Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008: Disappointment In The D

Hopefully, I don't forget anything here...

*Preseason favorite to win it all...didn't even make playoffs

*Uncertain future for the guy in charge

*History of falling apart late in the season continues

*Underperforming, overrated, past-their-prime "superstars"

*Annoying injuries

*Terrible defense

*Rumors of problems in the locker room

*Stupid mistakes every game

*Questionable trades

*Supposedly less talented team overtakes them in the standings at the end of the season

*Pissed off fans

*Offense not nearly good as advertised

*Guys throwing the ball look overmatched

dallas cowboys Pictures, Images and Photos

I am SO glad that I'm not a Cowboys fan.

Who'd you think I was talking about?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Emptying My Sack

Tiger santa cat Pictures, Images and Photos
Ho, ho, ho, DesigNators. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Quazy Quanza, and whatever other holidays you goofy "normal" people celebrate. Real simple, today. There's nothing to talk about still in Tiger Land, so here's my holiday shopping list for our Detroit Tigers.

Justin Verlander: Quaaludes. Something to calm you down, big guy. Don't put it all on yourself. Sure, the other four(teen) starters we use this year will probably suck. But that's not your problem. You can only win one game at a time.

Joel Zumaya: One of those big plastic bubbles that they put sick kids in. Go from being "Glass Joel" to "The Bubble Boy". Anything to keep your dumb ass healthy until and through the regular season.

Dontrelle Willis: An old VHS copy of "Sweatin' To The Oldies". You, my friend, are a fat bastard. That's not who we need. We need the lean, mean, goofy-motion pitching machine that we thought we were getting when we traded the entire farm system for you and Miguel. Drop some weight, get your motion back, and win Comeback Player of the Year.

Curtis Granderson: A bus to hit Grady Sizemore and put him out for the year. I don't want it to kill him, I just want the AL sportswriters to pay attention to what we have in center in Detroit. Andy Van Slyke said that if he had a daughter, he'd want her to marry Curtis Granderson. That's high praise, my friends. Maybe crazy and creepy, but high praise, nonetheless.

Fernando Rodney: A pair of those glasses that Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn wore in Major League. Maybe this way, Rodney can find the strike zone more than twice per inning. Also, maybe he'll finally realize that he's wearing his hat the wrong way.

Dave Dombrowski: A closer to fall in his lap at a cheap price. If you believe what you're hearing around the league, price expectations for Fuentes and the remaining relievers are dropping. Double D needs one or two guys to at least make it look like he's trying out there.

Gerald Laird: Bigger feet. Why? Because to the average fan, he has giant friggin' shoes to fill replacing Pudge Rodriguez behind the plate in Detroit. I wish you luck, Gerald.

Gary Sheffield: The Fountain of One More Year. Wouldn't it be awesome to see the Gary Sheffield of old...instead of the old Gary Sheffield?

Placido Polanco: A Mr. Potato Head. Just so he can hold it up next to his giant noggin and give the boys some laughs.

Ramon Santiago: One ounce of respect. Cause that's more than what's been shown to him by the Detroit Tigers management.

Magglio Ordonez: Rogaine. Just in case. Don't lose those locks, Maggs. I'd blow up an orphanage to have hair like yours.

Jim Leyland: 50 cartons of Reds. It's the gift that keeps on giving...tumors.

Jeremy Bonderman: The learning ability of a 10 year old in little league. If a 5th grader can learn a changeup, you should be able to.

Matt Treanor: For the Tigers to sign Casey Daigle. He's married to Jennie Finch...that'll take some of the attention off of your wife for a change.

Miguel Cabrera: A nice, new mantle...to hopefully put the MVP Awards on that you'll be winning with us.

Brandon Inge: Puberty. Hopefully, that way, you might be able to grow real facial hair. And most importantly, you'd possibly gain the maturity to take a different approach at the plate. Moron.

Nate Robertson: A Dire Straits CD. "Money For Nothing"...that about describes your season last year.

Once again, Happy Holidays to everyone out there. Here's to hoping that we all get what we want this year...a World Series Championship in Detroit.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Adam Everett AP Article

Adam Everett Pictures, Images and Photos
My internet's been down for a couple of days and it doesn't look like I've missed much. 'Tis the season, I guess. But I did catch this AP article on the Adam Everett signing in my local paper and it annoys me...big surprise. Keep in mind that I'm in favor of the Everett signing. It would be nice to have some defense. But this article...ugh. Check this nonsense out.

Tigers Sign Everett

DETROIT-Shortstop Adam Everett and the Detroit Tigers finalized a $1 million, one-year contract yesterday.

"We've talked about improving our defense, and we think Adam obviously does that," Tigers president Dave Dombrowski said. "He also can help us offensively. He can get the big hit."

