Category Archives: Detroit Tigers

More Confirmation that Joe Maddon is a Fruitcake

We’ve talked about it before, but Rays manager Joe Maddon is an odd duck.

Yesterday, he built a lineup (presumably) based on the Tommy Tutone song, 867-5309 (Jenny).

It was in futility, because the Rays then went out and got thrashed by the Tigers 8-1.

On Miguel Cabrera’s Monster 10-year Contract Extension

There aren’t many players who are worth a 10-year, $292 million dollar contract extension; but Miguel Cabrera is that player.

People will say what they will – that Cabrera won’t be able to live out this deal at the top of his game, or they’ll point towards the Pujols contract and it’s impending doom ending. But Cabrera is his own case study. In the past two years he’s basically won two Triple Crowns. He’s dominated the game of baseball for almost the last decade like some of the legends our grandfathers tell stories about.

Wake up and smell the coffee, Miguel Cabrera is a timeless, generational talent. A rare pearl that is found once every few decades in the deep seas. Due to the Hall of Fame numbers he’s putting up year over year (he’s averaged 6.7 bWAR over the past five seasons), this deal is going to end up paying for itself because I believe that Cabrera is one of those rare gate attractions that people will pay to see. Like the Siberian Tiger at the local zoo, he’s the one thing you just have to see when you visit Motown. I know I want to get up north this summer just to see the guy take some hacks live.

And after he retires, he’ll be remembered as a Detroit Tiger. Don’t tell me that it would have been good for baseball for Cabrera to end up on the Mets, or the Phillies, or any other team in his final years. If the Tigers don’t ink this type of deal, someone else would have when the time came. It’s best for the game if he remains in Detroit and continues to chase records wearing that pseudo-Black.

The deal could reach 12 years and $352 million total. The biggest winners in all of this are the fans of the Detroit Tigers franchise. Baseball’s king remains in Camelot for another decade plus. The Tigers just need to find the resources to surround him with the missing link and get a World Series ring on his finger.

This is the type of contract that only the class organizations have earned the right to ink a player to. The Detroit Tigers fit that description right now – they’re one of the few. You can’t argue with what they’ve done to this point in building the machine. That’s a competitive and respected team year after year. This move is no different: except it’s a winning move in more ways than just the wins it will yield on the field.

2014 Detroit Tigers Team Preview

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For the 2014 Detroit Tigers Team Preview, we enlisted the services of one of the most devoted baseball fans we know; a huge Tigers fan named Corey. We also know him as ‘Detroit Stars’, one of the most feared Fantasy Baseball managers on the planet. You can follow him on twitter here.

I thought the 2013 Tigers were about to go up 2-0 against the Red Sox in the ALCS.  I thought Game 2 was over they’d take it back to Detroit to clinch the pennant.  I thought Detroit was heading back to the World Series to win their first championship since 1984.  Then David Ortiz put a first pitch 86 mph splitter from Joaquin Benoit over the outstretched glove of Torii Hunter and this iconic image was born.

Almost immediately after this grand slam tied up the game in the 8th inning I knew the season was over.  You could just tell the Red Sox were going to feed off this moment and take control of the series.  I blame it on the fact I was already talking 2-0 with a chance to win the series in Detroit of course, but I’m superstitious like that.  I really liked this Tigers team but their bullpen let them down one too many times and Koji Uehara was lights out.  Anyways, Boston closed the curtain on Detroit in Game 6 and here I am wondering if I will ever see a Tigers World Series championship (they last won the year before I was born, I am the curse).

Enough dwelling on the past though, here is a look ahead at the 2014 Tigers club. Click through the jump for your full Tigers fix.

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Kinsler: “GM Jon Daniels is a Sleazeball”

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If you were waiting for that first eye-grabbing, explosive quote-machine interview of the spring, it was rolled out in front of us today courtesy of ESPN the Magazine.

Ian Kinsler didn’t mix any words when talking about his former General Manager in Texas, Jon Daniels.

“Daniels is a sleazeball,” he says. “He got in good with the owners and straight pushed Ryan out. He thought all the things he should get credit for, Ryan got credit for. It’s just ego. Once we went to the World Series, everybody’s ego got huge, except for Nolan’s.”

That’s the quote that we assume has everyone buzzing about. But there’s a different part of this article I want to react to. The part that we want to point out is more along the lines of something we should all be able to relate to – because not everyone in this world hates their boss or superior.

The part of the story that kind of rubbed us the wrong way was Kinsler’s defiance to move to first-base and his reasoning behind it.

In a moment of veteran pride and defiance of youth, Kinsler declared second his domain. “These guys gotta earn it; that’s what I did,” he says. “I was a 17th-round pick, so there was zero coddling. I had to put myself on the prospect map.” In other words: No kid was taking his job.

