Friday, September 08, 2006

Addition by Subtraction

The Tigers were playing incredibly well when Dmitri Young rejoined the team. Then they played mediocre baseball for an extended period. Young was given his unconditional release and the Tigers immediately won a huge game Thursday night at Minnesota. A coincidence? I am not so sure. I do not think it is a case of his teammates necessarily disliking Young, but it did seem there was a level of discomfort about having him around. He provided no leadership at all in 2005 when the season went south, and he seemed to have become one of those ball players who was always acting like he was big-time. That same undercurrent remained. It did not fit. At his best, Young was a really solid hitter. But he was never a star. He has never hit 30 home runs in a season nor knocked in 90 runs. Yet, he acted as if he was on par with David Ortiz or something. Money changes players sometimes. When he got his big contract from the Tigers, Young did not respond well to it. I think the Tigers are a lot be tter off without him. Young came to symbolize everything that was wrong with the Tigers in the past instead of how promising this season is, and how bright their future may be.

Random Thoughts

- You have to give the Steelers credit. They play football the way it is meant to be played. Their offense is well conceived, but is not based on gimmicks. And are they ever tough defensively.

- For some reason, I have come to dislike the blue turf at Boise State. It just does not seem like football played on that stuff. I am also suspicious of college football teams such as Boise State who are great at home and very mediocre on the road.

24 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. C. Kudos to you again! Pitching. Don't know why i am such a pessimist. Tigers lack of hitting really bothered me. How close is Mr. Palanco returning to his spot at 2nd? DY-Do you think any teams are interested in signing him? What baffles me about DY is how he was let go. It's a mystery! Vinny

7:41 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Book,
Wanted to discuss something other than Detroit sports for a couple minutes.
I am just amazed at the talent pool of rookie pitching this year. We'll start with our own of course with Verlander and Zumaya, but there is Papelbon, Liriano, Weaver, Josh Johnson, anibal snachez throws a no-no and numerous others. I know we seen crops of good rookie pitching before, but these guys all have ace of the staff potential. My question is, when is the last rookie class you remember being this good?

9:19 AM 
Blogger I rule said...

Heard something yesterday, which I cannot substantiate and will not repeat, that suggests DY's release was more than "performance based." If it's true, I'm sure it will eventually surface in the news.

As unfortunate as it is for Young, I think it's going to be the best for the Tigers in the long run. It may, in fact, be a catalyst to get the rest of them refocused on the stretch run. If we are able to come out of Minnesota with a split or better, we're going to be in a very good position. Some more time will have been burned off the clock. Guillen and Polanco will be that much closer to being back in the lineup, and we even may have Maroth ready to go.

I'm really intrigued by the idea of Maroth coming back. With the number of power pitchers we have (Bonderman, Verlander, Zumaya, Ledezma) I think it makes a guy like him that much more effective. You can look at Rogers as an example. The hitters are batting under .250 against him. He hasn't done that in 9 years, and his career average is 20 points higher. It goes the other way too. After seeing Maroth's junk, it's got to be tougher to adjust to the gas coming at you.

9:25 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Vinny,
It is a mystery. Everybody has a theory behind it, but it seems as if it was an accumulation of a number of things.
Caputo

9:50 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
I don't remember one that was even close to it. There has been a great influx of young pitchers into the game. Just look at the Marlins' staff, for example. I have a Rookie of the Year vote this year, too. It is not going to be easy.
Caputo

9:53 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I Rule,
I have always thought a lot of Maroth. He has a good idea of how to approach hitters on the mound and is extremely strong mentally. He bounces back from failure better than any ball player I have ever been around. And I mean ever. But is healthy? If he is, he will give the Tigers a big lift in some way, whether it be starting or coming out of the bullpen.
Caputo

9:56 AM 
Blogger I rule said...

Here's another angle on the DY move. I don't fully understand how postseason rosters work, but Young's spot can now be taken by one of the guys called up after September 1 who otherwise wouldn't be eligble. Two names that come to mind are Shelton and Clevlen. Even if they don't expect to use his bat, which looked pretty good in his brief stint, Clevlen would be a huge improvement over Ordonez in right. Using him as a late inning defensive replacement makes a lot of sense to me.

11:54 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I Rule,
I don't agree with you about Ordonez needing a late inning defensive replacement. I would rather have him out there in the late innings of a playoff game than Clevlen. Ordonez is taking a lot of heat for his fielding. Some of it is justified, but most of it is not. He is better defensively than people give him credit for and Clevlen not as good. Just because he made a couple decent throws doesn't mean he is Al Kaline. But a lot of people agree with you and not me on this one and it makes, I think, for an interesting debate.
Caputo

12:40 PM 
Anonymous garold said...

Pat,

Ditto on that horrid blue turf of Boise State! Man, makes you think something is wrong with the TV, or watching a video game with live players.

