Thursday, October 29, 2009

Giving The Freep's Jamie Samuelsen What He Loves

Just when I thought I was out of things to make fun of...here comes Jamie Samuelsen again.

From the Freep...

Oddly, Brandon Lyon is Tigers' top free agent to re-sign

Oddly, Samuelsen is still (I assume) paid to write about the Tigers.

The Tigers obviously don’t have a lot of money to spend, so which one of these four free agents is most necessary to re-sign: Placido Polanco, Fernando Rodney, Brandon Lyon or Adam Everett?

Dude, you already gave us your answer in the headline. But since you asked, I'm going with none of the above. None are necessary. But Lyon and Polanco would be cool with me. Especially, Polanco.

Welcome to the portion of the blog where I praise Placido Polanco and call him one of the most important Tigers of the last five years.

Thank you. You are too kind. Now, in turn, let me welcome you to the portion of my blog where I agree with you for the first time ever, I believe. I love Polly as much as I can possibly love a multi-millionaire with a deformed head, from Santo Domingo, that I've never met.

Then I suggest that maybe his best years are behind him and that the Tigers would be wise not to invest too much money in an aging second baseman.

I'm still with you. Though, I have a feeling that you're about to turn into a sarcastic prick.

Then you, my loyal readers, will crush my e-mail box telling me what a moron I am. I love it.

Really? You love it? May I now ask all nine of my readers to please flood Mr. Samuelsoen's e-mail box with hate mail? He loves it, you know. Come up with an interesting way of telling him to kill himself. Like walking into a spinning helecoptor blade. He loves it.

He's like Drew Sharp...without the readers.

Yes, I am passing on Polanco. Love the guy.

As much as you love being called a moron? I hope your testicles somehow end up in a wood chipper.

He’s a huge reason the Tigers are where they are,

Playing golf?

and at the end of the this season, he was one of their most consistent hitters (even if Jim Leyland did bench him in a clinching game).

Take THAT, Mumbles McMarlboro! I thought Samuelsen usually defended Leyland. Didn't get enough hate mail that way? He loves it, you know.

But with money committed to players like Magglio Ordonez, Nate Robertson, Jeremy Bonderman and Dontrelle Willis, the Tigers simply can’t afford to commit to another player who won’t be able to live up to the terms of his deal.

Magglio beat the hell out of the ball the second half once his personal problems were behind him. Overpaid, still? Sure. But his option for 2010 kicked in because he LIVED UP TO THE TERMS OF HIS DEAL.

Nate sucks, sure. But he showed late in the season that he can still be effective at times. Bondo? Turned 27 yesterday. (Happy Birthday, Jeremy!) Let's not shovel dirt on him until we see him fully recovered from surgery, shall we? Dontrelle...I've got nothing there.

Point is, there are no "terms" on any of their deals. Unlike the NFL, there's nothing we can do about their stupid contracts now. Are they overpaid? Sure. Useless? Other than Willis, not quite. That's your gimmick, Jamie. Proceed.

And at this point, at the age of 34 with almost 1,500 games under his belt, he won’t be able to live up to it. We’ve seen his range on the decline. So if he can’t play second, where do you put him?

Polanco can't play second anymore? Are you fist-f'ing me, Jamie? The guy won the Gold Glove just two years ago breaking the record for errorless games. And sure, I'll agree with you that his range isn't what it once was. But to say that the man isn't capable of playing second base anymore is the dumbest thing I've heard since "Porcello is done and Zach Miner is coming into the game."

Plenty of great second basemen have moved to first after their range disappeared. Joe Morgan, Jeff Kent and Robbie Alomar all shifted around the infield when they couldn’t get those balls up the middle (like the one Polanco couldn’t get that would have WON THE DIVISION!).

You're right! It's all Mr. Potato Head's fault! He's a witch! Burn him!

Did Alomar really ever leave second base? I did black out in the late 90's, but still...

The difference with those players is that they were power hitters whose teams needed to keep them in the lineup.

Calling Joe Morgan and Roberto Alomar power hitters is a bit of a stretch. They were great hitters with more power than Polanco, but power hitters? Was Alan Trammell a "power hitter"? Of course not. But Polanco did hit 10 homers and drove in 72 runs (a career high). And why in the blue hell are you talking about moving Polanco to first base? That's...um, what's a synonym for "f'n retarded" that isn't offensive to people? Maybe, I'll come back to that.

But back to your switching postions nonsense, don't we have one of the best young (power) hitters in the majors at first base? Remember him?

That, and the Tigers already have a first baseman -- assuming he’s not hanging out at the Townsend.

There you go. Nice drunk joke. Next, call his mother a whore. Screw his near-MVP type numbers he put up.

This team already is stocked with poor-fielding players who can’t find a position.

Yeah, Laird. And Granderson. And Inge. And Cabrera. Worthless pricks.

The last thing they need is another one. So let the e-mails begin.

Dear Jamie. I hope you end up as a victim in a copycat reinactment of the latest "Saw" movie. Normally, I wouldn't write this, but I hear you love this "hate mail" stuff. XXOO, Rogo

Try to get Polly to stay for a year at what he was making. Or a slight raise. It doesn't hurt to ask. If he thinks the market is going to be huge for him, I think he's crazy. I don't see anyone offering him 3 years/$24 million. And I don't see this Sizemore kid being ready for an entire season at second base...broken leg or not. He needs another year in AAA to work on defense and cutting down on the K's. Polanco's the only guy in the linup that we can count on to make contact with the ball.

Rodney goes, too, because he’s simply going to be too expensive.

And he sucks.

He had a fantastic year,

4.40 ERA
1.47 WHIP
41 walks in 75.2 IP
9 ER in 8.2 innings after September 24th...ya know, when we kinda needed him to be good?

But he was 37/38 in saves...the most overrated stat in baseball.

That's like my kid coming home with a report card full of D's and an A+ in home ec. I'd rather have Farnsworth back on the team than Rodney. (shudders)

but it had all the trappings of a career year. Unless your name is Mariano Rivera, your best years as a closer come in your 20s.

Go to hell, Dennis Eckersley, Trevor Hoffman, Lee Smith, Goose Gossage, Rollie Fingers and countless others who saved games effectively, WELL into their 30's.

It’s not a fine-wine scenario in which you age and improve.

Wine sucks. Gives me a headache. Like Jamie Samuelsen columns. Thank goodness I only read him once a month when I'm hard up for material.

Again, I fear that Rodney would get a two- or three-year deal, and we’d be kicking ourselves in year two or three for throwing money at a reliever you don’t even trust to close games.

Like Brandon Lyon. Whom you want us to resign.

Probably totally unfair, given the year that he had,

He sucked.

but I’ve seen too many Rod Becks and Robb Nens and Randy Myerses and John Wettelands who lose it as 30somethings. Why should FRod be any different?

Beck, Nen, Myers, and Wetteland had track records. Rodney has had ONE misleading year. If he gets K-Rod money, I'll poop you out a koala bear.

Adam Everett sure was a smooth fielder,

And oh, that hair!

but he became such a liability at the plate in the second half that I can’t justify bringing him back. Second-half numbers: .207 average, .248 OBP, 17 RBIs. I’m more comfortable with Everett defensively than I am with Ramon Santiago, but not more comfortable enough to justify the drop in offense.

Everett sucks at the plate. But at most, he'll cost $1.5 million, methinks. And who else are we going to get that cheap? John McDonald? Lyon, Rodney, and Polly are all $3-$7 million guys. Why is Everett even in this conversation? Huff or Washburn would have made more sense. Your blogs are about as well thought out as that plan hatched by the balloon kid's family. Want to talk about Matt Treanor, too?

So I’m left with Brandon Lyon, which makes me very uncomfortable.

2.86 ERA
1.11 WHIP
31 walks in 78.2 IP
2 ER in 8.1 IP after September 24th...ya know, when we kinda needed him to be good?

Wait...Lyon WAS good. Why are you uncomfortable? Not enough hate mail yet? I know...WHERE ARE YOUR SAVES, BRANDON? That is how you tell what a good year is!

It’s like when you fill out your NCAA bracket from start to finish and get to the Final Four and say, “This is what I came up with?”

George Washington, Davidson, Tulane, and NC State? Thank God I write sports for the Free Press!

Lyon is what I came up with?

I had Col. Mustard in the study with the candlestick, personally.

But he was one of their best relievers down the stretch.

He was the best one. Granted, with guys like Miner, Fien, and Seay getting bombed every night, the competition wasn't that fierce.

And he’s only 30, so he doesn’t violate my Rodney age rule, either.

