No on Varitek, No on Laird, Yes on Bard

The Tigers are in the hunt for a catcher. Brandon Inge has been moved to third base and Dusty Ryan may be ready to contribute at the big league level, but I don’t think anybody is comfortable with him being handed the full load at this point. With this need has come speculation about where the Tigers may turn. Two names that have been floated out repeatedly are Jason Varitek and Gerald Laird. I’m not particularly a fan of either. So I turn my attention West to the discarded Josh Bard.

Jason Varitek

Despite claims made by Scott Boras that Jason Varitek is deserving of Posada money, the only way he gets that is if some GM decides veteran leadership and game calling ability is worth about $8 million per year. The rest of Varitek’s stats sure don’t support it. At 37 he appeared to get very old in 2008. His BABIP was a low .278, but his line drive rate was a very low 13.6% so it’s not like he was extremely unlucky. If the Tigers wanted a .220/313/359 hitter they could just put Inge behind the plate. Even if Varitek bounces back somewhat offensively, he’s not likely to approach his career .785 OPS. And his 22% caught stealing rate is nothing to get excited about either. Plus Varitek is a Type A free agent meaning the Tigers would send the Red Sox a second round pick if Varitek were offered arbitration.

Gerald Laird

Gerald Laird‘s name gets mentioned quite a bit, and I can’t figure out why. I understand why he’s available, the Rangers horde catchers and have Max Ramirez, Taylor Teagarden, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia waiting in the wings. But I can’t figure out why he is desirable.

He’s relatively young-ish at age 29 next year, but I don’t see anything offensively that is remarkable. In 2008 he posted a 92 OPS+ which is certainly acceptable for a catcher. But that was coming off a 2007 season in which he hit a meager 224/278/349 which was the only season in which he caught more than 95 games. What Laird does do is slow the running game where he cut down better than 37% of runners over the last 3 years.

So Laird isn’t as awful as Varitek appears to be, but he hardly seems worth giving up much of substance. The Rangers want starting pitching, which the Tigers don’t exactly have in spades at the big league or minor league levels. Plus Laird is right handed which doesn’t particularly lend itself to a platoon with Dusty Ryan.

Josh Bard

That brings us to Josh Bard. What makes Bard attractive is the likely price – which should be depressed due to a pretty poor injury plagued season in 2008. Bard managed only a .549 OPS in 178 at-bats last year. Prolific Padres blogger Geoff Young shared Bard’s injury troubles with me from last year:

Bard had wrist problem in ’07 that seemed to carry over into ’08, sapping power; later sprained ankle on play at plate with Pujols.

In addition to the injuries Bard also suffered from an abysmally low .230 BABIP last year. But unlike Varitek, Bard had a line drive percentage of 21.6% that indicates Bard’s numbers may have been suppressed by some bad luck. (on the flip side he had a very high infield fly rate of 12.5%). The bigger reason for concern is that he swung at 29% of pitches outside the strike zone versus the 24% he had in his career. I’m not sure if this was the result of pressing due to his struggles, or partly the cause of it.

I also asked Young about Bard’s game calling and defense:

Bard is a good game caller but has poor footwork on throws, possibly in part because he needed to rush them with Padres pitchers.

That footwork is manifested in a 16% CS rate last year and a horrific 121 stolen bases allowed in 2007.

But despite the defensive issues, the fact that Bard is a switch hitter, has a history of decent OBPs, and can likely be had for an affordable 1 year contract would make him my choice to split catching duties with Dusty Ryan (and/or James Skelton) in 2009. There isn’t an ideal candidate out there, but Bard would seem to be a safe-ish bet for cheap.

63 Comments

  1. Eddie

    November 11, 2008 at 12:15 am

    Bard seems to make sense. There’s still the issue of the unresolved elbow injury that ended his season, but if the offseason can cure that, I don’t see why this isn’t the best choice.

  2. Matt

    November 11, 2008 at 12:28 am

    Bard has been my choice for cheap under the radar signing since September. IMO he’s a way better choice than both Varitek and Laird (PLEASE don’t trade for this guy Dombrowski!).

  3. Lee Panas

    November 11, 2008 at 2:10 am

    Bard is an excellent choice if his elbow is OK.

