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Tuesday, April 09, 2019

LEADING OFF: Red Sox get rings, Puig gets new nickname

A look at what’s happening around the majors today:

BOSTON BASH

The Red Sox are set to receive their 2018 World Series rings ahead of their home opener at Fenway Park. Boston plans to unveil a championship banner, and ceremonies will include a flyover by four F-16 jets prior to the first pitch. The club will sport gold-trimmed hats and jerseys, as well. One member of last year’s team who won’t attend is Craig Kimbrel. The All-Star closer and current free agent declined an invitation.

The 2019 season hasn’t been quite so sparkling. Boston returns from a season-opening West Coast swing 3-8, and the starting pitching has been especially suspect. Chris Sale (0-2, 8.00 ERA) faces Toronto in the home opener. His fastball has averaged 90.7 mph over his first two outings, down from 95.4 mph last season.

Just one story of several here, for your dining and dancing pleasure.

 

QLE Posted: April 09, 2019 at 04:05 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: count da ringz, ervin santana, jacob degrom, luis severino, tigers, yasiel puig

Thursday, April 04, 2019

LEADING OFF: Surprising O’s, Tigers, Mets play home openers

Coming off winning road trips, the surprising Orioles, Tigers and Mets play their home openers. Sellouts are expected at Camden Yards, Comerica Park and Citi Field to greet teams trying to bounce back from losing seasons.

Alex Cobb will be activated off the 10-day injured list to start for the 4-2 Orioles against the Yankees. Spencer Turnbull pitches for the 4-3 Tigers vs. Kansas City and, in a matchup of aces, Noah Syndergaard starts for the 5-1 Mets against Stephen Strasburg and Washington.

The Angels also play their home opener. Mike Trout’s team is 1-5 going into its game against Texas.

Well, where better to discuss goings-on in baseball that haven’t already received a thread?

 

QLE Posted: April 04, 2019 at 05:24 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: home openers, mets, orioles, tigers

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Big league teams appreciate the value of versatility

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — In his rookie season with the Detroit Tigers, Niko Goodrum spent time at first base, second base, third base, shortstop and both corner outfield spots.

The next logical step was to try him in center field, and manager Ron Gardenhire did just that during spring training this month.

“We’re just looking for places to put him. We’re going to play him everywhere,” Gardenhire said. “Except catcher. We’re not going to do that yet.”

If they care so much about versatility, why do they hire so many relievers that freak out over having to face more than one batter?

QLE Posted: March 30, 2019 at 08:26 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: niko goodrum, tigers, utility infielders, versatility

Friday, March 15, 2019

Fulmer won’t pitch in near future, to work on mechanics

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — Detroit Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer will not pitch in games in the near future, focusing on lower-body mechanics.

“He took a step back to refine his lower-body mechanics,” Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said after Thursday’s 4-4 tie with Boston. “We have no timetable when he’s going to get back on the mound.”

Something new to add to my collection of euphemisms….

QLE Posted: March 15, 2019 at 07:24 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: mechanics, michael fulmer, tigers

Friday, March 01, 2019

2019 Detroit Tigers Season Preview: Can Miguel Cabrera return to form?

If the Detroit Tigers of 2019 feel familiar, it’s because we’ve seen this story before. Quite a few times actually. It’s the Philadelphia Phillies of a few years ago.

It’s the once-great team now saddled with big contracts for aging players that doesn’t really have a chance to compete in its division ... but also hasn’t gone into a full-on tear down so it can rebuild.

The Tigers lost 98 games last year, and the prospects don’t seem particularly more hopeful this year. They have Miguel Cabrera back, and his bat will help, but after that? There’s not a ton to get excited about.

It would be cruel to give the obvious answer, but it’s hard to see a different one at this point….

QLE Posted: March 01, 2019 at 06:15 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: miguel cabrera, preview, tigers

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Detroit Tigers’ Casey Mize impresses with new-age ideas, old-school ethic

Viva la revolución!

There were video machines behind the plate and Rapsodo machines between the mound and the plate at each station Tuesday, measuring and collecting data on everything from velocity, spin rate, spin efficiency, pitch shape, ball flight, even 3D trajectory.

Mize, for one, is a huge believer in this technology. In fact, it led him to change the shape and grip of his slider. 

“It’s the most efficient way to develop a pitch,” he said. “The numbers are right there in front of you. You can see the flight of the ball, the path of the ball. You know how it’s playing off your other pitches. With the slow-motion cameras, you can see the last thing the ball touches out of my hand.”

