Tagged: Justing Verlander

The Tiges…

I’ve been out of the game for a while, and if I still have any fans I apologize for that.  So this post may ramble for a bit, but oh well.

The Tigers are going to look markedly different this season as oppose to last, and I will say right now: I have NO problem with ANY move Dombrowski made.

Not one.

Yes I know that Curtis Granderson was a fan favorite, even I liked him.  He was a good guy, a community-oriented-good-to-his-mother-kept-out-of-the-headlines-face-of-a-franchise-kind of guy.

But I don’t care.

As awesome as it is to have a face of a franchise that is as clean as Granderson, I’d rather have a centerfielder who can throw and hit lefties a little better than his .183/.245/.239 line.

And for his image I could point to A-Rod and say image doesn’t matter if you produce, but you might say, “He wasn’t the face of the Yankees, that was Jeter.”

So what I will say is this: Larry Jones.  You might know him as Chipper.  And he is without question the face of the Altanta Braves.

And he doesnt’ have a squeaky clean resume.  He cheated on his wife.

But again, I don’t care if he did.  He’s a career: .307/.406/.541.

That said, I don’t care if Austin Jackson becomes a womanizing alcoholic mess as long as he can hit lefties better than a .183/.245/.239 clip.

That kid can absolutely run like the wind and has a cannon for a right arm.  He might not hit 30 dingers, but I can live with that.

Which brings me to my next point.

When building the Tigers outfield you need two things: speed and arm strength.  Jackson has both, Damon has speed, and Magglio doesn’t have either. 

In fact, I hope Magglio doesn’t hit a lick all season and can get benched to avoid his option vesting.  He might hit .330, but it will be with zero power and .285 of that .330 will come in blow-outs and mean zilch.

It isn’t that I don’t like Magglio, its that I’ve seen him play over the last few years and his pennant winning homer aside, he hasn’t been clutch at all during his tenure in Detroit.

I move on.

Damon’s signing isn’t a make or break.  I don’t see the Tigers going to the playoffs, and even if they do it won’t be Damon who is the reason-either way.

But what Damon will do is provide tutiledge for Jackson and provide a dependable (read:not Granderson) left handed bat at the top of the lineup to get on in front of Miguel Cabrera.  Nevermind his small collection of World Series rings.

Even the Edwin Jackson trade, which was my least favorite of the off-season wheeling and dealing, should end up paying dividends.  I like Scherzer, if he could ever become what he’s been projected to become, and that Schlereth kid should be all right, and Jackson was gonna make some big bread come arbitration.  So its okay.

And now, another fan favorite saying bye-bye that I’m not too upset about, Placido Polanco.

Lets face it, he was getting older, slower, and not any better.  I think he’ll do all right in Philly, but getting younger and faster for the Tigers is a grand plan.

And if Dombrowski didn’t shell out the money to keep Verlander and I ended up seeing him pitching for Baltimore in the next few seasons I would have been seriously upset.  He’s a man as far as other Major League starters are concerned.  And considering the quickness with shelling out absurd amounts of money to Nate Robertson, Jeremy Bonderman, and (sigh) Dontrelle Willis, I’m not sure why there was so much thinking about locking of Verlander.

Having said all that, I still don’t see the Tigers going to the playoffs, but thats fine.  They got younger and quicker and they should still be fun to watch.




My two and 1/2 cents about the Bonderman-Willis-Galarraga-discussion

The Tigers have three pitchers in their rotation that I’d stack up against just about any other team in the league.  

Justin Verlander is pitching on a level that if it weren’t for Greinke’s PlayStation-worthy start he’d be the guy everybody is talking about.
Edwin Jackson is either over achieving or just finally put all his talent to use and is dominating.  He could easily have nine wins.
Rick Porcello is pitching well beyond his twenty years.
And then…
And then, well, its a mess.  
Willis couldn’t hit water if he fell off a boat in the middle of the Atlantic in a hurricane.  He’s all over the place mechanically, commandically, grammatically, and any other word that ends in ly that you can attach to a pitcher.  
He was so bad at one point the Tigers put him on the DL because of it.
Anxiety disorder or not, I’m pretty sure his lack of options to the minors and the fact that he makes better than seven million bucks for the year had more to do with his stint on the DL than any sort of anxiety problem.
Though if I was getting lit up like the Terminator Pinball machine at the bowling alley I’d probably have a little anxiety about going to work too.
Galarraga finally became what most of us were afraid he would: a mediocre pitcher.  Yeah, yeah, he won fourteen games last year.  So what.
As much as I hate those crazy, batting-average-against-in-day-games-when-the-opposing-pitcher-had-bacon-with-his-breakfast-and-the-wind-is-blowing-in-a-south-by-southwest-manner-stats, but here’s a telling one:
His batting average against on balls in play (BAbip) during his fourteen win season last year was a remarkable .237.
Meaning that when every opposing player put the ball in play, 72.3% of the time they made outs.
The league average for BAbip is .296.
His BAbip this season?  .304.
More league average proving that he’s below average as a Major League pitcher.
Verlander, by comparison, pitching, seemingly, on a different planet this year, has a BAbip of .316, higher than the league average by a significant margin and he’s be flat out dominating.
So, now that guys aren’t hitting into double plays, hitting liners at fielders, or swinging and missing, period, Galarraga has become, I’m afraid, what he always was.
And I’m not sure Jeremy Bonderman warrants discussion at all because he’s back on the shelf and is in no position to earn a spot in the rotation period, but I remember the question a few weeks back about which was more deserving of the fifth starters spot.
Galarraga wasn’t included in that discussion because he’s the fourth starter, but lets face it, at best he’s a fifth starter so I’ll include him.
If its between Willis or Galarraga as my fifth starter I’d give serious thought to Nate Robertson.
Willis and Galarraga aren’t any good.  Its strange how quickly Willis went from 22-6 and 2.62, to where he is now.  Galarraga’s slider is flat, fastball isn’t too fast, sinker flattened out too, and he isn’t missing any bats.
Robertson probably isn’t much better, but he definitely isn’t any worse.  
Miner probably wouldn’t be any worse either.  
And Bonderman.
Man, I was clamoring for the Tigers to trade him a few years ago and its looking like they should have.  But injuries aren’t predictable so Dombrowski gets a pass.  
But Bonderman who used to pitch in the mid nineties is now topping out at 90-91 and isn’t locating it.  He didn’t really locate well before, but when you throw in the mid nineties you don’t always have to.  When you throw 90-91, you do.
And he said during his pregame interview last week that he was going to throw a lot more change ups, which normally would be a good thing, but when your change-up is at 83 and your fastball is at 89, change-up should read: batting practice.
His slider is still one of the best in the game, but when his fastball isn’t fast and his change-up is ineffective, he isn’t going to win too many games or put the Tigers in a position to win many games either.  
The truth is, the Tigers fifth spot in the rotation would be better suited to be filled by just about anybody but the guys who are available they just aren’t very good.  I’d rather have a guy who actually throws strikes (Galarraga), even if those strikes get hammered, than a guy who walks eight in less than four innings (Willis).
But hell, I’m the guy who thinks that hitting is just as important as pitching–neither more than the other.