Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The DNR 25: #23 Todd Jones

Full Name
Todd Barton Givin Jones


Jacksonville State University

1989, First Round (27th pick), Houston Astros

MLB Seasons

Tiger Seasons
1997-2000, 2006-2008

Career Stats
58-63, 319 SV, 3.97 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 111 ERA+

Career Leaderboard
2000 All Star
2000: 1st in saves (42)
2004: 1st in relief wins (11)
All Time: 14th in saves (319)

Best Tiger Season
Though 2000 was Jonesey’s year as an All-Star, I think ’97 was his best year as a Tiger. He only saved 31 games compared to the 42 in 2000, but his ERA was better (3.09 vs. 3.52), his WHIP was better (1.357 vs. 1.438), and his ERA+ was awesome in ’97 (148 vs. 133). Sadly, it would go overlooked as the Tigers were terrible for so long.

Little Known Fact
Although Todd is a right handed pitcher, he bats left handed. He never does anything the easy way.

Reason For Being On The List
More than any player I’ve ever watched (with the possible exception of Alan Trammell), there’s never been a guy more proud to be a Detroit Tiger. Jones actually cried in a press conference when he was traded to Minnesota in 2001 for Mark Redman. Granted, I wouldn’t want to play in the Metrodome, either, but for Todd it was upsetting because he loved Detroit and the Tiger fans so much. You don’t see that much anymore in today’s players.

And though I’ve made it clear that I think saves are overrated, Todd is the Tigers all-time leader in the category. When you mention the word “closer” to a Tiger fan, they’ll probably come up with the names of Hiller or Hernandez. But Jonesey has more saves than any of them.

He always had a great sense of humor (as you can see in the above pic imitating Magglio) and was always available to the fans. While the guy could be a roller coaster on the mound much of the time, Jones was a guy that you felt good rooting for. And he was a better pitcher than he got credit for, much of the time, too.

What Happened To Him?
Injuries and age caught up to Todd in 2008 leading him to retire before the end of the season, ushering in the brief Fernando Rodney era in Detroit. He still writes for “The Sporting News” in every issue and works as an advisor to the local high school and middle school baseball teams in Pell City, Alabama where he lives with his wife, Michelle, and their children, Alex and Abigail.

Info ripped off of baseball-reference.com and Wikipedia.
Pics via Google.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Available Free Agents

Quick post for now, my friends. I think we all can agree that the Tigers may/should still be looking for cheap options in the form of a left handed bat, as well as a right handed reliever. Here's a quick look at guys still on the free agent market that shouldn't be too expensive. (via MLB Trade Rumors)

Hank Blalock
Russell Branyan (maybe too expensive after last year?)
Jack Cust (already rumors connecting him to Detroit)
Eric Hinske
Mike Jacobs
Garret Anderson (Type B FA)
Cliff Floyd
Scott Podsednik (rumors...ugh)
Ryan Church
Jason Giambi
Jim Thome (how much can he demand anymore?)

Mike MacDougal
Danys Baez
Joaquin Benoit
DJ Carrasco
Chad Cordero
Kelvim Escobar (more Tiger connected rumors)
Bob Howry (Type B FA)
Jason Isringhausen (37 years old)
Justin Speier
Jeff Weaver (doubt it)

Any ideas from you kids? Is trade the better route?

Or do we need more lefties out of the pen? Harf, harf...be back in a couple days with #23 on the DNR 25. Hint: It's another fat guy.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tis The Season To Be Surly

I run a sports bar in Southeast Michigan. And around the holidays, people are dicks. Shopping, traffic, family…it all is too much to bear for a lot of folks. So, they take it out on us. Needless to say, my job sucks this time of year. People are jerks and it’s made me cranky. I swear, one more dumb thing and I’m going to snap…

Oh. Hello, Jamie. Didn’t see you come in.

I wasn’t’ going to do this anymore, but geez…I’ll try to be nice.

What comes below ‘F’?

Not sure. But, I’m pretty sure “U” comes after it.

