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Thursday, July 20, 2017

THT: A Joyful Celebration of Baseball

Good reporting by Sarah Wexler on the 19th annual induction day for the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals.

The first honor bestowed was the 2017 Hilda Award, named, of course, for Hilda Chester, and intended to especially honor noteworthy fans.

This year’s recipient was Cam Perron, a 22-year-old Tulane University business management graduate. Perron’s life’s passion is the preservation of Negro League history. At the age of 12, he began writing retired ballplayers for autographs, sending 20 to 40 letters a week to former major leaguers and former Negro leaguers. He found that the Negro league alumni tended to be quite enthusiastic in their responses, often sending replies that were two or three pages long. Perron started including his phone number in his letters, and often ended up having hours-long conversations with players.

...At the age of 13, he teamed up with Dr. Layton Revel, founder and executive director of the Center for Negro League Baseball Research in Carrollton, Texas, whom he describes as his “best friend.” The two have organized Negro Leagues reunions in Birmingham, Ala., for each of the past eight years.

Perron was also instrumental in getting MLB to launch a Negro League pension program, which provides anyone who can prove they played Negro League baseball for four or more years with a yearly $10,000 pension — a sum which, in Perron’s words, “really makes a difference” for a lot of guys. Perron has been featured twice on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, given a TED-Ed talk, and is currently in the process of working on a feature film based on his efforts.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tigers OF J.D. Martinez traded to Diamondbacks for prospects

Detroit received Double-A third baseman Dawel Lugo, switch-hitting infield prospect Sergio Alcantara and shortstop Jose King in the deal Tuesday. Lugo, a sterling defensive third baseman with a solid bat, is regarded as the Diamondbacks’ No. 2 overall prospect. Avila said he wanted to bolster the Tigers’ farm system with position prospects and jumped at the chance to add three infielders.

As for Martinez, the Tigers hope that one day he’ll return to Detroit.

Martinez said the feeling is mutual.

“Me and Al go way back. He’s like family to me, close to family as you can get in baseball. I know it was hard for him,” he said. “I’m not mad about it. ... Next year and the offseason, you never know what’s going to happen in this game.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 11:42 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, j.d. martinez, tigers

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Thursday, July 06, 2017

Levine: Justin Verlander May Be A Key For Cubs’ Future « CBS Chicago

Can he be effective for two more seasons? Will he be worth the money and cost in talent?

Sitting at 41-42 entering play Wednesday and with a desire to acquire more than a rental pitcher, the Cubs could view Verlander as a key piece to help reconnect the dots this season and beyond. The 34-year-old Verlander is under contract through the 2019 season, with a vesting option for 2020 if he finishes in the top five of the Cy Young voting in 2019.
...
Verlander has had an underwhelming season, as he’s 5-5 with a 4.96 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. He’s struck out 92 batters in 98 innings.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 06, 2017 at 08:26 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, tigers, trade rumors

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Tigers Set Large Asking Price For Justin Verlander - MLB Trade Rumors

Al Avila is “that guy” who exists in every fantasy league.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 04, 2017 at 10:33 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: tigers, trade rumors

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

As the Tigers falter, Justin Verlander emerges as an intriguing trade possibility

Multiple front-office sources told Yahoo Sports they expect Verlander to hit the trade market sometime in the next two weeks. This is more tea-leaf reading than any indication Tigers general manager Al Avila has given in conversations with teams. Still, if the Tigers do punt on 2017 – their 34-42 record is the AL’s second worst – they could begin a rebuild in earnest without a franchise icon.

That and Verlander’s performance this season are both tangible issues, as would be his trade value, all three of which could combine to make a deal difficult to consummate. Even though Verlander is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, the Tigers would not view a deal of him as a pure money dump.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 28, 2017 at 11:44 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: justin verlander, tigers, trade rumors

Friday, June 23, 2017

Detroit Tigers release struggling closer Francisco Rodriguez

The Tiger opted today to release Rodriguez, who had continued to struggle after losing the closer’s job to Justin Wilson. The Tigers announced this afternoon they have recalled right-handed pitcher Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo.

The Tigers also announced that outfielder Alex Presley has been placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list and they have selected the contract of outfielder Matt den Dekker from Toledo.