Mark it down. Double D is officially a nutjob. What has Adam Everett, major leaguer since 2001, done to indicate that he can be an offensive help or get the "big hit"? Is it his career batting average of .246? His career OPS+ of 69? (100 is average) His career high of 59 RBIs in 2006? The only way in any form I see Everett making the offense look better is by being so bad at the dish that he makes Brandon Inge look less pathetic.

Everett batted just .213 with two home runs and 20 RBIs in 48 games for the Minnesota Twins last season, when he was hampered by a shoulder injury. He appeared in 66 games the previous year for Houston, but the Tigers believe Everett will be a solid option at shortstop.

Nutjob. Defensively, yes...he'll help. A lot. But the guy makes Ramon Santiago look like Barry Bonds in the batters box.

"I feel like I've always been able to handle the bat and help my team win," Everett said. "I've been hurt the last couple years--there's no secret there--and I haven't been able to show everything I can do offensively."

Ya know, sometimes I feel like I should head down to Lakeland some spring and try out for the team because I think that I might be able to get lucky and knock some balls out of the park and impress someone. Of course, much like Everett's "feeling", I'm wrong and stupid. C'mon, Adam, you showed us in 2005 and 2006 when you were healthy enough to play in 152 and 150 games. You hit .248 and .239 those years. You suck at hitting. Why are you talking about your offense? That's like me talking about my ability to deal with stupidity without overreacting. I can't do it...just like you can't "handle the bat and help (your) team win".

Everett is expected to replace Edgar Renteria, who became a free agent after the Tigers declined his 2009 option.

"I knew the Tigers were looking to improve their defense at shortstop, so it seemed like a great fit," Everett said. "Once I got an offer from them, I didn't really talk to anyone else."

In other words, you realized that Dombrowski is a nutjob. You weren't getting an offer anywhere else. You'll work cheap, the Tigers have pissed away too much money already, and it's a fit. Any shortstop could have come in and improved the defense over Renter-error.

With the Tigers also planning on moving Brandon Inge to third base after obtaining catcher Gerald Laird from Texas,

What? They realized pouty-face Brandon was back to playing third long before we found our scab catcher. Does the AP not check facts anymore?

Everett is excited about the possibilities.

"Brandon is a great defensive third baseman," he said. "He's going to make any shortstop better, just because of his range."

Then why couldn't we just put Carlos Guillen back over there? Screw his back...like it won't hurt in left field? Plus, that way we could have had a better defensive left fielder...like Matt Joyce. Don't get me started there...

"We've really been focused on improving our defense during this offseason, and that starts with putting Brandon back at third, where he is one of the best in the league," Dombrowski said. "When you add Adam, that already gives us one of the best left-side infields in the game."

Defensively. Offensively, it has to be the worst. And to be honest, while I think Inge is good, I'm not under the impression that many Tigers fans are in thinking that we have Brooks Robinson at third base, defensively. Inge can make the difficult play look routine, but he still muffs a lot of easy ones.

Now, again, I like Adam Everett. My Mount Rushmore of favorite baseball players of all time is Higginson, Trammell, Craig Biggio, and Jeff Bagwell...so I'm familiar with Everett's work in Houston from watching those guys. He's great defensively. But with Double D spewing nonsense about Everett's offense, I look at it as an insult to the intelligence of Tigers fans. I'm sure he was just blowing sunshine up the backside of his newest offenisvely challenged starter, but now I'm starting to wonder. Is Dombrowski a nutjob? Did he think Renteria was going to hit .400 last year? Is he going to remove a mask, Scooby Doo style, and reveal himself to be Randy Smith?

You never know. It may be as likely as Adam Everett coming through with the "big hit".

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Pen

Seeya, Matt Joyce. Nice to know you. Not sure how I feel about this one yet. Tampa fans seem happy to lose Jackson, though. That scares me. If we're using the term "Jackson 5" to describe his ERA this year, it's going to seem like a waste of The Artist Formerly Known As Thundercat's trade value. I'd have liked to get a closer for him.

Anyhoo...Double D's been busy this week. Yet we still have nothing in the bullpen except the guys who made me break stuff in fits of anger last year. We need a closer and, hopefully, another guy to round out the pen until the kittens are ready to come up from the minors. The Farns will be visiting us as a Royal this year eliminating any chance of Dombrowski signing him to a long-term deal. (Thank God) K-Rod's off the market. The Putz is a set-up man for the Mets. Cleveland got Wood. Who's still out there?

Luis Ayala
Joe Beimel
Chad Cordero
Juan Cruz
Alan Embree
Keith Foulke
Brian Fuentes
Eric Gagne
Eddie Guardado
Trevor Hoffman
Jason Isringhausen
Brandon Lyon
Dennys Reyes
Arthur Rhodes
Juan Rincon
John Smoltz

I've also seen rumors linking us to possible trades for George Sherrill, Huston Street, CJ Wilson, and Francisco Cordero. The White Sux have also said that Bobby Jenks may be available, but probably not to us.

