Monday, October 08, 2007

Don't Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out, Todd

There have been a number of times, throughout the years, when I have defended Tigers reliever Todd Jones.
He has been a good, if not outstanding, closer during both his stints with the Tigers. Like I told people during this just-completed season, when they’d get on Todd after he blew a couple saves, the Tigers were lucky to have him under the circumstances. Their bullpen was bad when Joel Zumaya was out and Fernando Rodney was scuffling, but it would have been even worse if it weren’t for Jones.
And I have always liked Todd personally. I was still on the Tigers’ beat during his first stint in town and had several long talks with him. He is an overly sensitive person at times, but a pretty decent guy.
But I have to admit, his act is getting tiresome. I figured Todd questioning members of the media wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. We can’t be overly sensitive, either. And if there was anybody who needed a chip on his shoulder, it was Todd. His biggest problem early in his career was not standing up for himself.
But it seems like lately, he has taken it to the point where he figures he can bully people, and he has gained an overblown impression of his self-worth.
The column he wrote in the Free Press belittling the media was laughable. Like Todd reminds anybody of Bo Jackson or Kirk Gibson. Then I was reading a column by The Oakland Press’ outstanding baseball writer and columnist Jim Hawkins on Sunday during which Todd claimed Detroit has been good to him, but he has been good to Detroit, too.
Please. He has had, by far, his greatest success here. The fans and media have been more than fair to him. Any issues Todd has in this town have been self-inflicted. It’s either been because of poor performance and he was criticized for it - which comes with the territory for a job that pays him millions upon millions of dollars. Or it’s because he has sought out this petty role as the self-appointed policeman of the media.
I was told Todd told his buddies at The Sporting News, where he writes a column, that he’d prefer to sign with his hometown Atlanta Braves. And if the Braves do sign Jones, I only have one thing to say to Todd based on his recent boorish deportment.
Good riddance, pal.
A return home would be a good thing for Todd.
He needs a reminder of where he came from.

Random Thoughts

- The most significant game of the weekend was the Bears beating Green Bay. The Packers had the Bears right where they wanted them during the first half and let them off the hook. That likely will change the entire complexion of the NFC North this season.

- I was shocked, I admit, by Michigan State’s shoddy performance vs. Northwestern Saturday. Seems like I made a mistake and overestimated Mark Dantonio’s immediate impact on Sparty. I still believe, however, he is the long-term solution.

- The Rockies and Diamondbacks were able to rise quickly with youth movements. But that will only work in the National League. In the American League, because of the win-at-all-costs nature of the Yankees and Red Sox, teams have to step up financially and field veteran-laden rosters or they are doomed.


Blogger Andrew M. Fanco said...

True, but the Indians are pretty low in the salary department as well, lowest in the AL Central, and less than 1/3 of the Bankees payroll. I must say they are holding their own. This isn't to say they have no veteran presence, but just to say they aren't "the best team money can buy."

11:51 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

andrew m. Fanco,
That's a fair point about the Indians. Most of their best players are homegrown and still relatively young.

11:58 AM 
Blogger Barry said...

Jones was a good signing the last two years at 6 million/year with high save percentage. His other stats are very questionable, WHIP at 1.42 and opposing hitter avg 267. This sound like a mutual agreement between Tigers and Jones, if their preference do not pan out then they might come up with an agreement.
Pat, I have two questions,Yankees will probably go after Cordero or Rivera or both or even Scott Linebrink,do the Tigers have any shot of signing either of them ( any of them with Scott Boros)?
Tigers are taking a long time to sign Pudge, wondering if they are managing their dollars and going to sign two stars instead of one?

3:18 PM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Pat the Book,

I don't believe that Zumaya or Rodney have given the Tigers ample evidence that they are ready for a closer role on the team. I think that they are both physical capable of doing the job. However, the closer will blow saves, to me it is how the closer responds in the next outing after a blown save that demonstrates that he's got the mental and emotional character to handle the job.

8:23 AM 
Blogger Scott (Thinking Man) said...

Hey Pat,

Being a fellow Sparty (J-School class of 89), I, too, was disappointed by Saturday's loss, but I was not shocked. It's typical MSU football, no matter who the coach is. We always loose to someone that we shouldn't.

As far as Jones, I think his skin is a little too thin. No one likes to be criticized, I understand that. But he has been around a long time and should know that it comes with the territory, especially as a closer. You are only as good as your last outing in the eyes of most fans. I would like to see him back, though. Not so much that Zumaya couldn't do the job, but that it makes our bullpen stronger if he's pitching the 7th or 8th inning.

10:10 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I particularly like Cordero. I think the Tigers can upgrade this spot if Jones leaves. He has been a decent closer, but there are better. Linebrink is a setup guy, but I have always like his stuff.

11:33 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
I agree that going with Zumaya as closer at this point might be a gamble, but you do have to let him go to it at some point - or make him a starter. His obvious talent is underused in the setup role.

11:34 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Scott (thinking man),
I know, I know, but I have been more impressed with Dantonio than any coach they have brought in, even Saban, and I knew him pretty well when he was defensive coordinator and understood what he brought to the table. Todd knows that stuff. His deportment has just been strange.

11:38 AM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

I will not miss Jones - should he indeed be on his way out - although I appreciate what he did have to give us.