Mize, after studying the spin axis and release of his slider and comparing the data to others who have had success with the pitch, he determined it would better for him to use more of a sweeping slider, more of a curve-slider hybrid, than what he had been throwing.

“These guys up here have really good breaking balls and really good fastballs,” said Mize, whose repertoire also includes a four-seamer, two-seamer, cutter and splitter. “You start looking at all the numbers and it just makes sense. The numbers don’t lie. If a guy has a really good curve ball, he’s spinning the crap out of it.

“And a guy with a good fastball, he’s either sinking it with lower spin rate, or he’s riding it with higher spin rate. This is stuff I have really bought into.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 20, 2019 at 06:06 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: casey mize, tigers

Friday, February 15, 2019

Tigers pitcher Mize, majors’ No. 1 pick, trying to fit in

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — The Detroit Tigers issued jersey No. 74 to Casey Mize and for the next few days, he will be just one of 31 pitchers in camp, trying to get his arm and body ready for a long baseball season.

But the 21-year-old right-hander was the No. 1 pick in the Major League Baseball draft last June, and as Detroit’s No. 1 hope for the future, he was bound to attract more than his share of attention, even while just trying to fit in.

“When you’re a draft pick like that, everybody’s staring at you anyway,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “You’ve got your name on your back and everybody’s paying attention and you can put more pressure on yourself.”

Has he given any thought to calling himself The Slightly Bigger Cat?

 

QLE Posted: February 15, 2019 at 06:19 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: casey mize, spring training, tigers

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Detroit Tigers’ Casey Mize impresses with new-age ideas, old-school ethic

Mize, for one, is a huge believer in this technology. In fact, it led him to change the shape and grip of his slider. 

“It’s the most efficient way to develop a pitch,” he said. “The numbers are right there in front of you. You can see the flight of the ball, the path of the ball. You know how it’s playing off your other pitches. With the slow-motion cameras, you can see the last thing the ball touches out of my hand.”

Mize, after studying the spin axis and release of his slider and comparing the data to others who have had success with the pitch, he determined it would better for him to use more of a sweeping slider, more of a curve-slider hybrid, than what he had been throwing.

“These guys up here have really good breaking balls and really good fastballs,” said Mize, whose repertoire also includes a four-seamer, two-seamer, cutter and splitter. “You start looking at all the numbers and it just makes sense. The numbers don’t lie. If a guy has a really good curve ball, he’s spinning the crap out of it.

“And a guy with a good fastball, he’s either sinking it with lower spin rate, or he’s riding it with higher spin rate. This is stuff I have really bought into.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 13, 2019 at 01:13 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: casey mize, technology, tigers

Monday, February 11, 2019

Alex Cora admits ‘bombing’ Tigers interview before second chance with Red Sox

No one in Major League Baseball had a better 2018 than Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

The first-year skipper took over an established contender that was searching for answers after back-to-back quick eliminations in the ALDS. In a span of 12 months, Cora unflinchingly provided all of the answers and even rewrote most of the questions.

Cora helped transform Boston into an unstoppable force that won a franchise record 108 games during the regular season, before plowing through the postseason to win its ninth World Series championship. In the process, he made history by becoming the first-ever Puerto Rican born manager to bring home a World Series crown.

Would that all of us on the job market were so lucky….

 

QLE Posted: February 11, 2019 at 05:28 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alex cora, interview, tigers

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Kirk Gibson new special assistant for Tigers, keeps TV role

In other words, he has about as much confidence about the team coming up as the rest of us do.

QLE Posted: January 29, 2019 at 05:12 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: kirk gibson, special assistant, television, tigers

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Tigers GM says he can see the light at end of tunnel

DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Tigers are young, inexpensive and unlikely to be much of a threat in the AL Central.

For at least a couple more years, general manager Al Avila doesn’t plan to jolt the roster with any big-money free agents. Instead, he and his front office are patiently waiting for their minor leaguers to develop into big league contributors.

A season after dropping 98 games for the second consecutive year, the club believes its future is beginning to take form.

And, if not, Avila will take advantage of said tunnel to make his escape!

 

QLE Posted: January 27, 2019 at 08:25 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: al avila, minor leaguers, team building, tigers

Friday, January 25, 2019

Great Moments in Cheap Owners: Tigers and Mets Edition

We’ve talked all winter about how big league teams seem completely unwilling to spend money. About how it’s weird that they’re not spending money given that they are enjoying all-time record revenues. About how something must be wrong with the financial incentive structure in baseball if they can realize those record revenues despite not trying very hard to improve their on-the-field product.

