Why? Because to the average fan, he has giant friggin' shoes to fill replacing Pudge Rodriguez behind the plate in Detroit. I wish you luck, Gerald.

Gary Sheffield: The Fountain of One More Year. Wouldn't it be awesome to see the Gary Sheffield of old...instead of the old Gary Sheffield?

Placido Polanco: A Mr. Potato Head. Just so he can hold it up next to his giant noggin and give the boys some laughs.

Ramon Santiago: One ounce of respect. Cause that's more than what's been shown to him by the Detroit Tigers management.

Magglio Ordonez: Rogaine. Just in case. Don't lose those locks, Maggs. I'd blow up an orphanage to have hair like yours.

Jim Leyland: 50 cartons of Reds. It's the gift that keeps on giving...tumors.

Jeremy Bonderman: The learning ability of a 10 year old in little league. If a 5th grader can learn a changeup, you should be able to.

Matt Treanor: For the Tigers to sign Casey Daigle. He's married to Jennie Finch...that'll take some of the attention off of your wife for a change.

Miguel Cabrera: A nice, new mantle...to hopefully put the MVP Awards on that you'll be winning with us.

Brandon Inge: Puberty. Hopefully, that way, you might be able to grow real facial hair. And most importantly, you'd possibly gain the maturity to take a different approach at the plate. Moron.

Nate Robertson: A Dire Straits CD. "Money For Nothing"...that about describes your season last year.

Once again, Happy Holidays to everyone out there. Here's to hoping that we all get what we want this year...a World Series Championship in Detroit.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Adam Everett AP Article

Adam Everett Pictures, Images and Photos
My internet's been down for a couple of days and it doesn't look like I've missed much. 'Tis the season, I guess. But I did catch this AP article on the Adam Everett signing in my local paper and it annoys me...big surprise. Keep in mind that I'm in favor of the Everett signing. It would be nice to have some defense. But this article...ugh. Check this nonsense out.

Tigers Sign Everett

DETROIT-Shortstop Adam Everett and the Detroit Tigers finalized a $1 million, one-year contract yesterday.

"We've talked about improving our defense, and we think Adam obviously does that," Tigers president Dave Dombrowski said. "He also can help us offensively. He can get the big hit."

Mark it down. Double D is officially a nutjob. What has Adam Everett, major leaguer since 2001, done to indicate that he can be an offensive help or get the "big hit"? Is it his career batting average of .246? His career OPS+ of 69? (100 is average) His career high of 59 RBIs in 2006? The only way in any form I see Everett making the offense look better is by being so bad at the dish that he makes Brandon Inge look less pathetic.

Everett batted just .213 with two home runs and 20 RBIs in 48 games for the Minnesota Twins last season, when he was hampered by a shoulder injury. He appeared in 66 games the previous year for Houston, but the Tigers believe Everett will be a solid option at shortstop.

Nutjob. Defensively, yes...he'll help. A lot. But the guy makes Ramon Santiago look like Barry Bonds in the batters box.

"I feel like I've always been able to handle the bat and help my team win," Everett said. "I've been hurt the last couple years--there's no secret there--and I haven't been able to show everything I can do offensively."

Ya know, sometimes I feel like I should head down to Lakeland some spring and try out for the team because I think that I might be able to get lucky and knock some balls out of the park and impress someone. Of course, much like Everett's "feeling", I'm wrong and stupid. C'mon, Adam, you showed us in 2005 and 2006 when you were healthy enough to play in 152 and 150 games. You hit .248 and .239 those years. You suck at hitting. Why are you talking about your offense? That's like me talking about my ability to deal with stupidity without overreacting. I can't do it...just like you can't "handle the bat and help (your) team win".

Everett is expected to replace Edgar Renteria, who became a free agent after the Tigers declined his 2009 option.

"I knew the Tigers were looking to improve their defense at shortstop, so it seemed like a great fit," Everett said. "Once I got an offer from them, I didn't really talk to anyone else."

In other words, you realized that Dombrowski is a nutjob. You weren't getting an offer anywhere else. You'll work cheap, the Tigers have pissed away too much money already, and it's a fit. Any shortstop could have come in and improved the defense over Renter-error.

With the Tigers also planning on moving Brandon Inge to third base after obtaining catcher Gerald Laird from Texas,

What? They realized pouty-face Brandon was back to playing third long before we found our scab catcher. Does the AP not check facts anymore?

Everett is excited about the possibilities.

"Brandon is a great defensive third baseman," he said. "He's going to make any shortstop better, just because of his range."

Then why couldn't we just put Carlos Guillen back over there? Screw his back...like it won't hurt in left field? Plus, that way we could have had a better defensive left fielder...like Matt Joyce. Don't get me started there...

"We've really been focused on improving our defense during this offseason, and that starts with putting Brandon back at third, where he is one of the best in the league," Dombrowski said. "When you add Adam, that already gives us one of the best left-side infields in the game."

Defensively. Offensively, it has to be the worst. And to be honest, while I think Inge is good, I'm not under the impression that many Tigers fans are in thinking that we have Brooks Robinson at third base, defensively. Inge can make the difficult play look routine, but he still muffs a lot of easy ones.

Now, again, I like Adam Everett. My Mount Rushmore of favorite baseball players of all time is Higginson, Trammell, Craig Biggio, and Jeff Bagwell...so I'm familiar with Everett's work in Houston from watching those guys. He's great defensively. But with Double D spewing nonsense about Everett's offense, I look at it as an insult to the intelligence of Tigers fans. I'm sure he was just blowing sunshine up the backside of his newest offenisvely challenged starter, but now I'm starting to wonder. Is Dombrowski a nutjob? Did he think Renteria was going to hit .400 last year? Is he going to remove a mask, Scooby Doo style, and reveal himself to be Randy Smith?

You never know. It may be as likely as Adam Everett coming through with the "big hit".

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Pen

Seeya, Matt Joyce. Nice to know you. Not sure how I feel about this one yet. Tampa fans seem happy to lose Jackson, though. That scares me. If we're using the term "Jackson 5" to describe his ERA this year, it's going to seem like a waste of The Artist Formerly Known As Thundercat's trade value. I'd have liked to get a closer for him.

Anyhoo...Double D's been busy this week. Yet we still have nothing in the bullpen except the guys who made me break stuff in fits of anger last year. We need a closer and, hopefully, another guy to round out the pen until the kittens are ready to come up from the minors. The Farns will be visiting us as a Royal this year eliminating any chance of Dombrowski signing him to a long-term deal. (Thank God) K-Rod's off the market. The Putz is a set-up man for the Mets. Cleveland got Wood. Who's still out there?

Luis Ayala
Joe Beimel
Chad Cordero
Juan Cruz
Alan Embree
Keith Foulke
Brian Fuentes
Eric Gagne
Eddie Guardado
Trevor Hoffman
Jason Isringhausen
Brandon Lyon
Dennys Reyes
Arthur Rhodes
Juan Rincon
John Smoltz

I've also seen rumors linking us to possible trades for George Sherrill, Huston Street, CJ Wilson, and Francisco Cordero. The White Sux have also said that Bobby Jenks may be available, but probably not to us.

Where do we go? Well, thanks to Ian at BYB, I've got a man-crush on Cruz and would love to get him, despite him being at Type A free agent. I remain a fan of Reyes' stuff and would prefer him as a lefty over Beimel, whom we've been linked to. I'll always love Huston Street for serving up Magglio's Tiger icon clinching moment back in '06, but I'm not sure I'd want him. Fuentes is probably too expensive for us. Lyon's a younger Todd Jones, which would do nothing to help my hairline.

Basically, I have no friggin' clue. Double D can do the predictible (Everett, Laird) and the next day pull stuff out of nowhere (Cabrera, Jackson). He's not an idiot, though. He's saying Rodney could be the closer next year, but I don't think he seriously means that. It's most likely an attempt to not seem desperate. But the cupboard's getting bare when it comes to legit closers out there. We'll see what the end of the Vegas meetings brings.