Where do we go? Well, thanks to Ian at BYB, I've got a man-crush on Cruz and would love to get him, despite him being at Type A free agent. I remain a fan of Reyes' stuff and would prefer him as a lefty over Beimel, whom we've been linked to. I'll always love Huston Street for serving up Magglio's Tiger icon clinching moment back in '06, but I'm not sure I'd want him. Fuentes is probably too expensive for us. Lyon's a younger Todd Jones, which would do nothing to help my hairline.

Basically, I have no friggin' clue. Double D can do the predictible (Everett, Laird) and the next day pull stuff out of nowhere (Cabrera, Jackson). He's not an idiot, though. He's saying Rodney could be the closer next year, but I don't think he seriously means that. It's most likely an attempt to not seem desperate. But the cupboard's getting bare when it comes to legit closers out there. We'll see what the end of the Vegas meetings brings.

Unless we just make Nate the closer...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Freep Angers Me Again

This time, it's Drew Sharp and his latest article. Now, look. I realize that I'm just some idiot with a blog that has maybe six readers (Love ya, kids). I realize that I might write something one day like "Sheff's the key to the offense" and the next day write "Trade that rat bastard Sheff". If the president of the country can flip-flop, so can I. I may make the occasional typo here and there. I don't have an editor and, to be honest, I am kind of a moron. Most importantly, I'm not being paid to write for one of the biggest newspapers in the country about sports. Sharp is. And he's an idiot. His words are in bold.

The sensational didn't work, so now the Tigers opt for the sensible.

Ahh, we're being clever. That's adorable. No problems yet.

It's the prudent path for a team that eroded into disarray last season about as fast as it stunningly congealed into the American League champion in 2006. The acquisitions of catcher Gerald Laird and shortstop Adam Everett didn't push the excitement needle, but the significance was in the message conveyed -- it's no longer about painting in broad strokes, but rather paying more attention to the tiny details.

Tiny details like consistently fielding the ball.

I'll bet Drew Sharp spent a lot of time putting this opening together. It's almost poetic the way it's written. Excuse me...I must wipe a tear from my eye. Oh wait...it's about to go to hell from here...

Tiny details like surrounding the team with more players who understand the concept of team.

Oh, no. This isn't going to be how we need to add a bunch of little, scrappy, white guys to the team, is it? Eck-stein! Eck-stein!

But role players like Laird and Everett prosper only when stars perform to the heights of their ability.

You mean, they suck. They need the stars to play well to cover up their inadequate play. This doesn't bode well for us, does it?

Role players aren't entrusted with erecting the foundation of a playoff contender. They're responsible for filling the inevitable cracks.

Role players, if you're going to call them that, should not be starters. A role player is a Ramon Santiago...a defensive replacement or spot starter. (Wussup, Blake?) A role player is a Dave Roberts, who pinch ran and stole a base that led to erasing the Curse of the Bambino a few years ago. A role player is a Mike Myers, who has had a long career by coming into a game and getting one left-handed hitter out and leaving the game. A role player should not be the starting catcher and shortstop of your "playoff contender". You're either a qualified MLB starter or you're not. And if most of your guys are not, you are the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Tigers aren't a desolate mess, but there are certainly some serious issues.

Yep. Pitching.

Bringing manager Jim Leyland back for 2009 without even a one-year contract extension becomes an unnecessary gamble. They're inviting clubhouse dissension should another disastrous start cripple them next season.

Look...I think that Jim should have gotten some sort of extension last season. He was the Manager of the Year in 2006 and the players all respect him. I don't blame him for last season's mess. I blame injuries and bad pitching. But these guys aren't children (other than Sheff). Jim not having a guarantee for 2010 doesn't mean anything nowadays...coaches and managers get fired constantly whether they have a long-term deal or not. This isn't a team of kids...it's a bunch of veterans that are going to play to their capabilities whether Leyland is there or not.

But their most serious problem approaching this off-season was too often fielding a team that woefully looked out of position.

No, it was the pitching. Blame everything on Nate Robertson...that's what I do. And Renteria wasn't out of position. Neither, really, was Guillen or Inge. Edgar and Carlos are just getting older and their range isn't what is used to be. As for Inge, he's just a baby that cried when his favorite toy (3rd base) was taken away.

It cost them only $4 million next season to upgrade perhaps the two most important defensive positions -- catcher and shortstop.

Upgrade? Maybe. Everett needs to stay healthy and Laird needs to show that he can play a full season. If that happens, then, awesome job. But let's not pass out the GM of the Year trophy just yet...we still need pitching. Are you ever going to talk about pitching, Drew?

