Wednesday Walewanders: Non-Sequiturs Galore

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Celebrate Nate! I might be the only person in the Tigers Fan Universe looking forward to Robertson’s return to the rotation. Ian?

Today’s Walewanders are fueled by Almighty Blend coffee from Ann Arbor’s Mighty Good Coffee Roasting Co., sent along by the aforementioned Mr. Casselberry.

Continue reading “Wednesday Walewanders: Non-Sequiturs Galore”

SI's Hall of Fame Primary

If you believe the voters in Sports Illustrated’s online mock voting, today we find out that Travis Fryman‘s Hall of Fame candidacy comes to a quick and painless end. (He’s not alone; get a load of Brady Anderson, Shawon Dunston and Todd Stottlemyre‘s, ahem, support.)

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There are, of course, two former Tigers on the ballot that have a legitimate shot at the Hall of Fame: Jack Morris and Alan Trammell.

The debate over whether these two Tigers are of Hall of Fame stock continues to rage on across the Internet. Well, rage might be a skosh too strong. Simmer is more like it.

This morning the Detroit News‘s Lynn Henning revealed that Trammell reappears on his ballot in 2008. But what about the peeps? What do they have to say about who’s in, who’s out for this year and who’s out for good.

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You can check out the current results here (the ballot is open as of this writing), but in the meantime take a look at how Morris and Trammell fare in the mock voting.

Bottom Line: 85 percent of the voters think Morris is a Hall of Famer, and 58 percent think the same of Tram.

By most accounts, neither Tram nor Morris will be voted in this time around. (Nor will anyone else for that matter.) In time, though, Tigers fans can expect to see at least one of them enshrined.

The only remaining questions are: Who goes first, and is he elected by the writers or the Veterans Committee?

Emptying Out the Mental Notebook

There have been lots of thoughts percolating around my head lately. Now that I’ve cleared my driveway of snow for the third time today, it’s time to get those thoughts out to the masses.

Brandon Inge
If you recall prior to the 2004 season Mr. Inge acted like a petulant little child when the Tigers signed Pudge Rodriguez. He whined and complained about how the catching job was his and he wasn’t giving it up without a fight. Of course he turned into a super-sub of sorts (playing 139 games, logging 400+ ABs at five different positions) and eventually won the starting third base job.

Fast forward four seasons and Mr. Inge no longer wants to be a catcher; he fancies himself a third baseman apparently. Though not as loudly, he appears to be lobbying to move out of town now that Miguel Cabrera appears to be the Tigers’ new third baseman. I don’t believe for a minute the Tigers can trade him and the $18 million left on his contract and receive anything close to good value. With that said, I suggest Brandon close his yap, buy a few extra gloves, learn how to scoop balls at first, play all three outfield positions, and get comfortable in the tools of ignorance again. Return to the role of super utilityman for this season. Milwaukee Brewer Bill Hall logged over 500 ABs in a similar role in 2005, playing three different positions. If Inge can play 3B, 1B, OF, and even a bit of C, I would expect enough at bats will come his way to keep him happy.

The goal, or promise to Inge, is that he becomes your full-time catcher effective 2009. He’ll have this year to study the pitching staff, pick Pudge and Vance Wilson‘s brains, and relearn the position. With the offense that will be surrounding him, Inge would merely have to concentrate on his fielding — any hitting would be a bonus. And if you’re really trying to do the hard sell, remind him the staff he would have to catch would include Justin Verlander, Dontrelle Willis, Jeremy Bonderman, and — at some point — Rick Porcello.

Dontrelle Willis

I heard Willis’ first interview on local radio following the trade. WXYT had him on and I liked what I heard. He has a passion for the game, he has a personality, he’s energetic, and he should endear himself to the Detroit fanbase. Will he be able to pitch? The good news, I suppose, is that Detroit isn’t counting on him to be the ace. All they really need from him is 200+ serviceable innings. Ideally (with the bullpen the Tigers have) that’s what they’d like to get from all five starters — save Rogers I suppose. Chew up innings boys. The bats should get enough runs to keep this team in virtually every game.

One other item about Willis. Don’t underestimate the impact another African-American will have on the Tigers’ fan base. Willis is an inner-city kid and, like Curtis Granderson, has a personality that will make him popular. For a city that’s attempting to make a comeback, I think it’s outstanding the youngsters in town will have a couple of role models on the home team to look up to.

By the way, has anyone else noticed an entire Hispanic infield? Non hablas Espanol?

The Mitchell Report

Nothing surprises me (nor should it), but I’d like to launch a conspiracy theory on Roger Clemens. I wonder if his decision to stall his comeback each of the past couple of seasons was due merely to making sure he had it in him or rather he had it in him? I’m certainly no expert on performance enhancing drugs, but doesn’t it suddenly seem plausible that The Rocket was taking a late-winter cycle of PED’s before deciding to come back? Are unsigned free agents subjected to the testing? If not, it wouldn’t surprise me if Clemens got his body finely tuned and then gave his body time to flush the evidence before signing. So much for all those stories of his legendary workouts that I always admired as a younger man.

Mitchell Report Part II

Nook Logan? Mark Carreon? Alex Sanchez? This is our Detroit connection? No wonder our home team stunk during the Steroid Era!

