links for 2008-05-19

83 thoughts on “links for 2008-05-19”

  1. Only had time to listen to half of it, but Dickerson gave the typical politically correct answers you’d expect from someone who has to interview the players and coaches on a regular basis.

  2. I wouldn’t call the answers deliberately politically correct. I don’t think anyone close to the team helps the team by directing any meaningful criticism their way publicly. I would, however, like to hear what someone like Steve Stone had to say about the Tigers. Do the Tigers have an outside critic like that, someone close but not too close, sympathetic but objective, not afraid to call a spade a spade? (I don’t know the exact origin of that term – hope it hasn’t become politically incorrect.)

  3. …on Galarraga to the bullpen…

    It would have been nice when Rogers was getting rocked in Kansas City to plug Galarraga in there, since they skipped his start and he wouldn’t have had another start for five days…

    If they were going to use him, instead of Miner when the team was down early and they needed a long reliever, I would keep him up. Otherwise, I agree with Bilfer…

  4. It makes no sense to move your most productive pitcher to the bullpen, or back down. Until Willis is lights out with full control of the strke zone at the AAA level, leave him down there. He’s “rehabilitating”. Let him rehabilitate and give the team the best shot to win with Galarraga. If the organization does anything different that this, it will be the most puzzling move of all. A real head-scratcher.

    I don’t know about the rest, but the only time I feel good about a start is when Galarraga takes the hill. There is something to be said for consistancy. Any other pitcher not named Galarraga is just a crap shoot. You just don’t know what you’re gonna get.

  5. When Willis is ready, I’d pitch Galarraga every 6th day, skipping each of the other 5 starters pitcher by turn (i.e. skip Verlander, 6 days later skip Kenny, then Bonderman, Willis, and finally Robertson). The starter getting skipped is available to pitch long relief a day or two before and after his skipped start. Do this until Galarraga gets lit up worse than the others.

    It leaves you short in the bullpen, but each of the other 5 starters (none of whom deserve their spot right now) gets a subtle message that their position in the rotation is not guaranteed.

  6. I HATE the idea of sending Armando back down and highly DISLIKE the idea of taking him out of the rotation to stick in the bullpen. We’re so worried about “utilizing” sunk investments and not hurting feelings that we seem to have forgotten about what really matters–winning ballgames!! Maximize your ability to produce wins by playing your most productive players. Where else in life do we ignore this simple mantra?

  7. I wouldn’t be surprised if Galaragga stays in the rotation and Willis starts off in long relief until he can prove he’s capable of competing at the major league level again. With all the struggles of the starters this year, a week won’t go by without long relief opportunities presenting themselves 2-3 times a week. If winning is a priority, that’s what they’ll do.

    In any event, I fully expect at least one more rehab start by Willis, it appeared that his right knee was bothering him this last start Saturday night.

  8. Here’s why you boo. (And only in the Detroit media market would this be buried in the 17th paragraph of a story).

    “Multiple scouts who watched the Tigers recently noted that Cabrera has limited mobility on the field and is in less-than-optimal physical condition.”

    I mean Jesus! He literally got in shape long enough to get the long-term deal and then started putting the weight on again!

    That’s just so unprofessional and infantile. And i don’t want to hear about his nagging injuries cutting down on his condition. Get some self-discipline to go along with that 20m a year. That’s either a complete lack of respect for your teammates and the fans or a complete lack of respect for yourself. Either way, if I pay 50 bucks for a ticket and some guy making more in a game than I make in a year can’t get to a ball because he’s too fat, I am going to boo his ass until my throat gives out.

  9. This is how other papers hold players accountable for getting fat:
    LA Times
    T.J. Simers:
    Looks like a fat chance of getting through to them
    May 18, 2008

    If only Andruw Jones has what it takes to get to second base on this hot afternoon, then taking a lead, turning full body toward home plate and blocking out the sun. The Tubbo is the only guy in uniform right now who could provide shade for a whole ballpark — at least making himself useful.

    He just struck out with runners on first and second, 0 for 29 now with men in scoring position, and the Dodgers are paying Jones $18.1 million.

