Fungoes

Tigers Today: March 31, 2011

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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.
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Fungoes

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?

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Fungoes

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.
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Fungoes

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.

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Fungoes

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?

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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:

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Fungoes

Tigers Today: March 31, 2010

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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.

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