Junkballing: Injuries and Verlander’s Workload

A journey through some links that will update us on the Tigers walking wounded, that will put limits on Justin Verlander’s workload, and other odds and ends including bullpen usage and Alex Avila.

Injuries

Word out of Lakeland is that Zach Miner is preparing to enter pseudo game action as part of his rehab assignment. Even with no set backs that would likely but him a couple weeks away from being ready to join the Tigers. And while the bullpen has been overworked and a fresh arm would be helpful, the bullpen has also been pretty effective.

Adam Everett is expected to be back any day now after taking batting practice yesterday. That could prove timely as Jim Leyland is still concerned about Scott Sizemore’s ankle and if he wants to spell him at second, he would have Ramon Santiago as an option with a healthy Everett manning short.

For those that were hoping to get a look at Brent Dlugach, he has cooled off at Toledo as his BABIP hasn’t been able to sustain his strikeout rate (31 K’s in 86 PA’s).

On the minor league injury front the Tigers are hopeful that Jacob Turner’s soreness is an adjustment to a pro pitching schedule and nothing ominous.

Verlander’s workload

With Justin Verlander throwing over 120 pitches in each of his last two starts and not seeing the sixth inning in either, it turned out to be a clubhouse topic yesterday. Leyland says he is going to put a limit on Verlander in his next start regardless of the inning. Verlander acknowledges that he needs to be more efficient but says pitch counts are overrated.

Verlander's Pitch Counts by Game 2009

We’ll see what happens with this limit. I’m sure that Leyland doesn’t want Verlander getting hurt on his watch, but he also had him throw over 120 pitches in 6 of his last 8 outings last season. Verlander has always proven up to the task, I just doubt that Leyland is going to reign him in too much.

The rest

Granderson’s hoops game is on

The last 2 years Curtis Granderson has put on a celebrity basketball game as a fundraiser for his Grand Kids Foundation. Even though his status as a Tiger was in flux, his commitment to the kids wasn’t and Granderson announced that he will be hosting the event again this season.

This year’s game will be at Birmingham Seaholm on January 24th, and this one is sure to have a little bit of a different flavor. “This will also be an emotional event on a personal level, as it will be somewhat of a goodbye from me to the fans and the city that have supported me so strongly throughout my career so far,” says Granderson.  “I hope that those fans can pack the gym and also raise a lot of money for inner city education in Michigan.” Continue reading Granderson’s hoops game is on

It doesn’t add up

The Curtis Granderson trade hasn’t set well with me from the outset. I’ve taken some time to mull everything over and look at it a number of ways. I think I’ve moved past the emotional component. I’ve taken a look back at the new Tigers and the return is OK. But therein lies the problem. The return was just OK in my view. An OK return isn’t enough to trade a player that didn’t have to be traded. It just doesn’t add up.

I know I’m not alone in this. Other Tigers bloggers who I respect for their thoughtful and analytic approach are still struggling with it as well. Like them, it is with the chronology of the deal that doesn’t make sense.

Continue reading It doesn’t add up

Scott Podsednik rumors

Dave Dombrowski spoke yesterday of how the team in planning on Austin Jackson manning centerfield next season. But that’s a lot to put on someone who hasn’t seen a pitch at the big league level. Especially when the guy playing second base is in the same boat. So it’s probably natural that the Tigers would get linked to free agent Scott Podsednik.

Lynn Henning (who saw the Granderson trade coming before anyone and was also a member of the Brennan Boesch fan club a couple months prior to his inclusion on the 40 man roster) planted this seed earlier in the week. The seed appears to have a shot at growing as the Tigers were listed as one of five teams interested in the left handed hitting outfielder.

Podsednik hadn’t cracked the .700 OPS barrier since 2006 before having a bit of a late career renaissance when he mustered a 764 OPS for the White Sox in 2009. This would be kind of a buy-high move. For all Podsednik’s speed, he’s not a spectacular fielder and has been pretty average to below average the last couple years according to UZR.

It makes sense to have a left handed option that could play centerfield. Of course for a cash-strapped team it probably makes more sense to just let Clete Thomas get some at-bats in that role. Then again lots of things aren’t making sense with the Tigers lately so I’d say there is a good chance that the deal gets done. As an aside, Podsednik is married to Lisa Dergan (google away).

Image credit: Matt Stratton on flickr

Winter Meetings Day 4

The last day of a very active winter meetings for Tigers fans is upon us. A look at what took place yesterday and what may take place today follows.