    I stopped by the Dodgers clubhouse after their win over the Angels to see if Jones cared, but he was already in the lunch room eating. No telling how long he could be in there. Not far from Jones, who had his mouth stuffed, Juan Pierre was working up a sweat in the weight room, and what’s wrong with this picture?

    Maybe it’s Jones’ intent to get so heavy that pitchers can no longer pitch around him, forcing them to deliver a fat pitch.

  10. I just have to butt in here about the physical conditioning. Even if Miggy is “unconditioned” like the scouts report (and who can believe anything they say, anyway) then Leyland isn’t doing his job. Guys should be working out and hitting the weights. Some people need to be motivated to do it. You can call it lazy or any other excuse, but that’s how some people are. They need a kick in the arse to get it done. I just don’t see the Skipper kicking anyone in the arse at this point. He just doesn’t have the fire in him!

  11. “And now batting, Miguel Cabrera”


    Maybe the idea of players like Cabrera and Jones is to get so fat that they can receive more hit-by-pitch passes in order to improve their OBP. And the fat cushions the impact, so no reason to fear a 96 mph fastball in the gut. And maybe this is why both of these worthless players don’t hit anymore. Getting a hit means you have to lug your fat ass around the bases. It’s much easier to get on base with HBP.

    My prediction earlier this season is that Cabrera will be out of baseball in two years, and I’m sticking to it.

  12. Chris, I thought you said you were going to tone it down. This is not toning it down.

  13. Dave, I’m just responding to Stephen’s coment with a bit of a joke…. just trying to have a little fun.

    BTW, as I write this, Jon Lester has a no-hitter in the 9th. I hope he gets it.

  14. How can you say that Cabrera’s conditioning is not effecting his hitting? He obviously has morphed into a mediocre hitter from being one of the best in the game. If it isn’t conditioning, then what other reason can there be?

    One thing is for sure. Florida knew what they were doing when they got rid of him.

  15. Does anyone remember how Cabrera came into spring training in phenomenal shape?

    Does anyone remember how Cabrera injured his quad in the first series of the season?

    Does anyone think that playing baseball on an injured quad affects your ability to do conditioning work?

  16. …sample size…

    As for the not optimal physical condition. I don’t know if they’re talking about weight or the quad. Or the quad effecting his ability to work out.

    He may be a lazy slug, but it’s not the first conclusion I would leap at.

  17. Oh, and on booing, it’s not my style to boo my team. I get discouraged and pissed off and understand why others do it, but it’s not something I really partake in.

    And Chris – I like Cabrera’s odds for the HoF better than the odds he’s out of baseball in 2 years.

  18. How can I say it’s not his conditioning affecting his hitting? Because for the last 4 years he’s been packing on pounds like he’s Oprah and it’s 1995 and still putting up top 3 hitter in the league numbers year in, year out with a terrible lineup around him and playing in a pitchers park

    That sample >>>>> the 44 game sample of him in a Tigers uniform.

  19. Mike, I think you are overlooking something.

    It’s not so much that poor physical conditioning causes poor hitting. The issue is with something underlying both Cabrera’s poor physical conditioning and his decline in offense. Namely, it is work ethic.

    I live here in Santa Monica CA where the gyms are packed with athletic body-type folks who find plenty of motivation to be in top physical condition. Many of these people are aspiring actors who have a very low likelihood of having sustainable careers. And even famous actors have almost no shot at earning the money a top-rung ballplayer does. Nevertheless, these people find that their lines of business compel them to spend many hours of the day in the gym while controlling their weight with diet.

    Yet, you would think that any ballplayer would be much more motivated to stay physically fit for their occupation. Though professional athletes don’t need to workout for the sake of vanity, the fact that the marginal performance is so important– and that fitness enhances marginal performance– it just seams that every pro baseball player on this planet would be a gym bug.

    We just went through two decades of rampant steroid use and we saw dramatic impact on the game as a result. Now that the steroid era is over, we should expect that every ballplayer would try to achieve the effect of steroid use without the juice by hitting the gym a few more hours a day.

    in light of this. the fact that Cabrera has become a fat blob in his mid twenties, demonstrates the fact that he is a lazy slug. And because he is lazy and has riches beyond anyones dreams, he seams to find no motivation to work hard in preparation. And this is effecting his hitting as well. Pitchers have made adjustments in order to make him into the offensive midget we see today. And because he is a lazy, he doesn’t drum up the motivation to make his own adjustments by actually working. 44 games into the season demonstrates this thoroughly.

