Rodney activated, Lopez to Toledo

So that’s one decision. Fernando Rodney is back with the team and Aquilino Lopez was sent to Toledo. But the demotion is with a plan. They are going to try and stretch Lopez out into a starters role. This comes as a little bit of a surprise to me, because I didn’t think that Lopez had an option. I thought he would need to be removed from the 40 man roster, meaning he’d need to go through waivers.

Lopez has started before, but not since the 2002 season when he made 11 starts for Tacoma in the PCL. He has turned in several solid long relief outings, most notable was a 4 inning, 3 hit effort against the White Sox.

Color me surprised though that the Tigers would be in a position this season to send out a reliever who is striking out better than 3 batters for every batter he walks.

UPDATE; Just received confirmation that Lopez had an option left. He’s still on the 40 man and wasn’t exposed to waivers.

58 Comments

  1. Eric Cioe

    June 15, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    That’s a pretty unconventional idea. I’m all for it, though. If you can pitch 4 innings, why can’t you pitch 5 or 6? All he needs to do is eat 5 or 6 innings every fifth day at the same quality that he’s pitched with so far. Great idea.

  2. Mark in Chicago

    June 15, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Given that our other starter option at the moment is Eddie Bonine, stretching out Lopez at least provides an alternative if steady Eddie struggles.

  3. Brian P

    June 15, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    With the recent performances of Fossum and Seay, part of me would like to see one of them be optioned to AAA or be DFA when Zumaya returns. Or, doing the same thing with Miner that is being done with Lopez would provide additional starter depth. Any of those I would be fine with. Dolsi and Bautista should remain with the Tigers.

  4. Kurt

    June 15, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    You want to give Seay the benefit of the doubt… but he has really struggled lately, whether it’s mop up or close. I have to imagine the Tigers are being a little bit extra-loyal to him, but he’s got to be in the conversation with Zumaya comes up.

  5. billfer

    June 15, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    The thing with Seay is that he was great last year. Even better than Walker. So was last year the anomaly or is this year? I honestly don’t know and it’s what makes constructing a bullpen so difficult. The situations and sample sizes wreak havoc with talent versus luck.

  6. Jason

    June 15, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    I think Mark in Chicago is spot-on. As gutty as Bonine pitched on Saturday, he doesn’t strike me as the long-term solution in the five spot. The biggest red flag was how Ethier and Kent teed off on Bonine. His stuff won’t fool the best 2-3 hitters in opponents’ lineups. I’d rather see Lopez take the ball every fifth day than Bonine.

    So, what does our bullpen look like? Assuming both Rodney and Zumaya return at par, we have six guys who can pitch:

    Jones (CL) – still hasn’t blown a save (!!)
    Zumaya
    Rodney
    Miner
    Dolsi
    Rapada

    The leavings for the last spot are Bautista, Fossum, and Seay. It better be Bautista, because Rodney (with that hard diving forkball/change of his) has a reverse platoon split and serves as your “second lefty”.

    Speaking of Tigers, what Mr. Woods did this weekend will be remembered as long as there’s golf. Watching Woods, the gimpy one, outplay the world’s best golfers at full strength, is otherworldly. It’s like watching Rembrant or Chopin or Al Pacino at work – an artistic endeavor.

  7. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 15, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    I was wondering what was up with Lopez, who seemed to have fallen into disuse for reasons I didn’t get. The news is surprising and interesting. It’s also encouraging, because it strikes me as a kind of bold, “we intend to win, not just stay afloat” move.

  8. Chris

    June 15, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    This seams like a great move. I like the idea of using the resources of a crowded quality bullpen core to solve the missing starter. And the time Lopez will take to get ready will give us a chance to see what Bonine can do at the MLB level without being too invested. If, by chance Bonine does perform well, then the Tigers can simply plug Lopez back into to bullpen. If Rodney’s health doesn’t hold up, then they can use Lopez in that role.

  9. cib

    June 15, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    Wasn’t it Lopez who for all purposes became the starter for the game when Willis hurt his knee? Hopefully this will work well. Great week, lots of fun at the ballpark. Not looking forward to this west coast week, though, I need my sleep!!

  10. Mike R

    June 15, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Mark me down as “not a fan” of this move. Eddie Bonine isn’t the answer in the 5th spot and there’s probably a reason Lopez hasn’t started a game since 2002. It’s not like everyone’s been hiding him in the bullpen to not let anyone know of this phenomenal arm or anything. Don’t like this move.

