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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

MGL: What’s in store for the Tigers in the second half?

Tigers don’t suck…at least according to MGL.

What does the rest of 2014 look like for the Detroit Tigers? We would expect their collective pitcher projections for the rest of the season to be nearly the same as before the season began. Their hitter projections might be a tad better and their defensive projections a tad worse. Overall, we wouldn’t expect their rest-of-season (ROS) win percentage to be much different from their pre-season win percentage, which was .543. That would give them a final record of 92 wins and 70 losses, enough for an easy first place finish in the AL Central.

In fact, if we look at Fangraphs’ projected final standings, lo and behold, we see a final W/L record of 92-70, 10 games ahead of the second place Royals and 11 games above the third place Indians. If we look at Baseball Prospectus’ projected standings, we see a slightly less optimistic forecast for the Tigers – a final record of 90 and 72, 7 games ahead of the Royals and 10 games ahead of the Indians. The good folks at BP also have the Tigers’ playoff chances at 89% and their chances of winning the World Series at 12.3%, behind only the Oakland A’s (at 14.9%), and ever so-slightly being the Los Angeles Angels (13%) and Los Angeles Dodgers (13.1%).

The Tigers are a fine team with a solid offense and excellent starting pitching. They can absolutely upgrade their bullpen, especially the front end. If and when veteran flamethrower Joel Hanrahan comes back from Tommy John surgery, that will be a boost to the pen, assuming that he’s still effective. (Reports are that Hanrahan MAY NOT be available during the regular season). It would also be nice if they had a dominant ace or two rather than the aging and sometimes ineffective Nathan and the good but not great Alburquerque. Their defense is not as bad as their first half team UZR suggests, although they are likely a little below average in true talent with the gloves. Expect them to run away with the American League Central division and with a little luck win a pennant and perhaps the World Series.

Repoz Posted: July 16, 2014 at 07:33 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, tigers

Friday, July 11, 2014

When a bat boy went to a Paul McCartney concert with Mark Fidrych and Tom Veryzer

The Old Red Rose Speedway Barn…ugh. Guess the Death gig was sold out.

On Saturday, May 8, just a few weeks prior to The Bird becoming the most famous player in all baseball (at least all baseball in 1976), I had the good fortune of hanging out with him. Paul McCartney and his newly formed band were in the middle of their “Wings Over America Tour,” and Tiger shortstop Tom Veryzer and I planned to go hear them the night after an afternoon game between the Tigers and the White Sox. We decided to meet at the Lindell AC for a burger and beer before going to Olympia Stadium to hear the famous Beatle in concert. Detroit was one of only six states where the McCartney band was going to appear for more than one night. The show we were headed for was completely sold out, just as it had been the previous night.

...A little more than halfway through the evening, Fidrych said he was going to go to the concession stands to get a beer. We decided to stay put and waited until he returned. Twenty minutes or so went by, and no Bird. Finally, I turned my head around to see if I could spot him making his way back to us, and sure enough, I could see him. However he wasn’t on his way back. He was standing in long line to the girls’ bathroom directly behind the section we were sitting in, and he wasn’t alone. He had found two very attractive blonds who were there all by themselves. Apparently he had started a conversation with them on his way back to our seats on the steps. The ladies were on their way to the bathroom, and he decided to stand in line with them and continue the conversation. It did not end there, either. I watched as the line drew closer to the bathroom entrance, and I could see he was not going to wait outside for them. I tapped Veryzer on the shoulder (he was sitting in front of me) and pointed out what was going on. Tom giggled.

“Watch,” he said. “He will go right into the bathroom with them.” And he did!

Remember, this was 1976, long before girls started going into men’s bathrooms at concerts and sporting events – something they started doing sometime in the ’80s or ’90s, or maybe even later. This kind of thing was taboo back then, and I thought for sure Fidrych would end up with cops going in and carrying him out of there. But, alas, none were around. He disappeared into the bathroom with the girls and reappeared about ten or fifteen minutes later and headed toward us. He sat down behind me as we acknowledged his return. He grinned to us and said, “Got them.”

“Got them, what?” we replied.

“Got both their phone numbers, and I told them I’d be calling one of them tomorrow, but I didn’t tell them which one.”

Veryzer said, “Did you ever think of introducing one of them to us?”

“Nah,” he said. “I’m not sure which one I like better, but when I do I’ll see if the other one would like to meet one of you.” We all chuckled and went back to watching the remainder of the concert.

