Saturday, June 29, 2013

Quick Post: Thirty Better Lefty Relievers than Phil Coke

In this Chris Iott piece at Mlive, Jim Leyland is credited with the following quote:

"It would be hard to name three left-handed relievers with better stuff than Phil Coke.”

Okay. Challenge accepted. But screw three. Here's thirty, instead.

1. Drew Smyly, Detroit
2. Robbie Ross, Texas
3. Sean Doolittle, Oakland
4. Jerry Blevens, Oakland
5. Scott Downs, Anaheim
6. Tim Collins, Kansas City
7. Glen Perkins, Minnesota
8. Matt Thornton, Chicago White Sox
9. Andrew Miller, Boston
10. Troy Patton, Baltimore
11. Brain Matusz, Baltimore
12. Boone Logan, New York Yankees
13. Brett Cecil, Toronto
14. Aaron Loup, Toronto
15. Luis Avilan, Atlanta
16. Antonio Bastardo, Philadelphia
17. Mike Dunn, Miami
18. Justin Wilson, Pittsburgh
19. Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati
20. James Russell, Chicago Cubs
21. Tom Gorzelanny, Milwaukee
22. Mike Gonzalez, Milwaukee
23. Tony Sipp, Arizona
24. Joe Thatcher, San Diego
25. Rex Brothers, Colorado
26. Jose Mijares, San Francisco
27. Jeremy Affeldt, San Francisco
28. Javier Lopez, San Francisco
29. Paco Rodriguez, Los Angeles

And you want a 30th? Darin Downs, Detroit. Even he looks better.

I love Phil Coke’s attitude and intensity. But his pitching is dreadful right now.

Jimbo Leyland is nuts.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Local Idiot Overreacts to Justin Verlander's Struggles

We’ve gone several weeks since the scourge of mLive has been able to come up with something to complain about with the Tigers. But lucky us, this week he’s back and he’s here to tell us what’s wrong with Justin Verlander. Thank goodness we have a sports radio hack around to tell us what JV and the coaching staff cannot possibly realize on their own.

Bless us with your Huge insight, Bill.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Baseball Cards and Me: Then and Now

The year was 1985. Wham! and a young “Like a Virgin” Madonna were tearing up the music charts. Bill Cosby and his television family were teaching us to love and laugh. And an eight-year old Rogo was sat down in front of the TV set by his grandmother and introduced to baseball and the Detroit Tigers, most likely in an attempt to shut him up for ten minutes.

I fell in love with baseball immediately, for whatever reason. Today, I have a nine-year old son and he couldn’t care less about the sport. But me, I was mesmerized by Kirk Gibson, Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Chet Lemon, Jack Morris, Lance Parrish, Sparky Anderson, and the others back then. And as I showed more of an obsession with the sport, my family encouraged it and this led to the first real hobby of my childhood: collecting baseball cards.

Remember, this was before every game was on television, before 24 hour television networks dedicated to sports highlights, and before this crazy thing called the internet. Other than the local newspaper, baseball cards seemed like the best way to become familiar with not only my own team and their stats, but those of the other MLB teams out there. Much like Jeremy Bonderman today, I couldn’t do long division well quite yet. But I could easily figure out Larry Herndon’s batting average or Dan Petry’s earned run average after studying my baseball cards. Luckily, I learned early on not to eat the nasty gum.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Detroit Tigers Fan's Guide to the 2013 Boston Red Sox

After a disappointing series with the Orioles, our Tigers now have a record of 39-31 and still hold a few game lead in the AL Central. Considering that a year ago the team was 34-36 and in third place after 70 games, you’d think we’d be feeling good right now. But as Tigers fans, it’s our sworn duty to always be in a state of panic and despair. Joining Twitter has taught me that over the past two years.

The starting pitching, for the most part, has been amazing. The bullpen, outside of Benoit and Smyly, has been an embarrassment. On offense, Cabrera, Fielder, and Peralta have been outstanding. Meanwhile, Victor, Dirks, and Avila have been well below replacement level. Hunter, Jackson, and Infante have all been inconsistent. Tuiasosopo and Pena have impressed off the bench, meanwhile Kelly and Santiago don’t belong in the major leagues.

