Now that's a Deal!!!

Finally, the Tigers listened to me!

This just in from the Dallas Morning News.
The Texas Rangers have seen another former member of their franchise go to a contender.

The Detroit Tigers have agreed to a deal with Joe Nathan, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

Nathan was 43-of-46 in save chances in 2013, with a 1.39 ERA and 73 strikeouts in his last season in Texas. The six-time All-Star is 39 years old. In his two seasons in Arlington, he had 80 saves and 151 strikeouts.

The Tigers have won three straight AL Central titles without winning a World Series, and some feel a closer was a key void in last year's playoff run.

I hope he knows what he's doing...

A starting pitcher for three minor leaguers? Does that really move us forward?

We need a closer: a proven closer.

Maybe Rondon is ready. Maybe they have faith in Smyly. Maybe Santa will be good to us.

I'm a died in the wool AL fan, but has anybody even heard of these guys?

Am I the only one who doesn't like "The Trade?"

Nope. Headline in the Dallas Morning News today - "Mega-deal looks like a mega-steal for the Rangers."

I'll grant ya, I don't generally like change. I didn't like the Granderson trade, but I'm OK with it now. I didn't like the Harvey Keunn for Rocky Colavito trade, but I got over it. Of the three DMN columnists talking about the trade, two of them thought it was a great one for the Rangers.
Don't kid yourself, Kinsler is no longer an All-Star second baseman. He's been getting hurt a lot, and although he's fairly fast for an older guy, he got caught stealing a lot.

But I guess what I like least about the trade is what the facts are about Fielder. He isn't what he used to be either. That's been a fact for the two years he's been with the Tigers - he hasn't been what he used to be in Milwaukee. He was certainly good at protecting Cabrera in the lineup. But it seems like pitchers were afraid of a phantom. 

So maybe Martinez can fill that role. Maybe moving Cabrera back to first, and giving Castellanos a chance at third is a good idea. 

Maybe it is the best we can do. But I don't have to like it.

Now go get some relief pitching, boys. That's what we really need.  

And so, on to the Ausmus era...

I wish they had picked someone with some real managing experience, but they didn't ask my opinion. The reports have it that Ausmus is a "baseball brain," but honestly, I don't think the best managers know when to change pitchers, when to call the hit and run, pitchout, etc. I honestly think most of us could do that stuff.

I think there are two things a manager does that we never see, and probably make all the difference.

One is spotting the talent, and capitalizing on it. But managers have a whole squad of coaches, minor league managers and scouts to advise on that.

But the most important thing a manager does is the same thing a manager does in an office or shop: get the best out of his employees by creating a a workplace that doesn't distract, but supports and encourages.

Hopefully you've had a manager who has done that for you. Lordie knows most of us have seen the opposite.

Perhaps the worst example in sports is the current "drama" with Richie Incognito and the Miami Dolphins.

When the rookie wasn't coming to "optional" workouts, coaches told Incognito to "bring him in line." Regardless of what actually transpired, the coaches and management failed to do their job of "managing" this young talent. They gave that responsibility to Incognito, who clearly wasn't up to the task.

As soon as he was drafted (or maybe even before) team officials should be telling the rookie how much they were looking forward to having him on the team. Tell him they were relying on him. Tell him how important he was to their plans. These "volunteer" workouts were clearly a problem sign that something was wrong. (My Marine son-in-law calls this kind of thing being "volun-told.")

Maybe NFL rules don't allow coaches to order players to these sessions, but couldn't they call him, and ask him if everything is OK at home? Was there anything they could do to help him get to the workouts? Repeat messages from above, "we're relying on you, we need you, you can make a real difference, etc., etc.)

Instead of solving the problem, Miami coaches made it far worse.

Managing is not a skill most people are born with. Certainly some a better than others, but it's generally a skill that is taught and learned by experience. Let's hope Ausmus is an incredibly fast learner.    

So, who shall we pick as the new manager?

Please, not Ozzie Guillen. One of Hugo Chavez's best buds.

Brad Ausmus is no doubt a good guy, but we don't know if he's managed a little league team, do we?

Can't we get somebody with experience?

