Sunday, January 31, 2010

The DNR 25: #17 Travis Fryman

Full Name
David Travis Fryman


None (J.M. Tate High School, Pensicola, FL)

1987, 1st round, 30th pick

MLB Seasons

Tiger Seasons

Career Stats
.274 Avg, 223 HR, 1022 RBI, .779 OPS, 103 OPS+

Career Leaderboard
5 time All Star (’92, ’93, ’94, ’96, ’00)
Silver Slugger: 1992
Gold Glove: 2000

Best Tiger Season
Fryman was one of the most consistent Tigers I’ve had the pleasure of watching. You could pencil him in at the beginning of the season for a .270, 20, 90 campaign seemingly every year. 1993 was his best Tiger season, though, when he hit .300, with 22 homers, 97 RBI, and an OPS+ of 133.

Travis had a lot of pressure on him as many saw him as the guy replacing Alan Trammell as not only the Detroit shortshop, but possibly the team’s leader of the future. He handled that pressure well before moving to third base and Chris Gomez became the Tiger shortshop of the future…which didn’t last long.

Little Known Fact
In 1993, Fryman became the first Tiger since Hoot Evers in 1950 to hit for the cycle. Since then, only Damien Easley and Carlos Guillen have accomplished the feat.

Reason For Being On The List
My dad wasn’t big into baseball. Therefore, we hardly ever made it to the ballpark together, whether it be in Detroit or a Mud Hens game here in Toledo. Well, the only time I can ever remember just the two of us going to a ballgame together, we were watching the Hens play in what must have been 1990, according to Fryman’s minor league stats. I was 13 years old and at my first ever game (that I recall) when my dad asked me which guy on the field I thought would end up becoming a star with the Tigers. His choice was a skinny centerfielder named Scott Lusader. My pick was a young Travis Fryman. I win, Dad. Hahahahahah…I rule.

Obviously, over time, there were many more reasons for me to enjoy Travis. He was a steady bat, a good glove, and always seemed to be a decent guy. He wasn’t much on personality, but you can’t have everything. I was pretty upset when he ended up traded for a big pile of nothing.

What Happened To Him?
On November 18, 1997, Fryman was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Matt Drews, Gabe Alvarez, and Joe Randa. My bad…that was three big piles of nothing. Less than a month later, he was shipped off to the Cleveland Indians with Tom Martin and cash for slugging third baseman, Matt Williams. He stuck around with the Tribe for another five years before retiring due to injury.

In 2008, he became manager of the Class A Mahoning Valley Scrappers. In this past offseason, he was a finalist to be the Indians manager, losing out to Manny Acta. I’m sure he’ll get his chance someday.

Travis has three children named Mason, Branden, and Cole.

Info ripped off of and Wikipedia.
Pics via Google.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tiger Droppings: 1/29/10

Who would win in a fight? Gerald Laird's brother or Miguel Cabrera's wife? My money is on Mrs. Miggy Smalls.

Top Story: Left Handed Batman Wanted

The rumors continue to circulate that the Tigers are still looking to add a left handed bat to the lineup. Carlos Guillen is currently the only projected starter that can hit from the left side…and he’ll probably be in traction by May. The latest rumor has Detroit connected to infielder Adam Kennedy, who hit .289, 11, .63 in Oakland last year with a .758 OPS and a 101 OPS+. Kennedy seems to be a perfect fit for a Dave Dombrowski team since not only is he white, but he sucks at hitting, too. He’d fit in great with Don Kelly, Clete Thomas, Adam Everett, and Brandon Inge.

Dave is supposedly only interested in someone that can play defense, too. Oddly enough, the Tigers were linked to aging slugger (and defensively challenged) Jim Thome, but the big man ended up signing with the stupid Twins. Morneau, Mauer, Span, Kubel, and now Thome? Who’s next, Minnesota? Jermaine Dye look interesting to you? Want to bring Joe Crede back for another year? How about trading for Luke Scott? Baggie Dome or no Baggie Dome, we’re not going to win one game against the Twins this year unless someone has some new scouting reports on these guys.

Super-villian agent Scott Boras is trying to get the Tigers or Reds to sign Johnny Damon to a deal. The Rays may be involved, as well. I believe it was also reported that Boras survives solely on the blood of newborn children. Anyway, Damon’s not going to be a Yankee as they convinced Randy Winn to turn to the dark side, leaving Damon out in the cold. He can still hit the ball, but has the arm strength of a four year old.

Earlier in the week, there was a report that we were considering Jim Edmonds, last seen sucking at baseball in 2008. Luckily, by the time I stopped banging my head against the wall, he had signed in Milwaukee. Phew.

If the Tigers are really looking for a left handed bat to help Miguel Cabrera in the lineup, and not just an Adam Kennedy-type player, there are really only a few choices left on the free agent landscape.

Johnny Damon (LF, DH): 36 years old. Hit .282 with 24 homers, 82 RBI, a .854 OPS, and an OPS+ of 126 in 2009. The brother wants to get paid, though.

Russell Branyan (1B, DH): 34 years old. Hit .251, 31 homers, 76 RBI, .867 OPS, 128 OPS+. He probably won’t repeat those numbers and is an injury risk. But you never know.

Hank Blalock (1B, 3B, DH): 29 years old. Hit .234, 25 ding dongs, 66 RBI, .736 OPS, 86 OPS+. Blalock’s a gamble and could be a Carlos Pena-type guy that just needs a change of scenery.

Carlos Delgado (1B, DH): 38 years old. He only played in 26 games last year due to injury, hitting .298, 4, 23. In 2008, Delgado hit 38 homers with a .871 OPS. If healthy, he’s going to be a bargain for someone.

Garret Anderson (LF, DH): 38 years old. .268, 13 homeruns, 61 RBI, .705 OPS, 86 OPS+. The former Angel and Brave is probably about done.

Mike Jacobs (1B, DH): 29 years old. .228, 19 homers, 61 RBI, .698 OPS, 83 OPS+. He really struggled in the AL last year. Then again, he was a Royal and you can’t count it against him.

