June 30, 2010
I will no longer be updating this site and will now only focus on my new site. Thank you for your support, my blog went very few visitors to developing its own constantly growing following. Please continue to follow my posts on http://puremichigansports.com
Thanks, once again for your comments and support.
June 24, 2010
I will be officially transferring my blog over to my website http://puremichigansports.com. The site is under heavy construction right now, but should be completed in the next few days. I will keep this blog active, but will eventually just update only on the website. I will also be changing my twitter account from @joshalltrades to @pureMIsports. Big changes are on the horizon.
June 18, 2010
The Tigers have gotten several outstanding performances from Jackson’s hot start, Maggs resurgence, Galarraga’s perfect game that wasn’t, impressive bullpen play, Boesch’s stunning rookie stats, solid starts from Bonderman and strong starting pitching from Verlander. However no player has been more impressive on the Tigers, or even in the entire league, than Miguel Cabrera. For a team that has (have scored 17th most runs in baseball) struggled to score, Miggy has put this team on his back. He leads both leagues in home runs(19), RBIs(59), and would be a serious threat to win the triple crown, but he trails Robinson Cano by .50 points in batting average(.332) in the AL. Miggy has also been outstanding in the clutch, batting .375 with runners in scoring position and .345 with runners in scoring position and two outs. Obviously he has gotten help, but its safe to say the Tigers would be far closer to the Royals than the Twins in the standings, without Miggys amazing start to the season.
June 8, 2010
The Tigers entered this years draft without a first round pick for the first time since 1984. After signing the Houston Astros Type A free agent, Jose Valverde, over the winter the Tigers had to sacrifice their first round pick. Since they lost two free agents of their own Type B free agents, Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney, the Tigers obtained two supplemental picks in the first round. With the 44th and 48th picks the Tigers selected:
#44: Nick Castellanos: 3B, Archbishop McCarthy HS, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Despite just graduating high school, the Tigers could not pass on Castellanos’s potential. He is projected to hit the cover off of the ball, with power to all fields. His hitting and large frame,6-feet-3, 190 pounds and growing, have given scouts impressions that he will only get bigger and stronger. He was rated as the top third baseman in this draft class, but will definitely need a few years in the minors. Signability is the main reason Castellanos dropped past scouts projected 20 prediction. He is currently projected to attend his hometown University of Miami. As the Tigers have proven the last several years, they are not shy about forking over cash to sign the prospects they covet. He would instantly becomes one of the Tigers top hitting prospects if they can find a way to sign him. Easy choice for the Tigers, Brandon Inge’s continued struggles at the plate have proven they are in desperate need of an upgrade. This selection will allow the Tigers to make short term decisions about third base, as they wait for Castellanos to work with way through their farm system.
#48 Chance Ruffin: Relief Pitcher, University of Texas
I have read mixed reviews on Ruffin. Many have suggested this was based on sign-ability, other sources have suggested he will be a dominant bullpen arm. From what I can gather off of scouting reports he has above average stuff and had a very successful career at the University of Texas. A farm system can never have enough pitching and Ruffin will add another solid arm to their system and it doesn’t sound like he will need much time in the minors.
Overall solid selections from the Tigers, only time will tell how these selections will pan out.
June 3, 2010
Earlier today Marjor League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig released the following press release. Kudos for him for finally acknowledging the error of last nights game in Detroit. Sure was nice that he congratulated Detroit for handling the situation created by his lack of interest in expanding replay and poor execution by the leagues Umpires, with class. Pretty pathetic MLB was not involved at all with making the transition for the Tigers smoother, and then waiting 18 hours to comment on the situation in general. I understand the concern for the precedent of reversing this one call, but still sad the MLB was not more involved with apologizing and leaving the Tigers to handle the situation on their own. Before the game the Tigers took it upon themselves to honor Galarraga with GM presenting him with a Corvette convertible, and Galarraga submitting teams lineup card to openly offer peace and forgiveness to Umpire Jim Joyce.
I haven’t been able to find a consistent number, but in 1991 then Commissioner Fay Vincent removed anywhere from 17-50 no hitters from the MLB record books for various reasons. Hopefully Selig takes this opportunity acknowledge the flaws of the game and the impact they can have on games. Also it would be nice if MLB learns to not leave its teams, players and umpires out to dry while they quietly discuss the situation.
