Three-ish for Thursday: Festivus, Feller and My New Job

Here we are one week before Festivus and the Tigers have given fans mere stocking stuffers compared to the gifts White Sox, Nationals, Red Sox and, most recently, Phillies fans received.

Then again, only in this offseason could a guy of Victor Martinez’s caliber be considered value-bin material. Now that the big names are off the board, the Tigers are left to browse the remainder table for their missing pieces — unless a trade goes down.

  • In March 2009, my friends John and Steve came to town for some Cactus League action. The first game we attended was at the Indians and Reds shared facility in Goodyear, Ariz. (Though the Reds wouldn’t move to the Phoenix region until this past Spring.) We all agreed that the game between the Tribe and the Brewers might have been the longest Spring Training game in history, which made Bob Feller’s performance that day all the more remarkable. He sat in the shade down the leftfield line and signed autographs for the entire game — and it was a steady stream of fans, despite it being far from a sellout. Impressive indeed.
  • I was never a fan of Feller because he played the Crabby-Old-Man role for so long and his comments about Jackie Robinson in Ken Burns’ “Baseball” series seemed inappropriate.

    Nevertheless, baseball lost a legend yesterday. A legend that posted a 41-29 record and a 3.44 ERA against the Tigers in his 18-year career — his record at Briggs Stadium was 21-14 in 38 starts — only the White Sox and Athletics lost to him more. In fact, the Yankees were the only club to have beaten Feller more than they lost: 37-30.

  • The response to our most recent Flash Poll was astounding — more than 2,100 votes. Thanks for weighing in. We asked Should the Tigers pursue Curtis Granderson to play left field? The context in which we were asking — but didn’t articulate in the question — was pure speculation that if the Yankees landed Carl Crawford, then Granderson might be available.As you can see, 86 percent of respondents would like to see him back in a Tigers uniform — though most weren’t willing to do it at any cost:
    • Yes, depending on the cost. (45%, 987 Votes)
    • Absolutely. (41%, 891 Votes)
    • Bygones. (14%, 302 Votes)
    • Total Voters: 2,180
  • Thanks again for participating, and watch for our next poll soon.

  • Random items: On this date in 1996, the Tigers traded second baseman Mark Lewis to the Giants for first baseman Jesse Ibarra. Lewis came to the Tigers from the Reds in a trade for David Wells … Today’s the 46th birthday of Bill Ripken … Shouldn’t the Tigers make an offer to Jim Thome, if for no other reason than to see what he can do at Comerica Park? … I’m intrigued by what the future holds for Jeremy Bonderman. Where does he sign? Does he come back at all? It’s been awfully quiet on the Bondo front … And this is funny, if not childish. When the Diamondbacks were pursuing (and eventually signing) reliever J.J. Putz, the D-backs’ outstanding beat writer, Nick Piecoro, had to deal with an interesting technological problem. Whenever he wrote “Putz”, the Arizona Republic‘s publishing system would replace it with “(inappropriate term)”, leaving each Web article on the subject with a few instances of “former White Sox reliever J.J. (inappropriate term)”. Putz’s name appeared uncensored, as it were, in the print editions of the Piecoro’s articles but not without the writer needing to produce a tedious workaround. Last week Piecoro reported on Twitter that the tech guys finally got it figured out.

Finally, you probably noticed that posting here has been lighter than normal over the past couple of weeks. Here’s why: after more than seven years as a self-employed freelance writer, I’ve gone back to work in the corporate world.

(If you’re interested in where I’m working, here’s a hint: it’s the parent company of the school Jim Leyland‘s son is attending (he mentions it in this piece by Lynn Henning), though Leyland doesn’t get the name exactly right.) As a result, I’m trying to get a feel for my new schedule — and a wardrobe based on more than t-shirts. Hang with me while I find the groove.

Monday Mankowskis: Winter Meetings Edition

PhilMankowski77.jpgOne by one, the Tigers’ alleged free-agent targets are signing with other clubs and in the case of Adam Dunn, with the hated White Sox. Now that Jayson Werth has sign a gargantuan deal with the Nationals — the Nationals? — Detroit is left to shoot for the moon (i.e., Carl Crawford) or swing another blockbusterish trade.

I’m still betting on the latter, though the Tigers have fewer minor-league chips to parlay into an impact big-leaguer, and the ones they have — Andy Oliver, Jacob Turner — are the premier prospects. But who wants to see them dealt? Not many, I’m guessing.

Meanwhile …

Continue reading “Monday Mankowskis: Winter Meetings Edition”

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”

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

Tigers Today: September 7, 2010

BallBatGrass.jpgTigers’ Record:

68-70, 3rd Place; 13 GB

Today’s Game

Tigers vs. White Sox | 7:05 p.m. ET – Comerica Park | On the air: FSD/AM 1270 and 97.1 FM

Pitching Matchup

Justin Verlander (14-8, 3.61 ERA) vs. Freddy Garcia (11-5, 4.82 ERA)

Yesterday’s Results

White Sox 5 – Tigers 4 (10 innings)

Continue reading “Tigers Today: September 7, 2010”

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?”

Good Decisions by the Tigers? Huzzah!

flipacoin.jpgOn Monday, Sports Illustrated‘s Jon Heyman wrote a column in which he highlights the top-20 decisions made by MLB teams in the past year. In Heyman’s view, the Tigers made two of the top decisions:

3. The Tigers’ acquisition of Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer and Phil Coke in the three-team trade with the Yankees and Diamondbacks for Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson.
This was the most unpopular of moves at the time in Detroit. It’s way early to say for sure, but as of today it looks boffo, with Granderson starting slowly (.240 average) in New York and Jackson (4-6, 5.05 ERA) doing the same in Arizona. Austin Jackson is a Rookie of the Year candidate, providing Gold Glove-type defense, perhaps the most valuable piece in the deal that saved the Tigers beaucoup bucks. Scherzer has shown only flashes of greatness, and Coke is a middle reliever. But the Tigers look like they received a star, while setting themselves up to improve their offense (by getting Johnny Damon) and bullpen (Jose Valverde) with the money that was saved.

And, here’s the other:

11. The Tigers’ decision to let Magglio Ordonez’s contract vest.
They could easily have not played Ordonez to save themselves a lot of money, but they did the proper thing by fielding their best lineup, which included Ordonez, as they tried, ultimately without success, to secure a playoff spot.

[snip]

His wife was going through a cancer battle last year, so Ordonez understandably underperformed. And the Tigers did the right thing by standing by him.

Rob Neyer takes a closer look at this one today.

I wonder if the Tigers releasing Gary Sheffield last spring training and DFA’ing Dontrelle Willis last month were anywhere on Heyman’s list.

What do you think about Heyman’s assessment — and Neyer’s?