Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Tigers First Two Games Raise Questions About Dombrowski And Leyland

The Tigers 0-2 start begs the question why?
- Why give Dontrelle Willis and Gary Sheffield long-term contract extensions after trading for them, hindering the Tigers from adding a bonafide veteran closer during the off season?
- Why sign Brandon Lyon to a $4 million-plus contract when it’s obvious he lacks the "stuff" to be an effective late-inning pitcher?
- Why not use rookie Rick Perry in pressure situations in the first two games - if he gives you the best chance to win?
- Why give Nate Robertson a long-term contract extension to be a mopup man?
- Why trade for over-the-hill shortstop Edgar Renteria last season when quality relief pitchers such as Scott Linebrink and Octavio Dotel were available?
- Why not leave Edwin Jackson in for another inning when he had thrown just 90 pitches?
- Why, with all that ability, can’t Justin Verlander pitch well in the clutch for the Tigers anymore?
Here’s the simple truth about the Tigers:
General manager Dave Dombrowski made several key moves - the signing of Pudge and Magglio Ordonez, the trades for Carlos Guillen and Placido Polanco, signing Kenny Rogers and Todd Jones, etc. that turned the Tigers into pennant winners in 2006. Since then, however, he has made a series of moves that have backfired badly. It has the left the Tigers as not only an expensive team, but a bad team. At least it sure looks that way so far this season.
The "season’s a marathon" line doesn’t fit here - not after last year when the Tigers couldn’t recover from a horrible start.
Manager Jim Leyland may turn out to be the fall guy in this, but he hasn’t been given the best parts to work with - just expense ones, a couple that aren’t even with the club. Although it’s pretty obvious he has lost his touch, too.
It’s put owner Mike Ilitch in a spot. The Tigers are having trouble generating much buzz. Coupled with the flagging economy, it’s going to make ticket sales difficult. It’s not like Dombrowski and Leyland haven’t done well in the past. They have, but even after two games, this just doesn’t look like it’s working.



Blogger Barry said...

Pat, DD runs the Tigers like driving a car through your rearview mirror and he doesn't think much of bullpens. I love great bullpens because you shorten the game. Tigers should have not lost that game last night. But by living the past he saw the Tigers draft system was bad and he fixed it.
Just when you’re through with DD he pulls off a trade like Jackson/Joyce. I remember bloggers were so upset to let Joyce go. I was thinking I can replace Joyce with Larish, Raburn, Cleven, Thomas, Thames, any waiver dude (Anderson) and two others young guys down in the mirrors (Wells and Ramirez) but to get a starting pitcher that amazing.

1:57 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

This kind of reminds me when Dombrowski had unleashed during and screamed why don't u try to deal these bad contracts of like Higginson, easley etc.. Well DUMBrowski what about you. You took a car with a bad engine(bullpen) into three races(07,08, and 09) and are failing each time. You could of waited on the Willis and Robertson moves there was no gun to your head to make those extensions. You screwed up on a few move to me you are depending on what isn't there. As we know with watching the lions over the years you can't do that. I still think the renteria move was the worse and I still think they should of went after Lowe this off season. I think he could of served as our number 1 and verlander could ease his way into that number one starter a couple years down the road.

We complain about the bullpen but lets face it leyland hasn't done a very good job putting his guys in a good position to succeed. OK Lyon gave up the bomb in the 8th. Fine. Why the hell would you trot him out there in the 9th when clearly he was struggling. Where was Perry or dear I say Rodney in that situation? I mean why was Inge cutting off a throw in the first game on with nobody on base? I am not going to dump on leyland guy is a solid mgr. ,but darn it the guy has been awful last year and this year to start you have to admit it. I don't know I am very optimisitic, but so far I think this can be a long season.

Dumars when he makes a mistake he trys and fixes it. Holland makes a mistake (not that I ever sceen it) he fixes it. Dombrowski looks like he caused a fire and is making it worse as oppose to putting it out. Think about it we could of had a rotation of Lowe, Verlander, Jackson, Juirjens, Porcello.