The Tigers entered the off-season needing to shore up the starting rotation

Done. Max Scherzer is, at worst, at Edwin Jackson’s level. And Phil Coke appears to be set to be given a shot at joining the rotation. He had good numbers as a starter in the minors. Plus, Jeremy Bonderman should finally be coming back. We’re paying over $20 million to Nate and Dontrelle, so they have to be given a shot. I don’t see them returning any money to find another starter. And of course, Verlander is God. There's really nothing more than can be done at this point.

and the bullpen

Daniel Schlereth and Brad Thomas have been added. Schlereth is being touted as a young Billy Wagner. Thomas has been very good overseas and could be this year’s Fu-Te Ni surprise. Joel Zumaya’s also coming back again. There’s a slew of young pitching talent from the minors that’s going to be trying to make the club. Plus, they’re looking at other players as we speak including Kevin Gregg, Kelvin Escobar, and others. Don’t forget, the World Series only ended a month ago. You don’t sign every free agent the moment the champagne is uncorked. Why are we grading the offseason after only 40 or so days?

and add a dependable bat to the lower third of the lineup.

Says who? Did I miss the memo where we were going to replace Laird, Everett, and Inge with Joe Mauer, Hanley Ramirez, and A-Rod? They still have their commitment to defense with the re-signings of Everett and Santiago. Laird’s role will be reduced next year in an increased role for Alex Avila or Robinzian Diaz. That can only help his production, not being forced to catch every day. And as much as I like to crap on Mr. Brandon Inge, he was hitting the ball pretty good last year before his knees blew up. He should be healthy again by springtime. With this crew, we almost finished in first. And at the very least, they aren’t going to be worse than last year.

Instead, they’ve subtracted.

Granderson and EJax were two guys. Add in Rodney and Lyon. That makes four. Scherzer, Coke, A-Jax, and Schlereth are four by themselves. So we’re even. Add in Diaz and Thomas. Now we’ve added two. Oh…Polanco. Still up one. I’m confused…who are we talking about in your math? Does the offseason suck because Dusty Ryan was DFA’d?

Gone are the top two guys from the lineup last season.

Who struggled to get on base all year. Which is why we couldn’t score runs.

Gone is the setup man.

If you were honestly behind topping the 3 years/$15 million that Houston gave to Lyon, please begin pounding your testicles with a hammer. It makes as much sense.

Gone is the No. 2 or No. 3 starter, depending on who you ask.

Jackson pitched like a #5 starter the second half of the season. He’s also pitched like that for his entire career with the exception of the first half of last year. We got a guy in Scherzer who many people, including myself, think is going to be awesome. Seeya, Edwin. Thanks for three good months.

And unsigned is the closer who saved 97% of the games he could.

That idiot wants $30 million over three years. And his 4.40 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, and 104 ERA+ don’t justify half of that. Saves are the most overrated stat in baseball, too. Who doesn’t know this by now?

So I’m having a hard time seeing how a team that fell just short of the playoffs in 2009 is somehow magically better.

We aren’t better. But who is in the Central? The Twins have lost their security blanket of the Metrodome which always added 10 or so wins to their total every year. The White Sox keep adding guys to the team (Pierre, Rios) that couldn’t get on base consistently if you set the ball on a tee for them. The Royals are still the Royals. Cleveland is an abortion. I’d say we’re still where we were last year. I’m sorry, but Curtis Granderson is not Manny Ramirez, okay? And with Nate, Dontrelle, Bondo, and possibly Magglio’s contracts going bye-bye after 2010, I’d say we’re looking REALLY sweet for the future.

Are they financially healthier? Perhaps. And that’s what this off-season is all about.

In that case, give them an “A”. Success!

As stunned as I was by the Curtis Granderson trade a few weeks ago, I was more stunned at the vitriol that spewed from fans and (some) media. All of a sudden, if you liked Granderson as a player, you were labeled a homer and a dope who doesn’t understand baseball. It almost seemed like there was a calculated effort to discredit Granderson and his accomplishments on his way out of town. That would be so unseemly, I couldn’t imagine it happening. Could it?

