Monday, April 07, 2008

Were Tiger Trades Monumental Mistakes?

When the Tigers were done with their off season trades, most of us in this town - myself included - were praiseworthy of the Tigers’ organization. There was a window of opportunity there. They were going for it. And on paper, the Tigers looked like one of the best - if not the very best - teams in baseball.
But perhaps, like the Tigers themselves, we were all sold a bill of goods. The Tigers’ 0-6 start is stunning. Not only are they losing games, but they look like a bumbling sandlot team while doing so.
The bullpen isn’t good. Injuries to Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney have been devastating. Yet, the rest of the team has been just as bad - or worse.
The Tigers have hit into so many weak ground-ball double plays that it is maddening. They look slow and fumble-handed defensively. Carlos Guillen’s performance Sunday was embarrassing, and there is a noticeable lack of range on the left side of the infield.
As of now, the Tigers are a compilation of big names, not a team.
Dontrelle Willis can’t throw strikes. Sometimes pitchers never come out of that funk once they fall into it. Miguel Cabrera will hit, but when? It doesn’t matter if it is too late. And he sure doesn’t contribute much otherwise. Edgar Renteria looks like a ball player past his prime.
I didn’t like the Renteria trade initially, but thought it was a good move after general manager Dave Dombrowski made the trade with the Marlins. But when you look at the three players the Tigers got in those trades, and then compare them to the eight young players they gave up, it seems like those trades might have been monumental mistakes that might cost the Tigers for eons. Especially when the Tigers’ sky-high payroll is considered.
So it is limited proof - just six games. But it is disconcerting nonetheless.

Random Thoughts

- This NCAA tournament has been a dud so far. Only one of the games from the Sweet 16 on has been all that exciting, Kansas edging Cinderella Davidson at Ford Field. Hopefully the championship game will make up for it.

- I think the ideal running back for the Lions in this draft, if they go beyond the first round without taking one, is Matt Forte from Tulane. He is downhill a runner, who presses the hole quickly and makes good cutback moves once he gets a little space. He is solid and very productive.

- If there is a bright side for the Tigers, they are only three games behind the Yankees, and two and half games behind the Indians and Red Sox. And there is obviously plenty of time to makeup ground. The bad part, 12 of the Tigers next 14 games are on the road.

27 Comments:

Blogger Fred Brill said...

I don't want to call the "block-buster" a mistake yet. I was very sorry to lose both Maybin and Miller. And then there is Inge.

I agree that Willis so far looks like a bust, and Cabrera medicore at best so far. But I am hoping that it's like getting that great new glove that's going to make you a better fielder - you just have to be patient and let the mink oil sink deeper.

Maybe these guys need mink oil. Goodness knows they can afford the minks to squeeze it out of.

I predict we take two out of three at Fenway. I think these guys will walk into that park and realize where they are. And they will be inspired by both the park, and opposition. And the shame of where they have been the last week.

They will take two of three. I know the Sox are happier to be back at Febnway than our boys. But our time is long friggin past due.

9:59 AM 
Blogger GlenJStroup said...

The one trade I think I am down on now is the Renteria trade. He looks very slow and I don't think he's even an upgrade over guillen defensively.

Jurrjens could have helped in the bullpen and they could have spent the money somewhere else.

10:55 AM 
Blogger Eric Chase said...

Pat, couldn't wait to read you this morning. A messy week! A couple things, I think we all underestimate the importance of the varied abilities that Curtis Granderson brings to the offense. His speed, power, reduced pension for K's, and great baserunning are like taking the engine out of a car.

Getting away from Comerica might not be a bad thing. While this team is laden with vets, that doesn't make them impervious to pressure. And it's grown with each humiliating loss.

And this is way outta left field, but at some point do you think Bonderman will be a candidate to close? He's great in brief stretches, can't nail down a stellar third pitch and his mentality would fit. Todd Jones, won't pitch forever...OR will he?!

Look forward to your Wings, Pistons and messy Tiger thoughts this spring and feel free to show some love to the energetic, speedy Sixers during the course of things.

11:03 AM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat: I take this is a fart not the real thing. I have only seen it once that firstbase man actually have a ball pop out of his glove. When you build a team on offense first, your team will be streaky. If those guys get hitting the Tigers could win 12 in a row no matter who they play. Not ready to give up on Renteria because he is a ball player. The part of the trade that I did not like was trading your two best young pitchers in JJ and Miller as I notice the Tigers are at the bottom of the league concerning E.R.A. Give me three Aces, two good set-up guys and a quality reliever and then sign your everyday players if you have money left over. Wait a minute that is what the 06 Tigers did and they would have easily won the World Series if their bats did not start their winter vacation early. Tigers biggest mistake came after the trade by signing Willis and Robertson ( #5 guys) to huge contracts. By signing these guys to large contracts they will be hard to move in a trade. Why would they sign two #5 to such large contracts and not spend half that on set-up guys. If the White Sox get their team together they will be hard to beat as management shorten every game for them.

