The gang’s all here

Full squad workouts are now underway.  Before you know it we’ll have the first pitch of the Florida Southern game.  But for now, here’s a summary of the day’s stories out of Lakeland:

credit Roger DeWitt

Helter Skelton

Catcher James Skelton has been on my radar for a little while now as really the only catcher prospect in the system. The only thing is his prospect status is diminished because of his diminutive stature according to many. Take 75 North is also a fan and was happy to see a Jason Beck profile of Skelton.

It’s all about the hair

credit Roger DeWitt

First base prospect Jeff Larish reported to spring training with Ordonez-esque flowing locks. Leyland quipped

“The hair looks better when they hit it over the fence.”

Speaking of Magglio he spoke to reporters and talked about his batting title season, wanting to be part of a championship team, and that he’s basically ignoring Jose Canseco.

Other stuff

[Mlive] Leyland: Don’t call us team to beat. Skip says it’s Cleveland’s division until someone takes it from them.
[DetNews] Rodney’s tuneful ways are weird, but wonderful. Fernando the free spirit.


  1. Rick G

    February 21, 2008 at 7:10 am

    Never seen Skelton before, so I thought, “he looks pretty big next to that bat boy.” Then I read the Beck story and realized that Skelton is the bat boy. Sort of like the old Monty Python line – the monster is the rabbit!

    Who cares how big he is if he can play? He’ll gradually fill out, just like Tayshaun Prince! 😉

    Ironically, I also thought Chris Shelton was just an overgrown bat boy the first time I saw him, because of his non-athletic build. Skelton, Shelton, get it?

  2. The Spot Starters

    February 21, 2008 at 11:33 am

    I’m all for giving Skelton a shot if it helps the team move Inge. Trade the guy already.

  3. Matt in Toledo

    February 21, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    I don’t think anybody is talking about giving Inge a shot with the big club. I believe his personal goal this season is to earn a promotion to Erie so a late season callup in 2009 is possible.

  4. Dave BW

    February 21, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    and by “Inge” you mean “Skelton”, presumably

  5. Ryan in Brooklyn

    February 21, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    I’ve read a variety of things about Skelton (mostly linked from this site). Everything seems quite positive, but then worries about the size issue. I’m confused by this. Why is catcher a position where physical size is seen as such a prerequisite? Every time I’ve read this about Skelton, I’ve scratched my head. What’s the conventional wisdom here?

  6. Jeff M

    February 21, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    In fact, while Inge prefers third base, his agent has made it clear to any team interested in acquiring him that he’d be willing to catch. His main thing isn’t that he wants to play third base every day. His main thing is he wants to play every day, somewhere.

    Ummm… that doesn’t sit well with me. Doesn’t that just mean that he’s too impatient to wait a year? Isn’t he darn near a lock to start at catcher for us next year?

  7. Eric Cioe

    February 21, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    When you’re 32, I can see not wanting to wait a year to possibly start again. Most guys’ careers are over within a few years.

  8. rings

    February 21, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    Inge’s career IS “over” at this point. No one’s going to pay his salary for a .236 hitting third baseman who K’s 150x, no matter how good his defense is.

    What he has NOW is an opportunity to earn a starting job in the future by getting 200-400 ABs in Detroit this season. If he doesn’t show that his poor 2007 was an abberation, he’s going to find opportunity very difficult to come by going forward, particularly after his current contract is done.

    The Tigers stuck with him after his first three years, when he hit .201 total. He would have been out of baseball with almost any other franchise at that time. They gave him security and fat contract after a single decent year at the plate. He rewards them by playing himself out of a job and then sulking about it. The Tigers are completely coddling him by attempting to find any deal that isn’t totally lopsided. But he has to realize that almost no other team will give him this deference. He’s being incredibly short-sighted in his demands to be traded. He’ll forever be a mercenary to all other employers. If he stinks for his next team, he’ll be showing up in some future team’s camp like C-Mo, Maroth and Shelton, just hoping for another chance.

    While it’s positive that he’s finally recognizing the need to change his approach at the plate, such sentiments as “I don’t care about winning a championship, I just want to play every day” and “I’ll catch for someone else if I can start, but won’t back up in Detroit for one year to start the following year” reeks of hypocrisy and selfishness.
    His devoted fans deserve better. To wit: there was actually a poster on Facebook yesterday who stated his wish for Cabrera to “tear his ACL on Opening Day, so Inge can start at third again.” Unreal.

    After its all said and done, Inge will look back on his career and remember his championships and teammates, not how many games he started, particularly when he has the potential to play another ten years as a catcher/utility/defensive specialist guy.

  9. Stephen

    February 21, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Well said Rings.

  10. Matt in Toledo

    February 22, 2008 at 7:06 am

    Yup, that comment of mine was supposed to be about Skelton, not Inge.

  11. Dave BW

    February 22, 2008 at 10:20 am


    Forget Inge — the real worry is what the hell you’re doing reading about baseball on Facebook.

    Seriously, though, do you have actual examples of Inge “sulking”? It seems like unsupported inference to me, much like the “Rodney has a bad attitude” phenomenon.