Gibby? (I know he's currently employed, and they say he's not interested, but can't we ask him?)

Who else?

So, it's over...

A few rambling thoughts to wind up the season.

Tops on the Christmas list: relief pitchers and a couple hitting outfielders.

Big Jim leaving? I don't think it's that big a deal.

Finally a couple questions for you coaches out there:

Why don't more major leaguers "choke up" like they used to? Seems like a wise move with two strikes and a flame thrower up there. Rangers Leonys Martin does it all the time.

Why do so many major leaguers have such a pronounced open stance, then when the pitch comes in, they close it up? I understand shifting your weight from back foot to front, but this seems counterintuitive. (at least to me.)

Finally, many major leaguers (including Benoit) seem to go from a set position, rock back on one foot, and "pump" the ball into their mit, before bringing their hands together and deliver the pitch. Isn't that a balk?

a few thoughts from Senor Domzal:

Tops on the Christmas list: relief pitchers and a couple hitting outfielders.

Ya think. The hitters are there, middle relief by all means is the key. Two pitches and we are staring at the cards this week instead of emptying lockers.

Big Jim leaving? I don't think it's that big a deal.

He hit it perfectly on the head. ‘It’s time’. My hat is off to him for the strength he had facing the incredible scrutiny he was under on every decision. The guy knew what he was doing. Even in the game I attended, the 4 -3 loss, he kept Sanchez in, we nibbled back, got within one, yet hitting failed us. I would have pulled Sanchez but the patience of Leyland, the knowledge of his players, home crowd, the hitters he had, the opportunity to take this game was right there. I will miss Leyland. I felt confident in his moves. And truthfully, at his age, he has paid the price. He deserves to go out as he did. With dignity, and his head held high in my opinion.

Finally a couple questions for you coaches out there:

Why don't more major leaguers "choke up" like they used to? Seems like a wise move with two strikes and a flame thrower up there. Rangers Leonys Martin does it all the time. Couldn’t tell you. Logic says absolutely. I recall rose doing it all the time. And Morgan. And of course dick McAuliffe. Bats today may be lighter, can get around faster, or its not taught simply because if you do get around, you may go opposite field, which isn’t a bad thing.

Why do so many major leaguers have such a pronounced open stance, then when the pitch comes in, they close it up? I understand shifting your weight from back foot to front, but this seems counterintuitive. (at least to me.) in the end, every batter ends up pretty much in the same position. Weight distribution typically is what they are trying to get to. Legs driving the ball. Look at the last second before a batter hits the ball. Or misses for that matter. All that movement, stance, etc. is more semantics on the batters part. They all end up wide stance, head down, facing the ball arms extended or at least should be at point of contact.

Finally, many major leaguers (including Benoit) seem to go from a set position, rock back on one foot, and "pump" the ball into their mit, before bringing their hands together and deliver the pitch. Isn't that a balk? Sure looks like it to me. He’s not alone. But apparently umps have conceded this as a non balk move. I would have called it on a number of pitchers this year. More prevalent than I have ever seen. But, if it wasn’t a balk in spring training, they obviously are allowing it.

Tigers. Incredible collapse. I watched fielder up close. My seats were just few rows up, just past first. How do you define lethargy. Just incredible. I mean this guy looks beat. Only $218 million, imagine that. I finally had enough of him, first pitch double plays, pathetic base running, I hollered at him. ‘Fielder, only $218 mil, with that production you must work for the government. You don’t have to produce.’ Got a few fans reactions. Discovered they are not as critical of this balloon as I suspected. Very protective. Bull $hit. The guy needed to come thru. For as many times we have come to playoff time, he has collapsed. Even with the pitching debacle, his bat would have made the difference. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love the guy as a person. But man, when crunch time comes, you gotta be somewhat selective at the plate, know where you want to go with the ball, when to take the base, when to listen to the coach, he just came apart in my opinion.

Cabrera. Again, he’s hurt. You can see it. Peralta. I like the guy. Bat came thru. Finally jake wood wannabee Austin came around in the end, but oh, for a hit in game 3, or even something in game two when we could have gone up by 7, how large do those strikeouts look now. Verlander, sherzer, sanchez, even benoit all looked strong. Just that middle relief. We knew it all season. Now the country found out.