That’s about it, barring a trade. If Delgado can pass a physical, my current order of preference would be Damon, Delgado, Branyan. Johnny’s ability to lead off and cause havoc on the basepaths trumps Delgado’s super-strength. I really wanted Thome, though, mainly so we wouldn’t have to face him. I think Justin Verlander’s career ERA would be a half point lower if Thome was never born. I’m starting to hate the Twins almost as much as I do the friggin’ White Sox…

In Other News

-Happy Birthday, Good Sir. Legendary announcer, Ernie Harwell turned 92 this week. Seriously, is there anyone on this planet that can say one bad thing about this wonderful human being? Bless you, Ernie.

-We Dropped Who? Facepalm. Jeff Larish was bumped off of the 40 man roster to make room for Jose Valverde. Meanwhile, Don Kelly remains. What kind of dirty pictures must he have of Dombrowski/Leyland/Ilitch to remain on the team?

-Always A Tiger Updates via MLB Trade Rumors

Brad Ausmus signed a $850K deal to remain with the Dodgers for 2010 and a $1 million option for 2011. How is Brad Ausmus not in his mid-50’s by now? Was he 14 when he played for us?

Speaking of the Dodgers, they gave my boy Timo Perez a minor league deal. Congrats, Timo! Perez tore up the Mexican League in the offseason playing along side ex-fictional Indian, Jake Taylor. Hat tip to fellow Timo fan, Dan, on this one.

The Yankees are said to be showing interest in Marcus Thames. Really? Marcus and Granderson both on the Yankees? Unfair, Brian Cashman. We are trying to hate you over here.

Jarrod Washburn will probably end up with the Twins or back in Seattle, say the latest reports. I hope his kneecap explodes.

Matt Stairs signed with the Padres. The 40 pounds he’s supposedly dropped will stay in Philadelphia to be served on those nasty cheesesteaks.

Doug Brocail has announced his retirement at the age of 42. Godspeed, forgotten, crappy relief pitcher. Godspeed.

But, Plugs

-JAYRC tries to get us excited for youngster, Ribbie Weinhardt over at The Spotstarters. Sadly, at this point in my life I only get excited for Payday candy bars, Bacardi rum, and lesbian porn.

-Speaking of lesbians, Tiger bull-lesbian pitcher Armando Galarraga is the next pitcher with superpowers to be profiled by Samara over at Roar of the Tigers. If Armando somehow finds his 2008 form this year, we are going to be a lot better than most people think. That’s a big “if”, though.

-Hey, Ian's blogging again over at The Cutoff Man! His first article over there is on applying the Brett Favre rules to the Tigers. Ahh, the irony. A guy that quits blogging only to start right back up is making Favre jokes. I kid, Ian. You know you complete me.

-Here's a nice piece on the enigma that is Lou Whitaker, written by Greg Eno at Where Have You Gone, Johnny Grubb. Solid, well written work by Greg, as always.

-Noted hater of Tiger fans everywhere, Lynn Henning must have sensed that some Detroit fans were excited about the thought of Johnny Damon coming to town. Don’t worry, as he has been quick to take in dump on that idea. At least he’s stopped calling Curtis Granderson names.

-Jamie Samuelsen says the Tigers can’t rely on Joel Zumaya. In other news, water is wet, Winter is cold, and Jim Leyland smokes cigarettes.

I’m spent. Goodbye, January. I’m glad it’ll be another year before I have to deal with you again.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The DNR 25: #18 Tom Brookens

Full Name
Thomas Dale Brookens


Mansfield University of Pennsylvania

1975, First Round (4th pick), Detroit Tigers

MLB Seasons

Tiger Seasons

Career Stats
.246 Avg, 71 HR, 431 RBI, .663 OPS, 82 OPS+

Career Leaderboard
1980: 6th in triples (9)
1985: 9th in doubles (34)

Best Tiger Season
Being a light-hitting utility player and specializing in defense for most of his career, it’s hard to figure out a “best” season for Brookens. But I’m going to go with 1980 over 1987 for Tommy. He hit .275 in his first full MLB season, with 10 homers and 66 RBI. His .734 OPS was the highest of his career, and he also hit 25 doubles and 9 triples in 151 games.

Little Known Fact
Tom’s twin brother, Tim, and his cousin, Ike, were also ballplayers. Tim was drafted in 1975 by Texas, and was later traded to Detroit. He never played in the majors. Ike pitched for Detroit in 1975.

Reason For Being On The List
Tommy Brookens was the first baseball player that made me think about defense as a young kid. Much like most fat, untalented, slob children, I was put at catcher in hopes that I’d block a few balls and not hurt the team in the field. But seeing Tom dive all over the place and make, to my 8 year old eyes, amazing catches, I decided to work hard on playing defense, practicing every day in my back yard. I actually turned into a decent fielding first and third baseman over time. I give credit for that to watching Tom.

He was a lot like Brandon Inge is today in the field. He made his share of errors (leading the AL in ’80 and ’85), but many of them were because he was covering so much ground out there and getting to balls that most people wouldn’t. He played 1065 games at third, 162 at second, and 119 at shortstop over his career. He even caught five innings in a memorable game in 1985.

His finest game as a pro was on 8/20/80 against Milwaukee where he went 5-5 with a triple and home run. Tommy also started a triple play in that game. I doubt anyone else in baseball history has ever had a game like that.

Oh, and he had the coolest mustache in baseball history. Eat crap, Rollie Fingers.

What Happened To Him?
On 3/23/89, Brookens was traded to the New York Yankees for forgettable pitcher, Charles Hudson. (Why do we trade everyone to New York?) After 66 games there, he signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Racist Logos, playing in 64 more games before retiring after the 1990 season.

In 2005 and 2006, Tom was the manager of the Oneonta Tigers, followed in 2007 by managing the West Michigan Whitecaps, both A ball Tiger teams. He led the Whitecaps to the championship that season, earning a promotion to the AA Erie SeaWolves in 2008. This season, he’ll be replacing Andy Van Slyke as the first base coach of the Tigers.

And he still has that sweet mustache.

Info ripped off of and Wikipedia.
Pics via Google.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The DNR 25: #19 Pudge Rodriguez

Full Name
Ivan (Torres) Rodriguez


None (Lino Padron Rivera High School, Vega Baja, PR)

1988 Amateur Free Agent, Texas Rangers

MLB Seasons

Tiger Seasons

Career Stats
.299 Avg, 305 HR, 1264 RBI, .807 OPS, 108 OPS+

Career Leaderboard
14 time All Star
13 time Gold Glove Winner
7 time Silver Slugger Winner
1999 AL MVP
1st all-time in games caught

Best Tiger Season
Pudge’s first year as a Tiger, 2004, was his best. He was outstanding, hitting .334 with 19 homers, 86 RBI, an OPS of .893, and an OPS+ of 136. That would be his only year as a Tiger with an OPS+ over 100. It was also his last season as a true offensive threat at the plate as his numbers have tumbled in every season since.