Rodney turns 33 in March. Can we quit talking about him like he's Dick Cheney's age, you asshat?

Actually Lyon falls into the Todd Jones category (which must THRILL you),

Tigers all-time saves leader...I'm with you...

where he doesn’t throw hard enough to have the age thing really come into play.

Throwing hard...that's all that counts. ZOOM!

Whether he can he close is the biggest question. And I still think he can.

Empty the bank account, Mr. I...Jamie thinks he can.

Pitching is pitching

Unless you're over 30.

and getting people out is the aim, whether it’s in the first inning or the ninth.

Or if you give up 2 runs every game and still get a save. That's a good outing.

I never bought the whole situational thing. Either you can get guys out or you can't. If Brad Lidge can overcome his postseason demons the way he has, then Brandon Lyon should be able to pitch the ninth.

WTF? Lyon and Lidge. Lyon was good this year. Lidge was an abortion. Lidge was great in the postseason last year...and has been on target this year. Quit comparing apples to Volkswagons.

Okay. Let's forget every stupid thing you had to say and (for some weird reason) concentrate on just Polanco, Everett, Rodney, and Lyon. I agree, the Tigers probably can't afford all of them. Double D has said that some people are going to have to go. You offer Potato Head a one year deal, take it or leave it. You offer Everett one-two years, $1.5-3.5 million. Cheap and it sures up the defense. You tell Rodney to walk into oncoming traffic...let the Cubs or someone overpay his dumb ass. And Lyon? Offer him market value.

Again, saves are the most overrated stat in baseball. Can just anyone close? No, but I don't think closers are as special as they're made out to be. Some are just lucky. (Rodney) Some truly are great. (Rivera) And some, just are given the role and they're either good or bad, depending on the year. (Todd Jones) If Lyon takes a fair deal, let him close. He's earned a shot after 2009. If not, let Zoom, Perry, and whoever else fight it out in the Spring. Rodney did it all year and he wasn't even supposed to close for us...Lyon was.

Another year out of Polanco seems to be the most important signing to me. But don't send me any hate mail over it. Send that to Jamie.

He loves the stuff.

Friday, October 23, 2009

It's A Little Known Fact...


Cliff Claven, of the televison show "Cheers", used to come up with "little known facts" about any goofy topic you could imagine. Being incapable of coming up with an original idea of my own, I took the Claven approach and dug up some little known facts about our 2009 Tigers that you may or may not have known. As far as I know, all of these things are 100% fact, unless you are telling me that wikipedia could possibly be wrong. Enjoy.

-Two of the '09 Tigers were on the 2000 US Olympic gold medal winning team. They would be Adam Everett and Bobby Seay.

-Although mostly practiced in Texas (I think), three Tigers go by their middle names or nicknames instead of their real given first names. Those gentlemen are Fredrick Alfred (Rick) Porcello III, Charles Brandon Inge, and DNR whipping boy, Michael Clete Thomas.

-Edwin Jackson is one of twenty-seven major league players in history to be born in Germany. Also, when drafted by the Dodgers in 2001, he was actually drafted as an outfielder.

-Ryan Raburn was selected by Tampa Bay in the '99 MLB Draft. Instead, he decided to go to South Florida Community College. Good for us, I guess.

-In high school, Rick Porcello had a 3.93 GPA, was a member of the National Honor Society, as well as a member of the Spanish National Honor Society.

-Porcello is the grandson of shortstop Sam Dente, who played from 1947-1955, including an appearance in the World Series in 1954 for Cleveland.

-Magglio Ordonez has three kids. There's Magglio Jr. Also, there's a girl named Maggliana. His other daughter is named Sophia. No idea why he didn't go with Maglietta.

-Jeremy Bonderman is the only high school junior to ever be drafted by a major league team. (Oakland in 2001)

-You know that we got Armando Galaragga from the Texas Rangers. But Texas originally got him in the deal that sent Alfonso Soriano to the Nationals in 2005 (along with Brad Wilkerson and Terrmel Sledge).

-Fu-Te Ni's given name is the same as the formal name of the Chinese God of the Land.

-Placido Polanco's son has a famous godfather. That man is none other than Albert Pujols. Also, when translated into Spanish, Placido's name means "Placid Burro".

-Adam Everett's wife is from Birmingham, MI. This was one of the major factors in him signing with Detroit last year.

-Miguel Cabrera has over 100 career starts at first base, thrid base, left field, and right field.

-Cabrera was the third player since 1900 to hit a walkoff home run in his first major league game.

-One more on Miguel. He is both a Catholic and a practitioner of Santeria, a syncretic religion of Caribbean origin. In 2006, he became a Babalao (a high priest).

-From 1994-1996, when in high school, Bobby Seay went 30-4 with a 0.79 ERA, with 362 strikeouts in 221 1/3 innings pitched.

-Clay Rapada was with the Cubs minor league team, the Lansing Lugnuts in 2003. During a game against the Tigers affiliate, the West Michigan Whitecaps, Rapada and six others were ejected after a brawl on the field.

-In college, Marcus Thames went by the nickname, "Slick". The name was the result of getting his hair cut much shorter than intended when he was four years old.

-Thames was the 80th player in MLB history to hit a homer in his first major league at bat. It came on the first pitch he saw from likely future Hall of Famer, Randy Johnson.

-On 7/3/06, Justin Verlander, Joel Zumaya, and Fernando Rodney became the first three players on the same team to be clocked at over 100 mph in the same game.

-The first pitch Freddy Dolsi threw in the majors was hit over the center field fence in Comerica Park for a homer by Manny Ramirez.

-When he was six years old, Aubrey Huff's father was shot and killed as an innocent bystander in a workplace domestic dispute attempting to take away a gun from a man who had just shot his wife. Yikes.

That's all I've got for now. Go Phillies, I guess. (Gotta root for Stairs, Bako, and Durbin...always a Tiger, kids.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Making The Grade(s): 2009 Final Edition

After giving it some time after the Game 163 fun, Professor Rogo is here to give out final grades for everyone that wore a Tigers jersey in 2009. This will be my second attempt at this since I wrote it all out once and accidently deleted it because I am a moron. (Write it in Word first...I know. Shut up.) So here's how this will look.

Player: Final Grade (Midseason Grade)
2009 Value Over Replacement Player
(for hitters) Avg, HR, RBI, OBP
(for pitchers) W-L, ERA, IP, K's
Commentary

Easy enough? Great. Here's my midseason grades if you have even more time to kill. On we go.

INFIELDERS

Miguel Cabrera: A- (A)
VORP: 57.1
.324, 34, 103, .396
The guy is great but with a bit of patience at the plate, he could be outstanding, methinks. Jim Leyland hinted at that same thing earlier this season by commenting that he thinks Cabrera seems to not concentrate enough in every at bat. His other big stat of the year, the .26 BAC, may be the thing that finally gets him completely serious about baseball, since the media had a field day with it. We'll see. Fine season overall for Cabrera, especially considering the stiffs he had surrounding him in the lineup for most of the season.

Placido Polanco: B (C-)
VORP: 15.0
.285, 10, 72, .331
Mr. Potato Head started the season poorly and spent most of it in the .260 range at the plate. His defense seemed to slip a bit, as well. But down the stretch, Polly was one of the few guys that didn't seem lethargic at the plate and played a key part in winning several games. He looks to be finished as a Tiger due to budget issues, which is a shame. Thanks for everything, Placido. Hopefully, someone on ESPN learns how to pronounce your name properly before you retire.

Brandon Inge: C+ (A)
VORP: 2.4
.230, 27, 84, .314
Only Brandon could hit 27 homers and have a VORP of 2.4. I called him the first half MVP of the team at the All Star Break. Since then, he's battled gimpy knees and a frustrating habit of swinging at curveballs in the dirt. The guy is amazing in the field, yet an abortion at the plate. If he ever learns to put it all together, then I'll finally be able to understand the love he receives from all the fat girls with tramp stamps that scream when he's introduced at the CoPa.

Adam Everett: C (B)
VORP: -6.9
.238, 3, 44, .288
When the Tigers signed Everett, I said that he was possibly the worst hitter in the league and the best fielding shortstop at the same time. He wasn't either of those things, but it was close. Adam produced pretty much what was expected of him. He even managed to stay healthy for the whole year. Who knows if he'll be back, but I'd rather see Ramon Santiago at short, any day.

