Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Rudi Johnson Signing Could Payoff For Lions

If Rudi Johnson is a reasonable facsimile of what he was just a couple years ago with the Cincinnati Bengals, he is going to help the Lions immensely, and will represent a huge upgrade from Tatum Bell.
What nobody really knows, including Johnson himself, is whether he is the same caliber of player.
When he is right, Johnson’s rugged inside running style is just what the Lions need as they attempt to set up what should be a prolific passing attack with the run.
It’s about Johnson’s health - more specifically his hamstrings. He wasn’t nearly the same back after he injured them.
That makes it a risk for the Lions. They will be playing him essentially sight unseen in live NFL regular season action.
Given that Bell was going to provide virtually nothing, it is a risk well taken. Johnson is only 28. He does have youth on his side. Kevin Smith, however, remains the key to the Lions’ running game.
Even if Johnson is healthy, their running styles compliment each other’s well.

Random Thoughts

- Don’t get me wrong. I think Miguel Cabrera is a special talent. I think it’s fascinating he puts up such sterling numbers. I just think he could be so much better, especially when the Tigers were still in the race. Every homer he hits right now kind of has an empty feeling to it. You know, sort of like, "Where was that when the Tigers really needed it." Cabrera could be like Albert Pujols. He is that talented, but doesn’t seem to apply himself like Pujols.
And remember this about stats: Kirk Gibson won the NL MVP award with the Dodgers in 1988 with just 76 RBI. It’s not necessarily how many runs you knock in, but when.

- Speaking of the MVP award, has the American League ever been so void of candidates? Josh Hamilton’s numbers have been based in Texas. Could Carlos Quentin be the AL MVP, Kevin Youkilis.or Justin Morneau. I’d probably go with Morneau. Or perhaps K-Rod. Isn’t he having a better season than Willie Hernandez had in 1984.

12 Comments:

Blogger D_Fenner said...

In regard to Miguel Cabrera: I agree with you on this, Pat. Cabrera's increased offensive production in the past couple of months is in many ways irrelevant, but I think we can all expect much bigger numbers for the whole of next season. He just needed half a season to become acclimated to the American League. I was a skeptic after his uninspiring play initially following his 150 million dollar contract, but I now fully believe he'll be worth the money (relative to other big contracts handed out in MLB these days of course, HA!). In the 44 games he's played after the all-star break, he has nearly duplicated his HR/RBI totals from the 92 games he played before it. Hopefully the Tigers can acquire enough quality pitching to enable his hits to be of more consequence next season.

Dan

12:45 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat, Cabrera is Cabrera. He is the best out of shape MLB player there is. This is a great trade that Mr.I insisted on. I take for granted that Tigers scouts are watching the Marlins and Pirates closely in case those teams decide to reduce payroll in the off season. I am glad that JL moved him from 3B to 1B because his range was so bad at 3B.
Speaking of K-Rod, Tigers might have some interest when he applies for free agency because most contending team already have a closer. Two teams need a closer, Angel and Tigers. There usually a darkhorse team somewhere. If the Angels let K-Rod walk, then they might not be interested into signing him into a mega deal. If he goes to the highest bidder, then the Tigers have a good shot.

2:58 PM 
Anonymous Bryan152 said...

I'm glad to see the Lions get a No. 2 starter to support Smith and hopefully take some of the pressure off of the rookie running back.

With Miguel Cabrera, I've got an interesting stat for you: The Tigers are .615 when he homers. On the flipside, the White Sox are .718 when Quentin homers. On top of that, I'd be willing to bet that a good number of Quentin's homers came in the 7th inning or later. He's my pick for AL MVP since despite Morneau's stellar play, the Twins are where they are largely due in part to their sudden emergence of outstanding, young pitching.

7:47 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Dan,
Dealing for Cabrera wasn't wrong, especially after signing him long term like that. Unless he gets hurt - and he's been durable to this point - the production is going to be there. The question is whether he is able to start doing special things truly special players do. There was a flash of that around midseason, but otherwise he struggled when the club needed him most. Also, his defensive difficulties at the start of the season didn't help.
Caputo

9:00 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Barry,
The thing about K-Rod is: The Tigers may have interest in him, but would he have interest in the Tigers? I doubt he would.
Caputo

9:02 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Bryan152,
I don't think anybody could argue with the thought of Quentin as MVP. He has been outstanding. One of the best steals ever by White Sox GM Ken Williams.
Caputo

9:03 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat,

Obviously, the Lions organization under Matt Millen is in shambles. They can't decide what the offensive strategy is from one year to the next. Therefore, the talent never matches the strategy. They are emphasizing the run, yet are using scrap heap running backs and a patchwork offensive line. You say they are going to have a prolific passing attack, yet it seems to me it was already prolific though it didn't tranlate to wins. If you want to win, stop drafting wide receivers in the first round (good WR's are plentiful), and start effectively drafting players at positions that translate to winning...OL and DL, and running back.

10:38 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
I think the Lions have a chance to be decent this season (I'M predicting eight wins), but I understand how you feel. The Lions track record speaks for itself.
Caputo

11:00 PM 
Blogger Glen J Stroup (WiredTiger) said...

No way is Rodriguez even close to what Hernandez did. Willie had a ERA under 2.00 and pitched 140 innings. Rodriguez is on pace for about 70 innings. And you can make the arguement that Mariano Rivera has been better this year.

9:47 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

glen j stroup,
Good point. The dynamics of relief pitching are much different these days.
Caputo

12:20 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I disagree on the point where you say KEvin Smith is the key to the lions run game. Personally I think it is still this unproven and very suspect O-Line. Will Backus finally step up and be the franchise left tackle we pay him to be? Can Peterman and FOster hold up and at what point does Godster step in? I like the Rudi signing it is a definately a much better runner then that of Tatum Turd. Who obviously has a fetish for other dudes drawers.

On the Tigers you know who I am impressed with and I wish we could find another leadoff hitter. I'd love to see Curtis in the middle of the lineup. Dude is a machine. I know he isn't going to duplicate his numbers from a year ago, but he will come pretty close. So he has proven to be legit. As much as everyone is talking about pitching what about the lineup. I mean about 52 of our loses were cause we couldn't score more then 2 or 3 runs. Are we really ready to hand our catchign sport over to a life time .210 hitter? It be nice to see the Tigers just man up and finish strong? Much like the Indians are doing by digging deep.

AL MVP I agree I say it has to be Morneau. I feel he has put the mighty twins on his back.. Josh Hamilton is a feel good story but he has tappered off in my mind since the all star break..

4:20 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Maddog52,
Granderson has moved to a point in his career where they could use him driving in runs. I see him as a No.3 hitter down the road.
Caputo

11:41 AM 

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