We could try to explain it forever I suppose, but let’s take a break from that to look at two statements from MLB front offices today that simply illustrate what’s going on.

First up, the Tigers, who despite filling their ballpark pretty consistently for the past decade and a half, despite getting outstanding TV ratings and despite being owned by an obscenely wealthy family, has decided to take the full-blown tear-it-down and tank route with their rebuild. In charge of that rebuild is general manager Al Avila.

 

QLE Posted: January 25, 2019 at 02:14 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: cheap owners, mets being mets, the will to win, tigers

Cabrera, Fulmer sound optimistic about their health

DETROIT (AP) — Miguel Cabrera and Michael Fulmer expect to be ready for the start of spring training.

The two Detroit standouts sound pleased with their progress after injuries interrupted the 2018 season. Cabrera played only 38 games before season-ending biceps surgery. Fulmer has dealt with knee issues.

The Tigers are holding their annual winter caravan this week, and both Cabrera and Fulmer were in attendance Thursday. The 35-year-old Cabrera says he’s feeling great and hopes he can stay healthy all season. He’s played more than 130 games just once in the past four years.

 

QLE Posted: January 25, 2019 at 02:14 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: best shape of his life, michael fulmer, miguel cabrera, tigers

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Detroit Tigers prospect Gregory Soto suspended 20 games by MLB

Gregory Soto, the Detroit Tigers’ left-handed pitching prospect who was named the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year two seasons ago, has been suspended 20 games.

Soto’s suspension for “Conduct Detrimental or Prejudicial to Baseball” was announced on Friday afternoon by Major League Baseball, citing Article 12, Part B of the collective bargaining agreement as the offense.

Article 12, Part B reads, “Players may be disciplined for just cause for conduct that is materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of Baseball including, but not limited to, engaging in conduct in violation of federal, state or local law. The Commissioner and a Club shall not discipline a Player for the same act or conduct under this provision. In cases of this type, a Club may only discipline a Player, or take other adverse action against him, when the Commissioner defers the disciplinary decision to the Club.”

QLE Posted: January 12, 2019 at 08:06 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: conduct detrimental to baseball, gregory soto, suspension, tigers

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Nicholas Castellanos may be Tigers trade chip

General manager Al Avila wouldn’t talk specifically about Castellanos’ trade market, but cryptically noted a decent amount of trade talk leading into the meetings.

“I can say that there have been several conversations,” Avila said. “But I can’t say we’re close to anything.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 11, 2018 at 10:48 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: tigers

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Seeing Red Sox on cusp of World Series title stings for Tigers faithful

Some comments on that inevitable aspect of the sport.

If the Boston Red Sox win the World Series, how bad/mad should Detroit Tigers fans feel?

Sports regret is a nasty thing. It sticks with you forever. Your team can win and win and win, and you will still lament the one that got away. We recently interviewed former Detroit Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood on the radio show, and the conversation drifted to Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals against the Penguins, not the three other rings he won or his stellar performance in the 2008 Finals.

I can safely say Tigers fans will never get over the era that has now passed. And nothing that happens between the L.A. Dodgers and Red Sox will do anything to change it.

QLE Posted: October 25, 2018 at 08:19 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, the agony of defeat, tigers

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tiger Tales: Replacing V-Mart

Lee Panas projects Victor Martinez’ 2012 production, and that of some possible replacements.

Would Martinez have had a WAR of 5.0 again in 2012?  Probably not. He’d likely hit about as well overall (lower batting average, more homers).  However, he might lose a fraction of a win by not catching.  More importantly, we would not expect him to come anywhere close to his 2011 performance in situational hitting.  Even if he we think he would have hit a little better in clutch situations than other at bats in 2012, we would estimate that he would have had a WAR of about 3.0.

So, we have two questions: (1) How much will the Tigers lose going from Martinez in 2011 (5.0 WAR) to Player X in 2012?  (2) How much would they have lost going from Martinez’s expected performance in 2012 (3.0 WAR) to Player X in 2012?

Mr Dashwood Posted: January 19, 2012 at 09:38 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: projections, tigers

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tigers’ Victor Martinez likely out for season with torn ACL

Shouldn’t have gone motorbike racing with Jeff Kent.

The Detroit Tigers today made the following announcement regarding catcher/designated hitter Victor Martinez:

Martinez injured his left knee last week during his off-season conditioning. An MRI at the Watson Clinic in Lakeland yesterday revealed Martinez suffered a torn ACL in his left knee.