Guys like don kelly, Iglesias, torre hunter all are great pieces. I hope they get to keep them all. Somewhere along the way they need to find some speed on the basepaths. This has always plagued these tiger teams. Over the years a few bright spots, the ron leflores of the day, but, you can see how incredibly fast some of these playoff teams are. Iglesias is fast, but, we need more I think. At least pose a threat so to pull the shortstop out of position during the hit and run knowing ‘hes going’.

All I go back to is game two, up 5, and my instincts said to me, ‘it’s not enough’. Instincts stink sometimes.

Give me a tony larussa for one year. Not more, just one say. He has had many prima donnas to manage. This being said, they would immediately respect him. He could be the one to get us over the top. You may have one more season in this team before it has to be broken up. The Indians are very good, the royals are coming on strong. For the tigers to take this thing once and for all, larussa would be my first call after the press conference if I am Dave. I pray to God they don’t bring in some first year experiment, a tommy brookens say, even a Gibson might be controversial. And a gene lamont could be a fit but again, hes bringing some Leyland with him. I think with Jim gone, a fresh coaching staff might be in order with whomever takes the reign.

Pedroia didn't even get ONE out on botched double-play grounder

I've been reading/hearing that Dustin Pedroia's misplay of a sure double-play grounder in the Tigers' five-run second inning cost the Red Sox Game 4. If you watch the replay, he didn't even get one out. So it could have been worse, Boston, much worse.

Pre-game thoughts

I everbody else sick and tired of Erin Andrews? I sure am.

Who's to blame for the situation we're in? All the hitters. Not just Jackson. I welcome the changed line up.

Not as thrilled by Porcello's appearance the other night, but who is?

Meanwhile, any body notice the ex Tigers on other playoff teams? Matt Joyce, Laird, Grilli, etc.? Any body notice they didn't make an impact?

Just sayin.


From Domzal

Yes, they with the mighty bats have gone to sleep. With a 5 run lead SATURDAY NIGHT, I was scared. I sensed what their, the bosox potential was. Sadly, in that loss, the tigers gained the lead too early if you can believe that. Now, we are screwed. Prince my ass, $216 MILLION for this fatass to do jack $hit. Can you imagine getting that much money and this kind of performance? Clearly he must think he works for the government. I’d fire his ass as soon as I could show him the door for this kind of investment and return. miggy, looked like he was in A ball in Caracas for chrissakes. And the mighty Omar. What a pick up. Thanks Dave. This guy could not even get the dam ball in the outfield or even hit to the right side with a man on 3rd and less than 2, then of course later in the contest the weak dribble to second a second time he could have been a hero, and finally our wonderful head case #1, Mr. Jackson. What a wonderful addition to the power lineup. A great leadoff batter, that’s for sure. Another great move dave. Sure makes me forget that kid we had out there, what was his name, Grander--- something?? Austin of course must remind you all of Jake the joke wood. For those tiger aficionados, old #2 Jake led the team and I believe still holds the record for strikeouts in a single season. 1962 if I recall? Austin is doing his damnest to work his way up to Jake status we see.

Can you, have you ever seen such pitching by a staff, having a complete collapse by a lineup designed for power as we are witnessing?

One pitch, that’s the difference. We walk around or force poppy, even if we give up 3 in the inning, we are going to the 9th. Instead, good old goatee wockeen decides to drill one. And its over. Right before our eyes.

I was sick all night. I thought Saturday was a bad game, yesterday was worse. Today is must of course. As well as tomorrow. What team will show up is what we all wonder about. Can’t even imagine what verlander and sherzer are thinking. I didn’t think verlander had a third game in him in this postseason, a jewel, and yet, here he was, showing just what he is all about.

I complain because I am a true die hard tiger fan. And I want them to win so badly. They have been so close. Screw Boston. They have the bruins, the Celtics, of course the dynasty in the patriots. Won the series twice now in the past 5 years or so, and I think for our hometown, nothing would be better for the spirit, the economy, the overall image of our city, as much maligned it is and may seem to so many. We know as Detroiters how much this would mean for this team to do the improbable now it seems.

