Saturday Non Sequiturs: Memories of 2003, Infante’s Future and Wang Chung Tonight

Catching up on this and that while the temperature hits 111 on my back porch — in the shade.

Earlier today I tweeted the recap of the June 29, 2003, Tigers/Diamondbacks game at Comerica Park. The most notable nugget from the boxscore was Jose Valverde‘s six-pitch, four-strike, three-batter save. What a difference 10 years can make. Of the players appearing in that game, only Valverde, Andres Torres, Ramon Santiago and Fernando Rodney are still in the majors.

Then-Dbacks manager Bob Brenly is back in Arizona’s TV booth (from where he was plucked in 2001 to replace Buck Showalter). Alan Trammell and his Tigers bench coach Kirk Gibson have swapped roles and now lead the Diamondbacks. And, we know where Jose Valverde is these days.

Baseball really is the game of retreads.

***

Every time I see Omar Infante make a nifty play or have a multiple-hit game, I can’t help but think back to 2009 and Placido Polanco. Coming off a Gold Glove season in which he hit .285, the Tigers didn’t offer him a contract and handed the keys to second base to the (still) unproven Scott Sizemore.

Are we heading toward a replay after this season with free-agent-to-be Infante? I sure hope not.

When the Tigers cut Polanco loose after five-ish seasons, he was 33. Infante turns 32 the day after Christmas. Why would they part ways with him again? Hernan Perez is hitting. 299 at Erie these days and earned a sip of coffee last season with Detroit, but is he the answer at second base? I’m not so sure.

I’d like to see Infante re-signed for two more seasons and keep at least part of the keystone combo intact for awhile … and avoid another Sizemore situation.

What do you think?

***

Like most Tigers fans, I’m waiting for Victor Martinez to thaw from his low-.200s freeze. He will, right? Yes, I think he will and it will likely be after the All-Star Game. I don’t mind Jim Leyland riding it out with Martinez in the five hole. What other option do they have? None, really.

***

When Leyland selects reserves for the All-Star Game in two weeks will Drew Smyly be among the final roster? I think he should be. I mean, look at his line coming into play today:

W L W-L% ERA G GF SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP BB/9 SO/9
3 0 1.000 2.25 28 7 2 48.0 36 12 12 1 14 48 1.042 2.6 9.0

Yeah, that’s an All Star.

***

By any chance did you catch this story last week on Gary Sheffield, Baseball Agent, in The New York Times? Sheff’s only client is Jason Grilli and here’s some gold from the agent himself:

As a middle reliever in Detroit, Grilli had used sinkers and curveballs to minimize his pitch count and save the rest of the bullpen.

Sheffield did not approve. As with everything, he was blunt in his assessment of his client.

“I told Jason my honest opinion of his pitching style, and he knew I didn’t like it,” Sheffield said. “I let him know, ‘Your stuff and your results don’t match up.’ He’s a big guy with a hard sinker and filthy slider, and when I see that, I think that’s closer stuff — he just had to believe it. Just because someone tells you you’re not that type of pitcher, that don’t mean anything to you.”

Man, I miss Sheff.

***

Finally, enjoy this bit of ’80s goodness courtesy of Dr. Frasier Crane:

Have a great weekend.

Monday Mankowskis: World Series Edition

This edition features flashback photos of Tigers alumni we’ve all heard too much about this postseason, Cody Ross and Andres Torres:

CodyRoss.jpg

  • Tomorrow the Diamondbacks will announce that Alan Trammell will be Kirk Gibson’s bench coach in 2011 — the same role Gibson served under Trammell from 2003-05. This was a no-brainer once Tram was told he wouldn’t be considered for the Cubs managerial job. The only thing that delayed it was, among other things, the matter of Gibson having the interim tag removed from his title.

  • There’s been a lot chatter about Rangers’ catcher Bengie Molina playing for both the Rangers and Giants this season. He’s one of only five players in major-league history to have played on both World Series teams in the same year.

    Did you know that one of the remaining four did so with the Tigers in 1984? Indeed: ye olde Sid Monge. The lefty reliever appeared in 13 games with the Padres (2-1, 4.80 ERA) and 19 for the Tigers (1-0, 4.25 ERA). SI.com has a story on the last player to do so before Molina.

    Oct. 26 Update: As posted on Keith Olbermann‘s baseball blog, Monge doesn’t fall into this category because he wasn’t on the Tigers’ World Series roster. I knew Monge didn’t make the roster, but I didn’t realize the qualifier for this two-team distinction was to appear in the World Series. Live and learn.

    Continue reading “Monday Mankowskis: World Series Edition”

Familiar Faces in Playoffs for Tigers Fans

2010postseasonLogo.jpgNot sure if this makes the postseason more or less interesting to you, but if you watch each league’s division series you’ll likely to see lots of former Tigers:

Yankees

Rays

Rangers

Giants

Braves

Phillies

How are Former Tigers Faring in 2010?

Rearview Mirror.jpgLooking around the majors there are plenty of former Tigers doing well — and some not so well. Here’s a look at some of the more notable players and their current numbers:

  • Placido Polanco, Phillies: .314 avg., 6 HR, 42 RBI, .348 OBP. Currently fifth in the N.L. in hitting, which is just another reason the Tigers (and fans) are regretting his departure.

  • Omar Infante, Braves: .347 avg., 7 HR, 37 RBI, .837 OPS From Rob Neyer: “At the moment, he doesn’t have enough plate appearances to qualify [for the batting title]. To reach 502, he needs another 169 in the Braves’ 38 remaining games.”

  • Andres Torres, Giants: .287 avg., 13 HR, 57 RBI, .869 OPS. Torres is the embodiment of stick-to-itiveness. Nearly a decade after he was touted as a centerpiece of the Tigers new wave of young talent, he’s downright essential to the Giants offense. Good for him.

    Continue reading “How are Former Tigers Faring in 2010?”

Friday Freehans: Juan Cruz, Bill James and Andres Torres!

BillFreehan.jpg The other night I saw Edwin Jackson pitch for the Diamondbacks against the Cardinals and he looked sharp (eight innings, 0 walks). I sat behind home plate and couldn’t get over how hard he threw — consistently. He still would like nice in the Tigers’ rotation, wouldn’t he?

Bygones. Here are some Tigers morsels for your consideration:

  • Before the 2009 season I had begged and pleaded with the Tigers to sign free-agent reliever Juan Cruz despite his Type-A free-agent status.

    I’d watched him throw bullets for the Diamondbacks over a few seasons and thought he’d be a perfect fit in Detroit. Instead, they signed Brandon Lyon and Cruz signed with the Royals, handing the D-backs a prime draft choice.

    Today the Royals released him.

    [H]e labored through the 2009 season, blowing three straight saves during one stretch on his way to a 5.72 ERA. Cruz wasn’t much better this year, allowing all six inherited runners to score and a .391 batting average against in 5 1-3 innings.

    Just another example of why I write this blog and don’t work in a front office.

    Continue reading “Friday Freehans: Juan Cruz, Bill James and Andres Torres!”