Thanks for the yucks yesterday, on the speculation of the Lions winning Sunday.

Thanks for the help on dealing with the Dmitri firing in the midst of the pennant chase. I think it has besmirched the Tigers integrity with fans who have been loyal through all the lean times; using his return as a reason to nix any trade bids for left-handed power, released for field performance, players uttering statements of shock and feigning befuddlement... why go on? It just might have been a payback ploy for last season. DY doesn't seem to fit the mold of a Leyland-type player, and I'll bet he's been biting his tongue since Day 1.

Well, they got him back! While he came back on a tear, he has leveled off the past month. It's a shame, but he hasn't been the kind of leader I expected, for all the $$$. I was pulling for him, and hoped he was strong enough to fit in as a team player, because he had the talent to be the Tiger's most explosive left-hand stick. Perhaps his ego became bigger than his bat, while the forgiveness dried out, and the resentment mounted, as the competition for his spot in the lineup vied for plate appearances. He wasn't in the best position for applause with his teammates, and perhaps Dombrowski couldn't unload his contract back in the spring, when this should have been dealt with.

This might be the end of the road in his career, and I'm sure he's sincere in his parting words; wishing the Tigers to go all the way. I've been to over 30 years of Opening Days, but never a more memorable one, than last year, when Young blasted those 3 HRS to send the town into bedlam. The 2 grand-slams in 3 days last summer isn't a bad Dmitri Tiger memory either. I'm not sure who Tiger of the Year was in 2003, but it could have easily been Dmitri Young. He paved the way for other FA to sign with Detroit after 2002, when he was eager to be a part of turning things around in Detroit, and at a time when NOBODY would even consider signing here. He HAS been a part of it, and deserves some credit for trying to be a leader at the plate, when he returned from rehab.

This is all yesterday's news, as Leyland says, and time to get back to taking the Central. It's a shame how this has ended for Dmitri, but I join in with the others who wish him well. I can almost hear the wheels turning in Leyland's head now... batting 3rd, at DH... NEIFI PEREZ!

I love your work, Book... especially the needed comments at times, to stand firm behind over-criticzed players, when it is not deserved. Magglio has been the whipping post lately, and I agree with your support for him. I too like Brent Cleven, he has some talent, and I hope he makes the playoff roster. Ordonez doesn't need to be replaced defensively, and his bat has been coming alive. He will be just fine, in leading the Tigers, and brings a lot of intangibles that Clevlen doesn't possess as a rookie. It would be sweet to see Brent starting against Santana again, and give Curtis a breather. Could he do it again? I think so.

Keep it up, and GO TIGERS! Ledezma makes it two-in-a-row tonight!

1:02 PM 
Blogger ThinkingMan said...

Pat,

I agree that cutting Young was probably in the Tigers best interest ... I just found the timing a bit odd.

A couple of random baseball thoughts:

1. I'll put this one in the category of wishful thinking ... any chance the Tigers might be able to get Lance Berkman from the Astros at the end of the season? I know it would take a big package (Robertson, Humberto Sanchez, etc..), but wouldn't he be ideal in the middle of our lineup?

2. Early in the season, Pat, you called Juan Pierre garbage or something to that effect. I guess I was surprised when I saw he's leading the NL in hits and is second in stolen bases. You may have been a bit harsh...

1:27 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Garold,
Leyland has never said anything remotely critical of Young, but having been around him this season when some of Young's issues were on the front burner, I did get the sense he was, as you termed it, "holding his tongue" at times. And I kind of get the sense, too, that Dombrowski wasn't exactly ammored with DY, either.
Caputo

2:13 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Thinkingman,
That type of deal for Berkman just isn't going to happen. He played at Rice in Houston and is very popular there. As for Pierre, he has played much better the second half, but still has just 34 RBI and 32 walks in nearly 600 at bats.
Caputo

2:17 PM 
Blogger I rule said...

Ordonez 6 errors doesn't seem like a big deal on the surface. That's only one more than gold glover Ken Griffey Jr., and it's a lot less than Vlad Guerrero (10). He just looks tentative going after balls out there. He isn't running agressively and is not getting to balls that appear catchable. The two examples that come to mind are Guerrero's game tying, 9th inning hit on Sunday and the Ortiz home run that barely cleared the fence in Boston.

I'm not suggesting Magglio's a big enough liability to warrant being moved permanently to DH, but Clevlen is a defensive improvement in more ways than just his arm strength.

2:37 PM 
Anonymous Muhme said...