Little Known Fact
In 2004, Pudge became the first Tiger to win a Gold Glove since the immoral Gary Pettis did so in 1989.

Reason For Being On The List
Ivan Rodriguez is on this list simply because without him signing with the team in 2004, none of the magic of 2006 would have been possible. There probably wouldn’t have been any Magglio Ordonez, Kenny Rogers, or other big free agents coming here. Sure, Fernando Vina started the trend of the Tigers signing free agents, but it was Pudge that made it seem okay for good ballplayers to come to Detroit again. His fire and leadership on the field helped to make the Tigers into winners again and it’s something I’ll never forget, even if he did come off as a sort of selfish player towards the end in ’08.

What Happened To Him?
Pudge has turned into sort of a “hired gun” since his departure from Detroit. He was traded to the Yankees for Tiger legend, Kyle Farnsworth, in 2008. After playing miserably in New York, he spent part of 2009 with the Astros before being traded back to his original team, the Rangers.

On December 11th, I-Rod signed a two year, $6 million deal with the Washington Nationals, for some reason. It must be about padding stats instead of winning ballgames for Rodriguez at this point in his career. I’m not sure why, though.

Though I stated in my last DNR 25 post that Jack Morris might have the best chances of anyone on the list as a Hall of Famer, I overlooked Rodriguez, who is a certain lock for the Hall unless questions about possible steroid use, alleged by Jose Canseco, keep him out. Nonetheless, Pudge is up there with Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, and Carlton Fisk as one of the greatest catchers in baseball history. It was nice to have him in Detroit for a while.

Rodriguez has three kids, Ivan Derrek, Amanda Christine, and Ivanna Sofia with his ex-wife, whom he divorced in 2006. Pudge remarried in 2007. I hope he got a prenup. Harf…

Info ripped off of and Wikipedia.
Pics via Google.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tiger Droppings: 1/22/10

Unlike Miguel Cabrera, I am not doing well dealing with my drinking problem. But Miguel’s a good boy now. See? Whatever. Good for him. What do you say we get on with this, shall we, kids?

Top Story: Moneyball…No, Not the Billy Beane Stuff

Much like the banking industry, in baseball, no matter how good or bad you are at your job, there’s always a decent chance that you’ll get a raise and/or bonus. The Tigers are no exception to this rule as they avoided arbitration and gave raises to .220 hitting Suns fan, Gerald Laird, dentist/elf look-a-like, Zach Miner, and possible Frankenstein creature, Bobby Seay. The only guy left on the arbitration list for Detroit is the ace of the pitching staff, Justin Verlander.

Personally, I was hoping that this offseason would see Dave Dombrowski try to work out a long-term deal with Verlander after his amazing 2009 campaign. I love me some JV. Even my personal BFF, Jamie Samuelsen, had similar thoughts. (Yes, it scared me, too.) Yet after reading these articles over at Detroit4Lyfe and The Cutoff Man, I’ve started thinking that perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea to not hurry into anything and wait it out for a while. Good job, guys. Maybe one day, I’ll think out an article before writing it. Better yet, maybe one day I’ll check my punctuation and grammar so the guys at Bleacher Report will quit yelling at me. Doubt it, though.

No matter what they do, 2010’s deal with Justin still needs to be done. Verlander has asked for $9.5 million while Double D has countered with a laughable $6.9 million…a week after giving Jose Valverde $7 million per year. That Dombrowski…he has balls. I’m sure they’ll settle somewhere in the $8 million dollar range pretty soon. But the more I think about it, I’d like to be in the room while they try and hammer things out. This is how I picture things going…

DAVE DOMBROWSKI: $9.5 million is a lot of money, Justin. I think a bit less than $7 million is more than fair for this year. Don’t you?

JUSTIN VERLANDER: (gives menacing stare)

DOMBROWSKI: Sure, sure. I can see your point there. You did finish third in the Cy Young voting. How about $7.3 million, Justin?

VERLANDER: (gives menacing stare)

DOMBROWSKI: (waves hand in front of Justin’s unchanging expression) Hmm. Okay. $7.6 million. Take it or leave it.

VERLANDER: (gives menacing stare) (slowly begins to sharpen knives)

DOMBROWSKI: $8.4 million! Okay?

VERLANDER: (nods and drops knives)

/door opens

FU-TE NI: Herro, gentremen! Whele is lestloom? I get rost arr the time at Detloit Tigel Headqualtels.

Fun stuff. And for those of you that always let me know that you find Imaginary Fu-Te Ni’s accent to be racist every time he drops by the site, please do one of three things for me…

1) Lighten up.
2) Quit coming here and go over to the Mothership for your Tiger fun…maybe you’ll get lucky and they’ll have a sweet article on something like Rick Porcello’s movie watching habits or Ramon Santiago’s favorite color.
3) Go fist yourself.

Go with #1. It is best for everyone. Lets not fight…this isn’t Bless You Boys. Ha, just kidding, Kurt. Don’t ban me.

In Other News

-No Way, Jose: The reaction to the signing of Jose Valverde to be the Tiger closer has been nothing short of fascinating to me. Most casual Tiger fans I’ve talked to seem to be happy about it. The mainstream media, for the most part, has applauded the deal. Yet most of the Tiger bloggers out there, who I generally like and respect, are still up in arms over it. Check them out, if you haven’t, and see what I mean. People are pissed. You’ve even got lots of them snipping at each other mixed in with a lot of head scratching over what Mr. Dombrowski is thinking and/or smoking.

Me? I like the deal. Like I said last week, Valverde’s the best closer we’ve had since Henneman, if he pitches like the last three seasons in the NL. And unlike many of my Tiger blogging brothers and sisters, I think the price was great for someone like Valverde, even if we were probably bidding against ourselves. It’s not my pizza money paying for him. But I’ve come up with another conspiracy theory on the deal that I haven’t seen written anywhere else just yet.

