Sunday, November 30, 2008

All Is Quiet...

Tiger Yawning Pictures, Images and Photos
Yawn.

It seems like everyone (including me) is running out of things to talk about concerning the Tigers until they actually do something this offseason, but here's a couple things to check out that you may not have seen yet.

Jayson Stark gives a great overview of the Tigers heading into the offseason. First it'll depress you, then you might feel a bit better towards the end. That's always nice.

Larry Dobrow is kind of a prick when talking about the team.

Lee over at Tiger Tales discusses Pitching Runs and points out...get this...Nate Robertson finished at -37.5...the worst in the American League. Good stuff, Lee. I appreciate anything in proving my point that Nate should be shot.

Morosi is still employed at the Freep and kicks Lions fans while they're down comparing them to the 2003 Tigers.

Finally, and this one is from a couple weeks ago, DesigNate was apparently trying to find his slider at Lindbergh Elementary School. That's sweet...but I still want you released, buddy.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Tigers Christmas Poem

Christmas Tiger Pictures, Images and Photos
Thanksgiving's over and that puts us officially into the holiday season. Hooray. Since the Tigers haven't offered us any gifts yet this offseason, I give you mine. Sure, it's early, but everyone's been good this year, right?

A Visit From St. Leyland
Twas the night before Christmas,
At Comerica Park.
Not a deal had been reported,
The fans being left in the dark.

Dave Dombrowski was nestled,
All snug in his bed,
While visions of Julio Lugo,
Danced in his head.

When at the front door,
There arose such a clatter!
Dave jumped out of bed,
To see what was the matter.

Through the halls of his mansion,
He flew like a flash,
But stopped at a bookcase,
To hide Magglio's bonus cash.

Approaching the front door,
He thought he would choke.
The stench was of cheap whiskey,
And cigarette smoke.

And who when opening
The front door would appear?
It was a wasted Jim Leyland,
His face twisted in fear.

He'd been drinking all day,
His roster made him feel ill.
So to Dave's house he went,
And he was going for the kill.

"Screw Lugo, Screw Jack Wilson,
Forget Cora and Khalil!
No more Sheffields or Edgars,
This time make a GOOD deal!"

"And find me a catcher!
You traded mine for The Farns!
Dusty Ryan couldn't hit
The broad side of a barn."

"My bullpen's in shambles,
And that Willis, I do hate!
And do me a favor,
Release that worthless punk, Nate."

Jim paused at this point,
Took a swig from his flask.
He lit up a Marlboro,
His fury not able to mask.

He pointed at Dave,
And let you a yell!
"If you fire me for YOUR mess,
You'll be burning in hell!"

"When I started with this team,
They hadn't won a thing!
An embarassment on the field,
And owned by the Pizza King."

"Then you brought over Pudge,
Got Rogers and Maggs.
But the guys we have now,
Are nothing more than scumbags!"

"Sheffield is done,
Now that he has to pee in a cup.
And that idiot, Bonderman,
Still can't learn a changeup."

"Inge's batting average,
Still at the Mendoza line.
And do I have to start Ramon?
He should be riding the pine."

"Just give me something!
A Fuentes or a Furcal.
Just no more Gary Glovers,
He throws too much like a gal."

"Just help me out, Dave.
I don't care what you pay.
I mean, for crissakes...
I'm smoking four packs a day!"

"What the hell's wrong with you?"
Dave let you with a yell.
"If I liked to be losing,
We'd still have Buddy Bell!"

"I gave you winning pieces,
And this ballclub's become cursed!
I mean pick Guillen's position!
Is it left, third, or first?"

"Be harder on these guys!
And teach them to win!
Now, get off of my property,
And don't come back here again!"

Dave slammed closed the door,
And let out a sigh.
He somehow felt better,
And didn't know if to laugh or to cry.

But out on the lawn,
Leyland felt like a sap.
So he dropped down his pants,
And on the porch left a big crap.

And now finally leaving,
Final words Jim had gasped:
"Screw you Dave Dombrowski!
Thanks to you we'll still be last!"

Here's to a happy holiday season, kids. I wish you all the best. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tigers in USA Today Sports Weekly

detroit tigers Pictures, Images and Photos
This week's issue of USA Today Sports Weekly has organizational reports for the Tigers and Giants. To save you the $1.75 you'd have to drop to check it out, here's some highlights.

-We need help at shortstop, catcher, and in the bullpen. Also, the sky is blue, water is wet, and Ozzie Guillen is a nutjob. Thanks a lot, USA Today.

-Interesting note: In 2005, our highest paid player was, my lord and savior, Bobby Higginson at $8.9 million. This year, Dontrelle Willis, Carlos Guillen, Jeremy Bonderman, Gary Sheffield, Miguel Cabrera, and Magglio Ordonez all have salaries between $10 million and $18 million.

-DD on why Verlander sucked this year: "If we knew, we would have fixed it at the time. He just has to pitch better." Mr. D...I keep defending you on my crappy blog. Don't make dumb comments like this anymore. You sound like a moron.

-DD thinks part of Dontrelle's problem this year could have been the Tigers adjusting his delivery. Translation: "Chuck Hernandez is a piece of dog crap." I guess Chuck taking the rap is better than saying Willis was 25 pounds overweight all year and you should have seen him pitch before giving that extension, huh, David?

-Renteria, Guillen, and Cabrera sucked at defense last year. Yes, they pretty much point out the obvious throughout this three page spread.

-The last page is a prospect report with bits on Iorg, Worth, Porcello, Larish, Strieby, Rhymes, Fien, Kibler, Marte, and Simons. Thankfully, they didn't compare Rhymes to David Eckstein. Scariest bit on all of them? Their comment about Casey Fien: "His biggest challenge is to be consistent in keeping the ball down in the zone." Uh oh...

-Overall, I actually feel a bit better about the club than I did in my last post where I basically declared the team a sinking ship. Check it out if you've got seven quarters burning a hole in your pocket.

Other than that, have a Happy Thanksgiving. I'm pretty sure all of our $10 million men will be.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Future in Detroit

pink crystal ball Pictures, Images and Photos
With all eyes on what moves DD will make to get us competitive for the 2009 season, I'm actually more worried about what will happen AFTER the '09 campaign. The only big name in the minors is (please don't get hurt) Rick Porcello. But this team is getting old everywhere except first base and center field. Take a look.

C: Um, yeah.
1B: Miguel Cabrera (26 in April, signed through '15)
2B: Placido Polanco (33 and contract up after '09)
3B: Brandon Inge (32 in May, contract up in '10)
SS: Um...sigh.
LF: Carlos Guillen (33, broken down, signed through '11)
CF: Curtis Granderson (28 in March, signed through '12)
RF: Magglio Ordonez (35 in January, signed through '11)
DH: Gary Sheffield (40, up after '09)

The pitching is still fairly young...but is it any good? Will Verlander, Rodney, and Zumaya ever pitch like they did in 2006 again? Will Bonderman ever get over the hump? Will Nate and Dontrelle remember how to pitch better than a AA call up?

