Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Catfight: 2008 Tigers vs. 2012 Tigers
And anyhoooo...with the Tigers being such heavy favorites to win the AL Central this year, several lazy journalists have pointed out how it’s similar to 2008 when Detroit was also a big favorite. As we all know, that team finished at the back of the pack with a 74-88 record. Also, that team was nothing like this one, if you take into account things like logic and a simple understanding of baseball.
That 2008 team had dreadful pitching. It had multiple guys on the wrong sides of their primes. Comparing the ’08 team to this group is like comparing apples and tampons, in my opinion.
But I could be wrong. Maybe I’ve been sniffing too much glue this week. (Is it possible to sniff too MUCH glue? So intoxicating…)
The only fair way to figure this out is in what we call around these parts a nice CATFIGHT. 2008 Tigers vs. 2012 Tigers. Bring it.
2008: Ivan Rodriguez
2012: Alex Avila
Advantage: 2012. Avila’s coming off a year where he started the All-Star game for the AL and is one of the most pleasant surprises to emerge on the Tigers in years. Pudge, while a big name, put up very pedestrian numbers in ’08 as it was obvious to everyone but himself that his prime was over. He’s still in denial four years later.
2008: Miguel Cabrera
2012: Prince Fielder
Advantage: Push. Mig hit .292 with 37 homers and 127 RBI. Prince has shown that he can do the same. Both suck like a Hilton sister on defense.
2008: Placido Polanco
2012: Ramon Santiago
Advantage: 2008. Mr. Potato Head’s defense and clutch hitting has yet to be replaced since his departure from the D. Ramon is a nice little player, but he’s never played full time and will be splitting time with Brandon Inge and Ryan Raburn. Polly doesn’t go over huge here, like many would say, but I think he’s definitely the better choice.
2008: Carlos Guillen
2012: Miguel Cabrera
Advantage: 2012. Carlos’ career was beginning to enter his “on the DL every three weeks” phase. Cabrera is in the prime of his career and the best hitter in baseball not named Pujols.
2008: Edgar Renteria
2012: Jhonny Peralta
Advantage: 2012. Renteria was a bust in the D while Peralta has enjoyed a career rebirth. Not even close.
2008: Marcus Thames
2012: Ryan Raburn
Advantage: 2008. Thames wasn’t much on defense, but Ryno is a walking punchline in the field. Marcus hit 25 homers in 2008. Raburn might hit 20, but 18 will be after August 1st.
2008: Curtis Granderson
2012: Austin Jackson
Advantage: 2008. Grandy hit .280 with 22 homers. Jackson strikes out 280 times a season with 8 homers. Jackson has the advantage on defense, but he’s still not at ’08 Granderson’s level yet overall on the offensive side.
2008: Magglio Ordonez
2012: Brennan Boesch
Advantage: 2008. Maggs hit .317 with 20 homers and 103 RBI in ’08. Boesch is being hyped up as a guy that may do something similar this season. But until he proves he can play a full productive season, Magglio is the big winner here.
2008: Gary Sheffield
2012: Delmon Young
Advantage: 2012. Sheff's numbers took a nosedive in '08. Delmon is entering his prime and is a force at the plate. Just keep him off of the the field on D.
2008: Inge, Joyce, Raburn, Santiago
2012: Inge, Kelly, Laird, Dirks
Advantage: 2012. At first, I leaned towards 2008’s group due to Joyce’s pop. Then, I decided a push was the way to go since Dirks is capable of doing the same. But the more I thought about it, I think that one of the real intriguing things about this year’s club is its flexibility. We literally could see a different lineup every day this season without losing anything, other than when Kelly gets his 50 annoying starts to make Leyland happy. That 2008 team's flexibility was crippled by Sheff’s ability to do nothing but hit and complain. So I’m giving it to 2012 for the bench being so important to the team’s success.
2008: Verlander, Galarraga, Robertson, Rogers, Bonderman
2012: Verlander, Fister, Porcelo, Scherzer, Below
Advantage: 2012. This should count for ten advantages. The ’08 rotation was beyond horrible, including Verlander. Armando, at 13-7 with a 3.73 ERA was the only decent one in the bunch. Any of this year’s crop, including Below/Turner/Wilk/Whoever would have had a chance of being the ace of the ’08 staff.
2008: Todd Jones
2012: Jose Valverde
Advantage: 2012. Jose Valverde trumps Todd Jones any day.
2008: Miner, Lopez, Rodney, Seay, Dolsi, Fossum
2012: Benoit, Dotel, Coke, Schlereth, Ballester, Pauley
Advantage: 2012. Again, pitching is the real reason that 2008 team failed. It wasn’t all Sheff and Renteria’s fault, as many would lead you to believe.
2012 beats 2008 by a score of 8-4-1, and due to the pitching, it shouldn’t have even been that close.
It wouldn’t be baseball without the doom-and-gloom crowd trying to scare us all. But to compare this team to 2008’s is bad, even for them. Next time you see that happen, email the author and tell them to get AIDS and fall into a tar pit. Twice.