Yikes. Let’s start with the fans. Not (some) fans…all fans. Really, dude? Is there ANY Tiger fan out there that was happy to see Granderson leave? I’m the most bitter person I know, and I loved Curtis. But I understand the move, as I outlined in my last post. Every Tiger fan comment I’ve seen online has gone something like this: “GRANDYZ GONE? Dumbroski should be fired! Trade drunk Cabrera instead! LOLZ!”

As for the media, with the exception of Lynn Henning, I don’t get who you’re talking about. Most posts and articles I’ve seen have been of the “sky is falling” variety. Just not to the extent of yours.

But are they better? Please.

Haha…I just imagined you saying “n-word please”. Made me laugh. It’s funny when Dave Chappelle does it…why not Jamie Samuelsen?

Maybe Max Scherzer will be an upgrade over Edwin Jackson. Maybe. But remember, at the end of the season, the Tigers were forced to throw Alfredo Figaro in a crucial game, so they’re not exactly rich in starting pitching.

These two topics have nothing to do with each other. Um, if EJax was still in the D, does that mean Figaro doesn’t pitch? But he did…I don’t understand. And we got Coke, who’s going to get a shot to start. Two starters instead of one. Silly goose…

Maybe Scott Sizemore will end up being a good second baseman. Maybe. But he’s not better than Placido Polanco right now.

A week and a half ago, you said letting Polly go was a good idea. See? Well, which one is it, Mr. Smarty Pants?

Maybe Phil Coke and Daniel Schlereth will be good additions to the bullpen. Maybe. But will they be better than Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney were last season? That’s a pretty tough standard to beat.

Maybe Jamie Samuelson will make a good argument one day. Maybe. But not in this article.

If you give Lyon what he got in Houston and give Captain Crookedhat what he wants, that is $45 million over three years. We’ve established that your math skills are goofy, but that is just insanity. And again, Rodney is terrible. If your idea of a “tough standard” is Fernando Rodney, then your standards are worse than Britney Spears’. I do miss K-Fed, though…

And maybe Austin Jackson will be better than Granderson. Maybe. But Jackson hasn’t even shown yet that he’s deserving of a spot on a big-league roster. So I’m not yet ready to elevate him past a player who hit 30 homers in 2009, even if he struggled against lefties and did all that pesky charity work that kept him away from the hitting cage.

Anyone that expects Austin Jackson to immediately step in, from his first ever at bat, and make people forget about Granderson has a severe learning disability. Comments like this are the kind of thing that are going to turn the sheep fans against the kid from the get-go.

I also like that you focused on the ONE stat of Granderson’s that hasn’t been rapidly declining over the past couple years. And as for the charity work? Is it too much to ask that for the duration of the baseball calendar that a guy you are paying millions to, I don’t know, focus on PLAYING F-ING BASEBALL? Save the charity work for the offseason. It’s cold in December…kids need the attention more then.

When you fall a game short, you owe it to your players and your fans to improve the team the following year.

The Tigers were in first all season and their attendance was down quite a bit. Less money in the bank and not much of a commitment from the fans, either. And with Magglio, Guillen, Nate, Dontrelle, Bondo, and Cabrera sucking up the cash that’s there, where are they supposed to be getting the money that it’s going to take to bring in free agents when other clubs are out there giving stupid contracts out like Lyon’s? And where is the “one game short” rulebook that you have? I have misplaced mine, it appears.

Instead, the Tigers chose to look to the future. And maybe this off-season will be deemed a huge success in 2012 or 2013. But in terms of contending in 2010, it’s a failure.

Whatever, man. Dombrowski did what he thinks is best for the team. We are going to contend in 2010. Our division is too poor for us not to…just like last year. I hate to break it to you, but the Detroit Tigers were not a very good baseball team in 2009. Wanting more of the same is just foolish. But these moves have given us a great head start on 2011, 2012, and beyond.

I understand that people are upset over losing a decent ballplayer and a wonderful guy in Curtis Granderson. I’m going to miss him, too. And it’s not going to be easy watching him hit 35 home runs in New York’s ridiculous ballpark. But Double D did the right thing here. If you have to give him an “F” for that, so be it. Your school sucks.

There. I feel better. And I wasn’t even that mean. My Christmas gift to you.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tiger Fans: Blinded By Granderson's Smile?