If we don't get something done in 2009, this team is in trouble. Expect guys to be dumped in Pudge-like fashion if they play like the '08 season. Do you expect Polonco to be back in 2010? I don't. Guillen? They probably wish he would retire now. Gary...well, we all know what they think there. Magglio may not be traded now, but I don't see him spending much more than another year in D-Town. How's this for your 2011 Tigers team?

C: Dusty Ryan
1B: Miguel Cabrera
2B: Scott Sizemore
3B: Jeff Larish
SS: Cale Iorg
LF: Casper Wells
CF: Curtis Granderson
RF: Matt Joyce
DH: Maggs/Carlos: whoever isn't traded/injured

Scary. Obviously, a lot can change. When we get out from under these Magglio, Nate, Dontrelle, Carlos, and Inge contracts, there will be cash to spend on free agents. Trades can be made. But will DD be around long enough to get to that point? Should he be? Will the young pitching in the minors develop enough to carry us in the coming years? Will I ever become an optimist?

The future looks bleak. I hope my crystal ball is just broken.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Being Patient With Double D

dave dombriow Pictures, Images and Photos
I met Mike Ilitch once. In 1999, I was 22 and a General Manager for Little Caesar's Pizza. (Shut up.) They had this big convention in Detroit and at one point, they had managers from all over the country wait in a big line to meet Mr. Ilitch and get a picture taken with him. I waited my turn and when it was my turn to step up, I grasped his hand in a firm handshake as he said to me, "Hi, how are you doing?" My response? "I'd be doing a lot better if you'd fire Randy Smith, sir." Mr. Ilitch let out a nervous chuckle, smiled for the picture, and sent me along without another word. I never did get that picture sent to me.

Dave Dombrowski was the man in charge in 2006 for the most enjoyable season I've ever had as a Tigers fan. I'll never forget him for that. He's the man that brought us Pudge and Magglio. He traded a convict for Placido Polanco. Double D's done a pretty good job and has had some tough times in the past year. People are all over him for bringing us Gary Sheffield's mood swings, Dontrelle Willis' wildness, and Edgar Renteria's...um, skills. But I'm willing to give DD a chance to dig us out of this hole. I've seen worse. I was a Tigers fan for the tenure of Randy Smith.

Randy Smith was the Tigers GM from late 1995 until 2001. He came to us for some reason after being a terrible GM in San Diego. The 1996-2001 MLB Drafts of Randy Smith produced 26 players that would go on to the majors in some form or another. 26 guys...out of 277 total draft choices. Of those 26, 2 still remain on the Tigers roster: Brandon Inge ('98) and Ryan Raburn ('01). He drafted Jeff Weaver in '98. Other than that, Randy Smith didn't find one decent player to contribute for the Tigers. (Jason Frasor, the reliable Blue Jays reliever, was selected by Smith in '99, but was traded later with Tom Farmer to the Dodgers for Hiram Bocachica. Good move, Randy.) Smith passed on guys like Roy Oswalt, Travis Hafner, Lance Berkman, Michael Young, CC Sabathia, Carl Crawford, Justin Morneau, Albert Pujols, Jake Peavy, and Grady Sizemore over the years. Of course, he wasn't the only GM to do so, but come on...in seven drafts you couldn't find ONE above average player?

Our records the Randy Smith years?
'96: 53-109
'97: 79-83
'98: 65-97
'99: 66-92
'00: 79-83
'01: 66-96

This, of course, bled over into the '03 season where mostly Smith's guys gave us the infamous 43-119 season. What is it with Detroit teams and their GM's?

Smith pulled off some of the oddest trades I've ever seen. He traded David Wells for Mark Lewis, CJ Nitkowski, and Dave Tuttle. He dealt Cecil Fielder to the Yankees for Ruben Sierra and Matt Drews. He traded Travis Fryman for Gabe Alverez and...Matt Drews again. We had a young Luis Gonzalez, but Gonzo was dealt (with cash) to Arizona for Karim Garcia. Phil Nevin could've been a Tiger star, but he and Matt Walbeck were sent to Anaheim for Nick Skuse. Who? He was the mastermind behind bringing Juan Gonzalez here against his will along with Gregg Zaun and Danny Patterson for Frank Catalanotto, Justin Thompson, Francisco Cordero, Gabe Kapler, Bill Haselman, and Alan Webb. And my favorite Randy Smith trades...let's just say the man has a weird love/hate thing with Brad Ausmus.

6/96: Traded John Flaherty and Chris Gomez for Brad Ausmus, Andujar Cedeno, and Russ Spear.
12/96: Traded Brad Ausmus, Jose Lima, Trevor Miller, CJ Nitkowski, and Daryle Ward for Doug Brocail, Brian Hunter, Todd Jones, and Orlando Miller
1/99: Traded Paul Bako, Brian Powell, Carlos Villalobos, Mark Persails, and Dean Crow for Brad Ausmus and CJ Nitkowski.
12/00: Traded Ausmus, Nelson Cruz, and Doug Brocail for Roger Cedeno, Chris Holt, and Mitch Meluskey.

Seriously, what was the point of all of that? Only Randy Smith knows.


The point is, everyone and their brother is getting impatient with DD already this offseason because he hasn't begun gobbling up free agents as of yet. Dave's being patient so far and I trust he'll do what he can with his budget restrictions. Yes, he has created much of the mess that he's dealing with right now, but I'm willing to chill out, be patient, and let the man do his job. We're so far above where we used to be...give the man a chance before putting him on the hot seat.

I remember Randy Smith. Double D...you are no Randy Smith. Do what you've got to do.

Oh...and if you can, let Mr. I know that I'm still waiting for that picture.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NL MVP Thoughts

pujOls Pictures, Images and Photos
Allow me to take a break from my usual pondering of which borderline AAA ballplayer the Tigers will attempt to sign to pitch the 7th inning or hit in front of Brandon Inge. I'd like to address the b.s. Skip Bayless and the 2 Live Stew guys were shoveling on ESPN First Take today. During the 1st and 10 segment of the program, all three guys were saying that Albert Pujols shouldn't have won the NL MVP award. Their choices?

Skip: Ryan Howard
Stew #1: Manny Ramirez
Stew #2: Brad Lidge

Let me begin by quickly dismissing the two Stew choices. (Sorry, I'm not that familiar with these guys.) Manny was wonderful as a Dodger, but he played in 53 games. He was a beast in those 53 games, but 53 games does not make a MVP. The Dodgers had magnificent pitching all year long and that is why they won the NL West...the worst division in baseball. Their .519 winning percentage would've had them finish 5th in the NL Central and 4th in the NL East. So, sorry, Manny. Enjoy your gazillions you will be getting in the offseason.

Stew #2's case for Lidge was that he was 41 for 41 in save opportunities and had 7 saves in the postseason. First off, the postseason doesn't count. As someone paid to offer your professional opinion, you should know this. Write for the Free Press if you don't. As for the 41 saves, that's impressive. As a Tiger fan, believe me, I would kill for a guy like that in the pen. But the save is truly the most overrated stat in baseball. You can give up a run or two and still get a save. That's not that big of a deal unless your first name is "Todd" or "Fernando". Bobby Thigpen had 57 of them one year and he was a bad pitcher.