  11. billfer

    June 15, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Mike – but don’t you think this move is a in part that the org recognizes Bonine might not be an answer? They’re trying to bolster starting depth. Sure, I’d probably turn to Miner before Lopez, but I’m not hating the move. Plus with an option nobody gets exposed to waivers (same case with Miner).

    I don’t know if it works, but I also don’t see a lot of downside to it.

  12. Mike R

    June 15, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    I don’t hate the move, per se. I just am ‘not a fan’ of it. You brought up my main point: There’s a better option if you’re going to stretch someone out — Zach Miner.

    I agree that there’s not a ton of downside, I just don’t think it’s the best option. Then again, there haven’t been a ton of moves made this year that I think are the moves made to use the best option available.

    I mean, i cannot find something to explain the success Lopez has had out of the bullpen this year (DER seems in line, his LD rate is at 20% which I think is a tick above the league average … his left on base % is higher than average, but nothing really overly egregious at all) but I just don’t think he’s got good enough stuff to be a 5 inning pitcher. I don’t think his change is that good to be effective and I don’t find his slider to be a dominant go-to pitch in a 2 strike count. Maybe I’m wrong (I’ll GLADLY be wrong on this, for sure), and possibly my belief in Zach Miner is blinding my vision but I like his power sinker, solid breaking stuff and decent change.

    In short: I think Miner has a repertoire that’s more conducive to success in the rotation where we would be getting more value out of him while Lopez’s stuff, to me, seems to relegate him to the pen more than anything.

  13. tiff

    June 15, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    good for Aquilino. Maybe he can pull a Galarraga on us.

  14. Kathy

    June 15, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    Thanks for the info, Billfer. A bit of a surprise to me…thought it might be Seay going down instead. Can we maybe turn Aquilino into another Jair?

  15. T Smith

    June 16, 2008 at 9:53 am

    “…Can we maybe turn Aquilino into another Jair?”

    I hope not, because that means we might get another Renteria in 2009.

  16. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 16, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Ha.

  17. Mark in Chicago

    June 16, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Mike, you raise a good point that Miner probably has an arsenal that is better suited to the rotation. Maybe they are looking at the walk rates, where Lopez has a huge advantage over Miner, who sometimes struggles throwing strikes. Or perhaps they view Miner’s power sinker as a nice bullet to have in the bullpen when they need a DP grounder in the late innings.

    Longer term, maybe Miner ends up in the rotation, but I think they probably talked about him as an alternative at this point, and had their reasons for picking Lopez instead.

  18. Neal

    June 16, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Is anyone planning to go to any of the San Diego games?
    I think Sky and Judmpa mentioned they were going.
    I’ll check back later today, my Office is downtown, and if my spirits remain high, I’m planning to go to one or more of the games this weekend.

    I never jumped on the San Diego bandwagon here, Moores just seems to be a cheap bastard, which is one reason I really like the Tigers and Wings, Illitch understands what he needs to do and is willing to spend it, albeit sometimes wastefully. Look at the Padres outfield and what they let go, Bradley and Cameron, both because the Padres wouln’t fork over a few million more. To top that off, they wouldn’t bring up their best prospect until now so he wouldn’t become Super-2 arbitration eligible. They selected a kid #1 in the draft only because he was signable and cheap, Matt Bush. He bombed as a SS, they converted him to be a Pitcher and he blew out his elbow after only a few innings in the Minors.

    All in all, the Tigers have been going after it since 2004.
    I might bitch about the moves, second-guess always, but that’s the fun. The Tigers are a stand-up organization, that from the outside seems to work with and respect the players, and usually that respect seems to be returned.
    The Padres seem to be run the way Bud Selig would like to see teams run, current bottom line, that’s it.

    Gotta go to work.

    Sean C.: “Ha.” Both dipolmatic and tactful you remain.

  19. Dave BW

    June 16, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Welcome back Fernando! I assume he and Zumaya have recovered ahead of schedule due to a vampiric sucking away of Vance Wilson’s health.

  20. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 16, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Yes, it’s too bad Verlander’s going to pitch a complete game. I’m anxiously looking forward to seeing Rodney again. Or hearing about seeing him.

  21. T Smith

    June 16, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Maybe Verlander can just adjust his cap crooked in the eighth? – and it will be sorta like a Rodney sighting anyway.

