And There Goes Plan B (Or Was It Plan A?)

Not sure I speak for the majority of Tigers fans, but I’ve given up hope that anyone but Jhonny Peralta would be the Opening Day lineup for the Tigers. There’s plenty of time between now and then, but with the Red Sox plucking Stephen Drew off the free-agent market, the Tigers lost perhaps the club’s top shortstop target.

So now what?

Well, I suppose there’s a chance the Tigers zero-in on a shortstop as they shop Rick Porcello. Although, if we believe the chatter, a closer is a bigger priority for Dave Dombrowski. On the other hand, Dombrowski is sticking to his Bruce Rondon story.

As for Peralta, I get all the anti-Jhonny arguments (and Lee makes them as well as anyone), and of course I’d rather see someone with a bit more range at short.

So, assuming the Tigers don’t nab a new shortstop, I’ve come to grips with the notion that Danny Worth‘s defense will win more games (and prevent four-out innings) next season than a potential offensive rejuvenation by Peralta.

At least that’s the perspective of those who drills down into the defensive metrics.

Again. Now what?

We sit and we wait. And we listen to Dombrowski talk about how comfortable the club is with Peralta at short and Rondon at closer.

I’ll buy the Peralta part. I’m not ready to do the same on Rondon.

News Galore on the Way Out the Door

It’s not often Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski gets loose and talks at length about the club’s plans, but on Sunday in Baltimore he did just that, breaking some news and confirming a few long-anticipated decisions:

  • Inge.jpgBrandon Inge gets offered an extension. As Ian wrote this summer, Inge is either loved or loathed in Detroit — with little in between. But I think even those of us who are frustrated by his lack of a strategy when he’s at the plate feel better about third base next season and maybe in 2012, too. In our recent Fungo Pulse Check, 79 percent of respondents (207 of 263 votes) preferred bringing back Inge over Jeremy Bonderman.

  • OrdonezHead.jpgMagglio Ordonez might be back. This isn’t a surprise. The Tigers aren’t picking up the $15 million option on Ordonez’s contract which means he’ll be a free agent, but the Tigers are open to re-signing him. I kept thinking that sentimental Mike Ilitch would tell Dombrowski to pick up the option for old time’s sake. I hope he comes back. If he does sign elsewhere — and you know Scott Boras is already firing up his hyperbole machine — I just pray that he doesn’t go back to the White Sox.

    Continue reading “News Galore on the Way Out the Door”

Welcome to Chaos Manor

scared-help.jpgAbout 36 hours before the Tigers game ended last night, Ian and I were interviewing Lynn Henning of The Detroit News for episode 119 of the podcast.

During the conversation, I mentioned that the Magglio Ordonez contract has really worked out well for the Tigers and, on the other end of the contract-karma spectrum, Carlos Guillen appears to be aging before our eyes. And we all agreed that Ordonez has turned out to be a good deal for the Tigers and that, well, poor Guillen’s knees just won’t allow him to age gracefully.

Little did we know.

In the span of three innings Saturday night their season at worst crumbled completely or, at best, their offense got dramatically retooled. After two consecutive victories, Tigers fans seemed to have come down off the ledge and were ready for a meaningful August — and quite possibly, September. Now, who knows?

The short-term fix, as you’ve already learned, includes infielder Will Rhymes and the now-versatile Jeff Larish. Both were part of the Tigers’ Arizona Fall League contingent in 2008, so it’s time to see if they really are the top prospects we’ve heard about.

My gut is telling me that this season is now effectively over. As Tony Paul writes in the News this morning, the Tigers now have too many holes to fill and Dan Haren, Ted Lilly, Stephen Drew, simply aren’t enough spackle — no matter how good they are.

No one wants to concede the division to the Twins or, God forbid, the White Sox on July 25. But after sifting through the wreckage from Saturday night, how can we believe the Tigers will be a factor in this race?

I’d like to be surprised, but I think the focus of this team has become, all of a sudden, 2011.

Monday Mankowskis: Playoff Odds, Rayburn’s D, Stephen Drew’s Luck

therapist.jpgThe horror of the weekend sweep in Cleveland hasn’t completely washed away here at Daily Fungo HQ.

Saturday night’s game was so disappointing that yesterday’s seemed more like a scrimmage … A scrimmage that counts.

But a new week is here and the Tigers are at home, where they excel. Instead of focusing on this homestand’s tough opponents, let’s walk on the sunny side of the street:

Wednesday Walewanders: Asparagus Races, Weaver and Drew

asparagus races.jpgThis past weekend I was visiting family in the Bay Area and, as always happens when I’m there, the Giants are out of town. (I’ve been to several A’s games at the Coliseum over the years.)

So, the next best thing, of course, is some Advanced Class-A California League action — Stockton Ports versus Modesto Nuts. (I think the Nuts might have the best logo I’ve seen; I’ve included it after the jump.)

The Ports won the four-hour, 12-inning game 7-5 thanks to a walk-off home run by third baseman Stephen Parker. Apart from the dramatics and post-game fireworks, the most intriguing component was the — I kid you not — asparagus race, which you can see above. They also included bottles of ketchup and mustard in the competition. Not sure why.

Minor-league baseball, major-league thrills.

On to other topics.

Continue reading “Wednesday Walewanders: Asparagus Races, Weaver and Drew”

Series Preview: Tigers vs. Diamondbacks

Dbacks.jpgThe Tigers welcome the Diamondbacks to town this weekend and it will be a series dripping with irony and plot lines.

Some will focus on the return of Dontrelle Willis and Edwin Jackson. Others will welcome back D-backs’ bench coach and Tigers legend (at least in my mind) Kirk Gibson.

Still others may peer at Arizona shortstop Stephen Drew and imagine him alongside Carlos Guillen in the Tigers infield.

No matter what your perspective this weekend, the Tigers are entering another series that is winnable, if not sweepable. (Hint: The D-backs are 9-25 on the road this season.)

Continue reading “Series Preview: Tigers vs. Diamondbacks”