Gerald Laird: C+ (C+)
VORP: -6.2
.225, 4, 33, .306
Along with Inge and Everett, G-Money was the third member of the "Tigers Black Hole of Suck" where rallies went to die in the batting order. But I feel bad for Laird. The guy deserves a gold glove for his efforts behind the plate this year, and his offense was bound to suffer as Leyland trotted him out there for 135 games this year. The injury to Mr. Misty-May didn't help things to start the season. With Alex Aliva "arriving", hopefully Laird will get some more rest next year and his offensive production will increase. Hopefully.

Ramon Santiago: B (B)
VORP: 4.1
.267, 7, 35, .318
"The Little Tiger That Could" is a DNR favorite that I would like to see get a chance to be the everyday shortstop over a full season. Being a DNR favorite, look for him to be released or traded any day now. (See Anderson, Josh, French, Luke, and Sheffield, Gary) Ramon is great with the glove, has occasional pop in his bat, and looks like he's 12 years old, which is always amusing. If only he'd get to play in more than 100 games in a season. (93 in '09)

Aubrey Huff: D (none)
VORP: -6.8 (Det)
.241, 15, 85, .310 (Bal & Det)
Huff was the bat that Dave Dombrowski acquired for the stretch run to protect Miguel Cabrera. Instead, Huff grounded out to second base almost every time he came to the plate. Aubrey gets a "D" instead of an "F" because I happened to be at the "bat flip" game where he hit the tying home run in the bottom of the ninth against the Blue Jays. That was an awesome moment...his only as a Tiger. Aubrey's a decent ballplayer that I think just crumbled under the pressure of his first playoff race.

Jeff Larish: C- (C-)
VORP: 1.1
.216, 4, 7, .344
Larish was sent down around midseason and got hurt, preventing a September call up. 2010 will be a big year for him to see if he's ever going to be a big league ballplayer or if he's going to be a Mike Hessman.

Alex Avila: B+ (none)
VORP: 7.5
.279, 5, 14, .375
Who saw this coming? Son of one of the bosses. Can grow a full beard in under two hours. Hits the crap out of the ball. Catches a decent game, too? 2010 will intersting to see if Alex is more of a Lance Parrish or a Matt Nokes, a one and done guy. He'll be important for the Tigers in resting Laird and providing some pop off the bench.

Dane Sardinha: D- (D+)
VORP: -6.4
.097, 0, 3, .091
Decent defender. Worst hitter ever. I doubt he'll ever see Detroit again. That's okay because I hear he likes the scenery in Toledo just fine.

Dusty Ryan: D (C)
VORP: -3.0
.154, 0, 4, .267
Jim Leyland seemed to forget that he was on the team at times. So did I.

Brent Dlugach: Incomplete (none)
VORP: -0.8
.000, 0, 0, .000
I can't grade a guy that got into 5 games and had 3 at bats. Annoying last name, though.

Matt Treanor: F (F)
VORP: -3.3
.000, 0, 0, .071
Epic fail. Say hi to the wife for me.

OUTFIELDERS

Curtis Granderson: B (B)
VORP: 25.8
.249, 30, 71, .327
Grandy had the highlight reel catch of the year robbing Grady Sizemore of a home run early in the season. He made the All Star team for the first time. And he hit a career high 30 dingers. But too often, he seemed to be more Marcus Thames at the plate than Curtis Granderson, especially against left handers. Too much boom or bust...not enough gappers to start a rally. Lynn Henning wants him traded...I just want the old Granderson back...the guy from before he was trying to save the world and hit home runs all the time.

Magglio Ordonez: B (D)
VORP: 22.9
.310, 9, 50, .376
It's all been said. The personal problems. The contract. The lack of power. The townsfolk with pitchforks calling for his head. Then a funny thing started happening with Maggs. He started hitting again. Magglio was a beast down the stretch, arguably the offensive MVP the final month of the season. If his head is on straight all season, he stays healthy, and Jim quits pulling him in the 6th or 7th inning every night, Magglio may still have another productive year or two left in him.

Carlos Guillen: C- (Incomplete)
VORP: 3.5
.242, 11, 41, .339
Carlos says he's an everyday player. Well, if he can quit getting hurt every time he rounds second base, maybe he can prove just that. Carlos was too streaky once he started playing this year to be an impact player. He's shown that he can be an asset when healthy. But that's easier said than done with Carlos Guillen. Since the end of the season, he's been running his mouth about his position and playing time. I hope he's just letting off steam from a disappointing season's end and isn't as delusional as his comments seem to make him out to be.

Ryan Raburn: B (B)
VORP: 19.4
.291, 16, 45, .359
Other than the first 20 at bats of the season, Ryan Raburn seemed on a misson this season to prove that he should be in the lineup every day. So, of course, he only got 261 at bats playing for Jim Leyland. But the guy produced, putting up the 4th highest VORP on the team behind Cabrera, Granderson, and Ordonez. Maybe 2010 will be the year that Ryan Raburn gets his shot at an everyday role. But with expensive guys seemingly manning the corner outfield spots, who knows...

Clete Thomas: C- (C+)
VORP: -0.5
.240, 7, 39, .324
Ladies and gentlemen, our #3 hitter for much of the year...a guy with a negative VORP. Regular readers of my little poop joke blog here know that I'm not much of a fan of 'ol Clete. But much of that stems from the fact that he was put in a position in the lineup where he just did not belong. He was set up to fail. The guy has a cannon for an arm, but not much else other than a goofy name, a goofy face, and a weird fan base. The man sucks at hitting a baseball. He sucks a LOT at hitting a baseball. Clete's a #4 outfielder at best. He is not a #3 hitter in a major league lineup. He gets a C- from me, overall, for his defense and a couple timely hits that he did manage to get during the year.

Marcus Thames: C- (C)
VORP: 5.9
.252, 13, 36, .323
Ahh, Marcus. For the 3rd straight year, at least, I read that THIS was the year that Marcus was going to get some at bats for the Tigers. But due to injury and his usual streaky play, Marcus only made 294 plate appearances. His power numbers dipped and he wasn't called upon in Game 163 to bat for Gerald Laird (even though I was drunkedly screaming for Leyland to do so...three different times). Marcus may be done as a Tiger, I'm afraid.

Don Kelly: D (D)
VORP: -0.8
.250, 0, 3, .311
The Tigers sure do love their generic, white outfielders, don't they? I honestly don't know what they see in this guy. Even the Pirates didn't want him. And that fly ball he lost in the Metrodome...don't get me started.

Wilkin Ramirez: B- (A)
VORP: 2.5
.364, 1, 3, .385
Trade bait. That's what I see in this kid. Sell high. There's no room in Detroit for him for another couple years with the contracts we have unless Carlos or Magglio's legs fall off. Then again, that could happen at any time. Wilkin seems like a good player, but he's another that I just haven't seen enough of. I do know that he's good at getting picked off of base at crucial times.

Josh Anderson: C- (C+)
VORP: -4.8
Sold to Kansas City like a side of beef, Josh Anderson never got enough consistant playing time in Detroit to show what he could be. He hit over .300 with the Braves, but was part of platoons in his limited Tiger action. I loved his speed and thought he'd be crucial off the bench as a pinch runner late in the season. Dombrowski disagreed and kept Clete Thomas instead. Sigh.

STARTING PITCHERS

Justin Verlander: A+ (A)
VORP: 60.6
19-9, 3.45, 240.0, 269
When I grow up, I want to be Justin Verlander. Rebounding from a poor 2008 season, JV was a beast this year. Despite averaging around 345 pitches per game (look it up), Verlander survived the season and led the AL in strikeouts by 27 over Zach Greinke. Oddly enough, when balls were put in play against Justin, batters had an BABIP of .325. The only Tiger with at least 32 innings pitched with a higher BABIP? Nate Robertson at .342. Other than that weird stat, JV was an ace in every way for Detroit.

Edwin Jackson: B+ (A+)
VORP: 49.2
13-9, 3.62, 214.0, 161
Anyone miss Matt Joyce? Didn't think so. EJax in the first half was the suprise of baseball. The second half? He ran out of gas. It'll be interesting to see how he pitches in 2010. Will he be one of the best #2 starters in baseball? Or will he be the guy that both the Dodgers and Rays gave up on? My guess is somewhere closer to the first as his stuff is just too good to not be an asset to the rotation. He would have won 17 or 18 games if he had any run support.

Rick Porcello: B+ (B-)
VORP: 32.2
14-9, 3.96, 170.2, 89
Dreamboat Rick surprised everyone that was calling for him to start the season in AAA (including Your Party Host) by putting together a Rookie of the Year type season. His lethal sinker led to ground ball after ground ball and was the guy the Tigers turned to in Game 163 to get them the win. He did his part, but perhaps an early yank by Jim Leyland was the difference in that game. Regardless, Kid Rick's first season was hopefully a sign of things to come in the future.