He was the home grown star. He was the face of the franchise. He was one of the Tigers’ “untouchable” players. But should he have been?

If I can, allow me to take off my usual court jester’s hat and play Devil’s Advocate for a moment.

I’ve spend several days reading hundreds of comments and articles from Tiger fans who are upset over the trade of Curtis Granderson to the Yankees. Although there are some in favor of the trade, most seem to be up in arms over the whole deal. Many of these folks are bloggers and newspaper writers that I like and respect. Others are just people upset that their favorite player has been traded for prospects, while the team remains loaded with dead weight. Myself, I too, was upset at first. After some time, I wondered why we didn’t get more out of the trade, like Phil Hughes, for example. And now, I’m kind of accepting the whole deal and am generally happy with it.

Why is that? Well, is it at all possible that we Tiger fans have turned Curtis Granderson into the most overrated Detroit Tiger in history? Is he really that good?

The numbers don’t lie. Odd as it seems, Grandy only played four full seasons as a Tiger. It seems much longer, the way the city took to him. After an okay rookie year in 2006, he exploded in 2007 with his famous 20/20/20/20 year. But the past two seasons since, he has done nothing but regress. Have his outside interests overtaken his on the field responsibilities? Jim Leyland brought this up during the ’09 season. Has the league just started to catch on to Granderson’s abilities and learned to pitch him better? Is he too focused on becoming a home run hitter? That number is about the only stat improving.

Maybe, just maybe, Dave Dombrowski unloaded a guy that’s declining as he approaches age 30 while he still has some value left. Take a look at these numbers.

Stat: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

VORP: 21.7, 64.7, 41.4, 25.8
OPS+: 98, 135, 123, 100
OPS: .773, .913, .858, .780
OBP: .335, .361, .365, .327
SLG: .438, .552, .494, .453
wRC: 86.3, 120, 99.3, 91.7
WARP1: 2.4, 7.0, 4.7, 2.7
Avg: .260, .302, .280, .249
Doubles: 31, 38, 26, 23
Triples: 9, 23, 13, 8
Comerica Park Avg: .249, .286, .277, .230
Comerica Park OPS: .715, .863, .854, .696
Avg vs RHP: .274, .337, .288, .275
Avg vs LHP: .218, .160, .259, .183
OPS vs RHP: .805, 1.014, .900, .897
OPS vs LHP: .671, .494, .739, .484
Strikeouts: 174, 141, 111, 141

My apologies for not knowing how to make a chart on Blogger.

In almost every case, Granderson has started to decline since 2007. He is dreadful against left-handed pitching. What is there to say that this pattern won’t continue?

Sadly, it’s not just his offense. Granderson’s Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) has gone from 13.7 in 2006, to 14.2 in 2007, to -8.9 in 2008, to 1.6 in 2009. I know we all like to think of him robbing Grady Sizemore of a walkoff homer, but that was just one play, people.

Look, I get that Curtis Granderson is a special person, especially in the world of the me-first athlete. He is a hellova guy. He is one of my favorite players of all time and will be featured later on in my DNR 25 Countdown of my favorite all-time Tigers…in the top ten, in fact. I love the guy. But he’s not Mickey Mantle. He’s not Al Kaline. He’s a good ballplayer…not a great one. Baseball-reference.com has something called “Similarity Scores” where they compare stats of players and come up with guys in baseball history that players are most similar to. You know who Granderson’s #1 Similar Batter is? Kal Daniels, an okay journeyman outfielder in the 90’s. His Similar Batter at the age of 28? Bobby Higginson, of all people. At 27 it was Reggie Sanders, and Corey Hart at 26. Decent players, but not great ones.

It seems to me that Tigers fans want nothing but good guys on their team. As long as they smile and pat sick kids on the head, it doesn’t matter that they aren’t producing at the ballpark. See Granderson, Curtis and Inge, Brandon, arguably our two most popular players last year. Really, are there two more overrated players in baseball to their fanbase just based on what nice guys they are off the field? Don’t forget, until the last week of the season, Miguel Cabrera was a role model to many. Until two weeks ago, Tiger Woods was EVERYONE’S role model. I’m not comparing Curtis to them, but I’m just saying…you can’t keep a player because people think he’s a nice guy.

