Touch ‘em all

After a couple of weeks of, I’m charged up and ready to go. Thanks for sticking around.

  • Lynn Henning’s article yesterday has a number of quotes from Ivan Rodriguez. Essentially Rodriguez told a number of reporters that he is frustrated by the losing. I view this as a good thing. Nobody should be satisfied with the losing and they should want more.

    He also spoke about taking walks saying:

    “I hate walks,” Rodriguez said Saturday, to which most Tigers fans would respond: “No kidding.”

    “I’m aggressive,” he continued. “I’ve been in baseball 15 years and I’m going to continue being aggressive. I’m going to walk (when?), but for me to get a walk, that’s a hard thing to do because I’m a very aggressive hitter. I hit the ball hard pretty much all the time because I’m aggressive. If I go over there to just take walks, I might not produce the way I can produce.”

    I have no problem with Pudge being agressive, but he is sporting an OBA under .300 (and inexplicably has been holding down the #3 spot in the order). He is swinging at pitches that he can’t hit hard and making more outs in the process. His power numbers are down a little bit, and some regression isn’t expected out of a catcher at this point in his career. It’s the fact that his OBA is 50 points lower than his career average that is most troubling.

    He went on to bash the bullpen trades, which is really old news at this point. The Tigers problem isn’t the lack of a closer – although with the trades the talent in the bullpen has been depleted making it tougher to get to the closer.

    What I would have really liked to have seen is for Rodriguez to take some the responsibility. His offensive performance has been below his standards – and below what the team needs him to contribute. I’m not going to bring up his contract and say he’s not worth what they are paying him, because not a lot can be done about that. But if he wants out because he wants to win, maybe he should have taken a one or two year deal from a team that was closer to contention. The Tigers made a serious effort to add talent last year, and they did manage some upgrades. But they also are still in a position to have to overpay for guys who don’t view this as a great destination.

    I want Pudge back next year, and the Tigers need him back. Even at his lower performance this year, they’d be hard pressed to find a better backstop. I’d just like to see Rodriguez share some of the responsiblity.

  • Jeremey, Justin, and Joel. Those three constitute what many hope will be a very bright spot in the Tigers future. Unfortunately none of the 3 are throwing right now. Zumaya has been shut down for the season with a tired arm, Verlander is just doing bullpen work due to shoulder tightness, and Bonderman is on the shelf indefinitely with elbow problems. Combine those injuries with the Tigers recent track record with Kyle Sleeth, Matt Anderson, Kenny Baugh, Justin Thompson, Rob Henkel, Nate Cornejo, etc. and it seems like the Tigers have a serious problem keeping pitching prospects healthy.

    Well, USS Mariner took a look at all major league teams to find out how they fared in keeping pitchers healthy. Here is the link to the summary, and here is the link to the Tigers page. It turns out that the Tigers are actually in the middle of the pack according to this research with 22% of pitching prospects from 1995-2004 suffereing a major arm injury.

    While I think he missed a couple surgeries (Henkel in particular) the research is pretty impressive. It also showed that the A’s pitching prospects never get injured, and Mariner prospects are most likely to be injured.

  • As for Bonderman’s injury in particular, there are various reports. Will Carroll indicates two things. First, that his mechanics were altered in his first start after the line drive. And second, that the elbow problems may be attributed to him learning a circle change. I’ll continue to be nervous, but I’ll console myself in that it is probably not a bad thing that this will limit his innings this year.
  • As for the recent slide the Tigers have been on, how do you cope? For me, it isn’t so bad. I get to take my 4 year old (and this time the whole family) to a game. He wants the Tigers to win, but he is so enamored with the experience the final score can take a back seat. And for me, I get to watch my boy (and to a lesser extent my 2 year old princess) learn to love the game I love. We were in attendance last night, and made our way down to the third base line before the game to get some autographs.

    In the process, I gained a whole new appreciation for John McDonald. My son had his ball and pen out, but was pretty shy. Without even being asked, McDonald came over to him and started talking to him. Billy was too shy to say anything, but John made a point of paying quite a bit of attention to him. While my son didn’t say anything at the time, he sure did talk about it later on. There is no better way for someone to win over a parent than to be nice to their kid. No matter what John McDonald does on the field. The Billfer family will be pulling for him.

    Also, credit goes out to Placido Polanco, Chris Shelton, and Curtis Granderson who spent quite a bit of time signing right before the game. I understand that players get pestered all the time, and they get put in a tough spot. I’ve seen fans yell at players after they spent ten minutes signing, just because they didn’t get their piece signed. But it is so much fun to see guys that appreciate the fact they are professional baseball players.

4 Comments

  1. Brian

    September 13, 2005 at 10:44 am

    Bill,

    I was at the game too. Left field. Surprised we didn’t bump into each other with the small crowd.

  2. Jeff M

    September 13, 2005 at 11:30 am

    It’s interesting to note that climate doesn’t play an obvious role in the injuries, although it could be that climate + bad trainers does have an impact.

    I would also be interested to find out the quality of the pitchers that were injured. I doubt there are many organizations that overwork mediocre prospects, so if you could extract them from the sample, you might get a better idea of whose development programs are getting the best results.

  3. Boston Fan in Michigan

    September 14, 2005 at 12:34 pm

    Ah, I love Curtis Granderson. I dearly wish Shelton had been out and about signing at the Sox game I went to… I might have died from happiness (which only would have been surpassed had Inge been out). And you’re right about McDonald being personable, he spent tons of time talking to people before that Sox game… of course, he’s from CT, so they were all his friends who had shown up and were introducing him to their girlfriends and the like. It was actually pretty funny.

  4. bluenowhere

    September 16, 2005 at 6:07 pm

    Great blog – sounds like Pudge believes he’s the only one who hates to lose – he doesn’t have to like but a .296 OBP stink’s – take a pitch every once in a while.