Friday, March 07, 2008

Willis Is Tigers Biggest Key In 2008

I know Miguel Cabrera was the big fish in the blockbuster trade the Tigers made this off season with the Florida Marlins.
But the most important player is Dontrelle Willis. In my opinion, how well he performs this coming season likely is going to make or break the Tigers.
They badly need an 18-to-20 game winner at the top of their starting rotation. They need somebody who can match what Justin Verlander is going to bring to the table.
They need it not only because of the victories, but for the way such a starter eats up innings and takes pressure off the bullpen, which in the Tigers’ case, is getting more suspect by the day.
Willis is capable. We all remember what he did when the Marlins won the world title. We all know he won 22 games as recently as 2005. We also know he wasn’t very good last season.
It makes him a gauge. And it is a good sign he has pitched well this spring.

Random Thoughts

- I honestly can’t believe the Cleveland Browns gave Shaun Rogers $20 million guaranteed money. If there has ever been a player who needs a contract held over his head to motivate him, it’s Shaun Rogers. That decision could come back and haunt the Browns - big-time.

- I have no issue with the Lions not signing big-name free agents. The idea is to augment your roster with reasonably priced players you deem can play, not wasting money on overpriced players who often don’t pan out. The question is, did the Lions make the right talent evaluations?


Anonymous Marty said...


I agree with you about Willis being the most important addition, as the rest of the addidtions were just adding to the teams biggest strength, while Willis strengthened at potential weakness. It will be interesting to see how he does in the AL.

I have actually started reading about the Lions, after replying to your Blog a week back or so. I actually really like the way they are going about Free Agency. This is exactly the way I felt they should be doing it from the beginning. Whether the players pan out or not isn't that important, since they are signing a slew of guys at each position that might be able to play. None of these players are making so much that releasing them is a problem. This is exactly what New England did before their first Super Bowl winning season. Guys like Mike Compton made a big difference in that team, even though they weren't star caliber free agents.


11:12 AM 
Anonymous Tim said...


We've got three good teams to talk about. Why don't we let the Lions go for a while. I think you're obsessing. I have to admit that I've been turning off your radio show because of the Lion/Millen thing. It's not going to change. Let it go! The Lions are bad radio.

Let's talk more about the Wings and their improvements now that players are returning. And I don't mean discussions on the fact that they don't sell out anymore. How about more on the Tigers and Pistons?

Thank you.

12:05 PM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...


I agree with ya about Willis but I think you should also include Bonderman. Unless the Tigers or Indians have an epidemic of the injury bug, I have to believe that both teams will be battling each other until the final week. Probably even until the final weekend. These two teams wouldn't happen to be playing each other at the end? I can never forget that '87 division race with the Blue Jays.

By the by, thanks to you and Rick for setting me straight about Gullickson being the Tigers last 20 game winner. Not that I'm baseball elite, but I was trying to rationalize how I let that trivia slip my memory. But then you wrote that it occured in the '91 season.

I realized that the Bad Boys were still a contender and that I actually paid attention to the Lions. The Puddycats had Barry and a steller defense led by Speilman, Blades and I'm pretty sure that ol' meathead Spindler.
Those were the days my friend will Millen's reign of terror ever end?

12:33 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat: If Willis throw 200 innings plus he should easily win 18 games if he keeps E.R.A around 4.00 and the Tigers lineup keeps healthy. Tigers need all 5 guys to throw 180 innings plus. Thames' trade rumours, getting side armer Joe Smith and plus a lower prospect might work. Would you do the trade? I think Tigers could go with Jones, Rodney, Miner, Bazardo and Bautusia in the pen with the two lefties. To guard against an injury, wildness or ineffectness having another pitcher to choose from might not hurt.

2:47 PM 
Blogger Michael said...

Pat, but aren't the Lions spending an awful lot of money on second tier players? Keith Smith $5-million? Michael Gaines $10-million? Kalvin Pearson $3.5-million? Dwight Smith $5-million?

Is that really smart spending?

11:34 AM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

book you are one funny dude. Did the lions make the right talent evaluations. HAHAHA. can you say 31-81 or what ever they are. HAHA. The brought big George back. No wonder a guy like Turner and Duckett decided to go else where. That is like asking them to dodge cars on 696. I love the lions. You know what rumors are that Hardy Nickerson and Warren Sapp are available. marinelli knows those cats. We should bring them in to. Another thing that pisses me off about this club. Look I am a wolverine through and through, but the bottom line is bacus is not a NFL left tackle. I think he could be a solid right tackle or even guard. I'd rather have Johnathan Scott at left tacklet then Bacus. Look at the majority of the films most of the guys hitting our QB's or stopping the backs in the back field are running his but over. My mind lions can make things right. I hear Philly is offering leto sheppard and a bunch of picks for Roy. I say do it. Then I'd say bundle as many of those picks including our first round pick andmove up to grab Long or a solid DE. If not a guy I like int he draft is Dan Connor of Penn State. People say look at New England. Yeah look at New England. I am sorry Tom Brady isn't Tom Brady with out that offensive line. Not to mention they have considerably good talent on Defense.

As for the Tigers. I disagree a bit on Willis i don't think he is the key. I only say that casue I feel he will be fine. I have way more confidence in him then in Bonderman and our bull pen. Can the Tigers afford big inning blunders? Cause even the great lineups have off days. The bullpen can they hold up. So far a 1 run or 1 or 2 run game going into the 9th I am not confident in our bull pen to hold.

2:10 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I agree about the Lions off season, although I do have this feeling that maybe it is not such a good sign they are signing all these ex-Bucs.

2:44 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Like it or not, the Lions are an important story in this town and I will continue talking about them - a lot. Sorry.

2:45 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
I see the pennant race going the same way. People don't mention the Indians enough. They still have a formidable team. They will give the Tigers all they can handle. The White Sox are pretty good, too.

2:47 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

That's a great formula. Throw 200-plus innings and keep the ERA under 4.00. Considering the Tigers' lineup, that should equal 18 wins.

2:49 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

They haven't spent that much in guaranteed money, but I do wonder if they are getting quality players or over-the-hill players - especially Darby, Smith and Kelly.

2:50 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I thought the Lions defensive line was a strength, but not anymore. It's disappointing they have spent so much time, money and effort on that spot - and haven't solidified it.

2:52 PM 
Anonymous Marty said...


I worry about signing all the ex-bucs as well. At the same time, when I was planning on starting my own manufacturing company, I would have hired people that I had worked with and knew were good at what I wanted them to do. I had even planned it as I met people and worked with them to find the ones that did the best work, and felt unappreciated. So, I figure that Marinelli is doing the same thing. He is getting guys that he knows will work the way he wants them to, because he has had such bad experiences with the work ethic of those he didn't know first hand.


10:39 AM 

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