Thursday, March 29, 2007

Where Do The Tigers Go After News On Rogers?

Sometimes, just from the way things sound, you know the news isn't going to be good. It was that way Thursday with Kenny Rogers. The ensuing news Friday, frankly, was awful.
Rogers, obviously, means a lot to the Tigers. He being out at least three months to start the season is a huge blow. First of all, it points out the value of pitching depth. You can never, ever have enough pitching. It's entirely possible, the Tigers will lose a second starter - or more - for stretches of this season because of ailments. It's just the way it works sometimes. It also points out the importance of getting Andrew Miller ready as quickly as possible. He needs some experience in the minor leagues. That was evident last season, and when I saw him throw during spring training. But it shouldn't be that much. He is a special talent and should move quickly.
The Tigers decision to put Chad Durbin into the starting rotation in place of Rogers, is a curious one.
Durbin had a good season at Toledo in 2006, but his track record in the major leagues is poor. And he has had a fair number of shots. Also, it’s odd this apparently came down to between Durbin and Miller. Huh? What about Wilfredo Ledezma? Isn’t he easily the sixth-best starter on the Tigers staff? Didn’t he do well last season when spotted into the rotation? I know Durbin has been starting and Ledezma has been relieving this spring, but there is plenty of time to prepare a starter before a fifth one is needed. Ledezma was every bit as good as Durbin at Toledo last year, contributed significantly to the Tigers at the major league level on a pennant winner, has a much better track record in both the major leagues and minor leagues than Durbin, is considerably younger and just, frankly, has a much better arm.
What is Ledezma, a situational left-hander? If that’s the case, it’s a waste. Usually this Tigers regime thinks things through better than this. It reminds me a lot of last season when Jim Leyland insisted on playing Neifi Perez and Ramon Santiago ahead of Omar Infante when Infante was clearly the best of three options. What about Zach Miner. Did the way he came through for the Tigers last season not mean anything? I have never been big on 4-A players being used as stop gap measures in these situations unless it is as a last resort. To me - and if he proves me wrong I'll be the first to give him credit for it - Durbin is a 4 A player. I just hope it's not somebody in the organization overvaluing somebody they signed.

23 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you suppose they may be trying to showcase Durbin for a possible trade? As for Kenny, I've followed his career closely, living here in Fort Worth, Tx, and have never seen him have a "Tired" arm. The year he appeared in 81 games he got a little wore down, but never had even a hint of arm trouble. A minor clot wouldn't worry me, they can desolve it pretty safely, and make sure he's getting good circulation. Not to worry, Rogers is made of cast iron, and old tractor parts. RL, in Fort Worth

11:38 AM 
Anonymous Marty said...

Leyland doesn't think Ledezma is a good candidate to be a starter. Why? Because he only has one really good pitch, and one adequate pitch. It is good enough for long relief when you only go through the line up once, but not when you have to face the same batters a second time around. That is why Ledezma is slated for long relief and Durbin is slated as the spot starter. Plus, this lets them add a situational lefty to the bullpen. (Durbin has 4 adequate pitches now, while he had only two during his past MLB chances. He worked on adding those pitches in the minors, and now he has command of enough pitches to give hitters multiple looks.)

11:52 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Marty,
I know that is the party line on this, but I am not buying it. A track record is track record. How often do pitchers get as many chances as Durbin, then in their late 20s, become really good. My point is the Tigers have spent years trying to get away from starting 4-A pitchers like Chad Durbin. Now they are willing doing so - when they don't need to. Ledezma is a better pitcher than Durbin - period.
Caputo

3:29 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
Maybe I am wrong, but I doubt very seriously they is a lot of interest in teams trading for Durbin. On the other hand, don't you think there would be a lot of interest in Ledezma? It goes along with my point. Durbin may pitch a good game or two, but relying on him is flirting with disaster. If the Sheffield trade hadn't been made, this spot would be Sanchez's. Can you imagine if there is another injury to a starter? That is why you can't have enough pitching depth.
Caputo

3:32 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I was just going to ask that this week book. I tell you what going into this spring. I've said in my posts and stuff. The one guy that concerned me the most out of the whole rotation is Rogers. Let's face it he is not spring chicken. Now the thing is the Tigers supposedly have all this debth in Pitching. It's almost as puzzling to me as having Nefi Perez on the team instead of Santiago. Why not go with a Ledezma (who pitched very well filling in) or allow a young guy like Sleeth,Tata, or Miner to shine a bit? Durbin to me I just don't know. I hope I am wrong, but I just don't trust it.

7:37 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Maddog52,
I think you're right about age being a concern. Rogers is a great athlete, but there comes a time for all players. Could this be his time? And no, I don't understand this fascination with Durbin. He was 11-8 last season at Toledo. That's good, but not that good, and his track record in the majors is brutal.
Caputo

8:15 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leyland knows what he is doing. If he and Dombrowski think Durbin is pretty good, he must be.