Unless we just make Nate the closer...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Freep Angers Me Again

This time, it's Drew Sharp and his latest article. Now, look. I realize that I'm just some idiot with a blog that has maybe six readers (Love ya, kids). I realize that I might write something one day like "Sheff's the key to the offense" and the next day write "Trade that rat bastard Sheff". If the president of the country can flip-flop, so can I. I may make the occasional typo here and there. I don't have an editor and, to be honest, I am kind of a moron. Most importantly, I'm not being paid to write for one of the biggest newspapers in the country about sports. Sharp is. And he's an idiot. His words are in bold.

The sensational didn't work, so now the Tigers opt for the sensible.

Ahh, we're being clever. That's adorable. No problems yet.

It's the prudent path for a team that eroded into disarray last season about as fast as it stunningly congealed into the American League champion in 2006. The acquisitions of catcher Gerald Laird and shortstop Adam Everett didn't push the excitement needle, but the significance was in the message conveyed -- it's no longer about painting in broad strokes, but rather paying more attention to the tiny details.

Tiny details like consistently fielding the ball.

I'll bet Drew Sharp spent a lot of time putting this opening together. It's almost poetic the way it's written. Excuse me...I must wipe a tear from my eye. Oh wait...it's about to go to hell from here...

Tiny details like surrounding the team with more players who understand the concept of team.

Oh, no. This isn't going to be how we need to add a bunch of little, scrappy, white guys to the team, is it? Eck-stein! Eck-stein!

But role players like Laird and Everett prosper only when stars perform to the heights of their ability.

You mean, they suck. They need the stars to play well to cover up their inadequate play. This doesn't bode well for us, does it?

Role players aren't entrusted with erecting the foundation of a playoff contender. They're responsible for filling the inevitable cracks.

Role players, if you're going to call them that, should not be starters. A role player is a Ramon Santiago...a defensive replacement or spot starter. (Wussup, Blake?) A role player is a Dave Roberts, who pinch ran and stole a base that led to erasing the Curse of the Bambino a few years ago. A role player is a Mike Myers, who has had a long career by coming into a game and getting one left-handed hitter out and leaving the game. A role player should not be the starting catcher and shortstop of your "playoff contender". You're either a qualified MLB starter or you're not. And if most of your guys are not, you are the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Tigers aren't a desolate mess, but there are certainly some serious issues.

Yep. Pitching.

Bringing manager Jim Leyland back for 2009 without even a one-year contract extension becomes an unnecessary gamble. They're inviting clubhouse dissension should another disastrous start cripple them next season.

Look...I think that Jim should have gotten some sort of extension last season. He was the Manager of the Year in 2006 and the players all respect him. I don't blame him for last season's mess. I blame injuries and bad pitching. But these guys aren't children (other than Sheff). Jim not having a guarantee for 2010 doesn't mean anything nowadays...coaches and managers get fired constantly whether they have a long-term deal or not. This isn't a team of kids...it's a bunch of veterans that are going to play to their capabilities whether Leyland is there or not.

But their most serious problem approaching this off-season was too often fielding a team that woefully looked out of position.

No, it was the pitching. Blame everything on Nate Robertson...that's what I do. And Renteria wasn't out of position. Neither, really, was Guillen or Inge. Edgar and Carlos are just getting older and their range isn't what is used to be. As for Inge, he's just a baby that cried when his favorite toy (3rd base) was taken away.

It cost them only $4 million next season to upgrade perhaps the two most important defensive positions -- catcher and shortstop.

Upgrade? Maybe. Everett needs to stay healthy and Laird needs to show that he can play a full season. If that happens, then, awesome job. But let's not pass out the GM of the Year trophy just yet...we still need pitching. Are you ever going to talk about pitching, Drew?

They're moving Brandon Inge back to third, a coin flip for success considering the problem with Inge wasn't his ability to get to ground balls usually destined for left field, but rather his ability to make an accurate throw to first base.

Coin flip? Look, I get annoyed by Inge just as much, maybe more, as the next guy, but he's more than a coin flip better than Guillen, Larish, or Raburn defensively at third base. I'll take his arm over the other guys any day of the week. The REAL problem with Inge is his inability to hit a baseball. Well, that and his inability to grow facial hair that doesn't make him look like a 16 year old.

The Tigers are defensively stronger up the middle now than previously with the additions of Laird and Everett and that might directly improve the quality of the current starting pitching.

Finally! A decent point. I agree...the starting pitching can't help but be improved by a better defense. Good job, Drew! Have a cookie. Now, talk more about the pitching and how it was what REALLY hurt us last year.

But any success next season still comes down to the production of the stars.

Wait. Back to your poetry...what about the broad strokes not working...we need only to field the ball to win, I thought? You're making this seem somehow difficult to make the playoffs. I thought Everett and Laird were the answer! You deceived me, Drew Sharp...never again.

It still comes down to three guys -- Miguel Cabrera, Curtis Granderson and Justin Verlander.

B F'n S. It comes down to a hell of a lot more than the three franchise players, Drew. You just spent the whole article saying that. And now you're switching directions? Miguel was an MVP candidate last year. Grandy started hurt and was slightly down, but was still great in center. Verlander sucked hard last year, I admit. But I think success is more than three guys. TEAM, remember? There's no "I" in "Tigers", Drew. Oh wait...never mind that last part.

Cabrera rebounded offensively in last season's second half, becoming the AL's home run champion, but he got hot only once the Tigers' serious playoff aspirations cooled. What does hitting endless home runs in meaningless games actually mean?

Okay, Drew. Now, you're just bring a prick. It's not like Miguel played like total crap the first half. You don't win a home run crown in half a season. There's a period of adjustment in switching leagues for 90% of players. And what does hitting "endless home runs in meaningless games" mean? It means that he never quit. It means that he's a phenominal talent. It means that he is the franchise player that this team has been looking for. It's not his fault that we couldn't hold a lead while he hit home runs. It's not his fault that Nate Robertson spent the season looking like Charlie Friggin' Brown on the pitcher's mound. And it's not his fault that Gary Sheffield's hitting stroke couldn't keep up with his mouth. I don't like you, Drew.

He has had of [sic] year of adapting to the American League and his new responsibilities of becoming the Tigers' new face. Cabrera should enter the 2009 season as one of the top three favorites for AL Most Valuable Player.

Nice typo. Fire the editor! Good job acknowledging the period of adjustment. And yes, he is an early favorite for the MVP...as long as he quits hitting those stupid endless home runs in meaningless games, that is. That's why A-Rod sucks, too, right?

Granderson should be an All-Star by now.

All Star selections are meaningless. Seven of the nine starters every year play for Boston and New York. That's fan voting for you. And being that every team has to have a representitive, many deserving guys get left out. Don't crap on Grandy's game due to stupid rules.

And Verlander should be the Tigers' irrefutable ace of the starting rotation.

Who said he isn't? Do you think Nate is the ace? Justin's had two full seasons. One good, one bad. Lay off. It isn't like we overpaid for an ace like the Giants did for Barry Zito. We've overpaid for a lot of guys, but not an ace pitcher.

Those three must rise to the level of their expectations. If they do then the Tigers are once again a genuine playoff contender.

No they're not, dammit. No one is worried about Cabrera and Granderson except for you. Yes, Verlander needs to rebound. A better defense will do that. But it's the OTHER guys, mainly the pitchers that will decide if we make the playoffs. It's up to Bonderman, Robertson, Guillen, Sheffield, and whomever Double D finds for the bullpen to get us to the playoffs. Granderson and Cabrera are the only sure things we have now. Even Maggs is getting older. But leave these two guys alone. They aren't going to be the reason we don't make the playoffs unless they both get hit by a bus in the offseason.