    This is why I predict that Cabrera will continue his career decline and will be out of baseball in a few short years. It’s just so disappointing that my team is stuck with this dud.

  20. cib

    Thanks for the link. Interesting. Was it the part about Haren on video and nobody watching that makes you want to boo?

  21. Articles like that get me so riled up. Let the national media paint the picture however they want (it’s an article from USA Today). I’m not saying it’s not true, but does the reporter know the whole story? Did they just get finished watching film and this is just a replay?

    I’m not painting a rosy picture, obviously things are hard right now, but if you’re a fan you’re a fan. Booing your team at home is something that reeks of East Coast fickleness. I’ve lately had to turn off sports talk radio, and not visit some of my most beloved sites. Yea, the way they are playing is painful, but it’s not the end of the world. Just have a little faith.

  22. tiff

    You have a point. If the Tigers were 27-17, that whole scene would be perceived differently.

    I try to compare all those team attitude, chemistry, and performance issues the Tigers have (that we can only hypothesize about from this vantage point) with my own experiences in the workplace. My thoughts on it are too scattered and difficult to articulate right now. But I recommend that approach to anyone trying to understand the problems and solutions in the Tigers current funk.

    One thing is clear to me. Money and contracts are highly overrated as motivation and influence. Everywhere.

  23. On the high expectations placed on the Tigers by fans and the media:

    “That wasn’t fair to us.”


    After reading that article I sure hope that they had, at some point, reviewed Haren footage much earlier and were just relaxing prior to the game. I’m not a pro ball player, but seems pretty basic to prepare a little harder for a guy you’ve never seen before. I seem to recall footage of an opponent checking out the Tigers’ media guide during the game in the dug out for info on minor leaguers that had just been called up this season (can’t remember if it was C Thomas or Galaragga they were looking up), basically doing anything at anytime to get an advantage…some of the Tigs don’t seem interested.

  24. Andre

    You’re right to call Guillen out on that.

    The most intriguing part to me is Inge’s “I don’t want to get into it, but…” Get into what? He has an idea why the Tigers have become the team they used to beat, but knows better than to say it out loud. Hopefully, he or someone else will say it in private. Hopefully, it will be discussed openly by the team. But experience makes me skeptical.

  25. yeah, they need to do their homework. But of course I won’t really boo.
    freep also has a USA today item where Grilli talks about lack of chemistry. I know it’s sensationalism, but where there’s smoke . . . (sorry for the Grilli pun)

  26. The problem I’m seeing from that article now is that Sheff and Inge are some of the only offensive guys in the clubhouse that seem to be disgusted. This is a little troublesome for the following reasons:

    – Neither of them are likely to feature on a regular basis in the near future (Sheff should go on the DL and they seem all too comfortable with Guillen at 3b and not DH).
    – Neither of them have been leading by example in the batting dept. (Sheff: injury and Inge: limited ability/at bats)
    – I really hate to say it, but if the clicks are real and if they are a problem…Sheff and Inge are the two major non-latinos in the line-up. (I’d count Joyce, but as a call up he can only spark with his play, not any kind of clubhouse presence)

    Seems to me like the least influential guys are the ones that seem the most concerned. Where’s the leadership?

  27. cib

    About that web, er, Grilli article…

    Break up the cliques! Trade all those guys I mentioned earlier!

    Or at least move Fat Injured Miguel to DH. Then fire McClendon and make Sheffield the hitting coach (gets him off the field, authorizes him to motivate the slackers).

    Plan of the day.

  28. The part about Cabrera being asleep in a chair almost made me lol

    Me, too. Can’t the Tigers afford a couch for him?

  29. Cabrera is proving to be a lazy slug of a player. This article is very telling.

    Now, more than ever, I think a managerial change is really in order. Not that this losing is Leyand’s fault, but this team needs something that can motivate these players. And we need a manager, unlike JL, who won’t pander to the veterans– someone who bench a Sheffield or a Cabrera, for example. If these guys can’t be motivated to win by the fear of losing, then we need a manager who can convey the embarrassment of losing as motivation. We need someone who can light a fire under their ass.

