Monday, September 27, 2010

Your Party Host vs. Bad Tiger Articles: The Never Ending Battle Continues


By now, I’m pretty sure that any of you that come here to read about the Tigers aren’t expecting a serious in-depth analysis of the team. I usually try to keep things light, make a few jokes, and provide some entertainment on our favorite baseball team.

But sometimes, I do try to offer what limited insight that I might have into the Detroit baseball club. When I do, I try to remain consistent and actually provide some reasoning, whether it be stats or whatever, behind whatever I say. It only seems fair to do so. Simple, right?

When I offered my thoughts on the upcoming offseason, I suggested that we focus on getting Adrian Beltre to play third base next year, among other things. If not, I said I would reluctantly accept Brandon Inge as my second choice if Jhonny Peralta were kept at short. Then later, I offered my possible goodbye piece to Inge where I said something like “anyone but Inge” for third in a joking way. I don’t consider that a flip-flop…I think you all can judge when I’m being sarcastic by now.

But what I can’t stand are writers that don’t offer logical backup to their statements, or even worse, constantly flip-flop their positions on certain ideas…especially those that write for the big sites like the Detroit News or Free Press. No one is going there for a silly poop joke about Don Kelly like they do here. They want facts and serious journalism, in my opinion.

Jamie Samuelsen’s latest bit at the freep site is the kind of nonsense I’m talking about. Look, when Jamie wants to be, he can be okay. But when he’s bad…well, take a look after the jump.




By almost any measure, this season was a failure.

Why? Why does everyone keep calling 2010 a failure for the Tigers? When did we become Yankee fans and anything short of a World Series championship is a failure?

With seven games to go as of this writing, these guys have gone 80-75, including a Comerica Park record 52-29 at home, with a group of players that has seen eleven(!) rookies get playing time, by my count. (Avila, AJax, Boesch, Rhymes, Sizemore, Worth, Wells, Frazier, St. Pierre, Oliver, and Sborz, right?) This team was decimated by injuries to Bobby Seay, Zach Miner, Joel Zumaya, Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen, and Brandon Inge throughout the year. Most people picked them to finish .500 at best, even before the injuries. Even you, Jamie.

Read Jamie’s blog from March 3rd titled “Tigers Don’t Look Like a Playoff Team To Me”.

So how are they a failure when there were little to no expectations?

The Tigers won’t go to the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year. They plummeted in the second half for the fifth straight year -- all under Jim Leyland.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, Miss Lippy. You’re blaming Leyland now? You didn’t before.

Read Jamie’s blog from August 6th titled “Can’t Fault Jim Leyland for Tigers’ Fall”.

Or perhaps read his blog from July 19th titled “Jim Leyland Has to Get Tigers Going, Even Though It’s Not His Fault”.

And even Your Party Host, who has been very critical of the Marlboro Man for quite some time, has to admit that Leyland has done a phenomenal job managing this club in 2010. Sure, guys named Verlander, Scherzer, and Cabrera deserve most of the credit for the team’s success, but Leyland has been masterful at handling the injuries and inexperienced players he’s been handed this year.

His lineups, bullpen usage, and his ongoing campaign to make JV’s arm explode drive me mad, but I can’t argue with his results this year.

They showed little organizational depth to account for huge injuries to Joel Zumaya and Magglio Ordonez.

Phil Coke and Ryan Perry have done a pretty good job filling in at setup this year. And Zoom’s almost impossible to replace when he’s pitching to his potential.

But what a minute. Aren’t you the guy that wrote on January 27th a piece called “Tigers Simply Can’t Rely on Joel Zumaya at This Point”?

Yes…you are.

As for Ordonez, they had enough depth with Ryan Raburn’s second half production to pick up the slack somewhat for Maggs. Casper Wells has impressed since his call-up. What more do you want?  How many teams can just call up a Triple A player to easily replace their #3 hitter if he gets hurt?

None of them.  That's how many.

In fact, only one player (Justin Verlander) who was drafted and developed by Dave Dombrowski had a season that could be defined as above-average. That doesn’t say much for the strength of the franchise.

What is your definition of above average? Rick Porcello started poorly, but his second half has been well above average, in my opinion.

Want stats to show who’s above average? Brennan Boesch was red hot, then horrible. But overall, he’s been arguably the second-best position rookie in the AL this year, behind Austin Jackson, and has an above average OPS+ of 104 for the season. Ryan Perry (ERA+ of 110), Joel Zumaya (ERA+ of 162), Ryan Raburn (OPS+ of 120), and Casper Wells (OPS+ of 164) were all drafted by Dombrowski, too, if I’m not mistaken. Even human leprechaun, Will Rhymes, (despite his slightly below average OPS+ of 96) has been seen by seemingly every Tiger fan as a moderate success. He’s one of Dave’s guys.

