Friday, July 31, 2009

Deadline Deals

Acquiring Jarrod Washburn is the only move the Tigers made before the 4pm deadline today. He's 8-6 with a 2.64 ERA this year in Seattle after going 23-43 his first three seasons with the M's. Washburn is 106-106 for his career with the Angels and Mariners. Both sides are claiming victory in this deal with the majority of experts I've seen saying it's a great deal for Detroit.

I'm happy, I guess. We gave up "The Tickler" Luke French and A-ball pitcher Mauricio Robles for him...not exactly our best prospects. Earlier reports had the Tigers talking to Seattle about Felix Hernandez, but those talks fell through quickly.

The sad news for Tiger fans is the fact that Carlos Guillen, returning from injury, remains the only offensive addition the Tigers will have to the lineup. Luke Scott, Aubrey Huff, Josh Willingham, and Adam Dunn were names being thrown around, but apparently asking prices were too high for Double D. I'm amazed that nothing could be done to help the lineup, but I have faith in Dombrowski, more often than not to get a deal done if there is one.

Elsewhere around the AL Central...

The White Sox, after being VERY quiet (for them), finally got Jake Peavy from the Padres in exchange for promising lefty Clayton Richard, lefty Aaron Poreda, and righties Dexter Carter of A-ball and Adam Russell of AAA-ball. Richard was 4-3 with a 4.65 ERA this year including 8 innings of 1 run ball against Detroit on 7/26. Poreda is 6'5, 240 and was the Sox's #1 prospect last year (#3 this year). The important part of this, as it relates to the Central race, is that Peavy is hurt. He's been on the DL since 6/9 and no one knows when he'll be healthy again. Does Kenny Williams know something that the rest of us do not? Before the injury, Peavy was an un-Peavy-like 6-6 with a 3.97 ERA.

The Twins got crappy shortstop Orlando Cabrera (and cash) from the A's for their second round pick last year, shortstop Tyler Ladendorf, a Billy Beane favorite, it seems. Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Joe Nathan, and other Twins veterans were making noise about the team not making any moves and this seems like a weak one, in my opinion, just to say they did something. Cabrera's OBP of .318 this season isn't much of an improvement over anything the Twins didn't already have.

The Indians traded their entire team away in hopes of recreating the Sizemore/Phillips/Lee for Fatty Colon deal of 2002. Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, Ryan Garko, and Ben Francisco have all moved on in exchange for a boatload of prospects. How this pans out for the Racist Logos in the future remains to be seen, but they sure helped to load up the Red Sox and Phillies as playoff favorites.

The only other item I'll mention was the Tigers unloading DNR personal favorite, Josh Anderson, to the Royals for cash. Josh didn't hit much lately, but I think they gave up on him a bit soon. He had some dumb moments, but with his speed and better defense than he gets credit for, I think Josh is going to be a good player. Good luck in Kansas City, Neo. You may still be "The One". Just stay away from Farnsworth. That guy's a dick.

My baseball plans for the next few days just got much more interesting. I have tickets for Tuesday's game at the CoPa against Baltimore. It's been announced that that game will be Washburn's Tiger debut. Make it a good one, Jarrod. And even MORE exciting, I'll be at tomorrow's Tigers/Tribe game in Cleveland where it is VICTOR MARTINEZ BOBBLEHEAD DAY! Look for me on television being pummeled by angry Indians fans for taunting them with their ex-all star catcher's toy.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Always A Tiger, Trade Deadline Edition

We had better make some sort of move before I kill someone.

I'm hitting this a couple days early since I'll be traveling to Cleveland for Saturday's game, as well as catching Tuesday night's game at the CoPa against Baltimore. It would be nice to see Adam Dunn in the outfield instead of 'ol Clete, but we'll see.

Stats are through July 29th. New additions to this month's report are Virgil Vasquez, Shane Loux, and "Big Red" Chris Shelton. Also, Juan Rincon caught on with Colorado since last time. Welcome back to the majors, guys. Remember, this is a list of any former Tigers that have played in the big leagues this season...at least the ones that I remember.

SP-Jair Jurrjens, Atl, 9-7, 2.69, 134 IP, 93 K's
SP-Andrew Miller, Fla, 3-5, 4.81, 76.2, 55
SP-Brian Moehler, Hou, 7-6, 5.16, 90.2, 58
SP-Jeff Weaver, LAD, 5-4, 3.83, 54, 40
SP-Shane Loux, LAA, 2-3, 5.40, 45, 15
SP-Virgil Vasquez, Pit, 1-5, 6.21, 29, 19

It's been said a thousand times now...but how cool would it be if Jurrjens was still in our rotation? F'n Renteria...damn you, Double D.