Thoughts on Boise State:

I dont see the solid teams going to Boise to play games. Boise went on the road to play Georgia last year but other than that Oregon State is the only team that will go over there. Boise's last two times AT Fresno (I think their hardest challenge away from home in conference) they have split. They have lost their last two bowls to BCS schools by a total of 10 points. So it is not like they're getting blown out. But it is very interesting what you said...and it looks like they either cant get the big school INTO their house (why would a school like Michigan, Miami, LSU, Notre Dame, Georgia, Oregon, USC ect... want to go to Boise to play?) That is my questionto you.

I hate the heck out of that blue turf. I watched the game on my crapper TV in my room and it looked so bad the color really ruined the game for me. However, I went on our HD TV and it did look a lot better and was a lot easier to enjoy.

How about Ian Johnson? 600+ yards last year as a true freshman in mop up time going for 5.6 a pop. This year as a sophmore has totally blown up. He was running like an ANIMAL yesterday! He has 329 yards this year going for 9.4 a pop...and 7 TD's. Bosie hasnt had a weapon like Johnson during their little run the last couple years and I think he gives them something that is really dangerous...not only for Boise but for you and I as big time college football fans. He will give them another option to go with their lethel air it out attack.

Boise has a CAKE WALK to a perfect season. Their toughest game is @ Utah. other than that they play the likes of San Jose State, Idaho and Utah State...They are going to run the table and we are going to have to hear all the BS that they deserve to be in a BCS bowl instead of a 2 loss ACC Champ or a 3 loss Pac-10 champ.

I guess you can look at it two different ways...A) it will be good if that happens just to get more CFB talk or B) it will just end up with more people crying about the flawed BCS...(WE KNOW IT SUCKS...but it doesnt look like it is going to change!)


Sorry for rambling on...enjoyed an outside take on a team like Boise!

4:42 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Muhme,
Boise State has won some big road games. In fact, they beat Oregon State a couple years ago on the road. And they have had some good backs. Brock Forsey was a star there and did well when given the ball by the Bears in the NFL. That conference is always difficult to gauge. Last year, Fresno State looked really dangerous, even gave USC a scare - and then faded. Boise didn't do as well as expected last season, either. We'll see. Some people looked at Oregon State as a sleeper team in the PAC 10 and it did get out to a lead early before Boise did what it did. I just can't tell if it is for real or just the hex of the blue turf. It's starting to bug me.
Caputo

7:51 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I Rule,
Thing is, I have seen Mags make some good defensive plays. Really good ones. Nobody talks about them. They jump all over his back and Pudge gets off without any criticism for his failures at the plate. Don't get the double standard. It's like we play favorites a little bit too much in this town sometimes.
Caputo

7:55 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sunday Sept 10th. Just read Santana has not lost in his last 21 starts at their stupid dome! Have to stop his streak today. Vinny

10:38 AM 
Blogger Mike said...

I can see what your saying about Young, and maybe he was getting paid a little too much. But when I went to the games I remeber it was Inge's AB and Young pinched-hit and the crowd went crazy. Well I guess what I'm getting at is that I think Young would be a much more clutch or better than say a Thames would be, when the situation is bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, and we need a run. Wouldn't you rather have Young now after waiting for Thames to develop?

11:41 AM 
Anonymous garold said...

Pat,

Our Tigers have had a rough couple of days, with more tough breaks in another good performance by Robertson. Bonderman really needs to dig down deep today, as well as the hitters. The odds are against today, and the Twins should be Dome-high. It should be a very interesting game, and the feature televised game this afternoon in Detroit. (by the opening pitch, the Lions could be down 21-6)

Santana should be tough, but thet Tigers know they can beat him at home. Hopefully, Bondo will give them the chance, and give us a mentally tough outing; this is a very important start for him! This is my suggested shake-up in the lineup for today:

2B ~ Infante
DH ~ Pudge
SS ~ Guillen
RF ~ Ordonez
LF ~ Monroe
C ~ Wilson
CF ~ Clevlen
1B ~ Shelton
3B ~ Inge

1:21 PM 
Anonymous garold said...

WHAT?!? No TIGERS on the tube today??? FINE... That's what WXYT is for!

1:33 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Vinny,
True. But Bonderman had him all but beat the last time he pitched at the Metrodome - and let the Twins off the hook. He needs to step forward today.
Caputo

1:58 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Mike,
The issue has never been Young's ability, but rather whether he was able to do it without hindering the enviornment around him. If he was the same player and person he was in 2003, he would help the Tigers immensely, but he isn't.
Caputo

2:02 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Garold,
Like the lineup - especially Pudge hitting second. With Polanco out, they don't have many good options for the two hole. Hitting Pudge there would force him to hit more to right field, which is what he does best.
Caputo

2:04 PM 
Blogger Mike said...

So maybe he hasn't had the stuff that he used to have, but I think Young would be better than the ill experenced Thames. Anyways, one last question, who do you think will step up for the tigers? In this pennant race that is getting closer everyday?

7:01 PM 

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