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Tigers Newsbeat

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Posnanski: The need – the need for speed

When the Detroit Tigers traded Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals back in December for a a middling left-handed pitching prospect and some change, it was, well, baffling… There were explanations at the time… Now, with a a few months of clarity added to the picture, none of [them] makes sense.

1. [Making room for Drew] Smyly? No. The Tigers have already traded away Smyly to get David Price and make a desperate run for the playoffs with a wounded and uneven team.

2. An underappreciation of [Robbie] Ray? Too early to tell but early signs say: No. Ray has struggled in his early starts which doesn’t mean much, but I still haven’t talked to a scout who loves him.

3. Money? No. When [Tigers GM Dave] Dombrowski realized that his team was short pitching, he went out and got David Price who is making twice as much as Fister and will make more next year.

So … why?

Nobody is saying why, but I have a guess. It’s a guess that directly relates to something I see all around baseball, even at some of the more enlightened places. I have invented a word for it: Fistrust.

FISTRUST (pronounced FIS-truh-st, noun): A deep suspicion and profound lack of confidence in pitchers who cannot throw 90 mph.

Wasn’t that also Chip Caray’s catchphrase?

 

The District Attorney Posted: August 19, 2014 at 10:27 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: doug fister, drew smyly, nationals, robbie ray, tigers, trades

Rusney Castillo rumors: Decision imminent for Cuban outfielder

With concerns about calcium, shouldn’t he think about heading to Milwaukee?

Praise has been far from faint for Rusney Castillo, who is considered to be the latest in a long string of impact players imported from Cuba. The highly regarded 27-year-old outfielder seems to be nearing a decision on where he will play, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald and ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes report that Castillo is expected to “declare his intentions any day now.”...

Castillo should be in line for an impressive payday, though it’s unlikely that he receives as much as Jose Abreu got from the White Sox last offseason. Represented by Roc Nation Sports, Castillo was said to originally be in line for a $25-$35 million deal, but it now looks like he will outdo the $42 million that Yasiel Puig got from the Dodgers a couple years ago. According to Peter Gammons, he is now looking at a deal between $40 and $70 million, while FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi pegs him as receiving something around six years and ~$50 million….

There seems to be a long line of suitors for Castillo, though the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Phillies, and Cubs seem to be leading the pack. ...

Those five clubs are far from alone in their pursuit of Castillo. The Mariners, Orioles, Giants, Astros, Blue Jays, White Sox, and Braves have also all been mentioned as potential suitors, and could wind up nabbing him when his decision is announced, likely within the next few days.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Kapler: 75% of the time, line-drive percentage works 100% of the time

And apparently 67% of the time, you’ll get hurt and look like making you that rich was a mistake…

I’m dubbing Nick Castellanos Kid Linea.

“Linea” is Spanish for line. More relevantly, it’s how you’ll hear line drives described in the dugout vernacular. Unless you’re facing Kershaw, an inning won’t pass on the bench without someone uttering, “That was an f’ing linea.”...

“A line drive won’t necessarily be the hardest balls in play, but they do end up being hits at a lofty 75% clip,” according to sportingcharts.com.

In short, line-drive percentage matters. Kid Linea leads the American League as a rookie at 27.3 percent. Of course, this is a small sample size. Those players who have put up top numbers year after year have been amply rewarded by their teams. Since 2010, MLB’s three leaders in line-drive percentage are Freddie Freeman, Joey Votto and Joe Mauer. Those guys are really, really rich.

The District Attorney Posted: August 18, 2014 at 01:52 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: gabe kapler, nick castellanos, tigers

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Jerry Lumpe Dies

RIP, Jerry Lumpe, KC A’s stalwart.

Vrhovnik Posted: August 17, 2014 at 12:56 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, history, kansas city, tigers, yankees

Friday, August 15, 2014

Brisbee: Is Buck Farmer the best baseball adult movie name in recent history?

Max St. Pierre gets extra credit from me because I feel like it could be a female star’s name as well.

Buck Farmer made his major league debut for the Tigers on Wednesday. This means it’s time to plow through the best adult-film names in baseball over the past 25 years, separate the wheat from the chaff, and see where Farmer ranks…

10. Paul Swingle (1993)
9. Jumbo Diaz (2014)
8. Jeff Manship (2013-14)
7. Max St. Pierre (2010)
6. Scott Service (1992-2004)
5. Jeff Bronkey (1993-94)
4. Buck Farmer (2014)
3. Rich Harden (2003-11)
2. Butch Huskey (1993-2000)
1. Randy Ready (1983-95)

 

The District Attorney Posted: August 15, 2014 at 01:14 PM | 64 comment(s)
  Beats: buck farmer, grant brisbee, movies, tigers

Monday, August 11, 2014

With division lead dwindling, injuries to Sanchez, Soria could cost Tigers

Soria: double agent?

