Let the Todd Jones hand wringing begin

What do you get when you take an unsettled bullpen, a closer who kinda makes people nervous on a good day, and two craptacular spring outings? A recipe for Todd Jones hysteria.

Today Todd Jones turned in his second awful outing of the spring in what turned out to be a 9-7 Tigers win. Jones didn’t make it out of the 9th inning before surrendering 4 runs on 4 hits and a walk. Last week Jones was hammered for 6 runs in an inning of work.

Is there reason to be concerned? It’s hard to say sitting here in Michigan. Jason Beck noted after Jones’s first bad outing that it’s tough to gauge closers in the spring when they are coming into the 4th inning of games. Well today Jones came into the 9th inning of a game. I’m not sure the fact that he was facing minor leaguers makes the situation worse or better. On one hand he should dominate these kids. On the other hand that adrenaline rush that closers supposedly rely on probably wasn’t there either.

Beck blogged that Jones was working on locating his fastball today. He clearly wasn’t doing it well based on the results. But Beck also notes that Jones isn’t injured which is the most important thing. If there were reports coming out that Jones was velocity was down, or that he had no movement on his pitches I would definitely be more concerned. At this point though I’m willing to chalk his struggles up to “working on things.”


  1. spot starters

    March 9, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Boy, I hope you’re right. I just keep thinking that he may finally be out of gas. He’s old and has never had the best “stuff”. It could be that he’s just done. I’ll hold off on thinking so negatively until the season has at least started.

  2. Sam

    March 9, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Not worried at all. It’s only spring training and he is what he is.

    – He will throw strikes.
    – If his command is off at all he will get pounded.
    – He has no memory.
    – He is fearless.

    My biggest worry is getting to him.


  3. Jim

    March 9, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Maybe he does it on purpose to upset everyone back home?

  4. David

    March 9, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    What are the betting odds on him? 6-8 losses?

    He knows what to do, hes got experience, he just is old and doesn’t (as far as major league closers go) have much talent


    Jones sucks in April and blows like 3 games in the first 15 days,

    Frodney is injured

    who is the speaker of the house/in the hole/ 3rd option for closer?

    I think it wouldn’t be bad to take Thames and trade him for either a younger guy who throws junk, or a guy like Farnsworth who has at least one dominant pitch, is middle aged (in baseball years) and has had some downs so the trade would go through.

    The last thing we want is a repeat of last APRIL

    COLD – little offense, good/great SP, pen blows quite a few games

  5. Sam

    March 9, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    Did I miss somthing last April??

    We were 14-11 (not great, but our 11-18 August is what killed us).

    Jones was 1-1 with 8 saves and a 3.00 era. He did have one blown save against KC and took a loss in CAL in a strange game, but I think I would take that.


  6. David

    March 9, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Sorry it wasn’t clear

    I ment the pen in general

    you should know you did this


    I just remember quite a few low scoring clean games blown up, or saves blown by the pen while it was cold.

  7. rings

    March 9, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    Bilfer, you hit the concern I had from these two outings – if he wasn’t getting the movement on his cutter or lost some velocity.
    Jones does his thing, which is throw strikes and bet that he can get three outs before the other team gets their runs. If he’s not getting his movement or hitting his spots, that wager becomes more precarious.

  8. Vince in MN

    March 9, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    What velocity?

  9. Sam

    March 10, 2008 at 9:39 am


    No problem. I agree that our bullpen really struggled at times last year. I do not see the situation getting any better this year. Hopefully Bazardo, Miner, and Bautista can give us some quality innings.

    I am really not counting on Rodney or Zumaya at this point.


  10. The Spot Starters

    March 10, 2008 at 10:09 am

    I don’t think we can assume that Jones will throw strikes. Yeah, that has been this thing in the past, he very rarely walked anyone and if he got beat it was the hitters that beat him. However, if he can’t get command of his pitches then he’s pretty close to finished.

    I don’t think it’s a given that he’ll regain his command even though he’s done so in the past. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and hopefully he can turn it around here.

  11. Andrew

    March 10, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    I love it. The boys aren’t even heading up to the frozen tundra of Comerica Park and we already have a Todd Jones “situation” to talk about.

    This sure beats the dark days when we would speculate on the number of losses for the season before spring training was even done, 🙂

  12. Vince in MN

    March 10, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Speaking of the ‘dark old days’, anyone for a Shane Halter reminisce?

  13. Stephen

    March 10, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the bullpen the weak link on this team last year? And doesn’t this bullpen, particularly without Rodney and Zumaya, look even lamer? I mean it’s aweome and all that we got Cabrera and Willis, but this bullpen looks like a disaster.
    Have a nice day!