So wait a second – you’re going to sell to the media that team chemistry and leadership are important qualities to you and on a team – yet you’re going to be an ass about moving positions when it would really benefit the organization to get their top-prospect into his natural position? Something that might benefit them for far longer than you’re going to be in the plans?

Selfish move, in my opinion. It’s an act that absolutely wreaks of insecurity and the same egotistical quality that Kinsler is ripping on Jon Daniels for. Look, we all know what it’s like to be part of some team in our lives. We’re all part of a team every day if you think about it. Whether those teammates are your co-workers, your family members, whatever. Sometimes you have to take a big bite of shit to benefit the greater good of the group. That’s just the way it goes. On this, we have to side with the organization and not the player. They did nothing wrong in asking the guy to move to first base. In fact, it was the right move. ‘De-facto clubhouse leaders’ as Kinsler is called in the article don’t do things like that.

On another note, it seems that he didn’t leave on bad terms with everyone in the Texas organization.

Now, the drama behind him, Kinsler has a chance to step back. “I’ll miss all my teammates,” he says. “I’ll miss Elvis and Beltre, Mitch [Moreland], Matt Harrison and [Ron] Washington.” But the frustration — with his play, with the team, with the organization — is still so raw. “To be honest with you, I hope they go 0-162. I got friends, and I love my friends, but I hope they lose their ass.”

I like the fire that Kinsler seems to have within him, and I admit prior to this I knew little about his personality. But at the same time we don’t think this has a good look to it. “I love them but I hope they die”. Yeah, that doesn’t jive, Ian. If I’m a Tigers player in that clubhouse right now and I catch a few lines of this article, I’m wondering if my squad just gained an entirely new brand of asshole.

Here’s a Picture of Cecil Fielder as an Angel at Tiger Stadium in the 90′s

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You won’t find this photo anywhere else on the internet. The reason for this is it’s original material, snapped at a Tigers game when that grand old park was still erected up in Detroit in the late 90′s by our good friend and Tigers super fan @cmears9. This photo is from May of 1998, Fielder’s only year with the Angels. You may remember Corey’s find of this gem of Domino-playing Vlad Guerrero with his gun-carrying buddy nearby.

We miss Tiger Stadium, and we miss Big Daddy hitting those softball shots up on the roof. When we first starting watching shows like ESPN’s Baseball Tonight as a kid, this guy was the most feared power hitter of them all.

It is possible that this was one of the last shots of Fielder ever taken at Tigers Stadium.

A Rumor I’ll Print about Prince Fielder’s Wife, Avasail Garcia, and Miguel Cabrera

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I led with this item on the last podcast, but after enough inquiring Google searches landing on this site in regards to the rumor; it’s time to bring into the open what I know (what I heard).

So at my real job – the one that has kept me barely blogging this winter - I am approached by a friend who played sports professionally. He’s got roots in the Detroit area and knows a lot of guys who know a lot of guys. He also knows I’m big into baseball and knows I run this site. He asks me if know how Miguel Cabrera really got re-injured last season. I tell him no. He tells me that he didn’t believe this rumor when he first heard it, but it was so interesting he decided to check it with a second person who would definitely know. He did, and they confirmed this. He then hits me with it:

  • Avasail Garcia was sleeping with Prince Fielder’s wife this past season.
  • When Miguel Cabrera and the team caught wind of what was going on, there was a clubhouse fight. Miggy was sticking up for Fielder and approached Avasail about it in the clubhouse. In this scuffle, Cabrera re-injures himself.
  • Team quickly trades Garcia in order to cut out the cyst in the clubhouse. And to separate him from Fielder’s wife of course.
  • Fielder was traded this offseason partially to go in a different direction and make sure that the chemistry wasn’t offset again this coming season. Translation: Fielder’s wife can screw whoever she wants. She’s the Rangers’ problem now.
  • I don’t care enough to look into it, but apparently Fielder said there was still sour grapes at least on his end for him being traded from the Tigers. He wasn’t completely over it and was bothered by it because he thinks it was for the wrong reasons. Here’s his introductory presser with the Tigers that I don’t care enough to read body language in right now.

If all this is true, it definitely adds up and possible sheds light on why Fielder was so lousy last season. I owned him in fantasy baseball, and he was albatross until the day I sold him for ten cents on the normal Fielder currency in fantasy.

And I guarantee this rumor is true. It’s out there in the Michigan area somehow. People don’t spread things this weird, at least not the people who spread it to me.

And this also makes us love and respect Miguel Cabrera even more. That guy really is a consummate leader. An every man’s man.

A Legend Says Goodbye: Jim Leyland Retires

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Even though he never managed one of my squads, Jim Leyland long ago became one of my favorite members of the baseball world. I don’t know if it was the fact he reminded me of my father (he resembles him physically and some of the things he says) or the washing down cigarettes with chocolate milk, or being one of the few in the game today that forgo the opportunity to use computers because he trusts his gut more.