What I’m trying to say is this is one screwy team. There is little balance. If I knew what the answer was, believe me, I’d be screaming it from the rooftops. Instead, I’ll just say let’s DFA Valverde as soon as humanly possible and go from there. Free Bruce Rondon. Also, set Don Kelly on fire every game that he’s still on the team. That’s always fun.

And it doesn’t get any easier this weekend. The Tigers are about to begin a four game set at Comerica Park with the AL East leading Boston Red Sox, who are tops in the AL in wins right now. Join me in taking a look at them here.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Always a Tiger: Ex-Tigers Currently in the Minors

If you watch MLB Network or ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, it’s easy to keep up with the adventures of ex-Tigers like Curtis Granderson, Brandon Inge, Edwin Jackson, or whoever. But you won’t see the Tigers of yesteryear that are still active in the game, yet in the minors somewhere.

These are the guys that fascinate me. Some of these guys have made millions and don’t need to play anymore. Some, it’s all they know, so they keep doing it. And some just love the game. I’m a sucker for this stuff.

So, take a look at this group of players that I found in the minors currently. I’m sure you’ll come across a name you either forgot about or had no idea they were still playing somewhere. (Note: Yes, I know a couple have been promoted, but I thought I’d include their minor league numbers anyway.)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Quick Post: Tigers Hitting After the 7th Inning

I think by now, we’re about Valverde’d out. I’m not going to write any more about him. You’re welcome.

But there is a bigger problem in Detroit than the misadventures of Papa Grande. This team just can’t seem to hit late in ballgames. Here’s the batting averages of the Tigers from the 7th inning through the 9th:

Austin Jackson: .205
Torii Hunter: .117
Miguel Cabrera: .246
Prince Fielder: .274
Victor Martinez: .239
Andy Dirks: .250
Jhonny Peralta: .258
Alex Avila: .191
Omar Infante: .290
Don Kelly: .143
Brayan Pena: .231
Matt Tuiasosopo: .286
Ramon Santiago: .067
Avisail Garcia: .200

There you have it. Only two players, Infante and Tuiasosopo, are hitting over .275 after the seventh inning. Can you explain it? I sure as hell can’t.

Maybe the team needs to invest in some Five Hour Energy Drinks.

Baseball is a weird game…

Thursday, June 13, 2013

What Relievers Could the Tigers Possibly Trade For?

All of Tigertown is abuzz about what to do about Jose Valverde and the closer position in Detroit. Everyone has their own plan (many involving a blowtorch), but I think we can all agree now that Papa Grande just isn’t the answer anymore in Detroit. It was worth a shot.

I tip my cap to the staff at Bless You Boys for their stuff so far today. At this link, you can read Rob’s piece on internal options that might work for the team. Here, Patrick does likewise. Phil Coke’s Brain has come up with a handy flowchart to help us decide what the best option is. Some of these plans could work, and some may not. It’s anyone’s guess at this point.

What about help outside the organization, though? While the trade market isn’t as clear now as it likely will be in a month’s time, I thought I’d take a look at the relief options that could be had…for a price.

To do this, we’ll have to identify the teams that are struggling and will be more likely to be selling pieces by the trade deadline. Keep in mind that ideally, we need to acquire more than just a closer. I’d like to see the team get at least two relievers to help stabilize the shaky pen situation. Therefore, I’ve included a couple guys that I wouldn’t necessarily want as closer, but as an additional part of the pen.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Day in the Life of Rod Allen

The following is how I imagine a day in the life of Fox Sports Detroit’s Rod Allen.

All meant in good fun, of course.

Monday, June 10, 2013

No More Potato, Please

I like Jose Valverde. Up until turning into manure at the end of last season, he did a great job closing games for the Tigers. He was fun to watch. He seems like a good, fun-loving person. I root for Jose Valverde to succeed. In fact, when they brought him back this season, I can’t recall wanting to see a particular player succeed more than Papa Grande since I’ve started watching baseball.

But now that we’ve had some time to see what he has to offer, I don’t want Jose Valverde closing games for my baseball team anymore. His time has passed. And no matter how much the propaganda masters at FSD, Lynn Henning, or any other homer sportswriter tells us differently, any idiot can see that Valverde is an accident waiting to happen on the mound. It pains me to agree with the crazy majority of the fanbase, but it’s true.