RP-Francisco Cordero, Cin, 2-1, 23 sv, 1.83, 39.1, 32
RP-Jamie Walker, Bal, 0-0, 5.11, 12.1, 9 (released by Bal)
RP-Kyle Farnsworth, KC, 1-4, 4.24, 23.1, 25
RP-Troy Percival, TB, 0-1, 6 sv, 6.35, 11.1, 7 (put on DL on 5/22; expected to retire)
RP-Jason Grilli, Tex, 1-2, 3.84, 35.2, 33 (1.10 ERA in 15 IP since joining Texas, the prick)
RP-Doug Brocail, Hou, 1-0, 6.75, 6.2, 4
RP-Casey Fossum, NYM, 0-0, 2.25, 4, 3, (now in Cubs system)
RP-Chad Durbin, Phi, 1-2, 4.64, 48.2, 47
RP-Trevor Miller, StL, 2-0, 2.03, 26.2, 31
RP-Wil Ledezma, Was, 0-0, 9.53, 5.2, 8 (may have been released 7/4?)
RP-Roman Colon, KC, 1-1, 4.88, 24, 15
RP-Tim Byrdak, Hou, 1-1, 3.48, 33.2, 30
RP-Eulogio De La Cruz, SD, 0-0, 5.40, 3.1, 2 (in minors now)
RP-Juan Rincon, Col, 2-2, 7.30, 12.1, 13

Not much to say here other than I hope Jamie Walker catches on somewhere, and I hope Jason Grilli gets herpes.

C-Ivan Rodriguez, Hou, .251, 8, 33, .282 OBP
C-Brad Ausmus, LAD, .305, 1, 7, .369
C-Mike Rivera, Mil, .218, 0, 2, .302
1B-Carlos Pena, TB, .215, 25, 64, .346
1B-Tony Clark, Ari, .182, 4, 11, .295
1B-Chris Shelton, Sea, .273, 0, 4, .333
2B-Omar Infante, Atl, .349, 1, 11, .389 (on DL)
2B-Jason Smith, Hou, .000, 0, 1, .000
3B-Jack Hannahan, Sea, .209, 3, 18, .313 (2/3 homers are against us)
SS-John McDonald, Tor, .297, 1, 2, .297
SS-Edgar Renteria, SF, .252, 2, 39, .308
OF-Gabe Kapler, TB, .246, 4, 23, .329
OF-Matt Joyce, TB, .188, 3, 7, .270 (back in minors, thanks Tampa)
OF-Cody Ross, Fla, .262, 14, 53, .325
OF-Cameron Maybin, Fla, .202, 1, 3, .280 (back in minors, thanks Florida)
OF-Matt Stairs, Phi, .243, 4, 13, .398 (nice OBP, Matt!)
OF-Andres Torres, SD, .241, 2, 13, .333
OF-Craig Monroe, Pit, .215, 3, 16, .287 (released on 7/1. Monroe's VORP is -1.8, the same as Magglio Ordonez's this year.)
OF-Frank Catalanotto, Mil, .276, 1, 6, .323
OF-Gary Sheffield, .286, 10, 36, .388 (put on DL on 7/18)

Maybe we can put together a trade and get Sheffield. That would rule. Seeya at the ballpark this week, kids.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Former Tigers Not Giving Up On Baseball

If you stop by here from time to time, you know that I usually keep up on former Tigers playing elsewhere in the majors. The whole "always a Tiger" thing, you know? Well, I did some looking around and couldn't believe the amount of former Tigers that are still playing ball, whether it be in Japan, Korea, Mexico, Independent Leagues, or in the minors with other teams. Plus, there's plenty that are still free agents looking for a job somewhere. These guys keep playing for the love of the game, and I can respect that. Either that, or they just don't want to sell insurance. See how many you remember.

PITCHERS

Seth Greisinger
Plays with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan. Led the league in wins last year with 17.

Gary Knotts
Free agent. Last played in the Baltimore organization last year.

Jose Lima
Pitches for the Long Beach Armada of the Golden Baseball League.

Sean Douglass
Another Japan guy. Played from '06-'07 with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. Signed in '08 with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. Better than playing with the Spitters, from what I hear.

Dan Miceli
Plays for the Long Island Ducks in independent ball.

Freddy Garcia
In the White Sox minor league system after the Mets released him on 4/28 after he got bombed in two minor league starts.

John Ennis
After pitching for the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Independent League, the Phillies signed John to a minor league deal. In his first appearance, Ennis hurt himself requiring Tommy John surgery. He'll miss the rest of the season.

