Monday, December 08, 2008

Laird Trade Only Resolves Part Of Tigers' Many Issues

It’s not going to cause nearly the same splash as the trades for Gary Sheffield in 2006 and Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera in 2007, but the Tigers deal for catcher Gerald Laird was nonetheless interesting.
He is a solid receiver with a decent throwing arm. His hitting tends to come and go. He was a second-round draft pick, and it was thought he had some power potential, but it hasn’t really materialized at the major league level.
The Tigers will get a good 100 games from Laird from behind the plate - maybe more. They do need a veteran backup. Doesn’t seem like Dusty Ryan fits the mode. Still wouldn’t be surprised if the Tigers add another veteran catcher this off season.
Laird did not come cheap. The Tigers need bullpen help, and Guillermo Moscoso, while not necessarily a top-line prospect, has major league potential - perhaps as soon as this season - to fill a middle relief role. To be honest with you, I don’t know much about Carlos Melo - other than he has been tagged with the "power arm" label. That means he has a chance to come back and haunt the Tigers.
This much we know about the Tigers - they want to improve defensively more than anything else. It’s why Brandon Inge is at third. Why they didn’t even consider re-signing Edgar Renteria. Why, when they do acquire a shortstop, his defense will be the priority.
While that should help the pitching staff, they still need more there - especially in the bullpen. They also need bounce back seasons from Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis in the starting rotation - hardly givens. They have also put a couple holes in their lineup to improve that defense, and could be considerably less formidable offensively.
I’d like Laird better for the Tigers if he were a left-handed hitter. Their lineup is still balanced too much toward the right side of the plate.

Random Thoughts

- Beating UCLA and Duke early this basketball season represents considerable progress for Michigan’s basketball team. I didn’t think John Beilein would be able to implement his system this quickly, but it’s obvious his players have bought into it. This is a team that won just nine games last season. This is more than a good start. It’s a great start. Manny Harris was a terrific high school player at Detroit Redford. Having seen him play then, I didn’t figure he’d adapt that well to Beilein’s system. He has.

- It’s not just that the Pistons haven’t been playing well lately, it’s like their heart isn’t into it. It’s not a good sign for first-year head coach Michael Curry.

- The biggest farce of the bowl season: Notre Dame getting a bid to play Hawaii. The Fighting Irish haven’t won a bowl game since 1994. They were 6-6 this season despite a mild schedule.


Blogger Barry said...

Well Pat, maybe a small splash is what the Tigers needed. After Gary and DW jump in the pool there was not much water left.
I do find that annoying too, that the Tigers are dominated from the right side. I still believe Guillen can play 3B for few more months and they can put Thomas or Joyce in LF. Then sign Punto, then you have four lefties in the line-up. Tigers are running the risk that Guillen is going to get lost in LF.Then Brandon gets his wish to only have to catch the other 62 games. I think there is a chance that Tigers might trade for Putz and the Tigers still might try to land Wood especially if they sign low cost Everett. I wish K-Rod would hurry and sign especially with the Mets.

3:31 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

That is a lot to give up for a catcher - when your bullpen is suffering so badly. I have always thought you can't buy a bullpen, you have to grow your own like Montreal and Atlanta in their heydays.

So we gave up two from our upcoming harvest?

Without a better bullpen than the last year and a half - we better start constructing an outfield wall that makes Fenways green monster look like a speedbump. And then put skydome like motors on it to raise it when we are fielding and lower it when we bat.

The motor city wall.

It could be made of plexiglass so the other team wouldn't notice.

But how would we take it on the road?

Or else we could grow / buy / steal / take hostage - A BULLPEN!!!!

Sorry Pat. I feel better now.

5:27 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rebound seasons from Bonderman, Robertson, and Willis seems like a longshot, but the Tigers are locked in. Two out of these three would give them a shot, if Verlander rebounds. Can you offer any explanation as to why they haven't had many left-handed power hitters since Comerica Park opened to take advantage of the short shot to the rightfield seats? Don't other teams tailor their squads to their ballparks?, Dave

3:08 AM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I aqree book on what u said on the tigers. So far as a fan and even a tiger purest you can't be to happy with even the talks coming from dombrowski and camp. I mean Laird and Everett. I mean yeah we needed Laird just cause we have NO catching. Everett I mean is it a major upgrade over Santiago. Maybe a tad but not much. It will be interesting to see if dombrowski pulls a rabit out of his hat like he did last year. Personally I hate to see them give up on both Joyce and Larish. Just cause I think they can be promising bats we need on the left side. Especially a kid like Larish who can play both 1st and 3rd. As far as Guillen in LF. We don't even know how well that will work out yet. Me personally the biggest need in the offseason were Closer, Set Up, Catcher and starter maybe a Derrick Lowe if we could of got him. If not I would of like to see us groom Zumya for that 5th starter spot. I could live with a Verlander, Gallaraga, Miner, Willis, and Zumya. If Zumya and Willis can come back. I think Robertson could be one hell of an asset coming out the pen. I just don't feel we are that far off and I'd hate to see dombrowski kind of hold back a bit this year because of last year. I really think we are a couple peices away.. If we could get a Joe Biemel, maybe trade for a Putz or Street. or hell I'd sign Brandon Lyon. Another veteran I wouldn't mind us looking at would be Raul Ibanez (if we could some how tade sheffield and allow Guillen to be DH where I think he belongs). Also what about a guy like Jason Kendall for a backup catcher? You couple that with Laird and Everett not bad. Know what I am saying book..

As far as the Pistons. hasn't the lack of effort been this teams problem the last few years and ultimately costed them in the conference finals. Joe said he wouldn't stand for this. Well nfortunately it is still there. Lot of season left. We will see but if I were the stones I wouldn't want to be stuck having to play the Celtics in the first or second round so they better not tread to much water. Know what I mean.

3:01 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

It's pretty obvious Dombrowski is going defense first. I just wonder if the Tigers will have enough offense - even if their defense and pitching do come around. Putz likely won't be available because the Mariners are thinking about making Morrow a starter.

5:23 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Laird is eligible for salary arbitration, so he will also be costly in terms of salary. But they did get into a box where they absolutely needed a catcher and this is the answer to it.

5:42 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Would be asking for a bounce back season from one of them be too much to ask? I don't know. They also need Galarraga to be effective again as well. Not sure if that is a given.

5:43 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Miner actually has pretty good career numbers and is just 26. He has been so streaky in the past, it has been maddening, though.

5:45 PM 
Anonymous Jeff said...

Is Paul Bako available as a veteran back up catcher? Hits left handed, so that would be a plus. Not going to set the world on fire, but how many back up catchers do?

12:44 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

He might fit because he is a left-handed hitter.

1:47 PM 
Blogger Sandy Gholston said...

John Beilein's success this year at Michigan is not as surprising to me as it is to some people. I didn't necessarily expect them to beat UCLA and Duke, but I knew U-M would be significantly better. The success is more a product of getting players in who fit his style of play. It can happen a lot quicker in college basketball than in college football (ask Rich Rodriguez). Novak, Douglass, Lucas-Perry and others really fit his system. Novak and Douglass were guys that Beilein was ridiculed by a lot of people for recruiting because they didn't have enough stars by their names. Who's laughing now? Manny Harris has adapted well and so has Kelvin Grady. I thought Harris and Grady might have the toughest time adapting, but they've done well this year.

7:41 PM 

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