    And I think that guy is Kirk Gibson.

  30. Sean C, LOL!!

    They have a new IKEA promotion at Comerica Park called best, or most comfortable, whatever, seats in the house. They take a few people and sit them in actual SOFAS, not sure what section they are behind, then they show them on the scoreboard. Maybe we can get them to lend the sofas to the clubhouse when there’s no game on?

    I gotta laugh or I’ll cry . . .

  31. OK Sean now you are killing me. I’m hungry from all the grilling jokes.

    hey where in Illinois are you? I’m going to be there Sept 12-14 for the Tigers-White Sox series, we should get a bunch of the Chicago Tiger fans together.

  32. No, I don’t think the solution is lighting a fire under their asses, but instead removing whatever it is that is putting out the fire in the first place. Maybe some asses just sitting on it.

  33. Chris –

    As one of my friends said:

    “They could almost add Barry Bonds right now without making things worse than they are in the clubhouse- and that’s saying a lot. I keep holding on to the fact that Jim is our man- look at his ’97 Marlins (impossible to keep all those egos happy/cohesive but he did it).”

    I think the Bonds thing would be a terrible idea, but I think that as long as Leyland still has a fire within himself, we should stick with him.

    Sheffield doesn’t need to be benched, he needs to be DL’d. I have no doubts about his drive, he’s just hurt (or possibly past his ability to produce…but I doubt that).

    Cabrera is an interesting problem though. I think that the combination of a comfy situation with his contract and buddies in the clubhouse has created a situation where he feels too comfortable with taking his time to figure this out. In one sense Leyland is right that they need to relax at the plate…but that relaxation should come from knowing they’ve done all they can to prepare for that at-bat already and now its time to have fun and play the game. Granted the Freep article is a snapshot, I doubt the coaching staff lets these guys slack off in practice, but being relaxed doesn’t exclude thorough preparation. We’ve no real way of knowing for sure, but I would think that if these guys were doing all they could to prepare we would have seen some type of improvement somewhere already. They’re playing like they know there’s no flexibility to send them anywhere else.

  34. cib

    I’m out in the wilds of unincorporated Lake County, but I might be able to make it to a Tigers-White Sox game. I know one (1) Tigers fan here, a real Detroit sports guy, who probably still dares to this day to fly a Detroit Lions flag outside his house during football season. Let me check with him, and I’ll get back to you.

    I was going to keep going with the Grilli puns, but I think everyone should take a turn before we retire them.

  35. To be fair, we don’t know the context of the clubhouse scene that is described in the article. Cabrera and Ordonez could have already have spent hours studying video of Haren to the point where relaxing before the game was warranted. So I would not read too much in that.

    And Cabrera did hit a HR against Haren, if i’m not mistaken.

    But Inge’s comments probably tell us more of what truly is going on.

  36. cib

    Interesting about that IKEA promotion. Cool idea. Gives me an idea.

    We need to start a charity. Sofas For Miguel. Sorta like Habitat For Humanity. Maybe we could get a rule exception and a swivel chair for his plate appearances. Maybe we coulkd get some Jimmy Buffett music going when he comes up, relax him, remind him of his former happy home. Wasted away again in Miguel Cabrera-ville. Searching for my lost slugging percent(age). Hey, Sky Saxon and The Seeds just came on the radio. They’re Pushing Too Hard on Miguel.

    No. I’m not that down on Cabrera. He’s underperforming, but no way is he even close to a bust.

  37. Seems to me like the least influential guys are the ones that seem the most concerned.

    How do we know that they weren’t asked, but their quotes weren’t the ones the writer was looking for? He’s playing up the meltdown, he’s only going to use meltdown quotes.

    The expectation from media and fans was unreasonably high.. I agree with Guillen. Just because you look good on paper doesn’t mean you’ll produce. Look at the Rays. Look at the Tigers.

  38. I’m sorry, I misspoke. A rule exception and a swivel chair for Cabrera at 1B. And a little Donkey Kong game or something to keep him occupied during those dull innings with a glove. Snacks can only kill so much time.