It could be because he refers to beat writer questions as “silly shit” or because he was the real article. What you saw was what you got with Leyland. He didn’t dress up and his answers he fed the media were of the same mold. I would have loved to have had him leading a clubhouse full of my favorite guys.

When you think of the term ‘baseball man’ I’m not sure you can think of anyone who fits the term better. I picture Leyland’s office at Comerica having a smoke-stained ceiling and a little fridge with nothing but stale bread and condiments in it. He is financially set, but you get the feeling a guy like Leyland still drives across town to use a coupon. He is genuine – and his players fought harder for him than most do for their manager because they probably loved the guy.

I will miss Jim Leyland being part of the game. He’s part of a dying breed. Guys from the old school. Guys who were around when I was a kid and first started watching the game. Another dinosaur goes extinct. There will never be another like you, Jimmy Leyland. As illustrious of a career as you had, I am one who believes your talents far outweighed your results.

Sonny Gray looks the part of Superstar

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Sonny Gray has the name of a star and shined last night in his MLB postseason debut. He out-dueled Justin Verlander in one of the better baseball games in recent history. Gray went eight strong shutout innings and struck out nine holding the game scoreless and allowing the A’s to steal a 1-0 victory in the bottom of the ninth.

And perhaps Gray ends up being the great young arm that a guy like Rich Harden could never be consistently for Oakland. From the first time we saw him pitch (his MLB debut in relief in Pittsburgh) we thought he had electric stuff despite having a small frame. Gray is the type of arm that could get the A’s on a roll all the way through the postseason.

Hard Hittin’ Mark Whiten Memorial Player of the Week

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I feel like we don’t talk enough about the monster manbeast residing in Detroit. And he came thisclose to not being named the HHMWMPOW due to a couple of other strong efforts. I went back and forth the past few days on who would win this week’s award, and up until tonight I wasn’t sure. Let’s look at the men who made themselves nominees.

Adam Jones: .343, 4 HR, 5 RBI, 1.086 OPS, 3 steals, BUT no walks

Mike Trout: .462 (12 for 28), 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1.385 OPS, 4 steals, 2 BB.

Trout also went ahead and hit for the cycle since you all wanted to see it done the organic way by a 21 year old.

And then there was the winner. Miguel Cabrera. The stud of all studs in fantasy baseball and real baseball and all things in between. This monster went crazy to the tune of 12 for 26 (.462 batting average), six home runs, six walks (three of which were intentional), 15 RBI, 11 runs, and a berserk 1.755 OPS. If that’s not as Mark Whiten of a week that there is, then I want to be done playing this Mark Whiten game.

Here’s Miguel Cabrera’s week in homers. Keep in mind he had six other hits that weren’t homers. This is just the week in homers. If he did nothing else in a week except pick his nose and eat bacon and eggs, but he had these six homers, he’s still the Whiten Memorial Player of the Week.

Cabrera is probably on his way to another Triple Crown. That doesn’t get talked about enough in any baseball circles. It just kind of got glossed over. I mean sure, he won the MVP award. That’s great and all but the guy WON A TRIPLE CROWN! If Jay Bruce or Joey Votto or someone that mattered in my life more won a TRIPLE FREAKING CROWN I would probably just quit everything else in life because it would have rewarded me with such completeness.

Bryce Harper added an Anibal Sanchez Pelt to his Big Game Wall Tonight

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Anibal Sanchez is a bad dude. This is the same man who struck out 16 Atlanta Braves a few Fridays ago.

But when there is big game to be hunted, Bryce Harper picks up his elephant gun and goes to work. Harper hit a majestic blast to right-center off Sanchez and drove in another on a sacrifice fly in the Nationals 3-1 victory over the Tigers.

The home run was Harper’s 10th of the season.

Not Bad for a guy who was sleeping at the bar a few weeks ago

Jose Valverde

Because I like to see interesting things, I watched Jose Valverde’s ninth inning save against the Royals last night in Detroit. Right now, Jose Valverde qualifies as an ‘interesting thing’ to say the least.

This is a man who supposedly lost 20 pounds, though I don’t know where he lost it. He looks like the same old Valverde to me. He is built like my grandfather, complete with a pasta-gut. He has stilts for legs and arms that are equally wiry.

Armed with a new wind-up motion (which is mostly horse shit) – Valverde threw 18 pitches – all fastballs. He got the final out by retiring Billy Butler on a ball that looked like it was leaving the yard. If Valverde continues to throw 100% fastballs, I can tell you right now there’s going to be a gang-bang on his behalf later this summer. In fact, there will be several.