Roberto Novoa
Free agent. Last played in '08 with the Giants organization.

Mike Maroth
What Tigers fan doesn't have a soft spot for Maroth? Mike's a free agent after Toronto released him in March '09.

Aquilino Lopez
Plays for the Kia Tigers in the Korean Baseball Organization.

Matt Ginter
In the Brewers minor league system.

Jose Capellan
In the Astros minor league system.

Dave Borkowski
Free agent. Was in the Phillies minor league system earlier this year.

Gary Glover
This one's interesting. Glover signed a minor league deal with the Nationals in January '09. He was released on 5/9. He signed a minor league deal later that month with the Marlins. He lasted less than a month and on 6/21 signed to play for the SK Wyverns in South Korea. I'd feel bad for the guy if he didn't suck so much in Detroit. Or was that Gary Knotts?

Steve Colyer
Free agent.

Andy Van Hekken
Wikipedia says he's in the Astros minor league system. Who knew? I thought he was dead.

Jason Johnson
Our ex-"ace" is in the Yankees minor league system.

Mark Redman
DFA'd by Colorado on 7/18/08. A free agent.

Jordan Tata
Released by the Tigers in April, Tata signed with the Grand Prairie AirHogs 15 days later. The mighty AirHogs had seen enough by 7/1 and released him, too. Yikes. If you can't make it with the Grand Prairie AirHogs, you can't make it anywhere.

Esteban Yan
The big guy's pitching with the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League.

Colby Lewis
Member of the Hiroshima Toya Carp in Japan.

Jamie Walker
Free agent. Was released by Baltimore a few weeks ago. Jamie remains the nicest Tiger I've ever actually spoken to. I wish him luck.

Francis Beltran
Released by the Giants in April '09. A free agent.

Casey Fossum
Stick with me. Started this year and played a bit for the Mets. Was DFA'd. Went to the Yankees. Played in their minor league system from 5/2-6/24. Opted out of that deal. Signed a minor league deal with the Cubs on 7/3. Still sucks no matter where he pitches.

POSITION PLAYERS

Craig Monroe
Released by Pittsburgh on 7/1. Free agent. Seriously...WTF happened to Craig?

Jacque Jones
Cut by Cincinnati on 3/30, Jones is playing for the Newark Bears in independent ball.

Nook Logan
Played in '08 for the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League. Reportedly blames the Mitchell Report for him being unable to sign with a MLB team. And here I was thinking it was because the guy couldn't hit.

Chris Gomez
Free agent released by Baltimore on 4/1.

Hiram Bocachica
Plays for the Saitama Seibo Lions in Japan.

Timo Perez
My boy! Timo's still in Mexico with Rojos del Aguila.

Eric Munson
In the Oakland minor league system.

Damian Jackson
Plays for the Orange County Flyers of the Golden Baseball League.

Luis Gonzalez
Free agent. Played (a lot) for the Marlins last year.

Jose Macias
Played last year for Diablos Rojos del Mexico.

Raul Casanova
Another guy in Mexico. Raul plays for Broncos de Reynosa.

Robert Fick
Currently a free agent. Played for Italy in the WBC.

Damian Easley
Free agent. Played for the Mets last year. Not sure if he's STILL on the Tigers payroll, though.

Ahh...memories. See you in a few days with the August "Always A Tiger" report.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mini-Review: Tigers Confidential

So, Tigers first base coach, Andy Van Slyke, along with Oakland Press columnist, Jim Hawkins, wrote Tigers Confidential: The Untold Inside Story of the 2008 Season. I saw it at a bookstore the other day and dropped twenty bucks to see what 'ol Andy had to say about last year's disappointing season. I don't want to spoil things if you're interested in reading it, but here's my quick review.

It's all here. All the ups (there were a couple) and all of the downs (there were dozens) of last year's season are covered here. It starts with the Cabrera/Willis deal and runs through the entire '08 campaign. It's done diary style, cutting between Hawkins' news-like reporting of the events and then to Van Slyke's point of view. There's nothing ground breaking here and nothing too controversial, but there are many interesting things throughout the book.

You get Van Slyke's opinons on Pudge Rodriguez the player and his thoughts on the Farnsworth trade. You get many stories from Andy's playing days including his fistfight with Barry Bonds. There's several amusing stories, my favorite being one of a naked, soaking wet Brandon Inge jumping into the arms of a fully in uniform Miguel Cabrera (read the book). Hawkins gives multiple amusing, profanity laced comments from Jim Leyland after tough losses. And you get to go through the coaches' confusion of why the team that was supposed to score a thousand runs and win a hundred games was so terrible.