Jarrod Washburn: D- (none)
VORP: -5.7 (Det)
9-9, 3.78, 176.0, 100 (Sea & Det)
He had one good start against the mighty Royals, at least. Other than that, Washburn was a failure in every sense of the word after being acquired from Seattle at the trade deadline. Sadly, the Tigers knew of his knee injury when they traded for him and have no one to blame buy themselves. He won't be back in Detroit next year...most likely returning to Seattle.

Armando Galarraga: D (C-)
VORP: 3.4
6-10, 5.64, 143.2, 95
Sophomore slump or was he just an optical illusion last year? Armando started well and went to hell quickly afterwards. His control left him and he just couldn't be counted on to give solid innings throughout the season, so much so that Leyland and company went with unproven starter Alfredo Figaro on the final Saturday of the season against the White Sox. We'll see where his head is at come springtime, I guess.

Nate Robertson: D+, (F)
VORP: 0.4
2-3, 5.44, 49.2, 35
Our Hero battled injury and the fact that he sucks for most of 2009. Surprisingly, he did manage to put together a decent start or two down the stretch before getting yet another ouchie to end things. Here's something positive. His 0.4 VORP is miles ahead of the -13.4 he put up in 2008. Way to go, Nate! Earn that cash!

Eddie Bonine: C-, (D)
VORP: 4.1
1-1, 4.46, 34.1, 19
Hey, he pitched a decent game in Chicago for us. Other than that, Bonine was useless as one of the 20 #5 starters we tried this year. He did his best, but Eddie Bonine in your rotation does not make you a playoff team.

Dontrelle Willis: F (F)
VORP: -5.3
1-4, 7.49, 33.2, 17
When's he off the books again? Great idea signing him to an extension before he ever took the mound, Dave. Wish I had your job security.

Alfredo Figaro: D (C)
VORP: -1.7
2-2, 6.35, 17.0, 16
Figaro didn't belong in the majors, making the jump from AA since no one pitching and wearing an Old English D could stay healthy this year. Check back on him in a couple years.

Chris Lambert: F (F)
VORP: -6.2 (Det)
0-1, 10.22, 12.1, 11 (Det & Bal)
Sigh. Thanks for taking him, Baltimore. Idiots.

Luke French: B (B)
VORP: 6.5 (Det)
4-5, 5.21, 67.1, 42
"The Tickler" pitched well in his brief time as a Tiger before being shipped to Seattle in the now regretted Washburn deal. In Seattle, French got hammered, doing his best Washburn imitiation for the M's. He was never a top prospect, but he would have been a better option down the stretch for us than Figaro, Bonine, or Lambert.

RELIEF PITCHERS

Fernando Rodney: B (C)
VORP: 12.3
2-5, 37 SV, 4.40, 75.2, 61
Captain Crooked Hat is probably done as a Tiger. I couldn't be happier. Yes, he went 37/38 in saves. That's why I gave him a "B". But my blood pressure couldn't possibly stand another season of watching this guy save games for us. And that one blown save against Cleveland at Progressive Field? Yep...I was there. I hate you, Fernando.

Brandon Lyon: A- (C)
VORP: 27.0
6-5, 2.86, 78.2, 57
People were calling for "The Cowardly Lyon's" head early in the year after a poor start. But as the season went on, Lyon became "Lyonheart", the leader of the Tigers' bullpen. No one down the stretch was better than Brandon out of the pen and I'm hoping the Tigers can sign him for another season as either the closer or to be competition for Zoom and Perry to be the 2010 closer.

Zach Miner: C (C-)
VORP: 12.6
7-5, 4.29, 92.1, 62
I like Miner better as a starter. Leyland likes him better out of the pen. Either way, Zach Miner is nothing more than an average big league pitcher with a decent sinker. Orlando Cabrera took him deep for the big drive in Game 163, but I don't think Zach had any business being in there. If you give a chimp a gun and the chimp shoots someone...do you blame the chimp? No...blame the moron that handed him the gun.

Ryan Perry: B- (C)
VORP: 11.0
0-1, 3.79, 61.2, 60
Perry's still just a cub, yet another rookie that wasn't expected to make the team, but did. He did okay...just needs to work on his control. They're calling him the closer of the future. Then again, they did that with Joel Zumaya, too.

Bobby Seay: C+ (A)
VORP: 9.3
6-3, 4.25, 48.2, 37
Started well, ended poorly. Sound familiar by now? Bobby's a solid workhorse out of the pen, but we do have cheaper options in lefty relievers with Ni and Rapada. Don't expect Bobby to be with the team for more than another year.

Fu-Te Ni: A- (A)
VORP: 11.5
0-0, 2.61, 31.0, 21
"Made In Taiwan" was very impressive for the Tigers. He led the team with a .205 BABIP and showed good control. That and he can do impressions! What more do you need in a lefty out of the pen?

Joel Zumaya: D (C)
VORP: 2.6
3-3, 4.94, 31.0, 30
"Glass Joel" disappointed his legions of fans again in '09. He can't stay healthy and his fastballs aren't as difficult to hit as they used to be. However, I do understand him a bit better now. I recently bought "Guitar Hero: World Tour" and managed to hurt my wrist playing "Schism" by Tool. Add in my drinking problem and Joel and I are two peas in a pod. All kidding aside, they expect Zoom to compete once again for the closer role in 2010 if he's healthy. Insert your own "Joel getting injured" joke here.

Casey Fien: F (none)
VORP: -3.4
0-1, 7.94, 11.1, 9
Fien was great as a Mud Hen. As a Tiger? Not so much. Another year in the minors will tell us what we have in Casey Fien.

Freddy Dolsi: B+ (B+)
VORP: 1.0
1-0, 1.69, 10.2, 3
Dolsi continues to do well in the majors when called upon. Thing is, they hardly ever call upon him. Not sure what it is, but Leyland doesn't seem to have much faith in him.

Jeremy Bonderman: F (incomplete)
VORP: -3.0
0-1, 8.71, 10.1, 5
Bondo was el busto in 2009 again. Hurt all year, he came back late in the year to get smacked around out of the pen. Entering 2010, he's a mystery if he'll ever achieve the promise that people have had for him for years now.

Clay Rapada: D (C-)
VORP: 0.2
0-0, 5.40, 3.1, 2
I like Rapada. Of course, that means he's doomed to a career in the minor leagues.

Juan Rincon: D (D)
VORP: 0.8 (Det)
4-2, 6.87, 36.2, 35 (Det & Col)
Great spring. Sucked in real games. Got bombed in Colorado, too. May be about over for Senor Rincon.

DA SKIPPER

Jim Leyland: C+ (D)
Expecting a lower grade after I took pot shots at him this whole time? I constantly disagree with Mumbles McMarlboro's decisions, but he got the Tigers to a second place finish...exactly where I predicted them to finish at the beginning of the year. Look it up...right here. (That Mets pick...what was I thinking?) So yeah, I can't totally crap on the skipper. With all of the injuries to his rotation, it's a miracle that we finished where we did. When you can't score more than 3 runs a game, it's hard to win games. But the Tigers did. And as much as Jim Leyland drives me crazy at times, you have to respect the fact that the Tigers were there at the end.

We'd have all taken that at the start of the season. Class dismissed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Always A Tiger: End of '09 Edition

Here's the end of season wrap up on every guy that touched a MLB diamond this season that at one point in his career played for the Tigers. Well, at least the ones that I remember, that is. Let a brother know if he missed someone.

PITCHERS

I must start with this guy.

Ahh, Jair Jurrjens. Looks nice in Tigers garb, no? The blue chip pitcher that no one saw coming had a great year in Atlanta.

SP-Jair Jurrjens, Atl: 14-10, 2.60 ERA, 215 IP, 152 K

Jair had a pitching VORP of 60.5. That was good for 9th in the majors this year, just behind Justin Verlander's 60.6 rating. He ranked higher than guys like Dan Haren, CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Jon Lester, and...you get the idea. Plenty of unsold Edgar Renteria merchandise is still available at the Tigers shop, by the way. Here's the rest of the pitchers.

