Some Detroit Tiger related links from the last few days that you might have missed:
Aaron: Right. Detroit doesn’t have any real stars, but I could see them being average or better at every position.
Bryan: Seems to me the Twins and Tigers will be battling for having the third and fourth offenses in the division, but the Twins strength in pitching puts them way ahead.
Cheat: I’d rate the Tigers offense ahead of the Twins, but your point still stands. The difference in pitching is too much to overcome.
Bryan: It seems funny to say that in the AL Central that a good offense and mediocre pitching staff doesn’t have a ton of hope for third. That’s new.
Aaron: Yeah. This Tigers team could have competed for the division title a couple years ago.
So DD better stop fiddling around and keep Monroe in a Tigers uniform for years to come. He has the strength to muscle the ball over Comerica Park’s distant walls in left and left-center field. He doesn’t drop the ball with his glove, and can throw it with some accuracy and zip. He is also another rarity among Tigers players of late: he is not baseball stupid.
Now I like Greg as a writer, and I like Craig Monroe, but I can’t agree here. Monroe’s production is fairly typical, not extraordinary. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility and there is no need to sign him to a long term deal. I love his work ethic, his attitude, and I have no desire to see him leave. However, he is probably also one of the more replaceable players on the roster.
It’s almost besides the point to try and predict a record or finish for the Tigers in 2006, because for teams with no chance of contending records are looked to for signs of progress. If the Rockies win 75 games this year, that’ll be a nice little accomplishment and pats on the back will be due all ’round. If Detroit wins 75 games in ’06, or 84, or 64, who cares, because it’ll be the exact same story in 2007. And the year after that…and the year after that…. They’re duking it out with Baltimore for the coveted title of Worst Organization in MLB (Kansas City is disqualified as they haven’t been actively trying to field a major league team for some time now). I kind of wish they were in our division.
Now the author qualified it as a hastily assembled preview, and if I tried to put quicly put together several hundred words about a team outside of the Central I would struggle. Still, I’m not impressed with the work here. He criticizes the Tigers for overspending on Rogers (which they probably did), for sticking with the mainstays in the rotation (Bonderman, Robertson, Maroth), and for rushing Verlander and Zumaya. I’m really not sure who he invisions pitching in Detroit. They can’t use their highly touted prospects, they can’t use the average, cheap, homegrown players they have, and they can’t sign free agents.
Dombrowski and the Tigers are certainly open to criticism. The Rogers, Jones, and Ordonez contracts all fall in the category of excessive no matter what your criteria is. However, at least in the case of Rogers and Jones the length of the contracts don’t seem to prohibit anything else (spending, player promotions/development). If you want to call them the worst organization in baseball for the totality of the last 12 years that is fine, and difficult to argue. To base it on the last 2 seasons just doesn’t make sense.