Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dombrowski Must Enhance Tigers Pitching Staff

Baseball’s winter meetings are next week, and they haven’t been quite what they used to be in terms of wheeling and dealing in recent years, but that should change this year.
There are some big-name pitchers teams will be dangling. Most apparent is Johan Santana by the Twins, but don’t be surprised if the Athletics are looking to move Dan Haren now that he is moving closer to the more expensive price bracket, and that his trade value has never been higher.
The question around these parts is what do the Tigers do? They can’t possibly be done with their off season. GM Dave Dombrowski has done a good job of solidifying their lineup, but as it stands, the Tigers’ pitching staff is a weakness.
Everybody talks about their need for bullpen help, but the Tigers starting staff doesn’t appear all that strong, either.
Justin Verlander has emerged as a strong No. 1 starter, but Jeremy Bonderman’s prolonged swoons the last two seasons are cause for concern. He has great "stuff" and should be entering his prime, but Bonderman’s track record, frankly, isn’t all that good. His mediocre career record (56-62, 4.78 ERA) is starting to speak volumes. It seems like he been overrated by many - including myself. Nate Robertson also tends to blow hot and cold. Andrew Miller is still raw and the thought of re-signing Kenny Rogers isn’t exactly comforting. He was hurt most of last season and didn’t throw all that well when he wasn’t. And when a pitcher is starting to push his mid-40s, chances are great he is going to dropoff in effectiveness.
I’d like to see the Tigers take a run at Haren. But how is that going to be possible now that they have traded virtually all their best prospects, save for Miller and Cameron Maybin, who should remain untouchable.
Dombrowski has considerable work remaining this off season. There are no easy answers to augment the Tigers pitching staff. Just a lot of questions.

Random Thoughts

- Michigan State should play in the Motor City Bowl. It would sell out Ford Field. It would keep our money in this state during a difficult time economically. It would help MSU in the Detroit-area, where it has a remarkably weak foothold. It would show the proper respect for George Perles, a great Spartan who heads the Motor City Bowl. The game is on prime time on ESPN.
Anybody who would laugh at the Spartans - or Michigan in the future, for that matter, if it were in a spot to play in the game - is being pompous and disrespectful to the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan. In other words, biting the hand that feeds them.

- There have been so many great players throughout the history of the NHL, so this statement might seem outrageous. But I don’t believe I have ever seen a better stickhandler than Pavel Datsyuk. He was incredible Tuesday night against Calgary.

- Green Bay never plays well in Dallas, so I think the Cowboys will win Thursday night’s big showdown with the Packers. But I also think it will be close. And I do think the Packers have the better team overall.


Anonymous Bryan152 said...

I agree about the uneasy feeling accompanying the resigning of Rogers just as I felt the same about resigning Todd Jones. I think that if in fact they are building a team to win RIGHT NOW, they mustn't continue to look within for key players. They won't get another season like 2006 in which everyone on the team has a great year. I disagree that Miller and Maybin are untouchable -- if the price is right you can't pass up a premier pitcher such as Dan Haren. I understand the mantra of "building for the future" but more than anything the Detroit Tigers fans want a World Series winner in 2008, not year after year of above-average teams.

As a current Spartan, I too would love nothing more than to be able to see MSU in a bowl game, live. Having two Michigan teams in it would be nice as well (Central and State). BTW, do you think Caulcrick will go first round in the draft next year?

10:52 AM 
Blogger GlenJStroup said...

The Spartans should be proud that they were good enough to make the Motor City Bowl. i was very skeptical at the start of the season that this team would even win 4 games. They had a good year and the Motor City Bowl would be great for both MSU and Detroit.

12:16 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Agree about the Tigers. Their success of 2 years ago and their failure this year was mostly because of their pitching. They misused 2 valuable chips in the Renteria trade. I would rather go with less at SS and LF and subtract T Jones to have Cordero as closer and the ability (talent and financial) to obtain a top-notch starter w/o trading Maybin/Miller.

Disagree about the Motor City Bowl. The Spartans were motivated to win their final 2 games in order to go to a better bowl (warm weather and more prestige) than the Motor City Bowl. Players and recruits don't think like you.


12:21 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat: Why they are taking so long to sign a set-up man such as Dotel or Riske? The Yankees want Riske and that would pretty well reduce his chances of coming to Detroit to zero. The Mets among others are after Dotel. Set-up pitchers should be hard to trade for because they are relative cheap compare to starter, catchers, closers and sluggers and are usually young players that low budget teams can easily afford. Maybe DD is waiting to do a trade for a starter and he does want to tied up 12 million or so signing Rogers and set-up man. To me Miller is untouchable until we find out what we got. Bonderman has too good of stuff to give up on him, he could easily become a number #2 in MLB. There would be only one player I would only trade Maybin for or along with a package and that is for Kazmir which may be available if his salary is too much for the Rays. Is there any prospects beside Maybin, Miller and Porcello that would be appealing to other teams?