Dave Dombrowski managed to get a decent left-handed pitcher in Phil Coke and the #1 or #2 position prospect in the Yankees organization in Austin Jackson for Granderson. Jackson has succeeded at every level that he’s played in at his young age. He’s farther along that Grandy was at the same age, from what I’ve read. Is he going to be the next Rickey Henderson? Doubt it. Is he going to be the next Brian Hunter? Hope not. We don’t know. We won’t know for a few years. But Dave Dombrowski rolled the dice while he had the chance.

Again, the stats show that Granderson has done nothing but decline the past couple years. He makes only $5.5 million in 2010. That jumps to $8.25 million in ’11, $10 million in ’12, and an option for $13 million in ’13 (with a $2 million buyout option). If trends continue, what would Granderson’s trade value be down the road when the salary jumps? I’m thinking it could possibly be where guys like Ordonez, Guillen, and Robertson are today. Meanwhile, the opportunity was there now to get a possible blue chipper in Jackson. It is a chance that Double D felt he had to take.

For Curtis Granderson’s sake, I hope the trends don’t continue. I hope he succeeds in New York. I’m not going to quit rooting for the man just because he’s wearing a different shirt, nor do I expect other Tiger fans to. More importantly, I hope that Tiger fans are patient and give Austin Jackson a chance to develop into something special of his own. This trade wasn't his idea.

But one thing I do agree with my fellow bloggers and Tiger fans on is this. Dave Dombrowski had better be right about all of this. If I’m wrong about Granderson’s decline and Jackson’s potential…big deal. But if Dave is wrong, he is probably going to be out of a job.

In the meantime, put the torches and pitchforks away, people. Quit comparing this to Smoltz for Alexander or Jurrjens for Renteria. If we’re lucky, maybe this time we’re the ones that are getting a rising star for a fading one.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The DNR 25: #24 Dmitri Young

Full Name
Dmitri Dell Young


None (Rio Mesa High School), Oxnard, CA

1991, 1st Round, St. Louis Cardinals

MLB Seasons

Tiger Seasons

Career Stats
.292, 171 HR, 683 RBI, .351 OBP, .475 SLG, 114 OPS+

Career Leaderboard
2003 & 2007 All Star
1998: 2nd in doubles (48)

Best Tiger Season
2003 was, without question, DY’s best season as a Tiger. He put up a 144 OPS+ that year, hitting .297, 29, 85, with a .909 OPS in 155 games. He was the Tigers lone All-Star in ’03 but never made it into the game because, as you know, only Red Sox and Yankees players are guaranteed to get into the All-Star Game. On May 6, 2003 (my birthday), Young went 5-5 with two homers, two triples, and a single. His second triple came in his last at bat in the game. When asked after the game why he didn’t stop at second to have the cycle to his credit, Dmitri responded that the outcome of the game was still in doubt and that the personal accomplishment had to take a back seat to the team. Awesome.

Little Known Fact
Dmitri’s father, Larry, was one of the Navy’s first African-American F-14 fighter pilots and is currently a pilot for Delta Airlines.

Reason For Being On The List
Dmitri was, plain and simple, a fun player to watch play the game. He was a big, lumbering dude when he played in Detroit at 6’2 and nearly 300 pounds. But you had to cheer when the big man would stroke one into the gap, take off running, flip off his helmet, and rumble into a base. Add in his cool flame tattoos on his arms that he’d show off when he hit a homer and Dmitri was just a guy that brought a smile to your face.

He was also a player that I saw spending a lot of time laughing with fans before games and signing autographs. Before Dmitri’s personal problems became public, he was awesome when it came to the fans, from what I saw at Comerica. He was also very popular with his teammates and was often seen being a cheerleader in the dugout for other guys.

People turned on him in 2006 when his life was crumbling at home. He missed a lot of time and struggled early in the season. I was there for his return on July 21st, and cheered him on while thousands of others booed, including my friend that went with me. I get so annoyed at Tiger fans when they turn on the players they used to cheer. At least I’m consistent with my dislike of the Nates, Cletes, and Rodneys of the world.

