Casey hasn’t produced anything

by billfer on June 1, 2007 · 43 comments

in 2007 Season,Players

It’s a refrain that has been uttered by Tigers fans over and over again. This time it is a quote from Jim Leyland. Leyland was responding to questions about Marcus Thames playing 3 straight days and said:

“It’s an attempt to get some production in the lineup,” manager Jim Leyland said Thursday, before the Tigers’ 11-5 loss. “The fact of the matter is that Casey hasn’t produced anything.”

“When Marcus hits it, something happens,” Leyland said. “I love Sean Casey, and he’s going to play. But if Casey isn’t hitting, I’m going to play Marcus. That’s just the way it is. I need to get some thunder in there.”

Since Sean Casey became a Tiger he has hit 256/303/349 with 41 RBI and 5 home runs in regular season action. It isn’t exactly the production upgrade the Tigers were looking for when they found Chris Shelton’s production in June and July unacceptable. Shelton hit 246/310/374 over those miserable months.

Of course Casey’s struggles really don’t come as a surprise. Some will point to his World Series performance, but 4 months of poor performance have to trump 2 weeks of stellar production.

Some will also point to his clubhouse presence, which is fine. He is universally regarded as a really nice guy and a guy you want to cheer for. It also makes it very hard for the Tigers to cut him and it’s something I just don’t expect to happen. But reading Leyland’s quotes it seems like Thames will have an opportunity to dictate his playing time with performance. If Thames can hit, and this is the time of year he really turned it on last year (he hit 309/346/639 with 8 homers in June while filling in for Craig Monroe in left), it sounds like he’ll have his chances.

Given Sean Casey’s veteran-ness and attitude I don’t think this is a move by Leyland to light a fire and motivate Casey. This is simply about production. And quite frankly, if Carlos Guillen is going to be missing any time a hot hitting Marcus Thames can actually provide some protection hitting behind Magglio Ordonez.

 
 

{ 43 comments }

charlie June 1, 2007 at 8:25 am

BILFER I AGREE WITH YOUR COMMENTS ON BOTH CASEY AND MESA.

bilfer i agree with your comments on both casey and mesa. i really don’t think the tigers can afford to repeat last years performance at the trading deadline and say we get dmitri young back so we’re better. i’m sure rogers and zumaya will really help ( as long as they fully recover from their injuries) but it is clear at the moment that we are not as good as the indians and red sox. i know the media ALWAYS talk about getting into the post season but the reality is you want to be sure you can win if you get there. last year was magical…this one not so much.

Eric Jackson June 1, 2007 at 9:16 am

I’d disagree here on Casey. He is starting to produce and Thames is still getting clobbered by Right Handers (batting .171). He has faced more right handers than lefties too.

Thames isn’t an answer, and he’s looking goofy at first. I don’t believe he’ll play him any differently than he was already planning, which was to play Thames against lefties.

Kathy June 1, 2007 at 10:26 am

I don’t know if Thames is the answer at 1st or not but I certainly don’t think he looks goofy. He’s going to make errors at that new position but he certainly looks very comfortable, just like he looks comfortable and confident at the plate. He’s a humble, southern gentleman, who desperately wants and needs to make it in the big leagues.

Kurt June 1, 2007 at 10:33 am

The funny thing here is Leyland benched Casey when he was finally starting to hit the ball. Although, as Eric said, I’d be happy with a platoon.

Kyle J June 1, 2007 at 10:35 am

Thames’ line over the last three years:

Vs. LHP: .251/.339/.518
Vs. RHP: .241/.306/.512

Either of these is preferable to what Casey is giving us at this point.

Thames has hit a HR every 14.7 AB during his Tigers career. That covers for a mulitude of flaws.

Anthony June 1, 2007 at 10:53 am

Why not make a serious run at Texieria? I’m guessing they have the assets to get that done.

Chris Y. June 1, 2007 at 11:24 am

Anthony, I think that idea may start to get more traction, but are you concerned he’d be a FA at the end of 08? I certainly am, for the personnel we’d have to give up. The Rangers are looking to cash in, and a looking for a repeat case of the managerial dumbass, ala Otsuka for Chris Young and A. Gonzalez, ain’t gonna happen.

I don’t see even considering the deal unless Texieria would go for a sign and trade. And I don’t see how one of the best, switch-hitting, 1B in the game would want to miss out on FA. Not never-never land, but our Texas-sized wishing well is more like an ill-maintained latrine in south Juarez.

Joey C. June 1, 2007 at 11:26 am

Billfer I’m loving these last two posts! You’re breathing fire baby!