  4. JAY-RC

    November 11, 2008 at 7:22 am

    Im fine with Ryan and Skelton!
    Forget catching unless it’s Pudge
    Forget shortstop
    Trade for Putz
    And sign a starter n bullpen help

  5. Barry

    November 11, 2008 at 8:37 am

    Keep Inge at catcher until Ryan and Skelton is ready. They do not need another weak hitter in the line-up.

  6. hawk

    November 11, 2008 at 11:02 am

    1. leave santiago at ss
    2. Ryan and cheap veteran at C (Vance Wilson?)
    3. Find a #1-2 type starter
    4. Shore up bullpen — Putz would be fine

  7. Smoking Loon

    November 11, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    hawk, I’m with you on all of that, but I don’t see much hope for the Tigers being able to afford that starter.

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  9. Chris in Dallas

    November 11, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    I’m going to pretend that DTW is the Supreme Court and I’ll offer my dissenting opinion. I think Laird would be OK. And I even have reasons for it. First of all, as billfer mentions, he’s good at keeping the running game in check. I think that’s pretty important for a C. I don’t think putting up a 92 OPS+ is terrible – that was 5th among AL catchers, trailing only All-Stars Mauer and Navarro along with Shoppach and (?) Kurt Suzuki. He had a bad ’07, but in ’06 was at 105 OPS+. So 2 out of 3 seasons he’s been productive at the plate, and considering he’d probably hit 7th in the order you could do worse. He’s also more athletic than your average C. He’ll go first to third on a single and whatnot. And not for nothing he’s a good chemistry/clubhouse guy on a team that seemed divisive at times last year. Laird is definitely more palatable than Varitek (who would be absolutely retarded to pick up) and Bard seems to only have success in the weaker NL (his only full AL season he racked up a .293 on base). Maybe it’s bias from getting to watch Laird more often than any non-Tiger C, but I think he’d be the best bet of those 3 options.

  10. Smoking Loon

    November 11, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Eyewitness testimony counts for something. I’ll write a Friend of the Court brief.

    Who do you trade for Laird, Chris?

  11. greg

    November 11, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Caught stealing % is misleading because so much of that hinges on the pitcher. Does anyone record average time for catchers to deliver the ball to 2nd once they receive the ball?

    Syler would have a low caught stealing % with a Wakefield on the mound.

  12. Chris in Dallas

    November 11, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Loon: Call me a loon, but I’d trade Robertson for Laird if the Rangers said yes.

    greg: Agree, yet disagree at the same time. Wake would have awful SB #’s, obviously. But theoretically a catcher would only catch him once every 5 games (of course Wakefield has a personal C, but I digress). The Rangers don’t have anyone that’s retarded awful at holding baserunners anyway – Laird’s % is pretty legit.

  13. David

    November 11, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Why would you want Santiago at SS full time?

    Why in the heck would you want Bard?

    He is terrible

    check out TangoTigers fans fielding ratings if you don’t believe me – he gets a 33 in 2007 (50 is considered average) and he also got below 50 in 2006, and there is pretty high agreement between the raters

    His offense is also horrid,

    I’d much rather see them resign Vance Wilson who has basically been out for two years than go get that bum

    GREG

    “Caught stealing % is misleading because so much of that hinges on the pitcher. ”

    Soooo true, Cobb even said it himself

    “The two most important things in basestealing are getting your jump on the pitcher, and making your side away from the basemen…”

    Laird is a better choice IMO than Bard…he is one of the top rated catchers defensively on a pretty credible site, but he still can’t hit

    Another choice one would be to go after one of the Angels spare catchers – either Mathis or Napoli – one can field and not hit, one can hit and has average catching abilities

    one is 27, the other 26

    Personally if they couldn’t get someone for some minor leaguers and or (Pudge for )~5 million cash, I’d rather they sign Vance Wilson at the league min.

    and take the rest of the money/trade pieces and use it towards pitching/SS

    lets see what Dusty’s got

  14. Chris in Dallas

    November 11, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Doesn’t Vance Wilson currently have Lance Parrish’s elbow ligaments?

  15. Mark in Chicago

    November 11, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Good piece, billfer. IMO, the most important trait for a new catcher (given what’s available at the moment) is defensive abilities. Specifically, shutting down the running game, adept at blocking pitches in the dirt/avoiding PB, and to a lesser extent, signal-calling, since this can be done from the bench in most cases. Any offense you get is a bonus. All-star catchers aren’t available for a reason, and we aren’t getting a young stud like Clement or Teagarden.