Martinez will be re-evaluated by Dr. Richard Stedman next week and surgery to repair the torn ACL in his left knee is anticipated. If surgery is required as anticipated, Martinez will most likely be lost for the 2012 season.

Martinez hit .330 (178x540) with 40 doubles, 12 home runs and 103 RBI in 145 games with the Tigers during the 2011 season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 17, 2012 at 03:31 PM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: tigers

Monday, January 16, 2012

CAPUTO: Why I won’t vote for Bonds, Clemens or Sosa for the Hall of Fame

Former Tigers pitcher Jack Morris was named on the second-most ballots - nearly 67 percent.

In the aftermath, Peter Gammons, one of the preeminent baseball writers of all time, talked on MLB Network about how he put Morris on the ballot the first three years he was eligible, but stopped because another baseball writer had displayed extensive statistical proof to him that Morris’ 3.90 ERA was “not because he pitched to the score” but rather because he lost a lot of leads.

Right then I decided this coming year, the first time they are eligible for election to the Hall of Fame, I am not voting for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens or Sammy Sosa.

...Gammons said Bagwell is like a hockey player (whatever that means) and was one of those 10-to-12 hour per day in the weight room guys, who lost weight later in his career (ala Pudge Rodriguez) because he had a shoulder injury that prevented him from lifting. It’s the type of thinking that was prevalent from many baseball writers during the steroids era. Always buying the story. Unfortunately, I was one of them. I’d like to think I’ve learned my lesson.

...But if Hall voters are going to be so picky about the career ERA of Jack Morris, why not about possible PED use?

I strongly feel this: If Morris gets in, it will still be the Hall of Fame.

If Bonds, Clemens and Sosa are inducted, it would become

(Yanks out Rogers’ Dictionary of Cliches ~ Looks for entry form)

the Hall of Shame.

Repoz Posted: January 16, 2012 at 05:40 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, media, steroids, tigers

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Zumaya agrees to deal with Twins

Game on!

The Tigers could end up seeing a lot of Joel Zumaya this year after all. It’ll just be in a different uniform, albeit an awfully familiar one.

After throwing for teams in December and holding out for a roster spot and the right situation, Zumaya has agreed to terms with the Minnesota Twins, the reliever told MLB.com. The two sides spent Saturday putting together a deal that could pay him anywhere from $800,000 to $1.7 million if he reaches incentives.

A Twins official would neither confirm nor deny the deal to MLB.com, but said they’ve been in negotiations since December.

Zumaya weighed what he called “good offers” from three other clubs,  but the Twins included guaranteed money rather than a minor-league deal with a Spring Training invite. If he’s healthy, they’ll bring him to the same mound at Target Field where he last threw a Major League pitch. He fractured his elbow throwing for the Tigers against the Twins on June 28, 2010.

Repoz Posted: January 15, 2012 at 03:00 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: tigers, twins

MLB Trade Rumors: Bartolo Colon Agrees to Sign With Unknown Team

Bartolo Colon has agreed to a deal with an unknown club reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). The right-hander wouldn’t divulge the team because he has not yet passed his physical.

Pretty sure it’s either the All-Stars or the Champs.


Friday, January 13, 2012

BBPro:  Heartburn Hardball - Jack Morris in Motion

Morris, who was the face of the Detroit Tigers’ pitching staff for the entirety of the eighties before spending the early nineties hopping between the Twins, Blue Jays, and Indians, has every right to be thrilled at the news. And the rest of us, especially those who were too young to see him pitch, have every right to ask…why Jack Morris? Why now?

To answer that question, I decide to watch the most famous performance of his career, the game that proved once and for all that he was a true ace and a true winner.

....

The Twins will win 1-0 in the bottom of the 10th, winning the second World Series title in franchise history and solidifying Jack Morris’s place in baseball history.

And when it’s over, I will be more convinced than ever that Jack Morris is not a Hall of Fame pitcher.

 

 

Completely Unbiased 3rd Party Lurker Posted: January 13, 2012 at 01:39 PM | 83 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, hall of fame, tigers, twins

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Brisbee: Alan Trammell: Victim of Context

[Barry] Larkin getting in after a couple of decades or a Veteran’s Committee ballot wouldn’t add to Trammell’s cause. But Larkin got in on his third year of eligibility with 86 percent of the vote. Larkin wasn’t a borderline case—he didn’t satisfy the extra-super-special-first-ballot-bonus-points ninnies, but he was clearly a Hall of Famer in the voters’ eyes right from the beginning.