Repoz Posted: July 11, 2014 at 07:35 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: history, tigers

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Tom Veryzer, shortstop for Tigers and Indians, dies at 61

Former Tigers and Indians shortstop Tom Veryzer, who played in the big leages for 12 years, died Thursday at the age of 61, according to The Oakland Press.

Veryzer was drafted by the Tigers with the No. 11 overall pick in the 1971 MLB Draft and was the team’s starting shortstop from 1975 to 1977. Detroit traded him to the Indians that offseason to make room for Alan Trammell. He played for Cleveland until 1981 before ending his career with stints with the Mets (1982) and Cubs (1983-84).

He hit .241/.283/.294 with 14 homers in 996 MLB games.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 09, 2014 at 02:44 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, indians, mets, obituaries, tigers, tom veryzer

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Duff: Moneyball alone won’t add up to titles

Duff reaction: Carbon copy.

Brad Ausmus is an Ivy Leaguer.

In other words, he’s known guys with pocket protectors. He’s seen number crunchers up close in action.
And yet when you ask him about Moneyball, he’ll tell you it doesn’t add up.

“There is value in numbers,” admitted Ausmus, the Dartmouth product who manages the Detroit Tigers. “I think the important thing is you don’t want to inundate players with numbers.”
Ausmus doesn’t completely discredit Moneyball, sabermetrics, or fancy stats, whatever you might want to call it.

Nor should he.

Nor should anyone.

What he does point out – and again, he’s correct in this assessment – is that taken alone, it’s simply not a formula for winning baseball.

The Athletics are living proof of that.

...Ausmus is also a believer in sabermetrics, just not on a daily basis.

“There’s value in it, but on a day-to-day lineup basis, you wouldn’t use that,” Ausmus said.

“If you’re a general manager projecting what a guy’s going to do over the next 2-3 years, whether to give him a multi-year deal, what his age is, how that plays out in terms of success, from an analytical sense, there’s probably more value in that for a general manager than a manager.

“That doesn’t mean we won’t use some numbers in our decision-making process, whether it’s in making out the lineup or defensive positioning.

“I see the value in it, but I certainly don’t live and die by it.”

The A’s continue to live and die by Moneyball.

Living large in the regular season. Dying off quickly in the playoffs.

Repoz Posted: July 03, 2014 at 08:14 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: oakland, sabermetrics, tigers

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Paul: Tigers’ Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker hope to enter Hall of Fame side by side

When the BBWAA all had their quarrels and parted…

Detroit — It continues to frustrate Tigers fans.

And, sure, it frustrates the Tigers of yesteryear, too, that no player on that 1984 World Series championship team is represented in Cooperstown.

That puts the 1984 Tigers alongside the 1981 Dodgers as the only two World Series champions, pre-1995, not to have a Hall of Fame player.

“It’s because we’re Detroit, and not New York or Boston. You understand that?” said Paul Carey, Ernie Harwell’s long-time partner on Tigers broadcasts. “We’re west of the Hudson River, and that’s the problem.”

...And while guys like Barry Larkin and Ryne Sandberg have cruised to induction, their contemporaries from Detroit haven’t.

Whitaker, the smooth second baseman, couldn’t even last more than the one year, 2001, that he was on the ballot. And Trammell, the star shortstop, is going nowhere. He’s never received even half the votes needed for election, with two more years of eligibility remaining.

That’s not to say all hope is lost, however. There’s an Expansion Era committee created to induct those who fall through the cracks. Trammell, Whitaker and Jack Morris, who went 0-for-15-years on the Hall of Fame ballot, certainly will get serious consideration.

...“That’s the way it should be,” said Whitaker, decked out in shades and a fedora Monday. “I wouldn’t feel right going in if Tram wasn’t there. We played together, our numbers are the same, we were a combination.”

Whitaker is right. The numbers are scarily similar: They finished just four hits apart for their careers. Whitaker played 19 years, and Trammell one more.

Both received rousing ovations at the ballpark Monday, and the roars grew even louder when they set up for the ceremonial first pitch — only for Whitaker to wave Trammell out from behind home plate. Trammell headed to short, Whitaker to second, and they started a ceremonial double play — with Dave Bergman making a nice reach to finish it off at first.

“You don’t rush greatness. … We’ll wait. Our day will come,” said Whitaker, 57. “We know we deserve it. But, you know, what’s good about bragging about it, telling you guys how good we were? We know how good we were.”