    We’re better off finding a guy who excels at one thing as opposed to being average to slightly above at a number of things. Who that guy is is debatable. And of course, we must consider the cost of acquiring such a player.

  16. billfer

    November 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    @david -

    Why in the heck would you want Bard?

    I think I kind of explained that already. He’s a switch hitter. I think he’s due for a bounce back year (if the medical reports check out). And the Tigers should be able to get him for cheap both in terms of players (none) and dollars (less than 2 million) and years (1). I also pointed out he was miserable at stopping the running game so that’s not really news and I pointed out that Laird was very strong in that respect.

    Personally if they couldn’t get someone for some minor leaguers and or (Pudge for )~5 million cash, I’d rather they sign Vance Wilson at the league min.

    and take the rest of the money/trade pieces and use it towards pitching/SS

    lets see what Dusty’s got

    Vance Wilson likely won’t be ready to start the season thanks to his second tommy john surgery. Do you think he’ll be better defensively after not having played for 2 years? As for Dusty, I like Dusty. That’s why I’m looking for a platoon partner for him instead of replacing him. Plus Dusty has had one productive season. I don’t want all the eggs in the Dusty basket.

  17. Plain old Andre (in Chicago)

    November 11, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    David,

    your referencing Cobb % is pretty high here in the blog, are you able to maintain such a high level in your conversations outside the blog? on topics other than baseball? i’m pretty impressed, if i wanted to achieve the same level of Cobb-osity, what things should I keep in mind? what are the two most important things in quoting Cobb?

  18. Chris in Dallas

    November 11, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Little known Ty Cobb fact: corn on the cob is named after him. It used to be called a corn stick. Also, he’s responsible for Cobb Salad.

  19. David

    November 11, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    Billfer

    I understand they can get him for cheap

    But they can hire someone off the street for cheap (or even free), it doesn’t mean that it’ll help

    Switch hitter or not, I don’t think he’ll provide much of anything offensively over any other catcher we could go out and get

    Bounce back year?

    To what 2006? 2007? He didn’t start and wasn’t that good

    I mean I guess I agree with you about the contract size, length and cost to our minor league system,

    But on the length side of that… lets say Ryan flops and Skelton isn’t ready

    are you going to keep throwing Bard out there?

    Catchers don’t just stop the running game, their are other things they do,

    Since his rating has been bad/below average defensively in most if not all areas, why get him?

    Lets say he does have a “bounce back” year (optimistic IMO) and he and Ryan platoon, he still won’t hit much better than Laird

    Why not try to either obtain Mathis or Laird or Napoli or Blanco or Ausmus, not saying we could get all of those guys but my point is

    Why get someone who neither excels at hitting (relative to other catchers) nor someone who is a good defender/game caller?

    I don’t see the point, if Bard was a good defender I’d rather see them get him, but I don’t see evidence that he could help the team out at all besides providing depth.

    On the Vance Wilson side, I think I’d like to retract what I said

    For him, I doubt he’d come back right away as strong as he was throwing, after two surgeries, plus he is 35

    “As for Dusty, I like Dusty. That’s why I’m looking for a platoon partner for him instead of replacing him. Plus Dusty has had one productive season. I don’t want all the eggs in the Dusty basket.”

    That is exactly what I agree with, but I don’t think Bard is the answer to that based on his catching capabilities and lack of stellar hitting

    I’ve never seen him rated highly by the fans

    And plus a single look at Bards lifetime splits

    Vs Lefties .288 BA, .785 OPS
    Vs Righties .256BA, .705OPS

    And Ryans (only 44 MLB AB)
    Vs Lefties .429BA, 1.529OPS
    Vs Righties .267BA, .570OPS

  20. David

    November 11, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    Mark in Chicago

    EXACTLY MY POINT, you said it very nicely

  21. David

    November 11, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Andre – I don’t know what you’re trying to say, are you trying to poke a joke at me?
    Are you being sarcastic?