Maybe this deal is more about 2011 than 2010. Think about it. If you believe Dombrowski, we’re not going to be adding another big bat to the lineup. Currently, Miguel Cabrera has about as much support behind him as a bowling ball does sitting on a wet paper towel. So, we’re not going to be very competitive compared to your Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, etc, despite what Dave says. The Central might be doable, but not much more…too many teams are better than us.

Anyhoo, after 2010, the abortions of contracts given out to Bondo, Nate, Dontrelle, and probably Magglio go bye-bye. Thus, Dave is free to spend for 2011, Austin Jackson and Scott Sizemore have a year under their belts (along with all the young pitchers), and the Tigers are a new team.

What does any of this have to do with Valverde? Glad you asked. Jose will still be under control for 2011 and a $9 million option on 2012. That is still way cheaper than the other top closers in baseball are being paid. (And Kerry Wood.) It’s just one less thing Dave has to worry about in building the competitive 2011 team…he just got it out of the way now while the price was low.

Or perhaps, I’m thinking too hard and Dave’s trying to make people forget that Granderson and Polonco will be facing each other in the World Series next year.

-Damage Control: The Tiger Winter Caravans (or whatever) are making their trips around the Detroit/Toledo areas lately. Jim Leyland has been doing his best to answer questions from the media and fans about the team with his usual charm. I’ll let you check out the big Detroit sites for details on that. But a couple of things have stood out to me that The Marlboro Man has said this week that would make me pull the hairs out of my head if I could grow them.

First, he says he hasn’t even written out a batting order yet and isn’t sure who is going to be batting where. No clue, says the skipper. Does this frighten anyone else that our manager has no plan yet? I’m sure he wants to get a look at Jackson and Sizemore this spring and possibly pray that Dave finds him a left-handed bat, but come on. Nothing, Jim? I'm sure you're lying, but let a brother help you out, then. How about this?

1. Ryan Raburn, LF
2. Austin Jackson, CF
3. Magglio Ordonez, RF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Carlos Guillen, DH
6. Brandon Inge, 3B
7. Scott Sizemore, 2B
8. Gerald Laird, C
9. Adam Everett, SS

Was that so hard? I kinda like the idea of Raburn leading off. The more he plays, the better he seems to hit. And seriously, what’s with all the talk of us having no leadoff hitter? We didn't last year, either. Everyone’s hero hit .240 leading off and we barely missed the bloody playoffs. I love Curtis, too, but the man wasn’t exactly Rickey Henderson. Give Raburn a chance. I like laughing at him when he sticks his tongue out when he’s concentrating really hard.

The other thing that Jim said that annoyed me was when he was asked about adding another left-handed hitter. Jim replied, “We’d like to have one, but they’re not easy to find.”

Hank Blalock, Russell Branyan, Jim Edmonds, Carlos Delgado, Orlando Hudson, Garret Anderson, Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi, Jim Thome, and others are apparently missing! Someone please call “America’s Most Wanted” immediately if you have any information on there whereabouts! (Is that still on?) Thank goodness the Royals somehow found Rick Ankiel lost and wandering the woods along the Missouri border…

Are any of those guys a long-term answer? No. But with the exception of Hudson or Damon, any of them could be a cheap one year solution until the magical 2011 season arrives, especially when you take into account the fact that Carlos Guillen can snap a bone in his leg on any given day stepping out of the shower. Otherwise, prepare for another season of Clete Thomas being the big lefty bat on the team.

I just threw up in my mouth.

-Always A Tiger Updates Via MLB Trade Rumors:

Chad Durbin avoided arbitration with the Phillies by signing a $2.125 million deal. Not bad for a guy who’s career looked to be over a few years ago. Here’s to hoping that the Phils bring Matty Stairs back for another year, too. Apparently, he’s dropped something like 40 pounds. For Stairs, that may put him at around 280.

Colby Lewis is still alive and signed a two year deal with the Rangers after pitching well in Japan. Seth Greisinger must be pissed.

Cody Ross and the Marlins can’t agree on a figure and look to be heading to arbitration over a difference of only $250,000. Anyone under the age of 85 that doesn’t live in Miami should be shot for rooting for the friggin’ Marlins. Cheap bastards. Hanley Ramirez will be a Yankee ten minutes after Derek Jeter retires.

Milwaukee is showing a lot of interest in Jarrod Washburn. Bummer. I was hoping he’d be back in the AL this year and we’d get to see him a couple times…pad the stats a bit.

But, Plugs

-This week, Samara took a look at the supposed superpowers of Our Hero, Nate Robertson. It seems those silly glasses aren’t just to correct that squiggle eye of his, but they in fact allow him to shoot beams of power. Fun stuff, as always from Roar of the Tigers. If anyone from the Tigers has somehow stumbled onto my dumb blog, please give Sam a job writing Tiger kids books or something creative. Her illustrations are amazing, despite her annoying habit of also supporting the Red Sox.

-Blake takes a look at dead white guys. By the time he finishes his list ranking the all the Tiger ballclubs over the years and I finish my DNR 25, Austin Jackson’s going to be 30 years old…and probably playing for New York.

-Kurt looks at the enigma that is Phil Coke and how he fits into the team this year. I continue to hold out hope that the Tigers trade for Jack Wilson so I can refer to them as Jack & Coke. (groan, boo, hiss)

-Lynn Henning at the Detroit News continues to disagree with every consensus opinion taken by Tiger bloggers in the offseason. This one’s about the offense. But check any of them and imagine Tiger bloggers screaming and spitting at their computer screens. Well, except me. But I'm weird.

That’s all for now. Be good to each other. And as for you, Miguel? Joel Zumaya thinks you’re a wussy.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The DNR 25: #20 Jack Morris

The DNR 25 is a list of my personal favorite Detroit Tigers players of the past 25 years. If you’ve missed any so far and care to catch up, here they are.

