Trade Review: Tigers acquire Wilson Betemit

AP

Wednesday afternoon the Detroit Tigers announced a trade, the first in Major League Baseball since Francisco Rodriguez was sent to the Brewers on the night of the All-Star game. The Tigers kicked off what is sure to be a slew of near deadline deals in the next ten days by acquiring third basemen Wilson Betemit from the Royals in exchange for Single-A prospects LHP Antonio Cruz and catcher Julio Rodriguez.

Betemit’s offensive production (.281/.341/.409 in 226 PAs this year) will surely be a welcome addition to Detroit’s lineup, which is ranked fifth in the American League in runs scored despite getting a pathetic .186/.251/.249 line from third base this season. Brandon Inge, the longest tenured Tigers player, is the one responsible for that horrific triple slash line leading many to wonder as to why the organization signed him to a 2-year/$11.5M contract before the season. It’s not as if Inge’s 2011 struggles have come out of the blue as his triple slash line since the start of ‘07 is .226/.307/.375. The Tigers knew they weren’t signing an “offensive” third basemen this off-season, but perhaps they were a little overzealous giving that dollar figure to a middling player approaching his decline years.

The addition of Betemit plugs up the only gaping hole the Tigers had in their lineup. The question now becomes who goes from the 25-man roster to make room for Betemit when he joins the club for the upcoming Minnesota series. The candidates are Inge (of course), Ramon Santiago, and Don Kelly. Despite the fans and Manager’s love affair with Donnie Kelly, I actually believe that Santiago would be the more useful bench piece at the moment. The way the Tigers infield is currently with Betemit and Carlos Guillen, having a good defensive replacement off the bench is going to be key. That comment is directed at Guillen, who has shown very little in terms of range at second base in his short time in the majors. Kelly’s value, on the other hand, lies in the fact that he can play multiple positions which isn’t to say that he can play them all well as he can be quite shaky in the infield.

The prospects going the other way here represent a pretty decent return for Kansas City. Cruz is a young lefty who sits at 89-91 mph and has a potentially plus pitch in his curveball. Rodriguez has been called the best defensive catcher in the Tigers system and his fielding is so strong some think he could make the majors as a backup even if his bat never develops, though he’s hitting .283 at Lakeland. Needless to say, but the Tigers won’t be missing either of these players anytime soon.

Nick Shlain, a Journalism student at Eastern Michigan University, writes for Detroit Baseball Page.com. You can follow him on Twitter @nshlain.

All-Star Game Notes and Non Sequiturs

Sometimes I want to rail on Major League Baseball about the lameness of so many things it does — the vapid celebrity softball game, the interminable Home Run Derby, the “this-time-it-counts” angle on the All-Star Game — but then I realize it’s probably me just getting old.

  • The Tigers’ collection of All Stars is the largest since 1985 when the club sent six players to the Metrodome for the game managed by Sparky Anderson. Here’s a look at the largest classes of Tigers All Stars since 1984 and the team’s record that season:

1984 (104-58)
Willie Hernandez
Chet Lemon
Jack Morris
Lance Parrish
Alan Trammell
Lou Whitaker

1985 (84-77)
Willie Hernandez
Jack Morris
Lance Parrish
Dan Petry
Alan Trammell
Lou Whitaker

2007 (88-74)
Carlos Guillen
Magglio Ordonez
Placido Polanco
Ivan Rodriguez
Justin Verlander

2009 (86-77)
Curtis Granderson
Brandon Inge
Edwin Jackson
Justin Verlander

Clearly, the better the Tigers were, the more players they sent to the All-Star Game. For a long time though, the Tigers were a team that had little to offer the American League manager. From 1996 through 2003, Detroit sent a single player to the game. In some cases the pickings were particularly slim (see 2002).

1996 (53-109)
Travis Fryman

1997 (79-83)
Justin Thompson

1998 (65-97)
Damion Easley

1999 (69-92)
Brad Ausmus

2000 (79-83)
Todd Jones

2001 (66-96)
Tony Clark

2002 (55-106)
Robert Fick

2003 (43-119)
Dmitri Young

Ugly, no?