 

Repoz Posted: July 02, 2014 at 08:30 AM | 69 comment(s)
  Beats: hof, tigers

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Rick Porcello gets another shutout, Tigers beat A’s

Porcello is now 3-0 with 24 scoreless innings over his last three outings. He became the first pitcher since Baltimore’s Jeff Ballard on Aug. 21, 1989, to throw a shutout without a walk or strikeout. No Tigers pitcher had done it since Dizzy Trout in 1944.

Zeroes everywhere with this guy.

Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: July 01, 2014 at 11:32 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: suck it babip fairy, tigers

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Holmes: Tigers’ radio team makes it difficult to tune in

Go, Jim & Dan
Go, Jim & Dan
Go, Jim & Dan…Please!

I am this close…(imagine thumb and forefinger about an inch apart)…from taking a baseball bat to my car radio.

I’ve been in my car a lot recently and it’s given me the opportunity to listen to Detroit Tigers’ games on the radio. As you’ll learn, I mean “opportunity” as in: we have an “opportunity” to get a root canal. It’s like someone’s invading a hole in my head and inflicting pain.

That’s what it’s like to listen to the Detroit radio broadcast team of Dan Dickerson and Jim Price. It’s brutal.

...If I could have a three wishes, I’d use two of them in the typical way (revenge against my enemies and all-encompassing wealth and power), but the third, the third wish, I’d use that to give Dan Dickerson the gift of description. He really has no idea how to describe something in an explicit way, which is really THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF HIS JOB. he’s like pone of those annoying friends who starts conversations in the middle of a story and expects us to understand what the hell he’s talking about.

There’s a drive and he dives and it’s caught out there deep on the warning track. what a play!

WHERE was that drive and WHO hit it? And WHO caught it WHERE? And HOW many guys were on base?!? And what’s the score?

[Driving off the road into a ditch]

Repoz Posted: June 28, 2014 at 07:43 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: media, tigers

Thursday, June 19, 2014

ESPN’s Keith Law Comes Down Hard On Ausmus, Calls Remark ‘Nauseating’ « CBS Detroit

Does somebody’s children need to be taken away?

Keith’s a good guy and means well but this reaction is over the top.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 19, 2014 at 02:58 PM | 140 comment(s)
  Beats: brad ausmus, tigers

Monday, June 09, 2014

Max Scherzer takes out insurance policy after turning down $144 million extension

It’s interesting to note that Boras’ research found that injuries to pitchers tend to decrease after they have pitched at least four years in the big leagues, and that position players are far more likely to break down due to their workload.

I wonder how far the Tigers could push this.  150 pitch starts?  Regular starts on three days rest?  Pitch him out of the pen between starts?  Obviously diminishing returns, but if he’s so eager to be out the door, let’s see how high we can push Boras’ blood pressure.  Apparently Max gets paid either way.

Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: June 09, 2014 at 03:40 AM | 71 comment(s)
  Beats: boras, insurance fraud, max scherzer, tigers

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Ferkovich: Why I’ll never sell my Mark Fidrych rookie card

Crying, Waiting, Hoping, Collecting.

I began carrying my Mark Fidrych card around in my wallet once I’d reached my mid-teens. It became a kind of shopworn talisman, endowed with the power to remind me, at a glance, of younger, longer summers.

As I grew older, this began to bother me a bit. After all, I wasn’t a kid anymore. Why should I be carrying a tattered baseball card around? But then, sometime in the early 1990s, I read that Bob Costas, the TV sports personality, had been carrying a 1950s-era Mickey Mantle baseball card in his wallet for decades. Thus, Costas unwittingly became my enabler. Mark Fidrych stayed in my wallet. Heck, if it was good enough for Bob Costas, it was good enough for me.

Bill James, the noted baseball historian and sabermatrician, wrote, “It was always very unlikely that Mark Fidrych would have a career of more than a few seasons. There is simply no such thing as a starting pitcher who has a long career with a low strikeout rate.” James is a pretty smart guy, and he may be correct in his prognostication of The Bird. Suppose Fidrych had remained healthy, pitched ten or eleven years, but been mostly a .500 pitcher? What if, at some point, he’d been a contract holdout? What if he’d signed a long-term deal with the Yankees? What if the business of baseball had eventually hardened him, causing him to lose his boyish enthusiasm? Surely his legacy would be different today.

