Thoughts on Jones and the lineup shuffle
Isn’t it something that we waited and waited to get the anticipated lineup together. First Granderson was injured, and then Sheffield and Polanco. And then everyone was set to come back and Carlos Guillen missed a couple games. Finally, on April 27th the 1000 run lineup took the field. And 8 days later on May 8th it’s been altered because it just wasn’t working. In that 8 day span was an off day and a sweep of the Yankees. Part of me can’t help but think it’s a little bit of an overreaction.
Now the Jacque Jones dismissal is a smart move and I applaud the relative swiftness of it. The Tigers gave him a month to do something, and it just didn’t happen. And this was with Jones facing almost exclusively right handed pitching. He only had 4 plate appearances against lefties, all of which result in strikeouts. His arm was as bad as advertised and Leyland respected his defense so little that he was always lifted for Ryan Raburn in late innings. If you can’t play defense and you can’t hit and you’re track record is marginal there is little to contribute and little reason to expect it to change. Jones amassed 5 line drives in his very brief Tigers career.
As for the “drastic” lineup move I hardly consider the swap of Carlos Guillen and Gary Sheffield to be drastic. The more drastic move is Gary Sheffield assuming left field duties. Sheffield had surgery to repair a torn labrum which you’d think would inhibit his throwing ability. But even odder is that the DH rotation will be between Sheffield and Ordonez.
Ordonez is an average fielder, and hardly a liability. There is talk about his bad knees, but in actuality he has 1 surgically repaired knee. The injury hasn’t appeared to be chronic and he isn’t as close to DH-dome as many make him out to be. While the semi-rest is probably a good thing, it does nothing to help the infield defense. An area of concern that could be remedied by rotating DH duties to Carlos Guillen (who does have bad knees) and Miguel Cabrera.
So like the Guillen-Cabrera switch, this realignment seems to be a reactionary move that solves little. The move was at Sheffield’s request because he thinks he can focus better by playing the field. That may be the case, but if he’s not healthy the focus part won’t make a big difference. Like Lee, I’m skeptical that it will result in an increase in his numbers.