Back to you, Skip. Most people hate Skip Bayless. He's arrogant and can be annoying, but I usually like the guy. Watching him and Steven A. Smith argue about stuff is entertaining to me because I have no life outside of watching my son break stuff. But saying that Ryan Howard deserves the MVP over Albert Pujols is like saying "Sure, we'll trade you Jurrjens for Renteria...AND we'll throw in another prospect, too!" It may have sounded good coming out of your mouth at the time, but if you actually put some thought into it, you'd realize that you are a moron. And you may have a large dimple in your chin.

Before I turn into stat dork, let me address Skip's main arguement: Howard's team made the playoffs and Pujols' team didn't. SHUT UP ON THIS CRAP! A couple posts ago, I pointed out that Luis Sojo had 4 World Series rings. Did HE win them all? No, he was on good teams in New York! Is it Albert Pujols' fault that that Cardinals' best pitcher was Kyle Lohse? In baseball, one player does not make a winning team. Ask Miguel Cabrera. Hell, four players does not make a team. Ask Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, Curtis Granderson, and Armando Galarraga. You need a great complete TEAM to make the playoffs. Ryan Howard was surrounded this year by guys like Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Pat Burrell, Cole Hamels, Mr. Lidge, and other guys that had great years. Pujols had, um...Ryan Ludwick? I watched him play for the Mud Hens a couple years ago...great move letting him go, DD. But I'm off the point...GIVE ME STATS!

Avg--AP: .357 RH: .251
HR--AP: 37 RH: 48
RBI--AP: 116 RH: 146
OPS: AP: 1.114 RH: .881
2B: AP: 44 RH: 26
BB: AP: 104 RH: 81
K: AP: 54 RH: 199!

And most important...

VORP: AP: 98.7!!! RH: 36.6

Hell, Cabrera's VORP was 42.7.

Ryan Howard, congrats. You had a great year. You hit a lot of homeruns. You had an all-star team batting in front of you and got a lot of RBIs. But you are in no way the NL most valuable player when Albert Pujols is putting up video game numbers like that.

(FUN RELATED STAT: Howard stuck out 199 times last year. Manny Ramirez had only 187 official at bats with the Dodgers.)

And Skip? Stick to picking on Lebron James for shooting too many three pointers. At least you have my support when you do that.

And finally, enjoy your MVP, Mr. Pujols. You deserved it for being the personification of awesome last year. (I still hate you and your friends for 2006, though. Bastard.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Nate vs. Dontrelle

Nate Robertson Pictures, Images and PhotosVS.dontrelle willis Pictures, Images and Photos

Yeah, it's about the supposed trade. Willis or Nate for the immortal Julio Lugo. Is it legit or just the rumblings of people needing to talk about SOMETHING when there is nothing going on? Hell if I know. But since I decided to name my little sounding board of Tiger nonsense "DesigNate Robertson", I figured I'd chime in. It's either that or do something productive with my afternoon and I just can't have that.

Let's start with Mr. Lugo. He's 33 years old and sucks at baseball. Here's some stats from the past three years.

2008 Boston: 82 gaes, .268, 1, 22, 34 steals, 6.9 VORP
2007 Boston: 147 games, .237, 8, 73, 33 steals, -1.3 VORP
2006 Tampa: 73 games, .308, 12, 27, 18 steals, 31.3 VORP
2006 Los Angeles: 49 games, .219, 0, 10, 6 steals, -10.3 VORP

Yeah, he's terrible. Can't field either. He can steal a base, but that's not that great when you struggle to GET on base. Boston overpaid for him and doesn't need him anymore. We owe a bunch of money to two pitchers who cannot seem to pitch anymore. Thus, the rumored trade. Boston likes to try and bring pitchers back from the dead. Guys like Bartolo Colon, Matt Clement, and others have gotten looks from the Sawx the past couple years. So, who are we potentially giving up?

Nate Robertson, 31 years old

2008: 7-11, 6.35 ERA, -16.8 VORP, 1.66 WHIP, 5.76 K/9
2007: 9-13, 4.76 ERA, 19.6 VORP, 1.47 WHIP, 6.03 K/9
2006: 13-13, 3.84 ERA, 42.4 VORP, 1.37 WHIP, 5.91 K/9

OR

Dontrelle Willis, 26 years old

2008: 0-2, 9.38 ERA, -9.8 VORP, 2.21 WHIP, 1.39 K/9
2007: 10-15, 5.17 ERA, 0.7 VORP, 1.60 WHIP, 6.4 K/9
2006: 12-12, 3.87 ERA, 40.5 VORP, 1.42 WHIP, 6.45 K/9

What does this tell us? Well, as recently as 2006, both of our boys were decent pitchers. 2007 saw them both start to slip, followed by 2008 where they both experienced a nightmare of a season. Nate suddenly forgot how to throw his slider and got smacked around like he was in club with a Kansas City Chief running back. Dontrelle seemed to gain the weight that Miguel Cabrera lost and had the control of Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn with a blindfold on. However, Dontrelle is only 26 years old and you'd hate to give up on a guy that young who has shown brilliance in the past.

Still, my thoughts on doing this trade depend on two things. First, is Double D going to sign a free agent starter to follow Verlander, Bondo, Galarraga? Don't make us go with Zach Minor and whoever's left after the trade. Second, and more importantly, what does new pitching coach Rick Knapp think about this? I'd really like to see Mr. First Pitch Strike get some time to work with Nate and Dontrelle before we give up on them for the likes of Julio Freakin' Lugo when we have a better shortstop than him in Ramon Santiago already on the team.

Despite this blog's title, I don't hate Nate Robertson. I hated his performance last season. He is my poster boy for the Detroit Tigers' 2008 season. Nate is active in the Detroit community, lives in the area, works with kids, and seems like a really good person. Thanks to him, the city of Detroit's bubble gum sales went up 450% in 2006. The same goes for Dontrelle. Every teammate of his that I've seen make comments about him says that Willis is an awesome guy. He works with the community, too, and took his Single A demotion better than anyone else in MLB would have last year.

So, no, I don't want to see Nate or Dontrelle traded for Julio Lugo. There, I said it. KEEP NATE ROBERTSON...unless you can unload him for someone that can at least out-hit Brandon Inge.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Will Rhymes, I'm Sorry

Jon Paul Morosi wrote this. In honor of my favorite sports website closing down, I'll break it down for you. Morosi has done the ultimate sin in sportswriting. He's comparing Tigers prospect, Will Rhymes, to David Eckstein. His words are in bold...

MESA, Ariz. -- He reminds me a little of David Eckstein.

It is a stock response, dispensed by scouts and teammates alike, when asked about Tigers prospect Will Rhymes.

So Rhymes is terrible at baseball. Is that the point of this article?