    I could quote other players if you’d like

    But considering this is a Tiger-fan dominated site, and also considering that most people would consider him to be the best to have ever Don the Olde English D (if not the majors)
    he should be a pretty reputable source to even those who know little about him

    The guy held the major league SB record for a LONG TIME (excluding guys like Billy Hamilton who played under different rules)

  22. David

    November 11, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    If you are serious

    If you want to quote someone I’d make sure you quoting them correctly and

    NOT messing up what they said

    if you change the meaning, in my understanding that isn’t quoting them

    and it can get serious

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzkEphQAi7U

    that is where I got my quote, straight from the “horse’s mouth” himself

    It’s pretty darn good

    actually I listen to it almost daily if I have the time

  23. David

    November 11, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    Chris

    you’re a funny guy

    http://www.baseball-fever.com/.....038;page=5

    Check out the 4th post by George H Ruth

    You might like it

    =)

  24. Plain old Andre (in Chicago)

    November 11, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    David –

    i was most definitely being sarcastic. you quote Cobb at an extravagant rate.

    i was more shocked by this statement though,

    “considering this is a Tiger-fan dominated site”

    i had no idea.

    people don’t often look to the stars of the early 1900′s (in any sport) for insight to the modern versions of their games, and usually for good reason. i’ll grant you that Cobb rightly deserves much (if not all) the praise, as a player, he gets. however, to me, its strange to apply the baseball musings of somebody that has been dead for over 40 years (and hadn’t played for even longer) to the modern game. some things have remained the same, but much has changed.

    but its a free country (and blog?), i’m sure you feel he’s more relevant than i, so quote away.

  25. David

    November 12, 2008 at 3:00 am

    i was most definitely being sarcastic. you quote Cobb at an extravagant rate.

    You’re WRONG since I only brought up the fact that I liked (and thus began quoting) him a mere few weeks ago and have been commenting on this site for YEARS

    i was more shocked by this statement though,

    “considering this is a Tiger-fan dominated site”

    i had no idea.

    I figured… since you claim to reside in Cubs and Chi Sox territory…

    “People don’t often look to the stars of the early 1900’s (in any sport) for insight to the modern versions of their games, and usually for good reason. i’ll grant you that Cobb rightly deserves much (if not all) the praise, as a player, he gets. however, to me, its strange to apply the baseball musings of somebody that has been dead for over 40 years (and hadn’t played for even longer) to the modern game. some things have remained the same, but much has changed.

    but its a free country (and blog?), i’m sure you feel he’s more relevant than i, so quote away.”

    You clearly are not very well read then
    Why wouldn’t he be relevant? or any other sports figure? or any person in general ie Philosophers/Generals etc.?
    You’re telling me that war strategy has changed in all facets dramatically so we should ignore anyone who fought prior to 1990?

    Or that people have changed so dramatically lately that we should ignore anything written about them prior to this decade?

    I sure feel he is more relevant than you… Or major figure any major figure in baseball since the game has been modernized

    You’d be flat out dumb to ignore what he says and think it doesn’t apply. It is still 90 feet to first. 90 to second and 90 to third. You still try to get guys outs if you’re a pitcher, and you still try to hit the sweet spot of the bat if you’re a hitter. The game was modernized shortly before he began his career…

    Some things may have changed, many things have remained the same

    And in most respects I believe that guys that played back then, knew the game better than guys today.

    War is war, baseball is baseball, people are people… There are certain constants throughout history whether you like them or not

    If you want to scoff them off go ahead, but why would you respond to my comment with sarcasm/mocking?
    Why even respond to that part…
    Most of what I said had nothing to do with Tyrus, and if you actually read it you’d see that what I posted agreed/supported Greg who agreed with Tyrus maybe not even knowing that he did?
    My only guess is that you are ashamed of your own ignorance, and I’m not being sarcastic

    If you disagree with things I say or I quote say so, don’t try and attack the source, attack what is being said.

  26. Smoking Loon

    November 12, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Josh Bard is actually one of the best offensive C realistically available.* His career OPS+ of 96 is better than Pudge 2006-2008, and better than Rodriguez/Inge at C in 2008. Bard’s career OBP: .333. Pudge’s: .339. PA for each RBI 2006-2008: Bard 8.64, Rodriguez 9.13. And he played for the Padres (though this also means it was against NL pitching…).

    I’m looking for Dusty Ryan insurance. Bard the switch-hitter’s .705 OPS versus righties would be quite acceptable if Ryan should struggle against RHP, as is likely.

    Bard’s defensive liability appears to be limited to the running game, as far as I can tell. That’s OK. Dusty has a cannon. Can’t always get two.

    I’m still high on Henry Blanco and have no serious objection to Gerald Laird, but all things considered, Josh Bard is the best deal going. Not trying for the gold star here, but that was one good call by billfer. Main concerns: Coming off that injury, and how he’ll fare in the AL.