But that never happened, which is what makes the allure of Mark Fidrych so strong, even after nearly 40 years. He is the Buddy Holly of baseball. The Bird died in a freak accident in 2009 at the young age of 54. And yet we still cherish our image of him as he was in1976. Even though we have collectively grown up and changed, we can convince ourselves that The Bird, in our own version of reality, never did.

I still have his rookie card, but I stopped carrying it in my wallet long, long ago. It is now encased in a vinyl holder, in a box with other cards, in a closet at home. Given its shabby condition, it has no monetary value whatsoever. I have many baseball cards that would sell for serious money, if I ever decided to part with them, but my 1977 Topps Mark Fidrych (#265) is worth more to me than any of them.

Repoz Posted: June 01, 2014 at 09:57 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: history, tigers

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Beanball: Joba Chamberlain is Back, Baby

In baseball, whichever side may call itself the victor, there are no losers, but all are winners!

The mighty fell hard. Despite once being considered Mariano Rivera‘s eventual replacement or at least a top-of-the-rotation mainstay, the Yankees decided against re-signing Chamberlain this offseason. And hoping to find a diamond in the rough, the Detroit Tigers inked the free agent to a one-year, $2.5 million contract.

On the surface, Chamberlain’s 4.02 ERA, park-adjusted 108 ERA+ and 1.40 WHIP thus far in 2014 all seem rather pedestrian. But considering the right-hander is dealing with an astronomical .447 BABIP, Chamberlain’s 1.31 FIP is much more indicative of his performance over his past 15.2 innings.

And while Chamberlain’s 2014 fastball’s average is clocking in at 1.6 mph slower than his career rate, the reliever is still sitting down batters at a 13.2 strikeouts per nine innings ratio—his best career showing.

...His reduction in mid-to-high zone pitches could also be a factor for Chamberlain’s new-found long-ball stinginess. Despite sporting a career 10.6 percent home runs per fly ball rate, Joba has yet to allow a dinger in 2014.

The reliever is also throwing a much more effective curveball this season, as batters are hitting a collective .180 wOBA against (versus his career .255 wOBA against), per FanGraphs’ PITCH/fx.

With Joe Nathan entrenched as the Tigers’ closer (despite an ugly 4.51 FIP), Chamberlain doesn’t appear to be in line for many saves this season. But perhaps for the first time since his 2007 season, Joba can simply concentrate on finding outs—instead of attempting to fulfill unattainable, New York expectations.

 

Repoz Posted: May 17, 2014 at 09:26 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: tigers

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mitchell: Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera

It is likely that Pujols and Cabrera will be linked in the minds of many fans as they move through the next few years as aging and overpaid Hall of Fame-caliber sluggers. It is way too early to declare either of them finished or washed up, but it is equally clear that their best years are likely behind them.

Cabrera’s 2012 triple crown catapulted him to new level of fame and visibility, but by most measures he was never quite as good as Pujols in his prime. By conventional statistical measures, Pujols is the superior home run hitter, having topped 40 home runs in a season six times, compared to only twice for Cabrera. Through his age 30 season, Pujols had batted .331, compared to Cabrera who hit .321 through the end of last season when he was 30 years old. More advanced analytical numbers show Pujols, not least because of his superior defense, to be the better all around player. By the time he was 30, Pujols had 7 seasons of 9 or more WAR. Cabrera’s career high for WAR was 7.5, in both 2013 and 2011. Through his age 30 season, Cabrera had an OPS+ of 154, while Pujols’ was 172 through that age. It is hard to look closely at the two players’ numbers and not conclude that Pujols has been the superior player. It is possible that Cabrera will become the better older player and narrow the gap somewhat, but when both players are retired, and their enormous contracts are finally over, it is very likely that Pujols will have had the more impressive career.

Cabrera is a very good player, but he is also in danger of being defined by his most well-known accomplishment. Cabrera’s 2012 triple crown was the first by anybody in an astounding 45 years. The triple crown is perhaps the ultimate old school offensive accomplishment. It consists of leading the league in three categories, home runs, batting average and RBIs, the latter two of which are still taken seriously by some while seen as of secondary import to many more advanced quantitative analysts of the game. In 2012, Cabrera beat out Pujols’ teammate Mike Trout for the MVP award despite Trout having a much better year by more contemporary measures. That MVP vote was as much a referendum on methodology for evaluating players as it was a vote about who was the best player, but it elevated Cabrera just as Pujols’ decline was becoming most noticeable. That triple crown may also help distinguish Cabrera from Pujols who will probably never win one. In the eyes of many, he will be seen as the superior slugger of the era, but Pujols at his best was a better player, and hitter, than Cabrera ever was.

