Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tigers Need To Quit Rolling Like It's 2005

The Tigers would have a great starting pitching rotation - if this was 2005. Dontrelle Willis, Jeremy Bonderman, Kenny Rogers and Freddy Garcia combined for 64 wins that season. Remember?
I found the signing of Garcia to be curious, although I understand it’s one of those minor league, no strings attached deals.
There is a bottom line about Garcia. It’s how hard he throws. When he was throwing in the mid-90s, he was a very effective pitcher. When his velocity dropped, he adjusted for awhile, but wasn’t able to maintain it as a finesse pitcher.
Everybody looked at the guy, and passed - except the Tigers. He is only throwing in the mid-80s.
Medicine has made great progress in getting pitchers to recover from elbow ailments. Because of Tommy John surgery, many pitchers come back throwing actually better than ever after suffering elbow injuries that used to ruin careers. The same, unfortunately, can’t be said for shoulders.
When Garcia comes back throwing in the mid 80s after surgery on his shoulder, it isn’t encouraging. Joel Zumaya’s velocity basically returned, so it wasn’t the issue it is with Garcia, who is also older.
It disconcerting, however, the Tigers are relying on pitchers to come back from shoulder ailments - Bonderman is another one.
People look at the Tigers next season and wonder what it entails. It will be a pretty good year if Bonderman, Willis and Garcia (assuming they sign him) are pitching like the did in 2005 (I don’t believe they will resign Rogers). But, boy, talk about questionable. The future is iffy at best for those three veteran starters - and the ever-unpredictable Zumaya.

Random Thoughts

- Nothing against the Olympics, but I like baseball a lot better. Lets put it this way: I would still rather watch a late-night game between the Padres and Giants that is basically meaningless than the finals of the men’s gymnastics. I do like the swimming a lot and still look forward to the track and field - despite the obvious substance abuse issues.

- What the Packers missed when they didn’t retain Brett Favre is that he never misses a game. Aaron Rogers has already had two major injuries in his career, even though he has hardly played. Can’t believe the Packers have so little backing up Rogers under the circumstances.

- Big Ten to watch out for: Iowa. The Hawkeyes aren’t that good, but they are one of the relatively few teams returning their starting quarterback. And their schedule is ridiculously easy: Cream puffs in non-conference and no Ohio State or Michigan in Big Ten play.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Marty said...

Pat,

The Tigers look pretty well set up to have a respectable year next year. They had an off year with a whole lot of bad luck and underacheiving, but that usually turns around the next year - just look at the White Sox, or even the Red Sox two years ago. Even if Willis doesn't make it back, I think they will still be pretty good with Bonderman, Verlander, and Galaraga at the front end. The biggest question mark is really the bullpen. They have just fallen apart this year, and there aren't any obvious replacements in the system. Plus, it is such a crapshoot in free agency whether a bullpen pitcher will be any good or not with your team. That is my biggest concern for next year. The line-up will be fine, even if Sheffield doesn't play a game, so I have no worries there.

-Marty

10:24 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Marty,
Verlander, I agree, will be better. Galarraga has to prove he can repeat his performance this year. Bonderman is a major question mark health-wise. Don't know if you can trust Nate Robertson after this year. Agree with you about the bullpen, but I guess my point is it's about pitching. Period.

4:56 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

I'm getting the notion that the 2009 Tigers will much resemble 2008.

I am amazed at the degree of my own disapointment and resentment for such a let down. I guess I truly am a homer.

As for the Olympics, Michael Phelps had better be clean, man. If he is not - it will be the biggest shame the Olympics could ever face.

Sat here last weekend watching Padraig Harrington win the PGA championship with our Irish visitors. They know Padraig and it was great to see him take two majors in a row. I feel bad I didn't get tickets so they could cheer him on in person. I think with the Irish, it is true to say "they really do know everybody"!

11:20 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Nothing wrong with fans being homers. That's the way it works. People invested deeply in the Tigers emotionally and it didn't work out.
Caputo

2:36 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat, You've painted the bleak picture of how the staff shapes up for '09. Do you think Porcello, or any one else the system can win a spot in the rotation, come next spring?, Dave

4:43 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Dave,
Next year is not out of the question for Porcello. He has had a good, solid year at Lakeland and will likely be at Double-A next season at some point early. He has command of his pitches pretty well for his youth. From Double-A, a trip to the major leagues is possible. It's up to him with his performance.
Caputo

4:58 PM 

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