They're moving Brandon Inge back to third, a coin flip for success considering the problem with Inge wasn't his ability to get to ground balls usually destined for left field, but rather his ability to make an accurate throw to first base.

Coin flip? Look, I get annoyed by Inge just as much, maybe more, as the next guy, but he's more than a coin flip better than Guillen, Larish, or Raburn defensively at third base. I'll take his arm over the other guys any day of the week. The REAL problem with Inge is his inability to hit a baseball. Well, that and his inability to grow facial hair that doesn't make him look like a 16 year old.

The Tigers are defensively stronger up the middle now than previously with the additions of Laird and Everett and that might directly improve the quality of the current starting pitching.

Finally! A decent point. I agree...the starting pitching can't help but be improved by a better defense. Good job, Drew! Have a cookie. Now, talk more about the pitching and how it was what REALLY hurt us last year.

But any success next season still comes down to the production of the stars.

Wait. Back to your poetry...what about the broad strokes not working...we need only to field the ball to win, I thought? You're making this seem somehow difficult to make the playoffs. I thought Everett and Laird were the answer! You deceived me, Drew Sharp...never again.

It still comes down to three guys -- Miguel Cabrera, Curtis Granderson and Justin Verlander.

B F'n S. It comes down to a hell of a lot more than the three franchise players, Drew. You just spent the whole article saying that. And now you're switching directions? Miguel was an MVP candidate last year. Grandy started hurt and was slightly down, but was still great in center. Verlander sucked hard last year, I admit. But I think success is more than three guys. TEAM, remember? There's no "I" in "Tigers", Drew. Oh wait...never mind that last part.

Cabrera rebounded offensively in last season's second half, becoming the AL's home run champion, but he got hot only once the Tigers' serious playoff aspirations cooled. What does hitting endless home runs in meaningless games actually mean?

Okay, Drew. Now, you're just bring a prick. It's not like Miguel played like total crap the first half. You don't win a home run crown in half a season. There's a period of adjustment in switching leagues for 90% of players. And what does hitting "endless home runs in meaningless games" mean? It means that he never quit. It means that he's a phenominal talent. It means that he is the franchise player that this team has been looking for. It's not his fault that we couldn't hold a lead while he hit home runs. It's not his fault that Nate Robertson spent the season looking like Charlie Friggin' Brown on the pitcher's mound. And it's not his fault that Gary Sheffield's hitting stroke couldn't keep up with his mouth. I don't like you, Drew.

He has had of [sic] year of adapting to the American League and his new responsibilities of becoming the Tigers' new face. Cabrera should enter the 2009 season as one of the top three favorites for AL Most Valuable Player.

Nice typo. Fire the editor! Good job acknowledging the period of adjustment. And yes, he is an early favorite for the MVP...as long as he quits hitting those stupid endless home runs in meaningless games, that is. That's why A-Rod sucks, too, right?

Granderson should be an All-Star by now.

All Star selections are meaningless. Seven of the nine starters every year play for Boston and New York. That's fan voting for you. And being that every team has to have a representitive, many deserving guys get left out. Don't crap on Grandy's game due to stupid rules.

And Verlander should be the Tigers' irrefutable ace of the starting rotation.

Who said he isn't? Do you think Nate is the ace? Justin's had two full seasons. One good, one bad. Lay off. It isn't like we overpaid for an ace like the Giants did for Barry Zito. We've overpaid for a lot of guys, but not an ace pitcher.

Those three must rise to the level of their expectations. If they do then the Tigers are once again a genuine playoff contender.

No they're not, dammit. No one is worried about Cabrera and Granderson except for you. Yes, Verlander needs to rebound. A better defense will do that. But it's the OTHER guys, mainly the pitchers that will decide if we make the playoffs. It's up to Bonderman, Robertson, Guillen, Sheffield, and whomever Double D finds for the bullpen to get us to the playoffs. Granderson and Cabrera are the only sure things we have now. Even Maggs is getting older. But leave these two guys alone. They aren't going to be the reason we don't make the playoffs unless they both get hit by a bus in the offseason.

They have enough stars. What they need are more ballplayers, and Laird and Everett satisfy that specific criteria.

Holy hell. No. I will take "stars" over "ballplayers" any day of the week. Tell you what...I'll field my team of "stars" like Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera, Manny Ramirez, and CC Sabathia. You put out a team of "ballplayers" like Adam Everett, David Eckstein, Darin Erstad, and Jeff Suppan. We'll play a best of seven series. If my team doesn't sweep, I will come to your house wearing a tutu and make out with your dog while you film it for YouTube.

Running lock step with the big boys proved disastrous last season. The Tigers couldn't handle the enormous expectations that came with pumping up the star power and subsequently the payroll.

THAT was it! Expectations! Not injuries. Not aging veterans. Not bad pitching. It was the expectations! Damn you, liberal media!