1:03 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First I want to say I agree with 100 % regarding the team has disapointed the fans. I for one am very disappointed. We count down the days until opening day like a kid counts down the days before Christmas. Only we got coal in our stockings. I attended Opening Day, only my second, and sadly to say, I am 0 for 2.I also attended Thursday's game,we had great seats, the weather was beautiful, the only thing that stunk was they lost...again. I've either watched or listened to every game so far and have had no reason to get excited, in fact I feel a little depressed. What were they thinking? Last year the bullpen was our weakest link and so instead of finding some new "talent" they opt for a so called "big bat". I'm not impressed. Sure he "might" be good somewhere down the road, but heck, we have all the "big bats" we need. Pitching has been our weakness, and as for Zumaya and Scary Rodney (that's my name for him) you might as well count them both out. Zumaya knew how to throw a ball, he didn't know the art of pitching. Who knows if he'll ever be good again. As for Rodney, he was so inconsistent, (that's why he's scary)and if tendinitis is what's bothering him, he'll probably never be well. He just keeps aggravating the condition over and over again. I know they are going to come around, we have too much talent. What I worry about is when they finally do , will it be too late to recover? This is what I think...they should move Guillen back to shortstop, Inge back to third (he's more agile) and Cabrera to first, he's built like Casey (who I miss) and kind of moves like him too. Use Rentaria like they are using Santiago now.

10:13 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

do I smell waffles..I mean waffling by the great baseball sage Caputo..even you Pat know it takes months if not years to judge a large scale trade..6 games..kind of a small sample.

Cabrera will not play 3B beyond this season..Renteria would be much more valuable and less of a liabilty with a better defensive 3B next to him.

The rest will be a work in progress DD and Illitch didn't spend 140MM to get embarassed.

10:56 PM 
Anonymous Tom Mohan said...

We need some passion. I expect the Tiges to wake up and start bringing it and this road trip may be just what the doctor ordered. I just hate to be swept by those Chisox, such punks, their manager included. Also, I agree with eric that I would like to see Bonderman pitching relief, maybe a middle reliever. Put the ego aside and give it a try - Inge did it - no pain no gain.

12:29 AM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat: You are right to move Grilli on your T.P.S, Tigers have to move him before he is ruined. He has a good arm and a good slider, change of scenery is exactly what he needs. Nice to pick up a pitcher that can make the ball dance instead of these guys that throw 95 m.p.h with their fastball that is flat. How is the Astros and Ranger 3B and Outfield situation this year? Benoit or Valverde would look nice in a Tiger Uniform?

6:40 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
If the Tigers win two out of three in Boston, the Tigers world will look a lot better. But still, they'll be just 2-7. They can catch up, but it gets more difficult with each passing day.
Caputo

10:24 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

glenjstroup,
I agree. Renteria hasn't looked very good and Jurrjens would help the Tigers staff. It'll be interesting if in two months we feel the same way. We may not.
Caputo

10:26 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Eric Chase,
There is no doubt the Tigers miss Granderson. He is the energy for their offense - a terrific player. They miss him defensively, too, although Inge has been OK out there. Interesting theory on Bonderman. Have never thought of that. That might be an option down the road if he doesn't get his act together as a starter.
Caputo

10:28 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Barry,
You're right about the contracts. The Tigers took a risk by signing everybody to long-term deals. In the past, this has turned out well for them (Guillen, Polanco, etc). So far, this batch of long-term signings isn't looking as good. But it is early...
Caputo

10:30 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
It has been a massive letdown to you and others who waited so for this season. I don't think the range on the left side of the infield is very good, either. I'm not so sure how versatile Cabrera is defensively anymore. That could be a problem.
Caputo

10:33 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
Agreed, but you have to admit, so far, not so good.
Caputo

10:33 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Tom Mohan,
The Tigers seemed too calm when the White Sox started showing them up. Where's the intensity? The Tigers haven't shown much.
Caputo

10:35 AM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

True book, they'll only be 2 and 7 - but thats where we sit. And even if the hitting and starters wake up - we still have no bullpen. Your point last night that we are only a couple games back is the reality and we should be damned thankful for it.

I'm PVRing the game today - no more watching on Yahoo Sports.

Boston is the local US channel on my satellite. I woke up this morning to the Boston local news station - they were at the park and the delivery trucks with the Red Sox WS rings were just being delivered. It was hard to wake up to that.

PS - I'm not calling into the radio show again - no offense man, but I felt like as big an idiot as I sounded. Sorry about that.

10:37 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Did you call into my show? What about? Call in again, but let me know it is you. No caller is an idiot if they have an honest opinion, Fred. Different opinions is what drives talk radio and sports and all that.
Caputo

11:33 AM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Thanks Pat, but I was the idiot who suggested Cabrara be the Tigers enforcer - NHL style - the next time we play the Chi Sox.

