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Tigers can't blow a golden opportunity (Det. News)

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Tigers can't blow a golden opportunity (Det. News)

Postby Bearcatbob » Wed Jul 13, 2011 7:42 am

Tigers can't blow a golden opportunity

http://www.detnews.com/article/20110712 ... Tigers-can’t-blow-a-golden-opportunity

By BOB WOJNOWSKI
Columnist
The Detroit News
July 12, 2011

Look at the Tigers and what do you see? You see a first-place team with five All-Stars and the dominant pitcher.

Take another glance and what do you see? You see holes in the rotation and the infield, and an ugly second-half history that makes everyone queasy.

Enjoy the spotlight in Arizona tonight and then get ready, because the Tigers are the perfect prism for debate, half full and half empty. They have more All-Stars than almost any team, yet rarely are overpowering. They have a general manager, Dave Dombrowski, and a manager, Jim Leyland, in the final years of contracts, their futures clearly on the line.

The Tigers have been in first at the break four times since 2006 and lost the division each time. That can't happen again and they know it, which is why they already dumped pitching coach Rick Knapp, the first fall guy. The mandate hasn't changed, and actually has grown more insistent as the division has grown weaker. The Tigers must win the American League Central, should win it, and I'm guessing will win it.

The problem is, they can't win it this way, with a top-heavy rotation (read: Justin Verlander-heavy) and a staff ranked 11th out of 14 AL teams. For all the angst about their spotty lineup, the Tigers hit well enough to win, fourth in the league with a .264 average. No, Brandon Inge can't stay in the lineup with a .184 average, something Leyland will have to address. Inge and Ryan Raburn are so lost, you have to wince to watch.

Division winnable

But this will come down to pitching, and the Tigers should have a great close-out twosome in Jose Valverde and the revived Joaquin Benoit. They have a transcendent star in Verlander, the only sure thing in their rotation. Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello are talented but inconsistent, the keys to the second half.

In a weird way, the Tigers' first-half haul ratchets the pressure. They have a star slugger in Miguel Cabrera, a tremendous pro in Victor Martinez and two productive surprise All-Stars in Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila. Heck, they're loaded with as many All-Stars as the rest of the division contenders combined — White Sox and Indians (two each), and Twins (one).

And then they have those holes, which is why they're only 49-43 with a half-game lead on the Indians. The theory (hope?) is, Nos. 2-4 starters Scherzer, Porcello and Brad Penny are better than they've shown. And if they don't show it, you can bet Dombrowski will do everything possible to land a starter by the July 31 trade deadline, knowing how much is at stake.

The Tigers don't have a No. 5 starter right now, although watch out for 20-year-old prospect Jacob Turner. Perspective is necessary here. Lots of teams have questions. Outside of the AL East and NL East, there's so much parity, most divisions look weak and most lineups are incomplete.

But let me put it this way: The Tigers are the least-incomplete team in a thoroughly incomplete division.

That actually makes more sense than it appears, which is why I wrote it. The Tigers' big acquisition, Martinez, is hitting .316 and could have been their sixth All-Star. The White Sox's big acquisition, Adam Dunn, is hitting .160, and Ozzie Guillen's job might be in jeopardy.

The Indians have only two hitting stalwarts, Travis Hafner and Asdrubal Cabrera. The Twins have several stars, but Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau have taken turns on the disabled list. The division's pitching has been mediocre, with Chicago boasting the best ERA and it's only 12th in the majors.

Holding team accountable

The Tigers are such a hard team to gauge because they have such a huge disparity between their best players and their worst. That's why they go on wild winning streaks and numbing losing streaks and sit in first despite allowing more runs than they've scored.

Last year, they came out of the All-Star break at 48-38, lost their first six, suffered a spate of injuries and were effectively done. It could have been explained away if we hadn't seen it before. They're 170-200 in the second halves since 2006 under Leyland.

That's why there's so much noise about this team. The good can be very good, and the bad can be inexplicably frustrating. The wild cards to solidify the lineup are Magglio Ordonez, who's slowly heating up, and Brennan Boesch, who has been consistently productive.

Accountability will be a buzzword, which is why Inge and Raburn had better hit quickly. It's why Knapp is gone and Scott Sizemore is gone and Phil Coke is out of the rotation.

