The Daily Breakfast: July 17, 2011

Good Sunday Morning. How are you enjoying the growing number of Tigers trade rumors? First Ubaldo Jimenez, now Derek Lowe. In this update on the Rumors blog, they float Magglio Ordonez or Casper Wells as pieces going to Atlanta in a potential deal.

Leading Off: What’s the worst part of the Tigers two-game skid?

A) It smells like last year when they were swept by the Indians to start the second half.

B) They’ve lost six of their last eight series.

C) It comes at the hands of the White Sox.

D) A two-game losing streak is cause for concern?

Yeah, it could be all the above. Let’s add another one: they were blanked by Edwin Jackson. Jeez … On the bright side, Carlos Guillen returned to the lineup after 11 months and went one for three … From the AP story: “It’s a tough injury,” Guillen said. “Sometimes you feel good for one week, and the next day you’re sore. Right now, I’m at the point where I’ve been playing 15, 20 days in a row, and I feel good every day.” … Hey, speaking of second baseman, look who broke out of an 0-for-18 slump with a game-winning hit.

[callout title=The Rundown]

The Tigers are in second place, one game behind the Indians.

Today’s game: Brad Penny (6-6, 4.50 ERA) vs. Phil Humber (8-5, 3.10 ERA) | 1:05 p.m. FSD/1270 & 97.1

There are 14 days left until the July 31 trade deadline.

Fifty years ago today, following a year-long illness, Ty Cobb died at age 74 in Atlanta.

On this date in 2000, the Tigers acquired outfielder Dusty Allen from the Padres for infielder Gabe Alvarez. In 1989 they traded outfielder Billy Bean to the Dodgers for outfielders Domingo Michel and Steve Green. Way back in 1942, they acquired righty Jack Wilson from the Senators for infielder Eric McNair (McNair refused to report).

Around the Central: The Orioles did their best to blow it but somehow they held on to beat the Indians, 6-5 and end their eight-game losing streak. In Minneapolis, the Twins beat the Royals, 4-3.

A-Jax Still Hurting: Austin Jackson has missed the past five games with a sore wrist and seems likely to miss today’s game too. Speculation here is that if Jackson goes on the disabled list, Clete Thomas might be first in line for a call up. It sure would be nice to see ol’ Clete back in Detroit.

For Me, It was the Jason Thompson Trade: This blog post in the New York Times asks a terrific question: When Did You Lose Your Fan ‘Innocence’?

As we are constantly reminded, major league sports are, at heart, a business. Many personnel decisions are based on dollars and cents, not legacies and fan favorites, and it is often the fans who take these decisions the hardest.

What about you? What trade hurt you the most (and it doesn’t have to be a Tigers player)? Or maybe it was a work stoppage or something else.

Finally, Happy 94st Birthday to Phyllis Diller. Yes, she’s still alive.

Thoughts on Today’s Cuts

Second baseman Scott Sizemore was sent to Triple-A Toledo today.

Scott Sizemore said he was disappointed about being cut today by the Tigers. It has to be even more disappointing for a player who, by most accounts, was reestablishing himself as a promising big leaguer this spring only to lose the job to a guy (Will Rhymes) who didn’t runaway with the job.

As much as I like Rhymes — and loved having him on the podcast last fall — I still believed Sizemore would emerge as the Opening Day starter.

Clete Thomas’s demotion wasn’t as surprising as Robbie Weinhardt’s. All spring long we heard about how Weinhardt would be a key component in the Tigers’ bullpen.

Poor Clete. If he could hit like Brennan Boesch, he’d probably be on the 25-man roster.

Roster-palooza: Avila Heads North, One Decision Remains

Coach Clipboard.jpgIn the latest episode of the podcast, Ian and I reviewed the looming roster decisions facing Jim Leyland and the Tigers. Today we have answers.

All that’s left to decide is the 25th man. Will it be Don Kelly or Clete Thomas? They both bat from the left side, so you can cross that off the list of criteria.

The DTP #99: One Week to Go

DetroitTigersPodcastAlbum.jpgWelcome to The Detroit Tigers Podcast. This is Episode #99 a 68-minute podcast about the Detroit Tigers recorded live from Scottsdale, Ariz., and Ann Arbor, Mich.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Is Nate Robertson on the trading block?
  • Bobby Seay‘s torn rotator cuff
  • The Tigers’ batting order
  • Last man on the roster: Don Kelly, Jeff Larish or Clete Thomas?
  • The Sporting News pre-season predictions
  • Did anti-Semitism cost Hank Greenberg a shot at 60 homers in 1938?

…and much more.