But it wasn’t a complete loss. 2010 was a season to make determinations on guys -- either positive or negative. There were a lot of question marks heading into the year, and those questions have been answered. Austin Jackson can play. Max Scherzer can pitch. Adam Everett can’t play.

Read Jamie’s blog from April 14th titled “Don’t Expect Adam Everett to Lose His Job at Shortstop Anytime Soon”.  Adam was released less than two months later.

Ha. I’m a dick.

Dontrelle Willis can’t pitch. The whole season was built on a house of cards, and that house collapsed rather quickly. And the hope (stress: HOPE!) is that Dombrowski and his staff learned enough about enough guys that mistakes won’t be repeated.

We were what, a game back of first at the All Star break before the injury bug went on a biting spree? House of cards, my ass.

Learn your lesson, Double D! Don’t let your players get hurt next year!

The first order of business is to draft better -- each and every year.

Verlander, Perry, Oliver, Turner, etc…we’re doing much better than we were.

The teams that are contending right now (other than the Yankees) are there largely because they are able to count on guys from their own system who don’t cost the team as much earlier in their careers.

The Texas Rangers are in first place…that’s contending, right? Their best position players are Josh Hamilton (drafted by the Rays), Elvis Andrus (Braves), Vladimir Guerrero (Expos), Michael Young (Blue Jays), Nelson Cruz (Mets), and David Murphy (Red Sox). In fact, Ian Kinsler is the only position player to play in more than 80 games (97) that was drafted by the Rangers.

I will give you the fact that they did draft and keep three of their six main starters this year in Tommy Hunter, CJ Wilson, and Scott Feldman. But they wouldn’t be where they are now without making deals with/for Colby Lewis, Cliff Lee, and Rich Harden. (Yes I know that Lewis was originally drafted by Texas, but since then he went to Detroit, Oakland, and Japan. He doesn’t count in this context.)

Point is, you’re stupid.

The Reds are getting an MVP season from Joey Votto and solid support from Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto -- all home-grown guys.

It has nothing to do with catcher Ramon Hernandez (Athletics), second baseman Brandon Phillips and shortstop Orlando Cabrera (Montreal), third baseman Scott Rolen (Phillies), left fielder Jonny Gomes (Rays), ace Bronson Arroyo (Pirates), closer Francisco Cordero (Tigers), etc, etc, etc, OHMYGODYOU’REARETARD!

The Giants are contending in the West because four-fifths of their sterling starting rotation is guys they drafted and developed, and their catcher (Buster Posey) is the favorite for Rookie of the Year.

Impressive. You forgot their awesome closer Brian Wilson, too. He’s probably been their most impressive pitcher of all this year.  They drafted him.

But again, it’s not like the Giants are all home grown stars. You have to hit and play defense, too.

Their best hitter this year is Aubrey Huff, he of Tiger failure last year, who was originally drafted by Tampa. I think he’s had something to do with the Giants’ success. So has Pat Burrell (Phillies), Freddy Sanchez (Red Sox), Andres Torres (Tigers), Aaron Rowand (White Sox), Juan Uribe (Rockies), Edgar Renteria (Marlins), and Bengie Molina (Angels).

You’re always going to need to add pieces through trades and free agency, but the Tigers' base has been really poor this decade.

Verlander, Porcello, Turner, Oliver, Perry, Granderson…

Hell, even Maybin and Miller led to the trade for Miguel Cabrera. Bonus.

That has to change. But the draft isn’t until next spring, so there are other orders of business first.

Can’t wait.

Will the Tigers be buyers or will they stand pat?

Buyers. They can’t field a team if they stand pat. You’re silly.

Is the salary where they want it to be (it better not be, with all the money coming off after this season) or do they plan to build it up?

$70 million-ish coming off the books? Pretty sure they’re going to spend.

Last winter was pretty good, thanks to the additions of Jackson, Scherzer and Jose Valverde.

You didn’t think so on December 16th with your piece called “Tigers’ Off Season Deserves an “F” or Worse”. How about December 9th when you wrote “Tigers Violeted Pact With Fans By Giving Up on 2010” after trading your hero, Granderson.

Asshat.

But it was disjointed from the start. At first, they seemed to be in the cost-saving mode by dumping Placido Polanco and trading Curtis Granderson. (The Granderson move proved to be a good one. The Polanco move, not a good one).

Read Jamie’s blog from December 4th titled “Tigers Were Wise to Let Go of Aging Polanco”.

This is fun.