I’m a big Teixeira fan and after another slow start, he’s been really hitting well–without much help I might add.

It will take a lot to get him, but I think its something Dombro should look into. But does anyone really want to give up Miller at this point?

Chris Y. June 1, 2007 at 11:36 am

Billfer, I totally agree here on both Casey and Mesa.

Two points:

1) Part of Jim’s genius last year was “bring the best guys North”. PT was rewarded based on performance. This is a fickle game and performance is a rollercoaster, but at some point the old Casey-Go-Round and the TableTop-Drop-Mesa gotta be shut down for 2007 season-saving safety reasons.

I don’t think until this point this season, Jim has been fair to the other guys in the organization. Infante included, and a number of guys doing their part in the minors.

2) Our current issue with the bullpen just doesn’t jive with all the talk about the Tigers owning one of the deepest pitching rosters in baseball. Further, our logjam at 1B, OF, etc. is still in play and we only now are seeing Thames and Infante more often. My point is — use those guys or trade them. DD and Co. have been standing pat, but when exactly is the time to go shop a guy who is rotting on the bench, in the minors, etc? We may never again see the value alot of the league sees in some of these guys, so do it soon, please DD!

By some combination of call-ups and/or trades something needs to be done. Soon. Waiting for Zumaya and Rogers likely will mean the waste of a potentially great season.

Chris Y. June 1, 2007 at 11:38 am

Maybin, maybe. Only in a sign and trade.

But not Miller. No way.

Kurt June 1, 2007 at 12:14 pm

Why not run at Teixeira? The answer to that right now is, the RS column of the standings looks fine even with Casey. The RA columns looks awful. Unfortunately ,this pitching rich franchise has worse needs than a first baseman at this point in time.

jvwalt June 1, 2007 at 12:25 pm

Scary thing about Casey is his list of most-comparable players on baseball-reference.com. It’s a parade of hitters who looked like stars in their 20s, and flamed out early. David Segui, Mike Greenwell, Alvin Davis, Hal Morris, John Kruk. #4 on the list is your friend and mine, Dmitri Young.

So Casey isn’t going to get any better. The Tigers would be better off with almost anyone else. I agree with Kurt that another hitter isn’t on top of the Tigers’ need list right now. Thames is adequate offensively; if you want better defense, find a replacement-level first baseman. A Dave Bergman type. They’re around.

Dave S. June 1, 2007 at 12:52 pm

Someone’s got to say it: Orange Crush is just a short drive away . . .

Joey C. June 1, 2007 at 12:59 pm

If Thames were a lefty I might agree with that. I know there really wasn’t much to be done in the offseason, but Casey’s struggles have made the team’s failure to land a solid lefty bat more glaring.

Ryan June 1, 2007 at 1:09 pm

Spot on, Dave. BIG RED! Same numbers as Caesy, and on the way up, not down

Jeff B. June 1, 2007 at 1:13 pm

Dmitri Young may have worn out his welcome in Detroit, but he’s smacking the cover off of the ball in Washington right now. 21 for his last 39, I believe, and over .300 for the season despite having a sore Achilles tendon. The Nats are guaranteed to give him up before the trade deadline since their starting 1B (Nick Johnson) is coming back from the DL…maybe we should make a trade? Ha.

Ryan S June 1, 2007 at 1:35 pm

It’s really eye opening that the production that got Shelton sent to AAA is almost identical to Casey’s. It really makes you wonder what would have happened if Casey hadn’t been red hot in the WS. I, for one, just hope Leyland continues to give Thames a lot of playing time.

Mike R June 1, 2007 at 4:01 pm

Talks of Teixeira to Detroit are just unrealistic. They’re asking for Eric Bedard + 2 higher prospects from the Baltimore Orioles, or Nick Markakis + Eric Bedard in some outlandish reports. That’s just insane.

Plus, didn’t they want Bondo + one of our better pitching prospects (My guess would’ve been like Jair Jurjens or something) in December for Tex? That’s just absurd.

Plus, he wants to play in Baltimore and is a FA after the 08 season meaning he’s probably going to walk and take the money in Baltimore because they’ll throw a ton of money at him. Then we’re out some prospects and are in the same problem we have right now. I don’t like the thought of trading to Tex unless the price comes way down.

From MLBtraderumors.com: http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2007/06/more_teixeira_t.html

“Teixeira makes $9MM this year, and could make $14MM or so in arbitration for 2008. As a Boras client, you know he’ll hit the open market after that. So if you trade for him, you’re basically getting 1.7 seasons of Teixeira for $20MM or so.”

