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.


Big Al said...

Good stuff, as always, Rogo. And I feel your pain. As someone who long ago worked as a store manager in retail for far longer than I'd care to admit, "around the holidays, people are dicks" hits too close to home. Bad memories, man. Bad Memories...

Anonymous said...

Well Written and Hilarious but true!
As usual I might add.

I feel like a broken record but $45MM over 3 years would kill the Tigers and make no sense. By 2011 at least two of the following will be MLB ready and playing for league minimum. Satterwhite,Weinhardt,Oliver and Schlereth with Perry likely much improved as well.

The sky is falling, everyone is mad and abandoning "our" team. The tune will change in March and they will be pleasantly suprised just how much these new kids can play.

2011 will be our year!


Big Al said...

Good stuff, as always, Rogo. And I feel your pain. As someone who long ago worked as a store manager in retail for far longer than I'd care to admit, "around the holidays, people are dicks" hits too close to home. Bad memories, man. Bad Memories...