What does it mean? Well, it could be a way to declare one's admiration for Rhymes' pesky, energetic, endearing style of play. It also may be a polite way of saying, I'm not sure he's going to be a big leaguer, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he will prove me wrong.

It sounds to me like lazy, stupid scouts compare every short, white baseball player to David Eckstein. It's annoying and I can't believe the Free Press is letting you write this article AGAIN. Has any player in history, with the minimal skills of David Eckstein, ever had more sportswriters write stories singing his praises?

The comparison to Eckstein-the diminutive infielder who tormented the Tigers for the Cardinals in the 2006 World Series-can be made at first sight. Rhymes, touted as 5-feet-9 in the Tigers' media guide, admits to standing an inch or two shorter than that. He weighs 155 pounds and has the wiry strength of a college wrestler.

Tormented, huh? Eckstein started the '06 World Series 0 for 11. But congrats to him, as Tigers pitchers somehow forgot to catch and throw, and while they were trying to figure that out, he finished the Series with 8 hits. Never mind Pujols, they should have focused on Eckstein. And these two guys are small...I get it.

Eckstein, 5-7, 177, has achieved much more in baseball than many scouts predicted. Even after a disappointing 2008 season with the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks, he owns a .284 career batting average and two World Series rings.

He also has 32 HRs in 4096 career at bats. His career OPS is .712. Ramon Santiago's OPS the past two years was .712 and .870 and DD doesn't consider Santiago to be good enough to be the starter. So what do I care about this kid you're comparing to Eckstein? What did he do to you?

As for the rings, Luis Sojo has 4 of them. Lonnie Smith and Luis Polonia have 3. Rings don't mean a damn thing about Eckstein, or any player, other than he was on a couple of good teams.

Consider the numbers:

Only if you consider mine...

In four minor league seasons, primarily as a second baseman, Rhymes has hit .292 with 13 homers and 184 RBIs.

In four minor league seasons, primarily as a second baseman, Eckstein batted .294 with 17 homers and 188 RBIs.

Great. Mike Hessman looks like Babe Ruth in the minors. The majors? Not so much. Minor league stats mean jack to me.

Here's one more number to keep in mind: 26. That was Eckstein's age when he debuted with the Angels in 2001.

Rhymes will turn 26 on April 1-less than one week before the Tigers open their season in Toronto.

No crap. You know what? I hear they both have two 3's in their social security numbers! Someone tell DD to quit shopping for shortstops! We've got a future World Series MVP in the farm system, baby!

It's too early to predict whether Rhymes will make the Tigers' Opening Day roster, but he has helped his cause by batting .297 in 22 games for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League.

I don't think it's too early. If Will Rhymes is on the Tigers' Opening Day roster, I will legally change my name to David Eckstein and start a religion based on his teachings. By the way, last I heard, Jeff Larish had 27 RBIs in 26 games. Casper Wells is hitting .323. Where are their Hall of Fame inductions?

With every opposite-field single, every hang-in-there double-play turn, every sprint to first base on a routine grounder, Rhymes resembles one of the great overachievers in recent baseball history.

NO ONE in the majors runs out ground balls except for Eckstein! Opposite field singles? Why didn't Polonco ever think of that? Hang in there double play turn? What does that even mean? Eckstein can hardly throw the ball to first without a cut-off man.

"If I could be that guy, I'd be pretty happy about that," Rhymes said of Eckstein. "He's a guy I have a lot of respect for. He's a solid player all around. To be compared to him would be a honor, really."

Will, I don't know who's more full of it...you or Morosi. To be compared to Cal Ripken, that's an honor. To be compared to David Eckstein? I'd feel like someone called my mother a whore.

"I'm definately not a guy who you're going to see play one game and be impressed with. But I do the little things. Over the course of the year, you might end up saying, 'Wow, he can actually hit.'"

If I have to watch you for an entire year before deciding that I MIGHT think you can hit, I'd rather release you and trade for someone I KNOW can't hit...like Julio Lugo. At least then I'd have more free time to drink and complain about how the Tigers suck.

By the end of high school, Rhymes was primarily concerned with "using baseball to get into a good school." He chose William & Mary, became an all-conference player there and managed some hits in his encounters with an Old Dominion right-hander named Justin Verlander.

Yes, I'm sure no one in college was capable of getting a "couple of hits" off of JV other than pesky little Will. And being that everyone in the American League got at least a "couple of hits" off of JV last year, you might have been better off giving that example before last season.

After his junior year, he gained recognition by hitting .308 with a wooden bat in the Cape Cod League. Following his senior season, the Tigers selected him in the 27th round of the 2005 amateur draft.

He was selected after Joyce, Clete, Larish, and Holloman in that draft. They've all seen big league time and have proven, with the possible exception of Joyce, um...that they're not ready? They're career backups? What does that say about Rhymes?

Perhaps because of his size, Rhymes has had to prove himself at every level in the farm system. He spent most of this year at Double-A Erie, where he batted .306, before earning a call-up to Triple-A Toledo for the season's final six games.

Good call, Jon Paul. It's his friggin' size. If you're a big guy, they don't make you prove your skills. They just go, "Holy hell! Look at THIS guy! He's 6-4, 240! Promote his ass!" Of course he has to prove his skills at every level in the minors...that's why there are MULTIPLE LEVELS! Does the Freep actually pay you to write this crap?

Rhymes' fiery disposition can be evident during a rough day at the plate--"I've been known to go through a few helmets a year," he said, smiling--and he has an unyielding desire to succeed. And Rhymes thinks his size has helped his baseball career.

No one else in the Tigers minor league system wants to succeed? Of COURSE he wants to succeed! And yes, being an overgown midget has helped you. I'm sure. Idiot...

"I don't feel like it restricts me in any way," he said. "I'm not sure what I'd do better if I was bigger. I might have more power, but I feel like it might actually have the opposite effect in terms of athleticism and playing defense."

Don't worry about that, kid. Eckstein can't play defense...you don't need that in the bigs. His career fielding percentage isn't anything special at .978. He doesn't cover any ground, either. Worst in the game, actually.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The article gets really boring after that. They talk about his twin brother and Matt Walbeck. Morosi, at the end, speculates about Rhymes splitting time with Santiago until Cale Iorg is ready. Jon Paul Morosi is a friggin' idiot.

Nothing against this Will Rhymes kid. Never seen him play. But if his skills are like David Eckstein's, I'd prefer not to. I like my Tigers ballplayers to not be bad at baseball.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Problem Solver

problem solver Pictures, Images and Photos
Fact #1: The Tigers are looking for a shortstop this offseason. They don't think Ramon Santiago is the answer to play every day.

Fact #2: Gary Sheffield has made it clear that he would be much happier playing in the field. He thinks that his hitting will improve if he feels "more into the game" instead of being the DH and sitting on the bench all the time.

Fact #3: DD says the Tigers are looking to save cash and won't be going after top tier free agents this offseason.

What do these things have to do with each other? Let me try to put this together so it makes sense.

We made it to the World Series in 2006. We had a shortstop then. What was his name? Oh yeah, it was Carlos Guillen. Wait...isn't he still on the team?

