Why is Jose Mesa still a Tiger?

Jose Mesa has been an unmitigated disaster as a Detroit Tiger. I couldn’t figure out why the Tigers signed Mesa in the first place, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why he’s still wearing the English D.

Somewhat surprisingly Mesa was actually effective in 9 of his appearances retiring the one or two batters that he needed to without incurring damage. So he can be serviceable some of the time. The problem is that when he’s bad, he is really really bad. And the real problem is that it isn’t that rare of an occurrence.

After tonight’s shellacking he has allowed 16 runs in 11 1/3 innings. He’s allowed multiple runs in 6 of his 16 appearances despite pitching more than an inning only once. This isn’t a case of a guy being left out for 3 or 4 innings at a crack. This isn’t one or two bad appearances that stain your ERA. This is a repeated pattern of bad pitching.

He has a double digit ERA. He’s allowing more than 2 base runners per inning. Opponents are hitting better than Ordonez in May against him. He simply needs to go. I don’t care who comes up to take his place. Whether it is a generic minor league free agent or a prospect, somebody has to be able to outperform him. He can’t keep games close, and he can’t pitch in mop-up duty. He provides no real value to this team.

I don’t care how far Mesa throws the ball in long toss. I don’t care what kind of physical condition he’s in. He simply hasn’t shown an ability to be able to retire major league hitters with any sort of consistency. Jim Leyland speaks of guys needing to step up and perform. That if you can’t do the job you’re out. Mesa simply can’t be counted on to do the job, and he’s hurting the team time and time again.

Mesa’s days in Detroit should be numbered, and that number should be no more than Fernando Rodney’s remaining days on the DL.


  1. Sam

    May 31, 2007 at 11:32 pm



  2. Kyle J

    May 31, 2007 at 11:41 pm


  3. David

    June 1, 2007 at 12:22 am

    LOL I thought the same thing when we signed him.

    Very quietly (although I’m not a huge fan of his) Vic Darensbourg has allowed 1(one) ER at Toledo good for a 0.42 ERA in 21.6 IP with 19Ks and a .97 WHIP.

    Heck If Brandon was a SS and closer in college and could throw in the mid 90s let him take a crack at the 7th and move Infante over to thirds. (After he returns from his big toe injury)

    BTW when is Kenny’s rehab supposed to start? That should provide the jolt that this team needs.

  4. Mike R

    June 1, 2007 at 2:34 am

    The Cardinals need all the pitching they can get. Shop Mesa around the NL and see if he can bring back any sort of arm in return. The arm doesn’t even necessarily have to be attatched to a body.

    Someone get Dombrowski on the phone and show him that Mesa signing with the Tigers post Billfer linked to and ask him why we all saw this as a bad signing and he didn’t. I want an answer. If he’s on the roster after Rodney comes back and shows he’s healthy, I will honestly flip out.

  5. Tribefan2006

    June 1, 2007 at 2:57 am

    I’m an Indians fan who has just started a blog following the Tribe’s quest for postseason glory but perhaps may be of general interest to baseball fans, as I do cover many topics on the opposing teams. My first post was tonight, and my first segment on the opposing team had to do with the Tiger pen.

    The problem for the Tigers is, since the loss of Zumaya on May 5, the only reliable arm in the Tiger pen has been Tim Byrdak (2.53 ERA in 8 appearances since Zumaya’s injury). Aside from Zach Miner, All the other Tiger relievers have been awful since then (see my blog for stats on that; the numbers have not been pretty).

    I think Rodney’s return will restore some order and help redefine the roles in the bullpen. But still, I’m inclined to agree that Mesa simply has to go if he continues to perform as poorly as he has lately. I wonder if the Tigers might give Troy Percival a good look?

  6. RedShark

    June 1, 2007 at 7:55 am

    I agree.

    It is a matter of who is ready sooner, Rodney or Colon.

    Time to Clear The Table!

  7. Chris in Nashville

    June 1, 2007 at 8:49 am

    Couldn’t agree more….I was VERY concerned when we got Mesa, but thought Dombrowski must think he can be serviceable….but he ISN’T AT ALL. He HAS to go. I hope we look back at this last week or 2 as the low point of the season, but the more the injuries pile up and the more this bullpen resembles the ’03 Tigers then the ’06 Tigers….I’m starting to have some doubts.