12:48 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I was going to ask that of you book today. Do you know or heard of anythings that might be brewing up for the Tigers heading into the upcoming meetings? One would think that Kenny Rogers isn't there only concern and then they would be happy.

I like the sound of Dan Haren. 1 he is very solid and 2 he isn't in our division which makes it more easier. All that said what could the Tigers offer? Would the Tigers be inclined to give up a Mayben or Porcello for a Haren and or Santana? I think if I could aquire one of those 2 guys I'd do it in a heart beat. It's about the now. If you can get one of those two guys for one of those players you'd think you'd want to consider it? Yeah? No? You to be able to go Verlander and either Haren or Santana 1-2 to go with the solid lineup we have. Nice...

3:13 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I agree with you on the MOtor City Bowl. MSU shouldn't be greedy. Just a chance to play in a bowl should be rewarding enough. Then maybe next year take the next step in getting a better bowl. Like a Outback Bowl or something. THen that should be a couple of years where Dantonio can have his guys in there and can start shooting for the bigger better bowls. But right now for MSU take what you can get cause with the season they had I don't even thing they deserve any bowl. Sorry but that is just me as a football fan.

3:16 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI Pat

I so agree with you about the Spartans and the Motor City Bowl. With the right attitude and approach, they could turn it into a positive for themselves, the city and the state.

Or they could cop an attitude, and perpetuate or increase any stigma which might be attached to it. How exactly would this help anybody involved, including their program?

I say grab the bull by the horns, march loud and proud into Ford field and kick major ass on ESPN Primetime.


4:22 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I think the Tigers should be looking to upgrade their pitching instead of retaining a decling nucleus. I am puzzled as to why they haven't taken a different approach. I like Caulcrick as a player and feel he may be underrated. But he may fall into a category where he is branded a "tweener" by the pros - not fast enough to be a running back nor enough of a blocker to play fullback. I do expect him to be drafted. There might be some questions about his receiving skills as

5:41 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

They did have a good season - despite some disappointing close losses. Dantonio definitely has them on the right track.

5:46 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Like you, I am all for having a strong lineup. It is obviously important. But pitching is the most important element in the game. I feel the Tigers should have solidified that area first.

5:47 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I agree about the middle relievers. They need to get a pitcher or two like that. Bonderman has become an enigma. He is more about potential than results. I think the Tigers should consider moving him in a value-for-value trade for another starting pitcher.

5:52 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

The Outback Bowl obviously is different. It is more prestigous, but not these fleabag bowls that just happen to be in warm destinations. I'm convinced the Tigers need a better No. 2 starter behind Verlander than Bonderman.

5:55 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Michigan State should not have an arrogant attitude about this. It is a bigger issue than false pride. It would be a perfect fit for the Spartans to play in the Motor City Bowl.

5:57 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...


I think the move that will happen is not even a blip on the radar yet.

It will be big. And it could involve almost anybody - anybody except Mags, Pudge, Placido and Verlander. Nor Granderson nor Maybin.

That still leaves all most anybody.

Too bad the Tigers can't trade some Lions talent away - there's a Fantasy league for you. Throw Williams out there for Santana - there is a deal.

I guess that makes me an official "slappy" now.

What do you think a busted Sheff is worth?

Did you see the LSU vs. Arkansas game last week? That was an instant classic and a heatbreaker for LSU. The Michigan Man Miles actually got out-coached.

9:44 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For selfish reason, I would love to watch the sparty's play in the motor city.

However, it's about the athletes. They must be appreciative no matter where they end up (coaches challenge) and use this opp to build for next year, but players want a "working" vacation.

Perception is reality.....a higher prestige bowl will increase player moral, focus and recruiting.

A noble cause for area and MCB, but not a positive for the program.

Just one man's opinion,

10:11 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

T Bone,
That is the opposite point of the debate about MSU going to the Motor City Bowl. While I don't agree with it (players need to be mature and understand the situation), I can't dispute the perception exists and what the players are thinking.

10:23 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
For the sake of Tiger fans, I hope you're right. I really don't like the way the Tigers stack up as is. I thought the LSU-Arkansas game was a great one. Didn't seem like Les Miles had more idea how to stop the spread offense than Lloyd Carr.

10:25 PM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Pat the Book,

Great hearing you and Ken Kal tonight on the radio. I love that "easy" trivia at the end of the show. I was sure that Brad Marsh was one of the two Lightning captains that were former Wings. Oops, my bad.