SP-Brian Moehler, Hou: 8-12, 154.2, 91
SP-Andrew Miller, Fla: 3-5, 4.84, 80, 59
SP/RP-Jeff Weaver, LAD: 6-4, 3.65, 79, 64
SP-Virgil Vasquez, Pit: 2-5, 5.84, 44.2, 29
SP/RP-Shane Loux, LAA: 2-3, 5.86, 58.1, 19
SP-Freddy Garcia, CWS: 3-4, 4.34, 56, 37
SP-Luke French, Det/Sea: 4-5, 5.23, 67.1, 42
(French went 3-3 in Seattle after the Washburn deal with a 6.63 ERA, in case you were wondering.)
RP-Francisco Cordero, Cin: 2-6, 2.16, 66.2, 58 (39 SV)
RP-Kyle Farnsworth, KC: 1-5, 4.58, 37.1, 42
RP-Jason Grilli, Col/Tex: 2-3, 5.38, 45.2, 49
RP-Trevor Miller, StL: 4-1, 2.06, 43.2, 46
RP-Tim Byrdak, Hou: 1-2, 3.23, 61.1, 58
RP-Chad Durbin, Phi: 2-2, 4.39, 69.2, 62
RP-Roman Colon, KC: 2-3, 4.83, 50.1, 29
RP-Juan Rincon, Det/Col: 4-2, 6.96, 36.2, 35
RP-Jamie Walker, Bal: 0-0, 5.11, 12.1, 9
RP-Doug Brocail, Hou: 1-0, 4.58, 17.2, 9
RP-Troy Percival, TB: 0-1, 6.35, 11.1, 7 (6 SV)
RP-Casey Fossum, NYM: 0-0, 2.25, 4, 3
RP-Wil Ledezma, Was: 0-0, 9.53, 5.2, 8
RP-Eulogio De La Cruz, SD, 0-0, 5.40, 3.1, 2

RANDOM MUSINGS
-Nice years for Cordero, Trevor Miller, and Byrdak.
-Remember when Ledezma and Andrew Miller were the future of our rotation?
-Jamie Walker remains the nicest Tiger that I ever personally met. I hope he gets another shot next year with someone.
-Rincon...at least you had a nice spring.
-KC, you got Farnsed.
-I still hope Jason Grilli gets herpes.

INFIELD
C-Ivan Rodriguez, Hou/Tex: .250, 10 HR, 55 RBI
C-Brad Ausmus, LAD: .295, 1, 9
C-Mike Rivera, Mil: .228, 2, 14
C-Paul Bako, Phi: .224, 3, 9
C-Eric Munson, Oak: .000, 0, 0 (0-1)
1B-Carlos Pena, TB: .227. 39, 100
1B-Tony Clark, Ari: .182, 4, 11
1B-Chris Shelton, Sea: .231, 0, 4
2B-Omar Infante, Atl: .305, 2, 24
2B-Jason Smith, Hou: .000, 0, 1 (0-25!!!)
3B-Jack Hannahan, Oak/Sea: .214, 4, 19
SS-Edgar Renteria, SF: .250, 5, 48
SS-John McDonald, Tor: .258, 4, 13
SS-Ramon Martinez, NYM: .167, 0, 4

RANDOM MUSINGS
-Is it wrong that I was rooting for Carlos Pena to finish the season under .200 and over 40 homers?
-Only foul ball I've ever caught? Off Paul Bako's bat years ago at Tiger Stadium.
-I still see at least one Shelton jersey at most Tiger home games. Weirdos.
-I admit. I was scared that Renteria would go .300, 15, 70 this year in Frisco. Luckily, he's still terrible at baseball.
-Nice year, Omar. Hope you're feeling better. I always liked him.
-Aren't we due to have Ausmus back on the team again?

OUTFIELD
OF-Gary Sheffield, NYM: .276, 10, 44
OF-Cody Ross, Fla: .270, 24, 90
OF-Josh Anderson, Det/KC: .241, 1, 24 (25 SB)
OF-Cameron Maybin, Fla: .250, 4, 13
OF-Matt Stairs, Phi: .194, 5, 17 (.357 OBP)
OF-Gabe Kapler, .239, 8, 26
OF-Frank Catalanotto, Mil, .278, 1, 18
OF-Matt Joyce, TB: .188, 3, 7
OF-Andres Torres, SD: .270, 6, 23
OF-Craig Monroe, Pit: .215, 3, 16

RANDOM MUSINGS
-Sheff had no homers in the second half. I still think it was dumb to cut him since we were stuck paying him.
-Cody Ross...where did that come from? Sorry I got drunk and heckled you that one day when you were a Mud Hen, Cody.
-I miss Mr. Anderson. We could have used his speed as a pinch runner.
-Remember how upset many Tigers fans were over the EJax/Joyce trade?
-Torres...out of all of these guys, I never thought he'd end up being productive somewhere.
-Maybin...you suck. (Maybin was the first guy to wear #4 after Higginson retired. Therefore, I hate him more than I hate Kenny G.)
-Gabe Kapler sucks at baseball. But dude...

...I'd kill my family to look like that in a Tiger hat. Imagine the groupies...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

2009 DNR End of Season Awards


Sorry. Neil Patrick Harris couldn't make it. This may be the only awards type thing he won't do. Let's get right into this, shall we?

AL MVP

Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
After starting the season injured, Captain Sideburns played in 138 games hitting .365 with 28 homers, 96 RBIs, a .444 OBP, and a slugging percentage of .587. Losing Justin Morneau for the last month of the season didn't stop him or his team from overcoming the Tigers to win the AL Central. Perhaps you heard about that.
(Runners up: Derek Jeter, Kevin Youkilis)

NL MVP

Albert Pujols, St Louis Cardinals
Phat Albert really might be a machine after all. He lead baseball in VORP at 91.0. He hit .327, hit 47 homers, 135 RBIs, slugged .658, and had an OBP of .443. He's the best player in baseball and the best hitter I've ever seen.
(Runners up: Hanley Ramirez, Prince Fielder)

AL CY Young

Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays
Surprised? Others may get more Cy Young talk, but they don't have to face the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays every 5 days like Halladay seems to do playing for the Jays in the AL East. Facing the best competition on a sub-par team, Roy went 17-10 with a 2.79 ERA in 239 innings pitched. He tossed 9 complete games, 4 shutouts, and struck out 208. Best pitcher in baseball...period.
(Runners up: Zach Greinke, Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez)

NL Cy Young

Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
Even having Edgar Renteria man shortstop this year couldn't stop "The Freak" from going 15-7 with a 2.48 ERA for the Giants. He went 225.1 innings, struck out 261 batters, threw 4 complete games, and had 2 shutouts...all this while weighing less than Barry Bonds' head. Impressive.
(Runners up: Cris Carperter, Adam Wainwright, Matt Cain)

AL Rookie of the Year

Rick Porcello, Detroit Tigers
I may be biased, I admit. But if JV couldn't pitch game 163 for Detroit, Kid Rick was the guy I wanted on the mound. 14-9 and a 3.96 ERA at the age of 20. When I was 20 years old, I spent my evenings begging people to buy me beer. This guy is pitching in front of millions...and doing it well. I can't wait to see what the future holds for the Dreamboat.
(Runners up: Andrew Bailey, Elvis Andrus)

NL Rookie of the Year

Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
I admit...I follow Pirates baseball about as much as I follow "All My Children". But the kid put up decent numbers of .286, 12, 54, .365, .471 playing on an awful Pittsburgh team. Can't wait to see who he's traded to in four years.
(Runners up: Tommy Hanson, Chirs Coghlan)

AL Manager of the Year

Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota Twins
Dammit. I'm not going over this again. See Mauer.
(Runners up: Ron Washington, Joe Girardi)

NL Manager of the Year

Jim Tracy, Colorado Rockies
Taking over a seemingly hapless Rockies team 49 games into the season, Tracy lead the Rocks to a 73-40 record the rest of the way winning the NL Wild Card.
(Runners up: Tony LaRussa, Joe Torre)

Tigers MVP and Cy Young

Justin Verlander, SP
Verlander was a beast on the mound this year. After a rough start, he put in the best season by a starting pitcher since Jack Morris' days in the 80's. He went 19-9 with a 3.45 ERA and a league leading 269 strikeouts. We're not worthy, Justin. We're not worthy.
(MVP Runners up: Miguel Cabrera, uhhh...)
(Cy Young runners up: Edwin Jackson, Rick Porcello)

Most Improved Tiger

Rod Allen, Color Commentator
Say what, Rogo? Bear with me. I used to hate Rod Allen. I thought he was garbage. But this year, Rod has grown on me quite a bit. More and more, he is making better points during the games. And it's at the point that when I'm watching other baseball games...I start thinking "Man, this would be better with Rod and Mario." Perhaps, I'm just getting soft in my old age...
(Runners up: Edwin Jackson, Ryan Raburn)

Tiger Blog of the Year
Bless You Boys
BYB is the blog that led me into what you see here, for better or worse. (I'll leave that up to you.) Ian's hard work has given many a Tiger fan a place to gather to watch games and experience the ups and downs of being a Tiger fan. Despite encouraging the Cult in their love of Clete, BYB is the most fair and balanced Tiger blog out there, in my opinion. Thank you, Ian, and all those who contribute to Bless You Boys.
(Runners up: Too Many To List)

Funniest Tiger Blog of the Year
Roar of the Tigers
Samara Pearlstein is a genius. Pure and simple. Funny cartoons, great photos, and witty comments are abound at RotT on a daily basis. Bravo, Sam.