  8. Ryan

    June 1, 2007 at 10:11 am

    I agree, except I don’t see waiting for Rodney. I’m guessing just about anyone in the Toledo bullpen would be capable of an ERA around 9 or better. Every day Mesa is one of the seven members of the bullpen, he has about a 35% chance of being in a game, and has about a 50% chance of completely costing us any chance to win in an appearance. Do the math, MESA IS CAUSING US TO HAVE NO CHANCE TO WIN EVERY SIXTH GAME! Saint Louis signed that horrendous Wellemeyer from the Royals; either they, or the Cubs or Phillies, ought to be willing to give up a player to be named later, or, if god smiles upon us, a .230 hitting middle infielder to replace Neifi. I still can’t figure out why Santiago isn’t up yet for Neifi, but if they are dead set against him, find someone else.
    On the positive side, in a couple months, our bullpen should be no worse than Ledezma/Miner/Byrdak/Seay/Rodney/Zumaya/Jones. That sounds like enough to win a division.

  9. Ryan

    June 1, 2007 at 10:16 am

    There are 2 MLB pitchers this season with at least 10 innings pitched with worse ERAs than Mesa. Something called Ron Vanden Hurk in Florida, and the incomparable Jeff Weaver. One is off the team, and one will be as soon as he is off the DL.

  10. Ryan

    June 1, 2007 at 10:26 am

    Mesa and Grilli for Abraham Nunez? For Aaron Miles?

  11. Ryan

    June 1, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Jose Mesa for Jose Lima?

  12. Chris Y.

    June 1, 2007 at 11:16 am

    Mesa has been ugly for sure. I’d also be in favor of dipping into the junior league talent pool for a replacement. Gonna have to happen sooner or later. I’d rather have a young guy learning something if he gets torched — learning how to get better — rather than some old guy finally realizing his arm just ain’t what it used to be.

    “Oh, I’m throwing the ball as hard as I used to, it just doesn’t go as fast” — 40+ yr. old Rod Beck during an interview outside his trailer at AAA Iowa a few years back.

  13. Ryan S

    June 1, 2007 at 11:39 am

    I have recently wanted to start my own blog, just so I could write a post similar to this one. Thanks, Bilfer, for taking care of that for me. This guy costs us way too much. I don’t think they should even attempt to trade him. Outright release and call somebody up, I say.

  14. Mike R

    June 1, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    Ryan: You’re talking about Rick Vanden Hurk and the thing that seperates him from Mesa and Jeff Weaver is that he’s early 20’s with great stuff and will be a No. 2 starter at some point in his career. I’m a big Vanden Hurk fan. Florida somehow found the dude in the Netherlands.

  15. Mark P.

    June 1, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    Bilfer, I couldn’t agree more. His contract is ridiculous, his stats are worse and his ability to actually make a solid contribution is highly doubtful. Lets get some better talent in here. At a minimum he needs to be gone when Rodney gets back, if not sooner.

  16. Joey the K

    June 1, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    I think it is safe to say the only people who like Mesa are Leyland and opposing hitters. Heck I’m all for giving Percy another shot, can he really be worse than Mesa?!

    Maybe we need to start going to other teams blogs and posting about how good mesa is looking and can get him traded.

    I think Matt Anderson is probably available! (ok just kidding)

  17. William

    June 1, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    agree 100%.

    I think we are treading water until Rodney returns. Hopefully we can stay within shouting distance until JZ and KR are back.

    2006 was remarkably injury-free (other than Polanco), I guess the tables have turned..in a big way. Just have to fight thru it, but the bullpen is ghastly right now.

  18. Ed in OR

    June 2, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    Mesa should be tabled the rest of the season. I doubt he can be shopped around. Who would want him? Table him for the rest of the season or until he gives up and retires or until he gets the hint that he needs to work on his pitching more if he expects to keep playing with any one after this season. He has no excuse for his performances.

  19. joe

    June 2, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    Ed in Or
    are you from Oregon Ohio or the state of Oregom

  20. Mark

    June 3, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    He Gone!