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?

Tigers Make a Droplet of a Trade in Getting Peralta

Peralta.jpgJhonny Peralta.

It’s precisely the move we expected the Tigers to make. That is, a drip not a splash.

Not only is he the Tigers’ new and temporary third baseman until Brandon Inge returns, he’s also the new and temporary shortstop until the Tigers acquire Stephen Drew.

Ahem.

What’s more, you present a writing dilemma for me. Do I add “Jhonny” to my spell check dictionary and run the risk of misspelling someone who’s name is Johnny, or live with the annoying red line under “Jhonny”?

[callout title=Jhonny Peralta 101]Here’s what we know about the Tigers’ newest acquisition:

  • Age: 28

  • Born: May 28, 1982 in Santiago, Santiago, D.R.

  • Signed by the Indians as an amateur free agent in 1999.

  • 2010 Salary: $4,850,000

  • 2010 Stats: .246 / 7 HR / 43 RBI / .698 OPS

  • Lifetime: .264 / 103 HR / 456 RBI / .751 OPS

  • Lifetime vs Tigers: .256 / 11 HR

  • Lifetime vs. White Sox: .237 / 7 HR

  • Lifetime vs. Twins: .238 / 11 HR

Source: Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index
[/callout]

This isn’t exactly like 2006 when the Tigers scrambled to find a replacement at second base for the injured Placido Polanco and made the mystifying trade for Neifi Perez. Peralta will help the Tigers a lot more than Perez, but the bar is set fairly low in that regard.

Even though the Tigers appear on the brink of collapse, they still are 9-1/2 games closer to first place than the Indians are, which means Peralta could be energized and be a big help.

Again, it’s all relative.

Perhaps the way to view this trade is how Baseball Prospectus 2010 sums up Jhonny Peralta:

Peralta has enver been the most consistent player, but given the gross similarities of his 2007-2008 seasons, any bounce back seems likely to be similar in form — good, but just barely that.

On the bright side, the Tigers have made a trade. Let’s savor it; this might be all we get.

Checking in on Carlos Guillen’s Move to Second Base

GuillenHead.jpgIt’s been two months since the Tigers announced that Carlos Guillen, not rookie Scott Sizemore, would be the Tigers’ second baseman in 2010.

Who at the time would’ve guessed that the brittle Guillen could stay healthy for two months and regain his status as a productive member of the Tigers’ lineup?

But let’s be honest: the concern wasn’t Guillen’s offense, it was the defense. How many ground balls would he, could he, get to…without pulling a hamstring? Could he turn the double play with Adam Everett (and now Ramon Santiago and Danny Worth)? The answer to all those appears to be yes.

Let’s see if the numbers bear it out.

Continue reading “Checking in on Carlos Guillen’s Move to Second Base”

2009 Player Profile: Placido Polanco

Placido Polanco #14

  • Height: 5′ 10″ | Weight: 195
  • 2008 Stats: .307 – 8 HR – 58 RBI

PolancoHead.jpgLike most of his teammates, Placido Polanco struggled at the outset of the 2008 season. The usually fast-starting second baseman – he has a .307 average for April spanning 2006-08 – was expected to pickup the slack at the top of the order left by the injured Curtis Granderson. But as the weather warmed, so did Polanco finding the stroke that delivered a .341 average in 2007. He hit .330 in May and a torrid .386 in June.

Widely considered one of the toughest outs in baseball, Polanco confounds pitchers with his knack for hitting the ball virtually anywhere it’s pitched. Even on pitches down and away, Polanco hit a solid .286 in ’08.

This year Tigers fans can expect from Polanco what they’ve enjoyed since he came to Detroit in 2005: consistent, durable performance in the field and at the plate. But with a strong crop of middle infield prospects in the minors, 2009 could be his final season in Detroit. Though, I for one am hoping it’s not.