But you won’t hear that from Rod Allen, Craig Monroe, John Keating, or Henning. Add Jeff Seidel from the Free Press to the list of those telling us to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. This is his latest. Let's go through it together, shall we?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

How the MLB Draft Helped Shape the 2013 Detroit Tigers

Hey, it’s time for the MLB Draft! Hooray! Weeks of mock drafts, draft parties, high TV ratings, all sorts of fun and…

Wait. I’m thinking of the NFL and NBA Drafts. No one cares about the MLB Draft other than those being drafted, their families, and hopeless dorks like David Tokarz.

But that doesn’t mean the Draft isn’t important. In fact, to the lower payroll teams, the Draft is EVERYTHING. If you can’t afford expensive free agents, you can only compete by developing good, young talent. That’s how the Rays have been good the past few years. Not that the people of Tampa have noticed…

But even though the Tigers currently aren’t afraid to spend money, it doesn’t mean the Draft isn’t important to them. You can’t just field a team of nine overpaid established guys every night...unless you’re the Yankees. You need to develop SOME talent. Even if they’re eventually used to trade for another player. No two teams are built the same.

There’s a couple things for certain when it comes to the Tigers and the MLB Draft:

1. They suck at it. The list of good players drafted by the Tigers in the past twenty years is Justin Verlander. That’s about it.

2. They always take a hard throwing right-hander early. (They just used both of their first round picks on hard throwing right-handers Jonathon Crawford from Florida and Corey Knebel from Texas. Business as usual.)

3. They will waste their late picks by drafting relatives of current players and/or team employees. Drives me insane.

4. Dave Dombrowski will have no issues in trading his young players in order to get better. Often with the Marlins. And he usually gets the better of the deal.

That last one is the key, usually, with the Tigers. Tonight, in honor of the Draft, I thought I’d take a look at how the MLB Drafts of the past have affected the current Tigers roster.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Detroit Tigers Fan's Guide to the 2013 Tampa Bay Rays

Very classy, Tampa.
I hate this part of the season. What part, you may ask? We’ve come to the part of the season where the Tigers seemingly invent new and frustrating ways to lose ballgames. It happens every year. One day it’s a closer meltdown. The next it’s mindless bunts into double plays. I can’t wait to see what's next to add to my ongoing drinking problem. Again, it happens every year. We’ve just got to be patient until it’s over.

At least they’re at home again. And up next on the schedule is a series with the Rays of Tampa. Don’t call them the Devil Rays, though. It terrifies the old people of Tampa/St. Pete too much.

Did you know the first game in (Devil) Rays history was against the Tigers? Detroit won that game, 11-6. Justin Thompson got the win for the Tigers. Luis Gonzalez hit a homer for the Tigers in the days before they traded him to Arizona for magic beans and he became Luis F’n Gonzalez. Joe Randa had three hits and three RBI for Detroit. And Bobby Higginson doubled and walked because he was awesome.

Enough history. Let’s see what’s up with today’s Rays.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Fifty Tigers Whipping Boys from the Past Decade

Whipping boy. Scapegoat. #Fire(Insert Name Here).

Whatever you want to call it, there’s nothing Detroit fans seem to like more than singling out a member of the Tigers and deciding that he is the root of all evil. We all do it.

Perhaps I’m being overdramatic there, but think about it. Can you remember a time when there wasn’t a person on the roster that a good portion of the fanbase was turning on? Even right now, with perhaps the best Tigers team since 1984, there are several guys on the roster that many fans treat like they’re a Twin in Tigers clothing. And, hey, I’m not any different. (Hello, Don Kelly.)

Today I thought I’d take a look at the past ten-plus years of Tigers baseball and identify fifty such names. Fifty guys since the embarrassing 2003 season…it doesn’t seem possible in only ten years, does it? But it is. And I’m sure you’ll find a player or seven that I left off. I know I have more in mind.

Now remember, this isn’t a list of Tigers that I don’t personally like or anything. In fact, I’m a fan of a lot of these guys. But right or wrong, each of these men have drawn the ire of the fans at some point or another in their careers in the D. Many, whether they deserve it or not, are remembered as punchlines.

I present them to you in chronological order from when their “reign of terror” began and what happened to them after leaving Detroit (to the best of my knowledge).