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.

Tigers Today: April 8, 2010

BehindHomePlate.jpg Tigers Record: 1-1

Today’s Game

Tigers @ Royals | 2:10 p.m. ET – Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City | On the air: FSD/1270-AM

Pitching Matchup

Dontrelle Willis, 0-0 0.00 ERA vs. Brian Bannister, 0-0 0.00 ERA

Continue reading Tigers Today: April 8, 2010

Monday Mankowskis

MondayReport.jpgFive quick items:

  1. In case you were wondering: Another heat warning in the desert.

  2. Really, what are Tigers fans to do when they see that the club will be on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball? Bad enough they play like the 2003 Tigers, but they have to play the White Sox? I didn’t think even this team could erase the glee of taking three of four from Chicago. Wrong-o.

  3. Did you see that former Tigers up-and-comer Virgil Vasquez pitched for the Pirates yesterday against the Diamondbacks? No? Well, you didn’t miss much: 3 IP, 6 hits, 4 runs, all earned. His record for the season: 1-5, 6.21 ERA. The D-Backs won 9-0.

  4. Speaking of the Pirates and D-Backs, I attended Friday night’s game and happened to see former Tigers GM Randy Smith sitting in the scouts’ section. He’s an executive with Padres again and I had to wonder why (other than the fact he lives in the Phoenix area) as an exec with an abysmal baseball club, he would be scouting two other bad teams.

  5. Looks like former Tigers slugger/problem child Dmitri Young has reached the end of the line. A leg injury during a Double-A rehab appearance appears to be the final blow.

Have a great week.

Happy Birthday, Travis Fryman

The five-time All Star turns 40 today.

Fryman, the Tigers’ first-round selection (#30) in the 1987 draft, spent parts of the first eight seasons of his 13-year career in Detroit and with some sorry teams. In his seven full seasons, he hit .272 and averaged 20 homers and 93 RBI — and wore #24.

On Nov. 18, 1997, GM Randy Smith sent Fryman to the Diamondbacks for Gabe Alvarez, Joe Randa and minor leaguer Matt Drews. Two weeks later, the D-backs dealt Fryman, Tom Martin and cash to the Indians for Matt Williams. Go figure.

Fryman played five seasons in Cleveland, highlighted by his 2000 campaign: .321 – 22 HR – 106 RBI. Two years later — his last in the bigs — at the age of 33, he cratered and hit .217, with 11 homers and 55 RBI.

(Aside: I remember when he visited Comerica Park the first time as a member of the Indians and he essentially said the park was okay but had too many Tigers around the exterior. He might be right, but at the time, man, I was indignant!)

Today, Travis Fryman is the manager of the Indians’ Class A Mahoning Valley (Ohio) Scrappers in the New York-Penn League. He debuted with the Scrappers last season. (Do yourself a favor and check out what the Scrappers have in store for their fans on July 18. Sweet mercy.)

In case you were wondering, estimates that Fryman made more than $47 million in his career. Chances are, those earnings are helping make it a happy birthday.

At least we hope so.

Game 6: Time for the Chicken-Bone Cross

ScorecardXSmall.jpgThe Gist: The White Sox tagged Justin Verlander for nine runs (five earned) and seven hits in 5 2/3 forgettable innings. Nick Swisher went yard to leadoff the game. The Tigers haven’t won a game in more than a week — and that was in the Grapefruit League.

The Quote: “If you can play shortstop in the major leagues, you can play anywhere.” — ESPN announcer Joe Morgan, referring to Carlos Guillen‘s move to first base in 2008. Within minutes, Guillen dropped a routine throw to first which led to a big inning for the White Sox.

The Stat: 15. That’s the number of games the Tigers have remaining against the White Sox this season. God help us all.

I’m Just Sayin’: In 2002 the Tigers began the season 0-6 and that was the end of the Randy Smith/Phil Garner Experiment. No such scenario will play out for this year’s team, of course.

Fortunately, though, the Tigers head out of town tonight. Unfortunately, it’s the beginning of a meat-grinder of a road trip starting on Tuesday in Boston. Maybe the cure is on the road where the pressure is lower — hey, this approach has worked for the Red Wings in the past.

One hundred and fifty six games remain in the 2008 season. If this 0-6 team were the Lions, we’d be looking ahead toward the draft.

By the way, what’s the Lions draft position this year?

On this Date in 1999: Brad Ausmus Returns Before Leaving Again

It’s hard to tell whether former Tigers general manager Randy Smith liked catcher Brad Ausmus or had it in for him. After all, Smith dealt for or dealt away Ausmus five times in seven years.

The first time was in 1993 when Smith was an assistant GM with the Rockies. Ausmus went to the Padres with Doug Bochtler and Andy Ashby for Bruce Hurst and Greg Harris.

The next time Ausmus was traded, on June 18, 1996, Smith was the Vice President, Baseball Operations and General Manager for the Padres. Smith sent Ausmus, Andujar Cedeno and minor leaguer Russ Spear to the Tigers for John Flaherty and Chris Gomez.

Six months later, Dec. 10, 1996, Smith cobbled together another one of his beloved multi-player trades, this time with his hometown Houston Astros — a team his father, Tal, helped shape over two decades. The Tigers traded Ausmus, Jose Lima, Trever Miller, C.J. Nitkowski, and Daryle Ward to the Astros for Doug Brocail, Brian Hunter, Todd Jones, Orlando Miller and cash.

Then, nine years ago today, Jan. 14, 1999, the Tigers re-acquired Ausmus and Nitkowski from the Astros for Paul Bako, Dean Crow, Brian Powell and minor leaguers Carlos Villalobos and Mark Persails.

Head spinning? Just hang on.

Less than 11 months later, Ausmus was on the move again — back to the Astros, of course, this time with Brocail and Nelson Cruz for Roger Cedeno, Chris Holt and Mitch Meluskey. I was living in Houston at the time and frankly couldn’t believe it.

After shuttling between Detroit and Houston, Ausmus settled down to become a fixture on some talented Astros teams, including the 2005 World Series team. And to this day people in Houston flat-out love Ausmus.

Detroiters would have too, if he’d stuck around long enough.