Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Good Problem To Have

I don’t know if Mike Maroth, Chad Durbin or Nate Robertson qualify as great pitchers by any stretch of the imagination. Among the three, I think Robertson is the best, followed by Maroth and then Durbin, although that could change if Durbin gets just a little better. Robertson is left-handed and is capable of throwing in the 90s. He has some bulldog in him, like Maroth, who doesn’t have as good an arm. I admit I wasn’t impressed by Durbin at first. I thought he was a classic 4-A pitcher and didn’t understand why the Tigers, who are trying to get away from using those type of pitchers, were so intrigued. But he has shown a lot of late life on his fastball at times, and when he does, Durbin is relatively tough on hitters.
But all three essentially are No. 4 or No. 5 starters on a really good staff. So it speaks to the quality of the Tigers staff that only one of the three, probably, will be able to fit the fifth spot in the Tigers’ starting rotation soon - when Robertson comes back from the disabled list.
The Tigers are doing the right thing by keeping Andrew Miller in the rotation. It’s a no-brainer, actually. His first three major league starts have been impressive. Even if he doesn’t do well in a start or two, there is no reason to believe he isn’t ready for the major leagues. He is not going to learn anything more in the minor leagues, that’s for sure, and he brings so much more with him to the mound than Durbin, Maroth and Robertson. Kenny Rogers should give the Tigers a major lift.
If Robertson is healthy, I would keep him in the fifth spot. I would move Maroth and Durbin to the bullpen. They have some flexability with moving pitchers down to the minors. It also puts heat on Maroth, Wil Ledezma and Jason Grilli to perform better. There will be some decisions that need to be made. They be difficult ones, but ones other organizations simply don’t have the luxury to make. That depth becomes huge if there are more injuries.


- Coming soon: I will be doing audio commentary podcasts twice per week at Please check it out.

Random thoughts

- It seems like the Tigers using Eulogio de la Cruz as a starter in the minors is paying off. He appears more refined than when I saw him pitch when he was younger and he tended to be all over the place. They got him back to the bullpen in just the nick of time, too. I do wonder how he will do if placed into a game with a one-run lead in Atlanta this weekend. I think he just might pass that test if given the opportunity.

- I was shocked when an ad flashed on my TV to pay $29.95 to see Evander Holyfield’s upcoming fight. What is wrong with boxing? Nobody cares about paying to see that fight. Now if it was on regular TV, it would be of interest. And it would help promote the sport. It’s a shame what has happened to boxing. Holyfield is 43 years old. He is not the Real Deal anymore. He is the Real Old Deal. Why not just get the bout with him and Larry Holmes, or him and George Foreman, out of the way? Then we can move on with our lives - at lot less than $29.95.

- Prediction: Ozzie Guillen’s latest rant likely will be the impetus to cost him his job as White Sox manager. You don’t start pointing the finger at the players like that without pointing it at yourself, too. Players don't respect that. I call it the Bobby Ross syndrome. Guillen is a knucklehead. It’s obvious the White Sox won the World Series in 2005 despite Guillen, not because of him.


Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Pat the Book,

Bonderman's pitching tonight and Mr. Rogers is pitching Friday night! There is joy in Mudville 'cause even Casey has hit one out of the park. I certainly hope that Nate's rehab starts go well but please don't be too quick to pencil him in as the number 5 starter. My understanding of his IR designation was that he had no specific injury. He specifically couldn't get anybody out.

I have to agree with you that Andrew Miller looks good as the fourth starter. Definitely has more stuff than the other three you write about today. Thinking of the number three, what is AM's third pitch? I know his heater and curve are MLB quality, even to right handed hitters, but his third pitch eludes me. I only ask because I've heard you say (and others) how a major league starter has to have a third pitch.

Goodness knows, prior to this season, Bondo has been critiqued like a registered voter in Chicago, early and often, for his lack of a third pitch. If Miller lacks a third pitch and this causes him to struggle, then that may be the reason why he needs to be sent down.