#25: Jamie Walker
#24: Dmitri Young
#23: Todd Jones
#22: Miguel Cabrera
#21: Mike Henneman

And on with the list…

Full Name
John Scott Morris


Bringham Young University

1976, 5th Round, Detroit Tigers

MLB Seasons

Tiger Seasons

Career Stats
254-186, 3.90 ERA, 1.296 WHIP, 105 ERA+, 2478 K’s

Career Leaderboard
1981 Sporting News Pitcher of the Year
AL All-Star (’81, ’84, ’85, ’87, ’91)
1981: AL 1st in Wins (14)
1983: AL 1st in Strikeouts (232)
1983: AL 1st in Innings Pitched (293.2)
1986: AL 1st in Shutouts (6)
1990: AL 1st in Complete Games (11)
1992: AL 1st in Wins (21)
Major League Record 14 straight Opening Day starts (’80-’93)

Best Tiger Season
Although Morris had many fine seasons as the Tigers’ ace, 1986 was his best year. He went 21-8 with a 3.27 ERA, 223 strikeouts, an ERA+ of 127, 15 compete games, 6 shutouts, and a career best 1.165 WHIP. The Jack Morris that Tiger fans recall today was from that ’83-’87 era. Awesome stuff. Roger Clemens was amazing in ‘86 and overshadowed Jack’s numbers, however, ruining his best chance at a Cy Young Award.

Little Known Fact
Morris is the all-time Tigers leader in both wild pitches (155) and balks (23).

Reason For Being On The List
He was the first “ace” pitcher that I ever knew. Morris was what they referred to as a “bulldog” on the mound. He always wanted the ball, hated coming out of games (he had 175 complete games in 527 career starts, unheard of today), and no one tried harder on the mound than Jack. You could see how pissed he was when he played poorly.

He was the first player I ever saw that threw the split-fingered fastball and was the guy that made it the “hot” pitch of the 80’s and early 90’s. He is one of the few major league ballplayers whose career numbers really don’t show what a great player he was for so many teams, in my opinion.

What Happened To Him?
A lot, actually. Jack left the Tigers in 1991 and went on to his hometown Minnesota Twins and won a World Series. Who can forget his badass Game 7 where he went 10 innings for the win against John Smoltz and the Braves? Morris would win the World Series MVP that year.

He bolted the Twins after the season for the Toronto Blue Jays winning World Series rings in ’92 and ’93, though he didn’t pitch in the ’93 Series after a disappointing 7-12, 6.19 ERA season.

He joined the Cleveland Indians in 1994 going 10-6 with a 5.60 ERA. After that, he tried a final MLB season with the Reds in 1995, but never pitched for them. In 1996, he played for the St. Paul Saints of the independent Northern League before finally retiring from the game.

Today, he’s a broadcaster for the Twins and is slowing gaining support for the Hall of Fame getting a personal high 52.3% of the vote in 2010. He probably has the best chance of getting elected of anyone that you’ll see on this list. Good luck, Jack.

Info ripped off of and Wikipedia.
Pics via Google.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tiger Droppings: 1/15/09

Although I tend to stay in my normal poop and fart joke wheelhouse around here, I would like, from time to time, to offer you some real opinion and analysis about your Detroit Tigers. So, the current plan is to offer up a sort of “Week in Review” on Fridays here at DesigNate Robertson covering the big news of the week, other stories, rumors, and some articles from around the web that you may be interested in. Thus, you get “Tiger Droppings”. You’re welcome.

The Top Story

We got a closer. The Tigers announced the signing of Jose Valverde to a 2 year/$14 million deal with a $9 million option on a third year.

Reaction has generally been of the “sky is falling” variety, and the Tigers really have no one to blame but themselves for that. When you trade arguably the most popular Tiger since Alan Trammell in Curtis Granderson and give the “dropping payroll and getting younger” excuse, it’s probably not a good P.R. move to so quickly spend millions on a soon-to-be 30 year old closer when your organization is stocked with young, fireballing relief pitchers. Having to surrender your first round draft pick to the Astros, since Valverde’s a Type A Free Agent, hurts, too. Mike, from Bless You Boys, has a very good example of these arguments right here. And though my initial reaction to this is to agree with him (and most of you, I guess), especially over losing the draft pick, let me play Devil’s Advocate and point out the good parts of this deal before we march on Tiger Headquarters with torches and pitchforks.

Exhibit A: This relieves the pressure on Joel Zumaya to be 2006 Zoom again right away. Knowing him, he’ll try to throw 100 mph on every pitch and hurt himself again. It also gives guys like Ryan Perry and Daniel Schlereth time to work on their games without throwing them into the fire right away. Although giving one of those guys the chance at being closer in 2010 is much cheaper, it could have done more harm than good.

Exhibit B: Valverde is the best closer the Tigers have seen since my boy, Mike Henneman. Todd Jones was a great guy and Fernando Rodney, um, wore his hat in a funny way, but I never really felt safe with either man protecting a one-run lead in the ninth inning. Did you? While I think the “save” stat is very overrated, I think having a lights-out closer is not. How many times has Joe Nathan entered the game for the Twins against us and you just knew the game was over? Jose could be that guy for us. Valverde’s stats the past three seasons?

(2007, 2008, 2009)
ERA: 2.66, 3.38, 2.33
ERA+: 179, 125, 180
WHIP: 1.12, 1.18, 1.13
K/9: 10.9, 10.4, 9.3

He’s good. He’s not Mariano Rivera, but he’s a top-tier closer. Are you still gaga over Rodney’s lucky 37/38 saves last year? His numbers against Valverde’s above body of work:

ERA: 4.40
ERA+: 104
WHIP: 1.47
K/9: 7.3

A big part of 2006’s success was having the bullpen be such a big strength. With Valverde anchoring the pen, whatever combination of Seay, Zoom, Schlereth, Coke, Perry, Minor, Ni, and/or whoever gives us one heck of a group to mop up for JV, Kid Rick, Mad Max, Bondo, and whoever wins the death match to be #5.

Exhibit C: Is $7 million a year that much for a proven, good closer? I really don’t think so. We all can’t get lucky and find a Brian Wilson or Ryan Franklin to be a cheap, solid closer. Would we have with our young cubs? Maybe. But Dave Dombrowski apparently didn’t want to take that chance. He’s taken enough of them. But $7 million, for a proven guy who made $8 million last year, isn’t bad. Take a look at what these closers are going to get paid in 2010:

Brian Fuentes: $9 million
Kerry Wood: $10.5 million
Francisco Rodriguez: $11.5 million
Brad Lidge: $11.5 million
Francisco Cordero: $12 million
Joe Nathan: $11.25 million
Mariano Rivera: $15 million
Trevor Hoffman: $8 million
B.J. Ryan: $10 million…and he doesn’t even play for Toronto anymore.