  22. Dave BW

    June 16, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Verlander is going to win this game himself, with three base hits including a grand slam. By the fourth AB, the feeble Giants throwers will be intentionally walking him out of fear of his magic bat.

  23. Anson

    June 16, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Which Tigers pitcher do you guys think would be the worst batter? My money is on Jonsey even though he’ll never have to hit. I just get the feeling that he’d hit two really long foul balls to get everyone excited and then either stare at a called third strike or swing at a pitch no where near the strike zone.

  24. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 16, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Jones has a .211 career BA. He strikes out quite a bit (and he’s been working with McClendon on this), but really not much more often than Inge does. His career OPS was actually higher than a number of Tigers hitters in 2008 earlier this year. Well, almost.

  25. T Smith

    June 16, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Actually, if I recall, Verlander looked pretty horrendous with a bat. If he can make contact I’d be surprised.

  26. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 16, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    All I know is that if the Giants think they can pitch around Verlander, they’re sadly mistaken. Granderson has him covered.

  27. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 16, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    “Color me surprised though that the Tigers would be in a position this season to send out a reliever who is striking out better than 3 batters for every batter he walks.”

    Now that I read this again, it occurs to me that the Tigers need a STARTER who can do this.

  28. Mark in Chicago

    June 16, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    what color is “surprised”, exactly?

  29. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 16, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    The color of the White Sox when they find themselves in 2nd place.

  30. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 16, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    A Whiter Shade Of Pale Hose, in other words.

  31. Dave BW

    June 16, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Sean, knocking the Sox out of (and putting the Tigers in) first place is no longer enough of a goal for me. Now I demand that the Tigers somehow knock the White Sox down to fifth place.

  32. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 16, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    One gets the sense that the White Sox are going to knock themselves down there, but yeah, I hope the Tigers have a helping hand, I mean boot, to lend.

  33. Joel in Seattle

    June 16, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    “Jones has a .211 career BA.”

    That makes him better than the Jones we had playing left earlier this year…

  34. T Smith

    June 16, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    “That makes him better than the Jones we had playing left earlier this year…”

    Hmmm. He could probably even throw out a guy at the plate. Let’s not give Leyland any ideas.

  35. Anson

    June 16, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Yeah I still have the feeling that Leyland would rather put a mannequin in left than play Marcus there everyday.

  36. Joel in Seattle

    June 16, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    I think Thames’ power numbers are so good in limited sample sizes, Leyland’s afraid to find out what will happen over a full season…

  37. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 16, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    “Leyland would rather put a mannequin in left”

    Again, as T Smith said, don’t give Leyland any ideas.

  38. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 16, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Regarding Thames, my latest theory is that Leyland has him pegged as a guy who does better having to fight for playing time, constantly prove himself. That’s something only a manager would know, but not knowing it myself, I continue to hope he will get a real shot in LF, as in rest of the season. I’ll stick with him even if he ends up batting .160, and if that happens, I’ll admit I was wrong, but be glad I found out.

  39. Mark in Chicago

    June 16, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Interesting theory, Sean. But what does Leyland do after, say, the Dodger series when Marcus clubs 3 HR in 3 games? Pat him on the behind and say, “nice weekend kid, now hit the showers”?

    If Leyland is constantly putting Thames in a position where he has to prove himself, he is only setting Marcus up to fail. That is, once Marcus has a 2-for-20 stretch, Leyland can say, “well I gave you the opportunity to prove yourself and you failed, so, what can I tell you?” and pull him from the lineup. Meanwhile, if Marcus has some success, Leyland has to find some way to keep “motivating” him so he keeps proving himself, presumably by pulling him from the lineup. It’s all stick, no carrot either way.

    I don’t disagree with your theory because I don’t know what’s in Leyland’s head, but it’s a poor strategy IMO if that’s what Leyland is doing or thinking.

  40. Joey C.

    June 16, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Hey does anyone know whether or not extra-innings will likely drop in price at some point or do they keep it full price the whole season?

  41. tiff

    June 16, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    “Now I demand that the Tigers somehow knock the White Sox down to fifth place.”

    Sixth place even! Or to the AL East!

    Okay, winning has me a bit giddy.

  42. rings

    June 16, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Sean, everyone has always said “Thames is a part time guy” because NO ONE has given him a season. Its self-fulfilling and has nothing to do with his “desire.” Of course he wants to play, he just doesn’t whine in the newspapers about it when he doesn’t.