Congrats, Tigers!

Of course, we're all thrilled the Tigers won the division. But I have to admit, it's fun watching the Rangers squeeze out a wild card playoff game against the Indians.

Actually, they came very close to choking down the stretch again like last year; it took seven straight wins to get this far...but it's been interesting.

Debbie is screaming that I'm watching too much baseball already, and post-season hasn't even started!

Time to eat some crow

I was wrong. 

There. I said it. It's taken me a long time, but I can now admit I was wrong on at least two counts, probably many more. 

First, we shouldn't have traded Porcello. He's a great guy to have near the bottom of the rotation. I still maintain he's a much better pitcher with a decently mobile infield, but the Tigers have helped him with the new shortstop. 

Second, I've finally come to grips with trading Curtis Granderson. I know, that took me a long time, and I'm still not a Phil Coke fan (even though you say he's a nice guy Tom. I'm a nice guy, you're a nice guy, but we don't belong in the Tiger bullpen.)

Getting Scherzer and Jackson was just a great deal.     

So.... do we let Peralta return or not??

Some tough decisions lie ahead for Dombrowski and Leyland. What do you do with Peralta when he is eligible to return? For what it's worth - I say give him his walkng papers. He will be a free agent after the season anyways. Jim Price is referring to Iglesias as the "magician" I think the kid is amazing. Fielding that is specatular. Hitting around 300. Leads the league in infield hits! The other day he perfectly executed the suicide squeeze, even though the ball was pitched over his head. He had to jump to make the bunt and the run scored. I like him hitting in the #2 spot, but it should belong to Hunter for this year. Iglesias is the real deal and will be at short for a long time. What say ye? Nice to have everyone back.

Apologies, apologies

   First off, my apologies for being away so long. I still love the Tigers, still love ya'll. Life just in the way this season. But I'm itching to talk baseball with my best baseball buddies.

Why does Leyland put Cabrera at third tonight?

I'm certain that Miggy, being the competitor he is, says he's fine. But hey, let's get serious, he's been in pain most of the summer. Somehow he's doing a Ty Cobb impression (plus power) anyway.

Give the guy half a loaf. Let him DH. We all want him to get a second Triple Crown.

But we've got a big lead over the Indians, the games between now and the playoffs mean little. And Miggy is the kind of guy that can carry us through the playoffs.

If I were in charge, I'd play him sparingly for the rest of the season.   

What's Wrong with Baseball Tonight

It's like the 60's all over again.

Way back then, like now, I was a big Tiger fan, a big American league fan. But back then SI and Game of the Week treated the AL like second class citizens.

The difference between then and now is that the NL really was better. Baseball Tonight hasn't got the memo.

Seems like they way overplay NL games and stars.

But I'll give credit where it's due, they did a nice job on Jackie Robinson Day, featuring Orioles outfielder Adam Young and his efforts to bring baseball to African American youth.

Did you know only eight percent of Major Leaguers are black?

Does it matter?

You can say it's because there isn't the baseball fields in the inner city, but hey, the St. Veronica field I played on was no gem. In fact, it was so bad, we prefered to play in the asphalt parking lot. At least the grounders took a true hop.

I know Tom mentioned the stone infield at Mumford.

Does the quality of the field matter?

Football is way more expensive to outfit than baseball.

What do you think? 

The Bird is Still News

If you didn't hear it live, you'll enjoy this story about Mark Fidrych, and the news book out on him.

Sweet recollections of 1976.

That didn't take long: Tigers sign Valverde

By the Detroit News

Minneapolis — The Tigers, who blew a late lead against the Minnesota Twins in the second game of the season Wednesday, on Thursday took a step to try to resolve their bullpen issues.

They brought back Jose Valverde.

Valverde signed a minor league contract and will report to Lakeland, where the Tigers will evaluate his ability to pitch in the major leagues again.

The opt-out clause for Valverde is May 5.

The Tigers did not re-sign Valverde at the end of the 2012 season and he became a free agent but did not find any takers in the off-season. Valverde had been Detroit's closer from 2010-12.

From The Detroit News:

WBC: I'm in!