  39. tiff –

    How would you characterize the fan/media expectations as unreasonably high? They made off-season moves that the consensus would have said upgraded an 88-game winning team in most departments.

    Yes, it was one quote by Guillen out of some context I’m sure. It still smacks of whining by players earning millions…millions that come with expectations. Cabrera knew he was signing with a team that expected to win and win now, nobody tricked him into it and I’m sure he didn’t suggest a lower salary to ensure that we wouldn’t expect too much.

    You’re right, just because you look good on paper doesn’t mean you’ll produce which is why the Tigers look awful compared to the Rays. However, when a team is paid to win, its expected to win. Guillen, who should be one of the leaders, should be embracing the challenges of expectations as well as fostering that mentality among the people who look to him (Miggy). I don’t see the evidence.

  40. Even if the Guillen quote was removed from context, “That’s not fair to us” sounds bad in any context. Even if the question was, “Carlos, fans are expecting the Tigers to win every single game – how do you respond?,” a more professional answer would be, “Yeah, that’s what we expect, too. We go out there to win. Every time.”

    I think the Tigers should hire me as their media coach.

  41. Sean –

    I’ll officially propose your hiring! Speaking of getting some Chicago Tigers fans together…how about some Chicago Red Wings fans to watch the Finals? I’m probably in the wrong blog for this, but wanted to throw that out there…it might sooth some of the pain the Tigers are inflicting.

  42. Andre

    I’m a Detroit fan in all sports, but I don’t follow the Red Wings closely enough to call myself a real fan. Compared to the folks who actually attend Tiger games, I should be ashamed to even make an appearance here. But I can’t help myself.

  43. They’re supposed to relax during the game. They should be like thourobreds with a fine sheen in the clubhouse pumping each other up before the game. They’re just overpaid fat cats whom, if Illitch personally paid them, would have to back up to him to get the check.

  44. Ron

    You say some witty things. But lately you’ve been disappointing me. So I’m booing you. Even though the Cabrera fitting in with Michigan thing was pretty funny.

  45. More than ever, it has to be known that Miguel Cabrera’s poor performance, along with is poor work ethic, is NOT acceptable. Either he has to change his approach to his job or this organization has to get rid of him ASAP.

    This is why you Detroiters who are stuck with tickets have to boo him profusely when he comes to the plate. Sometimes booing is not helpful or even counter productive when a player is slumping. But in this case we don’t have a player merely slumping because he wants to perform too much and is pressing. We have a player who is not performing because he is too comfortable and apparently satisfied with his performince. It is time for you Tiger fans to make him uncomfortable. You do have a say in this situation.

    “And now at bat, miguel Cabrera”


  46. Sean, save your booing for the first pitch of tonite’s game.Of the 32 pitchers starting today, Verlander has the worst record( obviously) and the worst ERA. Go Tigers.

  47. The USA Today story isn’t sensationalist. But it’s a gutless move on behalf of the Free Press. They don’t have anyone with the balls to write the truth so they print the wire copy version, so their guys can go into the locker room and say ‘hey, we didn’t write it’ to the players and beg them to keep talking to them. That is nearly as lame as the Tigers’ performance.

  48. I’m very troubled by this article. Whatever the issues that are plaguing this team, the last thing I would suspect is downright apathy. I’m not saying I’m buying it (yet); but if there is even one iota of truth to it, they all need to go. If Leyland is condoning it or excusing it in any way, he needs a pick slip… and I mean today. And while JL has plenty of other crosses to bear, it just doesn’t sound like him. From what I know of Leyland, I have to be in his corner on this one. It’s hard to image he’d tolerate the scene presented by the freepress. Call me naive, but I also refuse to believe this team just doesn’t care. But perhaps thats just my own defense mechanism kicking in.

    The fact the freepress is printing this through the back door, however, doesn’t bode well. It isn’t a good sign. It stands to reason that the freepress does know this clubhouse and wouldn’t print it if there weren’t some element of truth to it. Yikes.

  49. ron –

    Don’t throw Verlander under the bus just yet. He hasn’t been where we’ve needed him to be, but with the way the Tigers fail to score runs for him, he’d need to be pitching no-run ball games to improve his record. His last start was encouraging while the Tiger’s offense when he takes the mound is anything but.