They have enough stars. What they need are more ballplayers, and Laird and Everett satisfy that specific criteria.

Holy hell. No. I will take "stars" over "ballplayers" any day of the week. Tell you what...I'll field my team of "stars" like Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera, Manny Ramirez, and CC Sabathia. You put out a team of "ballplayers" like Adam Everett, David Eckstein, Darin Erstad, and Jeff Suppan. We'll play a best of seven series. If my team doesn't sweep, I will come to your house wearing a tutu and make out with your dog while you film it for YouTube.

Running lock step with the big boys proved disastrous last season. The Tigers couldn't handle the enormous expectations that came with pumping up the star power and subsequently the payroll.

THAT was it! Expectations! Not injuries. Not aging veterans. Not bad pitching. It was the expectations! Damn you, liberal media!

They basically choked.

No. To choke is to be in the lead, look like you're going to win, and then blow it. Ask the Mets about that. The Tigers started 0-7 last year. They didn't live up to the enormous expectations that you mentioned, but they didn't choke.

But now the Tigers are back where they're most comfortable.

Last place?

Nobody's talking about them. Even fewer are thinking about them as baseball's winter meetings resume in Las Vegas.

Are you kidding me? I think the Tigers have been mentioned in EVERY rumor I've heard this offseason except for maybe the signing of Casey Blake. Jack Wilson, Trevor Hoffman, JJ Putz, Khalil Greene, Derek Lowe, Brian Fuentes, Kerry Wood, etc, etc, etc. Drew, just because Detroit has a stereotype for having a lot of crackheads in the city doesn't mean you have to smoke the stuff, okay?

They can sneak up upon the least expecting.

Who the hell is that? The Boston Celtics? They'd NEVER see us coming and we can get Kevin Garnett to be our fifth starter! Brilliant, Drew!

But the moves that brought Laird and Everett are arguably more important than a year ago when they shocked the baseball world acquiring Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis.

Show me a person that argues that getting Adam Everett and Gerald Laird is more important than getting a young franchise stud like Miguel Cabrera, and I'll show you a person that should be locked in a padded cell and receiving shock therapy. I hate the Free Press.

Those bold moves coupled with a payroll that ballooned to $138 million turned the Tigers into a serious championship player. But it created a fractious environment last season. Everybody looked for blame. It was the offense's fault one minute, the starting pitching the next and the bullpen the next.

What does this have to do with Cabrera or the payroll? And for the minute to minute thing...I'm pretty sure that the starting pitching and the bullpen sucked pretty much all year. The hitting wasn't the problem. We got shut out a few times, but more often than not, we scored runs. When teams don't perform to expectations, people look to blame something. And the blame goes to injuries to Bonderman and Zoom, as well as terrible performances by Robertson, Willis, Rodney, Jones, and the rest of the joke of a bullpen.

But the problem was that they never assembled a true team, comprised of various talents responsible for satisfying their respective roles.

My bad...that was the problem last year. Not the pitching! It was Cabrera hitting those meaningless home runs when he should have been deciding what his role was. Maybe if the team holds hands before every game this year and chants together, they'll win 130 ballgames. Naw, I'm sticking with my idea. They need to pitch better.

Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski learned his lesson and is working hard at correcting previous misjudgements.

He's burning the contracts of Guillen, Inge, Robertson, and Willis? Sweet! We got Jurrjens back? Awesome! Why didn't Randy Smith do this?

He has his everyday catcher and shortstop. The next objective is building up a bullpen that was one of baseball's worst. He'll choose a less exciting tract than a year ago, but it won't detract from the Tigers' most pressing objective this winter -- building a team rather than a sensation.

You see, this is why I won so much money on the World Series last year. The Phillies TI (Team Index) was 82.6. The Rays only came in at 65.9. And even through Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley are much more famous than any of the Rays, somehow their SI (Sensation Index) was narrowly lower than the Rays at 33.4 compared to Tampa's 36.5. Great job, Philly!

Contact DREW SHARP at 313-223-4055 or dsharp@freepress.com.

Believe me, Drew...I'm thinking about it.



Tuesday, December 9, 2008

DE-FENSE!

defense sign Pictures, Images and Photos
Adam Everett and Gerald Laird have been signed. Not quite the same ring to it as a Miguel Cabrera or a Pudge Rodgriguez, eh?

But I'm happy with these deals on a conditional basis. That condition? Get a f'n closer. A legit one. I'm talking Kerry Wood, here. Screw Cleveland. JJ Putz? As long as we don't give up Joyce for him, fine. But we should have the money to go after a guy better than Brandon Lyon, now. Everett and Laird are major upgrades in defense over Renteria and Inge/Ryan. MAJOR upgrades. And putting Brandon Inge back at third gives us one hell of a defensive lineup (as long as they don't hit it to first base). This can only help guys like Verlander, sinker-baller Minor, and even Nate to pitch better with a solid D behind them, for once. In '06 when we made it to the promised land, we had Inge, a healthy Guillen, Polonco, and Sean Casey putting together one of the best defenseive Tiger infields in recent memory. Hopefully, these signings can help to recreate some of that magic.

This all sets up our lineup as follows...

1. Curtis Granderson, CF
2. Placido Polonco, 2B
3. Magglio Ordonez, RF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Carlos Guillen, LF
6. Gary Sheffield, DH
7. Gerald Laird, C
8. Brandon Inge, 3B
9. Adam Everett, SS

Some things that stand out to me?

1) Our pitching needs to carry us. Laird is a slight downgrade from Pudge (at this point in Pudge's career) and Everett is a definate downgrade from Renteria offensively, no matter how big of a disappointment Edgar was. We're not going to be projected to score 53,000 runs with this lineup, but hopefully with the defensive upgrades, the ERAs will come down a decent amount. Again, a big part of this is depending on what the bullpen looks like going into Spring Training. Kerry Wood AND Brandon Lyon would be a nice fit. One guy isn't going to solve the problem. Keep Zoom in a plastic bubble until April, get Rodney's head (and hat) on straight, and maybe we can hold a lead after the 6th inning.

2) Brandon Inge needs to hit his weight. He can't use catching as an excuse for trying to pull every pitch out of the park anymore. The Tigers are saying that he was trying to hit it to right too much...um, that must have been in the two games I didn't watch last year. Inge will kill us if he hits .210 for the year again. He needs to hit .260 and play his usual third base defense to earn his keep.

3) Laird needs a backup...NOT Dusty Ryan. I think Dusty's better off spending the year in Toledo learning his craft. There has to be a David Ross-type we can sign cheap to split the catching duties. Dusty's not ready for the show and shouldn't be thrown into that role.

4) We need someone to step up and have a big year. I'm looking at YOU, big guy.
Gary Sheffield Pictures, Images and Photos
Sheffield needs to play like the Gary of a couple years ago. He needs to report healthy, stay healthy, and keep his friggin' mouth shut...sadly, we'll be lucky if he can do just one of the three. If Gary's on, he can be the scariest guy in the AL up at the dish. If he's off...we finish behind the Royals in the standings again.

So, Double D, I say, good start. You've got some work to do, still. Get some pitching to go with your defense and we may have a team that's not a complete embarassment.

Who'd have thought anyone would be writing THAT about this team a year ago?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Trammell in the HOF: Part Deux

Alan Trammell Pictures, Images and Photos

As I've said here before, Alan Trammell was my favorite baseball player growing up. Even today, Tram's still in my top two behind a certain scapegoat named Higginson. A few days ago I babbled on about the Hall of Fame nominees and came to the conclusion that Tram wasn't worthy of the Hall of Fame. A lot of Tiger fans disagree, however, and who could blame them? Alan Stuart Trammell was OUR guy! He played for two decades in Detroit. He was a gentleman off the field and a superstar on it. Only Alan Trammell could have managed that 119 loss team in Detroit and not been shot for it. But Alan Trammell is not a Hall of Famer. In my opinion, to be in the Hall of Fame, you have to be so above the average ballplayer, that there is no doubt. As said by many in the media, it's not the Hall of Very Good.