Best Blog Piece I've Seen This Year
My Evening With Ernie
By J. Ellet Lambie at Eye of the Tigers
One of the greatest stories I've read about the wonderful man that is Ernie Harwell. Thanks for sharing this with us. Please check it out if you haven't had a chance.

And FINALLY...it's the BIG MOMENT! Time for this year's BEST PICTURE! The nominees are...


Terminator 4
Starring Justin Verlander as an emotionless cyborg sent to Earth in the year 2009 to lead a mediocre baseball team in its quest to win the worst division in baseball.


The Hangover
Starring Joel Zumaya as a promising fireball throwing pitcher who keeps getting hurt and stalling his once promising career. What's a guy to do with all that money and all that time off? Get wasted, of course! (late season cameo by Miguel Cabrera)


The Full Monty
Starring Edwin Jackson as a baseball pitcher that gives stripping a shot as a way to make extra money. A real hit with the ladies...


Brokeback Mountain
A heartbreaking tale starring Miguel Cabrera and Andy Van Slyke as two men that love and appreciate each other no matter what society thinks. Sadly, when Van Slyke said "I wish I could quit you", no one realized that he would do just that mere days after the season's finale...possibly due to Cabrera's drinking problem.


Saving Private Ryan
A gory film about security guards and their attempts to keep Tiger fans from killing Ryan Raburn after seeing him play defense in the outfield.

AND THE WINNER IS...

Miracle
Starring the Minnesota Twins?

Dammit, they did it again!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hmm...Whom Can I Vent On? Aha!

Much like all Tiger fans, I'm still upset about the other day. I've tried to move on, but to play a game like that and be on the losing end after leading most of the season...I just want to kill someone. If only there was some horrible, evil person that we could all agree deserves our hatred. If only there were some sort of person that just the mention of his name sparked curse words out of the mouths of even the nicest of Detroiters. If only there was a guy that just the sight of his mug made people want to throw things and scream in protest.

Thank goodness for Drew Sharp! Let the pointless anger on my part begin. From the Freep.

The angry want answers or, more specifically, a scapegoat to bear the blemish of the first team in major league history to lose a three-game, first-place lead with four games remaining.

F'n A right, Drew! Fire Leyland!

Jim Leyland isn't that man.

Damn! Fire...Kwan?

He'll take the bullet because that's his personality, but firing him isn't the solution.

Good call! Let's string his ass up! Or maybe hide his smokes! Maybe, we can force him to read a years worth of Drew Sharp articles?

This was the best managerial work of Leyland's career,

86-77 in the worst division in baseball...playing mostly against the horrible teams of the AL Central. Okay. Much better than going 95-67 with the Pirates in '90. Much better than going 96-66 with Pittsburgh in '92. And 95-67 in Detroit in '06? World Series? Ooh...there was that World Series title he won in 1997 in Florida. Ring a bell? Naw. This year was much better.

considering the Tigers' ultimately fatal structural flaws -- the inability to bring runners home with less than two outs and poor corner outfield defense.

Those things sound like something a good manager would have his coaching staff work with a team on. Hitting fly balls, improving defense...

Despite those obvious imperfections, the Tigers almost got away with stealing a divisional championship.

Nice, Drew. Accuse someone in Detroit of stealing something. No wonder people don't like you.

You can't go from American League manager of the year one second to the managerial unemployment line the next.

Mumbles McMarlboro won the award three years ago. Hardly a second. But since you brought it up, Tony LaRussa won it in '83 and was fired in '86. John McNamara won it in '86 and was fired in '88. Jim's buddy, Gene LaMont, won it in '93 and was let go in '95 by Chicago. Buck Showalter won it in '94...fired in '96. Davey Johnson won in '97 and was let go after the season. Same with Joe Girardi in '06. Jimy Williams in '99? Fired in '01. Tony Pena in '03? Pink slip in '05. Eric Wedge was fired the other day after winning the award in '07. My point? You are an idiot.

There's always second-guessing.

Freep Editor: We really let this guy have a job still?

Why did he rest Placido Polanco in the Tigers' first potential clincher against Minnesota last Thursday?

Santiago was 6-12 in his career against Scott Baker while Polly had a career average of .212 in 33 at bats against him...that would be my guess.

Why did he pass on pitching Rick Porcello last Saturday against Chicago?

Short rest...don't want to take chances with his arm. Pretty sure on that one.

Why did he let an obviously tiring Fernando Rodney pitch the 12th inning Tuesday night?

Alzheimers? Lack of faith in his bullpen at the worst time? Was on a smoke break at a critical moment? No, I agree with the Rodney question. There's no defending that one, in my opinion. But instead of the first two questions, try these. Why the quick hook on Porcello after he started brilliantly? Why not pinch hit for Gerald Laird with the bases loaded and Laird having his worst offensive game of the season? (and that's saying a lot) Why not argue the Inge call more and get an appeal from another umpire? Why Zach Miner over Brandon Lyon when yanking Kid Rick?

But frustration compromises common sense, and people easily forget the half-dozen managerial decisions every game that allowed a deficient team like the Tigers to remain in the playoff discussion as long as they did.

The Tigers were in the playoff discussion because they play in a divison where three of the five teams threw in the towel two months ago. Worst division in baseball. We covered this.

And if the Tigers overreact and make a change, exactly where do they go for a replacement?

Bobby Valentine. Buck Showalter. Rod Marinelli. I dunno. Like it matters. Sometimes, you just need a new voice shouting orders. Terry Francona hadn't won a damn thing before becoming the greatest manager in Red Sox history. Hell, give Trammell another shot...this time with MLB players instead of a AA squad. At least his team won games the last week of the season.

How many World Series-winning, multiple-playoff-experienced managers are out there looking for something to do?

Ask Davey Johnson what he's up to. I'm sure there's others. Already getting bored with you...don't wanna look it up. You don't look anything up. Why should I?

Leyland remains the right voice for what will remain a heavily veteran-laden team in 2010.

If veterans like hearing mumbling and a hacking cough, then I guess you're right.

The Tigers will likely still have one of the top 10 highest payrolls in baseball next season, considering they're now stuck with Magglio OrdoƱez's $18-million contract after a season in which he only hit nine home runs and drove in merely 50 runs.

Yeah, Magglio. You dick. You spent the start of the season worried that you wife was going to die. Then the media crucified you and wanted you cut from the team after all you've done for the Tigers. After that in the second half through October 2nd (thanks for the stats, Blake), all you did was hit .359 (.411 in the last 28 days) and have a OPS+ of 146. Then, you hit homers in the last two games, including a game tying one against the Twins in Game 163. Eff YOU, Magglio!

The Tigers must sign Justin Verlander to a lucrative contract extension this winter because he's now only two years away from free agency.

So...we don't have to sign him just yet? Technically, we could wait. Or pull a Cliff Lee deal with him if he looks like he's going to want a crapload of money.

That could cost Mike Ilitch another $18 million annually.

That depends on Justin and the market, I think. If he wants to stay, he'll take a discount. No one's going to be looking to empty the bank vault other than the Yanks and Sawx, of course. And plus, JV was miserable in '08. He's only had one awesome year. I'm not taking a dump on the guy, JV's a cyborg that I love, but will he command top dollar? Here's guys that have better resumes over longer tenures than Justin (arguably) and their 2010 salaries.

Roy Halladay: $15.75 mil.
CC Sabathia: $23 mil.
AJ Burnett: $16.5 mil.
Johan Santana: $21 mil.
Josh Beckett: $12 mil.
Dan Haren: $8.25 mil.
Brandon Webb: $8.5 mil.
Jake Peavy: $10 mil.
Mark Buehrle: $14 mil.

So, yeah, Pizza Pizza is going to have to pay some cash, but does he really command Sabathia cash from a non-New York team?

And they're still on the hook for $34.5 million next season for Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis -- three starters from whom they got next to nothing this season.

Fire Dombrowski!