Thanks to Los.

Repoz Posted: May 10, 2014 at 07:41 AM | 57 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, tigers

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

MLBTR: Tigers To Promote Robbie Ray

Say Ray.

The Tigers have announced that left-handed starter Robbie Ray will be recalled and make his Major League debut against the Astros next Tuesday. ...

Ray’s promotion was necessitated by an injury to Anibal Sanchez, but should he impress to the point where he sticks on the roster, his promotion likely will lead him to Super Two status. If his official promotion is delayed until next Tuesday, he would accrue 148 days of Major League service time through season’s end, which would almost certainly place him within the top 22 percent of the two-to-three year service class following the 2016 campaign. That would make Ray eligible for arbitration four times, beginning after the ’16 season, and also setting him to hit free agency in the 2019-20 offseason. Of course, that schedule would change were Ray to be sent back down when Sanchez returns, which should be sometime in mid-May.

Somewhat ironically, Ray is making his Major League debut before the injured Fister has thrown a single Major League pitch for the Nationals. The trade was widely panned in the media at the time, as many felt that Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski received too little for Fister, and it’s been compounded by his decision to trade Lombardozzi for Alex Gonzalez, who has already been released. Ray’s development into a reliable starting option for the Tigers would greatly change that perception.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tigers’ Max Scherzer upset with SI over cover

Foray into stardom. Max goof?

Detroit Tigers’ Max Scherzer said Sports Illustrated’s cover story on him wasn’t what he expected.

“To be on the cover is a very special moment, but I’m also frustrated that they chose to put the contract stuff on the cover,” he said Sunday.

“When they approached us, (Tigers media relations) and I, we specifically asked not to make the story around the contract. ... They assured us it wasn’t going to be like that. They chose a different route, and we felt like we were lied to and misled.”

The cover headline was “Mad Max’s $144 million bet” and asked “did he make a dumb wager on his future?”

“I didn’t want it to be about that,” Scherzer said. “I’m a baseball player. I want to talk baseball. It’s frustrating when you get lied to about that.”

...Stephen Cannella, SI assistant managing editor, said Monday he knew of Scherzer’s feelings but no promises were made.

“We were aware Max didn’t want to discuss his contract situation in detail, but at no time did we make any promises how we would mention it in the story or how we wouldn’t, or where we would use it, whether it would be on the cover or whether it wouldn’t.”

Repoz Posted: April 29, 2014 at 10:15 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: business, tigers

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Design Room: Top 10 Logos in MLB History.

The Montreal Expos (French: Expos de Montréal) team started in 1969 and never changed their logo.  For almost 40 years the team held on to this awesome mark because it was smart and looked great. Expos de Montreal Baseball. That is the secret behind this logo. Interwoven script pieces all come together to abbreviate the full name of the team. This logo is a little dated looking, but I can imagine this being modernized and still looking amazing without significant change. That is how you know this is a good logo. The line work is smooth, it is creative and clever and I commend the designer for coming up with a mark that doesn’t rely on a baseball to remind the viewer that it is a team logo. This is easily one of the smartest logos in baseball history.

I literally went, “Oh wow,” when I read this bit. I’d never understood this about the Expos logo.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Trust in Dave Dombrowski «

Bum Phillips famously said of Don Shula, “He can take his’n and beat your’n and take your’n and beat his’n.” Well, Dombrowski can trade his’n for your’n and win the trade, then take his’n back and win some more.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 12, 2014 at 07:50 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dave dombrowski, general managers, tigers

Monday, April 07, 2014

Tigers pitcher Evan Reed investigated for sexual assault in Detroit

My Fox Detroit reports that Detroit Tigers right-hander Evan Reed is being investigated by police for involvement in a sexual assault March 30, the day before the team opened the 2014 season at Comerica Park. Detroit police confirmed that a complaint has been made and they’re in the process of interviewing the alleged victim. A full investigation is expected to take perhaps two weeks.

The Tigers released a statement calling the allegation “very serious” and “concerning,” but would not add a further comment at this time.