I'm getting into the WBC. Watched the USA/Canada game, and enjoyed it tremendously.

Looking forward to USA/Puerto Rico tonight.

I just don't understand why only 20 some thousand fans showed up in Phoenix. Bring it to the Ballpark in Arlington, I'll go!

Baseball Buddies

                Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander. Lakeland, Fla. March 1. Photo by Tom Hagerty.

Lucky Break for the Tigers

The Texas Rangers' starters breaking his arm could be a "lucky break" for the Tigers. 

Peddle Porcello to Texas for Andrus or Profar. They're both outstanding shortstops, and Rangers just don't know what to do with both of them. 

An answer to both teams problems, and since Texas has a pretty snappy infield, it would probably be good for Porcello too.  

Greetings from Lakeland!

                                     Detroit v. Toronto. Joker Marchant Stadium. Feb. 23, 2013

Greetings from sunny Lakeland, Florida! Spring training started more than a week ago and I just now realized I have failed to post any photos on At the Corner. I'll try to post regularly. Meanwhile you can see a selection of my spring training photos at

Check daily for updates.

Posers as Posters...Grr...

Over the last few weeks it seems we've had a few interlopers crash our little party; people who really are not fans of the Tigers or our little corner of the blogosphere.

They do this by posting supposedly complimentary comments, and links to their own websites.

I've had a few bumps in my own road lately, and have not been as vigilant in policing as I should, so I apologize if anybody's computer has been infected or hacked.

My advice: if somebody posts something that has nothing to do with our favorite baseball team, and urges you to another web site, ignore it, perhaps let me know and I'll strike it from the record.

Finally, (and this has nothing to do with Tigers' baseball) if you are a gardener, you might check out my new blog Grow This...Not That    

It's written from my Texas garden, but most of it will apply to Traverse City or suburban Detroit or Reston Va. ...eventually.

Who is your outfield?

OK Hunter in right, Jackson in Center.
Left for Dirks, Boesch, Garcia, Berry, Castellano, some spring training sensation?
What say ye?

Texas Tiger Trivia Question

I think you'd have trouble using the internet to answer this one:

Two of the top five all-time home-run hitters born in Texas were at some point in their careers Detroit Tigers. Who were they?

In case the question is a bit confusing: rank Texas natives for hitting MLB homers. Two of the top five are Tigers. #1 is Frank Robinson (born in Beaumont) with 586, #2 is Ernie Banks (born in Dallas) with 512, #4 is Adam Dunn (Houston) with 406.  

2nd Base??

The Comissioner said something about each of us tackling a position.  He is so organized and has stats and research to back up what he says.  Me?  I go with gut instinct.  The season saw many 2nd basemen.  Brandon Inge (gave up 3rd for the MVP) before he was banished to Oakland, Ryan Rayburn before he was banished to parts unknown, Ramon Santiagop - a steady back up.  And then my mind went blank.  For the life of me I could not remember who the 2nd baseman was.  What does that tell ya?  It tells me that whoever the heck it is could be expendable.  I cheated and found out that it was Omar Infante.  He was just OK in my book.  He was one of the few hitters in the World Series (.316).  Could we live with him in 2013 - sure.  Is there somebody else out there?  I don't know.  32 days till pitchersand catchers report!!

Hall of Fame: No Players Elected for First Time Since 1996 (Morris 67.7%, Trammell 33.6%)

A winning candidate did not emerge from the Hall of Fame balloting conducted by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and verified by Ernst & Young. There were 569 ballots cast, the third highest total in the history of the voting, but none of the 37 candidates in the 2013 vote gained mention on the required 75 percent for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Craig Biggio, who totaled 3,060 hits and was a seven-time All-Star while playing three positions (catcher, second base, outfield), topped the ballot with 388 votes – 39 shy of the 427 needed for election. His total reflected 68.2 percent of the electorate, which consists of BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years of Major League Baseball coverage. Five blank ballots were among those submitted. Other players named on more than half the ballots were pitcher Jack Morris with 385 (67.7 percent), first baseman Jeff Bagwell with 339 (59.6), catcher Mike Piazza with 329 (57.8) and outfielder Tim Raines with 297 (52.2).