Carlos Guillen writes the Afterword and surprisingly comes out and blames the pitching on last year's team failure. Ryan Braun wasn't as blunt as Carlos is here.

Bad things about the book? It's pretty short, for one. Second, Andy knows where his bread is buttered and doesn't ever seem to disagree with Jim Leyland. The way he talks about Jim, it's like Van Slyke idolizes him...which may be true. He gives Leyland credit for his success as a player as well as being a coach. Also, Andy repeats himself a lot emphasizing that the team has never given up, no matter how bad things are. Could've fooled me...

It's a depressing, yet at times humerous, look at the disappointing 2008 season through the eyes of a guy that was there for every game. If you're a Tiger fan, want a quick read, and can stomach reliving last year, check it out.

Sorry, Dusty

You may notice that the last post has been deleted. Dusty Ryan is completely innocent of any wrong doing with my co-worker's girlfriend. Turns out, it was another Tiger player...and this one is married. Thus, I won't be sharing his name.

No more gossip from me, kids. I'll stick to my usual poop humor and name calling from now on. Coming later, a mini-review of Andy Van Slyke's book on the 2008 season.

Again, sorry, Dusty. It wasn't you.

FC pineapple Pictures, Images and Photos

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Defending The Blogosphere

Before we get back from our All Star interruption, I want to take a second here to say something about my biggest pet peeve involving sportswriters. That would be the way so many of them attack blogs. It was at it's peak during the whole Raul Ibanez saga a while back, but every couple weeks I hear some smug prick on TV running down the concept of blogging, and as sure as death, taxes, and a Nate blow up, they use the phrase "blogging in their parents' basement" to finish up their rant. Original.

In today's world, for the most part, I cannot stand the modern sportswriter. It is a world of "gotcha" or tabloid journalism, for the most part. They ask their cliched questions after every event and if an athlete, God forbid, actually speaks his mind, they rip him apart (and usually take statements out of context) in the media. Look at Ryan Braun. He criticized the Brewers' pitching, as well as their hitting. However, the "legit" media did nothing but focus on him "calling out the pitching staff". They try to tear someone down for a week or so before going back to babbling about the Yanks, the Sawx, and Brett Favre.

But the blogging community, especially from what I've seen among Tiger fans, offers a great alternative to the talking heads of ESPN and Fox Sports. We talk about whatever is on our minds and what we find interesting. Steriods, Manny Ramirez, and Derek Jeter's wooden responses to stupid questions are not all there is to baseball. But you'd never know that from watching Sportscenter.

They're not all bad, of course. I like Buster Olney and Peter Gammons. Michael Wilbon's cool. And sure, there are others. But the Jay Mariottis and Woody Paiges of the world do nothing but annoy me more and more every day. That's why myself, and more and more sports fans every day, are going to and starting blogs to discuss sports. I don't think the mainstream sportswriter likes this and that is perhaps why they continue to bash blogging. Their lazy journalism isn't the only game in town anymore.

The Tigers' blogroll is great and has made me appreciate my team more than ever in the past year. Bless You Boys and The Detroit Tigers Weblog are the only places you need to go to find out any important Tigers news or rumors. Sites like The Spotstarters and Mack Avenue Tigers never fail to disappoint in bringing great opinions or looks at the team that you may not have considered before. Want to read about current Tigers issues as well as maybe learn a bit about the team's past? Check out The Daily Fungo or Where Have You Gone, Johnny Grubb. Like stats? Lee over at Tiger Tales or the Fire Jim Leyland blog are the places to visit. Want a guaranteed smile every time you visit the blog? Check out Roar of the Tigers. Do you like typos and poorly thought out ideas? You're in the right place right here! Any of the blogs to the left are good places to spend some time and appreciate the real opinions of real fans.

Sadly, I don't even think many national sportswriters even enjoy sports anymore. It's just a job to them and the joy is gone. Most bloggers have real jobs and real problems and do the sportswriters' job as a hobby for the fun of it. Maybe the Mariottis and such of the world should spend some time in their parents' basement for a while and try and figure out exactly when they became so jaded. Take time to remember what it was like to be a real fan again and have an original opinion.

Or they can just go fist themselves. I'm not paying attention to them anymore, anyways. Keep up the good work in the second half, my friends. And thanks for doing what you do.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Always A Tiger: All Star Edition

This month, I'm not going through every ex-Tiger in the bigs. Tune in once we hit August for that one. Instead, I'm just putting together an "All Star Team" with one of our ex-players at each position. A couple were a stretch (looking at you, Hannahan), but it's still not a bad group. They could beat the Nationals, at least.