    * With a real track record, anyway. Who knows how many Galarraga-type sleepers might be lurking at any position?

  27. Chris in Dallas

    November 12, 2008 at 11:34 am

    I think the simple solution to the catching dilemma is to trade Timo Perez to Minnesota for Joe Mauer. I can’t believe no one has mentioned that possibility.

  28. Chris in Dallas

    November 12, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Also, I’d like to call a moratorium on any Georgia Peach related posts. Great ballplayer? Yes. Disgrace to humanity? Yes. At least that’s the way I see it. I always rememer that quote from Field of Dreams – something along the lines of ‘no one could stand the SOB when he was alive, so why would we invite him here when he’s dead’ or somesuch. OK, end rant.

  29. Smoking Loon

    November 12, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    All this talk of Ty Cobb and the delicious food he invented reminds me of the man who inspired me, in business and in life, to believe in my dreams. Jose Mesa. “Sean,” Jose said to me on the day the Tigers designated him for assignment, “just remember – follow the blue glove.” And I have, never losing a minute of sleeping worrying about the way things might have been, even while I was cleaning plates in Memphis or pumping pain in New Orleans.

    Little-known Ty Cobb facts: The slang term for policeman, “cop,” was originally “cobb.” Evidently, Cobb was seen as such an authority figure that his name came to be synonymous with enforcement of the law. The title of an early classic comedy film, “The Keystone Cobbs,” caused quite a scandal, as it was seen as disrespectful of the father of baseball, and indeed, our nation, and the producers were forced to change it to the now-familiar “Keystone Cops.”

    Cobb was also an inventor, and revolutionized the internal combustion engine with a new device he called the “Cobb-uretor.” Due to a misunderstanding involving the Boston company that bought the patent, it came to be known as, well, you know.

  30. Plain old Andre (in Chicago)

    November 12, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    David,

    i wouldn’t have characterized my sarcasm at what i viewed to be lots of Cobb references as “attack[ing] the source”, and i’m sorry that you viewed it that way.

    i haven’t been on the blog for YEARS, but in the comparatively short time i’ve been here, i thought i spotted a trend in your eagerness to quote players from past eras, and tried to poke some fun.

    for somebody who advocates not attacking the person, you sure went on the offensive. i’m surprised you were able to tell that i was: “clearly are not very well read”, “flat out dumb” and “ashamed of [my] own ignorance”. usually it takes people much longer to figure all that out about me.

    “You’re telling me that war strategy has changed in all facets dramatically so we should ignore anyone who fought prior to 1990?”

    i don’t want to delve too deeply into this topic, given the nature of the blog, but its funny that you use this argument. i wouldn’t suggest ignoring everyone who fought prior to 1990, but i would be careful and qualify those that i did look to. some past philosophies are still relevant, but i doubt you want to take too many pointers from the tactics of WWI, unless you’re trying to waste a generation of fighting men/women.

    my aim had never been to discredit Cobb, just to remind that when looking back for insight, its important to consider all the surrounding circumstances. but what do i know, i’m in Chicago and, since only people in Detroit are Tigers fans, i must love the Sox and Cubs.

  31. Chris in Dallas

    November 12, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Loon: I think you should start a Ty Cobb Facts website similar to http://www.chucknorrisfacts.com You could make millions.

  32. Andre (not very well read) in Chicago

    November 12, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Loon,

    i hope your happy with the mess i created. in worrying that you’d revoke my status as Assistant Fantasy GM, i tried to make a bold move and ended up getting creamed.

  33. Ken in Jersey

    November 12, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Bring back Brad Ausmus for a year. He would be a great teacher for Ryan.

  34. Smoking Loon

    November 12, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    No way you trade Timo Perez. That guy needs to be on the bench to pinch hit for anyone with RISP, and especially with a man on 3rd. Wait until Coleman finds out about this guy.

    Seriously, what an odd-looking career. One decent season, precipitous decline, seemingly on his way out of MLB, an incredible September call-up show in 2007, no chance in 2008 (lousy spring or what?). Good in AAA. 58 (MLB) post-season AB! Check out his 2000 NLCS with the Mets. Some familiar names in the box scores (just looking at Game 1, I see Perez grounding out to Polanco, and Renteria flying out to Perez).