June 3, 2010
Last night against the Cleveland Indians Tigers starting pitcher Armando Galarraga was pitching the game of his life, twenty six batters up and twenty six batters down. The first out of the top of the ninth Galarraga’s perfect game got the signature catch all perfect games have when Austin Jackson made a outstanding over the should catch in deep center field. Unfortunately for him the baseball gods were not shinning on him on this night, as what would have been the final out was called safe. A ground ball was hit to first baseman Miguel Cabrera who quickly tossed it to Galarraga, in live action, and as replay would later prove, the throw and tag beat the runner by a solid step. First base Umpire Jim Joyce(his reaction after the game) blew the call on what should have been the 21st perfect game in baseball history. In fairness to Joyce he has owned up to his mistake. He went out of his way to apologize to Galarraga, spoke with the media after the game, and chose to umpire at today’s game despite anticipation of a beyond rowdy crowd awaiting him at Comerica Park today.
Galarrage was phenomenal during the game, and displayed an unprecedented amount of class during the call and after the game. Few would have taken this route, maybe there have been 20 perfect games (and again as replay has shown Galarraga deserved number 21) but no player displayed this amount of class or grace for himself, his franchise and the game by calmly and proudly moving on. He earned it, but it unfortunately it simply did not work out.
As outlined in this Jayson Stark article MLB owes it to its fans, owners, and players to provide the best product on the field. If that includes/forces the game to expand replay to game altering calls then so be it. I personally am all for baseball doing everything it can to solidify the integrity of the game. It would be even more of a travesty if one of the other umpires disagreed with the call and remained silent. Life goes on, and the record will state the Galarraga pitched an amazing one hitter on June 2nd, 2010. I would imagine MLB Commissioner Bud Selig will issue a statement apologizing to the Tigers(dream scenario would be him over ruling and announcing this a perfect game; highly unlikely) and Jim Joyce will release a formal statement as well. For better or worse few players now understand the breaks of the game like Armando Galarraga.
June 1, 2010
While there are just under two months to go before the July 31st trade deadline it is never too early to consider the Tigers options. As of of today it would appear as the Tigers will be buyers in the trade market. On June 1st the Tigers trail the Twins in the AL Central by 4 1/2 games, and are 4 1/2 games behind the wild card leading Yankees. The Tigers main area of focus would be improving their starting pitching.
As of today the top two starting pitchers who are or will be on the trading block start and end with Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee. Both pitchers would force the Tigers to mortgage their future, leaving their cabinets bare. I would imagine both teams would demand one of the Tigers top starting pitching prospects, LHP Casey Crosby or RHP Jacob Turner, if not both. The Astros and Mariners would also request OF Wilkin Ramirez, OF Casper Wells, and RP Daniel Schlereth, be included in any deal.
Despite making a big splash during the offseason the Mariners have been underachievers, finding themselves in last place in their division. The Mariners are starved for hitting, and if they think they have no chance at resigning impending free agent Cliff Lee, they will be forced to swap him for prospects. Lee would be a dream scenario for the Tigers. Although the Tigers probably don’t have a strong enough farm system to offer a better trade than other contending teams Lee could be worth the gamble. Obviously this trade only makes sense if the Tigers are confident Lee would be interested in resigning. Comerica Park is tailor made for left handed pitching, yet the Tigers currently boast a starting rotation of five right handers. Lee has proven to have dominating stuff in both the AL and NL. On top of trading several of their top ten prospects the Tigers would also have to give Lee at least a four year $60 million contract extension at the end of the season.
Roy Oswalt has requested the rebuilding Astros trade him to a contender, preferably a NL team. While he is a high caliber talent, (a) I don’t think he would be interested in coming here (b) If the Tigers are going to jump into the sweepstakes and mortgage their future I would prefer to the pitcher to be left handed and (c) have experience pitching in the AL. I realize if you have outstanding stuff, you can switch from AL to NL or vice versa with no problem, just a preference. However I would prefer to make the gamble least risky as possible. A team trading for Oswalt might be able to obtain him for slightly less than Lee, because of him having 1 year and 15 million left from his last contract extension.
At the end of the day either player would be a huge gamble, mainly because of giving up Crosby and Turner. However if Tigers can prove they are a pitcher away from truly contending I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dombrowski make a move at the deadline. I hate to see the Tigers waste quality seasons from Verlander, but the Tigers have learned the hard way that they are not a team that can allow their payroll to balloon up past 100 million. The Tigers best mold of how to build their team has been perfected by the rival Minnesota Twins. The Twins have found ways to consistently build from within their farm system, and carefully choosing which players to build around and which players to trade away. Ideally it would be great for the Tigers to add an arm like Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt, but it is simply not feasible for a mid market team. The Tigers would be wise to try to get the most out of the team they have, and focus their adjustments in the offseason, not with a blockbuster deal at the trade deadline.
