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!

Tigers Today: April 2, 2010

BehindHomePlate.jpg

Tigers’ Spring Training Record: 18-10-2

Today’s Game

Tigers @ Brewers | 8:10 p.m. ET – Miller Park, Milwaukee | On the air: WXYT 1270-AM

Pitching Matchup

Max Scherzer, 1-1, 7.15 vs. Doug Davis, 1-1, 5.40 ERA

Continue reading Tigers Today: April 2, 2010

Tigers Today: April 1, 2010

Apologies for the late post. The benefit is that I have today’s results. BehindHomePlate.jpg

Tigers’ Spring Training Record: 18-10-2

Today’s Games

Tigers 4 – Braves 1

The Tigers dinged Jair Jurrjens for a pair of runs on Don Kelly‘s home run and Eddie Bonine pitched four scoreless, one-hit innings to pace the Tigers in the front end of Grapefruit League finale.

Tigers 4 – Astros 2

The only worthwhile tidbit about this matchup of Tigers minor leaguers versus primetime Astros is former Tiger Chris Shelton appearing in the game for Houston. Oh, Brandon Lyon and Tim Byrdak pitched for the Astros.

Continue reading Tigers Today: April 1, 2010

You know…

EmbarrassedGuyXSmall.jpg…watching Edwin Jackson deal all night long was nothing short of exhilarating. Even when he gave up the homer to the unlikeable Scott Rolen. Still, I put this game less on Brandon Lyon and more on the other Brandon with a four-letter last name: Inge.

Sure, he hit a homer to tie it in the ninth, but his error in the eighth got all the bad karma a-swirling.

If Lyon’s 2009 is like his ’08 in Arizona, there will be plenty of opportunities to rip into him.

Tonight, though, I hang on Inge.

2009 Player Profile: Fernando Rodney

Fernando Rodney #56

  • Height: 5′ 11″ | Weight: 220
  • 2008 Stats: 0-6, 4.91 ERA, 13 Saves

In a bottom-line business like major league baseball, fans tend to overlook stats such as 49 strikeouts in 40 innings or 13 saves from a late-inning reliever like Fernando Rodney. RodneyHead.jpgSix blown saves and an ERA a whisker under five are more glaring and more representative of Detroit’s bullpen woes in 2008. Yet despite that lackluster campaign, the Tigers expect big things from Rodney in ’09.

Though he spent April and May on the DL, the ’08 season wasn’t all bad for the senior-ranking Tiger in the bullpen; he assembled stretches of lights-out appearances, including June and July in which hitters produced a .183 average against him. Over that same timeframe he fanned 37 in 27.1 innings pitched. The key to success for Rodney is a breathtaking changeup that, when near the plate, is difficult for hitters to resist. Of course, a high-90s fastball makes the off-speed pitches that much more tantalizing.

With Todd Jones’ retirement, Brandon Lyon‘s arrival and Joel Zumaya’s (tentative) return, chances are that Rodney will begin 2009 as a setup man. If something goes wrong with Lyon or Zumaya and if Rodney can harness his pitches, develop consistency, and fortify his mental makeup, he could, in the end, be the Tigers’ answer at closer.

For a pitcher with Rodney’s track record, that’s an awful lot of ifs.

At Last, New Uniform Numbers Announced

ScorecardXSmall.jpgApologies for the lengthy radio silence. For the past 10 days I’ve been clicking the refresh button on my Web browser at Tigers.com waiting to see if they’ve assigned numbers to Gerald Laird, Adam Everett, Edwin Jackson and Matt Treanor.

Lo and behold, today they have. Here are the numbers you’ll see in your program:

  • Laird – 8
  • Jackson – 36
  • Everett – 4
  • Treanor – 20

One number that hasn’t changed is Jeff Larish‘s number 19. In the Arizona Fall League he was wearing number 7. With Pudge Rodriguez gone, I thought Larish was making the shift. Apparently not.

Now I can get back to blogging normalcy.

Updated: I forgot to mention Brandon Lyon‘s number, 37. Looks like Kenny Rogers is retired.

Sunday Tidbits

imagescoffeecupceramic.jpgOnly on rare occasions do I find Tigers-related nuggets in my local paper, The Arizona Republic, and today qualifies as a rare occasion. Here’s one such item from the (excellent) blog of Diamondbacks beat writer Nick Piecoro:

Something we forgot to mention: The Diamondbacks were serious players for Brandon Lyon before Lyon signed with the Tigers, a deal that was finalized on Monday.

Only the Diamondbacks wanted Lyon for their rotation.

General Manager Josh Byrnes said earlier this week that Lyon received “better finances” from the Tigers. Lyon goes to Detroit as the favorite to win the closer’s job.

Lyon’s agent, Barry Meister, said Lyon was interested in the idea of starting, but timing stood in the way of making a deal happen.

“We had gotten pretty much to the end in Detroit,” Meister said, “and we were unable to change gears and do something with Arizona. Sometimes it’s just a timing issue and that was the case here.”

Given what Lynn Henning wrote this morning about the Tigers having seven starting pitchers, perhaps he’ll want to bump that number to eight?

Second tidbit: According to Piecoro, the D-backs may have big plans for former Tigers farmhand, Arizona Rule-5 pickup James Skelton:

General Manager Josh Byrnes said Rule 5 pick James Skelton already has reported to Tucson and is working with coaches Jack Howell, Chip Hale, Lorenzo Bundy and others. He’s hitting, taking ground balls, working in the weight room, etc.

It will be very interesting to see how Skelton looks at positions other than catcher, where he has played almost exclusively in the minor leagues with Detroit. He played a lot of middle infield in high school, and Byrnes wouldn’t rule out the idea of Skelton seeing time in the outfield as well.

“Athletically, he can do it,” Byrnes said.

So — and yes, we’re getting way ahead of ourselves here — could he be in the mix at second base in 2010?

“That’s not the plan,” Byrnes said. “But he has a background there, he’s athletic enough to do it, has a nice bat and with his body type, maybe that’s the spot for him.”

Maybe Skelton will be a reverse-Chris Shelton situation for the Tigers. Given how Big Red’s career evaporated, let’s hope that’s not the case for Skelton.

Finally, if you’re watching the Super Bowl today root for the Cardinals. It would be nice to have a team from my town win the final football game of the year. And I don’t mean the Pro Bowl.