So, to see how he stacks up, I decided to compare Trammell's numbers to a certain guy. This certain guy is someone that is a certain first-ballot Hall of Famer, so says the media. He is a shortstop and, like Tram, has played his entire career for the same team. He's played for parts of 14 seasons with his team, so I have compared his stats to those of Trammell's for his first 14 years. (That's good for Alan since after his 14th season, he broke down and never played more than 112 games in a season again.) This is a guy who I have always said was overrated. I think I may have also called him four-letter words many times. It's this guy...

derek jeter Pictures, Images and Photos

Yeah, him. Derek Jeter. "The Captain". In my little game of Devil's Advocate, I decided to pick the Devil himself. Don't give me any crap about the lineups he's played in, though. That was my first argument with myself (the voices in my head sometimes fight) but I don't think it holds water. Albert Pujols has had immortals such as Juan Encarnacion and Ryan Ludwick (hey, we had them!) as his protection in the lineup and he still puts up amazing numbers. Hitters hit, no matter who's around them. And Tram had protection. Lou in front, Gibby and Lance behind.

I've never been a Derek Jeter fan. I've always throught that he was overrated based on playing in New York and playing on all those loaded teams. I openly root against him. Still do. But by looking at the numbers, he's not only better than Alan Trammell...it's not even close. So again, Jeter's career numbers through 14 years against Trammell's through 14 years...

Games: Jeter: 1985, Trammell: 1835
At Bats: Jeter: 8025, Trammell: 6702

So to start off, we have durability. Other than his first season of 15 games and in 2003 when he only played in only 119 games, Derek Jeter has been very durable playing in at least 148 games every year. Tram battled injuries countless times costing him the time to put up Hall of Fame numbers. Injuries matter in this, otherwise Albert Belle is a Hall of Famer...and no one wants that.

Hits: Jeter: 2535, Trammell: 1929
HR: Jeter: 206, Trammell: 152
RBI: Jeter: 1002, Trammell: 810
AVG: Jeter: .316, Trammell: .288
OBP: Jeter: .387, Trammell: .355
OPS: Jeter: .845, Trammell: .775

Derek Jeter is a much, much better hitter than Trammell ever was. He has also walked 106 more times during the time frame comparison, stole 76 more bases, been caught stealing 21 times less, and, my gosh...have you SEEN his smile?

Trammell was a better fielder than Jeter has been and struck out an amazing 664 less times than Derek during the 14 year window. But that's about it. Jeter is identified as the leader of the Yankees and the Captain of all those great playoff teams. Trammell was a team guy, but he was never THE guy, like Jeter is.

Derek Jeter is clearly a Hall of Famer. Alan Trammell...well, he was just very good.

Excuse me, now...I feel dirty and need a shower after writing all of this.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Rumo(u)rs

rumours Pictures, Images and Photos

Ahh, Stevie Nicks. I think she's the oldest chick out there that I'd want to...

Bang-up job being done by Ian over at BYB covering all the rumors circulating leading into this year's Winter Meetings starting on Monday. Sadly, none of them involve Nate Robertson being strapped to a rocket and becoming the first active pitcher sent into outer space...but here's my take on the ones that won't go away.

Jack Wilson. Sigh. Take a drink every time you read or hear the words "Jack Wilson". You'll look like Jim Leyland in two weeks. His was hurt last year and played like crap, but in 2007, he hit ..296 with 12 HRs and 56 RBIs. He's got a great glove and isn't the piece of crap that most people seem to think he is. However, he isn't the second coming of Trammell, either, and I wouldn't want to see us give up too much for him. St. Louis didn't give up anything for Khalil, so if we can't get him cheap, I say pass on him. I mostly worry about "Renteria-itis"...the ability to forget how to hit at all once reaching the American League for the first time. Plus, those injuries scare me a bit. We just want a bridge until "The Franchise" Cale Iorg is ready...thing is, the only one that's high on Iorg is Double D. Everyone else I've read thinks the kid will never make it in the majors. But that's for another time, I guess...

Adam Everett. Everett is known for two things. He is quite possibly the best fielding shortstop in baseball. Also, he is known for being quite possibly the worst offensive player in the majors, too. His career OBP is .298 and makes Brandon Inge look like Wade Boggs at the plate. However, we didn't get much out of Renteria offensively last year unless we were playing the Indians for some reason. Most importantly, Everett comes very cheap compared to Wilson and every other scab we've been looking at. I'll take his defense and small contract over the alternatives. So sign him up, David. Save the cash for the bullpen. Or get us Jerry Hairston...yes, I'm still the only person on the planet that wants him.

Gerald Laird. I'll be honest...I don't know much about the guy. I've seen his stats and I'm not impressed. But there's little out there so again, as long as we don't give up too much, I'm cool with it. Just don't give up everyone's favorite elf dentist, Zach Minor, to get him. Zach can be an effective 5th starter for us, methinks.

Kerry Wood. Sign him. Now. And one more bullpen guy to get to him. We can't keep waiting for Rodney and Zoom to rediscover themselves. Anything those morons give us can be considered a bonus. Plus, as said elsewhere, the puns are endless. I WANT WOOD! GIVE ME WOOD! TIGERS FANS EVERYWHERE DESERVE WOOD!

Enjoy this week, kids. We may finally have something to talk about.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

2009 Hall of Fame: Sorry, Tram & Jack

It's a small group on the Hall of Fame ballot this year. 23 guys are on there...very small for a HOF ballot. Of the group, I see two guys getting in...but of the two, I only agree with one. So, for poops and giggles, I break down this year's group.

No Chance In Hell: Dan Plesac, Greg Vaughn, Ron Gant, Mo Vaughn, Jesse Orosco, Matt Williams, and Jay Bell.

Hall of Good: Dave Parker, Mark Grace, Tommy John, Harold Baines, and David Cone. Good players, but not guys we should be talking about as the best of all time.

Hall of Very Good: These guys are the borderline guys that always have their supporters, but sadly, do not belong alongside the greatest of all time.

Dale Murphy
The former Brave slugger was feared in his day and is regarded as possibly the nicest guy ever to play in the big leagues. He was a good player from '78-'89, but only had two years batting over .300 in that time. His career average was .265 and unless you manage to hit 600 home runs with that average, you don't belong in the Hall of Fame.

Mark McGwire
Case in point. Big Mac hit 583 homers with his career average of .263. His career OPS is .982 and had the magical year of 70 homers and 147 RBIs. Reggie Jackson's in with a .262 career average and 20 less home runs than McGwire. However, the cloud of steriods hangs over McGwire's head and it's going to keep him out...for now.

Lee Smith
Smith had 478 career saves playing for 9 teams in the majors. But closers don't get much love in the Hall and quite frankly, Smith doesn't deserve the love. Saves are an overrated stat, in my opinion. His career record is 71-92 with an ERA of 3.03. He only struck out 1252 in 1289.1 innings. He just wasn't dominating like Sutter, Goose, and Eckersley were.

Don Mattingly
Donnie Baseball is the Trammell of the Yankees. (I'll get to Tram in a minute.) Mattingly never made the World Series in all his years of bad teams in New York. His career fielding percentage of .996 is outstanding to go along with his .307 average, 222 HRs, and 1099 RBIs. However, injuries kept Mattingly from playing very long as he was awesome from '84-'89. From '90-'95 he was just a shell of his former self. He's a Yankee great, but not a Hall of Famer. So, sorry Don...thanks for the memories.

Tim Raines
Rock Raines is very close in my mind. If you include walks, in over 10,000 plate appearances, the man had a .385 OBP...very good. He stole over 800 bases in his career with a 84.7% stolen base rate. He had 2605 career hits finishing his career with a line of .294, 170, 980. But was Raines a dominate player deserving to get into the Hall? I don't think so. I don't think anyone ever said, "Holy hell...Raines is up." He was very good, but not great.