Also, Polanco missed a lot of time to injury this year and has played in only 129 games. In those 129 games, he has put up an OPS+ of 93…Rhymes has out Polanco’d even Polanco in his time in Detroit.

God help me, I just made a positive statement about Tinkerbell.

DAMN YOU, SAMUELSEN!

Then they got aggressive and greedy in going after Valverde and Damon.

Greedy? Read Jamie’s blog from February 22nd titled “Damon Signing is a Good One, but What is the Plan for the Tigers”.

Or maybe the one before that on February 12th titled “Hey, Tigers Might as Well Get Johnny Damon”.

Before that was January 15th’s one titled “Jose Valverde is Nice (And Johnny Damon Would Be), But Tigers Still Aren’t Contenders”.

And Valverde and Damon were two of the positive spots of 2010. What are you even talking about?

When they have a clear plan in place that all parties promise to follow, they need to go down the list of current guys and make some calls.

“Hey, Bondo. It’s Dave. We’re going to sign a pitcher this offseason that’s not fricking terrible. Die in a church fire. Seeya.”

“Hey, G-Money! How ya doin’? It’s Dave. We found a catcher that can hit better than an eight year old. Go to hell.”

“Brandon! My man! It’s Double D! Hey, Beltre signed with us. Good luck with the Orioles.”

There is a strong emotion out there to simply ditch all the current guys and start over. But that’s hasty and unrealistic. If you dump Ordonez, Bonderman, Peralta, Gerald Laird and Inge, you’re left with gaping holes on your roster that will be impossible to fill with better talent.

Impossible? Really? Not that hard. Dave has been known to pull trades out of nowhere before. But I assume that you mean the free agent market. Okay…

For the record, I want to re-sign Ordonez.  But though I love Magglio more than I love beer and possibly my son, he is not irreplaceable. Carl Crawford, Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Jason Kubel, and Jayson Werth are probably better than Maggs at this point in his career. If you include DH’s, toss in Vladimir Guerrero, David Ortiz, Hideki Matsui, and possibly Jim Thome, too.

Jeremy Bonderman is garbage. I would rather see Bronson Arroyo, Jorge De La Rosa, Freddy Garcia, Jon Garland, Rich Harden, Aaron Harang, Cliff Lee, and about two dozen other free agent starters before Bondo in the D next year. Even Andy Oliver, ready or not.

Peralta? I want him to return, so I’m not going to argue with you there, though I could if I wanted to with shortstops Orlando Cabrera, Alex Gonzalez, Omar Infante, and Miguel Tejada.

Laird should have been taken out and shot in the face in June. Rod Barajas, Josh Bard, John Buck, Ramon Hernandez, Victor Martinez, AJ Pierzynski, Yorvit Torrealba, and Jason Varitek are all free agents better than G-Money.

As for Inge, as I said, I’m a Beltre guy. If he goes elsewhere and Peralta’s going to play short, I can see bringing Inge back for another year.

The Tigers have the makings of a very good rotation.

Makings? I think most teams would kill for JV, Max, and Porcello in the rotation in 2011.

They'll have a decent bullpen, with a little help. They have the best hitter in the AL in Miguel Cabrera. And they have a suitable leadoff man in Jackson. They need to get better. But taking two steps back to take one step forward is counterproductive.

How is not re-signing free agents that were ineffective or getting older, when there are better options out there, counterproductive or your little step analogy?

You’re talking nonsense.

Damon should go. He’ll demand too much money for the player he is now.

Maybe.

But “the player he is now”? Damon is second to Cabrera on the team in on base percentage of guys that have played in at least 85 games. That’s his job…to get on base. Plus, he has been invaluable as a mentor to the young guys and a team leader. I think he’s been a lot like Kenny Rogers was to the young 2006 Tiger pitching staff. Damon’s been a success.

But yeah, you’re right. He should go. But not for your reasoning. He should go because our lineup needs another power bat, preferably in the DH spot. We don’t need any more table setters. We’ve got AJax and Rhymes/Sizemore for that. Sorry, Johnny. Take $2 million to come off the bench and you can stay forever, though.

Laird should go, too. He offers nothing offensively nor defensively, at this point.

I am not a Laird fan. But to say he offers nothing defensively is like saying that cigarettes offer nothing to the chances of Jim Leyland dying sooner rather than later.

But I’d take a good look at Inge at third.

You’ve had eleven years to look at Inge. He sucks out loud.

And I’d take a good look at Bonderman as well.

Good gawd, how much more do you need to see? Bondo’s a dumpster fire.

