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Rob Jones

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Everything posted by Rob Jones

  1. I'm okay with Cabrera's extension. One thought ... I was figuring that Miggy's production would drop this year to pre-Prince levels--i.e., to something closer to where it was when V-Mart was batting behind him three years ago: 30/100/.320 with about 20 more walks than he had last year. If that happens, then you know the Keith Laws of the world will start yammering about how Miggy's in decline, when really it's only the Tiger lineup that is.
  2. Respectfully, I don't get the argument that signing Joba constitutes "low risk." To me, the risk is enormous. If he's bad, and the other Joba-like characters in the bullpen (Coke, AlAl, Rondon ... nearly all of them) are also bad, which many of them were at times during 2013, then the season blows up on the Tigers. Good SP outings will be wasted, frustrating losses in the late innings take place at a disproportionately high rate, the team ends on the wrong side of 7-5 games or extra inning contests, and so on. The team is risking all that. Somehow "low risk" has become synonymous with "cheap." Yet cheap often means "not so good," and if you've got bunch of players like that (as I think the Tigers have with the bullpen they've got today), you're risking a lot of trouble. Joba is low risk only if there is someone who would be palpably better than him for the role he might assume. I don't see that someone on the Tigers right now.
  3. The bullpen might be okay, but it might also be epically bad. The Tigers will be minus their three most reliable relievers in 2013 (Benoit, Smily, and Veras) and intend to give more prominent roles to people who were either unreliable or injured in 2013 (Rondon, AlAl, Coke, Chamberlain) or unknown performers (Krol, Putkonen, Ortega, tiger337, whatever). Nathan's probably still got some gas in his tank (his was a good signing), but getting to him in the ninth might be an adventure. The Tigers may lose a mess of games in the sixth-eigth innings in 2014. In any case, DD's "retooling" of the bullpen this offseason fits his MO, which is to spend big bucks on one guy (Valverde a few years ago, Benoit the year after, now Nathan) and then nickle and dime the other six, so that when the playoffs arrive, the Tigers go into them with one of the weakest bullpens of all the teams still playing. And, predictably, it costs them, as they're eventually "outbullpened" by the likes of Texas, or San Fransisco, or Boston. Place me among those who are not expecting any additional "reliable" arms between now and 7/31 or Corey Knebel's and/or Melvin Mercedes' callups.
  4. White Sox have the best SPs of the bunch and a passable offense, so I see them finishing second to DET, whose SPs are off the charts good—at least potentially so. I think KC’s talent is overrated. Their pitching is better, but it’s still basically a #2 and mess of 5s, and nobody in KC’s offense really scares me. (Butler remains its best hitter, but he hasn’t a lot of muscles, so ...) Cleveland might hit a ton of HRs (and K a million times) yet has pitching that could be truly egregious. The Indians better score 8-10 runs a game cuz their SPs are going to get lit up. MN could be interesting, if its lineup can stay healthy. I think its pitching will be a lot better than it’s been for awhile. That’s not saying much, I know, but it wouldn't surprise me if MN’s SPs on aggregate finish only behind DET and CWS. Really, if all these teams stay reasonably healthy, the Tigers should win this thing in a walk. Peavy-Sale-Danks might, however, make things a bit hairy for the Tigers.
  5. For me, giving Porcello more than a one year deal is like forgetting that Robertson-Willis-Bonderman ever happened. Porcello has one plus pitch (his sinking FB), and most everything else he throws is too often below average--his breaking ball (whatever they call that thing) is not real great, his changeup is worse, and his 4-seamer lacks zip and movement. There's a reason for his back to back 4.92 and 4.75 ERA seasons, both considerably worse than league average for SPs: He just isn't that good a pitcher. If the Tigers' young arms are as good as they're reputed to be, then the club ought to be able to replace Porcello's production at a small fraction of his future cost. Don't give this guy 4 years/$20-30m when you can get 4.50-5.00 ERA from, say, Smyly for about 1/5th that.
