Rotation straightened out – Andrew Miller stays

The Tigers have made some decisions on their rotation. Dave Dombrowski was on WXYT and said that Andrew Miller will remain in the starting rotation and Chad Durbin will move to the bullpen when Nate Robertson returns next week.

I certainly understand the desire to keep Miller in the rotation, he’s been quite good and quite frankly probably give the team the best chance to win right now. But I can’t help thinking back to last year when we kept hearing about how Justin Verlander had such a dramatic increase in innings. And remember how he had ot miss starts and he admitted to being fatigued? Well Verlander had those issues after a full season of professional ball. Miller doesn’t even have that.

I assume that Miller has an innings limit this year. I’ve asked the Tigers what Miller’s workload ceiling is, and they haven’t provided any information. I’ve also heard no mention of this from the beat writers. So I can’t believe that Andrew Miller is going to be in the rotation for the rest of the season.

Plus, I’d like to see Miller continue to work on his change-up in the minors, where he can work on it. Jeremy bonderman was rushed to the big leagues because there was no one else, and every year we hear how he needs to work on his change-up. Now in his 4th year he finally appears to have it. Why not give Miller the time to work on it now so he can be a dominant force next year?

I can understand the reasoning that Miller might as well throw those innings where he can help the team most. And I don’t think it’s been a bad idea at all to have him up here help when the injuries mounted. But the Tigers have gotten past that. They aren’t in a mode of desperation as is evident by the fact they traded 2 starting pitchers (I know Ledezma was pitching out of the pen, but the Tigers admitted they saw his future as a starter) this week. They can afford to let Miller develop and to not overwork him. I just don’t understand why they aren’t using that luxury.

Game 72: Tigers at Braves

PREGAME: Kenny Rogers returns from the disabled list and will be taking on John Smoltz.

Game Time: 7:35

POSTGAME:
This game was just a real pleasure to watch. A couple of pitchers on top of their games, except that the Tigers managed to dissect John Smoltz while the Braves couldn’t solve Kenny Rogers.

It took Smoltz only 34 pitches to make it through the order the first time. He was wicked with even Placido Polanco swinging and missing at a ball that broke a foot off the plate. But then the second time through the Tigers were able to hang in and see a few more pitches. They didn’t have great results, but it took Smoltz 51 pitches to get through the order the second time. The Tigers had some exteneded at-bats including a 9 pitch effort by Sheffield.

Now the third time through the Tigers had put it together. Starting with Curtis Granderson they went single-single-pop out-dingle-double-double-walk-single. This offense still continues to amaze me.

Kenny picked up right where he left off. I was a little surprised to see him lifted as early as he was, but the bullpen came through again. Three innings with only a walk allowed from Jason Grilli, Bobby Seay, and Eulogio De La Cruz was quite impressive – even against a team who is struggling at the dish.

Tigers 5 Braves 0

Maroth traded, probably?

So Ken Rosenthal says Mike Maroth was traded to the Cardinals. The Tigers deny the story. Then the St. Louis Post Dispatch says that league sources confirmed the rumor. According to the article it was for a player to be named later. The old PTBNL makes it hard to evaluate the trade. But I’ll update as more info becomes available.

This really doesn’t come as a surprise, it was more a matter of what they got in return.

I feel for Maroth who became the odd man out in a rotation crunch. He suffered through baseball hell in 2003, missed out on being on the playoff roster due to his injury, and now he’s going from a first place team to a team that is 5 games under .500. I wish Mike the best of luck with the Cards.

UPDATE:
A couple notes on PTBNL: The transaction has to be completed within 6 months. So it wouldn’t be a recent draft pick, because they can’t be traded for 12 months after signing (it could be someone drafted last year). It could be a player currently on the disabled list. DL’s players can’t be traded without permission from the league, but they can be included as PTBNL. This could give some credibility to the Braden Looper being said player because he’s currently on the 15 day DL.

UPDATE: Tiger players have confirmed that Mike Maroth has been traded.

UPDATE: It will be a minor leaguer. The teams have agreed on a list of potentials and the Tigers will make their selection later this summer.

I’ll reserve judgement on this trade until we find out who the PTBNL is. I’d caution that just because it is a PTBNL doesn’t mean that it won’t be someone of value. It won’t be a premiere prospect of course, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see it be someone near the bottom of the BA top 10 prospect list either.

Now the deal does nothing to help with the bullpen, but I really do think the Tigers are still waiting to see if Eulogio De La Cruz can be helpful and if Fernando Rodney can regain 2006 form. There’s still plenty of time until the trade deadline if those options don’t work, and the Tigers have been lockstep with the Indians and holding on to the wild card lead so there’s no need to panic.

links for 2007-06-22

Tigers Minor League Wrap – 6/22/07

toledo 3 Ottawa 4 10 innings
Jack Hannahan was a triple short of the cycle and added a walk. Chris Shelton doubled and singled. Ron Chiavacci went 8 innings and allowed 3 runs on 5 hits, 2 walks and 4 K’s.