He’ll never be the ace we envisioned in the early 2000s. But he still has ability

He does?  Richard Bernstein can see that Bonderman's beyond pathetic nowadays.

and could round out the rotation.

In Pittsburgh, maybe.

And I’d make Inge an offer and essentially call his bluff on how badly he wants to play in Detroit.

So sick of defending guys that I hate. Inge is not bluffing. The man loves Detroit and has done more for than the community than any Tiger I have ever seen. He just sucks at hitting a baseball and is never going to get better at it.

I don’t believe in Santa Claus. I don’t believe in the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, or the concept of marriage. But I do believe that Brandon Inge would truly like to end his career as a Tiger. It’s a shame that he’s so terrible. Otherwise, I’d be all about re-signing him for life.

He’s a star here. I’ve spent years trying to understand it, but it’s true. He’d be a star in no other market in the majors.

Bull. With his glove and America’s love for goofy little white guys, Inge would win over any non-New York team within a week.

They’d probably name a street after him in Boston.

“I-ah live at the cornah of Inge and WELKAH!”

There’s something to be said for that, and he might want to talk to Ben Wallace before he thinks of taking his glove somewhere else.

It’s not his choice, dickhead. It’s up to the Tigers.

And Ben Wallace got rich, ripping the Bulls off for $60 million over four years when he left Detroit. I’m sure he’s fine with the decision he made.

Tiger fans will not tolerate a long rebuilding plan.

They’ve technically been rebuilding since 1987. Haven’t won a World Series since 1984. Attendance averaged well over 30,000 this year. The fans don’t care.

And with studs such as Verlander and Cabrera in the fold, they shouldn’t.

And how did you go from talking about keeping crappy players versus going after new free agents and end up with rebuilding? Who said they were in rebuilding mode?

Well, other than me being a wiseass a second ago…

That said, I’d be more inclined to take my lumps for a year or so as opposed to just going out and throwing money at a guy like Adrian Beltre, whose numbers seem awfully inflated in a contract year.

Beltre’s OPS+ the past five years: 105, 112, 108, 83, 141. That “83” season, he was hurt much of the year. Healthy again, he’s killed the ball this year. Add in the fact that he’s probably the best defensive third baseman in the AL and I’m prepared to throw money at him rather than Inge or any of the other clowns available.

Dombrowski had a glorious year in 2006, and he has had some tough years since. But he pulled off a gem in the Granderson trade because it subtracted salary and added depth.

A trade that you hated at the time. Everyone did. Except me…and Lynn Henning.

The only time we’ve ever agreed on anything, in fact.

The salary is irrelevant. The depth isn’t. It may not be possible, but he should look to make a similar move this winter.

And your suggestion is? Oh…you don’t have one. No one ever does. This is why I continue to mock you guys.

One bat won’t change the Tigers for 2011. But add a bat, an arm or two and a glove, and we might have something.

Flip-flop! Again! What the frick?

Earlier in THIS VERY ARTICLE you said:

There is a strong emotion out there to simply ditch all the current guys and start over. But that’s hasty and unrealistic.

And now you want to add a bat, an arm or two, and a glove?

Go. Away.

Please quit writing about the Tigers. I’m sure you’re a nice guy and all, but you’re terrible at this.

Now, I don’t always agree with Kurt at Bless You Boys. The same is true with John at Motor City Bengals, Bill at the Detroit Tigers Weblog when he was writing, Ian wherever he’s writing this week, or Lee at Tiger Tales. But all of them remain consistent with their thoughts and provide logical backup to their opinions that I can at least respect and understand.

Is it too much to ask that the “big boys” of Tiger journalism at the Freep or News do the same?

If small-time bloggers are stereotyped as idiots living in their mothers’ basements, why aren’t the writers at the major sites looked at as hacks writing from an outhouse?

It would make sense since a great deal of what they continue to produce is nothing but sh-t.

2 comments:

Kurt said...

Wow, now that was a butt kicking. I know I was mad at the offseason trade. It's not like Granderson is a future hall of famer or something but realistically it's very hard to replace a player of his caliber with a prospect. But it worked and I mea culpa'd. Even discounting Jackson's future seasons it was a great investment that helps set some things up.

The old media really have to wake up. I expected to get no love for the Will Rhymes interview and that's what I got. You'd think the Freep's readers would want to see another side of a player. Unfortunately the Freep thinks its readers should read the semi-informed opinions of its own bloggers or the completely uninformed opinion of some hack in Midland. Crazy.

Keep keeping 'em honest, it's the most fun on the internet.

Rogo said...

Kurt-

As always, thanks. I was wondering if the Freep would be interested in the Rhymes piece. Seems like a natural fit for them. Idiots.

Keep up the great work.