I vote no on that for sure. And I’m not opposed to trading slap-hitting Cameron Maybin, either.

I’m not opposed to Marcus Thames at 1B full time, but I’m not exactly thrilled on the option. I still contend that Sean Casey was our best, and given the market last offseason, the cheaper out-of-the-organization option for Detroit. It’s a pickle. I know we’re not just going to cut him, but, like Mesa, dangling him to some NL teams that need 1B (Atlanta, maybe? Nevermind, Thorman’s LH hitter, so they’d need a RH bat to platoon with him. damn) and get something in return.

Stephen June 1, 2007 at 4:33 pm

Man, i don’t think you could get a fungo bat in exchange for Casey. He looks absolutely done as do Perez and Mesa. It’s a rule of thumb of contenders: you can only carry one guy who absolutely would be out of the majors otherwise. (Example: Last year the Mets carried Jose Lima and Julio Franco. This year, just Franco. They’re gonna win the NL)

Mark P. June 1, 2007 at 4:41 pm

I am weary about giving up too much to get Teixeira, especially after giving up good prospects for Sheffield. Whelan BTW is doing quite well as a reliever in the Yankees system at AA. We are working with a short window of opportunity to win a championship. I saw some recent comments to trade with Cardinals for Miles. I would rather trade for Spiezio. He can play 1B, 3B and OF. He is a switch hitter and is great for the post season. Then we can trade Monroe to bullpen help and put Thames in LF. It is a proven fact that Thames plays better with regular ABs. As we have discussed many times Thames is nearly as good as Monroe. The are the same age and he is much cheaper. Yes Monroe made some memorable hits last year and is slightly better defensively, but his trade value will continue to decrease with his contract and age. This will make way for Maybin halfway thru next season too.

Sam June 1, 2007 at 4:42 pm

How about bringing up Cshris Shelton?? Let’s see what he can do.

I hate to be critical, but Dombro kind of screwed this one up. Anyone could see Casey was really an old 32 last year. He also said in the off season he would like to move Thames for a lefty.

There are plenty of lefties out there to take a flyer on (Jack Cust – he was available??).

-Sam

Chris Y. June 1, 2007 at 4:48 pm

Try MUCH better defensively.

They aren’t even in the same league defensively.

Chris Y. June 1, 2007 at 4:49 pm

Shelton is change for the sake of change. No better, no less over the long haul.

Mark P. June 1, 2007 at 4:55 pm

I would much rather have Shelton down in the minors continuing to find that minor league career AVG of .327 and OPS of .954. He is doing much better lately, with decreasing Ks and not trying to pull the ball as much. A call to the majors might mess that up.

Mike R June 1, 2007 at 5:00 pm

You’d have to make room on the roster for Shelton — meaning someone would have to be cut loose. Our roster flexibility is very limited.

And we didn’t give up a lot to get Sheffield in return. I personally think NY got HOSED in that deal. We fleeced the hell out of Cashman giving up to okay-to-good relievers and 1 injury prone, overweight, lazy SP prospect with an attitude problem. And we got a guy who’s going to hit 500 HR’s and absolutely mash for at least this year and next year.

And to billfer’s post: The part about if Guillen being out Thames can protect Magglio I disagree. The best protection Magglio get’s is Sheffield hitting in front of him and Polanco/Granderson getting on base. Men on base force people to pitch to Magglio. I get what you’re saying but I think they’re more important to Magglio seeing pitches then Guillen or Thames is behind him.

Mike R June 1, 2007 at 5:04 pm

Also, Cameron Maybin won’t be ready by mid-season next year. At least, I don’t think he will be until he starts driving the baseball. He had a weeks worth of power in mid April and went from April 17th until a few days ago without a HR. He hit two the other night so his power’s all come in a few days. 55% of the balls in play from Maybin are groundballs.

charlie June 1, 2007 at 5:15 pm

i think that putting thames in the lineup is prolly a good upgrade at the plate and a downgrade defensively. i wonder about bringing up shelton and putting him in a no pressure spot in the batting order…like 8th and see if he can’t regain the magic he lost last season.

Anthony June 1, 2007 at 5:47 pm

Thames is a liability defensively, thats why Leyland won’t play him in the outfield.

BTW, isn’t corner outfield the easiest position in sports? You’re paying a guy millions of bucks to play baseball everyday, and there are a lot of guys that suck at outfield? How can that be, and how are we supposed to consider them ‘athletes’?