2:21 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...


To your credit, in your blog from October 29, 2007, after the Tigers completed the Renteria deal, you called it a calculated risk and said that it could go either way. You also said in your blog on December 5, 2007, that the trade for Cabrera and Willis "skyrocketed" the odds for the 2008 Tigers. Unfortunately, everything that the Tigers did last year blew up, and it made many of us (Dombrowski included) look pretty stupid.

I still like the Sheffield trade. He played like an All Star in the first half of 2007. It was another calculated risk that needed to be taken in order to get a big bat in the middle of the lineup. Unfortunately, he got hurt, and he was never the same.

I will give the Tigers credit for this: They went for it. Instead of sitting back and trying to build completely from within all while winning nothing meaningful (like the Minnesota Twins), they went for it all in 2007 and especially 2008. All in all, I like that.

I hear you about the bullpen misgivings, though. The only part that I disagree with you on is spending a lot of money on a high-priced closer. A bullpen is the most volatile part of a baseball team. Teams with successful bullpens rarely overpay; they simply find diamonds in the rough and promote minor leaguers with upside. The San Diego Padres from a couple years back are a prime example. I keep thinking that, one of these seasons, we are going to run into a solid bullpen just from assembling a variety of pieces. Rincon, Lyon, Rodney, Perry, Seay, and hopefully Zumaya give you a variety of looks. I honestly think this should work out over the long haul of the season. While it seems like deja vu, and it is tough to stomach, I think it's too early to judge. I may sing a different tune if we lose a couple more in a row.


5:48 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Travis, Dombrowski has done good things here. All the analysts thought it was brilliant to make the Cabrera trade last year. The Renteria trade was bad but look at the acquisitions of Jackson and Galarraga. If you are going to spank him for the bad give the man credit for the good. Remember, the Tigers were the mirror image of the Pittsburgh Pirates before DD arrived. As for the Dumars comparision, it took years for Joe to admit he was wrong in drafting Dunko um Darko. The Pistons are still paying for that folly. And how about that Iverson trade, boy that sure was a winner. DD's biggest mistake was overvaluing Robertson, I have always thought the ol' "bulldog" was more of a poodle. Leyland is not good with his pitching staff. He is obsessed with pitch counts and very stubborn. The Tigers need to progressively get younger and they will be ok. As for the assumption about Derek Lowe, I do believe it was reported that Illitch limited the amount DD could spend so Lowe was out of his price range. That is not on DD. he did what he could with the budget he had.


9:08 PM 
Blogger Eric Chase said...

Something else to consider, 2006 may have been fueled by career years from that year's roster.

Also, Justin Verlander is morphing Kyle Farnsworth.

Doesn't matter if you can throw it 96. If it it doesn't move, it's going to get hit 400 ft.

1:09 PM 
Anonymous wyandotte said...

the glaring arguments have already been made. throwing dd under the bus without ackowledging the recent good he has done as well is bad work. how can u glow about jackson's start but not talk about the trade that brought him here. how about galarraga? essentially negates losing jurgens.

how about drafting and signing porcello and perry.

9:55 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

It's not so much the decisions to acquire players where he deserves criticism, but for the long-term contract extensions that, frankly, weren't necessary. It has a domino effect in it hinders the signing of other parts.

1:26 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Great point about the contracts Dombrowski inherited. Seems like he put himself in a similar box.

1:27 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I didn't like the Renteria trade because I was in Atlanta when the Tigers played the Braves in 2007 and you could tell he lost his tools. I warmed to it, though, when the Tigers made the trade with the Marlins. They were going for it, and that was all right. It didn't work out, but why the contract extension to Willis?

1:30 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

But Dombrowski has been limited because his payroll is already high because of the extensions.

1:31 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Eric Chase,
Ouch. The Kyle Farnsworth crack is harsh. I don't if Verlander is that much of an underachiever, but his struggles sure are perplexing.

1:32 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

All are valid points in defense of Dombrowski.

1:34 PM 

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