  50. Again, its not downright apathy, everyone wants to win, but some want to win more than others, and some are willing to do more than others in order to win. Its been that way for decades. As Inge has stated, the Tigers were more hungry in 2006 than they are now, and it certainly shows.

    Its not easy to get a manager that commands the respect of primma donna athletes. A common attitude is, ‘I make 15 Million a year, you make 1 million, why should I listen to you.’

    Obviously not all high paid athletes have this attitude, but a significant number do, and when your paycheck is guaranteed no matter what attitude you have, there’s not an enormous incentive to change. Especially if you have the organizational philosophy that your highly paid athletes will play regardless, even if they’re outproduced by your low pay athletes.

    Again, there are degrees of caring. There are degrees of energy, and degrees of hustling. Inge cares, Granderson cares, no doubt in my mind they give 100%. They give glaring evidence of it every week. But if you think this team, collectively, cares as much as the Ryan Freel’s and the Reed Johnson’s of the world, you’re watching a different team than I am. This article only confirms what I’ve known for some time.

  51. .270/.359/.465 while learning a new position for a new team in a new league. I can’t for the life of me understand what Miggy has done to earn all this hatred. Oh my god! He was sleeping before a game? How DARE he try to play baseball well rested!??!! Please understand…

    He’s not particularly athletic.
    He’s not white and ‘scrappy’.
    He’s not gonna be.
    He looks a lot better at first than he did earlier this year.

    This means that he’s naturally gifted athletically, or a hard worker, or (god forbid) a bit of each. He has managed to get a job as a pro athlete with this body type. Doesn’t that imply hard work? Seriously.

    How is he helping this team less than Granderson, Sheffield, Guillen, Renteria, Inge, Verlander, Bonderman, Rogers,etc.?

    I hate to use this kind of language, but unless you have insider access and a reason to believe he’s not working hard, and you boo him, you are no better than a YANKEES FAN! There. I said it. You hate A-Rod even though he’s the best player in baseball because he somehow rubs you the wrong way. You pine for Scott Brosius and Paul O’Neill because they were oh so white and scrappy, even thought they weren’t very good at baseball. You’re right. How dare Miggy only be first or second on the Tigers in G, AB, H, 3B, HR, RBI, TB, BB, etc? What an immature, out of shape, oblivious slug! He plays every day and is one of the best hitters on the team. Get rid of him! Bust! Bust! Bust! Almost 6 RC/27. BUST!

  52. ““32 pitchers starting”? Which two teams are being allowed to go with two starters?”

    Tigers are allowed 3 now. The league feels sorry for them. After 2 innings, Detroit has the option to call “do over” and start the next guy instead. Twice.

  53. Cabrera is an easy target, lends himself to cheap jokes. I don’t think he’s at all close to the heart of the problem. How he’s been handled may be close to the heart of a more complex problem. The move to 1B was a mistake, and not because of his play there. They should have either left him at 3B or bit the bullet and moved him to DH right quick. I don’t think Cabrera himself has had an “attitude” about all this. Just a bad decision by Leyland, who isn’t a puppet in this regard, I don’t think.

  54. Greg

    A common attitude is, ‘I make 15 Million a year, you make 1 million, why should I listen to you.’

    I agree with you more often than not, but I just don’t buy this. (And I’m positive I make less money than you, so that’s not why.) While it’s true that I’ve never made less than someone I worked for, my respect or lack of respect for them has had zip to do with who makes what. I don’t think that changes with field of endeavor or sums of money involved.

  55. I meant that I’ve never made MORE money than someone I worked for. Now you see why.

  56. Hey Sean that’s ok. You don’t have to agree.

    But one thing is certain. I’ve heard numerous athletes in interviews claim that this is very prevalent. I’ve also heard anecdotal stories of former baseball players illustrating this aspect of the business. Again, not that everyone is this way, but if those close to the situation are to be believed, a lot of athletes are.

    Also, semantically, I’m using ‘respect’ here in terms of listening or following what someone says.

  57. “.270/.359/.465 while learning a new position for a new team in a new league.”