Your 2009 Ex-Tiger All Star Team

SP-Jair Jurrjens, Atl: 7-7, 2.91 ERA, 114.1 IP, 78K, 1.27 WHIP
RP-Francisco Cordero, Cin: 1-2, 21 SV, 1.75 ERA, 30 K, 1.14 WHIP
C-Ivan Rodriguez, Hou: .245, 7, 30, .276 OBP, .392 SLG
1B-Carlos Pena, TB: .228, 24, 58, .364, .527
2B-Omar Infante, Atl: .349, 1, 11, .388, .430 (injured since 5/20)
3B-Jack Hannahan, Oak: .190, 1, 8, .143, .286 (sorry, only ex-Tiger 3B I could find)
SS-Edgar Renteria, SF: .260, 2, 38, .317, .326
OF-Cody Ross, Fla: .278, 14, 52, .337, .498
OF-Matt Stairs, Phi: .283, 4, 13, .434, .517
OF-Gary Sheffield, NYM: .283, 10, 35, .385, .478

Dead horse beating time!

You're welcome, Mets fans. (And Braves fans.)

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Curious Case of Magglio Ordonez

I feel like I've seen this before, this Magglio Ordonez stuff.

The usual #3 hitter in the Tigers order, the star corner outfielder, a man of several moments that will live on forever to Detroit fans, my favorite player...suddenly unable to perform at the age of 35. Wait a minute. I have. Does the name Bobby Higginson ring a bell?

Calm down. Magglio Ordonez over his career was a much better hitter than my boy, Bobby, ever was. I admit that. But I think that a lot of newer fans don't realize exactly who Bobby was and what he meant to Tiger fans for a long time...much like Magglio does to people today.

Higginson never played on a winning team during his entire career. The Tigers were a dreadful organization during his time there in which Bobby had little to no support in the lineup. But he still put up decent numbers over the years, highlighted by the 2000 season when he became the 19th person in MLB history to hit .300 with at least 100 runs scored, 30 homers, 44 doubles, 100 RBIs, and 15 steals in the same year. Higginson would twice lead the majors in outfield assists, and is one of eight Tigers since 1965 to twice be named Tiger of the Year by the Detroit Chapter of the BBWAA. ('97 & '00)

The next couple of years, his power numbers went down, but he would still hit for average. After that at age 33, he would be hurt quite a bit for the next two seasons and his numbers dropped further. And at age 35, Higginson would have to retire due to injury and the lack of ability he once possessed. By this time, Bobby had quite the contract due to his past numbers and couldn't live up to it drawing the ire of many of the Tigers "faithful". I know...I almost got into a fight with one particularly drunk one hassling me over my Higginson jersey one day at the Copa. Sadly for Bobby, right after his retirement, the Tigers would go on to acquire big name free agents and become a winner again. One of those guys they went out and got was Magglio Ordonez.

We all know Magglio's story. In 2006, he would lead the Tigers to the World Series with one swing of the bat against Huston Street (and me freaking out in the third row). He put together one of the greatest seasons of all time by a Tiger in 2007 hitting .363 with 28 dingers and 139 RBIs. '08 was solid for The Tilde once again before hitting this season-long funk here in 2009. At this point, seemingly out of nowhere, he has become a singles hitting platoon player, splitting time with Clete Thomas, and people are wondering if he will soon be released to avoid his $18 million option to kick in based on plate appearances this season. People are booing the man who at 35 seems unable to recapture the magic anymore.

This stuff happens, I guess. Red Sox fans are going through this with David Ortiz, who at age 33(?) has lost his mojo all of the sudden after being a hero to them for years. Is it age? Is it injuries? Gulp...is it PED's?

Who knows? Despite being in first place, it's a sad day in Tiger Town when Magglio Ordonez is reduced to being the unwanted, overpaid, washed up guy in the clubhouse...just like Bobby Higginson was at the same age. I can only hope that if this really is the end of Magglio's road, that he is remembered as the great player he was, and not the mediocre one he has sadly become.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Record Number of 13 Year Old Girls Vote Inge To All Star Game

Two Teenage Girls Suprised On the Internet Pictures, Images and Photos

Young women all over the country took time away from their Jonas Brothers fan pages to vote Brandon Inge into the 2009 All Star Game with an AL record 11.8 million votes cast for him. Messy-haired douchebags all over the nation are currently upset as their campaign to get Ian Kinsler of the Rangers to St. Louis next week has come up short. The pre-teen female market has spoken and Brandon Inge is in.

I kid. Congrats to Bran-Torino on each of them getting into the All Star Game. Inge is my choice as the Tigers first half MVP on both offense and defense. I'm proud of our Special Little Guy despite my doubts on his ability to keep it up throughout the second half. Hopefully he, JV, EJax, and Granderson can all make an impact next week against the NL.