It's why Dombrowski will scramble at the trade deadline and why Leyland gets agitated. The Tigers have been here before and failed to finish the deal. With all their All-Stars, they should be in better shape now. Coincidentally, the AL Central is in worse shape now, and the Tigers are strongly, strongly advised to go out and win the darn thing.

bob.wojnowski@detnews.com

twitter.com/bobwojnowski
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Re: Tigers can't blow a golden opportunity (Det. News)

Postby ACrank » Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:27 am

And under Dombrowski the Tigers have a habit of making short term deals. This is why Jair Jurgens is pitching for Atlanta and Edgar Renteria is now playing for Cincinnati. As much as i'd rather see the Indians win, i'd much rather see the Tigers make another Dombrowski type deal.
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Re: Tigers can't blow a golden opportunity (Det. News)

Postby TonyIBI » Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:39 am

ACrank wrote:And under Dombrowski the Tigers have a habit of making short term deals. This is why Jair Jurgens is pitching for Atlanta and Edgar Renteria is now playing for Cincinnati. As much as i'd rather see the Indians win, i'd much rather see the Tigers make another Dombrowski type deal.


And Matt Joyce is in Tampa Bay, and Curtis Granderson in New York.

And shoot Placido Polanco is an All Star with the Phillies.

Imagine if they would not have made some of those deals (though believe Polanco was just lost in FA).
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Re: Tigers can't blow a golden opportunity (Det. News)

Postby ACrank » Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:25 am

Joyce was more a case of organizational depth { although i would love to know what the Tampa FO saw in him, because i watched him play in AA for the better part of a season, and while i liked the guy i wouldn't have guessed he would do what he has done this season (even though he dropped off) } the Tigers did have Casper Wells and Brennan Boesch coming up behind him.

Trading Granderson is a great example though. i can understand Florida saying - if you want Cabrera you have to take Willis, but i will never understand what Dombrowski was thinking in signing Willis to that contract. That is what cost them Granderson
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Re: Tigers can't blow a golden opportunity (Det. News)

Postby ChadS17 » Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:21 am

Raise your hand if you think Peralta and Avila are still all-star caliber at the end of the year. They have holes in the pen, but have some good arms. But until Scherzer and Porcello prove to be consistent ML starters, Detroit will not win this division.
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Re: Tigers can't blow a golden opportunity (Det. News)

Postby GeronimoSon » Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:41 am

ChadS17 wrote:Raise your hand if you think Peralta and Avila are still all-star caliber at the end of the year. They have holes in the pen, but have some good arms. But until Scherzer and Porcello prove to be consistent ML starters, Detroit will not win this division.

Without clear definition of what "all star caliber" is, the answer to the question posed is maybe.

Jhonny P has shown in, in long stretches that he can continue to hit the way he has, however, he's also shown he can go into a funk and stay there. While a crystal ball prediction of what he will do is unavailable, as of now, there doesn't seem to be any reason Jhonny P won't continue on with how well he's played.

Alex Avila has no such track record. His history shows he was able to hit the way he is in the 2011 season during a brief (less than 30 game trial) period of time in 2009. In 2010, with a much larger sampling, he was downright poor. The same crystal ball analogy holds here. What he does with the rest of the 2011 season is a mystery.
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Re: Tigers can't blow a golden opportunity (Det. News)

Postby ACrank » Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:53 am

Don't discount Availa. If he doesn't keep it up in the second half of the season it's because he is young and perhaps not used to playing that long of a schedule.

Peralta is an engima. He's always had the ability.
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Re: Tigers can't blow a golden opportunity (Det. News)

Postby Hermie13 » Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:54 pm

ChadS17 wrote:Raise your hand if you think Peralta and Avila are still all-star caliber at the end of the year. They have holes in the pen, but have some good arms. But until Scherzer and Porcello prove to be consistent ML starters, Detroit will not win this division.


Hand is half raised. Peralta has several times been one of the best if not the best hitting SS in the AL. Don't expect him to slow down in the 2nd half. His issues were always slow starts then picking it up as the year went on. I expect him to only get better in the 2nd half.

Their rotation could still use a boost after Verlander, but they have as good a chance as anyone to win the division. Every team has major holes in the AL Central.
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Re: Tigers can't blow a golden opportunity (Det. News)

Postby osueddy » Thu Jul 14, 2011 1:27 am

ACrank wrote:Don't discount Availa. If he doesn't keep it up in the second half of the season it's because he is young and perhaps not used to playing that long of a schedule.

Peralta is an engima. He's always had the ability.


