Wednesday Walewanders: This, That, The Other

SpaghettiI would have posted these items sooner today but I’ve been consumed by the game Word with Friends on my iPad and iPhone. Who knew a Scrabblesque game could be so darn addictive?

  • I was going to write about how Michael Young‘s contract with the Rangers spurred the Tigers to sign Carlos Guillen — and fast — during the 2007 season. As often happens, Ian beat me to it and no doubt did a better job.
  • Who would you rather have in the bullpen: Enrique Gonzalez or Chad Durbin? Me too. The good news? Durbin’s available. Bad news, the Tigers won’t go after him.

    Wait, you chose Gonzalez? Never mind.

  • Staying with the former Tigers pitchers theme for a moment, Mark Simon at ESPN’s Stats and Info Blog looked deeper into Armando Galarraga‘s struggles in 2010 and what he needs to do with the Dbacks in ’11 to get back to his ’08 — yes, ’08 — performance:

    Our Inside Edge video review data shows that his 90-mile-per-hour fastball got swings and misses six percent of the time, among the lowest rates in baseball.

    When he threw a sinking fastball, he actually had more balls hit in the air than on the ground (the opposite of the desired result)

    When Galarraga threw his slider and an opponent made contact, he allowed a hit 35 percent of the time, well above the league norm (right-handed hitters in particular, had a lot of success against it). He also ranked among the major league leaders in home runs allowed by right-handers on breaking pitches, with 10, twice as many as he allowed two seasons earlier.

    At least he won’t frustrate Tigers fans anymore.

  • You might have heard that after a few years off, Maple Street Press will be publishing a Tigers annual, cleverly titled Tigers Annual 2011. You’ll see lots of familiar names in the table of contents including yours truly. Kurt from Bless You Boys edited the project. I contributed a piece on the 1961 Tigers, a club that won 101 games but didn’t win the pennant. The book won’t be published until next month but you can order a copy here.
  • Six years ago today the Tigers picked up Kyle Farnsworth and cash considerations from the Cubs for RHP Roberto Novoa, infielder Scott Moore and outfielder Bo Flowers.

Finally, Happy Birthday to the biggest Tigers fan in my family, my Dad.

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: April 14, 2010

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Tigers’ Record: 6-2, Tied for 1st

Today’s Game

Tigers vs. Royals | 1:05 p.m. – Comerica Park | On the air: FSD/1270 & 97.1

Pitching Matchup

Rick Porcello (1-0, 3.60 ERA) vs. Kyle Davies (0-0, 4.50 ERA)

Yesterday’s Results

Tigers 6 – Royals 5

Continue reading “Tigers Today: April 14, 2010”

The Top 10 Tigers Stories of 2008: #8 – The Tigers Trade Pudge

Number8.jpgIt’s hard to believe that it has been nearly five years since Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez signed with the Tigers as a free agent — only a few months after winning the World Series with the Marlins. I tuned in to ESPNEWS on Feb. 6, 2004, to see if they were going to broadcast Pudge’s introductory press conference from Comerica Park. And they did.

My first thoughts were that his body language and tone of voice didn’t align with someone who just signed up for four-plus years in The D. Rather, he looked more like a guy who was thinking “After all I’ve accomplished in my career, this is what I get?” Thankfully, his attitude improved modestly over the seasons that followed (somewhat less, of course, near the end of the Alan Trammell Era).

We’ve read all about the Baseball Renaissance that Pudge fueled in 2004, and it’s all true. I was a huge Pudge fan and marveled at the effect he had on the Tigers. (And his performance during the 2005 Home Run Derby at Comerica Park was remarkable.) Despite the good times, I knew Pudge would leave Detroit and it wouldn’t be a entirely pleasant.

Nevertheless, I was stunned when, on July 30, he was traded to the Yankees — the Yankees! — for Kyle Farnsworth. Talk about déjà vu.

At the same time, I was relieved that a decision had been made on the future of Detroit’s catching spot, specifically that it would not be Rodriguez’s in 2009. Still, it seemed asymmetrical that a future Hall of Famer would arrive with much fanfare and depart at the trade deadline in what amounted to a lose-lose trade for both teams.

Game 125: Rogers Enjoys the Home Cooking

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The Score: Tigers 8 – Rangers 7

The Gist: Gary Sheffield hit his 493rd career jack and went 3 for 5, and Curtis Granderson drove in four as the Tigers escaped with an 8-7 win in Arlington. Kenny Rogers eeked out a win thanks to two four-run outbursts by his teammates in the seventh and eighth. (And Rogers struck out seven in his six innings…usually a sign of impending doom. But not on Monday.) Kyle Farnsworth, a model of consistently sub-optimal pitching since his return to Detroit, made it too interesting in the eighth but Fernando Rodney pitched not awfully and sealed the deal.

The Quote: “[I]t would be the biggest mistake of his life if he goes on the mound hoping to show the Rangers something. That’s high school [stuff].” — Jim Leyland on Tuesday’s starter and former Rangers farmhand Armando Galarraga.

The Stat: 12. The number of errors by Edgar Renteria so far this season. He leads all A.L. Central shortstops in flubs — but not by much. Orlando Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta each have 11. The Twins’ trio of Adam Everett, Nick Punto and Brendan Harris average about six. KC’s Tony Pena (8) and Mike Aviles (6) roundout the Central.

Up Next: Tigers @ Rangers

Armando Galarraga (11-4, 3.11) vs. Vincente Padilla (12-6, 4.85)

Trading Pudge a No-Brainer

Catcher.jpgAt the trade deadline in 1996, the Tigers sent Cecil Fielder, the only tradeable commodity at the time, to the Yankees for Ruben Sierra and RHP Matt Drews.

That trade was a no-brainer. The Tigers weren’t going anywhere in ’96 — little did we know it would be another 10 years before they’d post a winning record — and the Tigers had a young Tony Clark set to take over at first base.

But today’s trade of Ivan Rodriguez to the Yankees for former Tiger Kyle Farnsworth raises a much more pressing concern: Who’s going to catch? The easy answer, Brandon Inge. But that’s tonight.

What about next week when Inge needs a night off? Dane Sardinha. Okay. What about next year? Inge? All year?

It could be that simple. And I think it is. The Tigers could be rewarding Inge with the full-time catcher’s role four years after Pudge arrived from Florida and took Inge’s job.

The Tigers know that Inge is still smarting from his third-base job being taken by Miguel Cabrera in the offseason and then Carlos Guillen in May. I don’t think they can afford to yank his chain again.

So Brandon Inge is the Tigers catcher.

And between now and Spring Training, Dave Dombrowski will be looking high and low for a seasoned backup as well as a long-term solution.

Of course, Dombrowski may have another trade in the works, perhaps one including Guillen in a trade for a catcher. Then, Inge moves back to third. But I doubt it.

As for Farnsworth, he gives Jim Leyland another cannon in the bullpen for the seventh and eighth innings. All in all, I think it’s an even swap. Like Pudge, Farnsworth isn’t likely to return to Detroit next year, but who knows?

My heart says it’s tough to see Pudge go. It’s almost a cliche now, but it also happens to be true: His signing with the Tigers in 2004 gave this team instant credibility and served as the foundation for a pennant winner. No minor accomplishment.

My head says, this one, just like Big Daddy to the Yankees in ’96, is a no-brainer.