Remember, Brandon. You owe me, now. I did vote for you SEVEN times, after all. Remember that.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Making The Grade(s)

Hey, kids. Professor Rogo here to give out first half grades on everyone that's worn a Tigers uniform this year. But first, real quick, in the history of baseball, has there ever been a more frustrating first place ballclub? None that I know of...

Curtis Granderson, B
Grandy entered today hitting .256 for the year. He's struggled against lefties and his power stroke seems to have impacted his batting average. But 18 first half homers and stellar defense can't be ignored. That's why he's playing in his first All Star Game next week.

Miguel Cabrera, A
The man has been "protected" by guys like Don Kelly, Clete Thomas, and a struggling Magglio Ordonez this year and is still hitting well over .300 with 16 dingers. Plus, the big guy has become one of the better fielding first basemen in the league. He's been the only consistent offensive force in the lineup for the entire first half.

Placido Polanco, C-
Playing in the final year of his contract, Polly hasn't been himself at the dish this year hitting around 50 points less than the .300 we've come to expect from the guy. But he's still solid in the field and is showing signs of breaking out lately. Let's keep our fingers crossed for Mr. Potato Head to continue this trend.

Brandon Inge, A
He keeps proving me wrong and I hope he continues to do so. His average has slipped to .269, but he leads the Tigers with 19 homers and 54 RBIs. Add to that a Gold Glove caliber performance at third base and a possible fan vote into the All Star Game and Mr. Inge really is becoming a Special Little Guy and having a career year. He is the Tigers' MVP of the first half among position players.

Magglio Ordonez, D
My favorite current Tiger looks to be done. .266, 4, 28, .332, .352. Those are not numbers associated with Magglio Friggin' Ordonez. He's had personal problems involving his wife's health, he's getting older, and he's cut his hair. Magglio will always have a place in the hears of Tigers fans, but the cord will be cut soon if there isn't immediate improvement due to his contract issues.

Gerald Laird, C+
He doesn't hit for much, but Laird has played a LOT of baseball at catcher for us this year and has handled the staff (at least the starters) to near perfection.

Adam Everett, B
Good defense and a better than advertised bat have made #4 (grrr) a pleasant surprise and a great bargain for the Tigers this season.

Josh Anderson, C+
When the Tigers got Mr. Anderson from the Braves this spring, I had no clue who he was. Now, he's one of my favorites. The kid needs to work on his patience (.279 OBP), but his blinding speed and good defense has me excited about his future. I just wish he's get more playing time to develop a rhythm at the plate.

Ramon Santiago, B
"The Little Tiger Who Could" is showing that last year's performance wasn't a fluke. He's been great in the field and, in limited playing time, is 4th(!) on the team with 6 home runs.

Clete Thomas, C+
I've never been a member of Clete's Cult, but the guy did an okay job for us when he was up. His .237 average wasn't anything to write home about, but he showed surprising pop at times and has a good glove and arm. I'd love to see him get called up again instead of Jim Leyland's new pet, Don Kelly.

Ryan Raburn, B
After a nightmare start, Ryan's tore it up since then slugging .481 for the year. Plus, he provided maybe the most exciting moment of the year thus far with a walk off homer against the Cubs.

Marcus Thames, C
Injured much of the year, Marcus has come back to, um, do what Marcus does. He hits .250, hits a homer every 12 at bats, and goes into a funk for days at a time. I love Marcus, but he's not the answer on an every day basis in the cleanup spot.

Carlos Guillen, Incomplete
Guillen was horrible at the plate before going on the DL. I'll let him off the hook until he comes back.

Jeff Larish, C-
I like Larish a lot and wish he'd have gotten a longer look in the show this year. But despite showing some power, Larish was sent back to Toledo after 74 at bats and hitting only .216.

Don Kelly, D
He hasn't been up with the team long enough to get a great look at him, but he appears to be yet another in a long line of skinny, white outfielders the Tigers are batting 5th for no particular reason. His line of .250, 0, 3, .308, .354 in 48 at bats does little to justify it. The Pirates let him go, for crissakes...

Dane Sardinha, D+
Pretty good glove. Great at handling pitchers. Worst hitter I've ever seen.

Dusty Ryan, C
Only 14 at bats...not much to say other than anything's an improvement at the dish over Sardinha.

Matt Treanor, F
0 for 13, out for the year. Thanks for coming. Your wife is hot.

Wilkin Ramirez, A
The kid got 3 at bats and homered in one of them. Can't complain.