Nate June 1, 2007 at 5:51 pm

Mike R., I’ve been meaning to ask you this for a while: where do you find GB/FB rates and Line Drive percentages for minor league hitters?

billfer June 1, 2007 at 5:56 pm

I think Shelton will be the choice if Thames can’t handle first. I just don’t see Casey going anywhere so it will be exchanging his platoon partner.

I’d love to get Teixeira but don’t want to pay what it would take to get him. He’s awesome, but the Tigers don’t need awesome. Average would be perfectly acceptable.

Mike – I understand your Maybin concerns, but I don’t think it’s fair to label him a slap hitter yet. At least I don’t have enough info to label him that. I don’t see the grounders he’s hitting so I don’t know if he’s hitting them well or not. I’d love to see more line drives, but I also see he’s improved his numbers from last year. Plus he seems to have extra base power to the opposite field.

Dave Wagner June 1, 2007 at 6:16 pm

Mike, the one we’re really going to regret in the sheffield trade is Whelan. You can never have too many guys like him on your staff.

Dave Wagner June 1, 2007 at 6:18 pm

From MLB.Com: “Tigers slugger Gary Sheffield was suspended for three games for his ejection and confrontation with home-plate umpire Greg Gibson on Thursday night against the Indians.

Sheffield immediately appealed the suspension, allowing him to keep playing while the two sides await a hearing on the issue. ”

Oh for god’s sake

William June 1, 2007 at 6:44 pm

Mike–

I agree and I actually think Sheffield can play for a while–at least thru 2009.

but–and someone else pointed this out–Whelan was pretty damn good. I know know one could have predicted what has happened to the pen this year, but bullpen arms are a valuable commodity for us–moreso than starters, given the fact that we have a top notch rotation that will only get better when Miller is added in a year or so.

I basically agree with you, though–it was a good deal for us.

Mark P. June 1, 2007 at 6:52 pm

Mike R. might have got his info from here. I looked up some stuff about his comments. Though not seeing him play, I would have to take his word for it on the pulling the ball issue. I still think we have to focus on winning this year and if trading Monroe makes that happen then lets do it. We can worry about replacing him for 08 in the off season. Though I trust DD to make the right move at this point with all the injuries, Casey and what not.

http://firstinning.com/content/200705106

T Smith June 1, 2007 at 8:03 pm

I have to respectfully disagree with all the “Casey bashing” on this blog. Yes, Casey was dismal in April; yes, Casey did not produce down the stretch last year; yes his aggregate stats are not where they should be. But to say he has not produced anything??? That baffles me. I will remind everybody that Sheffield had a dismal April, and I don’t see anybody calling to oust him. If you look at Casey’s May stats they are respectable. Let him continue. If he has a dismal June, we’ll talk then. But Casey has contributed in May as much as any of the other marquee players. Look — in my humble opinion, we have to avoid Yankee syndrome here… there is nothing wrong with the offense… we need to focus on our pitching woes. If we had last year’s pitching, we’d be 38-12 right now and nobody would be complaining about Casey (by the way, he’s hit straight in 12 straight games) I usually agree with Bilfer on every opinion — but I just don’t get the “anti-Casey” sentiment on this site. If you want to look at poor offensive production, bash Inge — or even Monroe — not Casey.

Joey C. June 1, 2007 at 8:06 pm

Absolutely great thread.

Mike R. thanks for some perspective on Teixeira.

Mike R June 1, 2007 at 9:06 pm

Nate: i go to http://www.minorleaguesplits.com. You can search for minor leaguers. It’s not updated daily, but it’s updated fairly regularly (every couple days I believe). Also, http://www.firstinning.com is a good site as well.

Billfer: I do see your side and part of me is like that. But for the 6th pick in the draft, I don’t like what I see. Especially when other HS hitters like Justin Upton, Jay Bruce, and Colby Rasmus are out performing Maybin. And it’s not even close. Especially when you factor in that Bruce and Rasmus put a lot more balls in play. I hope I wind up wrong on this, though.

Dave Wagner: Yes, Kevin Whelan is DEALING in the minors. But, we gave up him, Clagget and Humberto Sanchez. At least 2 of those pitchers would have to turn into outstanding pitchers for me to call getting a potential HOFer that affects every spot in our order both on and off the field. Even if Whelan goes on to be a great reliever, I’ll call this at the VERY LEAST a “fair” trade.

William: Whelan’s great, but he could just as easily get called up and flop for Detroit or NY. And, we’ve got Dallas Trahern who is a groundball machine. We’ll be okay. I still think we got the better of the deal.