  • I still think it’s remarkable that Alex Avila is the starting catcher in tonight’s game. Whoda thunk it, especially after a dreadful Opening Day series against the Yankees when Avila looked about as lost as a player can look. I guess that’s why, as Rod Allen says, you play the games. Jason Beck has a nice piece recapping the Tigers’ All Stars’ respective experiences in Phoenix.
  • The water is so far past being under the bridge, but isn’t it still a bit weird to see Curtis Granderson starting in the All-Star Game … as a Yankee?
  • Six years ago today in the Home Run Derby at Comerica Park, Bobby Abreu destroyed the records for a single round, the championship round and the grand total for all three rounds of the derby by hitting 41 homers into every part of yard. The Phillies outfielder went deep 24 times in the first round, tacks on six more in the second round and finishes with 11 more in the championship round.
  • Looking ahead to the pitching matchups for this weekend’s series against the White Sox:

Friday | 7:05 p.m. FSD/1270 & 97.1
Justin Verlander (12-4, 2.15 ERA) vs. Gavin Floyd (6-9, 4.59 ERA)

Saturday | 4:10 p.m. FOX/1270 & 97.1
Max Scherzer (10-4, 4.69 ERA) vs. Edwin Jackson (5-7, 4.30 ERA)

Sunday | 1:05 p.m. FSD/1270 & 97.1
Brad Penny (6-6, 4.50 ERA) vs. Jake Peavy (4-2, 4.83 ERA)

Finally, on this date in 1979 the White Sox were forced to forfeit the second game of twi-night doubleheader against the Tigers when more tha5,000 fans refuse to leave the field during Disco Demolition Night. I wrote about it on the 30th anniversary.

Monday Mankowskis: Optimism, Jackson’s Woes and Bonus Baseball Cards

PhilMankowski77This is one of those rare and delightful days of spring in which I get to flip back and forth between a Tigers West Coast game and a Wings playoff game. April in the D, indeed.

  • It’s always interesting to see how even a small winning streak can stir optimism among Tigers faithful. To wit: this past weekend’s series in Oakland. Buoyed by wins in the first two games, I was completely confident the Tigers could — would! — come back in Saturday night and Sunday games. A week prior (against the Royals at home) I had no such optimism. All in all I’m feeling good about their chances in Seattle, and not just because they’ll miss Felix Hernandez.

Continue reading “Monday Mankowskis: Optimism, Jackson’s Woes and Bonus Baseball Cards”

Monday Mankowskis: Inge and Peralta More Alike Than You Think

No Tigers baseball for a week, how are you managing? Here in Phoenix we’re prepping for another season of Arizona Fall League action. (More on that later.)

In the meantime, here are some odds and ends from the last week:

  • If you’re still coming to grips with the notion of Brandon Inge and Jhonny Peralta manning the left side of the Tigers’ infield next season, here’s something I noticed that will either make you feel better or worse – and nowhere in between.

    Based on this year’s stats, it appears that Inge and Peralta are practically twins:

    2010 Stats Inge Peralta
    Games 144 148
    At bats 514 551
    Hits 127 137
    Home Runs 13 15
    RBI 70 81
    Average .247 .249
    On-base Percentage .321 .311
    Slugging Percentage .397 .392
    OPS .718 .703

    Of Peralta, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski last Sunday said: “We don’t know what we will do with his ($7.25 million) option, but would like him back next year as our shortstop.”

    I’m like many Tigers fans: skeptical, at best, about Peralta as a full-time shortstop. True, he’ll bring more pop to the position than either Danny Worth or Ramon Santiago. But that’s not saying much, is it? As for his defense, the 2010 edition of Baseball Prospectus described Peralta as “increasingly immobile.”

    Gee, if we wanted an immobile shortstop, why not give the job back to Carlos Guillen?

    Discuss.

    Continue reading “Monday Mankowskis: Inge and Peralta More Alike Than You Think”

Fungo Flashback: Game 163: Microcosm, The Sequel Nutshell

Game 163 was one year ago today tomorrow. Here’s our recap … Not to bum you out or anything.


ESPN highlights available here.
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The Score: Twins 6 – Tigers 5, 12 innings

The Gist: The Tigers and Twins played a game for the ages and both teams followed the respective scripts of the past three weeks. For the Tigers, that meant squandering countless opportunities and watching a division lead evaporate. For the Twins: everything going their way. Rick Porcello was awesome, Miguel Cabrera showed up for the first part of the game and Fernando Rodney, while taking the loss, pitched almost brilliantly in what was assuredly his last Tigers performance.

The Quote: “No matter what we did, it seems like it wasn’t meant to be. This is the best game, by far, that I’ve ever played in no matter the outcome.”Brandon Inge

The Stat: 1 – The go-ahead run scored by Don Kelly in the 10th. Oh, how I wish it would’ve held up — for his sake.

Up Next: Spring Training, Lakeland, Fla., February 2010

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