Altoona 3 Erie 12
Nate Robertson made his rehab start and pitched a no-hitter for 6 innings. He threw 72 pitches with 1 walk and 6 K’s. I know it was less competition and results don’t always correlate to stuff, but I’m thinking something was working for him today. Mike Hollimon doubled, tripled, and walked twice.

Altoona 1 Erie 2
Dallas Trahern went the distance, with the distance being 7 innings in a double header. He allowed 1 run on 5 hits, 3 walks and 4 K’s. Mike Hollimon pushed his season line to 274/394/469 with a double and a walk.

Lakeland 6 Tamnpa 7
Wil Rhymes and Max Leon both had 3 hit games. Wilkin Ramirez hit his 8th homer, and it was off of Anthony Claggett. Claggett you may remember was one of the 3 pitchers sent to the Yankees for Gary Sheffield. Burke Badenhop allowed 6 runs, 4 of which were earned, on 5 hits and 3 walks in 4 1/3 innings.

West Michigan 7 Dayton 6
James Skelton and Audy Ciriaco each homered for the Whitecaps. Michael Bertram doubled, tripled, and singled. Duane Below allowed no runs on 3 hits, 2 walks, and 8 K’s over 5 innings.

Oneonta 8 Lowell 13
Michael Sullivan had 3 hits, as did Jorge Patino. Sendy Vasquez came off of his illegal substance suspension and allowed 8 runs on 5 hits and 6 walks in 3 innings.

GCL Yankees 0 GCL Tigers 3
Hayden Parrott was 3 for 4. Wade Lamont – Gene’s son – singled and homered. Roger Tomas was 3 for 3. Elezar Aponte pitched 7 shutout innings allowing just 3 hits and walk while fanning 6.

Minors News

The Tigers formally announced the signing of 17 players fro this year’s draft as well as 2 undrafted free agents. These aren’t really surprises, because many of these players have been playing. Charlie Furbush (4), Devin Thomas (7), and Justin Henry (9) are the only 3 picks from the first 10 rounds to have signed at this point.

links for 2007-06-21

Tigers Minor League Wrap 6-20-07

Toledo 8 Ottawa 2
Timo Perez was 2 for 5 with a homer. And Ramon Santiago added a single and homer as well. Chris Shelton picked up 3 hits and Ryan Raburn added 2 hits and a walk. Jordan Tata started and allowed 2 runs on 9 hits, 1 walk, and 4 K’s in 7 innings.

Altoona 4 Erie 1
Matt Joyce was the offensive leader with a double and a walk in a game without much offense for the good guys. Andrew Kown allowed 4 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings. Zach Miner pitched an inning of relief and allowed 2 hits and fanned 2.

Altoona 4 Erie 3 (8 innings)
Mike Hollimon doubled and singled. Jeff Larish didn’t play in either end of the double header. Randor Bierd moved from the pen to make the start in the double header and allowed just 1 walk and 1 hit in 3 innings.

Lakeland 4 Dunedin 6
Ryan Roberson doubled and singled and Cameron Maybin doubled and walked. And Ovandy Suero is up to 51 stolen bases now. Jsoh Rainwater allowed 2 runs on 5 hits, no walks and 3 K’s.

West Michigan – All Star Break

Oneonta 4 Lowell 2
Kody Kaiser likes pro ball and he added a single and a double and 2 RBI tonight. Catcher Devin Thomas doubled and singled.

GCL Tigers 1 GCL Phillies 6
Luis Arlet had 2 hits and a walk. Wade Lamont added 2 hits as well. Brent Clevlen was 0 for 4. Aaron Fuhrman allowed 4 runs, 2 earned, on 4 hits, 2 walks, and 2 K’s in 3 innings.

Game 71: Tigers at Nationals

PREGAME: The Tigers have a chance to sweep the Nationals tonight. They’ll send Jeremy Bonderman out to the mound. Bonderman has allowed 5 earned runs in 6 innings in each of his last 2 starts. His last time out he allowed 4 homers. But he also got a single so I guess that evens out.

Mike Bacsik starts for the Nationals and he throws lots of pitches. I don’t know about different pitches, just that he’s not terribly efficient. He hasn’t made it to the 6th inning in his last 3 starts.

The Tigers lineup has a different look tonight with Gary Sheffield and Placido Polanco getting the night off. Craig Monroe will bat second and Marcus Thames will hit 3rd and play first base.