This should be old hat by now, but here are all the ways to keep up with the Winter Meetings at DTW.

Winter Meetings Day 3

As Tigers fans let us just hope that today is relatively boring. The Tigers will remain active and the roster will continue to change but hopefully we’re done with franchise-type players leaving. In the meantime here’s a recap of what happened yesterday – including some late notes – as well as a look at what may happen today.

Wrapping up the trade

After some extensive reflection I’ve come to the conclusion that this deal will never really sit well with me. By never I don’t actually mean for eternity, but at least until the fruits of the trade bear some sort of championship or something. That isn’t a reflection on the players the Tigers received, more on the circumstances and the players they let go. Still, there are ends to tie up and dots to connect and other miscellany in need of blogging.

Roster Moves

The Tigers are plus 2 on their 40 man roster once this deal is made official. Jon Morosi tweeted that the Tigers have let it be known that Bobby Seay, Dusty Ryan, and Jeff Larish are on the trade block.

I can see trying to get something for players who aren’t in the plans, and it’s clear that Ryan isn’t a Jim Leyland favorite (and they signed Robinzon Diaz to a minor league deal today), but why hold space on the roster for Dontrelle Willis or Don Kelly?

Continue reading Wrapping up the trade

The trade: the emotional response

I have some time I figure to take a look at what the Tigers have surrendered and what the Tigers are getting. Will look not just at the numbers, but at the finances and other potential ramifications. That is done better with a clear head. But first….first there is the grieving.

In 2002 the Tigers drafted a kid out of Chicago in the 3rd round. A hard worker this guy was. He didn’t have the one stand out tool, but he managed to do everything pretty well. For that reason he was always overlooked a little bit on various prospect lists.

After working his way through the Tigers system, improving at every stop he got a September call-up. Due to a variety of roster machinations and injuries he got a chance to show his stuff in 2005. I was there when he got that first 2005 start and I remember sitting with my buddy Russ who was asking about the new guy. I explained he could hit pretty good and he could run pretty good and he was a solid defender. After watching him stroke a triple Russ turned to me and said, “I’ll say he can run pretty good.”

In 2006 Curtis Granderson was the Tigers starting centerfielder on Opening Day in Kansas City. I remember interviews where he talked about his feeling when he was out there for the National Anthem and how he felt he had really made it at that point.

He became a key part of the magical 2006 team that made baseball relevant again in Detroit. For many of you reading this you wouldn’t even be on this site were it not for his contributions. He had a big series against he Yankees in the playoffs, but I mostly remember him for hitting a game-tying homer in the 9th inning against the Reds that year. As the season wore on though he became a regular target for quotes on Fox Sports coverage because he was so well spoken, humble, and affable.

When Tigers fan Brian Bluhm was killed in the Virginia Tech tragic shootings, Granderson who was informed that Bluhm was a big fan of his, made him his his number 1 fan on Myspace. What kind of high profiile athlete does that?

Of course 2007 saw the breakout season. The incredible quad 20 with the gold glove caliber defense in centerfield, including a dramatic wall catch that robbed Wily Mo Pena of a home run and secured a sweep of the Red Sox heading into the All Star break. A star was certainly born and further cemented when he joined TBS coverage for the Post Season and became a true ambassador for the sport of baseball.

The Tigers, the city of Detroit, and the state of Michigan had a favorite son. A guy who’s off the field heroics were at the same All Star level that his on field heroics were. And yet it was a guy who was incredibly accessible, even taking the time to answer a few questions for this humble blogger. People adored Granderson, and rightly so.

There was the work ethic and the personality, and the fact he could actually play the game as well. The city of Detroit for all its struggles has been blessed with a series of stars to be proud of. After Al Kaline, and Alan Trammell, and Steve Yzerman, and Nicklas Lidstrom, and, Joe Dumars. Guys who spent their whole career representing the city of Detroit. Granderson was going to be the next one. The one to carry the torch. Granderson was from Chicago but he became one of ours. It wasn’t any one thing, not the Grand Kids Foundation or the way he took a walk off away from Grady Sizemore or the way he conducted himself in interviews. It was all of those things in one special package.

For those who are upset about the trade, I can’t blame you. There is a baseball reason for what went down. But right now it’s okay to grieve. Granderson was a remarkable player and a source of pride for everyone who flipped on that English D cap in the morning. This is the kind of trade that rips the soul out of a fan. The good news is that for those who have their Granderson jersey and called Granderson THEIR Tiger you don’t need to keep that jersey in the closet. It’s an instant classic.