They basically choked.

No. To choke is to be in the lead, look like you're going to win, and then blow it. Ask the Mets about that. The Tigers started 0-7 last year. They didn't live up to the enormous expectations that you mentioned, but they didn't choke.

But now the Tigers are back where they're most comfortable.

Last place?

Nobody's talking about them. Even fewer are thinking about them as baseball's winter meetings resume in Las Vegas.

Are you kidding me? I think the Tigers have been mentioned in EVERY rumor I've heard this offseason except for maybe the signing of Casey Blake. Jack Wilson, Trevor Hoffman, JJ Putz, Khalil Greene, Derek Lowe, Brian Fuentes, Kerry Wood, etc, etc, etc. Drew, just because Detroit has a stereotype for having a lot of crackheads in the city doesn't mean you have to smoke the stuff, okay?

They can sneak up upon the least expecting.

Who the hell is that? The Boston Celtics? They'd NEVER see us coming and we can get Kevin Garnett to be our fifth starter! Brilliant, Drew!

But the moves that brought Laird and Everett are arguably more important than a year ago when they shocked the baseball world acquiring Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis.

Show me a person that argues that getting Adam Everett and Gerald Laird is more important than getting a young franchise stud like Miguel Cabrera, and I'll show you a person that should be locked in a padded cell and receiving shock therapy. I hate the Free Press.

Those bold moves coupled with a payroll that ballooned to $138 million turned the Tigers into a serious championship player. But it created a fractious environment last season. Everybody looked for blame. It was the offense's fault one minute, the starting pitching the next and the bullpen the next.

What does this have to do with Cabrera or the payroll? And for the minute to minute thing...I'm pretty sure that the starting pitching and the bullpen sucked pretty much all year. The hitting wasn't the problem. We got shut out a few times, but more often than not, we scored runs. When teams don't perform to expectations, people look to blame something. And the blame goes to injuries to Bonderman and Zoom, as well as terrible performances by Robertson, Willis, Rodney, Jones, and the rest of the joke of a bullpen.

But the problem was that they never assembled a true team, comprised of various talents responsible for satisfying their respective roles.

My bad...that was the problem last year. Not the pitching! It was Cabrera hitting those meaningless home runs when he should have been deciding what his role was. Maybe if the team holds hands before every game this year and chants together, they'll win 130 ballgames. Naw, I'm sticking with my idea. They need to pitch better.

Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski learned his lesson and is working hard at correcting previous misjudgements.

He's burning the contracts of Guillen, Inge, Robertson, and Willis? Sweet! We got Jurrjens back? Awesome! Why didn't Randy Smith do this?

He has his everyday catcher and shortstop. The next objective is building up a bullpen that was one of baseball's worst. He'll choose a less exciting tract than a year ago, but it won't detract from the Tigers' most pressing objective this winter -- building a team rather than a sensation.

You see, this is why I won so much money on the World Series last year. The Phillies TI (Team Index) was 82.6. The Rays only came in at 65.9. And even through Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley are much more famous than any of the Rays, somehow their SI (Sensation Index) was narrowly lower than the Rays at 33.4 compared to Tampa's 36.5. Great job, Philly!

Contact DREW SHARP at 313-223-4055 or dsharp@freepress.com.

Believe me, Drew...I'm thinking about it.



Tuesday, December 9, 2008

DE-FENSE!

defense sign Pictures, Images and Photos
Adam Everett and Gerald Laird have been signed. Not quite the same ring to it as a Miguel Cabrera or a Pudge Rodgriguez, eh?

But I'm happy with these deals on a conditional basis. That condition? Get a f'n closer. A legit one. I'm talking Kerry Wood, here. Screw Cleveland. JJ Putz? As long as we don't give up Joyce for him, fine. But we should have the money to go after a guy better than Brandon Lyon, now. Everett and Laird are major upgrades in defense over Renteria and Inge/Ryan. MAJOR upgrades. And putting Brandon Inge back at third gives us one hell of a defensive lineup (as long as they don't hit it to first base). This can only help guys like Verlander, sinker-baller Minor, and even Nate to pitch better with a solid D behind them, for once. In '06 when we made it to the promised land, we had Inge, a healthy Guillen, Polonco, and Sean Casey putting together one of the best defenseive Tiger infields in recent memory. Hopefully, these signings can help to recreate some of that magic.

This all sets up our lineup as follows...

1. Curtis Granderson, CF
2. Placido Polonco, 2B
3. Magglio Ordonez, RF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Carlos Guillen, LF
6. Gary Sheffield, DH
7. Gerald Laird, C
8. Brandon Inge, 3B
9. Adam Everett, SS

Some things that stand out to me?