Reed’s attorney, David Gorcyca, also released a statement that said in part:

  “We are very confident that once a thorough and full investigation is completed, Mr. Reed will have nothing to fear. During the infancy of this investigation, no one should formulate any conclusions that a crime has been committed.”

Repoz Posted: April 07, 2014 at 09:33 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: tigers

Friday, March 28, 2014

Miguel Cabrera and Tigers agree on eight-year, $248 million extension

Miguel Cabrera, the best hitter in baseball, will also be the best-paid player in the game when the slugger and the Detroit Tigers finalize what multiple reports say would be the biggest contract extension in baseball history based on average annual value.

Cabrera and the Tigers have agreed on an extension that would keep an Olde English “D” on Cabrera’s chest through 2023. It’s worth $248 million over eight years and kicks in after Cabrera finishes his old deal, which still has two years and $44 million remaining.

The extension is worth $31 million per year, which would be the highest yearly salary for any deal in history, eclipsing Clayton Kershaw’s seven-year deal with the Dodgers that’s worth $215 million, or $30.71 million per year.

GregD Posted: March 28, 2014 at 12:05 AM | 138 comment(s)
  Beats: contract extension, miguel cabrera, tigers

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Report: Jose Iglesias could miss most of the 2014 season

Chvrches: The broken bones of what you believe.

Earlier, D.J. Short wondered if the Tigers would make a play for free agent Stephen Drew after it was reported that shortstop Jose Iglesias would begin the season on the disabled list with shin splints. It may be worse than the Tigers expected. ESPN’s Jim Bowden is reporting that Iglesias could miss most of the 2014 season. As a result, they indeed will be expected to pursue Drew.

Repoz Posted: March 15, 2014 at 07:05 PM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: tigers

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Tigers lose on walk-off balk

Among the first drills new Tigers manager Brad Ausmus worked on with his club in February was a rarely attempted pickoff move to third base.
...
Honestly, it felt like a disaster waiting to happen when Ausmus introduced the drill, and on Friday night a perfect example of just how disastrous it can be played out when a little bit of miscommunication led to a game-ending balk in Detroit’s 3-2 loss to the New York Yankees.

SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 09, 2014 at 10:31 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: rules, tigers

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Kornacki: Dirks expected to miss three months after back surgery

Time for some injury problems in Detroit.

Andy Dirks, a left-handed hitter who figured to get most of the at-bats in a platoon with right-handed Rajai Davis, is scheduled to have back surgery on Monday in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday the microdiscectomy, which will be performed on the lumbar region in his lower back by Dr. Thomas Tolli, will require three weeks of “complete rest” followed by three weeks of therapy. He said Dirks would then require about six weeks of baseball activity to return to the Tigers.

Dombrowski said, “In 12 weeks, he’ll be ready to play.”

That means Dirks, who hit .256 with nine homers and 37 RBIs in 2013, won’t be available until about mid-June. That also brought plenty of questions for Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and Dombrowski about how they will shape up in left field.

“If Rajai plays well,” Ausmus said, “he might be the only guy we need.

“But I certainly feel for Andy. I’ve been in the same shoes with this surgery ... It can bring your spirits down.”

Repoz Posted: March 05, 2014 at 06:05 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: tigers

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Ian Kinsler calls Jon Daniels ‘sleazeball,’ hopes Rangers go 0-162

Being Ian. Get a gripp.

Second baseman Ian Kinsler spent the first eight years of his big-league career with the Rangers, but he was traded to the Tigers this past offseason in a blockbuster deal that sent Prince Fielder to Texas. And now, in an article set to be in ESPN Magazine March 17, Kinsler has spoken his mind about his former ballclub. It’s juicy. It’s a quality read and long-form, so hop on over there to read the whole thing if interested.

Some of the highlights:

•“There was no remorse from the Rangers,” Kinsler says of the trade. “They did not care.” More: “The team had changed. It was not the same personalities, not the same players, not the same chemistry. To be traded, it was refreshing to start new.”

•Trading Michael Young before last season really hurt the club, in Kinsler’s view. “He held everything together,” Kinsler told ESPN.

•Kinsler and Adrian Beltre had a heated argument late in the season that spilled over into the tunnel between the dugout and the clubhouse.

•“Daniels is a sleazeball,” he says (ESPN). “He got in good with the owners and straight pushed [Nolan] Ryan out. He thought all the things he should get credit for, Ryan got credit for. It’s just ego. Once we went to the World Series, everybody’s ego got huge, except for Nolan’s.”