For stats and such see: DET @ WSN, Wednesday, June 20, 2007 Game Preview – Baseball-Reference.com

POSTGAME: Here’s hoping that Pudge’s hamstring spasm doesn’t keep him out too long. The off day tomorrow is very fortunate. Nothing against Mike Rabelo, but I’d just assume see the Kenny Rogers-Pudge battery on Friday.

  • Note to Todd Jones – if you pitch like that people won’t pick on you. Very nice effort tonight by Jonesy. Eight pitches, 7 strikes, 3 outs.
  • Jason Grilli, Tim Byrdak, and Fernando Rodney had pretty good results but were far from perfect. Grilli allowed a couple of balls to the warning track. Byrdak allowed 3 hits. Rodney was erratic around the strike zone. But I’ll take one run in 4 innings from the pen.
  • How spoiled am I by Magglio Ordonez that when he doesn’t get an extra base hit I’m disappointed despite the fact he reached base in 4 of 5 PA’s? And even a couple of those hits were cheap. C’mon Maggs!
  • I totally understand pinch hitting for Bonderman in the 6th. That decision is one that could be defended either way. I think if the Tigers had one more run at that point, Bondo would have stayed in the game. I can’t blame Leyland for wanting to get all the offense he could in that situation. It’s just the beauty of NL baseball where pitchers get taken out prematurely.
  • The first 3 innings Jeremy Bonderman looked every bit as good as Verlander did in his no hitter. Then the 4th inning happened where Bondo was hammered. It reminded me of the Mets game where he was cruising, and then struggled in the 7th.

Tigers trade Wil Ledezma, get Macay Mcbride

I expected a left hander to get traded this week, but I expected it to be Mike Maroth. Instead the Tigers sent Wilfredo Ledezma to the Atlanta Braves for lefty Macay Mcbride.

Mcbride is a year younger than Ledezma, and I believe he has options left. That second option might be the bigger factor. Mcbride has posted high K-rates throughout his career in the minors – 8.38 per 9 innings. He’s translated that in limited experience at the big league level averaging a strikeout an inning over 85 innings. His problem is control where he has walked 3.27 per 9 over his minor league career and 15 in 17 innings this year. He has limited lefties to a .514 OPS at the big league level.

Me thinks Mcbride will be the bullpen arm who is sent down on Friday so we might not see him for awhile.

I’ve always been a fan of Ledezma and hard throwing lefties are hard to come by. But the stuff and potential just never seemed to materialize into consistent results. He’s 26 so he probably still has a lot of baseball in front of him.

This move also shows how much confidence Jim Leyland has in Bobby Seay and Tim Byrdak to hand lefty specialist duties over to those two.

links for 2007-06-20

Tigers Minor League Wrap – 6/19/2007

Toledo 1 Ottawa 1 (9th inning in progress)
Pitching has been the story so far. Virgil Vasquez allowed 2 hits and left after 6 innings and only 69 pitches – not sure if there was an injury. Yorman Bazardo allowed 1 run in 3 innings of relief.

Erie – PPD

Lakeland 3 Dunedin 5
Ryan Roberson knocked out 3 doubles and Michael Hernandez had 2. Ovandy Suero and Cameron Maybin each had 2 hits. Lucas French allowed 2 runs on 6 hits, 1 walk, and 5 K’s over 6 innings.

MWL All Star Game

Oneonta 2 Lowell 3
Kody Kaiser had a nice debut with a homer and a double out of the lead off spot. Ronnie Bourquin who is repeating was 0 for 3 with 1 walk and 2 K’s. Alfredo Figaro allowed 3 runs in 5 innings.

GCL Phillies 9 GCL Tigers 6
Luis Arlet hit 2 homers. Carlos Ramirez doubled and singled. Brent Clevlen is getting in some work before heading back to Toledo and went 0 for 5.

Minors News

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Pitching news – rotation set for Atlanta

Rod and Mario kept talking about Jim Leyland mentioning that changes were a-comin’ with the pitching staff. I’m sure that much of that has to do with injuries – or recovery from injuries – but a fraction has to do with performance.

We know that Kenny Rogers is back on Friday night. We now know that Andrew Miller will pitch on Sunday night in Atlanta. But beyond that we don’t know much. Either Chad Durbin or Mike Maroth will pitch the beginning of the homestand.

We also know that Zach Miner and Nate Robertson will be donning Erie Seawolves uniforms for rehab. Miner will pitch an inning tonight and make a couple of appearances. Nate Robertson will start on Thursday.

We also know that a spot a spot on the 25 man roster will need to be made for Kenny Rogers and that could be any reliever that’s not Todd Jones or Fernando Rodney or it could be Mike Maroth if he is traded. Rogers is on the 60 day DL, and will need to be “added” to the 40 man roster. But there is a spot available with Jose Mesa’s departure plus Vance Wilson could be moved to the 60 as well.