Monday, March 10, 2008

Has Todd Jones Become A Gas Can?

There are two ways of looking at Todd Jones getting shelled during spring training.
One is that he is a veteran pitcher just working himself into shape for the coming season, and therefore it is meaningless. Another is that he is a major concern for the Tigers. Period.
I do think his performance this spring is disconcerting. Jones has a track record that is more good than bad the last couple years, but he does seem to be constantly on the brink of disaster. I can’t help but think that at some point, probably sooner instead of later, his performance is going to fall off the cliff and leave the Tigers hanging.
It gives this uneasy feeling about the closer spot, especially when it is considered there are no other viable options for the Tigers to turn.
Age is my concern here. Todd has kept himself in pretty good shape, but there does come a time when age catches up to an athlete. That is why I don’t automatically dismiss a suspect performance of a 40-plus player during spring training (Jones will turn 40 in April). I have similar concerns about Kenny Rogers - for the same reason.

Random Thoughts

- At first, I didn’t think much of it. Now, it is getting a little absurd how the Lions have become the Buccaneers North. Yeah, it does remind me of how former Tigers general manager Randy Smith used to trade for all those old Padres and Astros back in the day.

- Honestly, I don’t know how anybody could put a positive spin on Michigan’s basketball season. A 21-loss season is not progress. It is embarrassing, especially given Michigan’s basketball tradition, which has too quickly been forgotten the university’s supporters.

- Does anybody care anymore where Terrelle Pryor ends up going to college? The more time moves on, the more his star fades. Seems almost like Michigan would be better off without him.

19 Comments:

Blogger Chris said...

The problem with Jones is that he is, always has been, and always will be a VERY average pitcher with average stuff. The REAL issue is that he can't get it done in pressure situations. He blew a huge lead to the Indians when the Tigers were battling for first last year (and things spiraled down from that point on) and he nearly blew the 2nd game of the World Series in 2006 when the Tigers could have re-established themselves, and instead had to hang on by their fingernails, giving the Cardinals momentum going back to St. Louis.

Unfortunately, he's all we have right now.

11:59 AM 
Anonymous Wyandotte said...

pat,

jones has been a gas can ever since he came back to detroit. a closer who has an era of 4.00 and only strikes out .5 hitters an inning is just absurd.

it really looked like dd panicked when zumaya got hurt. that's the only reasoning i can see for the contract the gas can got. it's a shame that we are probably going to have to make a mid-season move for a closer and only reap the benefits for half of the year while paying a high price.

12:10 PM 
Blogger GlenJStroup said...

The Lions becoming Tampa North seems to be either a lack of trust in their scouts or GM or both. If I was Maranelli I don't think i'd trust Matt Millen to evaluate talent either.

12:27 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

The bullpen is shaping up to be the same bullpen woes we suffered through last season.

Rodney, Zumaya and Jones.

Theres a limerick there someplace.

It seems like only yesterday we were assuming TJ's departure, wishing him well, and preparing to pad the door knob so it wouldn't hit him quite so hard on his way out.

But here he is again. Prove me wrong Mr. Jones. Prove us all wrong.

I don't think Kenny Rogers deserves to be painted in the same light. Rogers shows guts out there fighting.

1:08 PM 
Blogger Dakota Mark said...

Hey Book,

It is tough for me to judge Jone's performance so far this spring. I don't know how he performed the past 2 springs. How was his ERA the past 2 springs, do you know?
Of course, this doesn't stop me from being concerned about this season, but every year has been a concern since he has been here, and yet he still manages to get 30+ saves. So who's to say this season will be any different.
Kenny, on the other had, has at least been consistently good over the past 2 years, when healthy of course.

Pat, does anyone have an idea when Francisco Cruceta will ever get here? Even if he does at this point, will he have any shot at making the club now?

Terrelle Pryor, seems to be turning into a Premadonna before he has even played a single college game. I think at this point he would only be a distraction to the program. I would just hate to see him go to OSU, and turn out to be great.