    They also said he was “terrible” in left, but he does ok. He’s no gold glover, but he’s no butcher either. The list of guys Leyland has played in front of him is ridiculous. It’s like Tom Brookens all over again: Jacque Jones, Clete Thomas, Gary Sheffield, Carlos Guillen, Ryan Raburn, Brandon Inge, Timo Perez, Cameron Maybin, Brent Clevlen, Craig Monroe, Kevin Hooper, Alexis Gomez. But he can also DH or play some 1B if needed.

    He’s only going to hit +/-.250 and he’ll K at an Inge-Rate, but the fact is, he would be 13th ALL TIME in HR/AB if he had enough appearances to qualify, and his rate has been consistent throughout his career. He has BY FAR the most power on the team and he needs to play. The Tigers offense needs a guy that homers every third game or so, particularly with the bevy of little/no run performances they’ve turned in this year.

  43. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 16, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    “If Leyland is constantly putting Thames in a position where he has to prove himself, he is only setting Marcus up to fail.”

    Mark, where have you been? I need you to have a talk with all the women I’ve ever been involved with, even if it’s too late. Teach them a lesson!

    No, the theory doesn’t sound so good after your analysis. The only way I can make it more plausible is to suggest it’s not an overt strategy, which works if Marcus is simply a team guy, loves to play when he gets the chance and doesn’t complain when he doesn’t, not agitating or vocally campaigning for the starting job in left. Leyland may have noticed that Thames’s performance dips (for whatever reason) when he “has the job.”

    The question is – has he ever had the job? He got a lot of AB in 2006, but as I recall LF was still a platoon with Monroe all that year. I don’t know about 2005… looking it up… no, unless someone can tell me otherwise, doesn’t look like Thames ever had LF to himself.

    I’m grasping at straws, because I just don’t get it. Aside from striking out a ton more against RHP, his platoon splits do not look extreme. And he seems to be an adequate fielder.

  44. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 16, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Rings – Were you looking over my shoulder as I worked on my last post? That was uncanny. You answered questions I was about to ask.

  45. Mark in Chicago

    June 16, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Sean, Marcus has never really had an everyday job, mostly because he exactly mirrors his scouting report – tons of power and not much else. Basically, he’s like Adam Dunn without the walks. Now, for the money Thames makes, he is a very valuable guy to have on your team, but his career OPS is 806 and his career OPS+ is 108. So he’s not bad, he’s about 10% better than average offensively. He is, as you and rings point out, adequate in left defensively, although guys like Raburn, Jones, and Monroe all cover more ground than Marcus, and with that expanse at Comerica National Park, that might play a role in the number of games he gets into. I can remember a number of times where Thames was lifted for a defensive replacement as early as the 6th inning when the Tigers were ahead.

    Anyway, I’m rambling. Marcus seems like a slightly above average all-around ballplayer. On the current Tigers team, he is somewhat redundant because they already have a softball lineup of right-handed sluggers. He was part of an effective platoon in 2006 with Monroe who also had a good year, and Marcus got 270 ABs last year while Leyland showed too much loyalty to a struggling C-Mo. This year the objective was to get Jones’ lefty bat in the lineup. All of those options are gone and now Leyland has (allegedly) handed Thames the LF job.

    Also, I am happy to chat with any of your past girlfriends if you think it will help them realize you’re a smart, witty guy who makes A LOT of money even though you’ve pretty much retired from modeling. I will show them the error of their ways.

  46. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 16, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Thames’s downside: .242 career BA, 26.6% K rate.

    Some of the upside, besides the obvious HR: 13 GIDP in 1084 career AB! Career OPS .741 (Inge .636) and OPS+ 108.

    He’s probably the most exciting .242 hitter I’ve seen, and if there’s something called clutch, I think he’s clutch, too.

  47. Mark in Chicago

    June 16, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Ha, that GIDP is incredible! I’m thinking that uppercut swing is generating lots of flyballs (and quite a few K’s).

    You’re right, he’s a pretty exciting .242 hitter!

  48. Mike R

    June 16, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Thames, to me, is not an everyday player on a team with world series aspirations. Maybe I’m doubting him and if I’m ever proven wrong, I’ll gladly admit it; I like Marcus. I think, however, given 550+ AB’s in a full season, his flaws in his swing will be exposed. How soon before we get tired of the .240-.250 hitter with 30 homers and 180 K’s?