He was hitting under .200 upon his return. Dmitri came through, though, with two hits and a couple RBI’s that had everyone cheering for him again by the end of the game. When my buddy started cheering him again after the second hit, I slapped him in the face and called him a horrible name that I don’t recall.

Plus, DY had a cool afro. Let’s see Clete Thomas grow one of those.

What Happened To Him?
In 2006, Dmitri went through a divorce, was treated for alcohol and substance abuse, and depression. He also faced an assault charge against a young woman in Birmingham, MI. He was released on September 6, 2006 towards the end of the Tigers’ miracle season in a move that I hated. The day after Thanksgiving, he was rushed to the hospital where it was discovered that he had diabetes.

In 2007, Dmitri signed with the Washington Nationals. He would end up as the Nats’ only representative at the All-Star Game, hitting .340 in the first half. He would get into that game and single in his only at bat. (No Yanks or Sawx to worry about in the NL) At the end of the year, he received the Player’s Choice National League Comeback Player of the Year award.

In 2008, Dmitri lost his starting job back to Nick Johnson of the Nationals. His diabetes would start acting up and take him out for the season on September 17th. Then, in May 2009, he lost his mother to cancer after over a three month battle. He is currently a free agent and may be trying to come back once again, though it is doubtful due to his age and history of health problems.

Info ripped off of baseball-reference.com and Wikipedia.
Pics via Google.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The New Cats

A quick look at the guys we've apparently received for Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson.

Max Scherzer

Scherzer is a guy that if he stays healthy, is going to form quite the "Big Three" with JV and Kid Rick. Here is a quick look at his 2009 season in Arizona.

8-11, 4.12 ERA, 30 GS, 170.1 IP, 63 walks, 174 K's, 1.34 WHIP, .253 BAA.

In 17 of his 30 starts, he struck out at least 6 batters. We know that Double D digs the strikeout. Lefties hit .265 with 11 homers off of Max. Righties hit .239 with 9 homers.

The coolest thing about "Mad Max"? He has heterochromia. That means that his right eye is blue and his left one is brown. See?


Daniel Schlereth

Schlereth is the son of ex-Denver Broncos lineman and current ESPN talking head, Mark Schlereth. I'll try not to hold that against him. He played a bit last year in the pros, too.

1-4, 5.89 ERA, 21 games, 18.1 IP, 15 walks, 22 K's, 1.64 WHIP, .221 BAA.

He's another power arm from the left side and has been compared to Billy Wagner in a couple posts I've seen. Oddly enough, in a small sample size, lefties hit "Stink Junior" better than righties, .222 with 1 homer to .220 with 0 homers.

Sadly, unlike Scherzer, he isn't deformed in any way, unless you count his uncanny resemblance to his father.

Phil Coke

"Cokehead" (I'm so original) comes from the Yankees and is another lefty releiver. Goodbye, Bobby Seay? Last year, Coke was a big part of the New York bullpen.

4-3, 4.50 ERA, 72 games, 60 IP, 20 walks, 49 K's, 1.07 WHIP, .209 BAA.

Coke had a .081 WHIP against lefties that ballooned to 1.46 against righties. He's being viewed as a "throw in" type player in the deal, but could be a decent situational guy late in games.

Austin Jackson

This kid is the key. If he develops into a solid outfielder, the deal is a win. If he turns out to be Brian Hunter, Dave Dombrowski is going to be remembered in a Randy Smith type way for letting a guy like Curtis Granderson leave Detroit. Jackson spent last year in AAA for the Yankees.

.300, 4, 65, .354 OBP, .405 SLG

"Action" Jackson (original!) had 23 doubles and 9 triples in '09. He also stole 24 bases and was only caught 4 times. He has speed, obviously. But 40 walks and and alarming 123 strikeouts have me worried about his lead off ability. But we're used to a lead off guy that strikes out, I guess. Will he be ready to take over the huge center field of Comerica Park in 2010? I'm worried that they're going to feel the need to rush the kid. We'll see, I guess.

Not a bad haul for a guy we got for Matt Joyce and a, let's face it, guy that should only start against righties. Too bad Grandy was such a great guy. I'm just upset that I have to root for a Yankee from now on.

