Monday, July 30, 2007

Tigers Can't Stand Pat At Trade Deadline

There are a couple ways of looking at the Tigers’ recent malaise. One is that it is an inevitable part of any season, that even the best clubs go into slumps, and that the Tigers will soon pull out of it.
Another is that things are starting to pull apart a bit on the Tigers. They have been playing with fire with a shaky bullpen - and now they are starting to get burned.
I feel the answer lies somewhere in the middle.
The Tigers have been on the road seemingly forever. Their only break was a three-game set at home against Kansas City, which made their return trip almost just like another road trip. They have played very well on the road this season, but baseball is a game of levels. Eventually, their home record, which has been underwhelming, will rise and their road mark will drop. It’s just the way it works.
Losing Kenny Rogers is significant. His return had provided a much-needed boost. Now their rotation does seem as settled. A couple weeks ago, I didn’t think the Tigers needed to make a move at the trade deadline. Now I definitely feel like they do.
It shouldn’t be a big-name player in a move designed for "wow" appeal, but rather a serviceable relief pitcher. You know, somebody better than Jason Grilli. Somebody who can pitch in the sixth or seventh inning without it being a disaster. There are a number of them available that shouldn’t cost an arm and leg. Salomon Torres from Pittsburgh is an example. That’s who the Tigers are scouting in Pittsburgh. Kyle Farnsworth doesn’t throw that hard anymore. If he were that good, why would the Yankees, just 4.5 games behind the Tigers, deal him to Detroit?
And make no bones about it, the Tigers need bullpen help above all else. Getting Fernando Rodney back will only help so much. And it would be unwise to depend on the return of Joel Zumaya. That has to be viewed as gravy. If the Tigers don’t make a deal, it will be a huge disappointment because, as they sit right now, they aren’t good enough to win a world championship. Their bullpen is too much of a weak link.

Random Thoughts

- Don’t get me wrong. Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn were great players. I put both on my Hall of Fame ballot. But it seems like the baseball world going so giddy over their Hall of Fame induction this weekend had more to do with the solid nature of their personalities than their actual greatness as players. I mean, both are everything Barry Bonds is not. And seeing them honored as Bonds catches up to Henry Aaron’s home run record was oh-so-nice.

- Did you know that last season, 10 percent of the Lions’ offensive plays resulted in either a fumble, a sack or an interception? That’s why depending so heavily on Jon Kitna is risky.

- My early pick to reach the Super Bowl is Baltimore. To me, the Ravens got the steal of the off season when they acquired Willis McGahee from Buffalo.


Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Pat the Book,

I went with the family to Toledo last night to see the Mud Hens game. First time I'd been to their new(er) park in downtown Toledo. Quite the enjoyable evening and a very clean stadium and environs. Even got to see F. Rod pitch an inning of relief. He looked OK, after that first pitch double down the right field line.

I think, no, I know, I'm going to start referring to the Tigers pen as "Sue". As a fan of the "Man in Black" that I know you are, I'm sure you can appreciate this tag. Let's face it, they don't have any gravel in their gut or spit in their eye. Todd Jones might be the one exception out there beyond the left field fence.

Somehow, despite being swept by the Halo's on the Left Coast, the Tigers remain in first. Hopefully, Jordan Tata will provide a respectable, if not quality, start this evening in the Bay Area. Personally, I would like to see V. Vasquez start again in place of Nate. Maybe Nate needs to go to the pen. Might solve the problem of having a quality lefty arm in the pen to get power-hitting lefties out in the late innings.

Come October, if the Tigers are on the outside looking in, don't be shocked. As I tell my son when he's cherry picking on the ice instead going into the corners to help the D, I shoulda named you Sue, how do you do.

1:04 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat, what are the chances you're working on a column that names Kirk Gibson the best Oakland County athlete ever? I look forward to reading it tomorrow. And that would make the top two spots a clean sweep for Waterford Kettering, would it not?

1:12 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Pat, a month ago I was against trading to fix our bullpen. I was preaching to send Maroth and Robertson to the pen. Maroth - we miss him - is gone. Robertson has done well starting - and McBride and Durbyn - well, they can only manage one in three efforts to be a good one.

I agree now. Lets get a trade done. I agree we don't need a WOW deal. I do not want to sacrafice our future when I personally think a few tweaks will get us into the post season and beyond.

No trading Maybin.

But I wouldn't mind seeing Grilli sacraficed - on a volcano - as a virgin.

And Rodney comming back scares me more than Rodney on the DSL.

We need a stretch guy - and we need a closer. A real closer. A door-slam-shutter.

And what about all the PFP Leyland was gonna make these guys do after last years world series? Was that just talk to pacify us? I can't watch one more pitcher throw a ball away at a critical point in a ball game!

Not sure I am with you on the Cooperstown event being overdone. I think Ripkens a superstar who deserves that level of attention. Amazing stats for a guy who played every day.

There are 162 games in the season. The last 10 or so have not gone our way. But did ya notice, somehow we are still a half game up on Cleveland? Thats a head scratcher. We have to win this division. The Yankers are gonna take the wild card.

Thanks Pat,

1:16 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
I still think they will make the postseason, but the bullpen must be improved. Rodney should help. He is better than Jason Grilli. They need another right-hander out there who is better than Jason Grilli. Then they will be better. I believe they will make a deal for a right-handed reliever. The Toledo park is great. The one in Akron is a lot like it (that's the place to see Erie).

6:27 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
I normally advocate bringing up youngsters from the minors to fill these roles, but they honestly need a veteran bullpen guy. It doesn't have to be somebody great. But it has to be someone better than Jason Grilli.

6:29 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Ah, no comment. LOL

6:29 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Pat, it just became clear to me.

I gotta believe they brought Hessman and Rabourn (sp?) up to show them as trade material. What do you think? like "This our offering"?

7:41 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Hessman has no trade value at all. He will be a minor league free agent at the end of the year. Raburn has very little, either. He is a marginal prospect.

1:51 AM 

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