Call it the optimistic fan in me but I'm thinking, and hoping, that the bullpen problem will have resolved itself by the time that the Tribe comes into town for the holiday. Eugolio de la Cruz may be part of solution. I can see the headlines now, "Eugolio reads the Tribe's eulogy" or maybe "Eugolio gives the Tribe their last rites".

I look forward to your podcasts. These should be fun.

1:41 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
I am looking forward to the podcasts. It's going to be fun. I agree about Robertson. How healthy is? In that way, the issue may resolve itself. Miller has a changeup. It's just that his 1 and 2 pitches are so good, he doesn't use it often. But like Bonderman, he will need something a little different sooner or later. My understand, though, is he can throw a decent one.

2:43 PM 
Anonymous lennyw1971 said...

Book... I'm with you on almost everything. The only point that I would part with you on is that I think that Nate should go to the pen. He has only 2 pitches and we still don't know the real reason for the velocity drop in his fastball or his inability to add a decent breaking ball to his arsenal. Durbin is a classic #4 or #5 who gives his club a chance to win each time out.

This de la Cruz kid looks nasty... he seems to fill that need the team has for a righty with a power arm at the back of the pen. Lidge and Otsuka seem like attractive acquisition possibilities, but promoting from within is beginning to look like the way to the light.

Ozzie Guillen reminds me of Jack Nicholson's character in "As Good As It Gets"... someone who has absolutely no internal censor as to what to say or do to other people. He's so sick that his imminent firing will only serve to strenghen his schizophrenia.

Book... believe it or not, there are enough weirdos out there who are willing to pay $30 to see Evander. It may be something inside the consumer that thinks that Holyfield will muster up the same skills that he displayed a full 11 years ago against Mike
Tyson. We all want to connect to the past in some way, but this is ridiculous.

Thanks Pat,

3:42 PM 
Blogger Section 345 said...

Personally, I think Nate has the ability to be a 3 or even a 2 starter on most teams. I mean if he was on the Nationals he would be #1. As far as Maroth and Durbin, you are right, they are better to be in the bullpen. Although, I would like to see Durbin stay in the rotation.

I posted my blog today, in which I suggested the possibility of a 6 man rotation. I know it would defy modern logic, but it would protect Verlander from last year's debacle, protect Nate now and protect Miller as he adjusts to this workload.

The one thing I am worried about is how much we are counting on Kenny to be our savior. Lets be honest Durbin has been doing decent and I hope Kenny doesn't have too many kinks to work out.

As far as bullpen, I am one to wait things out. De La Cruz seems good, and I think with the addition of Durbin we will be treading water once again. I just wish we send Grilli down or release him. Oh and I have faith in Ledezma, he had a good run last year where he was lights out. Let's hope for that again.

3:54 PM 
Anonymous Danny said...

Awesome on the podcasts! (although I have no idea how you have time to do all the stuff you do.)

The pitching staff ongoing drama is great to watch. This should be settled by the break. Two people have to go to make room for Kenny and Nate. Which two?

I also hope to see de la Cruz in a tight game in the 7th or 8th soon. Leyland was hysterical when asked about using him and commented about "seeing if he could throw it in the ocean..."



4:47 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...


I am anxious for more outings for de la Cruz. My concern is there may be too much hope pinned on him. In otherwords - he couldn't live up to expectations. But I hope that's my own paranoia.

As for the Maroth, Robertson, Durbin issue - who to the pen - I stand by my ealier sentiment that Robertson for sure should go.


I think if Nate comes back strong - he will be tough. And he could be our short to kmid relief hero. If Durbin or Maroth are struggling - here comes Nate to "get-er-dun". I really think this is a win - win. But then I am not Nate being asked to make the move.

I know what your wsaying and I don't disagree with you - I just think this cat can be skinned a couple of ways.

Looking forward to the Braves series this weekend. Looking for Rogers to come back to show us he is still Rogers.

Boxing needs another Ali. Right now there is nothing legitimate about boxing - except for the heart of guys in there sluggin.

But even corrupt boxiong is better than this new Ultimate fighting crap. Might as well give guys some tire irons and a back ally - theres your pay per view attempt.