  6. I got a chance to see Turner pitch last year for Erie. As it turned out, he pitched poorly and I was disappointed, but I suffered in silence. On our drive home from the game, my wife asked me if there was anything about Turner that had impressed me. I thought hard about that, pondering his stuff, command, presence, and so on, and answered her about a minute later by saying, no. Everybody has bad games and I'm prepared to think that Turner is better than he showed that night. His starts for Toledo after his time at Erie and his first outing for the Tigers were quite good, actually. Based on what I saw, however, and taking into account that his performance was aberrant, my view is that Turner has been oversold, much in the way that Porcello was. He should be a decent pitcher, better than Porcello, but I don't think he'll be a world beater. My sense is that his ceiling is somewhat lower than Scherzer's but higher than Porcello's. I think he'll be a league average SP, the equivalent of a #3 starter on an average team. All that said, I'd have no problem packaging Turner and other Tigers prospects not named Castellanos for Gio Gonzalez. I could be wrong (it can be hard forecasting future performance), but I would be surprised if Turner gets to and stays at the level Gonzalez has been at the last two seasons, and I suspect that is why the Tigers were hoping to trade him plus others for Gonzalez this past week.
  7. I'm guessing the Tigers signed Berry to play CF at Erie. Johnson bumps up to Toledo and, with Berry at Erie, the Tigers don't even have to consider moving Fields up. They might have had to had they not signed Berry.
  8. I understand what you're saying and agree with your point (to an extent), but then there's the situation's flip side. Laird will be starting (they say) about 1/4 of the games (around 40 of them), presumably against LHPs. Imagine possibly this batting order against such pitchers ... 7. Laird, 8. Inge, 9. Jackson. Or, even worse, maybe this one ... 8. Laird, 9. Inge, 1. Jackson. Ugh. It would have been nice to get a bit more pop in the (admittedly) backup C's bat, particularly given the neighborhood in which he will be batting. Still, in the whole cosmic scheme of big things, you're probably right to suggest that this isn't really one of them.
  9. I interpret, probably wrongly, Leyland's deportment vis-a-vis the media as a barometer of his contract status. The longer he goes without gaining an extension, the ruder he becomes.
  10. One thing to consider is how all of the Tigers' recent moves will be regarded by the players left on the team. I doubt that they're going to be real happy. As a general rule, players don't really like to see teammates they value let go; they like it even less when the guys who replace them haven't much by way of track records. Polanco, Rodney, Lyon, CG, EJ: they were all important contributors to the 2009 team, and now they're gone. We might see value, particularly over the long-term, in the moves that the front office has made, but I doubt that the players still left on the team adopt a similar long-range perspective. Baseball players are Keynesians--in the long run, their careers are dead, so it's the short-term that concerns them. Verlander's going to want to know how all the recent moves are going to help him and the Tigers win in 2010, not how they might affect the team's performance in 2011, or '12, and so forth. In this sense, I think that today's trade, in conjunction with several other of the team's choices, substantially reduces the chance that Verlander will sign a contract extension this off-season. In a completely unscientific way, I had reasoned back in October that the chances of that happening were pretty good. Once Henning started writing his articles about the Tigers' off-season plans, I started thinking that the odds had diminished. After today's trade, I think they've declined even further. Jason Beck may be alluding (admittedly obliquely) to a bit of all this in his latest blog entry, a portion of which reads as follows: Granderson hasn't yet heard from the Tigers, much like Andrew Miller didn't hear from the Tigers after he was in the Miguel Cabrera trade. In fact, Granderson hasn't heard from the Tigers for a while now, which wasn't a good sign in itself. I think everybody anticipated the fallout from this deal was going to be big. Judging from what I'm hearing from folks back in Detroit, it's huge. How that follows over the coming days as the reports and the interviews unfold is going to be very interesting.