Why can't Guillen be our shortstop now? Sure, he's as fragile as Samuel L. Jackson was in Unbeakable. His range isn't what it once was. My response to these two responses is...um, so?

Let Carlos play short. Give him a time off every couple days and let Ramon fill in. Let Carlos DH now and then. Ramon showed last year that he can contribute in a part time role. Brandon Inge is back at third and will cover up some of the ground that Guillen cannot. They've announced Guillen as the new left fielder...but are you telling me that he's not going to have a chance at injury in left? Isn't that part of why Gary isn't out there? If Carlos plays short 2/3 of the time and Ramon fills in, we don't need a shortstop. We can get by for a year and see if Iorg's ready. And that opens left field up again.

Now, on to Gary. Gary's getting older and isn't exactly Torrii Hunter in the outfield. Are you telling me that Marcus Thames, Matt Joyce, and Maggs are going to confuse anyone with Jim Edmonds out there, though? Let Gary play some left. At the very least, he'll be happier and might hit over his weight. And when he's at DH? We get some more time to look at Joyce, Raburn, Clete, and whoever else we have coming up for the future in the outfield. Marcus, too. And if Gary gets hurt out there? Not to be insensitive, but big deal. We have plenty of outfield options.

This saves the money we were going to blow on a stopgap shortstop and we can put it into the real problem of the 2008 Tigers...the pitching. Put together a real bullpen. Sign someone that will matter...not whoever is left after the free agent feeding frenzy if over. Carlos is a team player...I don't think he would object that much. Gary would be happier. And we wouldn't have to rely on the Gary Glovers and the Casey Fossums of the world when JV's at 120 pitches through 5 innings.

It might not be the best plan in the world, but it's better than Bobby Crosby, Khalil Greene, or any other short term solution I've heard.

Friday, November 14, 2008

RIP Fire Joe Morgan

Dammit.

The guys at firejoemorgan.com are calling it quits. If you've never been there, check it out. They're keeping the archives up. It's basically a site that's been dedicated to pointing out the worst in sports journalism in a humorous way.

The internet will be a much more serious place without you guys.

Let The Hunt Begin

Elmer Fudd Pictures, Images and Photos
As of 12:01 AM, the free agent season has begun. Everyone has a theory on where the Tigers can go in regards to their poor excuse for a bullpen.

Kevin Gregg's out of the mix, having been traded to Chicago. That leaves Kerry Wood open to the free world. Blake gives the best view on Wood that I've seen. Did I just say "best view on wood"? Sorry, Blake...

Trumbull and Michigan brings up the idea of talking to John Smoltz about finishing his career as the Tigers closer...a decent idea that I hadn't thought about.

Jon Paul Morosi of the Detroit Free Press give his two cents worth here. He seems to like Trevor Hoffman.

DD's not giving anything away, though. He says the Tigers will play the wait and see game.

Be vewwy vewwy quiet...DD's on the hunt. I just hope that he doesn't wait too long.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Speculation

According to the Free Press, Jeff Borris of the Beverly Hills Sports Council says the Tigers inquired about some of their players. Borris didn't give any names, but the Freep speculates that the Tigers would be asking about experienced pitchers not seeking a long term deal.

Three guys there meet that criteria. Arthur Rhodes, David Weathers, and Trevor Hoffman.

Could we be building a NEW roller coaster in Detroit?
batman roller coaster Pictures, Images and Photos

Free Agents: The Forgotten

Doh! Pictures, Images and Photos
During my endless babbling about possible free agents fits for the Tigers this offseason, there were a few that filed late, weren't listed on espn.com's list of free agents, or I just forgot because I'm stupid. A couple are the latest subjects of the rumor mill, so here they are with last year's VORP.

Catcher
Greg Zaun, 3.4
Michael Barrett, -3.4
Josh Bard, -8.0

Shortstop
Juan Uribe, -3.3

Relief Pitcher
Chad Cordero, injured

Starting Pitcher
Randy Johnson, 27.2
Mike Hampton, 4.4

The catchers are interesting because any of the three, in my opinion, may be better than the guys on the previous list (although I still don't mind David Ross). Zaun's older than dirt (for a catcher), but he's a switch hitter with experience than could probably help Dusty Ryan out quite a bit in his development. Barrett and Bard join Khalil Greene on the list of guys who forgot how to play baseball in San Diego last year. Barrett's most famous for his ability to not get along with his teammates (right, Carlos Zambrano?), and Bard...I dunno. He ranked 103rd out of 108 catchers in baseball last year in VORP. But in '07, his VORP was 22.5 hitting .285, 5, 31 with the Padres. Living in Ohio, I'm surrounded by dirty Indian fans and they were furious when Bard left Cleveland for San Diego. Victor Martinez and Kelly Shoppach helped to ease that pain, but I'm intrigued at the idea of Bard coming to Detroit and maybe finding himself again.

I hate Juan Uribe. He's not good at defense and hits Tiger pitching and nothing else. Next.

Chad Cordero's name has come up a lot lately for Detroit, second only to Brandon Lyon in rumors. He only pitched 4.1 innings last year due to injury and isn't completely healthy yet. He had a VORP of 17.3 in 2007 while racking up 37 saves for Washington. The thing is, he only struck out 62 guys in 75 innings while allowing 75 hits. If that's what he has healthy, I'm not interested in seeing what he has coming off of a major injury...unless he's dirt cheap, that is. And being that he made $6.2 million last year, I doubt he's going to want over a $4 million pay cut.

I'd love to see Randy Johnson finish his career in Detroit, but I can't see that ever happening. He's in spitting distance of 300 wins, he'll be expensive despite being 75 years old, and he'll probably want to finish somewhere where he's been before. I expect Arizona or New York to work something out with him. Hampton's terrible and is the original Barry Zito when it comes to bad contracts. (Nate is Zito-light.)

If reasonably cheap deals can be made with Bard, Jerry Hairston, and Dennys Reyes, maybe there'd be some cash left to go after Juan Cruz and Derek Lowe. At least I'm not asking for Pudge, KRod, Fuentes, Furcal, and Sabathia, right?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pitchers Switching Leagues

The American League is a much tougher league to pitch in than the National League. The DH alone makes this true. But the talent pool in the AL is much deeper than in the NL, too, in my opinion.

What's the point? Well, rumors are circulating about guys like Juan Cruz, Brandon Lyon, and now Trevor Hoffman getting interest from Detroit. And sure, ANY help for the bullpen is appreciated, but I'm nervous about bringing over NL guys to pitch in the AL for the first time and expecting them to put up numbers similar to what they did in the NL...especially if we drop a load of cash on them. Very few guys switch to the AL without bumps in the road. Scott Linebrink was an exception for the White Sox last year. He came over from San Diego and put up close to identical numbers as he had with the Padres. It also helps that the White Sox are the luckiest team in baseball due to Ozzie Guillen's close association with Satan. But look at some of these differences in performance..