•“I’ll miss all my teammates,” he says (ESPN). “I’ll miss Elvis [Andrus] and Beltre, Mitch [Moreland], Matt Harrison and [manager Ron] Washington.” And the kill shot: “To be honest with you, I hope they go 0-162. I got friends, and I love my friends, but I hope they lose their ass.”

Repoz Posted: March 04, 2014 at 11:21 AM | 72 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers, tigers

Friday, February 28, 2014

Pitching in Korea an eye-opening experience for Tigers’ Duane Below

Below the 38th Parallel I imagine.

Several thousand miles and an extremely long day spent in airports and airplanes separates Gwangju, Korea, from Duane Below’s hometown of Britton, Mich.

Last August, a season after last pitching for the Tigers and a handful of months after two forgettable appearances with the Marlins, Below signed with the Kia Tigers of the Korea Baseball Organization.

Now he has brought the perspective of his two months playing overseas back to the Tigers’ camp in Florida, where he is a non-roster invitee just trying to break camp with the big league team.

“I wanted to be open minded,” Below said of the experience on Friday. “I didn’t want to be closed off. I tried to take as much in as possible.

“The language barrier was tough for me. Being at the field, the other foreigner was from the Dominican Republic, but he spoke very good English. So I was able to talk to him and my translator. You can communicate with your teammates here, but it helped open up my eyes how difficult it is coming from a different country, for the guys coming from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, or even Japan and Korea.

“So it was something that I’ll always have and I’ll always remember.”

...Below took some on-field lessons from his time in Korea, too. He described the level of play as about the same as a good Triple-A team and saw a few players at the MLB-caliber there.

Opposing hitters like to make a pitcher work hard for everything, and the strike zone is a little smaller. And if those hitters make their way on base, they’re going to remind the battery they’re there.

“They hustle, non-stop,” Below said. “It was good to see, good to learn. I feel like that will help me here in America. It was an experience that I’ll always have.”

Repoz Posted: February 28, 2014 at 08:03 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: tigers

Heyman:  Maxing out: Scherzer is Tigers’ greatest contractual challenge yet

Long before he was named in the article, I knew who Scherzer’s agent is.  As long as he continues to write articles like this, or this one about Stephen Drew, people will continue to think Heyman’s a shill for Scott Boras.

TDF, situational idiot Posted: February 28, 2014 at 06:28 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: boras, tigers

Reiter: With one move, Tigers reinvent themselves on offense and defense

So Ausmus’ first Tigers team will be different than Leyland’s last—more athletic, more dynamic, more versatile. Will they be better? Well, no, not definitely. It is not easy to replace the production of a player like Fielder, even a down-year Fielder. “You take Prince Fielder’s bat out of the lineup, that’s 100 RBI, that’s nothing to scoff at,” Ausmus said.

The fact is that Detroit didn’t need to get better. It is de rigueur for teams that don’t win the World Series to focus publicly on their shortcomings and explain how they’ve addressed them so that the result will be different next time. But in the case of last year’s Tigers, it was probably just bad luck, played out in the small-sample-size environment of the playoffs. “They were built to win it all,” one rival GM said. “They just didn’t.”

One of the harmless lies we tell ourselves about sports with playoff structures is that the ultimate winner was the best team all along. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. Change a few unfortunate bounces in very tight games, subtract a celebrating Boston cop, and the slow-pitch Tigers could easily have been last year’s champions.

Dombrowski might have retained Fielder, and the overall style that resulted from his presence, and he could have been confident that he would again have a legitimate shot at a World Series. A lesser GM might have gone that route, but Dombrowski didn’t for one reason: Money. Even counting the $30 million they sent to Texas along with Fielder, the Tigers all at once lopped $76 million in future commitments off their unwieldy books, funds that they might redirect to Cy Young winner Max Scherzer (who is due to become a free agent after this season) or Miguel Cabrera (who can hit free agency after 2015).

The idea is to get your team to the playoff tournament as many times as you can, where the odds say you might eventually hoist a trophy. Dombrowski knew that he needed to trim his payroll in order to fund those shots not just in 2014, but in the years to follow. The Kinsler-for-Fielder trade allowed him to do that in the best way possible: By fielding a team that will still win, just differently. It would be no surprise at all if the trading partners meet again in late October, with a World Series on the line.

Thanks to Tiger Barnald.

Repoz Posted: February 28, 2014 at 07:53 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: tigers

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