    Sean in Ill: He hits into so few DP’s because he elevates the ball with his power and swing-for-the-fences swing-type.

    Mark in Chicago wrote:

    Mike, you raise a good point that Miner probably has an arsenal that is better suited to the rotation. Maybe they are looking at the walk rates, where Lopez has a huge advantage over Miner, who sometimes struggles throwing strikes. Or perhaps they view Miner’s power sinker as a nice bullet to have in the bullpen when they need a DP grounder in the late innings.

    Longer term, maybe Miner ends up in the rotation, but I think they probably talked about him as an alternative at this point, and had their reasons for picking Lopez instead.

    Zach Miner walked 32 batters in 93.0 innings as a starter in 2006 (he faced 398 hitters over that time which equates to about 8% of the hitters he faced).

    In a relievers role in Detroit since then, he’s walked 42 hitters out of 392 batters faced. That’s 10.7%. 2% more. Even if you take that walk rate (11%) and extrapolate it out over the rest of the year — 93 games left, divided by 1 start every 5 games means he could get about 18-19 starts this year … We’ll say 18. Take away 3 as he stretches out down in Toledo and he’ll have 15 left this year. In 2006 he went about 5.2 IP, on average in Detroit. So we’ll take the 5.2 IP average and apply it to 15 starts, which would give him about 86 innings of work (85.5). He averaged 25 batters faced/start in 2006, so 25 batters faced multipled by 15 games means he would face roughly 375 hitters the rest of this year in Detroit. Apply an 11% BB rate to that and he would’ve walked 41 hitters.

    So, how does that compare to his K Rate? Well, as a starter for us in 2006, he K’d 14.8% of hitters and since moving to the pen he’s k’d 54 of the 392 hitters he’s faced (13.77%, so 14%). Taking that an extrapolating it to 375 batters faced, he’d K roughly around 53.

    53 K’s, 41 BB’s is a 1.29 K:BB Ratio. His ratio in 2006 was 1.84. Obviously you’d like better than 1.29 but he’s a sinker baller and, like many of them, don’t rely on a ton of K’s (for what it’s worth, he had a 16.8% K rate and 11.1% BB rate in all of his time in Triple-A).

    However, what he does get, is above average amounts of Ground balls. He got 47% in 2006 as a starter, 56.1% in 07 and 51.3 this year. League average is about 44%. He faced 398 batters in 06, 232 last year and 160 this year. Apply the appropriate GB rates to each of those samples (.47*398, .561*232, .513*160) and you get 187, 130, and 82 which totals up to be 399 ground balls. He’s faced a total of 790 hitters in the major leagues, 399/790=50.5% GB rate. If he were stretched out and got 50.5% GB’s and 14% K’s, I’d call that a successful back of the rotation type — something I don’t think Aquilino Lopez will be able to match.

    Sorry this was so long. I did it on the fly so there might be some info that could’ve been omitted to make it more concise.

  49. Ryan

    June 16, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Look at the batting numbers of Marcus Thames this year next to the numbers of Manny Ramirez. Remember that Thames is an average to plus fielder and Manny is deleteriously bad. Who is a better player right now? Probably Manny. But close, no? Keep in mind that Thames makes $8.25 an hour. Who would you rather have? I may actually take Thames. You, maybe or maybe not. But doesn’t the fact that you had to think for a minute mean that WE HAVE A STARTING LEFT FIELDER AND HIS MIDDLE NAME IS MARKLEY?

    Obviously, small sample size issues. Some guys do better with regular playing time and some do worse. I think it’s time to find out which one Marcus is; if he gets better with more chances, he is a 40 HR, .900 OPS star. If he gets worse, I don’t think playing him over RabJoyClete is costing the team much.
    With the LF black hole over the last two years, I can see no reason not to give the guy 85 more starts and see for once and for all what he can do. I’ll take a .248/.322/.560 line.

    I’ll also throw in that I agree that I think stretching Miner out would be a better idea. Lopez is better in the bullpen than Miner, and Miner has a much higher ceiling as a starter.

  50. Mark in Chicago

    June 16, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Mike, I totally understand your point, and I agree that Miner could make a very effective back of the rotation kind of guy in the long run, moreso than Lopez.

