So, I'm back from South Carolina. What a wonderful place. People are nice. There's so much to do. The weather was wonderful. The bars are amazing. Restaurants were cool...you get it. And now I'm back to cold, rain, and gloom. Poor me. But it was perfect for a few days.
So, here's a crappy transition...in a perfect world, what could we hope to get out of the bullpen this year? (Told ya it was crappy.) Last year's mess of Lopez, Rodney, Jones, Fossum...basically everyone but Bobby Seay, was a nightmare. This year, we've added Brandon Lyon to (maybe) be the closer. Rodney's in a contract year. Zoom's getting healthier by the day. Seay is back. Dolsi has a year under his belt. Things are looking up (if you don't count Nate, Dontrelle, etc, sigh).
But imagine this. Imagine if we could find some guys dirt cheap to fill out the pen. Guys that could be dominating. Guys that could put up numbers like this.
20-13, 2.66 ERA, 255 K's, 233.1 IP
20-19, 2.89 ERA, 327 K's, 280 IP
Well, I'm sure you know where I'm going with this. Those numbers are Juan Rincon's from 2004-2006 and Scott Williamson's from 1999-2002. Sure, since then, they've either stopped taking steroids and/or been hurt, but giving these guys a shot for minor league deals seems like it's worth the chance to me. Rincon's only 30 and Williamson turns 33 next week, so it's not like they're old, washed up guys. Well, not old, anyway.
And if they are, help is on the way. We may not have much in the minor league cupboard in terms of position players, but there's a decent group of pitching talent that could be the next Bobby Jenks, Joba Chamberlain, or Joel Zumaya to make an impact out of nowhere. Ryan Perry, I'm looking at you and your friends.
Being generally the most negative person that I know, it seems odd to me that I'm so optomistic about the 2009 season. The rest of the Tigers' blogosphere seems to still be pretty down on the team after last year...and rightfully so, I guess. Expectations are very low. But I'm thinking that they can't possibly repeat the dreadful performances of 2008. They've made more improvements than any other team in the Central this offseason, especially on defense. And with the core of Granderson, Ordonez, Polanco, Cabrera, Verlander, Bonderman, and yes, the return of a finally healthy Gary Sheffield, I think we are the favorites in our division. Screw the Twins, Tribe, and Sox. I'm not impressed.
Maybe it was getting a whiff of baseball weather in Charleston, but I'm excited about baseball again. Which is cool, since after starting 0-7 last year, my excitement level has been pretty low. 25 years after 35-5, Bless You Boys, and the World Championship, it'd be cool to do it again...
...in a perfect world, I guess.