The Ides Of March
The Ides of Boesch is a day on the Roman Calendar corresponding with March 13, a date which has become notorious for Detroit Tigers spring transactions, as illustrated in the prophetic 1798 painting The Unconditional Release of Brennan.
Will the Yankees be able to fix Brennan Boesch? Maybe. But let no one later claim that the Tigers “let him get away,” whatever happens down the road. His time in Detroit was clearly up. Crowded outfield and two more prospects knocking at the door. The release was puzzling at first in that, apparently, no teams had been willing to trade for Boesch, but Dave Dombrowski’s words “I have tried to trade his contract at various times here throughout the spring” made it clear what the obstacle to a deal was.
There have been no other surprising roster moves, just the players assigned to the minors that you knew would be, with many more such moves to follow shortly. The lingering suspense regarding the bench and rounding out the bullpen may not be and probably won’t be resolved for another two weeks.
Decipher this one:
QUOTE: Manager Jim Leyland was asked Friday if it were possible both [Quintin Berry and Jeff Kobernus] might make the team.
“Possible,” Leyland answered. “A longshot, but possible.”
“The two questions you have to ask are: Which guy gives us the best chance to win a game? And which scenario gives us the best chance to win games? One is singular and one is plural,” Leyland added. “That’s what you have to figure out. That comes into play when you’re figuring out your roster. Obviously, you want to win games. Plural. … We’re pretty well set, but there are a couple things at the end that are going to be a little hairy. A manager knows he’s going to break a couple hearts before this is over.” END QUOTE
Bruce Rondon is really good. (And was it not I who just poked fun at Jim Leyland for stating the obvious?) A pitcher, not merely a thrower. He sure looks ready or very close to it. The question is: Would you have him start the season in Toledo anyway, for his own good? Do the Tigers, chock full of bullpen right now, really need him right away? But the answer might be: Why wait? Nice sliders against the Mets. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of the speed thing already. I try to ignore it and concentrate on the location and movement of the pitches, which of course I’d be doing anyway. You can’t readily see speed from the standard camera angle, anyway, aside from what you can read from batter reaction. Or at least I can’t.
It was heartening to see, March 14 against the Mets, two fine defensive plays in a row behind Casey Crosby, first the great catch by Berry and then the nice work of Omar Infante/Matt Tuiasosopo. (For what it’s worth, the Tigers have committed only 11 errors in 21 ST games so far, as opposed to 36 in 28 games or so last spring.) It was also amusing that the Mets broadcasters picked up on the one Valverde-ism in Rondon’s pitching ritual, which I noticed (with some dismay) the first time I saw him this spring.
Who’s your favorite non-Tigers TV broadcast team? Of the ones I’ve encountered so far this spring, I liked Gary Cohen and Ron Darling of the Mets (SNY). I have greater respect for guys that aren’t total homers, who display some depth of knowledge about the opposing team and players and devote some time to discussing them. I think that this can be said of FSD’s Mario Impemba and Rod Allen – what’s your opinion?
It’s good to have a winning record any time of year, isn’t it? The Tigers have now surged to a 12-8 Grapefruit League record (yes, I just like the term “Grapefruit League” and will work it in every chance I get), which makes me feel better than 8-12 would. Statistical standouts on the pitching side include Al Alburquerque, Drew Smyly, Joaquin Benoit, and Brayan Villareal, but nothing tops Rick Porcello’s 18 K in 18 IP with no BB and a 0.78 WHIP. Darin Downs seems to be skating on thin ice every time I see him pitch, and yet he’s compiled a pretty immaculate line. The hitters tearing it up are Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Tyler Collins, Nick Castellanos, Don Kelly (5 of 8 hits for extra bases), and – to an extent – Kevin Russo (38% K rate is ouch).
Around the horn on the recently happened and upcoming: Jhonny had some chowder, Prince had a flat tire, Ramon hit a grand slam off of Roy Halladay, Tuiasosopo (no slouch with the Ks himself at ~33%) hit the loudest home run of spring into a gusting wind, Doug Fister finally pitched more like Doug Fister, Justin hurt Joey but can’t be held accountable for Joey not wearing a cup, prospect Stephen Moya impressed against Florida Southern, Casey Crosby was optioned to Toledo as expected, and minor league RHP Cesar Carrillo (AA Erie) has been suspended 100 games without pay for drug policy violations, as illustrated in the prophetic 1798 painting The Suspension of Cesar. Verlander will be pitching for the Toledo Mud Hens later today. Octavio Dotel remains in the WBC. The Tigers will play the Washington Nationals three times over the upcoming week.
Finally, what about this new all-season interleague play deal? Sensible? Good? Bad? Can much be made of the Tigers ending the regular season deprived of the DH for the last 3 games? I mean, it’s only the Marlins.
And tell me everything you know about Jose Alvarez, the mystery man with 3 saves in ST. In the Grapefruit League, I mean.