The two big trades last year:

CC Sabathia, Cleveland Indian: 6-8, 3.83 ERA, Fat Guy with crooked hat.
CC Sabathia, Milwaukee Brewer: 11-2, 1.65 ERA, Mayor of Milwaukee.

Rich Harden, Oakland A: 5-1, 2.34 ERA
Rich Harden, Chicago Cub: 5-1, 1.77 ERA

How about some guys you may remember from Detroit?

Chad Durbin, Detroit '07: 8-7, 4.72 ERA
Chad Durbin, Philly '08: 5-4, 2.87 ERA

Jason Grilli, Detroit '07: 5-3, 4.74 ERA in 51 games
Jason Grilli, Colorado '08: 3-3, 3.00 ERA in 60 games

Just what we needed...another reason to hate Jason Grilli.

The NL is just an easier place to pitch. Latroy Freakin' Hawkins stunk up Yankee Stadium last year going 1-1 with a 5.71 ERA in 33 games. He heads to Houston and becomes Mariano Rivera going 2-0 with a 0.43 ERA in 24 games.

Again, anything is better than 2008's poor excuse of a bullpen. I just think our money'd be better spent with an AL free agent or two like Darren Oliver or Dennys Reyes. At least we'd have a better idea of what we were getting that way.

Or do you want another one of these?
dontrelle willis Pictures, Images and Photos

Monday, November 10, 2008

DNR All Time Tiger Team

It's hard to root against guys on your own team. Looking back on my 20+ years of watching Tigers baseball, it's really hard to come up with guys that I just couldn't stand. (For possible exceptions, please see Inge, Brandon and Robertson, Nate) Whether they're good or bad, these guys start to become part of your everyday life. For some reason, you identify with some guys more than others. So, this is a list of my favorite Tigers players at each position that I've personally seen play. They might not have been the best...but they're the ones that I'll always remember. Here's the DesigNate Robertson All Time Tigers Team.

Catcher

Mickey Tettleton, 1991-1994
When I was a kid playing in Little League, I started out as a catcher. Maybe that's why over the years, with the exception of the before mentioned Mr. Inge, I've always been a huge fan of whoever strapped on all the gear and called the pitches for our guys. Whether it was long forgotten players like Mike Heath, Dwight Lowery, and John Flaherty, the one-year-wonder known as Matt Nokes, or Tiger icons like Pudge Rodriguez and Lance Parrish, I just identified most with the Tigers catcher. But no Tiger catcher was like Mickey Tettleton. The Mick had the coolest batting stance that my 14 year old eyes had ever seen. You'd hardly ever see him without a golf ball sized wad of chew puffing out one of his cheeks. He was very durable for a catcher, playing in at least 152 games in each of his first three seasons in Detroit. The dude was a beast hitting 31, 32, and 32 home runs again those three awesome first years. His fourth and final season in Detroit saw him miss time and only play in just over a hundred games before moving on to the Rangers to finish out his career. He was also the first player that made me appreciate the art of taking the walk as Mick had over 100 walks five times in his career and another two times with at least 90. When people talk about Detroit catchers, Pudge and Parrish always get mentioned. (Freehan by guys older than me.) But The Mick will always be the man in the mask in my book.
Runner Up: Ivan Rodriguez

First Base

Cecil Fielder, 1990-1996
Miguel Cabrera will probably (and hopefully) take this spot a few years down the road, but for now, no one has been as memorable to me at first base than "Big Daddy". Cecil made people remember that there was still a baseball team playing in Detroit in 1990 when he belted 51 homers back when that was still a big deal. Cecil wasn't on steroids. He was on cheeseburgers, if anything. The big man came out of nowhere as the Blue Jays let him go after the 1988 season. He went to Japan to play and the Tigers took a chance on him when no one else wanted him. Cecil anchored first base for us until moving on to the Yankees for two years, Anaheim for one, and winding down with a whimper in 1998 for 14 games in Cleveland. His son, Prince, continues the family tradition slugging homers in Milwaukee today. The Tigers weren't very good in the early 90's, but they were fun to watch with Fielder, Tettleton, and other sluggers like Rob Deer and Pete Incaviglia swinging for the fences every time up.
Runner Up: Darrell Evans

Second Base

Lou Whitaker, 1977-1995
"Sweet Lou" spent his entire career in a Tigers uniform and will always be an icon in Detroit. For his career, he hit .276 with 244 homers and 1084 RBIs. He wasn't the type of guy you normally would see leading off for a team, but he got the job done for us. Lou was remarkably consistant in the field with a career fielding percentage of .984. If you compare his career numbers to other second basemen in the Hall of Fame, Lou looks like an easy choice. However, Lou has never received any serious consideration, which I consider a shame. He was one half of the greatest double play combination of all time with Alan Trammell, and I look forward to the day when, hopefully, Lou and Tram get their numbers retired together in Detroit.
Runner Up: Placido Polanco

Shortstop

Alan Trammell, 1977-1996
Come on! Who else would it be? Alan Trammell's season in 1987 where he hit .343 with 28 dingers and 105 RBIs was what hooked me as a baseball fan for life. I still remember watching that season come to an end fighting it out with the Blue Jays as the packed Tiger Stadium crowd chanted, "MVP, MVP" whenever Tram came to the plate. He lost out on that award to Toronto's George Bell that year (b.s.), but he led us into the playoffs in '87 for the last time until we finally got back in '06. Only Alan Trammell could still be insanely popular in Detroit after leading the team to 119 losses as manager. He hit .285 for his career with 185 home runs and 1003 RBIs. Much like Lou, he doesn't get much consideraton for the Hall of Fame despite his numbers compared to other players in his era. If it weren't for Cal Ripken overshadowing him for most of his career, I think Tram would be remembered as one of the all time greats. I met him at an autograph signing when I was a kid and at that time, I think it was the highlight of my life.
Runner Up: Carlos Guillen

Third Base

Tom Brookens, 1979-1988
Career numbers: .246, 71, 431. Not that impressive, I guess. But Brookens just made me smile when I watched him play baseball. He wasn't the best on the field, but he was fun to watch. I remember watching him make diving catches at the hot corner and trying to imitate him in the back yard afterwards. I'll never forget him playing catcher one game when we were out of bench players. Tom left in 1989 and played for the Yankees and Indians before retiring after the 1990 season. Not the best Tiger of all time, but one of my favorites.
Runner Up: Travis Fryman

Outfield

Magglio Ordonez, 2005-present
Kirk Gibson, 1979-1987, 1993-1995
Bobby Higginson, 1995-2005
Clutch. That's what I think of when I think of these three guys. Maggs and Gibby with their postseason home runs will live on forever. Higginson is my personal favorite Tiger of all time for being the only guy on the team with any talent for a decade and still managing to put up decent numbers with no protection in the lineup. Toughness. That's the other thing I think of. All three battled injuries throughout their careers and kept coming back. None of them will ever make the Hall of Fame (will anyone on this list?), but Ordonez, Gibson, and Higginson ARE baseball to me.
Runners Up: Chet Lemon, Curtis Granderson, Dan Gladden