Edwin Jackson, A+
Biggest surprise of the year. 2.59 ERA and in the All Star Game. And people were actually complaining that we gave up Matt Joyce for him. Now if we could only score some runs for the poor guy...

Justin Verlander, A
The JV of old is back, it seems. 8-4 with a 3.54 ERA and 130 K's in 109.1 innings? That'll get you into the All Star Game, as well as my good graces. Verlander and Jackson are the main reasons we are in first place.

Rick Porcello, B-
The kid hasn't been great, but he's been solid. Teams are catching on to him now, though, and that scares me. But he's held his own and gets a lot of ground balls. The second half will be very interesting for our prized rookie.

Armando Galarraga, C-
Who are we going to see? Dr. Jeckyl or Mr. Hyde? Our only decent starter from last year can't decide who he is this year. He'll have to improve on his 5.34 ERA to stick around for another season.

Zach Miner, C-
Zach is another guy who's great one appearance and horrible the next. I feel for the guy getting moved from starter to reliever so many times, but just pitch, man. You have the talent.

Brandon Lyon, C
Is he Lyon-Heart or the Cowardly Lyon? Notice a pattern here? After the big two, the rest of the staff is a question mark. Lyon's been good at times and a human gas can at other times. His control isn't what we thought it was going to be, either.

Fernando Rodney, C
He gets an A for being 17/17 in save opportunities this year, but an F for every other appearance. That equals out to a C overall. Rodney is my least favorite Tiger and this is his walk year. He gave up the game winning homer tonight as I was typing this...go figure.

Dontrelle Willis, F
I was rooting for you, big guy. But it's over.

Joel Zumaya, C
99-104 mph heater. Doesn't know where it's going. If this kid ever learns command, he's going to be unstoppable. But that's a gigantic "if".

Ryan Perry, C
A surprise to make the team, Ryan did well in every aspect except his control. After walking 21 guys in 27.1 innings, he was send down to Toledo. I look forward to his return.

Bobby Seay, A
As usual, I have nothing bad to say about Bobby Seay. He remains the Tigers only consistent option in the bullpen with his great control.

Nate Robertson, F
A 7.71 ERA and a couple trips to the DL for Our Hero. He has managed to do what I thought was impossible: Be worse than last year.

Alfredo Figaro, C
One okay start and one nightmare one. For a kid called up from AA, I'm not going to hold it against him too much...even if he is Fernando Rodney's cousin.

Juan Rincon, D
This Spring, he looked like Mariano Rivera. Once the season started, he looked like Juan Rincon again. He was released shortly after.

Eddie Bonine, D
Eddie Bonine has no business in the major leagues ever again.

Freddy Dolsi, B+
Lots of people don't seem to like this kid, but in 7.2 innings he's only allowed 1 ER and toughed it out in our only win against Minnesota over the weekend in extra innings.

Luke French, B
"The Tickler" has a 2.35 ERA in 3 games with the big club. Leyland, in my opinion, pulled him too early against the Twins after 4+ innings, and we've yet to really get a good look at him. He's struggled with control a bit so far.

Fu-Te Ni, A
I was under the impression that everything made in Taiwan sucked, but Ni has looked very sharp since his call up from the Hens striking out 7 batters in 5 innings.

Clay Rapada, D
I wanted Nate's spot on the team to go to Rapada, but he did little to support that in his 2.1 innings with the Tigers this year allowing 2 hits and walking another pair. Maybe next time, kid.

Jeremy Bonderman, Incomplete
Bondo was back before being ready and it showed getting lit up in his only appearance this year. Now he's out until September, or so. To be continued...

Jim Leyland, D
We'll end with the skipper. The Marlboro Man needs to thank Verlander and Jackson for his contract extension, in my opinion. I've always been a Leyland supporter in past years, but things like moving Granderson down to 5th in the order, batting Kelly and Thomas so high, and his curious bullpen decisions this year have me leaning the other way. But we're still in first place for the moment. As with Brandon Inge this season, Jim...please keep proving me wrong.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

All Star Voting: Lay Off The Fans

It's that time of year when we all get to read about how stupid the fans are. "They shouldn't be deciding who starts the All-Star Game!" I read that over and over again on blogs and on various baseball sites. And as much as I enjoy calling people names, I really don't think the voters are that far off...at least not this year. Let's take a look, shall we? By the way, my projected starters here are based off of the last released fan voting data.

CATCHER
Who's gonna win? AL: Joe Mauer, NL: Yadier Molina
Who should win? AL: Joe Mauer, NL: Brian McCann

Mauer isn't even debatable. The guy is hitting close to .400. His OBP is .467 and SLG is .667. He's only made one error. And those sideburns! He's so dreamy...