    Wow. Timo Perez scored the first Mets run in 4 of those 5 games. And a tie-breaking run in the remaining game. 8 runs in 5 games. And then a lousy WS followed by an unremarkable career. Talk about peaking too early.

  35. Smoking Loon

    November 12, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    “He [Ausmus] would be a great teacher for Ryan.”

    Jim Leyland was a catcher, and is only slightly older.

  36. Chris in Dallas

    November 12, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    I can’t help but think ‘Ass-moss’ when I see the name Ausmus. I’m a very troubled person.

  37. Smoking Loon

    November 12, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Yeah, I’ve always thought that that Chuck Norris stuff was pretty funny, Chris. I’d want to go in some slightly different direction with a Ty Cobb site. I don’t know Cobb’s story well enough to find some kind of original hook for parody, whether it be pro or con.

    Andre, no way I fire you. I’d sooner trade Timo Perez. You have but demonstrated that you are an Agent Provocateur, much like the Great One himself. I like it. :)

  38. Andre (not very well read) in Chicago

    November 12, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Chris,

    “Ass-moss” makes me think Ausmus could teach Ryan through ‘ass-mosis’…but that sounds to gay to officially suggest to the Tigers.

  39. Smoking Loon

    November 12, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Ausmus wouldn’t be so bad, except that… he seems to be Gerald Laird at 40.

    Fellow troubled individuals: Ausmus is German for “ass bat.” Really. OK, not really. It really means “of the Mouse People” (literally “from mouse”). No. It really translates as “from mash.” Which basically means “can’t hit any more” (used to mash, mash is in the past, moving away from mash).

    They did the Mash. They did the Ausmus Mash. Vhatever happened to my Astrovania Tvist? (Brad gOOd).

  40. Mark in Chicago

    November 12, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    my has this thread taken a turn….

  41. Chris in Dallas

    November 12, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Isn’t Ausmus Mash a form of whiskey?

  42. Smoking Loon

    November 12, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    “my has this thread taken a turn….”

    Well, we are still talking about a catcher. Kind of.

    Interesting poll/thread on motowsports.com about DD’s worst moves. Looking through it, I realize that – in my opinion – all the really bad stuff in the last few years has been contractual. Bad extensions. The worst acquistion (in hindsight)? The same one I was ecstatic about when it happened. Sheffield. 3 years of being handcuffed for a summer of production. Renteria doesn’t even come close.

    Someone over there also pointed out the folly of the Guillen extension. Hadn’t thought about it. I must agree.

    I hope DD has reset the level of who to lock up to that of Cabrera and Granderson. I don’t think Verlander qualifies. Pretty risky business with a pitcher, anyway.

  43. Chris in Dallas

    November 12, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    I’d have to say Renteria was the move that backfired the most. Not so much lack of production (though there was that), but dropping Jurrjens and Hernandez to get him. Think of it – 1 year of Renteria for 11+ years of the two kids service time wise. Not good. At least with the Sheffield deal, it doesn’t look like any of the pitchers surrendered are going to be big contributors to the Yankees. And Sheff did at least have a 3 month torrid streak in ’07. Renteria could never get anything going (though shockingly he tonked 2 grand slams). And he sucked in the field.

  44. Chris in Dallas

    November 12, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    re: extending Verlander. There will be a time when that decision has to be made. In his favor, he’ll still be pretty young when he’s eligible for free agency. He’s also proven to be durable, never visiting the DL (that sound you hear is me knocking on wood). Aside from a 2008 where he was pretty unlucky, he’s been the Tigers best pitcher. I’d lock him up now while he’s coming off a down year, though his agent would have to be a retard to do that.

  45. Chris in Dallas

    November 12, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    Wow a triple post. I suppose I could’ve replied in one big post, but I like bullet points. I don’t consider Guillen’s extension a folly. First of all, it’s not like he was bad in 2008. Dude did put up a 114 OPS+. Is he in decline? Probably a little, but not severely. He was never really 100% healthy at any point last year which I think contributed to his subpar-ness. Of course, there’s a chance he might not be 100% healthy ever again, but I think he’ll still be a productive player throughout the remainder of the deal. If he’s going well in the first half of ’09, he could be a good trade piece considering the relative depth in the outfield. You could probably move him to get a decent prospect or two without missing much production in a Thames/Joyce platoon, assuming both of those guys come back.