$7 million is a bargain right now for a good closer. But yeah…losing the draft pick kind of pisses me off. Much like Austin Jackson, Jose Valverde is going to either make Double D look like a genius…or a fool. If the Tigers are serious about being contenders in 2010 and add another bat or two (Russell Branyan, I’m looking at you), I can get behind this deal. If they do not, then I think it makes no sense. What good is a closer if he has no lead to protect?

One last thing on Valverde…I promise. If this affects the signing Justin Verlander to a long-term deal, I will personally beat Double D to death with the blunt object of your choosing, dear readers.

In Other News

-The Tigers signed 17 minor league free agents this week. Five of them are left-handed pitchers, proving that Dave Dombrowski has not lost his sense of humor while taking so much heat from the fans. Also included in the group was catcher, Mike Rabelo, who was part of the sack 'o' prospects that went to Florida in the Miguel Cabrera deal. Florida, sadly, has not been willing to take Dontrelle Willis back from us.

-Joel Zumaya avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $915,000 deal. Only in baseball do you get a raise for doing absolutely nothing.

-The Tigers have been rumored to be talking to Russell Branyan and Johnny Damon lately according to stories I’ve read and am to lazy to find. This doesn’t necessarily mean much, as there have been rumors this offseason linking them to guys like Jack Cust, Orlando Hudson, Scott Podsednik, Juan Pierre, and others. Branyan would be great as a DH and backup 1B/3B/OF, methinks (especially since I expect someone to step on a crack and break Carlos Guillen’s back by June), but Damon doesn’t really fit in anywhere. He’s definitely not the answer to play center field while AJax gets ready for the majors. They say he has a career OPS of .961 at Comerica Park, but come on…that was against our crappy pitching. Double D has already claimed this offseason that the team isn’t looking to add a DH, but he’s BS’d the media before. See Jose Valverde.

My personal choices that I’d like to see as long as they don’t cost an arm and a leg? Branyan or Jim Thome for DH, and either Rick Ankiel or Reed Johnson to play some center (since Ryan Church is off the market). Then again, I’m an idiot.

-The San Francisco Giants signed Aubrey Huff. This is, of course, a year after signing 2008 Tiger failure, Edgar Renteria. I’m hoping that next, they sign Gary Sheffield or maybe trade for Kyle Farnsworth.

-The Royals are rumored to be interested in Marcus Thames. I always liked Marcus and hope he finds somewhere where he gets a chance to play “Country Strong” 20+ times a year. Just not against us, though.

But, Plugs

-Although she is a constant pain in my ass, Jen from Old English D was apparently a decent good luck charm for the Tigers in 2009. Someone get this girl some season tickets, please.

-Samara at Roar of the Tigers continues her brilliant illustrations of the superpowers of the Tiger starting pitchers. I am eagerly waiting to see if she includes Nate Robertson’s unique power of suck.

-John at Tigers Tracks gives his thoughts on the whole Mark McGwire saga of the past week. If you want to know how I feel about it, read John’s thoughts and imagine me nodding my head in complete agreement. But imagine me with hair…I always do.

-Kurt at BYB reminds us that Spring Training is right around the corner. I really need to start working out if I’m going to fit into my speedo by Opening Day.

-Finally, this one has nothing to do with the Tigers or baseball, but if you can handle curse words and insensitive humor, check out Drew Magory’s parody of New York Jets coach, Rex Ryan, addressing his team over at Kissing Suzy Kolber. This made me laugh harder than anything I’ve seen in recent memory.

Have a great weekend, kids.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Drunk Questions For Jim Leyland

Next Wednesday, January 20th, the Toledo Mud Hens are hosting their annual Fandemonium in my hometown of Toledo, OH. For $20, you get to eat a, no doubt, top notch buffet dinner, and at your table will be a member of the Toledo Walleye hockey team or a member of the Tigers/Hens. The baseball guys that'll be there? Jim Leyland, Gene Lamont, Scott Sizemore, Jeff Larish, Eddie Bonine, and Don Kelly. Wow.

I considered going, but A) I work, and B) I don't want to end up sitting with some toothless minor league hockey player. The part I would be interested in is a Q & A with Leyland and company that they're having. Sadly, they're only having that from 7-7:30pm. That is hardly enough time for me to get drunk and ask the fifteen questions that would no doubt start spewing out of my mouth as my friends egg me on and laugh at me.

If you end up going, feel free to steal any of these. Just let me know what Jim's response was.

1. Are you planning on hitting Clete Thomas third a lot this year, like you did last year? I only ask so I can stab myself in the temple with a f’ing butcher knife and save myself the misery of watching.

2. Do you think you could use another lefty out of the bullpen, or will a baker’s dozen of them enough?

3. Remember when you had black guys on the team? Did that scare you or something?

4. Any insight on which Tiger will have the most disappointing season? I only ask so I can tell my San Francisco Giants fan friend whom he can expect the team to sign in 2011.

5. Which name is funniest to listen to Fu-Te Ni pronounce? Justin Velrandel, Calros Guirren, or Miguer Cablela?

6. Do you ever catch Nate Robertson looking at his bank statement and giggling like a drunk nineteen year old girl?

7. Since you and Tony LaRussa are so close and alike, when exactly can we expect Barry Bonds to be named the Tigers’ hitting coach?

8. Any chance that on April 1st you guys are going to announce that the Granderson trade was the most elaborate April Fools joke ever? I only ask because the only two people that seem to like the deal are me and Lynn Henning and that makes me more nervous than George W. Bush vacationing in New Orleans.