Andre Dawson
The Hawk amazed me as a kid growing up. I thought he was great. But for his career, his OBP was .323 with an OPS of .806. Those aren't very good. He had 2774 hits and 1591 RBIs...less than Harold Baines on both counts. He had 314 SBs, but was thrown out 26.8% of the time. His OPS+ for his career was 119...19 points over average, but nothing to get excited about. Injuries probably cost him the chance at greatness, much like Mattingly. But it's the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of What Could Have Been.

Jim Rice
Rice is one of the two that I think will get in this year. It's his last year on the ballot and he almost made it last year (72.6% when 75% is needed). For those reasons, I think they give it to him this year. But he shouldn't be there. His career numbers are good: .298, 382, 1451. But he was only good from '77-'79 and '83-'84. If we're going to let guys in for padding their career stats with a couple good years, then let's make plaques for Albert Belle, Darryl Strawberry, Eric Davis, and Doc Gooden while we're at it. Rice's career OPS was .854. That's not high enough for a guy that was supposedly the most feared hitter in the game in the 80's. So, sorry Jim Ed, I don't support your election into the Hall...even though you'll probably be there this year.

Now for the two that hurt...

Jack Morris
Jack was my favorite pitcher as a kid. He was so intimidating and wanted to win so friggin' bad. He was the winningest pitcher of the '80s and had a sweet split-fingered fastball before everyone was throwing them. But Jack's numbers don't look like Hall of Fame numbers. He won 254 games with a career ERA of 3.90. 3.90? Nate might even be able to put up an ERA of 3.90. His career ERA+ is 105...barely over league average. He allowed 389 homers in his career and had a career WHIP of 1.30. Jack had 175 CG and 28 shutouts...Bert Blyleven had 242 and 60 and he's not in. Jack, I'll never forget watching you as a kid, especially your 10 inning shutout to win the World Series for the Twins...but you're like Kirk Gibson: A very good ballplayer that will remembered for an unbelievable moment in the postseason. But not a Hall of Famer.

Alan Trammell
I can't believe I'm writing this. He was my childhood hero. I always said if it weren't for Cal Ripken, Trammell would be the God of 80's shortstops. But he's not. He hit .285, 185, 1003 for his career with an OPS of 767. He had 236 SBs, but his SB% was only 68.4%. His OBP of .352 isn't that impressive. The '87 season where he hit .343, 28, 105 is what part of what made me a baseball fan. I was outraged when he got jobbed out of the MVP to George Bell that year. But other than 1987, the man only hit over 20 homers one other time. (21 in '86) He never hit more than 15 in any other year. Tram is a sure Tigers Hall of Famer...but not in the real deal in Cooperstown.

Hall of Fame: And here's the two that I would vote for if I had a say in it...

Bert Blyleven
It amazes me that he isn't in there already. This guy played on some of the crappiest teams in baseball history and still won an amazing 287 games. His career ERA is 3.31...that would get him $15 million a year nowadays. As I said when talking about Jack, Bert had 242 CGs and 60 shutouts in his career. He's 5th on the all-time strikeout list with 3701. He had a career WHIP of 1.20 and 9 times in his career, his ERA was under 3. That's amazing. 6 years, his ERA+ was 133 or more...Morris never did that once. I don't think Bert will get in this year, but not only SHOULD he...they should apologize for screwing him over for so many years before this.

Rickey Henderson
Finally, the choice that I don't think anyone can argue seriously against. Rickey's the all time stolen base king with 1406. Rickey's second all-time in walks to Bonds with 2190. Rickey's career OBP is .401 and has more lead off homers than anyone in history. Rickey hit 297 total homers as a leadoff guy with 1115 RBIs. Rickey started every sentence he ever said with the word, "Rickey"...therefore so will I here. Rickey's the greatest leadoff hitter of all time and I say congrats on your plaque in 2009. Just go in as an Athletic...not a Yankee. I can't wait to hear the acceptance speech.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

All Is Quiet...

Tiger Yawning Pictures, Images and Photos
Yawn.

It seems like everyone (including me) is running out of things to talk about concerning the Tigers until they actually do something this offseason, but here's a couple things to check out that you may not have seen yet.

Jayson Stark gives a great overview of the Tigers heading into the offseason. First it'll depress you, then you might feel a bit better towards the end. That's always nice.

Larry Dobrow is kind of a prick when talking about the team.

Lee over at Tiger Tales discusses Pitching Runs and points out...get this...Nate Robertson finished at -37.5...the worst in the American League. Good stuff, Lee. I appreciate anything in proving my point that Nate should be shot.

Morosi is still employed at the Freep and kicks Lions fans while they're down comparing them to the 2003 Tigers.

Finally, and this one is from a couple weeks ago, DesigNate was apparently trying to find his slider at Lindbergh Elementary School. That's sweet...but I still want you released, buddy.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Tigers Christmas Poem

Christmas Tiger Pictures, Images and Photos
Thanksgiving's over and that puts us officially into the holiday season. Hooray. Since the Tigers haven't offered us any gifts yet this offseason, I give you mine. Sure, it's early, but everyone's been good this year, right?

A Visit From St. Leyland
Twas the night before Christmas,
At Comerica Park.
Not a deal had been reported,
The fans being left in the dark.

Dave Dombrowski was nestled,
All snug in his bed,
While visions of Julio Lugo,
Danced in his head.

When at the front door,
There arose such a clatter!
Dave jumped out of bed,
To see what was the matter.

Through the halls of his mansion,
He flew like a flash,
But stopped at a bookcase,
To hide Magglio's bonus cash.

Approaching the front door,
He thought he would choke.
The stench was of cheap whiskey,
And cigarette smoke.

And who when opening
The front door would appear?
It was a wasted Jim Leyland,
His face twisted in fear.

He'd been drinking all day,
His roster made him feel ill.
So to Dave's house he went,
And he was going for the kill.

"Screw Lugo, Screw Jack Wilson,
Forget Cora and Khalil!
No more Sheffields or Edgars,
This time make a GOOD deal!"

"And find me a catcher!
You traded mine for The Farns!
Dusty Ryan couldn't hit
The broad side of a barn."

"My bullpen's in shambles,
And that Willis, I do hate!
And do me a favor,
Release that worthless punk, Nate."

Jim paused at this point,
Took a swig from his flask.
He lit up a Marlboro,
His fury not able to mask.

He pointed at Dave,
And let you a yell!
"If you fire me for YOUR mess,
You'll be burning in hell!"

"When I started with this team,
They hadn't won a thing!
An embarassment on the field,
And owned by the Pizza King."

"Then you brought over Pudge,
Got Rogers and Maggs.
But the guys we have now,
Are nothing more than scumbags!"

"Sheffield is done,
Now that he has to pee in a cup.
And that idiot, Bonderman,
Still can't learn a changeup."

"Inge's batting average,
Still at the Mendoza line.
And do I have to start Ramon?
He should be riding the pine."

"Just give me something!
A Fuentes or a Furcal.
Just no more Gary Glovers,
He throws too much like a gal."

"Just help me out, Dave.
I don't care what you pay.
I mean, for crissakes...
I'm smoking four packs a day!"

"What the hell's wrong with you?"
Dave let you with a yell.
"If I liked to be losing,
We'd still have Buddy Bell!"

"I gave you winning pieces,
And this ballclub's become cursed!
I mean pick Guillen's position!
Is it left, third, or first?"

"Be harder on these guys!
And teach them to win!
Now, get off of my property,
And don't come back here again!"

Dave slammed closed the door,
And let out a sigh.
He somehow felt better,
And didn't know if to laugh or to cry.

But out on the lawn,
Leyland felt like a sap.
So he dropped down his pants,
And on the porch left a big crap.