4:58 PM 
Anonymous Brian in GPP said...

i might be the only one who hasnt been very impressed with miller. he has been effective but, not impressive. he only has two pitches, he is getting by on being the new kid on the block along with having alot of talent. but i think the Tigers need to let him finish the year in the minors, unless they swing alot of deals before the deadline with maroth and or robertson. miller is the future with bonderman and verlander, i just think he needs to develop more MOSTLY because i believe maroth and robertson can get the job done this season.

7:00 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in the minority but I think Maroth has more moxy than Robertson. Robertson is more gifted physically but Maroth just seems, maybe "smarter". I still think he has an upside especially working with Kenny Rogers.


10:47 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I don't think the Tigers need a lefty in the bullpen at this point. They are kind of overloaded there after Wednesday. I hear you on Holyfield fight, it's just I remember I loved boxing and was a big fan growing up. Now the sport seems to be totally off the radar. They need fights on regular TV and ESPN. That's how a lot of fighers, including Mike Tyson, made their name.

10:47 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Section 345,
If Robertson pitches like he did last year, you're right. He has been a little inconsistent that way. Kind of up and down. A lot of it has to do with his velocity. At this best, Robertson throws in the low 90s. When he struggles, he is usually in the high 80s. Ledezma was traded, obviously, since you posted this. I found it to be a curious move. I am updating the blog entry to include the trade tonight.

10:50 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

They need a setup man. De la Cruz to me has been groomed for the role. Well, then I think they should give him a shot. Watching Rodney labor is painful.

10:51 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
There has to be some concern about Rogers. Watch his radar gun readings. People are wrong if they don't think his are important. If he is at 86 mph or better with his fastball and the movement it has, he will be all right. I heard he was throwing just 80 on his rehab starts. If that's true, I expect him to get pounded.

10:54 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Brian in GPP,
The two pitch issue may be prove to be a problem. I have been impressed by Miller, but he is still a long way from proving himself. This next start will be an important one because the Tigers have pretty good options for his spot in the rotation.

10:56 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Pat, If Rogers is just tossing at 80 - why would they bring him back up?
out of time?
hoping he'll get it back shortly?

Are they hoping he got a knuckleball for Christmas?

As for this trade today? Do you think it was just an even swap - a Wilfredo for a Lidezma?

10:59 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Ledezma is more of a starter, is out of options and they have extraordinary depth there. The key stat is opposing left-handed hitters. McBride has held them under .200 this year and last. Left-handed hitters were hitting .340 against Ledezma.

10:59 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

You might be right about Maroth. The thing about him, he is resiliant. I remember in Double-A, they were all excited about him in the Tigers organization. Then he started out 1-13. They were thinking about releasing him - and he won eight straight starts. Not many pitchers would bounce back from losing 20 games like he did, either Maroth is a true competitor. He is smart and tough mentally.

11:04 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat, not to change the subject, but what is going on with Gary Sheffield's suspension??? I hope they don't wait to hand it down until we are playing Cleveland, Boston of New York in the next 2 or 3 weeks??? Are you hearing anything?? To me he is one of the guys that makes our offense go, to have him out of the offense even for a few days would be disasterous.

12:10 PM 
Anonymous Marty said...


What do you know about McBride's stuff? Ledezma had a great fastball, and a good changeup (Although his breaking ball left something to be desired) I am wondering if McBride also has good stuff, or is he closer to Seay/Byrdak/Walker in that he is more of a crafty lefty with average stuff?


1:25 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

McBride throws in the low 90s. His best pitch is his slider, which is very difficult on left-handed hitters. When he struggles, it is when he gets too fine and falls behind early in the count. If he gets ahead early and can go to his slider is when he is at his best.

1:30 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Good question. I don't know for sure about the status of Sheffield's suspension. I will be with the team in Atlanta this week. I will make sure to ask.

1:31 PM 
Blogger Damus/777 said...

Hi Pat

Guillen has one major knock for MVP Tiger..... 14 errors in the first half of the season.

Maggs may look ugly out there in RF at times, but he finds a way to get his ball inside his glove & delivered properly.

2:50 PM 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home