Back in Time: 2008 is 2005

BallTherapy.jpgIt wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Here we are, approaching the third weekend of August, and the Tigers are mired in third place, nine-and-a-half games out of first place. And, as I’m always reminding myself, only five games out of last place. This was supposed to be like 1984, 1968 or even 1945. It was not supposed to be like – gulp – 2005.

The Tigers record coming into this weekend series against the Orioles is 59-62. Entering play on Aug. 14, 2005, the Tigers were 53-61, 21-and-a-half-games out of first.

While the 2005 club was further back in the standings mathematically on Aug. 14, the current team feels about that far behind the White Sox and Twins. Doesn’t it?

Three years ago, Tigers fans seemed more interested in whether or not Alan Trammell would return as manager, who they’d acquire in the offseason, and what on God’s green earth to do with Carlos Pena?

Today, well, the team has probably more questions than the 2005 team did. One thing we can be assured of is Jim Leyland returning as manager. And that’s a good thing. Of course, some may disagree with that, but I believe there are very few buttons he could’ve pushed this year that would make up almost 10 games in the standings.

Here are 17 questions about the 2009 season rattling around in my head:

  1. Who’s the closer in 2009?
  2. Does Chuck Hernandez return as pitching coach?
  3. Is Nate Robertson a Tiger next season?
  4. Can Dontrelle Willis bounce back?
  5. Can the Tigers deal Carlos Guillen?
  6. If the Tigers can get a catcher, do they — and do they move Brandon Inge back to third?
  7. Does Vance Wilson return at long last?
  8. Who’s the shortstop?
  9. Would they deal Magglio Ordonez as some suggest?
  10. How does Jeremy Bonderman recover?
  11. Is Clete Thomas on the big club to stay?
  12. Who is 2009’s Matt Joyce?
  13. Are the Tigers counting on Freddy Garcia?
  14. Will Brent Clevlen finally break through?
  15. What can the Tigers expect out of Joel Zumaya?
  16. Do they sign Placido Polanco to an extension before the season?
  17. What’s Gary Sheffield‘s role — if any?

Ultimately, the 2005 Tigers finished 20 games under .500. Will this year’s team finish that far off the pace? Some days (i.e., against Tampa Bay) it certainly feels as if they could, but I doubt it.

I’m tending to believe that Doug’s right — 81 and 81 for this year’s club. But the fate of the 2009 team lies in how they address the pressing issues hovering over the organization.

Author: Mike McClary

Upbeat guy.

4 thoughts on “Back in Time: 2008 is 2005”

  1. I don’t know that we can be assured Leyland is returning. I figure he is, but I don’t think it’s 100%. In any case, I’m glad someone’s providing the questions! You’re gonna set off a run across the Tigers blogosphere. Or me and Al anyway.

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  2. With Leland’s saga in Colorado and just disappearing, I’m thinking he might take a walk after this season. I still think he should be the manager and it was a flood of injuries that blew it for the team this year and not his fault but, I’m predicting this might be his last year by his own choice. Not sure who SHOULD replace him though either…

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  3. Mike,

    Great post. Remember when I could not return to Michigan football until Lloyd Carr was fired? I spent a very fun season following the Florida Gators. As you might recall, I took some time before ultimately choosing the Gators. I first considered many other college football teams serious abut winning. Now I am in the same place with Jim Leyland, but with a twist. I am looking for a team with honest dedication. Early candidates for my “Replacement Tigers” include the Angels (dedicated to winning), Texas (dedicated to mediocrity) and Washington (dedicated to losing). At least I know where these teams stand, with no baloney on their commitments either way. Somebody call me when Leyland is gone, so I can mapquest my way back to the Tigers.

    Tommy

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  4. Here are the answers:

    1. K-Rod (wishful thinking I know)
    2. He shouldn’t, but Leyland’s loyal so he’ll be back (Leo Mazzone anyone?)
    3. Who would take him? He’ll rebound next year. This was a post-contract hangover.
    4. Yes
    5. They could but won’t (see #2 above)
    6. Yes, they would (but that would be predicated on #5 happening)
    7. No, he’s done
    8. Someone from Colorado’s SS-heavy system
    9. They should definitely shop him. I agree with Henning on this one. He’s the one commodity that could command something. Remember Trading Places, “buy low and sell high Billy Ray.”
    10. Unless he’s been receiving pyscho-therapy to go with the physical rehab it won’t matter much.
    11. Yes, especially if #9 occurs an/or Thames is dealt.
    12. No idea.
    13. Seriously?
    14. Yes, but in another MLB uniform (perhaps Colorado as part of the SS deal).
    15. Make him a starting pitcher. He has three above average pitches and you’ll need another arm in the rotation next year.
    16. Yes, he finishes his career here.
    17. Move him and $10 million of cash to some team that needs a past-their-prime outfielder (preferably to an NL team).

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