Starting Pitchers

Jack Morris, 1977-1990
Frank Tanana, 1986-1992
Kenny Rogers, 2006-2008
Justin Verlander, 2005-present
Doyle Alexander, 1987-1989
The winningest pitcher of the 80's, three guys past their primes, and a kid. An odd group, to be sure. But these guys were/are fun to watch. Jack is known as a big game pitcher and will always be remembered for his 10 inning shutout pitched for the Twins to clinch the World Series. But I'll remember him for being the first "ace" I ever saw pitch for my team. With his big mustache and split-fingered fastball, Jack was the scariest pitcher I ever saw as a kid until watching Dave Stewart pitch for Oakland in 1989. I never saw Tanana in his prime when he was firing 95+ mph fastballs for the Angels. But in Detroit, he threw the nastiest breaking stuff that I have ever seen to this day. Kenny won me over for life in '06 during the playoffs with his intensity...I could care less if his hand was dipped in pine tar. Justin's the ace of the staff today and is the only pitcher I've seen throw a no-hitter from the first pitch to the last. Finally, Doyle's a sore subject in Detroit since we gave up John Smoltz for him. But in that '87 season, he went 9-0 for us to get us to the playoffs and I'll never forget that.
Runners Up: Dan Petry, Mike Moore, Bill Gullickson, Steve Sparks, Jeremy Bonderman

Bullpen

Mike Henneman, 1987-1995
Todd Jones, 1997-2001, 2006-2008
Jamie Walker, 2002-2006
Matt Anderson, 1998-2003
Joel Zumaya, 2006-present

I guess I like roller coasters. All of these guys had their scary moments, but all had their fun times, too. First up is Henneman, the first real closer after Willie Hernandez fizzled out. Henneman was the first guy with a three-quarters delivery that I had seen. And to an impressionable kid, that was cool. Jones, for all the frustration that came with him, wanted to be a Tiger more than any guy I can remember not named Whitaker or Trammell. Todd took pride in the Old English D and I'll never forget that. Being the team's all time save leader helps, as well. Walker makes the list because he was a solid lefty out of the pen and because he's probably the nicest and funniest Tiger that I've personally met. Anderson's career was a disappointment after being a number one draft pick, but he was the first Tiger I ever saw throw over 100 mph. He battled injuries his whole time in Detroit, but I really remember rooting for the guy. Zoom's kind of the same way. He burst onto the scene, but he's struggled to stay on the field ever since. But when healthy...that heater's unbelievable.
Runners Up: Willie Hernandez, Tim Byrdak, Bobby Seay

That's it. The DNR All Time Tiger Team. Together, they might finish around .500. But I'm a Tigers fan...I'm not used to winning teams. Go to a Yankees blog for that crap.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

One More Time...Free Agents: Starters

help Pictures, Images and Photos

One more post dealing with last year's VORP stats and I'm done. I promise. There's more talk about adding starting pitching via free agency going around now. And as many fingers that were pointed at the bullpen, Sheffield, Leyland, Renteria...basically at anyone not named "Cabrera" or "Maggs", perhaps the starting pitching wasn't blamed enough. Sure, Willis and my buddy Nate took a lot of heat, too, but look at all the Tigers' starters VORP ratings. Remember, Cliff Lee led the league at 75.0, followed by Johan Santana at 73.4, and Tim Lincecum at 72.5. Here we go.

Armando Galarraga: 31.2
Zach Miner: 15.4
Justin Verlander: 8.9
Jeremy Bonderman: 6.5
Freddy Garcia: 1.8
Eddie Bonine: -2.4
Chris Lambert: -5.0
Kenny Rogers: -7.0
Dontrelle Willis: -9.8
Nate Robertson: -16.8

That's pathetic. And as bad as Dontrelle looked...Nate was almost twice as horrible. With the exception of Armando, no one was really worthy of a major league uniform in our rotation last year. So...who's out there? To save time, I'll list every free agent SP that was at least better than Verlander was last year with their 2008 VORP (value over replacement player).

Ryan Dempster: 57.5
Ben Sheets: 52.4
CC Sabathia: 52.2 (Mil), 24.0 (Cle)
Derek Lowe: 49.7
Mike Mussina: 43.1
Jamie Moyer: 40.3
AJ Burnett: 35.1
Braden Looper: 25.7
Oliver Perez: 21.0
Andy Pettitte: 17.7
Randy Wolf: 14.1
Odalis Perez: 12.0
John Smoltz: 9.6

There you go. Not making the list was the much rumored Jon Garland who only came in at 7.6. So, what happens here? You know Verlander and Galaragga are one and two. Bondo's three if he's healthy. Zach is iffy...plus he looks like the elf from "Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer".
hermie elf Pictures, Images and PhotosZACH MINER Pictures, Images and Photos

Sorry...not a good picture of Zach. Back to the point. They're looking to fill two spots with Miner, Willis, and Nate probably being the top in-house candidates. Remember, Willis and Nate are owed a bunch of cash. So, that's not going to leave DD much money to deal with...especially with all the questions at shortstop, catcher, and reliever(s). Notice, there's a big dropoff in production after Burnett on that list. And unless Derek Lowe gives us one hell of a hometown discount, there's not anyone there that we can afford that would make an impact.

Sure would be nice to have Jair Jurrjens back around now, wouldn't it?

Free Agents: Relief Pitchers

Train Wreck Pictures, Images and Photos

The Tigers bullpen was a trainwreck last year. The entire pen is looking for a makeover this offseason with the exceptions of Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney...who are themselves looking to recapture past magic. Todd Jones is retired now...no comment there. I love Jonesey for his devotion to the team, but he should've been gone two years ago. Freddy Dolsi has a future ahead of him...but this team isn't getting any younger in the field. We need to win now and need to assemble the bullpen to get us to the playoffs once again.

Pitcher's VORP leaders for 2008: Cliff Lee was tops in the majors at 75.0. Mariano Rivera was the top reliever at 34.0. Armando Galarraga was the top Tigers pitcher at 31.2, with Aqualino Lopez, of all people, leading the bullpen at 16.9. Just for fun, Nate Robinson's VORP for 2008? NEGATIVE SIXTEEN POINT EIGHT! My four year old had a VORP of -15.4...you couldn't beat that, Nate?

Top Free Agent Pitchers based on 2008 VORP

Francisco Rodriguez, 22.3
Darren Oliver*: 21.5
Joe Beimel: 19.7
Brian Fuentes: 18.2
Kerry Wood: 18.0
David Weathers*: 17.7
Russ Springer*: 17.6
Dennys Reyes: 17.6
Chan Ho Park: 17.2
Juan Cruz: 15.8
Jeremy Affeldt: 13.9
Brian Shouse*: 13.3
Damaso Marte: 11.4 (Pit), 0.6 (NYY)
Will Ohman: 9.5
Trevor Hoffman*: 8.6
Guillermo Mota: 7.9
Mike Lincoln: 7.8
*38 or older

KRod and Fuentes will probably cost a fortune...consider them out. And don't give me any crap about Rodriguez's record setting year. He broke Bobby Friggin' Thigpen's record. What a career HE had. Thing is, there's a lot of old guys on that list and I'd rather not take chances on more than one of them. Also, I had no idea how solid Darren Oliver was for the Angels. If they lose him and KRod, Anaheim doesn't look as hot, do they? I wouldn't be interested in Wood, either. Too similar to our situation with Zoom. So, I'd like to see us take a shot at getting Beimel, Cruz, Affeldt, and Reyes...at least two of them. Throw in Oliver or Weathers and hope for the best.