But I realized while texting back and forth with a friend who is a Tigers fan last night that perhaps I’m being a little too hard on Valverde. After all, this is a man who was likely sitting in a San Pedro de Macoris bar about a month ago with his head in his folded skinny arms, fast asleep. You know he was. He was ordering up shots of Milagro, stacking the rocks glasses on his gut; just hammering them down one by one waiting for the call from Jim Leyland.

Jose Valverde is 1 for 1 in save opportunities by golly and this proves that the save is indefinitely an overrated statistic.

10 Bold Predictions for 2013: The Angels or Tigers Represent the AL in the World Series

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As part of our preview for the upcoming 2013 season, we’ll be doing a 10 Bold Predictions for 2013 series that will be featured between now and Opening Day. Our fourth prediction: the Anaheim Angels or Detroit Tigers represent the American League in the 2013 World Series.

You should be at that point where you’ve picked about four teams in your head that you could see squaring off for a trip to the World Series. There can be other teams that you feel good about, but no more than a maximum of four should be included in your small circle of trust that you know will play for the Pantheon in October in front of the world.

There are some loaded teams in the American League this year. I think the Red Sox will be better than anyone is expecting (expectations haven’t been lower in Boston since I hit puberty). The Toronto Blue Jays might set a record for home runs hit and runs scored. The Yankees will still be the Yankees, they’ll be relevant at some point though probably not at the end when it matters most. The Tampa Rays are going to be really strong too I think.

At the end of the day there are only two logical teams that I see playing for the ultimate prize.

Last year we dubbed the Anaheim Angels as the Miami Heat of baseball. They won 89 ballgames and that was good enough for third place in the American League West; and it resulted in them getting a trip back to their respective homes when the postseason began.

As loaded as they appeared, there were glaring holes we just didn’t see. I mean, you can’t hide a Vernon Wells. And when Peter Bourjos hit just .220 it didn’t matter how Albert Pujols rebounded to be just as Pujolsian as ever before after April and it didn’t matter how nuts Mike Trout went all year. There were things that the Angels couldn’t rebound from.

And even the Miami Heat fell short in their first season together before winning a title.

But the Angels really are the Heat of all of baseball now. After you wondered how much money they could have left they went out and signed Josh Hamilton to a monster deal. In many first innings this season you’ll see Trout, Pujols and Hamilton all bat. The Angels will play with more leads before their starter even takes the mound than any team in baseball this season because of it.

The Tigers won 88 games last season, one less than the Angels; yet they ended up in the World Series. The Tigers have baseball’s best hitter in their lineup in Miguel Cabrera and have a host of other players around him in the lineup aside from Prince Fielder and Austin Jackson.

While the Tigers won’t score as many runs as Anaheim, they have better starting pitching. I like about four of Detroit’s guys to be able to contend for the AL Cy Young, and only one of them is named Justin Verlander. Scherzer, Fister, Sanchez, hell even Drew Smyly if given the opportunity could jump off the page and win about 18 games on this team. The Tigers are also bolstered with the finest manager in the American League by my estimation.

When the dust settles, we’ll have a barn-burner of an ALCS to watch. It’s not going to be one of those that gets decided in four or five games like last year when the Yankees shouldn’t even have been there and got embarrassed by Detroit. You’re going to see two teams that shook out of a deep AL-field battling it out until the final strike. Expect high drama and a lot of memorable games that entertains anyone with an interest in the sport.

These two teams are absolutely loaded, and anything less than reaching this step would be a monumental disappointment. The difference between last year is whoever shakes out of this ALCS is likely to be crowned the World Series Champion, because the American League is a lot deeper than the National League this season.

Anaheim and Detroit, for all the marbles in 2013.

2013 Detroit Tigers Team Preview

 

If someone told a Tigers fan that this would be the closing picture to the 2012 Detroit season, they would have been ecstatic.  The  only problem is that this picture is from the ALCS victory, not the World Series.  For the second time in six years, The Tigers were the runner up to a National League club.  For Detroit fans in general, I’m sure it seems like you city has been short on luck the past several years with little hockey, the Pistons and Lions being horrible, and general economic problems.  (Side note:  sometimes it feels like Detroit and Cleveland are in a race to the bottom.)  The Tigers have been a bright spot. Spending plenty of money, signing big free agents, and winning.  But coming up short hurts bad – no one denies this.

So what did Detroit do in the off season do avoid this fate again.

Major Off-Season Moves:

  • Resigned SP Anibal Sanchez
  • Resigned SP Rick Porcello
  • Signed OF Torii Hunter

A lot of people thought the deal that the Tigers gave Sanchez, $80M over 5 years, a steep price to pay for a 4th starter.  But that’s the free market.  The Tigers valued a 4th starter more than other teams valued a number two – because I think that’s what Sanchez can be.  Meanwhile, they filled out the fifth spot by keeping Porcello around.  Then the signed Torii Hunter, who is seemingly ageless.  He’ll be a upgrade over having to play Delmon Young in the OF.

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