May 29, 2010
As the season progresses it is becoming more and more obvious that Tiger’s catching woes may last all season long. The good news Tigers catchers are batting .311, the bad news thats Laird and Avila’s combined batting average. Many thought Gerald Laid could be a solid stop gap, as the Tigers attempted to groom a young catcher. However this season Laird is batting .158 and has not brought the strong throwing arm he possessed last season. Laird has done nothing to solidify the catching position, and has forced the Tigers to play Alex Avila frequently. Avila has been unable to supply the hot bat he displayed last September during his cup of coffee with the team, batting a paltry .153. These pathetic batting averages either need to improve or the Tigers will be forced to make a move.
The league is not full of tremendous catchers, but so far the Tigers don’t even have an average hitting catcher. If Laird or Avila can’t even approach the Mendoza line the Tigers must strongly consider shopping for a catcher during the trade deadline. If they cannot find an upgrade via trade then this offseason the Tigers will have plenty of money coming off of the books to try to land a solid catcher. The search to replace Mickey Tettleton continues…
May 27, 2010
Last season Tigers outfield Magglio Ordonez got off to such a slow start that more was talked about his contract than his play. After surpassing the team option number of at bats/games played he triggered his 18 million dollar salary for this season. Despite finishing with a hot bat, few fans were looking forward to his stats this season. His bat looked slow, and he was a double play waiting to happen, not to mention Curtis Granderson need roller skates to make up the ground Magglio couldn’t cover in the outfield. I personally lobbied the Tigers to bench or release him, didn’t seem worth risking 18-33 million. Many contributed old age, whispers of PED use piled on, and he dealt with his wife battling cancer. After a quiet offseason, with many counting him down and out, he has bounced back through 44 games as he appears to be back to his old self again.
Manager Jim Leyland has confidently penciled him into the number three spot all season and Magglio has not disappointed. He is batting .327, with 7 home runs, 32 RBIs that has heavily contributed to keeping the Tigers being right behind the Twins in the standings. His stats have fans and media talking All Star appearance, surely a thought no one would have predicted heading into the season. Magglio has provided protection within the lineup and has help allow Miguel Cabrera to get off to an MVP start. Granted for 18 million dollars it should be expected he put up these numbers, but at least he is producing. Unlike the Yankees, Mets, or Red Sox, the Tigers are not a franchise that can afford to consistently eat salaries for unproductive players. Similar to last season if Magglio plays in 135 games or more he will will trigger the last year of his contract at 15 million for 2011.
Barring a trip to the disabled list or unforeseen struggles it is likely Magglio will be back again in 2011. However if he can continue his strong start through the first quarter of the season, although he will continue to be heavily over payed, at least the Tigers will be getting solid production out of him. Winning cures all and makes money seem less important, if the Tigers can find a way to make the playoffs few will complain about his contract.
May 20, 2010
After suffering through five starts in April where he only got out of the five inning once, many quietly questioned whether his contract extension over the winter had softened him. Despite his poor start the Tigers still found ways to win, and maintained a 2nd place standing in the AL Central. The early struggles are seemingly behind Verlander as he has bounced back, and is quickly silencing his early critics.
Verlander has turned things around in a big way in the month of May. He has posted an impressive 4-0 record, 1.50 ERA, and a 3 to 1 strike out to walk ratio. When Verlander is on, he is one of the top ten pitchers in all of baseball. His most impressive starts of the month have been his last two. He out dueled C.C. Sabathia through 6 2/3 innings, shutting down the Bronx Bombers and leading the Tigers to an impressive 6-0 victory. Last night he pitched his first complete game of the season, mowing down Oakland A’s hitters all night, and another Tigers win. Verlander has re-discovered his swagger and with Rick Porcello pitching better of late, these two should finally set the tone for the rotation.
Almost two months into the season the Tigers starters rank 29th in quality starts, sixteen, in baseball and as ace of this staff all the pressure is on Verlander to turn that stat around. As he goes, so goes the staff. If Verlander can get into a groove that will take a lot of pressure off of the rest of the starters, and provide rest to their over worked bullpen. Miguel Cabrera has been pegged by many as this team’s MVP, but in order for the Tigers to be contenders they will only go as far as Verlander’s arm can take them.