  46. Chris in Dallas

    November 12, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    Bonus question: Do you think the Tigers have enough organizational pitching depth to pry JJ Hardy away from the Brewers? He’s rumored to be on the block, and that would nicely resolve the SS conundrum. I promise I’ll shut up now.

  47. Smoking Loon

    November 12, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    “Do you think the Tigers have enough organizational pitching depth to pry JJ Hardy away from the Brewers?”

    No. Allow me to expand upon that.

    No.

  48. Smoking Loon

    November 12, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Chris, I would have agreed with you entirely about Sheffield, Guillen, and Verlander until recently. Or pretty recently.

    I’m not down on Verlander. Just don’t give him a Barry Zito contract. I’m not down on anyone except Sheffield, really, certainly not Guillen. It just doesn’t seem like there’s any way to buy stability. The way the Tigers are in a straitjacket of contractual issues is just maddening. It certainly limits my flexibility as a fantasy owner/GM/manager, which is what I resent most of all.

  49. Chris in Dallas

    November 12, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Loon: It may sound insane, but if Battlestar Galarraga is what it takes to open up talks with the Brewers, than by all means start talking. Galarraga had a very nice and unexpected 2008, but he’s due to regress. I can almost guarantee it. I doubt Galarraga-Hardy straight up works, but if you have to throw in some B-level guy to get it done I’m all for it. It’s called ‘selling high’.

    I don’t think Verlander would be getting any kind of Zito-like contract unless he goes to another team. I was thinking more along the lines of what the Pads did with Peavy when the time comes. http://www.signonsandiego.com/.....adres.html

  50. Smoking Loon

    November 12, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    No, trading Galarraga doesn’t sound insane, per se, Chris. But with DD speaking of Iorg as an All Star sooner than we think, isn’t Hardy overkill? And can the Tigers really afford to trade with any team that needs pitching (aside from Rodney and Robertson)?

    I think I might trade Galarraga in a “cheap with potential shown by one fine season” for “proven, a bit expensive, but only 1-2 years” pitcher swap. But that would probably be about it.

  51. Chris in Dallas

    November 12, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    From what I’ve read independently (i.e. not the company line) about Iorg is that the All-Star potential there is, um, very unlikely. Never having actually seen him, though, I’d be unable to say one way or the other. Hardy is more of a proven commodity. 20-25 HR pop and a plus defender. The anti-Renteria, if you will. Of course, this is all just idle speculation anyway.

  52. David

    November 12, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Andre – I guess I just believe that while some things may change, many things remain the same

    Here is another quote for you, maybe you’ve heard it

    Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

    George Santayana

  53. David

    November 12, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    Loon

    “He [Ausmus] would be a great teacher for Ryan.”

    Jim Leyland was a catcher, and is only slightly older.

    Well at least Ausmus could have been the best defensive catcher we’ve had in the last two decades at least

    Leyland on the other hand…

    On to your other comment about Ty

    I know your kidding around, but if you ever want to know about the man himself, here is an excellent website

    http://baseballguru.com/bburgess/

    The links on the left along with the spreadsheets help to paint a very accurate (usually unbiased) picture of him IMO.

    The movie that was based on him, was basically a bunch of fallacies combined together to create a myth of a racist sob, who cheated his way around.

    IT makes for a good story(therefore sells), but in REALITY isn’t true at all.

  54. Smoking Loon

    November 12, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    J.J. Hardy looks like a fine player, but unless the Brewers have someone coming up behind him (or maybe they’ll sign Renteria, ha ha ha), it seems like they’d ask a lot for him. I’m not sure how trading for and then signing a guy like Hardy works, either. I’m hazy on all that under-team-control and arbitration-eligible stuff.

    I guess I’m all for getting a guy like Hardy, good but short track record and not terribly expensive, with or without Iorg. Just don’t see why the Brewers would want to part with him. Good shortstops aren’t exactly growing on trees these days. I didn’t think he was on the table, to be honest. Can’t see what the Brewers might want that the Tigers have, either. Galarraga might be a bit much.

    I’m still thinking the Tigers should go “bargain” on SS and C and put the money in the bullpen. A guy like Hardy makes you waver, though.

  55. Chris in Dallas

    November 12, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    David: Read the Al Stump biography on Cobb. Interesting read, and pretty much confirms the racist a-hole aspects of his personality. Also the murderer part. And gambler. Other than that, he was great.

