Tigers Today: March 31, 2011

BehindHomePlate.jpg

Tigers Record: 0-0

Today’s Game:

Tigers @ Yankees | 1:10 p.m. ET | On the air: ESPN HD, FSD, AM 1270 & 97.1 FM

Pitching Matchup

Justin Verlander vs. LHP CC Sabathia

Tigers History Lesson

Birthdays

On this Date in Tigers History

  • 2009 — The Tigers released Gary Sheffield, who is one home run shy of 500 for his career. Sheffield, a 9-time All-Star, is 25th on the all-time home run list and 27th in RBI (1,633). He was owed more than $10 million in ’09.

  • 1998 — The Tigers defeated the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the new franchise’s first game, 11-6. Justin Thompson went six innings for the win, and Luis Gonzalez went yard for the Tigers.

  • 1994 — The Tigers acquired catcher Alan Zinter from the Mets for first baseman Rico Brogna.

Sheff Checks Out

SheffieldHeadSo Gary Sheffield is calling it quits.

Had he not played for the Tigers, I wouldn’t give this much thought, but he did, so I do.

That’s because there’s been no other Tigers player in my lifetime that has left me wanting more than Sheff.

Sure it would’ve been nice to see something, anything from the likes of Edgar Renteria, Juan Gonzalez or Fernando Vina, but Gary Sheffield was a superstar at just about every stop in his career — and he was bringing his act to Detroit. This was a once-in-a-generation opportunity.

But a collision with Placido Polanco in July 2007 essentially ended what was shaping up to be a Sheff-like season: .265, 25 home runs and 75 RBI over 133 games. His OPS that season was a hefty (Shefty?) .819.

Alas, we were robbed of what could’ve been three of the most quote-rich years in club history.

In ’08, he appeared in 114 games and hit just .225 but still smacked 19 homers.

Sheffield finishes his career with 509 home runs, 1,676 RBIs and a .292 career batting average. He is 24th on the all-time home run list and 25th on the career RBIs list.

(snip)

Sheffield will be eligible to be elected to the Hall of Fame after the 2014 season.

“I am sure it will be mentioned and debated but from my standpoint I know who is in the Hall of Fame,” Sheffield told the newspaper. “A lot of them don’t belong in the Hall of Fame. If someone wants to debate me, check the stats.”

If Sheff had three full, healthy seasons in Detroit, the stats would’ve been more impressive than they already are.

As it was, this quote from him after the ’07 injury pretty much sums up his Tigers career:

“I can’t be myself,” Sheffield said. “Guys throwing 88 miles per hour, and I can’t do nothing with it.”

Even though he was always one perceived slight from becoming a team’s bad seed, he
was an exceptional player — even though we only saw glimpses in Detroit.

I think Gary Sheffield’s a Hall of Famer. Do you?

Three for Thursday: Forgettable Randy Smith Trades Edition

3 fingers.jpgWould it surprise you to learn that in his six-plus years as Tigers’ GM, Randy Smith made 60 trades? To offer some perspective, from 1983-95, the year Smith took over the front office, the Tigers made 62 deals — roughly the same number of trades in twice the time.

On this date in 1997, Smith made a pair of humdingers during the Expansion Draft:

  1. On this date in 1997, the Tigers acquired righthander Matt Drews and infielders Joe Randa and Gabe Alvarez from the Diamondbacks for infielder Travis Fryman. The D-backs turned around and peddled Fryman to the Indians. The Tigers also acquired righthander Tim Worrell and outfielder Trey Beamon from the Padres for lefthanders Dan Miceli and Donne Wall and infielder Ryan Balfe.

  2. On Nov. 18, 1963, the Tigers sent outfielder Rocky Colavito, pitcher Bob Anderson, and a reported $50,000 to the Kansas City Athletics for second baseman Jerry Lumpe and pitchers Dave Wickersham and Ed Rakow.

  3. Happy 42nd birthday to Gary Sheffield. Sheff, we hardly knew ye.

The Detroit Tigers Podcast #123: The Fake Gary Sheffield Twitter Account

DetroitTigersPodcastAlbum.jpgWelcome to The Detroit Tigers Podcast. This is Episode #123, a 70-minute podcast about the Detroit Tigers recorded live from Scottsdale, Ariz., and Asheville, N.C.

In this episode we touch on:

…and much more.

Show Notes

Links to articles and items referenced in this episode:

Download the audio file or grab the RSS feed here.

Comments?

Leave a message on the listener line: (602) 903-5174. Or, reach us on Twitter: @TigersPodcast

We’ve also got a growing Facebook community: www.facebook.com/TigersPodcast

Reach the hosts via:

Theme music for the podcast produced by Paul Minshall.


The Detroit Tigers Podcast is not affiliated in any way with the Detroit Tigers Baseball Club or Major League Baseball.

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?

D-Train DFA’d: The D Stands for Disappointing

Wow.

So that’s how the Dontrelle Willis Era ends in Detroit? With him being designated for assignment? Who thought he’d be the Tigers’ version of Brian Glynn*?
Dontrelle Willis.jpg

In my post from Saturday in which a I speculated about the fallout from Max Scherzer‘s recall, an anonymous commenter was stunned — to the point of calling me a dufus! — that I didn’t include Dontrelle in the list of possible roster moves. I suppose that’s fair.