Clearly Carreon wasn’t on the juice when he was a Tiger. He hit a career-low .232 that year.As for Sanchez — the first to be busted — it’s a good thing he was on the stuff, otherwise half of those swinging bunt singles he had would’ve rolled foul at the plate, right?

And Nook? Well, I got nothing for Nook.

Bullpen

If the starters can get into the seventh inning I don’t feel too bad about things. It’s that middle/long relief that gives me the Guillermos. I know Zach Miner will be serviceable and I shouldn’t fret about Jason Grilli, but neither instill a lot of confidence — especially if they get thrown into roles they’re not comfortable in.

I actually feel pretty good about the two situational lefties they’ll enter camp with: Tim Byrdak and Bobby Seay. Seay was especially effective the last half of the season when used correctly. Speaking of using folks correctly, Memo to Jim Leyland: Todd Jones can only pitch one inning this year and it should be at the start of the inning, not mid-inning with runners on base.

I’m not expecting Joel Zumaya to contribute anything this year.

The PED-Free Non-Sequiturs

  • About three hours before the Mitchell Report was released today, I updated Twitter with this tongue-in-cheek ditty: Is today the day we find out Nook Logan was on steroids? Little did I know that his name would appear in the report (on page 277).

    Two bits of interest for me related to Logan: First, didn’t know his first name was Exavier. Second, he preferred to pay by money order. So old school.

    Now that Detroit Tigers fans have had two full seasons of Curtis Granderson in centerfield, can you even remember when Logan was thought to be a budding fixture in the Detroit outfield?

  • Big Al would disagree, but I’m hoping that Timo Perez comes north with the Tigers next spring. The guy has paid his dues and did everything he was asked as a surprising September call-up. (If you’re a Bob Seger fan, you must check out Al’s blend of Seger and the Detroit Lions.)
  • In the past, I used to write press releases that I liked to describe as “content-free.” In response to the Mitchell Report the Tigers today issued perhaps the shortest release (of any variety) I’ve ever seen. It’s really not worth your time to read it but here’s the second (and last) paragraph:

    The eradication of performance-enhancing substances in baseball and protecting the integrity of the game are the ultimate goals of the industry.

    Call me a cynic, but I thought winning baseball games and driving revenue growth, not in that order, were the ultimate goals of the industry.

  • Christmas came early at The Daily Fungo headquarters. In less than a week we had two mentions in Rob Neyer‘s blog on ESPN.com (you can find them here and here). Be sure to check out my interview with Rob on the podcast.
  • I don’t often read Drew Sharp‘s columns mainly because, well, more often than not I wonder what the hell he’s talking about. Take today’s column for example:

    It’s now officially the Steroids Era.

    It is?

    This statement — and the column’s headline, “Mitchell Report officially welcomes in Steroid Era”, which, in fairness, Sharp didn’t write — misses the point.

    I believe this report ushers out the Steroid Era. The Steroid Era started in the early 1990s — if not earlier — and ended quite recently.

    Perhaps today.

The Non-Sequiturs: Holiday Edition

Let’s get right to the question of the day: You did send along birthday wishes today to Nook Logan, right? Tsk, tsk.

     

  • The Twins are quite a busy bunch this week with the Johan Santana discussions and the three-for-three trade with the Devil Rays. I read in the New York Daily News on Tuesday that the Detroit Tigers are a part of the Santana talks but, at best, on the extreme periphery.

    The Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels, Mets and Tigers are believed to be interested, though the Twins appear unwilling to deal Santana within the AL Central, likely taking the Tigers out of the equation.

    I can’t even begin to imagine him at the top of the Tigers rotation. You?

  • Unlike yours truly, ESPN.com’s Rob Neyer doesn’t believe Jack Morris is worthy of a spot in Cooperstown.

    I’ve made my feelings pretty clear over the years: if I were enfranchised [as a Hall of Fame voter], I would vote for Tim Raines, Bert Blyleven, Goose Gossage and Alan Trammell. Jim Rice is borderline; Jack Morris is not.

    To my chagrin, Neyer points to an article that offers a solid argument for why The Cat is not Hall of Fame material. Sigh. I’ve got more to say on this topic — and will soon.

  • On this date in 1967 (when Doug Hill was not yet six months old), the Tigers acquired RHP Dennis Ribant from the Pirates for RHP Dave Wickersham.Ribant, a Detroit native, appeared in 14 games (all in relief) during the 1968 season posting a 2-2 record, 1 save and 2.22 ERA. In 13 months, he was involved in four transactions — all involving the Tigers. Here are the other three:

    July 26, 1968: Traded by the Detroit Tigers to the Chicago White Sox for Don McMahon.October, 1968: Purchased by the Detroit Tigers from the Chicago White Sox.December 15, 1968: Purchased by the Kansas City Royals from the Detroit Tigers.

    As for Wickersham, his best year in the majors was with Detroit in 1964 winning 19 and losing 12 with a 3.44 ERA. He appeared in 40 games, started 36, pitched 254 innings, and tossed 11 complete games…and had one save.The next year he came back to earth with a 9-14 record but with a respectable 3.78 ERA.Who knew?

Finally, speaking of birthdays, Tony Giarrantano turns 25 on Thursday. Pudge Rodriguez has a birthday on Friday. How old? If you add the number of base on balls Pudge earned in 2006 and 2007 then add one, you’ll have your answer.