Monday, March 26, 2007

No, Not More Neifi Perez. Please...No...

Sure, I understand how it works. Neifi Perez is going to get his money. The Tigers don't want to pay him his money for doing nothing. But honestly, do we have to see any more of this guy to understand he is on, well, the downside of his career?
It turns out we will. He has made the Tigers' opening day roster. Some will say he had a good spring, but I was in Florida and saw him swing the bat left-handed. It is still the most feeble left-handed swing I have ever seen from a major league position player. He doesn't look fast anymore. He isn't much of a fielder. What is his value to the team? He has little. Somebody like Brent Clevlen ultimately will take Perez's spot. I have a feeling he is going to have a good year in the minors and then help the Tigers at the major league level. As for the pitching decisions, Durbin and Jason Grilli will be on the spot if they do not perform well early in the season. Long relief is important. Those guys are both shaky, and the Tigers do have some pitching depth to turn to in the minor leagues.

Random Thoughts

- Pardon me if I seem obsessed with Greg Oden, but...
There was a time when basketball was about big men. Wilt vs. Russell. Wilt vs. Kareem. Hakeem vs. Parrish. Moses vs. everybody. A lot of it was about the big guys matching up. Lately, though, the game has gotten away from size. There are more power forwards than ever, but fewer centers.
In the NBA right now, several teams really don’t have a center. To me, that’s the best part about the Final Four. We’ll get to see two bonafide centers going at it - Oden from Ohio State vs. Roy Hibbert from Georgetown. Oden is a terrific player. He has certainly lived up to his advance billing. But it’s difficult to watch him and not wonder how he’d do against a player taller than him. Hibbert has a couple inches on Oden. While Hibbert doesn’t appear to be as athletic as Oden, he does play a true center’s game with a hook shot and some pretty decent moves near the bucket. He is also very strong and older than Oden. He might be able to push Oden around a little bit. The 3-point shot is, mostly, a good thing for basketball. The downside to it, though, is that it seems to have minimized post play. I really enjoy watching centers with great footwork. It’s one of the great nuances of the game that seems to be fading. These two guys are a little raw. Neither of them is going to drop step like Kevin McHale, but they can both play. At least it will be a little bit of a lost art that will be found.


- I covered a lot of the state high school basketball tournament the last couple weeks. It’s always good to see a high school team get on a roll and just march through the tournament. Birmingham Detroit Country Day wasn’t supposed to be that good, but the Yellowjackets were, winning in Class B. It was a great story. Oh, by the way, 6-foot-11 Country Day center DaShonte Riley, a sophomore, will be one of the best players in the state by the time he is a senior. He is raw offensively, but has an exceptional knack for blocking shots. He is very good defensively already.


- The Red Wings continue do a really good job of scouting and developing players. Valterri Filppula and Jiri Hudler have gotten stronger as this season has moved on. I know Hudler is small, but he plays with a lot of character and confidence. It wouldn’t surprise me if both were major contributors during the playoffs.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat, Is there any chance, that keeping Perez will cause resentment in the clubhouse, like the year they kept Bobby Higginson, over Marcus Thames? Dave

11:52 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Dave,
I don't think so. There is nothing personal about Perez. There were a lot of players, in particular Dmitri Young, who didn't like Higginson. The other thing is that there is nobody of great emotion in that clubhouse being kept off the team because of Perez. Thames was a different issue. He had a number of players who felt he was just better than Higginson. The only thing it might hinder is playing time for Infante, but not his roster spot.
Caputo

12:15 PM 
Blogger ThinkingMan said...

Pat,

That we are having this dicussion at all, about who the 24th or 25th man on the Tigers' roster, says a lot about how far the team has come. In the big picture, it really doesn't matter much who this position went to, although I am in agreement with you as far as Perez.

I think keeping him does kind of fly in the face of what Leyland has always said about keeping talent over anything else. I think this is a case where he feels comfortable with Perez.

In a way, I'm surprised the Tigers haven't made a trade. They're still lacking a reliable lefty out of the pen, the "situational" guy, and a left-handed bat. I thought for sure Thames or Shelton would be dealt towards the end of Spring Training. I suppose it could still happen.

- As far as the State basketball tournament, I agree, it is always fun. I had a chance to cover a district final for the Ann Arbor News a few weeks ago. I'm always impressed at how much the crowds get into it and the quality of basketball is always pretty good.

12:50 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Thinkingman,
Even when the Tigers are good, the 24th and 25th man thing gets overblown. It changes a month into the season anyway. But I saw enough of Perez last season to understand they made a mistake trading fore him and that perhaps they are compounding it by keeping him around.
Caputo

1:00 PM 
Anonymous Tom Mohan said...

I think Perez would make a good third base coach.

9:51 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Tom Mohan,
LOL. At this stage of his career, it might be his best spot.
Caputo

1:33 AM 

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