But I don't know if Zumaya's the answer. I think his consistent 100mph days are gone and next year will tell if he is mature enough to change to being a smart pitcher. Just my take.

I think Boston - Cleveland series will go the full five games. And I bet it's a nail-biter of a 5th.

1:09 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
I hear you on Zumaya, but there might be other closers out there. I just don't think the Tigers should be held up by Jones, if you know what I mean. I want both championship series to go right down to the wire. And it's seven-game series these days.

2:07 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Yeah, I'm a fan - I know my baseball!!

[red faced]

is that metric or imperial games?
Thanks for straightening me out Pat.

2:11 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

You know what I agree about Todd. See you... thanks for all the memories. If not Zumya there are a few guys out there taht could fill the role. I.E. Cordero, Rivera (if he opts out). He wasn't that spectacular in mind to where he could get replaced. I will tell you I am not disappointed that tigers brought back Pudge. Personally I think it was the right thing to do cause they could do no better. I think they have bigger concerns. Like shortstop or left field. In my mind they need to fill both those spots. Main reason is I think they are taking losses in offensive production from Inge and Pudge. I feel Inges season a couple years ago was a fluke. I said from day one I would of liked to see the tigers give him a 1 year deal. If he repeated give him a multi year deal. A guy I here them talking about for left is Ibanez. I think that would be a very nice addition. Another guy is Rowand. I think he be an affordable and steady player. As far as pitching. I'd like to see another verteran added to the rotation weather Rogers comes back or not. One guy I was thinking about I know he isn't the biggest name, but what about Wakefield. He is a free agent. and he could be a great fit in that 4th or 5th spot. Just a thought.

I think sparty's situation is much like the lions. They have been turds for so long. It's hard not to expect anything. All fans can do is wait and see. Only way these teams are going to prove they turned a corner is by doing it on the field. For the lions if they would of been competitive against Washington and Philadelphia you could say that maybe they turned the tide. But they didn't they put up the same old lion performance. Same with the spartans. They seem to always start off 3 or 4 and 0. Where does that get them though?

I am excited about the Pistons. I really like their young players. If Flip plays his cards right this could be the year. I think it is on him though and putting together the right rotation. Mixing it up a bit.

As far as the World Series goes. I put my money on the Diamondbacks back in June to win the world series. Got my ticket and waiting to cash in. I think they have the best shot plus favoriable odds if you know what I mean:). The Rockies have really impressed me. I think the days of paying huge is over. I mean where has it gotten the Yankees. Look at the Tigers, the Twins when they were competitive, the Indians this year, diamond backs, Athletics. Its all about youth. That is why I am extatic about the Tigers. They have a great solid young core. And more on the way. Then they just need to fill in the wholes with solid veterans and good club house guys, boom they will compete for quite some time.

12:13 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
It's an easy thing to think because it was five games for so long and so are the division series.

1:39 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

If they sign Jones, fine, but if they don't, it will not be the end of the world. He may not even be their best option for the role. They might be able to upgrade. Let the Braves have him.

1:41 PM 
Blogger gooberd69 said...

I agree 100% with Jones and his 'black sock comment' about sports talk.

It's gotten to be a joke. Sports talk has turned into 'shock radio'. It's all about who can we slam today, it gets boorish.

As for him leaving, hopefully we're okay. I certainly don't want him leaving because he slammed sports radio. It deserves slamming lately. matt

6:43 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I didn't take much issue with those comments as they stood alone, although I thought they were stupid. You don't go looking for trouble. He seems to be looking for it. It's the total picture with Todd. He wants people to kiss his feet to stay here or something. I agree, it would be best if he did, but not at an extraordinary cost or if he doesn't understand his role in the overall picture. And this is a position the Tigers can clearly upgrade. Closer with Todd Jones is just OK. It is not a strength. That is my point.

11:25 AM 
Anonymous Marty said...


I completely disagree with your stance on what Rod Marinelli said at his press conference. He stood up for his team and what he believes in. He wasn't out of character at all. That is exactly the kind of leader that I want to have, and the type of leader I would try to be. He didn't change his way of doing things just because they got blown out. He still needed to go back to the film and see what really happened and what really needs to be worked on.

To be honest, I really liked most of the play calling on offense, although the players messed up quite a few plays by unforced errors - especially Tatum Bell in the first half. I was still embarrassed by the team effort, but I am glad that the Lions are starting to add balance to their offense over the last two weeks.


2:18 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I saw it differently than you did, obviously, and this is why. I don't see Rod Marinelli as a guy who is rude. But he jumped on the reporter before he could get his question out and made it personal for no reason whatsoever. In the past. He wasn't defending anything. He was putting down another person - for no reason - because his team lost. I don't have an issue with him pointing out the 3-2 record and all that. I do when he is in a bad mood and takes it out on somebody who is just doing his job. It's the NFL. Those questions are going to be asked. Period. To me, that's losing his poise.

4:25 PM 
Anonymous Dan F said...

No more Wednesday blog Pat?

4:34 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Marinelli "snapped", at the reported. It reminded me of when Bobby Ross lost his cool "You think I coach that stuff! He is starting to feel the heat of defending a team that is mediocre at best, Dave

3:23 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

It just wasn't right. The Lions sell Marinelli as this consummate pro and salt of the earth guy that fits this town perfectly. For him to come off like was disturbing.

9:58 AM 

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