1) Our pitching needs to carry us. Laird is a slight downgrade from Pudge (at this point in Pudge's career) and Everett is a definate downgrade from Renteria offensively, no matter how big of a disappointment Edgar was. We're not going to be projected to score 53,000 runs with this lineup, but hopefully with the defensive upgrades, the ERAs will come down a decent amount. Again, a big part of this is depending on what the bullpen looks like going into Spring Training. Kerry Wood AND Brandon Lyon would be a nice fit. One guy isn't going to solve the problem. Keep Zoom in a plastic bubble until April, get Rodney's head (and hat) on straight, and maybe we can hold a lead after the 6th inning.

2) Brandon Inge needs to hit his weight. He can't use catching as an excuse for trying to pull every pitch out of the park anymore. The Tigers are saying that he was trying to hit it to right too much...um, that must have been in the two games I didn't watch last year. Inge will kill us if he hits .210 for the year again. He needs to hit .260 and play his usual third base defense to earn his keep.

3) Laird needs a backup...NOT Dusty Ryan. I think Dusty's better off spending the year in Toledo learning his craft. There has to be a David Ross-type we can sign cheap to split the catching duties. Dusty's not ready for the show and shouldn't be thrown into that role.

4) We need someone to step up and have a big year. I'm looking at YOU, big guy.
Gary Sheffield Pictures, Images and Photos
Sheffield needs to play like the Gary of a couple years ago. He needs to report healthy, stay healthy, and keep his friggin' mouth shut...sadly, we'll be lucky if he can do just one of the three. If Gary's on, he can be the scariest guy in the AL up at the dish. If he's off...we finish behind the Royals in the standings again.

So, Double D, I say, good start. You've got some work to do, still. Get some pitching to go with your defense and we may have a team that's not a complete embarassment.

Who'd have thought anyone would be writing THAT about this team a year ago?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Trammell in the HOF: Part Deux

Alan Trammell Pictures, Images and Photos

As I've said here before, Alan Trammell was my favorite baseball player growing up. Even today, Tram's still in my top two behind a certain scapegoat named Higginson. A few days ago I babbled on about the Hall of Fame nominees and came to the conclusion that Tram wasn't worthy of the Hall of Fame. A lot of Tiger fans disagree, however, and who could blame them? Alan Stuart Trammell was OUR guy! He played for two decades in Detroit. He was a gentleman off the field and a superstar on it. Only Alan Trammell could have managed that 119 loss team in Detroit and not been shot for it. But Alan Trammell is not a Hall of Famer. In my opinion, to be in the Hall of Fame, you have to be so above the average ballplayer, that there is no doubt. As said by many in the media, it's not the Hall of Very Good.

So, to see how he stacks up, I decided to compare Trammell's numbers to a certain guy. This certain guy is someone that is a certain first-ballot Hall of Famer, so says the media. He is a shortstop and, like Tram, has played his entire career for the same team. He's played for parts of 14 seasons with his team, so I have compared his stats to those of Trammell's for his first 14 years. (That's good for Alan since after his 14th season, he broke down and never played more than 112 games in a season again.) This is a guy who I have always said was overrated. I think I may have also called him four-letter words many times. It's this guy...

derek jeter Pictures, Images and Photos

Yeah, him. Derek Jeter. "The Captain". In my little game of Devil's Advocate, I decided to pick the Devil himself. Don't give me any crap about the lineups he's played in, though. That was my first argument with myself (the voices in my head sometimes fight) but I don't think it holds water. Albert Pujols has had immortals such as Juan Encarnacion and Ryan Ludwick (hey, we had them!) as his protection in the lineup and he still puts up amazing numbers. Hitters hit, no matter who's around them. And Tram had protection. Lou in front, Gibby and Lance behind.

I've never been a Derek Jeter fan. I've always throught that he was overrated based on playing in New York and playing on all those loaded teams. I openly root against him. Still do. But by looking at the numbers, he's not only better than Alan Trammell...it's not even close. So again, Jeter's career numbers through 14 years against Trammell's through 14 years...

Games: Jeter: 1985, Trammell: 1835
At Bats: Jeter: 8025, Trammell: 6702

So to start off, we have durability. Other than his first season of 15 games and in 2003 when he only played in only 119 games, Derek Jeter has been very durable playing in at least 148 games every year. Tram battled injuries countless times costing him the time to put up Hall of Fame numbers. Injuries matter in this, otherwise Albert Belle is a Hall of Famer...and no one wants that.

Hits: Jeter: 2535, Trammell: 1929
HR: Jeter: 206, Trammell: 152
RBI: Jeter: 1002, Trammell: 810
AVG: Jeter: .316, Trammell: .288
OBP: Jeter: .387, Trammell: .355
OPS: Jeter: .845, Trammell: .775

Derek Jeter is a much, much better hitter than Trammell ever was. He has also walked 106 more times during the time frame comparison, stole 76 more bases, been caught stealing 21 times less, and, my gosh...have you SEEN his smile?