You don't trust a managerial novice with such potential conflicts.

Dumbest thing you've said so far. What do the salaries of the players have to do with the manager? Double D is the GM. That's his problem.

Nobody wants to hear this right now, the wounds are still too fresh, but this wasn't a choke.

I want to choke you.

The 2004 New York Yankees who had a 3-0 lead against their supposedly cursed nemesis, Boston, lost four straight for the first time ever in baseball postseason history. That was a choke, a very good team that couldn't perform at its previously high level.

3 games up with 4 to go. That's a choke. What the Yankees did. But not what the Tigers did. You lost me, big guy.

This was more like a collapse, an average team playing over its mediocrity for so long that it couldn't bear the weight of its own limitations in the final two weeks.

A bit dramatic, aren't you? Like suddenly, the weight of the city caused 25 guys to forget how to play baseball. Even drove their best player to the bottle...

There will be the requisite national pity following this latest disappointment,

No. The media has already forgotten. The Yanks and Sawx are still playing! And did you see that BRETT FAVRE?!?

another opportunity for the country to sigh "Oh, woe is Detroit."

You're the one that accused them of trying to "steal" something...

But if anything, Detroit will remember 2009 as one of its most thrilling, most compelling sports campaigns ever.

How 'bout those Lions? Um...Pistons? That barely .500 Tigers team? Do the Shock still play here?

There were no parades, no ultimate championships.

UFC. That's what Detroit needs. Kimbo Slice vs. the Eat Em Up Tigers guy.

But Michigan State fighting for the national championship in its own backyard, the Wings hosting Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals and the Tigers providing everyone with a delightful summer should convince even the most perplexed that the city was pretty fortunate this year.

All of your teams keep coming up short, Detroit. Be happy. And get a job. Quit stealing things.

That should inevitably soothe the anger.

Die in a fire, Drew Sharp.

There. I feel a little bit better. Thanks, Drew. Keep up the good work.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Game 163: Running The Emotional Gauntlet

So, I don't know if you've heard, but there was a baseball game last night between the Tigers and Twins. It was quite the affair and had more twists and turns than could have been imagined inside of one baseball game. But in the end, the game reflected the season perfectly. The Tigers took an early lead, the Twins hung around, mistakes were made, and in the end...the Twins were just a bit better.

I watched the game with 200 or so screaming Tigers fans at the local Buffalo Wild Wings near my house. I went though many stages throughout the game that I'd like to share with you.

DENIAL

"There is no way he's going to yank Porcello already!"
"There is NO WAY Zach Minor is coming into this game, is he?"
"Did another Tiger outfielder try a sliding catch?"
"Rodney is coming out for ANOTHER inning?"

ANGER

"Why the f-ck is Laird hitting? Put Thames up there, dammit!"
"RABURN! You son of a..."
"Randy Marsh needs to be drawn, quartered, hanged, stabbed, and then shot!"
"Kubel! Fat son of a..."

JOY

"Cabrera! Drink THAT, Minnesota!"
"MAGGS! Best clutch guy EVER!"
"RABURN! Hellova throw!"
"Inge! Holy hell, what a catch!"

DEPRESSION

"We suck."
"I hate baseball."
"Bartender...keep 'em coming."
Me to the only Twins fan I saw: "Run."

ACCEPTANCE

"Oh well. There's always next year."
"The Twins are a hellova club. Congrats."
"We weren't supposed to be here anyway."

So, that's that for the 2009 season. To be honest, I could care less about the rest of the playoffs. But I've got plenty of stuff lined up for the 'ol blog here to keep me busy until pitchers and catchers report in February. First, a few thank yous for the '09 season.

Thank you, Magglio Ordonez, for keeping your head up throughout a rough year, both personally and professionally. You're still my Tiger.

Thank you, Miguel Cabrera, for continuing to show why you are a potential MVP candidate for years to come with your usual .300, 30, 100 season. Now, stay off the sauce.

Thank you, Justin Verlander, for having one of the best comeback seasons ever after the disasterous '08 season. You are a beast and I'm in awe of you.

Thank you, Rick Porcello, for showing more maturity and poise at the age of 20 than I've ever seen in such a young player. Great job yesterday and all year.

Thank you, Curtis Granderson, for continuing to be one of the classiest players in baseball and someone that all kids can look up to. Just start hitting more line drives again, okay?

And Placido Polanco...THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING! We may have witnessed Polly's last game as a Tiger last night. I never thought I'd see a second baseman better than Lou Whitaker in a Tigers uniform, but Polly came pretty damn close the last few years. Mr. Potato Head, I hope we can work out something for next year, but if not, good luck wherever you go. Unless it's Minnesota or Chicago. In that case, I hope your melon of a head explodes.

Finally, thank you to the Tiger blogosphere and everyone that checks in on my stupid little poop joke page here. It's been a fun year and I've made a few good friends out of the deal. Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 5, 2009

THE TEAM: The Phone Call

(Saturday around 6am)


OFFICER: Okay, Miguel. You've had quite the evening. We're going to try and keep this quiet as long as we can. But public record is public record. We can't cover anything up. For now, if I were you, I'd just say your dog bit you or something stupid. Okay? You have quite the big game for the city of Detroit in a few hours. Don't let us down. Now, we can't let you drive home, son. You're drunker than Billy Martin used to get in our fine city. Feel free to use our phone to find a ride.

MIGUEL CABRERA: Thank you, offisher. I'm sho shorry. (hic) Oh...who the hell can I call at thish time of...(pukes in garbage can). Ugh...
(dials)
(ringing)

BRANDON INGE: Good morning?
CABRERA: Hey, Brandon. It's Cabby. (hic)
INGE: Hey, big man! You NEVER call me! I'm so happy this fine morning! Want to go golfing before the big game today?
CABRERA: Um...not today, brah. Dude, I'm at the polishe shtation. Had a bit of a drunken fight with my wife. Got out of hand. (hic)
INGE: WHAT? Good gravy...is anyone hurt?
CABRERA: I got some scratchesh. Nothin' big. We do thish all the time. Can you come get me, man?
INGE: Um...Skipper says we have to be responsible and home at a responsible time, Miguel. I can't get caught up in these kind of shenanigans.
CABRERA: Dammit, dude! Just come get me! (hic)
INGE: Sorry, fella. Good luck...gotta ice my knees. Don't want Skipper mad at me. Seeya at the park.
(hangs up)
(Miguel dials)
(ringing)

CARLOS GUILLEN: (slides to phone) (answers phone 45 seconds later) (drops phone) Um, hola?
CABRERA: Carlosh! Hermano! Come get me at the polishe station! I'll explain it all later! (hic) I need you, bro!
GUILLEN: Okay. Just let me grab my keys. (trips and falls) (sprains knee) Ugh! I'm not gonna be able to, man. Sorry. (to wife) Honey! I hurt myself. Yes, again!
(hangs up)
(Miguel dials)
(ringing)

JUSTIN VERLANDER: (stares intensely at phone)
CABRERA: C'mon, Justin. Pick up the damn phone. (hic)
VERLANDER: (gives death stare to phone)
CABRERA: Dammit! Um...who else...
(Miguel dials)
(ringing)

FU-TE NI: Herro?
CABRERA: Fu! It's Miguel! I need...
NI: Herro, Cablella-san! How al you this sprendid day?
CABRERA: Bad, man! I'm at the police shtation! I need...
NI: Oh no! You make sex with plostitute? Esh velly bad! Croser man Lodney tell Ni, nevel pray with Detloit plostitute...they velly dilty and...
CABRERA: Dude! I'm drunk! I just need a ride. No prostitutes, man...
NI: Oh. Velly good to heal. I solly, Cablella-san. I no have dlivel ricense. You try Calros yet?
CABRERA: Yeah. Never mind...(hangs up)
(Miguel dials)
(ringing)

CLETE THOMAS: Wut?
CABRERA: Clete! (hic) Dude, I need a ride home from the police shtation!
THOMAS: Yew sh-ttin' me? Sorry, man. 'Ol Clete's watchin' some race on Speed right now. Plus, Big Ben's hostin' Monday Night Raw this Monday. 'Ol Clete's gotta figger out this'ere DVR thing-a-ma...
CABRERA: Please, Clete. I'm running out of people to call.
THOMAS: 'Ol Clete ain't no one's last resort. Piss off, son. (hangs up)
CABRERA: Man...I hate this team.
OFFICER: Do you know ANYONE this isn't a racial stereotype of some kind?
CABRERA: Sigh. (hic) Guess not.
(Miguel dials)
(ringing)

JOEL ZUMAYA: Woooooo! What up?
CABRERA: Thish may not (hic) have been a good idea.
ZUMAYA: Miguel! The man! Hey, everyone! Cabrera's on the phone! (cheering is heard) Dude! Is the season over yet? I'm so f-cking wasted...what time is it? You wanna come over and play some beer pong?
CABRERA: Not today, Zoom. Shorry...gotta go.
(hangs up)
(Miguel dials)

JIM LEYLAND: (cough) Hello? Someonebetterbedead. (lights cigarette)
CABRERA: Hey, Shkip. Hate to bug you, but I had a bit too much to drink last night and...
LEYLAND: (hack) DAMMIT! Joel, I'msickofthissh-t! (cough) Youmightthrowit100milesanhour (cough), butyou'regonna (hack) bekickedoffthisteamsoon!
CABRERA: It's not Joel...never mind. Sorry.
LEYLAND: F-ckoff. (hangs up)
CABRERA: I can't believe any of this...I hope I don't puke again...
(phone starts ringing)
CABRERA: Who the hell ish calling ME now? (answers phone) Hello?

