Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Do You Fear The Yankees

You just knew, after the Tigers unceremoniously knocked the snot out of the Yankees in an American League Division Series, that the Yankees would come on strong in free agency this off season. And they already have, signing left-hander Andy Pettitte to a one-year $16 million deal. Now speculation is running rampant the Yankees will sign Roger Clemens next because he and Pettitte are so close. That would give the Yankees a possible rotation of Mike Mussina, Pettitte, Chien-Ming Wang, Clemens and Carl Pavano, if the latter is healthy and is not traded (the Yankees have gotten offers from the Rockies and Cardinals for Pavano). That starting pitching combined with the Yankees thunderous lineup could make them deadly again. But it could also be playing into the Tigers hands. Clemens was 7-6 last year. He does not even throw in the mid-90s anymore. Mussina was not throwing very hard late last season, either. And Justin Verlander easily won his start against Pettitte, who also appears to have slowed, last season. If the Tigers play their cards right, they could be a force for years to come. But they must remember that youth combined with experience is the best way to go. They must give room to their young players to grow and not rely solely on big-name players who are overpriced because they are past their prime. That is the major concern about the Gary Sheffield deal, and why re-signing Brandon Inge was so important. They still need to let Curtis Granderson develop and bring along Wilfredo Ledezma - and not be afraid to rely on Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller in the not-too-distant future. The Yankees are not a good role model for the Tigers to follow. Remaining on the course they have established is the wiser path. They can beat the Yankees. The Tigers have already proven that. But they will never beat the Yankees at their own game.

Random Thoughts

- Getting five players selected on the Associated Press first- and second-team All-American teams is quite an accomplishment for Michigan. It is a testament to the coaching job Lloyd Carr and his staff have done. Nobody can say they did not get the most of out their stellar recruiting classes this season.

- It is just me, or do the Red Wings make average goalies look great. Ray Emery? Come on. The loss to Ottawa Tuesday hauntingly looked like one of the Red Wings’ playoff losses in recent years.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat,
I am a big fan of yours and respect your knowledge of baseball. I do not always agree with you but your experience makes you very wise. I had a question about the Yanks. You did not mention Randy Johnson...is he still there or did I miss something? The tigers still need a lefty out of the bullpen? Who do you think they will go after. Is that rule 5 guy they got worth a darn?
Thanks,
Aaron from Livonia

1:03 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Aaron,
Johnson has serious back problems and will questionable for the coming season. He is also older than dirt. Finding a left-handed situational reliever is not the worst problem to have - as far as problems are concerned. They should be able to get that done spending minimal money. Also, Rodney is very good against left-handers.
Caputo

1:53 PM 
Blogger mudhenfan said...

Pat,

To be honest, I always
fear the Yankees. Anytime
you can field a lineup like
theirs, trouble could be brewing.

The Yankees still haven't solved
their pitching problems. Mussina,
Pettitte and Clemens will be highly
prone to leaving the fate of the game
in the hands of the Yankees middle
relievers. I just don’t see those three
going deep into games. The Yankees
bullpen will be worked early and often.
Another question mark will be the health
of Mariano Rivera. He is 37 and coming
off an injury. If they are counting on Kyle
Farnsworth as the setup man, the better for
the Tigers.

I hope that the Tigers decide to drop
Curtis Granderson down in the batting
order. He has a huge upside but it isn’t
batting leadoff. Problem is, true leadoff
batters are few and far between.

Hopefully in 2008, 2009 at the latest,
we will see a starting rotation featuring
Bonderman, Verlander, Miller and
Robertson. Add Zumaya as the closer,
it will be potent.

3:25 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Mudhenfan,
I agree with the thought of dropping Granderson down in the order, but what is the alternative? Seems to me like the only one is possibly Polanco - and that hurts in a way because he is such a good hitter with runners in scoring position.
Caputo

6:26 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I agree I don't think the tigers neeed to follow the Yankees. I think they are on par. They have a lot of good young talent. With the prospects of getting Texeria next year. If Inge doesn't regress. Polonco can stay healthy. With Sheffield, Ordonez, and Pudge possibly coming back again. To go a long with out pitchers. Personally I wouldn't be upset if the Tigers brought in a Zito or something like that to go a long with Bonderman, Rogers, Verlander, and Robertson. THis way when Rogers goes we are still set. However, overall I am satisfied. I just want to see debth built on the bench. I think that is where we are lacking most. I am just not confident in Perez. I like SHelton, but he has a lot of proving to do. Thames I'd hate to see them give him away for nothing.

Overall like i said though as a Tiger fan you have to like our chances.

12:17 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Maddog52,
The Yankees haven't been that smart in recent years. They throw money at problems instead of really working at it and using all avenues to acquire talent. If the Tigers are smart, they will not just throw money at issues and continue to use all avenues to procure players.
Caputo

5:18 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I here you and I agree. What has Carl Pavono done for the Yankees. Remember that was the big name everyone wanted the TIgers to go after a couple years ago.

8:58 PM 

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