Rodriguez questioned the communication skills of manager Brad Ausmus and pitching coach Rich Dubee last week. Rodriguez declined to talk to reporters after the giving up a grand slam in a 9-6 loss to the Mariners in Seattle on Thursday.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 23, 2017 at 05:14 PM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: francisco rodriguez, tigers

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Jarrod Dyson breaks up perfect game with bunt – and Justin Verlander isn’t mad

Baseball’s unwritten rules were back in play on Wednesday night when Seattle’s Jarrod Dyson broke up Justin Verlander’s perfect-game bid with a bunt single with one out in the sixth inning.

The inning quickly unraveled for Verlander and the Tigers after that, as the Mariners plated three runs on three more hits and two walks. Here’s the rally-starting bunt:

To his credit, Verlander wasn’t upset.

“It was a perfect bunt,” Verlander said, via MLB.com. “That’s part of his game. I don’t think it was quite too late, given the situation, to bunt, especially being as how that’s a major part of what he does. I really didn’t have any issues with it. It’s not like I got upset about it.”


Monday, June 19, 2017

Tigers debate lively baseballs, stolen signs

In the past, when the technology wasn’t as sharp, when there wasn’t HD capability and every facial tick or expression could be seen from the center-field camera, stealing signs was a respected art in the game.

Technology has taken the art out of it.

“It’s not about gamesmanship anymore,” Verlander said. “It used to be, if you got my sign, good for you. When you are standing on second base, before HD and all of that, you couldn’t see specific signs the catcher was throwing down unless the camera was right on him.

“Now you can see so good, you see exactly what he is putting down. The gamesmanship is no longer there.”

Both Verlander and Ausmus believe MLB will take a page out of football and allow managers and catchers headset technology so they can communicate verbally.

“I don’t think that’s a bad idea,” Verlander said. “I think it’s a good idea.”


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Brad Ausmus on Analytics, Closer Mentality, and Pitch-Framing

Ausmus on analytics (intro): “Analytics are ubiquitous. I think the dangerous mistake people make — some member of the media make — is believing that they can’t be flawed, because they’re based on numbers. That’s absolutely false. Numbers do not always tell us the whole story. And there are certain things in baseball, because it’s played by humans, that numbers will never be able to put a value on.”

On leverage and closer mentality: “A lot of people in the analytics world think you should bring in your best pitcher in the biggest point of the game. Well, excuse my French, but who the (bleep) knows when the biggest point in the game is until the game is over? You don’t know. It may be the sixth. It may be the ninth. The problem is, if it’s the sixth and you use your closer, and all of a sudden you have a one-run lead in the ninth, who is going to close? You don’t have that guy anymore, because you burned him.

“Anyone who says you have to bring your closer in early, or in the biggest point in the game, has a crystal ball. That argument goes out the window for me. I don’t mind second-guessing, but second-guessing the biggest point of the game after the game? It’s easy to tell then. It’s not easy to tell in the seventh inning.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 15, 2017 at 02:19 PM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: brad ausmus, bullpen usage, tigers

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Brad Ausmus fumed when Tigers got 30 seconds, but no more, to challenge play

The Detroit Tigers were given 30 seconds to decide whether to challenge a bang-bang play at first base in the first inning.

Manager Brad Ausmus wanted a few more.

That seems to be the root of the argument that led to Ausmus’ ejection on Saturday at Comerica Park: Is the 30-second clock a guideline or a timer?

“You have 30 seconds, as a rule,” said bench coach Gene Lamont, who took over the club after Ausmus was tossed by crew chief Fieldin Culbreth. “But usually they’ll give you more time than that.”

Most umpires, do in fact, seem to offer managers a little leeway. When the clock strikes zero, they usually turn to the dugout as if to say, “OK, what do you want to do?”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 04, 2017 at 11:17 PM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: brad ausmus, replay, tigers

Friday, June 02, 2017

West Michigan reliever handed 30-game ban for role in MWL fight

Tigers prospect Eduardo Jimenez received a 30-game suspension this week when the Midwest League issued punishments to five players for their roles in Sunday’s brawl.

Jimenez, a 22-year-old reliever, received the biggest suspension handed out by the league after he ran onto the field and threw a ball at an opposing player during a melee between Class A West Michigan and Dayton on May 28. The Whitecaps said his punishment is retroactive to May 29.

Whitecaps shortstop Daniel Pinero was suspended five games and pitcher Spenser Watkins received a one-game ban, which he is set to serve on June 10. Pinero’s suspension begins tonight and the team said he’s expected back on June 8.

Dayton’s Jose Siri was issued a three-game suspension and pitcher Wennington Romero is slated to sit for four games, according to MLive.com. Neither the league or the Dragons have confirmed those bans.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 02, 2017 at 12:58 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: brawls, minor leagues, suspensions, tigers

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Former Senator, baseball Hall of Famer Jim Bunning has died

Former Republican Senator Jim Bunning has died.