GARY SHEFFIELD: Point two six? HA, HAHAHAHAHAHAH! Sheff KNEW you couldn't handle being the STAR! You NEED Sheff! Sheff knows you ain't SH-T without him! HAHAHAHAHAH!
CABRERA: Gary? How did you know...
SHEFFIELD: Sheff's got police scanners for EVERY city he ever played in, son! You never know when sh-t's gonna come back to haunt a brother! Did Sheff ever tell ya bout the time he punched some homeless sucka that told Sheff he wanted to eat him up or some sh-t? Anyway, I just called to tell ya, you a punk nothing! Have Dave call me. Sheff's lookin' to deal. Four years, eighty million! That's a sweet deal, son!
CABRERA: Gary, I gotta go. This isn't the time...
SHEFFIELD: F-ck you! Sheff is what's important, not you! Call Dave and tell that mutha...
CABRERA: I will. (hangs up) Oh, man...
(Miguel dials)
(ringing)

DAVE DOMBROWSKI: Good morning?
CABRERA: Hey, Dave. It's Miguel. I need you help...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Still Alive



Thank you, Justin Verlander. You too, Raburn and Maggs.

Is there any pitcher in baseball that you'd take over Justin Verlander at this point? Not me. The man needs a wallet like Jules in Pulp Fiction. Bad Mother...

Twins lead 7-1 over KC as I write this. Kubel has 2 more homers. Fat bastard.

Looks like we go back to the Horror Dome for one more. Dreamboat Rick...it's up to you. Let's try scoring some runs, shall we?

BTW...anyone else make an oopsie in their pants when Nate started warming up in the 8th? Your Party Host started to tie a noose for himself.

One game left. Lets do it.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Urge To Kill...Rising

Twins 5, Royals 4

White Sox 5, Tigers 1



Sitting through this game, I had lots of angry thoughts. The money that's been wasted on guys like Bonderman, Willis, and Washburn. The fact that we have Alfredo Figaro starting our biggest game of the year, thus far. Really? I'd have rather seen Armando Galarraga given a chance to redeem himself starting the game. I mean, your back is to the wall, who do you want on your side? Fernando Rodney's little cousin or an angry looking lesbian guy?


"Hey, guys. Let's watch ladies golf and eat tuna fish. Jackie MacMullan is awesome."

There were thoughts about the lineup. Why won't hot hitting Ryan Raburn get more at bats? Gerald Laird looks exhausted...why won't sweet swinging Alex Avila get some more starts down the stretch? Aubrey Huff hasn't been cut yet? Boy, we could've used Sheff off the bench here. Stuff like that.

But none of that matters. It doesn't matter who starts for us if we can't score more than one run against the guy that used to be Freddy Garcia, let alone Jake Peavy. And that 9th inning where Fernando picked up where Alfredo left off? Insult to injury.

The bottom line is this: the 2009 Detroit Tigers are not a very good baseball team. We are lucky to be tied for first place going into the last game of the season. We have NO BUSINESS being here! This offense is terrible. The 2009 Tigers are the luckiest team I've ever seen. It's a miracle that they're over .500. The Minnesota Twins are by far a better team and deserve to go into the playoffs.

Yup. I'm not trying to be a "glass half empty" guy. That glass broke a long time ago. I'm a realist. The Twins, without slugger Justin Morneau, have taken it to another level to reach their goal. The Tigers? Not so much. It's not that they don't want to win. They just suck at hitting a baseball. Simple as that.

Injuries haven't stopped the Twins. A huge Tigers lead in the division didn't stop them. And Zach Greinke couldn't stop them today. They truly are amazing right now. It's just a f'ing shame it is coming at the Tigers' expense.

It's not over, though. JV's going to be thrown out there to toss 130 pitches hoping we can scratch together more than a run. The Royals are going to give it one more shot at throwing a monkey wrench into the Minnesota Cinderella story. Who knows? We might still pull this off. Miracles can happen. I haven't given up hope completely.

I just hope the guys in the losing clubhouse in Detroit haven't, either. I hope Mumbles McMarlboro can come up with one hell of an inspirational speech before tomorrow's game. Otherwise...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Three hits. Really?

8-0 White Sox.

The Tigers managed 3 hits, only 2 against Mr. Peavy.


Edwin Jackson looks gassed.

The Twins are currently up something like 42-0 in the 4th inning against the Royals. Thanks a bunch, KC.

Figaro takes the mound tomorrow against filthy Venezuelan turncoat, Freddy Garcia. Also tomorrow, Zach Greinke will have his biggest following ever as the entire Tiger fanbase roots him on against the Minnesota F-ing Twins.

Excuse me now, as I need Rolaids and vodka. And a gun.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

About My Last Post...


I tried to be positive. I did.

Designate Robertson. And Clete. And Inge. And Leyland. And...

I'll be better tomorrow. Until Peavy takes the mound...

Magic Number: 2 (Get 'em, Nate)


Nate Robertson takes the mound against the evil astroturf loving Twins of Minnesota and can clinch the division for our Tigers with a win. Are you expecting some sort of smart-alec comment here? You will get none from me. Nate will earn his cash today. I can feel it. Either that...or I may have a tumor growing in my brain. Look at the Twins career numbers against Our Hero.

Nate Robertson (2-2, 5.56 ERA, 1.79 WHIP in '09) vs. the Twins

Denard Span: 1-8
Orlando Cabrera: 21 AB, .429, 0, 4
Joe Mauer: 38 AB, .289, 1, 6
Michael Cuddyer: 49 AB, .204, 3, 9
Delmon Young: 16 AB, .188, 0, 0
Jason Kubel: 0-13!!!
Mike Redmond: 20 AB, .300, 0, 5
Alexi Casilla: 18 AB, .222, 1, 3
Nick Punto: 26 AB, .308, 0, 3
Matt Tolbert: 2-4

Justin Morneau is dead. He has 4 career homers against Sir Nate and will not be a factor. Nate can take these pricks. On the other side of the coin?

Scott Baker (14-9, 4.48 ERA, 1.17 WHIP in '09) vs. the Tigers

Curtis Granderson: 43 AB, .233, 4, 6
Placido Polanco: 33 AB, .212, 0, 3
Magglio Ordonez: 36 AB, .444(!), 2, 6
Miguel Cabrera: 16 AB, .250, 1, 4
Aubrey Huff: 2-8
Carlos Guillen: 25 AB, .440(!), 1, 3
Brandon Inge: 31 AB, .194, 0, 3
Gerald Laird: 1-3 1 RBI
Adam Everett: 1-2
Ramon Santiago: 6-12, 2 RBI (go, Ramon!)
Marcus Thames: 24 AB,.292, 4, 6
Clete Thomas: 1-9, 2 RBIs

Our guys have seen a lot of Baker and a few of them drill him. Keep Huff and Everett out tomorrow and get Marcus and Ramon in there. Don't pull Magglio in the 6th inning (damn you, Marlboro Man) and let the guy keep hitting. Take this from the despised Twinkies and coast against Chicago.

Pitch EJax on Friday, Figaro on Saturday, and keep Verlander as far away from a mound on Sunday as you can. Let Bondo pitch...or Armando. Is he still alive? Let Dusty Ryan catch 2/3 games and rest poor Gerald Laird. Then, we're actually set up for the Yankees in the playoffs with JV, Dreamboat Rick, and EJax as the 1-2-3 punch.

I'm excited about playoff baseball. Get us there, Nate.

I think I just threw up in my mouth...