9. So…who did Timo Perez piss off to get deported? No room for him…really? And Don Kelly gets a spot? No offense, Don...

10. Why no love for Dusty Ryan last year? He didn’t do anything wrong! It was Sardinha, Jim! Sardinha!!! I’m sorry!

11. Less funny: Carlos Mencia telling jokes or Brandon Inge swinging at a curveball?

12. Rick Ankiel is still out there. Any chance Dave signs him to help tutor Dontrelle on how to play the outfield?

13. Will Lloyd McClendon be awake for any of the games this season?

14. More different colors? Max Scherzer’s eyes or your lungs?

15. If I keep asking smart-ass questions, the Laird brothers aren’t going to beat me to death, are they?

Better yet, kids...come up with your own. Jim seems like a guy with a good sense of humor. Like the time he started Alfredo Figaro in the most important game of the season at that point? Harf harf...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The DNR 25: #21 Mike Henneman

Full Name
Michael Alan Henneman


Oklahoma State University

1984, 4th Round, Detroit Tigers

MLB Seasons

Tiger Seasons

Career Stats
57-42, 193 SV, 3.21 ERA, 130 ERA+

Career Leaderboard
1987 Sporting News Rookie Pitcher of the Year
1989 AL All-Star
Career Saves: 41st all time (193)

Best Tiger Season
Mike was having his best year as a Tiger in ’95 when he was traded to Houston for Phil Nevin. Before the trade, he had put up an amazing ERA+ of 311(!) in 29 games for Detroit with 18 saves.

His best full Tiger season was probably 1988, his first full season as the closer. Henneman went 9-6 out of the pen with 22 saves, a 1.87 ERA, and an ERA+ of 206, despite hurting his arm early in the season. He was never a strikeout pitcher, but man, did he get the job done.

Little Known Fact
Mike’s 154 Tiger saves are second to only Todd Jones in Detroit history.

Reason For Being On The List
Mike was the first pitcher I can remember seeing that threw three-quarters. As a young kid just getting into baseball, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Henneman would be the first (and not the last) Tiger to get me into trouble in Little League by my constant imitating of his mannerisms. (I liked to throw like Henneman and bat like Mickey Tettleton…not something coaches encourage in youngsters.) I'd be playing catch three-quarters, get yelled at, throw overhand for a while, and go back to three-quarters when the coaches weren't watching. Your average stuff for a ten year old.

Henneman is also the best closer in my lifetime as a Tiger fan. Willie Hernandez was great in ’84, but went to crap after. Jones racked up a lot of saves, but was rocky throughout. But neither was as good for as long as Mike was. Plus, he had that goofy “butt-chin” that you don’t see enough of on big league players today.

What Happened To Him?
As I mentioned, Mike was traded for Phil Nevin in mid-1995. The Tigers would never really give Nevin a chance and he went on to a good career in San Diego. Love ya, Randy Smith. Dick.

Mike would sign in 1996 with the Texas Rangers and go 0-7 with 31 saves, a 5.79 ERA, and a 91 ERA+. That would be his last year in MLB as he retired afterwards.

Info ripped off of and Wikipedia.
Pics via Google.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

THE (new) TEAM: A New Hope

(Two months from now. At the Yankees Spring Training facility in Tampa, FL.)

BRIAN CASHMAN: Ahh, another day in paradise. The World Series rings will be ready for Opening Day. The roster is set. Nothing to do now but wait for it all to come together once again. (lights cigar with hundred dollar bill)

(buzzer on desk goes off)

RECEPTIONIST: Mr. Cashman? Your next appointment is here. A Mr. Granderson to see you?

CASHMAN: Ahh, yes. The new recruit. Please, send him in.

(door opens)

CURTIS GRANDERSON: Hello, Mr. Cashman. Great to see you! I love this facility! Everything is top notch. I can’t wait to get onto the field and go after a championship!

CASHMAN: That’s great to hear, uh (looks at note card) um, Curtis. So…have you been in town long?

GRANDERSON: I just got in this morning, sir. Unpacked my bags at the hotel and headed straight over.

CASHMAN: You unpacked your own bags? Son, you’re a Yankee, now. You PAY people to do menial tasks like that for you. While you're at it, get yourself an expensive condo by the end of the week. Hotels are for ugly people and the Royals. And you need to start wearing nothing but suits when not in uniform from now on, got me? You think you’re too good to act like a Yankee?

GRANDERSON: Um, no, sir. I just thought…

CASHMAN: You thought. Right. (buzzes receptionist) Grace? Could you see if the Captain can come in here when he has a moment? Thanks. Now, Curtis, as a Yankee, you are expected to be BETTER than everyone around you. You have a certain image and lifestyle you are expected to live. For example, who are you currently seeing romantically?

GRANDERSON: What? Well, I don’t see how that matters, but I’ve kind of been talking to this girl I know from back home in Chicago…

CASHMAN: Ridiculous. We will have her killed, immediately. Don’t worry. We do this kind of stuff all the time…we’re the Yankees. From now on, you will be dating (looks at chart on wall), how about Elisha Cuthbert? I believe the company purchased her last week.

GRANDERSON: Are you serious? But, sir…

CASHMAN: Enough! I thought you were committed to excellence! I thought you were ready to take the next step in your baseball career? Are you not ready to be a TRUE YANKEE? A Scott Brosius! An Aaron Boone! A Bernie Williams! A…

GRANDERSON: An Alex Rodriguez?

(door flies open)

DEREK JETER: Alex Rodriguez is not, nor will he ever be, a TRUE YANKEE!

CASHMAN: Ahh! The Captain has arrived! Thank you for coming so quickly. Mr. Granderson has arrived for Spring Training and is still not familiar with…our ways.

JETER: Is that so? What questions do you have, my young friend?

GRANDERSON: Well…I’m not sure. I just want to play ball and help the team. I know! Derek, I’m big into helping the community and all. Love to give back. In fact, my Grand Kids charity raised…

JETER: Your Grand Kids charity is no more. You will focus all your energy into the Derek Jeter Foundation. Making sure that Derek Jeter looks good is, and will always be, your top priority as a Yankee. Do not tell me that you are selfish…are you?

GRANDERSON: Um…are you kidding? Of course not.

JETER: Good. Mr. Cashman, why is this man not into uniform yet?

GRANDERSON: What do you mean? I’m actually digging the pinstripes. It’ll take getting used to wearing number fourteen here, but I think…

CASHMAN: No, Curtis. That was just for the media. Put this on. This is your TRUE new uniform.

GRANDERSON: Um…okay. Give me a sec…

GRANDERSON: This is kind of uncomfortable…and hard to breathe in.

CASHMAN: (puts on Yankee cap made of baby seals) Nonsense! You look great. Doesn’t he…Lord Jeter?

JETER: Yes he does.

GRANDERSON: Oh, my gosh!

JETER: I find your lack of faith disturbing, young Granderson. But I sense the force is strong with you. Jim Leyland has taught you well, but now that you have joined me, together we will rule the American League and CRUSH all those who stand in our path! Can you feel the power coursing though you?