But here are the two reasons why I thought the Tigers would stick with Willis come hell or high water:

Continue reading “D-Train DFA’d: The D Stands for Disappointing”

Tigers Today: March 31, 2010

BehindHomePlate.jpg

Tigers’ Spring Training Record: 15-10-1

Today’s Game:

Tigers vs. Pirates | 1:05 p.m. ET – Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland | On the air: MLB Gameday Audio (Pirates’ broadcast)

Pitching Matchup: Justin Verlander (1-3, 5.63 ERA) vs. Zach Duke, (0-1, 3.00 ERA)

Also scheduled to pitch: Phil Coke and Brad Thomas

Yesterday’s Results

Tigers 10 – Orioles 9 | Box Score

Mere moments after the Nate Robertson trade was announced — which secured Dontrelle Willis‘ rotation spot — D-Train celebrated by surrendering five earned runs in 4.1 innings — his worst outing of the spring.

Offensively, Miguel Cabrera hit about 1,000 feet worth of homers with one in the first and another in the fifth. Scott Sizemore and Don Kelly also went yard.

Continue reading “Tigers Today: March 31, 2010”

Adding 327 Words to The Wordless Game Summary: Twins 6 – Tigers 2

WhiteFlag.jpgRemember in Spring Training last year when Jim Leyland was concerned about some Tigers “taking off” at bats knowing that someone else in the powerful lineup would likely back them up?

Maybe that’s what plagues the 2009 Tigers. Except for the powerful lineup thing.

Other thoughts on the game:

  • Don Kelly did not lose this game for the Tigers. The offense, yet again, is to blame. But you knew that.

  • My local Fox affiliate aired the Dodgers-Giants game today so I listened to the entire game on MLB.com. If you didn’t listen, you missed Dan Dickerson‘s call of the ball Kelly lost. I think Dickerson is terrific and the entire game he was warning listeners that games in the Metrodome tend to result in odd endings and comebacks.

    So when Kelly’s miscue was unfolding, Dickerson’s call embodied the “oh-dear-lord-he’s-lost-it-in-the-roof-and-the-Tigers-are-going-to-get-screwed-again” feeling of everyone listening back in Detroit. And he reported that the Twins lead was 3-2, and said it as if it was actually 30-2 — which it essentially was.

  • How about that Gerald Laird? I don’t care if he hits .200 forever, keep nailing those runners.

  • Edwin Jackson probably sat there watching Justin Verlander dominate with only a pair of runs and thought, “Welcome to my world.”

  • I know the announcers have ads and promos they’re required to read on air, but Jim Price‘s friendly reminder of Comerica Park suite availability for the Division Series is just asking for it. Need proof? Not long after he read the ad, it came: “(Orlando) Cabrera lifts a high fly ball to left…” Karma.

  • I wonder if somewhere Gary Sheffield saw Kelly’s flub and said to anyone in earshot: “I’da caught that!” Here’s hoping.

Tomorrow’s game is the last one I ever have to watch the Tigers play in the Metrodome. Oh, sure, there might be a one-game playoff or something, but come on. Do you honestly think I’d subject myself to watching that game?

Tuesday Tananas: Feeling the Moment, Power Poll Respect and Steve Kemp’s Pain

bananas.jpgJust saw the news that Fernando Rodney has been suspended for three games for his inexplicable heave-ho of the ball after Friday night’s win. Well, it was inexplicable to me; Rodney says he was only “feeling the moment.” Still, a three-game suspension? Please.

Anyway, enjoy him, folks. He’ll be frustrating another team’s fans next year.

Continue reading “Tuesday Tananas: Feeling the Moment, Power Poll Respect and Steve Kemp’s Pain”

Monday Night Lite

MondayReport.jpgMOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Checking in from the land of Google and Apple, on the border of Mountain View and Cupertino, Calif.:

  • It’s a shame that I read the USA Today only when I’m traveling, as I am today. There’s usually one or two outstanding pieces in each edition and this morning proved it: a feature on the Tigers by Bob Nightengale.

  • Juan Rincon, a victim of a roster numbers game last month — we’re looking at you, Nate Robertson, has been recalled by the Rockies from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Embrace the humidor, Senor. (Oh, and now that the Rox have run off a late-2007-like streak recently, do we all feel a tad better about them taking two of three from the Tigers? Didn’t think so.)

  • He might not chuck it as hard as Ryan Perry, but it’s close enough and I, for one, am glad Freddy Dolsi‘s back.

  • Did you happen to catch this nastygram from Ken Rosenthal about the Tigers benching Magglio Ordonez? The zingers about Gary Sheffield are amusing but I don’t think anyone in the Tigers front office regrets the decision to cut him loose. And for what it’s worth, I hope that Ordonez finds his stroke soon and that he doesn’t wind up on the Red Sox, poking homers over The Green Monster at Fenway.

  • Speaking of hitters, here are the results of our most recent Fungo Pulse Check poll. The question: Which of These Sluggers Should the Tigers Go After?

    • Matt Holliday: 35% (12 votes)
    • Brad Hawpe: 32% (11 votes)
    • Adam Dunn: 29% (10 votes)
    • Jeff Francouer: 3% (1 vote)
    • Carlos Lee: bupkis

    Be sure to vote in our new poll, available in the sidebar –>

  • Finally, I didn’t weigh in on the Jim Leyland extension when it happened: I believe it came a few weeks too late, but I’m delighted that he re-upped. I don’t want to see the Tigers become the Verizon Wireless of Major League Baseball, with a new manager every two years or so. (If anyone should’ve been shown the door as a result of this clunky roster, it should’ve been [should be?] Dave Dombrowski.)

Have a great week.