    Give me a break, Ryan. This is just a lame excuse for Cabrera’s rather poor play. He wasn’t hitting before the defensive switch so there isn’t evidence of cause and effect here. And many players switch teams and leagues and perform quite well. I remember how Mark Textiara got traded to Atlanta last season and preceded to vaporize baseballs.

    The idea that he is so out of shape, at his age, demonstrates quite clearly that he is a lazy slug. And look around the league and notice how the game has changed. Over, are the days of the pot-bellied Babe Ruth style of station-to-station player. We are now in the era of the athletic types. And this turd, Cabrera, refuses to even try to make himself even look like a modern ball player. He obviously would rather sit around and let the league pass him by, which is what is happening as his career is in freefall.

    Personally, I deeply regret this acquisition and would like to see him take his .170 BA w/ RISP to some other team. If I read in the paper tomorrow that the Tigers traded the contractual burden of Cabrera for a pack of cigarettes, I would be ecstatic. We could then pretend that he was never a Tiger, forget there was ever a Maybin lost and precede to win a few games. This team’s future is better off without fat lazy Miggy.

  58. Ryan,

    Nice work adding a voice of reason to this Cabrera discussion. I for one am not ready to dismiss the four years of mashing he did with Florida because of his first 44 games in a new league. I’m sure Boston felt the same way regarding Beckett. And as you rightly point out, Miggy’s numbers aren’t even that bad; his VORP is 9.5, which puts him 78th in the league (89th percentile). He needs to be better, but he hasn’t been awful.

    Your point about A-Rod is spot on, and people love “scrappy” players like David Eckstein, even though they are little more than replaceable parts. People love to say that those scrappy guys “hustle” and “do things that win games”. Oh yes, it’s quite clear that when A-Rod hits a home run, it actually hurts his team by scoring negative eleventybillion runs. He’s a selfish pr*ck.

    The team is struggling and we’re all frustrated. But let’s just say it’s probably a good thing none of us are ACTUALLY the GM of a baseball team.

  59. Greg

    I’m with you on the definition of respect. That’s the sense I used the word in.

    I don’t doubt the stories and interviews as such. What I doubt is that the explanation really washes. I think the “I make more than you” is more an after the fact “so there.” The lack of respect came first, for other reasons, right or wrong.

    Putting together a motivated team would be a lot easier if all you had to do was pay the manager more than any of the players.

    I could be wrong, but I think it is Leyland who decides if you sit or you play, whether it be Miguel Cabrera or Ryan Raburn. And DD who decides if you pack your bags. I don’t think any Detroit Tiger has management in a bind, as in ha ha, too bad, you owe me money, and now I don’t have to do nothin’! I know you’re not suggesting this – just an extreme example of my point.

    25 guys are bound to have slightly different ideas on whether they’re doing everything it takes to help the team win. When people aren’t trying as hard as they could, it’s often because of a feeling that it’s just not worth it. I wonder what kind of disincentives are going on there. Maybe it’s tangentially related to money, but I continue to resist the idea that it boils down to that.

  60. Mark in Chicago

    Remember how some White Sox fans were pining for scrappy Aaron Rowand in 2006?

    But let’s just say it’s probably a good thing none of us are ACTUALLY the GM of a baseball team.

    You must be excluding me from this comment. And that’s nice of you. But I think Chris would actually make the best GM. Even-keeled. A steady hand at the helm.

  61. i think the thing with Cabrera is he going to be a hall of famer or eat his way out of the hall fame and end up with a Strawberry or Fielder career where you’re like ‘yeah, 450 home runs, but man oh man if he didn’t balloon to 280/do drugs he could have hit 700.’
    He is a great player, but the fact he’s having weight problems this early in his career is not a promising sign for his longevity. You tend to put on more pounds in your thirties. (I know!)

    This is my prediction: .267. 33 hr’s 99 rbi’s. Similiar numbers in 2009 and the Tigers trade him to the Yankees for prospects. An aging Jeter and ARod, still ringless, beg him to lose the weight again and he puts up a .295 58 hr 152 rbi MVP season in 2010.

  62. Sean wrote:

    Putting together a motivated team would be a lot easier if all you had to do was pay the manager more than any of the players.