GRANDERSON: Yes…Lord Jeter.

(door flies open)


GRANDERSON: You've gotta be kidding me.

JETER: What is your bidding, my master?

STEINBRENNER: Get Billy Martin on the phone! I need his advice on the ponies. And tell Jackson and Mattingly that I’m not putting up with their hippie crap this year. And please…find my pills…

JETER: Yes…my master.

GRANDERSON: I don’t like it here.

CASHMAN: You’ll get used to it. Tell you what. (pulls wad of cash out of desk drawer) Let’s get some hookers and blow later. You’re a Yankee now, dammit.

GRANDERSON: Um, okay. No wonder Sheff was crazy.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Your Party Host Hates Hall of Fame Voters

"You screwed Bert! You screwed Bert!"

That's a dumb reference that maybe one of you will understand. Anyhoo...

I hate the entire Baseball Hall of Fame voting procedure. A bunch of bitter, old, white guys sort through their personal biases, opinions, and qualifications of what they think a Hall of Famer is. There is no accountability. There is no reasoning needed. These men, who played for so long at the game they loved, have their chance at being among the baseball immortals decided by a bunch of fat, talentless hacks that make their livings in a dying profession. And these guys have to answer to no one for their decisions.

You know who they are. They're the fellows in fedoras who huff and puff when the letters "OPS", "VORP", or "WARP" are used. If you say the word "blog" around them, they practically froth at the mouth about "losers typing away in their mother's basement" before showing their press pass to get to the free buffet and ignore the game. They have most likely written an article about how "gritty", "hard-nosed", and "pesky" David Eckstein is while calling Alex Rodriguez a "cancer".

They decide who goes into the Hall of Fame. And it is wrong.

I like Andre Dawson. He was a hell of a player. I don't mind him being in the Hall. But he doesn't belong in there, in my opinion. If you tell the "Story of Baseball", nothing will be missed if you leave Andre Dawson out. Why does he get in now, all of the sudden? Why wasn't he worthy the past few years, but now, suddenly, he is? Same with Jim Rice last year. It's a joke.

And I think the same applies for Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Barry Larkin, Tim Raines, and Edgar Martinez. Great players. I'm not going to raise a fuss if they ever get in. But they don't belong in there. And sorry, my friends...neither does Alan Trammell. Average from '77-'82, good in '83 and '84, bad in '85, good in '86, awesome in '87, good in '88, terrible in '89, good in '90, average in '91 and '92, good in '93, done from '94-'96. I idolized the man, but I think that's the problem...all Tiger fans did. He was the best that we had. But he wasn't one of the best that baseball has had.

Back to my issues with the voters, if I may. It's terrible that Bert Blyleven and Robbie Alomar didn't make it in. Blyleven has been being tortured by these pricks for years. His stats are unbelievable...he just played on terrible teams. And Alomar is the best second baseman baseball has seen since Joe Morgan. Offense, defense, speed, smarts, championships, etc. He was a beast that any team would have traded their second sacker for. But, he spit on an umpire once. So, they screw him over.

All I ask for is some accountability, because nothing else about this will ever change. The Hall has their own rules and they seem happy with it. It won't change, no matter how much Pete Rose and I wish it would. But, make these guys and their votes public, at least. Jack Morris has said most voters he has met have claimed they voted for him, though it is impossible once he did the math. I want to know which 7 guys voted for Robin Ventura. Which 2 voted for Ellis Burks? Which 2 voted for Eric Karros? Who were the guys that gave a vote to Kevin Appier, Pat Hentgen, and David Segui? These voters should be stripped of their voting rights and beaten to death with a tire iron while their families watch.

If they don't have to take it serious, why should I?

The "legit" sports media complains about bloggers not having to be accountable for anything. Fair enough. But shouldn't the "legit" media in charge of Hall of Fame voting be held accountable for their Hall voting? Frick and yes, I say.

I would really would like to hear it explained to me by them why Roberto Alomar, the best second baseman I have ever seen, is not a Hall of Famer...while Andre Dawson is. Please?

Anyway, congrats to you, Hawk. I guess.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The DNR 25: #22 Miguel Cabrera

Full Name
Jose Miguel Torres Cabrera


None (Maracay High School, Maracay, Venezuela)

1999, Amateur Free Agent, Florida Marlins

MLB Seasons

Tiger Seasons

Career Stats
.311, 209 HR, 753 RBI, .383 OBP, .542 SLG, 140 OPS+

Career Leaderboard
2004-2007 NL All-Star
2005: 2nd in NL hits (198)
2006: 2nd in NL batting average (.339)
2008: 1st in AL total bases (331)
2008: 1st in AL home runs (37)

Best Tiger Season
There’s only been two, but 2008’s numbers were better. Oddly enough, he finished 13th in the MVP voting that year compared to 4th last year. Still, Cabrera’s numbers last year with little support around him in the lineup are still outstanding.

Little Known Fact
He has started at least 100 MLB games at first base, third base, left field, and right field.

Reason For Being On The List
Quite simply, he is perhaps the greatest hitter the Tigers organization has ever seen. I’m in awe of him. Kaline and Cobb are immortals, but Cabrera is an all-around beast at the plate. Baseball-reference has his most similar batters at the age of 26 as Ken Griffey Jr, Hank Aaron, and Orlando Cepada. Not bad company. If he stays in Detroit another decade, he is going to be tops on many people’s lists of all-time Tigers.

Plus, he’s big. Dmitri, Jonesy, and now Cabrera. I promise that Jamie Walker won’t be the only Tiger on this list under 200 lbs.

What Happened To Him?
Point-two-six happened. He got drunk with White Sox players, got into a fight with his wife, had to be picked up from the police station by Double D, and became the scapegoat of the 2009 Detroit Tigers season.

Let it go, people. Miguel Cabrera is a once in a lifetime franchise player. The important question to ask is what will happen to him if we can ever offer him some protection in the lineup? Triple crown, anyone?

Only Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez are more gifted at the plate than Cabrera is, in my opinion. The best is yet to come. He screwed up. Let it go.

Miguel and his wife, Rosangel, live with their daughter in Birmingham, MI.

Info ripped off of and Wikipedia.
Pics via Google.