Just imagine the welcome Curtis is going to get in his first game in pinstripes at Comerica Park. I'll bet it dwarfs the ovation that Pudge received his first game back.

The Trade

Initial Reaction?

After a couple hours?

Not bad, I guess. Not sure what Arizona's thinking here. They got hosed. I'd feel better if Phil Hughes was somehow included...that or we unloaded Nate or Dontrelle somehow.

Lots of righties in the batting order now. Lots of lefties in the bullpen. I'm sure DD has more moves on the horizon.

Thanks for everything, Curtis Granderson. Enjoy becoming a star in New York.

Austin Jackson...you'd better be good.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Your Tigers Holiday Shopping Guide

Hey, kids. Do you have trouble trying to come up with the perfect gift for friends and family during the holidays? I know I usually do. So, this year, your good pal and Party Host has done the research for you to find that special present for the difficult Tiger fan on your list. Here's 15 items that I've tracked down on the glorious internet and who you can buy them for. Thank me later...

1. Your White Trash Uncle

$9.99 from amazon.com. Just try and tell me that your dad's classy brother that you don't like to talk about won't look his best when he's gittin' 'er done at NASCAR races and Steeler games in this beauty.

2. Your White Trash Aunt

$13.99 from amazon.com. And if you buy for him, you have to buy for his 80's hair having wife, too! She'll be the belle of the trailer park ball in this bad boy.

3. Your Niece That Cuts Herself

$9.99 from detroitathletic.com. If she's going to wallow in dispair and watch "New Moon" over and over at the theater, let her go in style with this piece of headwear that never fails to bring painful memories back of Tiger pitchers incapable of making simple Little League plays in the 2006 World Series. But will she be Team Zumaya or Team Verlander?

4. Your Visiting Friends From Chicago

$4.99 from detroitathletic.com. Idea submitted by Miguel Cabrera. Harf, harf, Cabrera jokes...I could write for the Freep.

5. Your Drug Dealer

$25.97 at shop.mlb.com. Does your drug dealer wear ugly hats? All of mine do! And this was the ugliest hat I could find online.

6. Fat Person

$63.50 for the 3X size (which is the most probable size for anyone that would like this) at detroitathletic.com. Only fat people and Samoans wear Hawaiian shirts. And all Samoans are fat. It's a scientific fact.

7. Your Mistress

$7.99 at amazon.com. I suppose you could buy your wife this thong, but where's the fun in that? Right, Tiger? Oh, I forgot. Only small ones are left in stock. That most likely leaves her out if she's an Inge fan.

8. Loser

$44.99 at amazon.com Every family has a pathetic loser in it. Get this Bobby Higginson street sign for him to go over his stupid Higgy bobbleheads that he still stares at every day. Wait a minute...

Never mind. Moving along...

9. The Dog

$29.99 at detroitathletic.com. For the record, I think anyone that dresses their dogs up in clothing should immediately be drowned in the closest river, but I've been wrong before. I am the guy that thought Josh Anderson was going to become the next Rickey Henderson as a Tiger in '09.

10. Grandma

$18.99 at amazon.com. Only Grandma would like this creepy Tigers garden gnome. Then again, Grandma always appreciated whatever ugly pictures you drew for her as a child, too. Nice lady, that Grandma.

11. The Underachiever Of Your Family/Group of Friends

$99.99 at detroitathletic.com. If Clete's .240/.324/.385 line does it for you, you may BE the underachiever of your family or group of friends!

12. Person You Hate

$9.99 at amazon.com. Get stuck with someone you don't like in your gift exchange at work? Buy this for them...just to see the look on their face! Please take a picture, too, and send it to me.

13. Your Douchebag Cousin

$15.95 at amazon.com. Ever see anyone in a visor that WASN'T a douchebag? Didn't think so.

14. Redneck Neighbor

$16.99 at amazon.com. Rednecks love belt buckles. Good luck getting him to replace his Jim Beam one with this, though.