    Of course I’m not suggesting exactly that, there are a number of factors at work here. Money is also symbolic in that it communicates, in some ways, who is more important to the organization, and who has more pull within the organization. If the player is challenged he doesn’t feel like he has to comply because he knows he’s not going to get benched. He’s going to basically say, in so many words, no, I don’t feel like complying with your request, I’m just going to do what I feel like doing. What are you going to do about it? Bench me? Yeah right, like DD will allow you to sit someone paid as much as I get paid. I know better.

    In fact this is exactly what Matt Jones, WR of the Jacksonville Jaquars said to his coach. I wish I could remember what it was, but the coach asked him to do something, and he said, ‘No, what are you going to do? Bench me?’ Just brazen disrespect.

    In fact, I think he got benched for a while. But he didn’t care, he had his money.

    Most cases its more subtle than that, and is expressed in the form of hustling, not putting in extra work, not changing your approach at the plate, etc. Or just giving the coach lip service.

    As far as who decides who plays, Leyland or Dobrowski, I don’t know, But I do know that according to beat writers I’ve known who cover professional teams, this varies from team to team.

  63. Hi Sean,

    Hope you’re not joking again, because you know I’m not smart enough to catch on to you.

    I recall how Sox fans were pining for Rowand, those were good times. For the record, scrappy Aaron posted an OPS+ of 86 in 2006, which is below average output in a terrific hitters park in Philly. He also contributed a grand total of 9 Win Shares. But he broke his face catching a ball, so he must be a ‘gamer’. (To be fair, he had a very solid 2007 and a good start to 2008).

    Good to know you found that as amusing as I did. Sox fans are not what I would consider the most “informed” or “knowledgable”, perhaps they should try getting “scrappy” by spending time over at Baseball Prospectus. They might learn something.

  64. Mark

    You caught my drift exactly. I was held hostage to sports talk radio at work that year, and I can’t tell you how many times callers would go on about how the Sox would be contenders still but for the loss of “grinder,” run-into-walls Rowand, or how many times Dan Bernstein would shoot these people down. It was fun. The first 2 times.

    The concept of SWG (Scrappy White Guy) is rife with humor. Ryan introduced it here. Did you invent that, Ryan? Pretty good, if so. Could be the basis for a new rule/position: DSWG. Designated Scrappy White Guy. Every team’s gotta have one.

  65. Sean,

    Please check out the page:

    for all of your scrappy white guy needs. Search under David Eckstein or grinder or gamer, etc. and you’ll get a flavor.

    There’s also a good article about 3/4 of the way down the main page regarding Frank Thomas (title is The Big Dead).

  66. I think we can safely say that Chris has descended into troll territory again. His claim of reformation was naught but a red herring, apparently. Curse me for my gullibility!

  67. So I’m a troll because I criticize Miguel Cabrera, who has yet to do anything as a Tiger, But if anybody criticizes Jason Grilli or Brandon Inge, then they are just Tiger fans who dislike players who don’t perform.

    I think this illustrates that many feel invested in this player as the as some kind of star for years to come. Yet when I point out obvious, then I’m a troll. Give me a break! If he was playing well AND I was criticizing him– calling him a fat lazy slug– then I would be a troll. But he is not performing, he is a big disappointment and if I do criticize him then I am not a troll. I’m just being honest.

  68. stephen – There most definitely was an element of sensationalism in this story. He painted the picture of every clubhouse of every team, but he did it in a way to make the Tigers look bad. What the Tigers were doing is no different than any other club. He also singled out two players and failed to mention that one of them homered and the other had 3 hits in the game in question.

    I’m not saying there aren’t problems, but Nightengale either had an agenda or was trying to spin a compelling yarn.

    As for the freep running the USA Today piece, they have done that several times this year when there have been Tigers related items.

  69. Chris – calling someone a turd is immature and troll like behavior. You’re not criticizing, you’re looking for a response. That’s what made it a troll like comment.

  70. Exactly. I couldn’t possibly care less if anyone criticizes Cabrera or anyone else. What makes this annoying (and you a troll), Chris, is that you repeat the same things over and over in the same confrontational tone. Perhaps you were unaware you were doing this, or why people find your posts so obnoxious — if so, that’s unfortunate. As I believe you know exactly what you’re doing, however, I don’t believe it’s worth any further effort in dealing with you. Oh well.

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