  11. Scouting, eh? I'll have to remember that ... I wonder what that's all about.
  12. Of the 1000+ posts appearing in this thread, the above may be the most sensible. It is certainly among the better ones. I haven't the slightest idea who "won" this trade and neither does anybody else, including very likely the executives of the teams involved. For the Tigers, I don't know how anybody can interpret the trade as anything other than a big gamble. The players they got may have huge upside, but each is unproven at the MLB level. Scherzer, I guess, comes closest to being accomplished; and, even then, his 9-11, 4.12 2009 in a weaker league with no DH isn't exactly to die for (and neither is the fact that he faded about as badly as Jackson did: 3-5, 4.73 in his last 10 games). The others? Who the hell knows how they'll do? Schlereth, for example, may be the next Billy Wagner ... or, more likely (because most prospects fail), he could be another Steve Colyer (his apprehension of the strike zone seems pretty meager to me). We just don't know how these players are going to perform over the next several years, and obsessing over who got the better of the deal at this early date isn't wise.
  13. I'm nervous about Granderson. His salary for 2010, I guess, is reasonable, but if he continues to struggle as badly as he did this season against LHPs, then I will see him as overpaid in 2011-13: $8-12M, or so, per season is an awful lot of money for someone who is essentially a platoon player. If the Tigers can get good value in return for trading Granderson, I'll be okay with it.
  14. Melvin's comments got me to wondering whether he might have been interested in Gorkys Hernandez in place of Gomez. If so, then the Tigers could have had both Jair Jurrjens and JJ Hardy had they not traded for Renteria. Hindsight's wonderful, isn't it?
  15. I don't believe that is correct, although I'm not sure. I think because DW has paased a certain threshhold of MLB service time, he can refuse assignment to the minor leagues and demand to be paid according to the terms of his contract. The Tigers would then be faced with the decision of keeping him on the roster or releasing him. In either case, he'd still get paid.
  16. I figured, after the drop in his velocity last year and then his surgery, that the days of Bonderman at 95-97 were history. I'm just hoping he can eventually crank it up to 91-93. If he could get there, then he could still be a decent pitcher, what with presumably increased savvy, and all. Bonderman at 87-89 will be tougher to legitimize. That would make him bascially a finesse pitcher, and he probably wouldn't be successful as one of those. He was basically league average even with his best power stuff, right?
  17. Williamson looked good today. Lots of movement and he threw strikes, which has always been an issue for him. No report on his velocity, though.
  18. SPs: 1. Verlander, 2. Galarraga, 3. Jackson, 4. Bonderman, 5. Robertson. Porcello goes to Erie, while Willis accepts an assignment somewhere south of Detroit, possibly Toledo. RPs: 1. Lyon, 2. Rodney, 3. Miner, 4. Rincon, 5. Williamson, 6. Seay, 7. Rapada or Bloom or Perry, probably Rapada. Zumaya starts on the DL. Perry likely will be at Erie, where he will be encouraged to identify the strike zone.
  19. To me, the bullpen is looking like this ... 1. Lyon, 2. Rodney, 3. Miner, 4. Seay, 5. Rincon, 6. Williamson, 7. one of Rapada, Bloom, or Perry. Zumaya starts on the DL. I can see Leyland going for a second lefty over Perry, particularly since Perry has trouble throwing strikes consistently. Of course, most all Tiger pitchers do, including Williamson historically, but others at least have more experience than Perry.