On the NL side, McCann has much better offensive numbers than Molina Brother #64. But Yadier just might be the best defensive catcher in the game today. His numbers are good for a catcher and I have no problem with him starting.

FIRST BASE
Who's gonna win? AL: Kevin Youkilis, NL: Albert Pujols
Who should win? AL: Kevin Youkilis, NL: Albert Pujols

Youkilis and Justin Morneau are a toss up. I went with Youk due to his fifty point lead over Morneau in OBP. He is "The Greek God of Walks", after all. Both guys would be great starters for the AL, but I think they fans got it right. Props to our boy, Miguel Cabrera, and especially surprising Russell Branyan on having great seasons so far, too.

In the NL, Pujols is in a league of his own. He's the best hitter I've ever seen and should have the MVP Award named after him.

SECOND BASE
Who's gonna win? AL: Ian Kinsler/Dustin Pedroia, NL: Chase Utley
Who should win? AL: Aaron Hill, NL: Chase Utley

The AL race was too close to call at the last reports I saw. Kinsler has a slight lead, but I'm sure Red Sawx Nation will pull their boy over the top in one of only two of this year's representitives I'd have a problem with. (I'll get to the other one later.) Kinsler is my second choice next to Aaron Hill, who is quietly putting up a great season for the Blue Jays hitting .301, 19, 56, .341, .504. It's a shame no one knows who he is.

The NL vote is much easier with the fans getting it right with Philly's Utley. Chase is having his usual solid year over .300 with 17 homers and a .560 SLG.

THIRD BASE
Who's gonna win? AL: Evan Longoria, NL: David Wright
Who should win? AL: Evan Longoria, NL: David Wright

Apologies to all my 13 year old female readers, but Brandon Inge's career year isn't enough to displace Longoria's solid 2009 campaign, thus far. He's right around the .300 mark with 16 homers, a .377 OBP, and is slugging .558 while making only 8 errors. Evan's come a long way from me watching him play against the Toledo Mud Hens in last year's hope opener.

Wright deserves to start, despite being a very curious case this year. He's hitting .340 with a .427 OBP, but has hit only 5 homers this season. The past four seasons, King David has gone yard 27, 26, 30, and 33 times. The new stadium can't be completely to blame. As much as the home run total is down, Wright continues to be the cream of the NL crop at third base.

SHORTSTOP
Who's gonna win? AL: Derek Jeter, NL: Hanley Ramirez
Who should win? AL: Jason Bartlett, NL: Hanley Ramirez

Tampa's Bartlett is making the Twins look like fools for trading him, hitting .362 this year and racking up 17 steals to go along with it. But am I going to crap on the fans for voting for Mr. Baseball...the Tom Brady of MLB...the man that can walk on water and cure cancer if he wants to, Mr. Derek Jeter? Um...no. I'm not. Despite my distaste for Jeter, the guy's still a quality hitter. Overrated? Yes, at this point in his career. But the guy is still a .300 hitter in the toughest market in baseball to play in. He is this generation's Cal Ripken and I'm not going to complain about it.

The NL has the best player in baseball that most people have never seen play in Hanley Ramirez. I'll take a shortstop that hits .345 and slugs .569 with little protection in the lineup any day.

OUTFIELD
Who's gonna win? AL: Jason Bay, Ichiro Suzuki, Josh Hamilton, NL: Raul Ibanez, Ryan Braun, Carlos Beltran
Who should win? AL: Torii Hunter, Ichiro Suzuki, Carl Crawford, NL: Raul Ibanez, Ryan Braun, Brad Hawpe

Outfield is always a tough one. There's so many deserving guys with only three spots that there will always be room for debate. That's why I'm not going to argue with five of the six chosen by the fans here. However, even though I said earlier than I was against Pedroia starting if he wins, this is the only huge problem I have with the fan vote this year.

Josh Hamilton should not be in the All-Star Game this year. Either the ballot box have been stuffed by crackheads in Arlington or people are voting based off of last year's Home Run Derby. Hamilton's been injured much of the year and when healthy, only hit .240, 6, 24, .290, .456. Josh says he'll play if voted in, but I think he should rest up for the second half of the year and the Rangers' playoff run instead of taking the spot deserved by another guy.

And that's that. Two big fan mistakes out of a possible sixteen spots? That's not the travesty that I keep hearing about. Lay off the fans this year, angry sports writers. Go back to tracking every time Manny Ramirez has a bowel movement, or something.

BONUS
Since I've gone on for this long, here's my top three choices in each league to be the starting pitcher. Why not?

AL: Zach Greinke, Roy Halladay, Edwin Jackson
NL: Dan Haren, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain