Remember back in late 2006 when the Tigers signed 41-year-old Jose Mesa to a one-year contract and most of us said, “Is it 1996?”
Fortunately or unfortunately, the Mesa Experiment was short lived. By June 3, 2007, he was released after posting some staggering numbers:
This all came to mind this evening as free-agent prize Joaquin Benoit got ripped by the Blue Jays for three runs in the eighth and notch yet another dreadful appearance in his short time in Detroit.
After Monday night Benoit’s stats might not be as gruesome as Mesa’s, but given Benoit’s age and the amount of dough the Tigers are investing, the numbers are almost worse:
Of course, two months into his three-year, $16.5 million contract Benoit is going nowhere.
But if he doesn’t turn it around soon and provide Jim Leyland with a reliable eighth inning option not named Ryan Perry, neither are the Tigers.
Those of us old enough to remember when Pat Gillick was general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays (before moving on to similar roles with the Orioles, Mariners and his current employer, the Phillies), may be thinking of him today when pondering the Tigers approach to the non-waiver trade deadline.In the late 1980s, Gillick earned the nickname “Stand Pat” primarily because he would do just that at the trade deadline and leave Blue Jays’ fans scratching their collective noggins until Opening Night at Maple Leaf Gardens.Now that I’ve had a few hours to ponder the Tigers lack-tivity, I’m surprisingly relieved. What I found throughout the day as I listened to coverage on XM Radio and on ESPN, was that I was more anxious to learn who the Tigers would give up in a trade more so than who they acquired.The Tigers were not giving up Cameron Maybin; No drama there. And, given how fragile the Tigers’ pitching staff has proven to be this season, I couldn’t fathom the Tigers peddling the solid arms currently tending the farms in Toledo, Erie, Oneonta, Comstock Park and Lakeland.I’ll admit I’m a little late to this party.Our man in Connecticut, Peter Fuhrmeister, commented in podcast #24 that he didn’t want to see the Tigers make a move at the deadline. He’s content to ride out this season with what the Tigers have to offer in the bully. John Milton, my brother and I all disagreed with Peter but managed to avoid calling him nuts.After watching the first game of the Angels series, we were stinging from the dismal pitching performance on Friday night. Two games later, you could not convince me that a better, reasonably priced bullpen solution wasn’t out there. Somewhere. (Could the Tigers swallow some pride â€” and salary â€” to bring back Jamie Walker?)Today, Peter, as usual, looks to be the wise man.And now that I’ve had time to think about it, I’m willing to accept that a pair of healed, experienced arms are on the way in Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya. If they are back to full strength, the Tigers should be okay. I’m also willing to concede (again) that this team is going through a particularly grueling stretch of baseball right now. A couple of wins, a day off and a healthy back-end of the bullpen should put the Tigers back in business.If not, maybe Dave Dombrowski can phone Gillick and see what arms he’s willing to part with for a package of Jason Grilli, Craig Monroe and Omar Infante.I can almost hear Gillick’s response now: “Well, Jose Mesa‘s available…”Update: Jason Beck tells us what the Tigers had brewing today. Wasn’t much.
This morning Iâ€™m engaged in the highest form of multi-tasking: waiting for a conference call to begin, watching Jeremy Bonderman ease into and out of his standard first-inning high-wire act, and writing this post. Impressed? Thought not.Nevertheless, back from a long siesta here are the Non-Sequiturs:I called it. Sorta. During the pre-season podcast roundtable â€“ the one that never â€œairedâ€ due to technical issues â€“ I asked my esteemed panel of guests to name their respective Tigers player to watch during 2007. My choice? Magglio Ordonez. I just had a gut feeling that he was poised to build off of his ALCS vibes. Has he ever. I think itâ€™s safe to assume Ordonez will be an All Star this year whether or not heâ€™s voted in or not. Iâ€™ll see if I can scare-up that sound biteâ€¦The Casey HR Watch. So here we are at Memorial Day weekend, an unofficial milestone in the major league baseball season, and Tigersâ€™ first baseman Sean Casey has yet to go yard. Methinks we should start a pool for when heâ€™ll first reach the seats. Anyone interested? Winner gets a Fungo T-shirt, a podcast T-shirt and another goodie from the Fungo bookshelf. To get things started, I say he goes yard on June 1 at Cleveland. My second guess, in case you’re wondering, Sept. 12 against Texas.Curious glove work. I just saw that Meijer is giving away Gary Sheffield gloves at Comerica Park one game this weekend. Why give away the glove of the full-time DH?Speaking of Sheffâ€¦ Ernie Harwell, doing the TV call with Mario Impemba today, said that he read Sheffieldâ€™s autobiography and thinks itâ€™s one of the best player-â€œwrittenâ€ books heâ€™s ever read.Tigers punchless at first. We mentioned Caseyâ€™s power woes earlier. You have to believe that Dave Dombrowski has noticed the production the Tigersâ€™ division rivals get from first base:
- Tigers: Casey – .255 avg., 0 HR, 10 RBI, .312 OBP, .319 SLG
- Indians: Ryan Garko – .325 avg., 6 HR, 15 RBI, .377 OBP, .516 SLG
- Twins: Justin Morneau – .282 avg., 14 HR, 33 RBI, .358 OBP, .576 SLG
- White Sox: Paul Konerko – .213 avg., 6 HR, 21 RBI, .308 OBP, .369 SLG
- Royals: A platoonish arrangement of Ross Gload and Ryan Shealy (combined stats) – .254 avg., 4 HR, 28 RBI, .298 OBP, .394 SLG
Lynn Henning thinks the Tigers will target a first baseman at the trade deadline. They have to, donâ€™t they?Feliz cumpleaÃ±os, Jose. Surely you sent warm birthday wishes to Jose Mesa on Wednesday, right? Hello? One thingâ€™s for sure, he didnâ€™t pitch any better at 41 than he did in the waning days of 40. Hereâ€™s the skinny on his last five outings: 12.46 ERA (4.1 IP/6 ER), 7 H, 3 BB, 2 SO. Stellar!By the byâ€¦ Hereâ€™s the line for Jason Grilli over his last five appearances: 7.45 ERA (9.2 IP / 8 ER), 16 H, BB, 8 SO.Thatâ€™s enough from me.What do you think?