    My point wasn’t to argue that Lopez is a better choice to stretch out as insurance for the rotation, it was merely to speculate on some of the reasons why Lopez was chosen over Miner. So I pointed to Lopez’ season K:BB ratio of 3.43, which is much better than Miner’s (and above Lopez’ career norms). I also pointed to the logic that Leyland and Co. might like having Miner’s ability to induce groundballs as an available weapon for a possible DP late in a game.

    I think this move was made for this season only because Lopez may have more value in their eyes as an insurance starter with Miner in the bullpen. If they were making a permenant addition to the rotation, I would speculate that Miner would be the guy they chose, for many of the reasons you cited. For right now, an argument could be made that this makes the team better in the short-run.

    Great analysis, though. Let me know if you find anything else interesting.

  51. Joel in Seattle

    June 16, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    “Thames, to me, is not an everyday player on a team with world series aspirations.”

    That describes pretty much every player that has made an appearance in LF this year, including the Artist Formerly Known as Gary Sheffield.

    And .240-.250 and 30 HRs would look pretty nice out there at this point… I think most teams in the bigs would take that from their third outfielder (else no one would have taken a second look at Jacque Jones this year).

    I agree that as an everyday player, he’d likely get exposed, but isn’t it worth at least testing the hypothesis at this point?

  52. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 16, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Hey – before I dig into the latest interesting reads here (just got home), I just wanted to apologize for the mistakes on Thames’s and Inge’s career OPS. Distracted by work!

  53. Mike R

    June 16, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Ryan: The same things were said about Wily Mo Pena in Cincy. “he just needs to start everyday.” Marcus Thames numbers would be closer to Wily Mo’s line than his .248/.322/.560 line.

    Mark: I know. I’m with you on those reason that the club may have made the move. I just disagree with it from all angles — long term, short term, etc. It’d be different if Miner was out of options but he’s not.

    Joel: yeah, pretty much. Except Sheffield can walk, even when he’s not hitting.

    Edit to your edit Joel: I think i over-estimated what Thames would do everyday. I just am not a believer that he could play 150 games a year and not have that swing exposed. I’m not oppose to the experiment right now since there really aren’t any other options that would be an upgrade of Thames. So, I’m not hating on him being in LF at all, I just don’t think he’s one you go into a season counting on for 600 AB’s, you know?

  54. Mark in Chicago

    June 16, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Not a problem, Sean. Just don’t let it happen again.

    Mike, I agree on the Thames points you made. And there’s nobody better available. If we had the luxury of low expectations without any anticipated playoff run, you could throw Ryan Raburn or Brent Clevlen out there and see if they are legit major-leaguers. But this is a team chasing the postseason, so production is needed, even if the ceiling is higher for other guys.

  55. Joel in Seattle

    June 16, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Agreed, Mark. I think now is as good a time as any to see what he can do. If he struggles… well, he’s just one of many on the team this year. The Tigers can find out if they have a guy that’s serviceable or if they need to make a play for a full-time guy to play out there next year. Now’s the time.

  56. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 16, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    I like the Thames debate. I can see both sides. So many have now said what I wanted to better than I could on the pro-Marcus side, maybe I should say no more. If I do, it’s more to present a view than to convince anyone of anything.

    i would like to know what’s meant with Thames and his swing being “exposed.” Teams and pitchers have the book on him already, don’t they?

    Not making a mistake is what a pitcher aims for, but you can’t call that a strategy. Thames seems better than most at making pitchers pay the ultimate price for their mistakes. Mistakes are going to happen, and so it’s nice to have a guy like Thames lurking in the lineup as often as you can afford to. He’s like a land mine.

    “As often as you can afford to.” Aside from the pros and cons of Thames himself, the Tigers can afford it mainly because… they’ve got nothing better cooking in LF! No lefty platoon partner, no healthy Sheffield, no better rookie, no reason at all for Guillen.

  57. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 16, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Mark

    It’s weird how you knew about my modeling career. But the rest of it is too far-fetched and won’t fly. You gave me an idea, though.

    I’m going to carry Marcus Thames’s career stats around with me. The next time there’s an argument about expectations and things to prove, I’m going to pull out those stats and say, “Look – here’s what the Detroit Tigers did to Marcus Thames. Now, either start me in LF every day or trade me.”

  58. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 16, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Ground Control to Major Thames…

    This is Major Thames to Ground Control. The hanging pitch is crushed. And it’s floating in a most a-peculiar way-hay. And the score looks very different… today-ay-ay.

    Sorry.