15. Your Ex

$209.99 at shop.mlb.com. Please, baby! Come back! I promise I won't take you for granted again! Please!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The DNR 25: #25 Jamie Walker

Full Name
James Ross Walker


Austin Peay State University

1992, 10th round, Houston Astros

MLB Seasons
1997-98, 2002-2009

Tiger Seasons

Career Stats
19-21, 4.13 ERA, 12 SV, 442.0 IP, 1.296 WHIP, 108 ERA+

Career Leaderboard
2003: 2nd in games pitched (78)
2007: 1st in games pitched (81)

Best Tiger Season
Jamie “The Cat” Walker was great for us all five seasons he spent in Detroit. But if you have to pick one, 2006 was his best. It was also his lightest workload as a Tiger. He appeared in 56 games, had a 2.81 ERA, and and amazing ERA+ of 162. He was one of many guys that happened to have an outstanding season for us in ’06.

Little Known Fact
In 1997, Jamie was traded with Jermaine Dye by the Atlanta Braves to the Kansas City Royals for Keith Lockhart and Michael Tucker. Atlanta must only make good trades for them with Detroit.

Reason For Being On The List
Well, other than being such a consistent force for us out of the pen, I’ll always be a fan of Jamie’s after meeting him at the 2004 TigerFest at the Joe Louis Arena. 2004, as you know, was two years before most Tiger fans realized baseball was played in Detroit. And this particular TigerFest was about a week before the signing of Ivan Rodriguez became finalized.

I’m not sure how TigerFest is set up now since it has been moved to Comerica and is attended by too many people for me to be interested in dealing with nowadays, but back then, they had you wait in line for autographs without knowing who was going to be at the end and signing. They switched out the players every half hour or hour. Since waiting in line is boring, my friends and I each bought these big 32oz (I think) beers for the wait. We finally get up front and there’s Jamie Walker.

Now all of the Tigers had been pleasant enough throughout the day, but most were pretty quiet and tried to keep the line moving. There was one guy who seemed to be brain damaged or something. (His name rhymes with Leremy Stonderman.) But Walker was different than the other guys...to us, at least.

He smiled, signed, and looked up and noticed the beers in our hands. In his Tennessee accent he said, “Damn! Those beers look pretty good! How much y’all play for those things?” I chuckled and told him eight bucks. “Eight bucks? Holy sheepsh-t! That’s insane!” I laughed and said something about the Tigers needing the money if the Pudge rumors were true. He shook his head a bit, mumbled a "guess so...man", shook my hand, and that was it. Funny as hell at the time.

After that, Jamie Walker was always a favorite of mine. And my friends and I, to this day, still refer to him as “Sheepsh-t”.

What Happened To Him?
Walker cashed in on his success with the Tigers in 2007, leaving for Baltimore. He more than doubled his previous high salary by making $3 million the first year and $4.5 million in ’08 and ’09. While he pitched very well for the Orioles in ’07, the next two years were a nightmare for Walker before finally being released on June 5, 2009. No one else took a chance on him and his career may about be over at the age of 38.

Walker is married to his wife, Natalie, and has four children, Ross, James, Harlee, and Hannah. They live in Kansas.

Info ripped off of baseball-reference.com and Wikipedia.
Pics via Google.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The DNR 25: Missed The Cut

Later this week, assuming I sober up at some point, I'll start my countdown of favorite 25 players that I've seen play for the Tigers. But first, I just wanted to throw out the names of ten guys that just missed out on the full profile treatment. They remain favorites of mine, just not in the top 25.

They are:

35. Mike Heath, C
34. Bill Madlock, 3B
33. Mike Maroth, SP
32. Justin Thompson, SP
31. Dean Palmer, 3B
30. Carlos Guillen, Disabled List
29. Tony Clark, 1B
28. Timo Perez, OF
27. Dan Gladden, OF
26. Matt Anderson, RP

And on the other side of the coin, a group of guys that you will not find in any Tiger favorite list of mine...

-Paul Gibson, RP
-Kyle Farnsworth, RP
-Edgar Renteria, SS
-Gary Glover, RP
-Eric Munson, 3B
-Jason Grilli, RP
-Fernando Rodney, RP
-Clete Thomas, OF
-Nate Robertson, SP
-Juan Gonzalez, OF

Seeya in a couple days...