Commenting on the election, Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said, “The standards for earning election to the Hall of Fame have been very high ever since the rules were created in 1936. We realize the challenges voters are faced with in this era. The Hall of Fame has always entrusted the exclusive voting privilege to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. We remain pleased with their role in evaluating candidates based on the criteria we provide.”

This is the eighth election by the BBWAA that did not produce a Hall of Famer and the first since 1996. That year, the top three vote getters were Phil Niekro (68.3), Tony Perez (65.7) and Don Sutton (63.8). All were subsequently elected; Niekro in 1997, Sutton in 1998 and Perez in 2000. The other BBWAA elections without a winner were in 1945, 1946, 1950, 1958, 1960 and 1971.

Biggio and Piazza were each on the ballot for the first time, Morris for the 14th year, Bagwell the third and Raines the sixth. Players remain on the ballot for up to 15 years provided they receive five percent of the vote in any year. There were 19 candidates who failed to make the cut this year (29 votes) – 18 of the 24 players who were on the ballot for the first time, plus outfielder Bernie Williams, who was on the ballot for the second time. First-year candidates who received sufficient support to remain in addition to Biggio and Piazza were pitchers Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens and outfielders Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa. Outfielder Dale Murphy, in his 15th and final year on the ballot, received 106 votes (18.6).

Other holdovers that will remain on the ballot in addition to Biggio, Morris, Bagwell, Piazza and Raines are first basemen Mark McGwire, Fred McGriff, Don Mattingly and Rafael Palmeiro; pitcher Lee Smith; shortstop Alan Trammell; designated hitter-third baseman Edgar Martinez and outfielder Larry Walker.

As part of the Induction Weekend ceremony Sunday, July 28, at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y., in which three Pre-Integration Committee electees – umpire Hank O’Day, New York Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert and 19th-century player Deacon White – will be inducted, the Hall of Fame will recognize 12 individuals previously counted among its roster of members who never had a formal induction due to wartime restrictions. They are BBWAA electees Lou Gehrig (1939) and Rogers Hornsby (1942), along with the entire class of 1945 selected by the Committee on Old Timers: Roger Bresnahan, Dan Brouthers, Fred Clarke, Jimmy Collins, Ed Delahanty, Hugh Duffy, Hughie Jennings, King Kelly, Jim O’Rourke and Wilbert Robinson. Paul Hagen, the J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner for baseball writing, and the late Tom Cheek, the Ford C. Frick Award winner for broadcasting, will be honored during the Awards Presentation Saturday, July 27, at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown.

Max Scherzer, he's our man

When I set out to write this, my opinion of Scherzer was "good middle of the rotation starter, but I hope he didn't just have a career year in 2012."

A wee bit of research shows I am wrong (what's new there, wifie tells me I'm wrong daily.) Last season statistically was reflective of his 5 year career.

His ERA was 3.74, while his career total is only 3.88. He won a career-high 16 games, no doubt aided by the lusty hitting support he received.

It just seemed to me he was far more dominant last year than ever before.

But wait...

Maybe some of you Sabrematricians can help me here.  His WAR (Wins Above Replacement) jumped to 4 last year, compared to 1.1 in 2011.

(WAR for pitchers is defined at as "A single number that the player added to the team above what a replacement player (think AAA or AAAA would add.) This value includes defensive support and and includes additional value for high leverage situations. Scale: 8+ MVP quality; 5+ All Star quality,  2+ Starter, 0-2 Reserve, 0 Replacement level.")

Perhaps my impression comes from the fact that 2012 wasn't so much of a career year, but 2011 was a bit of an off-year for Maxie. His ERA in 2011 jumped up to 4.43, the highest in his career. I believe he changed his wind-up that off-season to lifting his hands over his head. Whatever it takes, Max.

I still don't understand how he had a better ERA in 2010 (3.5) but only got a 3.1 WAR. Maybe this is proof that at some point, statistics just break down.

Fact is, Scherzer is a good, solid pitcher, and when he throws his glove out there, we fans feel reasonably comfortable we'll be in the game.

Maybe best of all, he's only 27, the age when most pitchers are reaching their prime.