9:06 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
Maybe. Like I have written, they may very well be right, and me wrong. But if there is flaw there, it is sometimes not seeing the forest through the trees. What are the odds, I guess, of Durbin coming through? Wouldn't they be better with Ledezma?
Caputo

11:16 AM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Book, turns out the Gambler didn't have a tired arm after all. Now we learn that he was a broken wing and can't fly north until at least Independence Day. Iy yi yi!

Give Durbin a chance. You're probably right that Ledezma is a better pitcher and candidate for the fifth starter. I can guarantee that Mr. Durbin will have to perform or be relegated back to his long relief role. This is hard ball and as everyone knows, three strikes and "yer out". Three bad starts and back to the pen he goes.

As for Chad being tagged with the 4A label, I recall Marcus Thames wearing that label a few seasons ago. I'm quite sure that numerous MLB clubs, especially those in the AL with the DH, would like to have Marcus on their Opening Day roster. For sure the Washington Nats could find a spot for Thames.

12:47 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
You make valid points. It could turn out that way for Durbin. I don't think so, but that's only my opinion. The one difference, though, between him and Thames is that Durbin has had a lot of chances in the major leagues before. Thames really hadn't until last season.
Caputo

1:58 PM 
Anonymous clemma said...

Pat--why do you think Sanchez would be in the rotation? He's been injured all spring for the Yankees, who are forced to put even worse pitchers in their rotation to the start the season with the injuries to Wang and Pettitte.

I'm a bit disappointed that you didn't research that.

Starting Durbin is fine right now, though I would have preferred Ledezma get the spot. Miller needs to work on his control in the minors. Jurrgens would be the next guy I call up--his stuff is going to be as good as Sanchez', at least.

2:48 PM 
Blogger Moondogg said...

Hey Book,
Hadn't checked in for awhile. I think your boy Ledezma will get his share of starts before all is said and done. Patience. It's a long haul, this thing we call a Major League baseball season.
I'd like to see Jordan Tata get a shot, if Durbin fails. Maybe Jason Grilli as well. But the dude I'd really like to check out before long is my favorite Tiger prospect, Jair Jurjjens!~
Keep on keeping on, Pat!

2:49 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Clemma,
Some people may think so, but I am not a moron. I know more about Humberto Sanchez than I care to admit. I was trying to make a point about pitching depth. You can never have enough of it. They have traded four pitchers out of their system starting late last season and it has greatly hindered their depth. Now, they did get good players in Casey and Sheffield (he might be great), but have played a little Russian Roulette on this. That was my point.
Caputo

3:50 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Moondogg,
Jurrjens is an intriguing prospect. He doesn't have electric stuff, but he has filled out a little bit and does seem to have a real good feel for pitching. In Double-A last year, he got knocked around some. Does he have enough "stuff" to pitch at the higher levels and in the major leagues. We'll know more this season.
Caputo

3:57 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see where Clemma took it that way

4:02 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
I just read the blog entry over again and I agree. Maybe I am a moron. LOL. I changed it to avoid the confusion. Sorry.
Caputo

4:10 PM 
Anonymous Tom Mohan said...

This organization has shown some ability to spot emerging talent so I am optimistic about Durbin.

Kenny will not pitch but he will inspire at the front end of the season.

11:36 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Tom Mohan,
I agree they have been right more than have been wrong lately, but I still can't see it with Durbin.
Caputo

1:53 AM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Man Book talk about your hot stove league! Talk about creating a buzz. This last blog has had to have had more responses and comments than any other one for quite some time.

So who is Jair Jurrgens and why is he the flavor of the month at the ice cream parlor? Moondogg has me wondering what Jordan Tata or Jason Grilli have done wrong to be treated like last night's leftovers? Both have had some success with the Tigers in games that count.

11:01 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
I wonder about Tata, too. He was very good for the Tigers early last season when thrown into the fire. Grilli, I know, they feel a little uncomfortable with because he had several shaky outings late last season and during the playoffs, although I will say he did own Frank Thomas.
Caputo

4:41 PM 
Anonymous Marty said...

Ledezma still can't spot his breaking ball with any regularity, so hitters can just sit on his fastball. His changeup is adequate, and he uses it well, but he also showed when he was given opportunities to start that he would start getting hit hard around the 4th and 5th innings. Most likely from people sitting on his fast ball and getting the movement and timing down during their first at bat against him. Until he can learn to spot his breaking pitches with some regularity, I don't expect him to have much success as a full time starter.

1:29 PM 
Anonymous NoClotNoBigDeal said...

Pat,

Why don't you put that original blog back up. Loved it. Take your lumps, big guy.

8:51 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Marty,
I view him differently. I see a left-hander who throws in the low 90s with an excellent changeup and a good-enough breaking ball. Guess we'll have to disagree. Time will tell. I don't think he is a star, but better than Chad Durbin.
Caputo

1:25 AM 

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