And now finally leaving,
Final words Jim had gasped:
"Screw you Dave Dombrowski!
Thanks to you we'll still be last!"

Here's to a happy holiday season, kids. I wish you all the best. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tigers in USA Today Sports Weekly

detroit tigers Pictures, Images and Photos
This week's issue of USA Today Sports Weekly has organizational reports for the Tigers and Giants. To save you the $1.75 you'd have to drop to check it out, here's some highlights.

-We need help at shortstop, catcher, and in the bullpen. Also, the sky is blue, water is wet, and Ozzie Guillen is a nutjob. Thanks a lot, USA Today.

-Interesting note: In 2005, our highest paid player was, my lord and savior, Bobby Higginson at $8.9 million. This year, Dontrelle Willis, Carlos Guillen, Jeremy Bonderman, Gary Sheffield, Miguel Cabrera, and Magglio Ordonez all have salaries between $10 million and $18 million.

-DD on why Verlander sucked this year: "If we knew, we would have fixed it at the time. He just has to pitch better." Mr. D...I keep defending you on my crappy blog. Don't make dumb comments like this anymore. You sound like a moron.

-DD thinks part of Dontrelle's problem this year could have been the Tigers adjusting his delivery. Translation: "Chuck Hernandez is a piece of dog crap." I guess Chuck taking the rap is better than saying Willis was 25 pounds overweight all year and you should have seen him pitch before giving that extension, huh, David?

-Renteria, Guillen, and Cabrera sucked at defense last year. Yes, they pretty much point out the obvious throughout this three page spread.

-The last page is a prospect report with bits on Iorg, Worth, Porcello, Larish, Strieby, Rhymes, Fien, Kibler, Marte, and Simons. Thankfully, they didn't compare Rhymes to David Eckstein. Scariest bit on all of them? Their comment about Casey Fien: "His biggest challenge is to be consistent in keeping the ball down in the zone." Uh oh...

-Overall, I actually feel a bit better about the club than I did in my last post where I basically declared the team a sinking ship. Check it out if you've got seven quarters burning a hole in your pocket.

Other than that, have a Happy Thanksgiving. I'm pretty sure all of our $10 million men will be.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Future in Detroit

pink crystal ball Pictures, Images and Photos
With all eyes on what moves DD will make to get us competitive for the 2009 season, I'm actually more worried about what will happen AFTER the '09 campaign. The only big name in the minors is (please don't get hurt) Rick Porcello. But this team is getting old everywhere except first base and center field. Take a look.

C: Um, yeah.
1B: Miguel Cabrera (26 in April, signed through '15)
2B: Placido Polanco (33 and contract up after '09)
3B: Brandon Inge (32 in May, contract up in '10)
SS: Um...sigh.
LF: Carlos Guillen (33, broken down, signed through '11)
CF: Curtis Granderson (28 in March, signed through '12)
RF: Magglio Ordonez (35 in January, signed through '11)
DH: Gary Sheffield (40, up after '09)

The pitching is still fairly young...but is it any good? Will Verlander, Rodney, and Zumaya ever pitch like they did in 2006 again? Will Bonderman ever get over the hump? Will Nate and Dontrelle remember how to pitch better than a AA call up?

If we don't get something done in 2009, this team is in trouble. Expect guys to be dumped in Pudge-like fashion if they play like the '08 season. Do you expect Polonco to be back in 2010? I don't. Guillen? They probably wish he would retire now. Gary...well, we all know what they think there. Magglio may not be traded now, but I don't see him spending much more than another year in D-Town. How's this for your 2011 Tigers team?

C: Dusty Ryan
1B: Miguel Cabrera
2B: Scott Sizemore
3B: Jeff Larish
SS: Cale Iorg
LF: Casper Wells
CF: Curtis Granderson
RF: Matt Joyce
DH: Maggs/Carlos: whoever isn't traded/injured

Scary. Obviously, a lot can change. When we get out from under these Magglio, Nate, Dontrelle, Carlos, and Inge contracts, there will be cash to spend on free agents. Trades can be made. But will DD be around long enough to get to that point? Should he be? Will the young pitching in the minors develop enough to carry us in the coming years? Will I ever become an optimist?

The future looks bleak. I hope my crystal ball is just broken.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Being Patient With Double D

dave dombriow Pictures, Images and Photos
I met Mike Ilitch once. In 1999, I was 22 and a General Manager for Little Caesar's Pizza. (Shut up.) They had this big convention in Detroit and at one point, they had managers from all over the country wait in a big line to meet Mr. Ilitch and get a picture taken with him. I waited my turn and when it was my turn to step up, I grasped his hand in a firm handshake as he said to me, "Hi, how are you doing?" My response? "I'd be doing a lot better if you'd fire Randy Smith, sir." Mr. Ilitch let out a nervous chuckle, smiled for the picture, and sent me along without another word. I never did get that picture sent to me.

Dave Dombrowski was the man in charge in 2006 for the most enjoyable season I've ever had as a Tigers fan. I'll never forget him for that. He's the man that brought us Pudge and Magglio. He traded a convict for Placido Polanco. Double D's done a pretty good job and has had some tough times in the past year. People are all over him for bringing us Gary Sheffield's mood swings, Dontrelle Willis' wildness, and Edgar Renteria's...um, skills. But I'm willing to give DD a chance to dig us out of this hole. I've seen worse. I was a Tigers fan for the tenure of Randy Smith.

Randy Smith was the Tigers GM from late 1995 until 2001. He came to us for some reason after being a terrible GM in San Diego. The 1996-2001 MLB Drafts of Randy Smith produced 26 players that would go on to the majors in some form or another. 26 guys...out of 277 total draft choices. Of those 26, 2 still remain on the Tigers roster: Brandon Inge ('98) and Ryan Raburn ('01). He drafted Jeff Weaver in '98. Other than that, Randy Smith didn't find one decent player to contribute for the Tigers. (Jason Frasor, the reliable Blue Jays reliever, was selected by Smith in '99, but was traded later with Tom Farmer to the Dodgers for Hiram Bocachica. Good move, Randy.) Smith passed on guys like Roy Oswalt, Travis Hafner, Lance Berkman, Michael Young, CC Sabathia, Carl Crawford, Justin Morneau, Albert Pujols, Jake Peavy, and Grady Sizemore over the years. Of course, he wasn't the only GM to do so, but come on...in seven drafts you couldn't find ONE above average player?

Our records the Randy Smith years?
'96: 53-109
'97: 79-83
'98: 65-97
'99: 66-92
'00: 79-83
'01: 66-96

This, of course, bled over into the '03 season where mostly Smith's guys gave us the infamous 43-119 season. What is it with Detroit teams and their GM's?

Smith pulled off some of the oddest trades I've ever seen. He traded David Wells for Mark Lewis, CJ Nitkowski, and Dave Tuttle. He dealt Cecil Fielder to the Yankees for Ruben Sierra and Matt Drews. He traded Travis Fryman for Gabe Alverez and...Matt Drews again. We had a young Luis Gonzalez, but Gonzo was dealt (with cash) to Arizona for Karim Garcia. Phil Nevin could've been a Tiger star, but he and Matt Walbeck were sent to Anaheim for Nick Skuse. Who? He was the mastermind behind bringing Juan Gonzalez here against his will along with Gregg Zaun and Danny Patterson for Frank Catalanotto, Justin Thompson, Francisco Cordero, Gabe Kapler, Bill Haselman, and Alan Webb. And my favorite Randy Smith trades...let's just say the man has a weird love/hate thing with Brad Ausmus.