He served as a United States senator from 1999 to 2011.

Bunning pitched in the MLB for 17 years and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.

His career was spent mostly with the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies.

Bunning had suffered a stroke at his Southgate home in October.

He was 85 years old.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 27, 2017 at 01:52 PM | 92 comment(s)
  Beats: jim bunning, obituary, phillies, tigers

Monday, May 08, 2017

K-Rod ‘embarrassed’; Brad Ausmus: Tigers will discuss closer situation

“We’re going to have to have a discussion,” Ausmus said. “He’s not closing out games. It’s something he’s done for a decade. So I think it’s very obvious that it’s not the same Frankie.”

Jim Furtado Posted: May 08, 2017 at 08:15 AM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: tigers

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Tempers flare in Tigers-Twins; Matt Boyd, Miguel Sano ejected

Tempers flared in the fifth inning of Saturday’s game in Minnesota after Detroit Tigers pitcher Matt Boyd threw behind Twins first baseman Miguel Sano.

Sano pointed at Boyd. Tigers catcher James McCann came up and exchanged words with Sano, who reacted by landing a punch to McCann’s protective gear.

Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos came running in, yelling at Boyd. Both teams came into the field before order was restored.

Boyd and Sano were both ejected. It was the first career ejection for Boyd and second for Sano.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 22, 2017 at 05:24 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: miguel sano, tigers, twins

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Brad Ausmus: Tigers fielders to blame after being confused by fan

Two seemingly harmless fly balls fell for hits in the first three innings of the Rays’ 8-7 victory as Tigers center fielder JaCoby Jones, right fielder Tyler Collins and second baseman Ian Kinsler were confused by the shouts from the Tropicana Field stands.

The source of the Tigers’ confusion wasn’t miscommunication between the fielders. If anything, it was overcommunication on the part of a fan in the Tropicana Field stands yelling “I got it!”

“It’s fair game, if you’re a fan. I’m not the blaming [the] fan or anything. He’s within his rights to do that. We have to make the adjustment,” Ausmus told reporters Thursday, according to mlive.com.

Since outfielders have the right to call off infielders on fly balls, Kinsler assumed his teammates were doing so Wednesday night and backed off.

“I just got out of the way,” Kinsler said, according to mlive.com.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 20, 2017 at 06:18 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: brad ausmus, fans, tigers

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Tigers take precautions against sign-stealing ‘fad,’ but Justin Verlander still hit hard

It’s becoming a sort of tradition: The Detroit Tigers attempt to explain why they are taking unusual measures to prevent sign-stealing at Progressive Field without explicitly accusing the Cleveland Indians of stealing signs.

Justin Verlander was especially cautious after his ugly outing on Saturday, not wanting it to seem as if he were making excuses.

And yet he spent a full hour after the game meticulously watching video of the game with catcher James McCann before he emerged to talk to reporters. During the game, Verlander and McCann ran through multiple sets of signs, even with no runners on base, and sometimes had to meet to sort out confusions.

“I guess when you go to multiple signs with nobody on you’re just saying, ‘Hey, it’s a little fishy,’” Verlander said. “But you never know. These guys are a really good lineup. It was just one of those days.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 16, 2017 at 11:34 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: indians, justin verlander, sign-stealing, tigers

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Don’t Change The Channel With These Hitters At Bat

The bosses gave me an impossible assignment: Write up the definitive list of players whose at-bats you can’t afford to miss…

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

Key attribute: Can’t outsmart him

Stat to know: Led majors with .332 average against off-speed pitches (curves/sliders/changeups/splitters) in 2016

Cabrera has hit .300 11 times in his career and has won four batting titles. He has nine seasons hitting at least .320; since World War II, only Wade Boggs and Stan Musial (10 apiece) have more. That makes him one of the best hitters for average in the past 70 years—oh, and he’s hit 446 home runs, won two home run titles and is capable of blasts such as this one:


Monday, April 03, 2017

Tigers GM Al Avila says Tigers can compete | MLB.com

“Cleveland obviously is the class of the American League, if not Major League Baseball,” Avila said. “They’re an excellent team. But the American League Central Division is still very tough. The Chicago White Sox still have a very good team. The Kansas City Royals have an excellent team. It’s one of the toughest, if not the toughest division, in my mind.