  56. Dre in Chi

    November 12, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

    yes David, i’ve heard/read it, frequently and most often in my political science and ROTC classes. but, as the quote itself suggests, you study history in order to avoid past mistakes and improve upon previous methods, and its only rarely the case that the old-ways are better than the new-ways.

    that having been said, there are examples in both history and, i’m guessing, sports where going back to basics helps. in any case, i just thought it was funny to see so many dead chaps quoted in a baseball blog…but for my part:

    “Make your plans to fit the circumstances”
    -George S. Patton

  57. Chris in Dallas

    November 12, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Loon: The answer to your question is, yes, the Brewers have an uber-prospect Alcides Escobar ready to take over at SS. He’s supposed to be the bee’s knees wearing cat’s pajamas. They’d be (theoretically) willing to part with him because of that. Since Sheets and Sabathia are likely gone, they’ll need pitching. Galarraga is probably the most tradeable pitcher that the Tigers have (aside from Verlander/Porcello who seem to be untouchable) so I’d at least explore something like that and see where it goes if I’m Dave Dombrowski. Hardy has 2 years before he becomes a free agent. Of course, he’s arbitration eligible for those two years, so you figure he’s going to get a nice salary bump. He’d still be less expensive than what they paid Renteria, though, so it would keep the payroll in line with what it was in 2008. Of course the caveat being that a 5th starter would have to materialize on the Tigers end.

  58. Chris in Dallas

    November 12, 2008 at 6:14 pm

  59. Smoking Loon

    November 12, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Thanks for the Ty Cobb link, David. Yes, I was kidding around. I’ll try to be serious if I have any comments on the baseballguru thing.

    Can I get unserious again? Good.

    Those who cannot remember George Santayana are condemned to reading quotations attributed to him.

    Those who cannot remember the past are

    Thanks for the Ty Cobb link, David. Yes, I was kidding around. I’ll try to be serious if I have any comments on the baseballguru thing.

  60. Smoking Loon

    November 12, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    “Of course the caveat being that a 5th starter would have to materialize on the Tigers end.”

    Good case, big caveat.

  61. David

    November 12, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    Chris in Dallas

    David: Read the Al Stump biography on Cobb. Interesting read, and pretty much confirms the racist a-hole aspects of his personality. Also the murderer part. And gambler. Other than that, he was great.

    That was my first ever Ty Cobb book that I read

    (if you are talking about the second one he published)

    I’ve since found out (after studying him) that a lot of it was gross misinterpretation, outright lies, and slander

    Check out the link I gave to Loon if you want to know the truth, if not oh well

    That book made for albeit an interesting read

  62. Smoking Loon

    November 13, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    OK, David. About Ty Cobb, and Bill Burgess III and his research and articles on Cobb:

    Burgess seems sincere. He could use an editor, not to mention a little more coherent thought. But hey – he does his homework.

    On the basis of Burgess’s articles alone, I would conclude that Ty Cobb was, um, to avoid stronger language, a bad person. Burgess is an apologist for Cobb for reasons I find hard to fathom.

    April 25, 1919 – Hotel Pontchartrain, Detroit, MI – Miss Ada Morris was working as a chambermaid at the Hotel, when she claims that Mr. Cobb called her a “nigger”. When she took offense at this slur, and flared back and sassed him, Mr. Cobb knocked her down, kicked her in the stomache [sic], and knocked her down the stairs. She had sustained a broken rib and had been hospitalized until at least June 1, 1919. She filed a law suit for $10,000.

    This story was carried in the Chicago Defender, and also appeared in the Baltimore Afro-American, on the front page. The incident is very credible and is definitely racist.

    So Ty Cobb probably didn’t murder anyone and probably didn’t fix any games. The above incident alone seems enough to remove him from the list of people I’d care to defend. Burgess’s overall defense amounts to excusing Cobb as a guy who didn’t kick black chambermaids down stairs any more than your average early 20th-century Georgia-born man. Nice. A product of his times?

    Ty Cobb, great hitter in a bygone era of baseball. That’s about all you can say without getting into Cobb the man. Why try to make him seem better than Willie Mays (or whoever) or better than baseball players today? Why try to redeem him? Admiration for baseball talent is one thing, but why idolize a guy like Cobb when there have been great players who also managed to be reasonably decent human beings? Because he was a Detroit Tiger? Because when we were kids and only knew the baseball part, Cobb was God in Tigers lore? Right.

    And now I’m done with Cobb. Rebut away, David.

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