Later, Dakota Mark

2:31 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat, is Jones using all his pitches yet? His curveball blends nicely with his cutter and I hoping he just threw fastball during his spring outings. Just wondering also if us Tiger fans are putting too much stock into relief pitching? How else do you explain a guy like Jones that saved 38 games while having a WHIP of 1.42 and batting avg of 267 against him last year. If he was starter he probably be a good # 4 guy. His experience and contol is a plus and should help the others around. Jones scares me more during a tight playoff series or World Series.

3:56 PM 
Blogger downriver said...

Pat,

I've got to take you task with, "Todd has kept himself in pretty good shape,..." Has he? I see a budding Rich Garces in Todd Jones. Him and Zumaya both may need a visit to the nutritionist. The fact that this is getting so little coverage right now is ridiculous. This could be the difference between a playoff run and not even being in the picture. Something needs to be done.

4:05 PM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Pat the Book,

Jones won't get to pitch much anyway. Either the Tigers will have a big lead so someone else will pitch the 9th inning or the set-up pitcher will have blown the lead and the Tigers will be losing. I anticipate quite a few home wins in their last at-bat. Unfortunately, the Tigers may have just as many away losses in their opponents last at-bat.

One thing is for sure, no lead will be safe or deficit will be insurmountable. I surely hope that the starters have the conditioning, and hence the stamina, to go seven, eight, or even nine innings.

Michigan's basketball program used to be the second most prominent athletic on U of M's campus. I doubt right now that the Hoopsters make the top three, maybe not even the top five on campus. The hockey and baseball teams have surpassed them. You could make an argument for the Women's softball team and the swim team.

Still, I do have faith in Beilein to bring the Wolverines b-ballers back to the upper half of the Big 10. Probably because he did it at West Virginia. Plus, in basketball the difference a couple of players can make is huge. Going back to when we were young, remember how Magic Johnson and Jay Vincent going to State and joining Greg Kelser vaulted the Spartans past U of M. At that time, the Wolves were the big dog program in the Great Lake state.

5:40 PM 
Blogger Teach313 said...

Hey Pat,
Jones is a problem, case closed.
But did you see the latest move by the Heat? First, Riley is going a'scouting, leaving some of the coaching behind. Now Wade is being "shut down," although he is in no more knee pain than he's been in all season. What's next? Gary Payton returns? Marion playing with one hand tied behind his back? Trading for, and starting, Darko? Miami seems determined to cannonball off the highboard in an effort to get the number one pick.

6:20 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Chris,
He doesn't throw that hard anymore, but has a lot of deception in his motion. The ball comes out late because he has an awkward motion and hitters don't get a good look at the ball out of his hand. It's always been the key for him.
Caputo

9:06 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Wyandotte,
Actually, his ERA was above 5.00 for most of the season. He only brought it down, and his save percentage up, by pitching well in September when the Tigers were essentially out of the race.
Caputo

9:07 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

glenjstroup,
I think you make a solid point there. Marinelli only trusts what he knows, it seems.
Caputo

9:08 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
It does seem like maybe the Tigers didn't head in the right direction with their bullpen during the off season. They had other options for a closer and setup men - and passed. It could prove costly.
Caputo

9:10 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

DakotaMark,
I agree that spring training doesn't mean much normally, but Jones has been off-the-chart bad. It leaves an uncomfortable feeling, to say the least. If Pryor does come to U-M, would he think he is bigger than the program? That's a legitimate question at this point.
Caputo

9:13 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Barry,
Todd needs to throw first-pitch strikes to setup his off speed pitches. Otherwise he is in trouble. His off speed pitches are "look at me" pitches rather than out pitches. His fastball is his out pitch.
Caputo

9:14 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

downriver,
Jones will never be a body builder, but he has dropped weight in recent years compared to what he used to be that way. He does work at conditioning.
Caputo

9:15 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
If they don't get better pitching this season than last (including starters), the Tigers offensive thunder will prove as frustrating as thrilling. Losing those long, slugfests is not good. And it tends to produce sloppy baseball. As for U-M, how come they are so good in all these sports, but have abandoned basketball? Makes no sense to me.
Caputo

9:19 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Teach313,
It is amazing how quickly the Heat have dropped off the map. Also shows how strong the Pistons are as a franchise.
Caputo

9:20 AM 
Blogger Dennis_Fithian said...

Pat,

I still want UM to get Terrelle Pryor.

5:48 PM 

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