Trammell was a better fielder than Jeter has been and struck out an amazing 664 less times than Derek during the 14 year window. But that's about it. Jeter is identified as the leader of the Yankees and the Captain of all those great playoff teams. Trammell was a team guy, but he was never THE guy, like Jeter is.

Derek Jeter is clearly a Hall of Famer. Alan Trammell...well, he was just very good.

Excuse me, now...I feel dirty and need a shower after writing all of this.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Rumo(u)rs

rumours Pictures, Images and Photos

Ahh, Stevie Nicks. I think she's the oldest chick out there that I'd want to...

Bang-up job being done by Ian over at BYB covering all the rumors circulating leading into this year's Winter Meetings starting on Monday. Sadly, none of them involve Nate Robertson being strapped to a rocket and becoming the first active pitcher sent into outer space...but here's my take on the ones that won't go away.

Jack Wilson. Sigh. Take a drink every time you read or hear the words "Jack Wilson". You'll look like Jim Leyland in two weeks. His was hurt last year and played like crap, but in 2007, he hit ..296 with 12 HRs and 56 RBIs. He's got a great glove and isn't the piece of crap that most people seem to think he is. However, he isn't the second coming of Trammell, either, and I wouldn't want to see us give up too much for him. St. Louis didn't give up anything for Khalil, so if we can't get him cheap, I say pass on him. I mostly worry about "Renteria-itis"...the ability to forget how to hit at all once reaching the American League for the first time. Plus, those injuries scare me a bit. We just want a bridge until "The Franchise" Cale Iorg is ready...thing is, the only one that's high on Iorg is Double D. Everyone else I've read thinks the kid will never make it in the majors. But that's for another time, I guess...

Adam Everett. Everett is known for two things. He is quite possibly the best fielding shortstop in baseball. Also, he is known for being quite possibly the worst offensive player in the majors, too. His career OBP is .298 and makes Brandon Inge look like Wade Boggs at the plate. However, we didn't get much out of Renteria offensively last year unless we were playing the Indians for some reason. Most importantly, Everett comes very cheap compared to Wilson and every other scab we've been looking at. I'll take his defense and small contract over the alternatives. So sign him up, David. Save the cash for the bullpen. Or get us Jerry Hairston...yes, I'm still the only person on the planet that wants him.

Gerald Laird. I'll be honest...I don't know much about the guy. I've seen his stats and I'm not impressed. But there's little out there so again, as long as we don't give up too much, I'm cool with it. Just don't give up everyone's favorite elf dentist, Zach Minor, to get him. Zach can be an effective 5th starter for us, methinks.

Kerry Wood. Sign him. Now. And one more bullpen guy to get to him. We can't keep waiting for Rodney and Zoom to rediscover themselves. Anything those morons give us can be considered a bonus. Plus, as said elsewhere, the puns are endless. I WANT WOOD! GIVE ME WOOD! TIGERS FANS EVERYWHERE DESERVE WOOD!

Enjoy this week, kids. We may finally have something to talk about.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

2009 Hall of Fame: Sorry, Tram & Jack

It's a small group on the Hall of Fame ballot this year. 23 guys are on there...very small for a HOF ballot. Of the group, I see two guys getting in...but of the two, I only agree with one. So, for poops and giggles, I break down this year's group.

No Chance In Hell: Dan Plesac, Greg Vaughn, Ron Gant, Mo Vaughn, Jesse Orosco, Matt Williams, and Jay Bell.

Hall of Good: Dave Parker, Mark Grace, Tommy John, Harold Baines, and David Cone. Good players, but not guys we should be talking about as the best of all time.

Hall of Very Good: These guys are the borderline guys that always have their supporters, but sadly, do not belong alongside the greatest of all time.

Dale Murphy
The former Brave slugger was feared in his day and is regarded as possibly the nicest guy ever to play in the big leagues. He was a good player from '78-'89, but only had two years batting over .300 in that time. His career average was .265 and unless you manage to hit 600 home runs with that average, you don't belong in the Hall of Fame.

Mark McGwire
Case in point. Big Mac hit 583 homers with his career average of .263. His career OPS is .982 and had the magical year of 70 homers and 147 RBIs. Reggie Jackson's in with a .262 career average and 20 less home runs than McGwire. However, the cloud of steriods hangs over McGwire's head and it's going to keep him out...for now.

Lee Smith
Smith had 478 career saves playing for 9 teams in the majors. But closers don't get much love in the Hall and quite frankly, Smith doesn't deserve the love. Saves are an overrated stat, in my opinion. His career record is 71-92 with an ERA of 3.03. He only struck out 1252 in 1289.1 innings. He just wasn't dominating like Sutter, Goose, and Eckersley were.