It’s that last statistic up there that’s the reason for the gap between the HOF perception gap between Larkin and Trammell. CRiL is a proprietary statistic I developed specifically to measure shortstops against each other. It’s a park- and era-adjusted stat that can sum up a shortstop’s Hall-of-Fame chances in a single number. It stands for “Cal Ripkens in League.” Larkin outpaces Trammell easily on this one.

Again, it’s not that Larkin wasn’t better than Trammell. By most metrics (and obviously in the court of public opinion), he certainly was. But if Larkin is a Hall of Famer, Trammell certainly deserves a closer look. The gap between them wasn’t that big…

Another difference between Larkin and Trammell is that the latter had a sidekick who was also worthy of the Hall of Fame. For just under two decades, Lou Whitaker played along Trammell, making All-Star teams and hitting at a position where most teams shouldn’t have a hitter. The two rode around on tandem bikes and finished each other’s sentences, and there might have been a tendency to pretend that the whole was greater than the sum of its parts. If Trammell played a couple decades with Doug Flynn, maybe he would have stood out more.

I’m sure many of us remember the Trammell/Whitaker Starting Lineup figures.

The District Attorney Posted: January 10, 2012 at 01:40 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, hall of fame, history, tigers

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Murray Chass: NO TWO SIDES TO AN MLB.COM SELIG STORY and MORRIS UNLIKELY TO MAKE IT

Murray Sez… have a Bud and a Jack chaser

When I left The New York Times in 2008 after having written for the newspaper for 39 years, the first offer I received to continue writing came from a high-ranking Major League Baseball official who was in position to offer me a job as a columnist with MLB.com. My initial reaction was to say no, but some people urged me to reconsider and at least talk about and consider that possibility.

Accepting that offer would have turned out to be more economically lucrative than what I have done with this Web site the past three and a half years. But money isn’t everything. Writing for MLB.com just didn’t seem like the right thing to do.

How could I have gone to work for the organization I had spent my professional life covering? Wouldn’t I be compromising my professional ethics by accepting a salary from people I would be in position to criticize and question if necessary? ...

To be sure, MLB.com serves a purpose, even for baseball writers, for whom it can serve as a 30-team research site in one location and a source of comprehensive statistics that are not mingled with WAR and VORP and all of those other metrics, as their advocates like to call them.

But then there are the self-congratulatory articles that can induce nausea. I guess we don’t have to read them, but they are there as propaganda for fans to see and be taken in by. Yes, baseball propaganda. I had never thought about it before this moment, but that’s what it is. ...

And maybe someday, perhaps when he retires, whenever that is, Selig will be big enough to allow an MLB.com columnist to write the truth about collusion and his role in the labor wars.

By the way, this column was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Based on e-mail I have received from critics of Morris and me, the Hall of Fame should take the vote away from baseball writers and simply establish statistical guidelines for players’ election. The players over the line make it, those under don’t.

Such a system would eliminate what is perhaps the greatest debate in sports, but that wouldn’t bother the stats zealots. Their numbers tell them who should be in the Hall of Fame, and the writers would be wrong if they disagreed.

That system would also eliminate the aspect of the voting that they hate most. Their opinion doesn’t mean beans. The writers’ opinion means everything.

bobm Posted: January 08, 2012 at 05:08 PM | 96 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, hall of fame, media, online, orioles, reds, tigers

Saturday, January 07, 2012

ESPN’s OTL: Strength from Weakness (Ben Petrick profile)

Who could have known? Who could have known that a player some considered a potential Hall of Fame catcher [...] would have his future stolen from him by an incurable disease that rarely afflicts people as young as 22?

How good was Petrick? Go back and look at his stats. In those 240 games for the Rockies and Tigers, he hit .257 with 27 home runs and 94 RBIs while trying to control the symptoms of Parkinson’s, which include tremors, rigidity and slow movements. He was not only tough enough to be a catcher, the most demanding position on the field, but also athletic enough to play centerfield when he wasn’t behind the plate.

“Looking back, I am amazed at what he accomplished,” says Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, who was Colorado’s first pick in the 1995 draft, the year Petrick was taken in the second round. “It’s hard enough performing at the highest level of this game, which he did. On top of that, he had to fight off a disease that robbed him of his physical ability. And on top of that, he had to play under the tremendous pressure of hiding the effects of that disease.”

Helton pauses. “You know what, though?” he says. “I’m more impressed by what he’s done with his life since.”

Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: January 07, 2012 at 10:03 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: rockies, tigers

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