Continue reading The DTP #99: One Week to Go

Three for Thursday

Fenway Park is inching its way toward Metrodome and U.S. Cellular Field status in the heart of this Tigers fan. Anyway…


  1. I’ve long been a fan of the Oakland A’s. Admittedly, it was because I loved their gold, green and white ensemble they wore in the 1970s, but also because of Billy Martin‘s Oakland clubs in the early ’80s. The other day I picked up “Champions: The Story of the First Two Oakland A’s Dynasties and the Building of the Third” by Glenn Dickey, at the library.

    The first chapter, fittingly, is about long-time A’s owner Charlie Finley. Dickey shares this nugget: Before Finley bought the Kansas City A’s, one of his many failed attempts to buy a club included the Tigers. Can you imagine? Denny McLain and Charlie Finley? And we thought Jim Campbell was cheap…

  2. I can’t abide by Batting Stance Guy.

  3. If you’re an autograph hound, and I mean that lovingly, you can score a Zach Miner and Clete Thomas autograph on Saturday. Just donate new or gently used baseball equipment, or who provide a cash-money donation, at ABC Warehouse at 30280 Plymouth Road in Livonia from 12:30-1:30 p.m.

    The donations benefit Gloves For Kids, a program designed to provide Detroit’s youth the proper sporting equipment to participate in organized baseball and softball. Tell them The Fungo sent you…and be prepared for a blank stare.

Wanted to mention a couple of housekeeping items. Over the years I’ve grappled with the notion of advertising on The Fungo; I don’t want to clutter up the site with stuff that you have no interest in. You might have noticed that I added an Amazon block ad to the sidebar and Google Ads w-a-a-a-y down the page. A couple of things to point out. I control the Amazon ad and I’ve customized it so it shows only Tigers-related books. So, if you click on the ad and end up buying a copy, I get a morsel of revenue. And I mean morsel.

The Google Ads are there more as an experiment than anything else. I’ve had an Adsense account for about five years and in that time I’ve accrued a whopping $50 in revenue. (Google only cuts checks for $100 or more, so at my current pace I’ve got another five years before I get paid.) Of course, if you feel moved to click an ad, by all means do so.

Bottom line: I’m not going to get rich on these but every little bit helps.

Tigers Tighten “Letting Another Player Wear Alan Trammell’s #3” Policy

Number3.jpgLast July 9 I attend a Tigers/Indians game at Comerica Park — the one when the Tigers came back from six runs down to win it in the ninth on a Miguel Cabrera line-drive homer — and found myself utterly transfixed on the father and son duo sitting in front of me.

The dad, possibly sauced, assuredly angry, took every opportunity to rip the Tigers’ DH that night, Gary Sheffield. His major beef was the wasted talent sitting on the bench in the person of Marcus Thames. His poor teenage son looked weary and sat mute as dad ripped Sheff — who, by the by, went 2 for 4 that night. In other words, at least four times he tore into Sheffield and twice he had to pull back a bit.

Until the bottom of the ninth.

Continue reading Tigers Tighten “Letting Another Player Wear Alan Trammell’s #3” Policy

One Sentence on Josh Anderson, Your New Tigers Outfielder

Thanks to a timely ping from Ian Casselberry, we heard about the Tigers curious trade with the Braves this afternoon.

Here’s how Baseball Prospectus 2009 summed up Josh Anderson:

Now 26, he’s still nothing more than a fifth outfielder.


Atlanta gets pitching prospect Rudy Darrow.

More to come, but three things come to mind:

  1. Does this mean it’s the end of the line for Marcus Thames?
  2. Why would the Tigers give up pitching for a fifth outfielder?
  3. Is he insurance for the recuperating Clete Thomas?

What do you think of this move?

Three for Thursday: Fitty-Cent Edition

  1. As I mentioned yesterday, I took-in Monday night’s freeze-fest at a cold, rainy and darn-near empty Comerica Park. The best part — besides hanging with some good friends — was the ticket price. 3 fingers.jpgThanks to the Tigers’ tank job this season, I was able to pay 50¢ for each of the four $13 tickets. Fifty cents! (If it weren’t for the $17 dollars in StubHub charges for “last-minute services”, it would’ve been the steal of the century.) Don’t believe me? Take a look at StubHub for the remaining Tigers games. Chances are, you’ll see some starting at a buck or less.

  2. Every year since I moved to the Phoenix area, I’ve vowed to attend some Arizona Fall League games. So far, I’ve attended zero. But that will change this year because Jeff Larish and Clete Thomas will be among the Tigers’ prospects playing for the Mesa Solar Sox or whatever. Wait. What’s that you say? D’oh! So much for Thomas. I may need to reevaluate.
  3. Only three more games against the White Sox. Music to my ears. With any luck, the Tigers will do some damage in Chicago and let the Twins move closer to the division lead. By the way, which team do you want to win the A.L. Central? Cast your vote in our latest poll.

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.