You and Dennis were having some fun last night - the lines were slow - and you joked (and I re-assert you were joking) about how baseball needs a tough guy like hockey to wipe the smile off some faces - especially when a team like the Chi-sox are laughing at you. So I thought I would call in and have some fun with you on it - but my phone was fading - and - sorry - I was really nervous talking on the radio. So I sounded like an idiot. I joked that Cabrera should march out to their biggest guy, drop his bat and glove, and just go at him. Pulling the guys shirt over his head and the whole bit.

But it is on the radio - and you can't joke about stuff like violence that way - I know - in hindsight.

By the way - the last time the Leafs were deep in the playoffs was 2002 - losing in six to Carolina in the Eastern finals.

They couldn't beat Irbe.

12:35 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
I really don't remember the call, but it doesn't sound too bad to me.
Caputo

5:14 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought "7" was suppose to be lucky, I couldn't believe it, another loss. Or should I say embarrassment. I liked Grilli (as a person), maybe a change would do him good and us too. There's something more than just poor ball playing going on in the Tiger club house. I don't think you can pin it on the fact that Granderson is not in the line up either. These guys are suppose to be professionals, it shouldn't matter that one guy is missing. That's when everyone else should step it up. I think this "thing" goes much deeper than just cooled off bats and bad pitching. There is something bad in the air. I could see it at the (4/3) game. They all look like they wish they were somewhere else instead of playing Americas favorite pass time. Is there someone out there that could benefit from them losing? We have heard of inside betting amongst other sports, is there something like that going on? All I heard on your station is how no one can understand what's going on with these guys. We were deemed the World Series winners before the season even started and now we look like a 5 year olds T-ball team. It doesn't make sense. Our bats look pathetic, and I don't even want to start on our pitching. How can the whole team go down the tubes at the same time? I could understand a couple of guys having a slump, but the whole team at the same time? It just doesn't make any sense. CH

11:19 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think thus far that Carlos Guillen is totally unprepared to play adequate first base. More importantly without much improved footwork he may be severly injured. Only the baserunners going out of their way to not run into Carlos (left leg typically straddling the base line) has prevented a significant collision. From my seat it's very frightening.

9:02 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
Guillen has looked totally out of place at first base, which seems odd because he was perfectly fine there when he played the position in the past. His footwork has been awful. It's one of this season's many mysteries.
Caputo

9:41 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
I've been around the game a lot and people turn to me for answer for this. I don't have one, either. It's puzzling. Willis is the biggest concern from the trade standpoint. He might be bad based on what we've seen so far, and I thought he'd be very good. Renteria is average and his lack of range is concerning. Cabrera will start hitting, but will it be too late? They aren't put together well defensively. That's an issue that doesn't help the pitching staff.
Caputo

9:43 AM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

I'm afraid after that showing yesterday - and agreeing with everyone posting here that almost everyone is performing badly - the problem right now must rest with Mr. Leyland.

He is the skipper. He has my utmost respect and loyalty. He has to get these guy's heads back in a good place.

If that means slamming the doors of the clubhouse and screaming obscenities at them - tossing a locker or two around - then do it Jim.

If that means picking a fight with an Ump over some bad call or trivial detail and getting tossed after throwing a tirade - then do it Jim.

If that means going after the media (take one for the team ok Book?) to stand up for the guys - then do it Jim.

If that means running naked through the streets of Boston screaming "Spank me!" ... uhh .. nah .. skip that one Jim.

But please - for the sake of our continued faith in you Jim, do something visible.

Patience is a virture - but now even those that were producing are not - and the errors are driving me nuts.

Right now I would be happy with a very close game where we fight hard - even if its another loss. Just show me you guys care. You can tell me you care, but I sure don't see it. Hanging your head shows me your beaten, not that you care. Show me you care.

Because we do.

And please don't toss Jason Grilli on the mound anymore. It's not fair to him, your team, or to us poor slobs.

From now on, the only individual name we need to use is Jim Leylands. Lets lay off the player's backs until Leyland responds.

With all due respect ...

11:40 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
The Leyland issue is an interesting one, Fred. Should he rip into his team or just play it cool? Sometimes the best option is to not panic. It sends the wrong message to do so. I don't think he going to pull out the "rip into his team" card anytime soon.
Caputo

12:26 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

I hear what you're saying, Pat, but you know - I don't think it's panic to demonstrate publicly in some form - besides words - that the output is not acceptible. The running naked thing I mentioned - that would be panic. I personally think theres a difference between panic and fed up.

I certainly bow to your experience man. I learn alot from your insight.

But we should both buy stock in what ever company makes Marlboro cigarettes.

PS - as I was writing this I couldnt help but read my very first comment - and I was preaching patience. But that game yesterday put me over the edge.

1:01 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Patience is running out for everybody, Fred.
Caputo

1:19 PM 

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