A little over two weeks ago, the Detroit Tigers were flying high. Enjoying a seven-game lead in the AL Central, Detroit seemed assured of winning its fourth straight American League Central title. But since July 24, when Detroit beat the Angels to create that seven-game advantage, things have narrowed considerably in the division, with the Tigers’ lead now down to a mere 1 1/2 games entering Sunday thanks to a combination of a tough 6-9 stretch and a red-hot run by Kansas City. And on Sunday, Detroit learned that it’ll have to keep that minuscule lead without a pair of key pitchers, as both Anibal Sanchez and Joakim Soria are headed to the disabled list for an extended stay….

Sanchez was the first to go down, suffering a strain of his right pectoral muscle during Friday’s start against Toronto… Soria, meanwhile, went down with an oblique strain on Saturday… Both were placed on the DL on Sunday, with Sanchez expected to miss close to a month, and Soria likely out for a similar period of time…

[Manager Brad] Ausmus will have to hope that [Joe] Nathan can right himself (which looks more unlikely by the day) and that his troika of ace starters — Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and the recently acquired David Price — can handle the extra innings. He’ll also have to hope that Verlander, Scherzer and Price can up their games enough to make up for Sanchez’s absence. Luckily, those three and the resurgent Rick Porcello should be up to the task. If not, Detroit’s AL Central lead is all but certain to vanish.

 

The District Attorney Posted: August 11, 2014 at 05:45 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: anibal sanchez, injuries, joakim soria, tigers

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Townsend: Kate Upton says Yankees wouldn’t let her wear Tigers’ gear at Yankee Stadium

Life imitates Seinfeld yet again.

As you’ve probably seen or heard by now, Upton was seated directly behind the Tigers’ dugout to watch Verlander’s Tigers play against the Yankees on Tuesday night. At one point, they even had a fun exchange where Upton finally convinced Verlander to toss her a souvenir baseball. It was a light-hearted and fun moment, but apparently that’s as far as the Yankees were willing to let her go to show her support for Detroit.

While filling in for Kelly Ripa on Friday’s Live! with Kelly and Michael, Upton revealed to co-host Michael Strahan that the Yankees specifically told her she couldn’t wear any Tigers’ gear while sitting in the Legends seats at Yankee Stadium.

JE (Jason) Posted: August 10, 2014 at 04:48 PM | 74 comment(s)
  Beats: fans, justin verlander, seinfeld, tigers, yankees

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Derek Jeter gets the tongue from Joba Chamberlain, then gets plunked

Say aah…shiit!

Chamberlain appeared to stare down Jeter while the retiring shortstop went through his pre-at-bat routine with the game tied at 3-apiece in the bottom of the 10th inning.

And when Jeter tipped his cap to Chamberlain — the future Hall of Famer does it to every pitcher — Chamberlain’s tongue emerged from his Grizzly Adams beard.

The at-bat ended with Chamberlain hitting Jeter with an inside fastball. It didn’t seem intentional, however, as Chamberlain appeared quite upset and even apologized to Jeter as he jogged up the first-base line. Jeter waved him off, as if to say, no worries.

Repoz Posted: August 06, 2014 at 09:31 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: tigers, yankees

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Detroit 11, Colorado 5: Tigers score in every inning

The Tigers scored in all eight innings in which they batted. According to STATS, inc., the Tigers scored in all eight innings of a nine-inning home game for the first time since 1912.

Per baseball-almanac.com, this is the 7th team to score in all 8 innings they batted in the AL (none in all 9).  7 NL teams have scored during EVERY Inning of a 9 Inning Game, but only 3 since 1901.

H/T to Ulysses S. Fairsmith

bobm Posted: August 02, 2014 at 11:26 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: score in every inning, tigers

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tigers To Acquire David Price

The Tigers have agreed to acquire David Price from the Rays, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The deal is a three-way trade between the Tigers, Rays, and Mariners.

Austin Jackson will go to the Mariners, per a tweet from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, with Nick Franklin and Drew Smyly heading to Tampa, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune (via Twitter).

Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 31, 2014 at 04:00 PM | 74 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, robothal, tigers

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Detroit Tigers’ Evan Reed charged with sexual assault

The charges against Reed carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. He’s charged under the theory that he committed sexual penetration through force or coercion, knowing that the woman was unable to consent, according to the news release.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tigers Display Focus on 2014; acquire Joakim Soria

The Tigers acquired closer Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers for two highly regarded right-handed pitching prospects: starter Jake Thompson and reliever Corey Knebel.

You may believe Thompson and Knebel represent a slight overpay for Soria’s services through the end of 2015. A number of executives with other major-league teams would agree. But if you consider the context, you will see the Tigers made an excellent trade, at the right time, in a manner that harmonizes completely with the organizational mandate to win the World Series this year.
How could you find fault with that?

My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: July 26, 2014 at 10:02 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers, tigers

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.


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