6/96: Traded John Flaherty and Chris Gomez for Brad Ausmus, Andujar Cedeno, and Russ Spear.
12/96: Traded Brad Ausmus, Jose Lima, Trevor Miller, CJ Nitkowski, and Daryle Ward for Doug Brocail, Brian Hunter, Todd Jones, and Orlando Miller
1/99: Traded Paul Bako, Brian Powell, Carlos Villalobos, Mark Persails, and Dean Crow for Brad Ausmus and CJ Nitkowski.
12/00: Traded Ausmus, Nelson Cruz, and Doug Brocail for Roger Cedeno, Chris Holt, and Mitch Meluskey.

Seriously, what was the point of all of that? Only Randy Smith knows.


The point is, everyone and their brother is getting impatient with DD already this offseason because he hasn't begun gobbling up free agents as of yet. Dave's being patient so far and I trust he'll do what he can with his budget restrictions. Yes, he has created much of the mess that he's dealing with right now, but I'm willing to chill out, be patient, and let the man do his job. We're so far above where we used to be...give the man a chance before putting him on the hot seat.

I remember Randy Smith. Double D...you are no Randy Smith. Do what you've got to do.

Oh...and if you can, let Mr. I know that I'm still waiting for that picture.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NL MVP Thoughts

pujOls Pictures, Images and Photos
Allow me to take a break from my usual pondering of which borderline AAA ballplayer the Tigers will attempt to sign to pitch the 7th inning or hit in front of Brandon Inge. I'd like to address the b.s. Skip Bayless and the 2 Live Stew guys were shoveling on ESPN First Take today. During the 1st and 10 segment of the program, all three guys were saying that Albert Pujols shouldn't have won the NL MVP award. Their choices?

Skip: Ryan Howard
Stew #1: Manny Ramirez
Stew #2: Brad Lidge

Let me begin by quickly dismissing the two Stew choices. (Sorry, I'm not that familiar with these guys.) Manny was wonderful as a Dodger, but he played in 53 games. He was a beast in those 53 games, but 53 games does not make a MVP. The Dodgers had magnificent pitching all year long and that is why they won the NL West...the worst division in baseball. Their .519 winning percentage would've had them finish 5th in the NL Central and 4th in the NL East. So, sorry, Manny. Enjoy your gazillions you will be getting in the offseason.

Stew #2's case for Lidge was that he was 41 for 41 in save opportunities and had 7 saves in the postseason. First off, the postseason doesn't count. As someone paid to offer your professional opinion, you should know this. Write for the Free Press if you don't. As for the 41 saves, that's impressive. As a Tiger fan, believe me, I would kill for a guy like that in the pen. But the save is truly the most overrated stat in baseball. You can give up a run or two and still get a save. That's not that big of a deal unless your first name is "Todd" or "Fernando". Bobby Thigpen had 57 of them one year and he was a bad pitcher.

Back to you, Skip. Most people hate Skip Bayless. He's arrogant and can be annoying, but I usually like the guy. Watching him and Steven A. Smith argue about stuff is entertaining to me because I have no life outside of watching my son break stuff. But saying that Ryan Howard deserves the MVP over Albert Pujols is like saying "Sure, we'll trade you Jurrjens for Renteria...AND we'll throw in another prospect, too!" It may have sounded good coming out of your mouth at the time, but if you actually put some thought into it, you'd realize that you are a moron. And you may have a large dimple in your chin.

Before I turn into stat dork, let me address Skip's main arguement: Howard's team made the playoffs and Pujols' team didn't. SHUT UP ON THIS CRAP! A couple posts ago, I pointed out that Luis Sojo had 4 World Series rings. Did HE win them all? No, he was on good teams in New York! Is it Albert Pujols' fault that that Cardinals' best pitcher was Kyle Lohse? In baseball, one player does not make a winning team. Ask Miguel Cabrera. Hell, four players does not make a team. Ask Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, Curtis Granderson, and Armando Galarraga. You need a great complete TEAM to make the playoffs. Ryan Howard was surrounded this year by guys like Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Pat Burrell, Cole Hamels, Mr. Lidge, and other guys that had great years. Pujols had, um...Ryan Ludwick? I watched him play for the Mud Hens a couple years ago...great move letting him go, DD. But I'm off the point...GIVE ME STATS!

Avg--AP: .357 RH: .251
HR--AP: 37 RH: 48
RBI--AP: 116 RH: 146
OPS: AP: 1.114 RH: .881
2B: AP: 44 RH: 26
BB: AP: 104 RH: 81
K: AP: 54 RH: 199!

And most important...

VORP: AP: 98.7!!! RH: 36.6

Hell, Cabrera's VORP was 42.7.

Ryan Howard, congrats. You had a great year. You hit a lot of homeruns. You had an all-star team batting in front of you and got a lot of RBIs. But you are in no way the NL most valuable player when Albert Pujols is putting up video game numbers like that.

(FUN RELATED STAT: Howard stuck out 199 times last year. Manny Ramirez had only 187 official at bats with the Dodgers.)

And Skip? Stick to picking on Lebron James for shooting too many three pointers. At least you have my support when you do that.

And finally, enjoy your MVP, Mr. Pujols. You deserved it for being the personification of awesome last year. (I still hate you and your friends for 2006, though. Bastard.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Nate vs. Dontrelle

Nate Robertson Pictures, Images and PhotosVS.dontrelle willis Pictures, Images and Photos

Yeah, it's about the supposed trade. Willis or Nate for the immortal Julio Lugo. Is it legit or just the rumblings of people needing to talk about SOMETHING when there is nothing going on? Hell if I know. But since I decided to name my little sounding board of Tiger nonsense "DesigNate Robertson", I figured I'd chime in. It's either that or do something productive with my afternoon and I just can't have that.

Let's start with Mr. Lugo. He's 33 years old and sucks at baseball. Here's some stats from the past three years.

2008 Boston: 82 gaes, .268, 1, 22, 34 steals, 6.9 VORP
2007 Boston: 147 games, .237, 8, 73, 33 steals, -1.3 VORP
2006 Tampa: 73 games, .308, 12, 27, 18 steals, 31.3 VORP
2006 Los Angeles: 49 games, .219, 0, 10, 6 steals, -10.3 VORP

Yeah, he's terrible. Can't field either. He can steal a base, but that's not that great when you struggle to GET on base. Boston overpaid for him and doesn't need him anymore. We owe a bunch of money to two pitchers who cannot seem to pitch anymore. Thus, the rumored trade. Boston likes to try and bring pitchers back from the dead. Guys like Bartolo Colon, Matt Clement, and others have gotten looks from the Sawx the past couple years. So, who are we potentially giving up?

Nate Robertson, 31 years old

2008: 7-11, 6.35 ERA, -16.8 VORP, 1.66 WHIP, 5.76 K/9
2007: 9-13, 4.76 ERA, 19.6 VORP, 1.47 WHIP, 6.03 K/9
2006: 13-13, 3.84 ERA, 42.4 VORP, 1.37 WHIP, 5.91 K/9

OR

Dontrelle Willis, 26 years old

2008: 0-2, 9.38 ERA, -9.8 VORP, 2.21 WHIP, 1.39 K/9
2007: 10-15, 5.17 ERA, 0.7 VORP, 1.60 WHIP, 6.4 K/9
2006: 12-12, 3.87 ERA, 40.5 VORP, 1.42 WHIP, 6.45 K/9

What does this tell us? Well, as recently as 2006, both of our boys were decent pitchers. 2007 saw them both start to slip, followed by 2008 where they both experienced a nightmare of a season. Nate suddenly forgot how to throw his slider and got smacked around like he was in club with a Kansas City Chief running back. Dontrelle seemed to gain the weight that Miguel Cabrera lost and had the control of Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn with a blindfold on. However, Dontrelle is only 26 years old and you'd hate to give up on a guy that young who has shown brilliance in the past.

Still, my thoughts on doing this trade depend on two things. First, is Double D going to sign a free agent starter to follow Verlander, Bondo, Galarraga? Don't make us go with Zach Minor and whoever's left after the trade. Second, and more importantly, what does new pitching coach Rick Knapp think about this? I'd really like to see Mr. First Pitch Strike get some time to work with Nate and Dontrelle before we give up on them for the likes of Julio Freakin' Lugo when we have a better shortstop than him in Ramon Santiago already on the team.