Don Mattingly
Donnie Baseball is the Trammell of the Yankees. (I'll get to Tram in a minute.) Mattingly never made the World Series in all his years of bad teams in New York. His career fielding percentage of .996 is outstanding to go along with his .307 average, 222 HRs, and 1099 RBIs. However, injuries kept Mattingly from playing very long as he was awesome from '84-'89. From '90-'95 he was just a shell of his former self. He's a Yankee great, but not a Hall of Famer. So, sorry Don...thanks for the memories.

Tim Raines
Rock Raines is very close in my mind. If you include walks, in over 10,000 plate appearances, the man had a .385 OBP...very good. He stole over 800 bases in his career with a 84.7% stolen base rate. He had 2605 career hits finishing his career with a line of .294, 170, 980. But was Raines a dominate player deserving to get into the Hall? I don't think so. I don't think anyone ever said, "Holy hell...Raines is up." He was very good, but not great.

Andre Dawson
The Hawk amazed me as a kid growing up. I thought he was great. But for his career, his OBP was .323 with an OPS of .806. Those aren't very good. He had 2774 hits and 1591 RBIs...less than Harold Baines on both counts. He had 314 SBs, but was thrown out 26.8% of the time. His OPS+ for his career was 119...19 points over average, but nothing to get excited about. Injuries probably cost him the chance at greatness, much like Mattingly. But it's the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of What Could Have Been.

Jim Rice
Rice is one of the two that I think will get in this year. It's his last year on the ballot and he almost made it last year (72.6% when 75% is needed). For those reasons, I think they give it to him this year. But he shouldn't be there. His career numbers are good: .298, 382, 1451. But he was only good from '77-'79 and '83-'84. If we're going to let guys in for padding their career stats with a couple good years, then let's make plaques for Albert Belle, Darryl Strawberry, Eric Davis, and Doc Gooden while we're at it. Rice's career OPS was .854. That's not high enough for a guy that was supposedly the most feared hitter in the game in the 80's. So, sorry Jim Ed, I don't support your election into the Hall...even though you'll probably be there this year.

Now for the two that hurt...

Jack Morris
Jack was my favorite pitcher as a kid. He was so intimidating and wanted to win so friggin' bad. He was the winningest pitcher of the '80s and had a sweet split-fingered fastball before everyone was throwing them. But Jack's numbers don't look like Hall of Fame numbers. He won 254 games with a career ERA of 3.90. 3.90? Nate might even be able to put up an ERA of 3.90. His career ERA+ is 105...barely over league average. He allowed 389 homers in his career and had a career WHIP of 1.30. Jack had 175 CG and 28 shutouts...Bert Blyleven had 242 and 60 and he's not in. Jack, I'll never forget watching you as a kid, especially your 10 inning shutout to win the World Series for the Twins...but you're like Kirk Gibson: A very good ballplayer that will remembered for an unbelievable moment in the postseason. But not a Hall of Famer.

Alan Trammell
I can't believe I'm writing this. He was my childhood hero. I always said if it weren't for Cal Ripken, Trammell would be the God of 80's shortstops. But he's not. He hit .285, 185, 1003 for his career with an OPS of 767. He had 236 SBs, but his SB% was only 68.4%. His OBP of .352 isn't that impressive. The '87 season where he hit .343, 28, 105 is what part of what made me a baseball fan. I was outraged when he got jobbed out of the MVP to George Bell that year. But other than 1987, the man only hit over 20 homers one other time. (21 in '86) He never hit more than 15 in any other year. Tram is a sure Tigers Hall of Famer...but not in the real deal in Cooperstown.

Hall of Fame: And here's the two that I would vote for if I had a say in it...

Bert Blyleven
It amazes me that he isn't in there already. This guy played on some of the crappiest teams in baseball history and still won an amazing 287 games. His career ERA is 3.31...that would get him $15 million a year nowadays. As I said when talking about Jack, Bert had 242 CGs and 60 shutouts in his career. He's 5th on the all-time strikeout list with 3701. He had a career WHIP of 1.20 and 9 times in his career, his ERA was under 3. That's amazing. 6 years, his ERA+ was 133 or more...Morris never did that once. I don't think Bert will get in this year, but not only SHOULD he...they should apologize for screwing him over for so many years before this.

Rickey Henderson
Finally, the choice that I don't think anyone can argue seriously against. Rickey's the all time stolen base king with 1406. Rickey's second all-time in walks to Bonds with 2190. Rickey's career OBP is .401 and has more lead off homers than anyone in history. Rickey hit 297 total homers as a leadoff guy with 1115 RBIs. Rickey started every sentence he ever said with the word, "Rickey"...therefore so will I here. Rickey's the greatest leadoff hitter of all time and I say congrats on your plaque in 2009. Just go in as an Athletic...not a Yankee. I can't wait to hear the acceptance speech.