I just think 2-3 years from now that Carlos Santana will be above and beyond Alex Avila. He certainly is having a good first half and that has really helped the Tigers. I feel they have more players that will come back to earth, and we have had so many injuries and mediocre performances to be in this position that hopefully we can pull away. I'm more worried about the White Sox getting things together than the Tigers keeping it together.
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Re: Tigers can't blow a golden opportunity (Det. News)

Postby Hermie13 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 7:14 am

TonyIPI wrote:
ACrank wrote:And under Dombrowski the Tigers have a habit of making short term deals. This is why Jair Jurgens is pitching for Atlanta and Edgar Renteria is now playing for Cincinnati. As much as i'd rather see the Indians win, i'd much rather see the Tigers make another Dombrowski type deal.


And Matt Joyce is in Tampa Bay, and Curtis Granderson in New York.

And shoot Placido Polanco is an All Star with the Phillies.

Imagine if they would not have made some of those deals (though believe Polanco was just lost in FA).


Already looking like they made another deal like this already this year by trading away Scott Sizemore for David Purcey....who had already been DFAed by a team this year (the Blue Jays).

Purcey has a 1.80 WHIP 0.92 K/BB ratio in 16.2 innings for Detroit out of their bullpen.

Sizemore is hitting .287/.350/.468/.818 with 4 HRs in only 94 at-bats for the A's.

All reports out of Detroit are saying they are looking for a bat in the OF or at 3B/2B....hmmm, good thing they traded Sizemore (a 2B/3B). :drinks:
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Re: Tigers can't blow a golden opportunity (Det. News)

Postby ACrank » Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:33 am

osueddy wrote:
ACrank wrote:Don't discount Availa. If he doesn't keep it up in the second half of the season it's because he is young and perhaps not used to playing that long of a schedule.

Peralta is an engima. He's always had the ability.


I just think 2-3 years from now that Carlos Santana will be above and beyond Alex Avila. He certainly is having a good first half and that has really helped the Tigers. I feel they have more players that will come back to earth, and we have had so many injuries and mediocre performances to be in this position that hopefully we can pull away. I'm more worried about the White Sox getting things together than the Tigers keeping it together.


i'll admit i could be a bit biased regarding Avila, but i think that he has the tools to put together a solid major league career. Not sure he can keep it where he is at now, but then again i didn't think Matt Joyce would have had the type of first half of season that he did either.

i think the Royals are about the only team in the Central i am not concerned about, at this point.
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Re: Tigers can't blow a golden opportunity (Det. News)

Postby ACrank » Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:35 am

Hermie13 wrote:
TonyIPI wrote:
ACrank wrote:And under Dombrowski the Tigers have a habit of making short term deals. This is why Jair Jurgens is pitching for Atlanta and Edgar Renteria is now playing for Cincinnati. As much as i'd rather see the Indians win, i'd much rather see the Tigers make another Dombrowski type deal.


And Matt Joyce is in Tampa Bay, and Curtis Granderson in New York.

And shoot Placido Polanco is an All Star with the Phillies.

Imagine if they would not have made some of those deals (though believe Polanco was just lost in FA).


Already looking like they made another deal like this already this year by trading away Scott Sizemore for David Purcey....who had already been DFAed by a team this year (the Blue Jays).

Purcey has a 1.80 WHIP 0.92 K/BB ratio in 16.2 innings for Detroit out of their bullpen.

Sizemore is hitting .287/.350/.468/.818 with 4 HRs in only 94 at-bats for the A's.

All reports out of Detroit are saying they are looking for a bat in the OF or at 3B/2B....hmmm, good thing they traded Sizemore (a 2B/3B). :drinks:


That's the type of deal Dombrowski makes, unfortunately for Tigers fans. (i should explain i am not a closet Tiger fan, but i do happen to live in the city that houses their AA team so have seen many of their players coming up thru the farm system.)
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Re: Tigers can't blow a golden opportunity (Det. News)

Postby GeronimoSon » Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:10 am

When you look at the Tigers current roster, you can see why Dombrowski is looking to make some kind of deal. While he has himself to blame for the predicament, there is a lot of very expensive dead wood on the Tigers roster:

Carlos Guillen $ 13 MM; Magglio Ordonez $ 15 MM; Brandon Inge $ 5.5 MM

Nearly a third of the Tiger salary is returning almost nothing in the way of on field performance.. The mistakes that can kill a team have been made more often with the Tigers than with anyone else in the AL Central, with, perhaps the CWSox a close second.. The other clubs, KC, Minn (Morneau & Nathan injured) & the Indians, by contrast, don't have this kind or quantity of expensive deadwood.

Dombrowski is in his contract walk year.. so is Jim Leyland.. Desperation as a factor, has to be edging in. The Tigers may be looking to go "all in" as the trading deadline approaches.. Here's hoping they get bent over a chair...
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