Holy crap! I forgot someone!
Kyle Farnsworth Pictures, Images and Photos
THE FARNS!
2008 VORP: 10.1 (NYY), -3.7 (Det)

Sigh...never mind.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Free Agents: Shortstop

Alan Trammell Pictures, Images and Photos
Think Alan Trammell can still hit?

We need help. Edgar Renteria was not the answer at shortstop. DD and company are high on Cale Iorg, but he's two years away, at least...and that's if he's as good as they think he might be. So, who do we go after? Rafael Furcal, with his bad back and demand of a large contract, was the early talk. So, again, I turn to the free agent pool and my friend, VORP.

Hanley Ramirez had the top VORP of all shortstops last year at an amazing 80.7. That was second to only Albert Pujols' 96.8 VORP in all of baseball, no matter the postion. Jose Reyes was second among shortstops with a 62.9. Our guys had Renteria at 12.2, Ramon Santiago at 12.9(!), and Michael Hollimon at 1.7. I'm a big fan of Ramon and am willing to give him a chance, but who else is out there? Glad you asked...here's the top guys and their VORP from last year. Check out who's on top...you'll be surprised.

Jerry Hairston Jr: 27.0
Rafael Furcal: 24.5
Orlando Cabrera: 20.1
Nick Punto: 12.6
David Eckstein: 7.9
Nomar Garciaparra: 7.3
Alex Cora: 5.0
Craig Counsell: -1.2
Adam Everett: -3.7
Omar Vizquel: -12.4

Jerry Hairston? Are you serious? With Cincinnati, he hit .326 with 6 homers, 36 RBI's, and had 15 stolen bases in 80 games. The younger Hairston banged out 20 doubles and 2 triples. His OPS was .871 in 261 ABs. He's only 32 and could be the bridge we're looking for until Iorg's ready. He could also platoon with Santiago. On the other side of the coin, he could also be terrible, like he was in '07 and '06. But he's cheap and might be worth a look.

Furcal and Cabrera will be too expensive for us. Eckstein is the most overrated player in baseball. The rest are old and/or terrible. I say give Hairston a chance. If he's a bust, we've got Ramon and Hollimon to keep Brandon Inge company at the bottom of the lineup.

As for trades? Julio Lugo, Jack Wilson, and Khalil Greene's names have come up. Their VORPs were 6.9, 1.1, and -8.0. Greene's abortion of a season last year might bring him to us cheap. He has produced big numbers in the past. Was it steroids? Who knows? DD's a gambler, though. We'll see what happens.

Free Agents: Catchers

ivan rodriguez Pictures, Images and Photos

As anyone that follows the Tigers know, we need a catcher, shortstop, and relief pitching like a fat kid needs cake. Lots 'o' rumors are floating around about each position, but I'm just looking at the free agents out there and who (if anyone) can help us. First up, the catchers.

Sadly, there's not much out there. The big names out there, if you can call them that, are Jason Varitek, Pudge Rodriguez, Paul Lo Duca, and Brad Ausmus. Pudge isn't coming back, Varitek's agent wants ridiculous money for an old man, Lo Duca sucks, and Ausmus can only play for us when Randy Smith is the GM...over and over again. My favorite stat in determining if a player is any good or not is VORP (value over replacement player). Joe Mauer was the top catcher in baseball last year with a VORP of 55.5, followed by Brian McCann at 51.6, and Geovany Soto at 39.3. Our guys last year? Well, Pudge's VORP in Detroit was 15.3 (-2.3 in NY). Dusty Ryan's was 4.5, Brandon Inge's was -3.3, and The Not-S0-Great Dane Sardinha's was -4.4. Here's the top free agent catchers broke down by VORP. (according to baseballprospectus.com)

David Ross: 4.6 in Cincinatti, -1.5 in Boston
Henry Blanco: 3.0
Javier Valentin: 2.3
Chad Moeller: -.8
Jason Varitek: -1.0
Toby Hall: -1.3
Adam Melhuse: -1.5 (both in Colorado and Texas...how consistantly bad)
Jason LaRue: -2.3
Paul Lo Duca: -5.0
Brad Ausmus: -7.5
Paul Bako: -7.5
Vance Wilson: Always hurt

Not much there, huh? I'm hoping that Dusty Ryan's our future catcher. I really like the kid, but in no way do I think he's going to be ready for 1-2 more years. If we don't make a trade with someone, I guess I'd be okay with letting Ross or Blanco split time with Ryan for now. Ross is 31 and Blanco is 37, but we're not looking long term here. Are we going to pull off a trade with the Rangers for one of their fifty catchers? Not sure. The only other rumor I've heard is the fun one about Varitek coming over...I'd rather Nate be our staff ace next season than see us blow that money on a 36 year old catcher looking for one last payday.

Conclusion: Hope that DD pulls off a trade or that Dusty Ryan morphs into the second coming of Mickey Tettleton before our eyes. No matter what happens, THANK YOU Pudge Rodriguez for your years of service and reviving this franchise. Maybe you were "A Keeper" after all.

Welcome

tigers Pictures, Images and Photos

Howdy. Welcome to DesigNate Robertson. A bit about myself and this blog...

I'm a bitter Detroit Tigers fan. Why? Well, mainly because I first became exposed to the Tigers and Major League Baseball when I was 8 years old...in 1985. Yes, I missed the only World Series Championship by my favorite team in my lifetime by one stinkin' year. But I've been more and more bitter over the years as I've watched my team be terrible for nearly every year since, with the obvious exceptions of '87 and '06. The Tigers have made many bad moves over my years as a fan, mostly by a very bad man named Randy Smith. But, I've remained loyal to my team, like an abused hound dog to the owner that beats him. Maybe I just don't know any better...

But I love my team. And I love baseball. Thus, this blog. Why now? I'm not sure. I think it's because I sat down the third base line in the second row when Magglio took Huston Street deep to send us to the World Series in 2006. Joel Zumaya jumped into me in the crowd. It was the best night of my life. A disappointing World Series, a crappy 2007, and a disasterous 2008 followed leaving me feel somehow cheated...yet hopeful for the future. I discovered blessyouboys.com in mid-2008 and that led me to several other entertaining Tigers blogs like Spotstarters, The Daily Fungo, Where Have You Gone, Johnny Grubb, and many others.. Do I have anything new to add? Probably not. But I'm going to try. My goals are to entertain myself, maybe entertain a few more, and to see the Tigers designate Nate Robertson for assignment. Gum Time is over. I'm hoping it's championship time for Detroit in 2009.