“It’s not going to be easy. If anybody thinks it’s going to be easy, they’re not thinking right. But we do feel we have a good team, a team that’s going to compete. We really like our starting rotation with the young guys mixed with the veteran guys. We feel we can score some runs. Obviously we’re starting the season without J.D. Martinez, but we think we have it covered for the short term, and right now everybody other than J.D. seems very healthy.”

Jim Furtado Posted: April 03, 2017 at 08:51 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: tigers

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Detroit Tigers release pitcher Mike Pelfrey

With three days left in spring training and their bullpen at capacity for Opening Day, the team granted Pelfrey an unconditional release today. He is owed $8 million after signing a two-year, $16-million deal before 2016.

It’s the second release of a veteran righty this week, after letting Mark Lowe go Sunday. Lowe was due $5.5 million after signing a two-year, $11-million contract before 2016.

Pelfrey, 33, went 4-10 with a 5.07 ERA and 1.73 WHIP last season. This spring, he posted a 7.94 ERA and 1.76 WHIP in 17 innings.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 30, 2017 at 09:58 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: mike pelfrey, tigers

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Braves announcers think Tigers OF JaCoby Jones & former NFL WR Jacoby Jones are the same person

“Is he the Jacoby Jones who played for the Ravens?”

“Believe so.”
Nope. He most certainly is not.

“Wonder why nobody’s talking about him?”

“Unless there’s another Jacoby Jones.”
Yep, that’s what it is.

“Nope, different JaCoby Jones, my bad.”
It happens, but probably shouldn’t.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 09:36 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, chip caray, jacoby jones, joe simpson, tigers

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Tigers release Mark Lowe, who’s still due $5.5M

The Tigers on Sunday unconditionally released the veteran right-handed reliever, whom they still owe $5.5 million.

“It’s never easy when you have to cut players, but Mark Lowe was a particularly tough one for me because I really like the guy,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “He was one of the better guys in that clubhouse. He does everything right. We just felt like there were other pitchers at this point who are more deserving.

“It doesn’t mean I don’t wish him well. I like the person and I hope he moves on and continues to do well.”

Lowe, who struggled mightily last season, showed signs of regaining his form this spring until Saturday, when he gave up three runs in an inning to the Pirates in Bradenton. In 8.2 innings, he had a 1.67 WHIP and opponents hit .297 against him.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 26, 2017 at 01:12 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: mark lowe, tigers

Tigers will try to convert OF Anthony Gose to pitcher

Sean Doolittle did it. Kenley Jansen and Jason Motte did it.

The Tigers are going to see if Anthony Gose can do it, too.

Gose, the Tigers’ opening day starting center fielder the last two seasons, was re-assigned to minor league camp Sunday. He will still play outfield wherever he lands in the system this season, but he will also take initial steps to convert to pitcher.

“He came back to us with an idea – something that we had talked about internally and the end of last season,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “He’s going to throw a couple of bullpens here and there. He was a guy who threw in the mid-90s in high school.

“Try it out and see what happens.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 26, 2017 at 12:50 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: anthony gose, pitcher conversions, tigers

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Henning: Tigers have issues; Avila isn’t worried yet

The Tigers, Avila acknowledged without mentioning names, could say goodbye to some well-known people with high-dollar contracts: Anibal Sanchez ($21.8 million owed on his long deal), Mike Pelfrey ($8 million), and Mark Lowe ($5.5 million). None of the three has pitched well enough to survive – yet.

“We’ll take our 12 best pitchers,” Avila said, insisting performance, as opposed to contract politics, will decide who travels to Chicago.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 07, 2017 at 08:25 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: tigers

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Ten Bold Predictions for the Coming Season

2. The Rockies will finally have the pitching to make the postseason.
At the top of the rotation, the Rockies may have one of their best pitchers ever this year. Jon Gray was already pretty good (15th in K-BB% last year), and then he learned how to throw his slider two ways, and then he started throwing the curveball more, and now he has a new changeup grip. He’s exciting as a young ace with velocity, an elite slider, and the makeup to continue striving for a better, more complete arsenal.

But this is more about the lesser-known names behind Gray. Tyler Anderson doesn’t have a ton of pitches, but his cutter/four-seam/change combo has proven itself to be major-league worthy at least. Chad Bettis only has average velocity, but his four-pitch combo has kept hitters off balance enough to call him a viable starter, as well. Tyler Chatwood may only have the two fastballs and a slider, but he throws the curve sometimes, and his sinker is all world. All three are adept at getting ground balls, and the rotation just put up their second-best rate since they started tracking that number.


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