Despite this blog's title, I don't hate Nate Robertson. I hated his performance last season. He is my poster boy for the Detroit Tigers' 2008 season. Nate is active in the Detroit community, lives in the area, works with kids, and seems like a really good person. Thanks to him, the city of Detroit's bubble gum sales went up 450% in 2006. The same goes for Dontrelle. Every teammate of his that I've seen make comments about him says that Willis is an awesome guy. He works with the community, too, and took his Single A demotion better than anyone else in MLB would have last year.

So, no, I don't want to see Nate or Dontrelle traded for Julio Lugo. There, I said it. KEEP NATE ROBERTSON...unless you can unload him for someone that can at least out-hit Brandon Inge.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Will Rhymes, I'm Sorry

Jon Paul Morosi wrote this. In honor of my favorite sports website closing down, I'll break it down for you. Morosi has done the ultimate sin in sportswriting. He's comparing Tigers prospect, Will Rhymes, to David Eckstein. His words are in bold...

MESA, Ariz. -- He reminds me a little of David Eckstein.

It is a stock response, dispensed by scouts and teammates alike, when asked about Tigers prospect Will Rhymes.

So Rhymes is terrible at baseball. Is that the point of this article?

What does it mean? Well, it could be a way to declare one's admiration for Rhymes' pesky, energetic, endearing style of play. It also may be a polite way of saying, I'm not sure he's going to be a big leaguer, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he will prove me wrong.

It sounds to me like lazy, stupid scouts compare every short, white baseball player to David Eckstein. It's annoying and I can't believe the Free Press is letting you write this article AGAIN. Has any player in history, with the minimal skills of David Eckstein, ever had more sportswriters write stories singing his praises?

The comparison to Eckstein-the diminutive infielder who tormented the Tigers for the Cardinals in the 2006 World Series-can be made at first sight. Rhymes, touted as 5-feet-9 in the Tigers' media guide, admits to standing an inch or two shorter than that. He weighs 155 pounds and has the wiry strength of a college wrestler.

Tormented, huh? Eckstein started the '06 World Series 0 for 11. But congrats to him, as Tigers pitchers somehow forgot to catch and throw, and while they were trying to figure that out, he finished the Series with 8 hits. Never mind Pujols, they should have focused on Eckstein. And these two guys are small...I get it.

Eckstein, 5-7, 177, has achieved much more in baseball than many scouts predicted. Even after a disappointing 2008 season with the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks, he owns a .284 career batting average and two World Series rings.

He also has 32 HRs in 4096 career at bats. His career OPS is .712. Ramon Santiago's OPS the past two years was .712 and .870 and DD doesn't consider Santiago to be good enough to be the starter. So what do I care about this kid you're comparing to Eckstein? What did he do to you?

As for the rings, Luis Sojo has 4 of them. Lonnie Smith and Luis Polonia have 3. Rings don't mean a damn thing about Eckstein, or any player, other than he was on a couple of good teams.

Consider the numbers:

Only if you consider mine...

In four minor league seasons, primarily as a second baseman, Rhymes has hit .292 with 13 homers and 184 RBIs.

In four minor league seasons, primarily as a second baseman, Eckstein batted .294 with 17 homers and 188 RBIs.

Great. Mike Hessman looks like Babe Ruth in the minors. The majors? Not so much. Minor league stats mean jack to me.

Here's one more number to keep in mind: 26. That was Eckstein's age when he debuted with the Angels in 2001.

Rhymes will turn 26 on April 1-less than one week before the Tigers open their season in Toronto.

No crap. You know what? I hear they both have two 3's in their social security numbers! Someone tell DD to quit shopping for shortstops! We've got a future World Series MVP in the farm system, baby!

It's too early to predict whether Rhymes will make the Tigers' Opening Day roster, but he has helped his cause by batting .297 in 22 games for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League.

I don't think it's too early. If Will Rhymes is on the Tigers' Opening Day roster, I will legally change my name to David Eckstein and start a religion based on his teachings. By the way, last I heard, Jeff Larish had 27 RBIs in 26 games. Casper Wells is hitting .323. Where are their Hall of Fame inductions?

With every opposite-field single, every hang-in-there double-play turn, every sprint to first base on a routine grounder, Rhymes resembles one of the great overachievers in recent baseball history.

NO ONE in the majors runs out ground balls except for Eckstein! Opposite field singles? Why didn't Polonco ever think of that? Hang in there double play turn? What does that even mean? Eckstein can hardly throw the ball to first without a cut-off man.

"If I could be that guy, I'd be pretty happy about that," Rhymes said of Eckstein. "He's a guy I have a lot of respect for. He's a solid player all around. To be compared to him would be a honor, really."

Will, I don't know who's more full of it...you or Morosi. To be compared to Cal Ripken, that's an honor. To be compared to David Eckstein? I'd feel like someone called my mother a whore.

"I'm definately not a guy who you're going to see play one game and be impressed with. But I do the little things. Over the course of the year, you might end up saying, 'Wow, he can actually hit.'"

If I have to watch you for an entire year before deciding that I MIGHT think you can hit, I'd rather release you and trade for someone I KNOW can't hit...like Julio Lugo. At least then I'd have more free time to drink and complain about how the Tigers suck.

By the end of high school, Rhymes was primarily concerned with "using baseball to get into a good school." He chose William & Mary, became an all-conference player there and managed some hits in his encounters with an Old Dominion right-hander named Justin Verlander.

Yes, I'm sure no one in college was capable of getting a "couple of hits" off of JV other than pesky little Will. And being that everyone in the American League got at least a "couple of hits" off of JV last year, you might have been better off giving that example before last season.

After his junior year, he gained recognition by hitting .308 with a wooden bat in the Cape Cod League. Following his senior season, the Tigers selected him in the 27th round of the 2005 amateur draft.

He was selected after Joyce, Clete, Larish, and Holloman in that draft. They've all seen big league time and have proven, with the possible exception of Joyce, um...that they're not ready? They're career backups? What does that say about Rhymes?

Perhaps because of his size, Rhymes has had to prove himself at every level in the farm system. He spent most of this year at Double-A Erie, where he batted .306, before earning a call-up to Triple-A Toledo for the season's final six games.

Good call, Jon Paul. It's his friggin' size. If you're a big guy, they don't make you prove your skills. They just go, "Holy hell! Look at THIS guy! He's 6-4, 240! Promote his ass!" Of course he has to prove his skills at every level in the minors...that's why there are MULTIPLE LEVELS! Does the Freep actually pay you to write this crap?

Rhymes' fiery disposition can be evident during a rough day at the plate--"I've been known to go through a few helmets a year," he said, smiling--and he has an unyielding desire to succeed. And Rhymes thinks his size has helped his baseball career.

No one else in the Tigers minor league system wants to succeed? Of COURSE he wants to succeed! And yes, being an overgown midget has helped you. I'm sure. Idiot...

"I don't feel like it restricts me in any way," he said. "I'm not sure what I'd do better if I was bigger. I might have more power, but I feel like it might actually have the opposite effect in terms of athleticism and playing defense."

Don't worry about that, kid. Eckstein can't play defense...you don't need that in the bigs. His career fielding percentage isn't anything special at .978. He doesn't cover any ground, either. Worst in the game, actually.
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The article gets really boring after that. They talk about his twin brother and Matt Walbeck. Morosi, at the end, speculates about Rhymes splitting time with Santiago until Cale Iorg is ready. Jon Paul Morosi is a friggin' idiot.

Nothing against this Will Rhymes kid. Never seen him play. But if his skills are like David Eckstein's, I'd prefer not to. I like my Tigers ballplayers to not be bad at baseball.