Why the lack of faith that Dave Dombrowski will address the Tiger's pitching needs? Is everyone's memory so short that they think that Randy Smith is still the GM? I am intrigued by the idea of trading Maybin for either Santana or Haren. I'm not so sure that I would go that route. Mainly because Maybin is future everyday corner outfielder with the ever elusive five tools that the Tigers will need.

Now if Dealer Dave could package Thames, Miner and Grilli for Santana or Haren that would be a trade to provide the Tigers with the needed second reliable starter for the rotation. Please don't give up on Bonderman just yet. He is still young and I believe that both Lolich and Morris were inconsistent their first four or five years in the majors.

That is an outrageous statement about Datsyuk. Might just be true but that is a topic guaranteed to raise debate. I don't doubt that he is in the top five of active NHL players but the best all-time? Having seen Yzerman, Federov and Larianov I'd have to see more of Datsyuk's stick handling before agreeing with you.

When discussing great stick handlers, "The Little Flower", Guy Lafleur has to be made mention of his considerable skill. I heard either Scotty Bowman or Larry Robinson tell how the Flying Frenchmen of the 70's would get their powerplay set up. Simply put, the plan was to get the puck on to Lafleur's stick then join him in the offensive zone once he carried it over the blue line.

12:15 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
The point I was trying to make is that stickhandling has become a lost art. Used to be, before the dump and chase days, players stickhandled through the nuetral zone. Datsyuk is one of the few that still does.

1:25 PM 
Anonymous Danny said...

Pat, so you have to give up something to get something.

(I thought I heard earlier today on the radio that the Red Sox had gotten Santana in a multi- player trade. Guess it was just a possible rumor??)

Would you trade Bonderman and someone else for Santana? I think Bondo is done here. It’s mental I think. Anyway we need to do something to shake up the pitching staff. Can't come back with the same ole' same ole'. Verlander, Bonderman, Nate, and Miller? If it didn’t work last year, why would it work this year? Oh yea, Kenny Rogers, when he can pitch. And what about the pen?
Who is pitching the 7th and 8th innings in close games?

Bondo must have some trade value somewhere, or are Dave and Skip too much in love with his arm?


4:55 PM 
Blogger Dan Joseph said...

Hey Pat,

How do you feel about the Hawkins and Silva talk? I know Silva doesn't have the best ERA record, but maybe he can get some wins with a potent line up around him. How about Hawkins? I thought he was pretty good when he wasn't trying to close.

7:21 PM 
Anonymous sportznut said...

I get your frustration with this offseason, and I agree with most of what you have to say. However, I listened to your radio show, and your frustration with the Tigers not going after a Johan Santana. You're a smart man, and I think you know full well there's absolutely no chance the Twins are going to deal a 2 time Cy Young award winner to a division rival so he can kick their butts for years on end. If the Twins did make a trade with the Tigers, the Tigers would have to go so far beyond anyone else's offer, it wouldn't make sense, and then they'd have to fork over 20M annually.
You're right about them needing to shore up the pitching though. There are 3 potential pitchers out there that I would like to see here. One you mentioned is Dan Haren. The other two I'd be happy to see here is Joe Blanton or Eric Bedard.
Bedard is the guy I'd most like to have. I think he's going to be a flatout stud.
Either way, I agree with you that I hope they aren't done as well. However, think of the mess DD took from Randy Smith, and where the Tigers are now. Keep the faith, Pat.
Also, have yourself a Happy Holidays!

8:45 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I agree with you that they won't get Santana, but if the Yankees or Red Sox do, that damages the Tigers a great deal because that is who they are competing against. They need to upgrade their pitching in my opinion. They haven't.

11:44 AM 
Blogger big red815 said...

the tigers gave up to much for a guy that stunk in boston. Package JJ and Gorkys to Miami w/ Barzado and they might have been able to get Caberra move Inge to short. Sparty would have been a better choice for the Motor City bowl than Purdue.Sparty would have sold that place out.Help out recruiting and not to metion the practice time they would get

11:34 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Time will tell about the Renteria deal, but it did take two big trading chips off the table for the Tigers. And they seem to need those chips in order to improve their pitching staff.

9:54 AM 
Anonymous sportznut said...

Pat, I told you to keep the faith! Wow! The Tigers made a bold move in acquiring Willis and Cabrera. I love it. Two young proven players for two highly touted specs, and 4 guys who probably are AAAA caliber, with De La Cruz the only other spec who MIGHT become something in the back of someone's pen as a setup guy, but he has just as much a chance of being Franklyn German as he does Joel Zumaya.

I love the move, Pat! Its not the 3 I had mentioned, but just as good in my book.

What do you think?

12:34 AM 

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