Mark P: I agree with that article on Maybin. He’s got terrible GB/LD/FB rates and that coupled with a sky-high K rate, I don’t like the way things look. Right now, he’s got great speed, a reportedly good arm, and is pounding everything into the turf. The only thing I can hope for is that he’s trying to pull everything and it’s just being rolled over on.

T Smith: Sheffield had a terrible April, but when he was hitting under .150 he still had an OBP of over .310. That’s remarkable and helped tons. Casey doesn’t have that. However, he is getting less playing time when he just started to hit.

billfer June 1, 2007 at 9:41 pm

Maybin also exhibiting a decent eye and racking up a ton of walks.

T Smith – I’ve actually refrained on the Casey bashing for the bulk of the season because he was doing about what I expected him to do and I’d already said my piece on the subject. I wrote about it now because of what Leyland said which is newsworthy. The title of this article came directly from a Leyland quote.

Maggie June 1, 2007 at 11:16 pm

I think they should return Sheffield and get their 8 million dollars back and buy a pitcher who can get men out in the 9th.

Mike R June 1, 2007 at 11:36 pm

Billfer: So a guy who walks a lot, strikes out a lot, and doesn’t put the ball in the air is what we get for the No. 10 pick overall (I kept getting him confused with Miller who was taken 6th)?

We’ll ignore Upton since he was taken No. 1 overall, but let’s focus on Jay Bruce (No. 12 overall) and Colby Rasmus (No. 28 overall).

Maybin has 35 BB’s and 58 K’s in 177 AB’s in High-A ball. He’s got 7 doubles and 3 triples this year. firstinning.com has him listed for 7.9 runs created/27 this year.

Rasmus has 22 BB’s and only 32 K’s in 180 AB’s in Double-A. He’s about 8 months older then Maybin. He’s hit 10 HR’s and 20 doubles in Double-A baseball. 8.4 RC/27

Jay Bruce has 19 BB’s and 54 K’s in 205 AB’s in High-A ball. He’s also got 10 HR’s, 15 doubles, 5 triples. Jay Bruce is 1 day younger then Maybin. 8.2 RC/27.

Now, their GB/LD/FB splits:
Maybin: 66/12/32
Rasmus: 36/32/62
Bruce: 65/30/50

They all elevate the ball much more then Maybin. And what’s especially glaring is how much more advanced Rasmus has been. He’s excelling in a higher level and will be in Triple-A soon and possibly be in the Cardinals OF by the end of the year. I guess I’m less ‘concerned’ with Maybin and more ‘bummed’ that those others are excelling (bruce, mostly in the power numbers) then Maybin is. Right now the others seem to be building towards reaching their potential and Maybin looks to be just still potentially good to great.

And I didn’t touch on Jacoby Ellsbury who could’ve been the leadoff hitter of the future which would’ve let Granderson hit lower in the order where, at his peak, I think he could/should be.

billfer June 1, 2007 at 11:45 pm

So the other guys are ahead of him. So what? Maybin is hardly failing. He’s still young for his level. Is he complete? Of course not but I look at it as we have a HS player 2 months into his 2nd professional season succeeding at Hi A. I see nothing wrong with that. And as for draft position, pretty much every pundit everywhere saw Maybin as a steal with the 10th pick. I’m not guaranteeing success, but I’m not alarmed either.

Mike R June 1, 2007 at 11:59 pm

I am when he’s supposed to be a 5 tool player and was expected to hit for power. I understand I’m probably being impatient, but still, his batted ball splits aren’t giving me a lot of optimism.

I know a lot of draft pundits had him as a steal at 10, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be wrong and that I can’t long for the thought of having Colby Rasmus coming up through the ranks.

strummer June 2, 2007 at 8:13 am

The primary value in Casey, as I see it, lies in these main areas: his batting average, he’s a lefty, 1B defense and his personality.

It’s debatable how much of an impact the last two have on total wins. And his hitting splits actually favor LHP this year. Plus there are expectations of power from a firstbasemen that Casey will never live up to. Having said that, I still believe Casey has a place as a valuable contributor on this team.

Given that his value is tied to BA much more than other players such as Sheffield, Monroe, Thames, etc, the fact that he struggled getting hits in April was much more detrimental and pronounced than the other players who also struggled to hit safely in that same timeframe. But he has hit very well since then. Basically, I think going forward he will hit more like he did in May than April and end up with an OPS a bit below 800, around league average. With the other hitters on this team that is satisfactory production. While the offensive production may be below average for a 1B, I’m not convinced the other internal options would be any better vs. RHP and I don’t think there is any need to abandon Casey at this point.

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