  20. It's interesting, the mythology that develops around pitchers ... and how hard it is to let go of it. Bonderman's slider prior to last season struck me as one of the best in baseball but, like most of his other pitches, I did not think it was good in 2008. It was slow and flat and either hittable or not particularly inducible. (I say this based on the two games I saw him pitch last year, so it's not a big sample.) On the other side of the coin is Armando Galarraga, who never seems to get any love, not even among Tigers fans. That may be because experts keep on telling us how his stuff is prosaic. Is it? I don't think so. When he was on, and that happened a lot in 2008, Galarraga's slider was superb. It may not have been of the quality of Bonderman's prior to 2008, but he commanded it well and it had good bite and depth. It was a genuine plus pitch, which is more than I think it is fair to say about Bonderman's slider in 2008. Galarraga is a much better pitcher than he gets credit for. His fastball, which I think he varies nicely, is solid, and I think he can coax some more out of his changeup, too. It was at best average last year, but Galarraga is both smart and unflappable, and my sense is that pitchers like that get savvier and therefore more effective as they gain experience. I'm pretty certain (at least I tell myself that I am) that Galarraga will pick up where he left off last year. Bonderman, I'm not so sure about whether he'll bounce back.
  21. Well, I'd say Bonderman does have an arm issue. Maybe not one of the usual sorts of problems pitchers have, but he did have surgery to correct a problem that was affecting what he could get out of his arm. JB wasn't pitching with nearly the same velocity (upper 80s, very low 90s) last year as he had in years past (middle 90s and sometimes even better), although I can't recall anybody coming right out and saying that his velocity decrease was due to his circulation problem. I guess we're just have to wait and see whether the two problems are related and whether his surgery fixed both of them. I've prepared myself for the possibility that Bonderman will be healthy but, for one reason or another, he won't find his pre-2008 velocity. If that happens, he's in trouble.
  22. Diddo. But ... I don't see it happening. Dombrowski, for whatever reasons, seems not to like to play that game. Best chance for compensation would be for some team to sign ER before the magic date (whenever that is) when clubs have to make arbitration decisions. And that probably won't happen. Still, you never know ...
  23. Fien throws strikes. In this organization, that's special. So, fly ball pitcher or otherwise, I'll take him seriously (at least till I have a reason not to do so). And that brings me to Shelton. While I appreciate the guy's skill set as a hitter, we hear so much about his small frame and how that impedes him as a catcher that it's probably not such a bad idea to try him at some other position. I'm guessing that the Tigers also view CS as too small to be an everyday catcher (inasmuch as everybody else seems to believe that), so, for his sake, he probably should get time at 2B, or wherever.
  24. I certainly hope that the Tigers do not sign Verlander to a long-term contract this off-season, not after the year he had in 2008. To do so would indicate that the team learned nothing from the Robertson and Willis fiascos. Wait to see how Verlander does in 2009 before even thinking about committing long-term to him. The Tigers need to find out whether his 2008 season was an aberration or the real deal.
  25. Rob Jones

    Payroll

    Generally, I agree with this, although I'm not sure that you even need a great farm system. Nonetheless, the Twins are indeed a very fine example of the point I've been trying to make. They lose Santana, which most people (myself included) figured would be devastating to their pitching staff, they say adios to Silva (their version of Nate Robertson over the past few years), they knew that Liriano would be continuing his recovery from surgery, and then they traded Garza. Yet here they are with a bunch of cheap SPs promoted from their farm system who are performing well enough to keep them in the race. More generally, there's a persistent perception that the high price of pitching means that you have to lock up ordinary and in some case sub-ordinary pitchers to long-term deals in order to compete. I, however, think the opposite is true. As I see it, the high price of pitching means you have to be extremely selective about who you keep long-term because, if you aren't, you find yourself in the mess that the Tigers are in now. You reserve big-money lengthy deals for pitchers who've performed well over many years--to the Sabathias and Santanas of the world--because they're the best bets to front your rotation and pitch well. Pitchers like Robertson, however, who just aren't that good, you plan on replacing, particularly when they start getting expensive (when they become arbitration eligible, for instance). And, indeed, I do think they can be replaced, even if you haven't a farm system like that of the Twins. A Nate Robertson, or a Dontrelle Willis of 2007, is no better than a Chad Durbin, a Zach Miner, an Andres Galarraga, or possibly even a Chris Lambert. It's just absurd to commit tens of millions of dollars to mediocrity (or worse) when it can be had so much less expensively.
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