Day 2 Granderson and Jackson buzz

UPDATE 1:37 PM:Shit. Granderson’s medical records sent to Yanks.

UPDATE 1:20 PM: We may know soon enough (or too soon if you ask me). Ed Price says the Tigers are waiting for the Yankees to sign off on 3-way deal and a decision is expected by 2pm. Rosenthal says one of the lefties (Coke or Dunn) is out of the original deal. Joel Sherman has more on the framework of a proposed deal where the Tigers would get Schereth, Scherzer, A Jackson, and one other pitcher.

UPDATE 12:33 PM: There’s way too much smoke for their not to be fire unless everybody is just getting their information from each other. Heyman just tweeted that a direct Yankees/Tigers deal would involve Granderson, Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy, and Phil Coke. That’s not enough in my mind for Granderson – especially given his very reasonable contract and the fact the Tigers don’t HAVE to trade him. Another tweet and its a 3 way where the Tigers get Scherleth, Scherzer, A Jackson, and Coke. A better haul to be sure. Everybody (ESPN, SI, Fox) is saying things that are way too similar here. Olney has info in the ESPN live tracker that the Tigers are the ones who reignited talks. I hate the idea of the Tigers compromising.

UPDATE 11:28 AM:Jon Morosi notes that the Tigers are interested in Angels centerfield prospect Peter Bourjous. Bourjous posted a 281/354/423 line as a 22 year old at AA…Mark Feisand thinks the talks of Granderson to the Yankees aren’t dead, but it wouldn’t be for the same set of prospects as originally reported and throws in that the Mariners are expected to make a Grandy push. He also says the Tigers may be caving on their price for Granderson (NO!)…Jon Heyman says the talks are being resuscitated as well.

While it seems that the blockbuster Yankees-Diamondbacks-Tigers trade may be a long shot at this  point, the Tigers will likely still continue to be active on this front. I’d still say that a Curtis Granderson trade is a long shot, but an Edwin Jackson deal seems likely. We’ll keep track of the buzz here.

As of 10:30 this morning, various sources are reporting that the blockbuster is dormant. The Yankees don’t like the prospect cost and various reports say the Tigers aren’t thrilled with their take either. Phil Rogers tweets that there is no movement on the Cubs front for Granderson either.

Image credit: The US Army on flickr. As an aside, for all the talk of Granderson’s community service (which is warranted), Jackson is very active when it comes to working with soldiers and making appearances as well. The above photo was taken at Fort Hood this November.

Winter Meetings Day 2

The first day of the Winter Meetings has come to an end and the sun is coming up on a snowy second day. For Tigers fans there was no shortage of news and drama. To recap:

Continue reading Winter Meetings Day 2

The blockbuster that stalled

Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi report that the framework for a blockbuster deal (h/t) between the Tigers, the Diamondbacks, and the Yankees was in place before at least one of the teams pulled out. The Tigers would have sent Edwin Jackson to Arizona, Curtis Granderson to the Yankees, and they would have received Max Scherzer with other young players floating to each team involved.

This would mesh with the various reports throughout the day that Arizona was looking like the destination for Jackson, and it also connects the dots on a report from Nick Piercoro about a third team being needed for the Diamondbacks to give up Scherzer (h/t).

From the sounds of the Fox Sports report it wasn’t Arizona who balked on the deal meaning it was the Tigers and/or the Yankees who passed. The Tigers had set their price for Granderson as Phil Hughes and Austin Jackson and with Jackson included in an outbound package I’d guess the Tigers would have been looking for Scherzer, either Jackson or Hughes, and then probably an additional prospect from the Yankees.

UPDATE: The Tigers would have received Scherzer, Jackson, Phil Coke, and Mike Dunn

What we don’t know is if this deal is dead, or just dormant.

Granderson and Jackson nuggets

UPDATE: 10:01 PM: Things seem to have really slowed down. For Nightengale’s insistence that the Tigers want to move Granderson this week, others aren’t seeing the same things. Buster Olney on Baseball Tonight said the Tigers asked for Austin Jackson and Phil Hughes from the Yankees for Grandy and from the Cubs they wanted Starlin Castro and 2 pitching prospects. Phil Rogers says the Mariners may be in on Granderson and Ed Price further confirms the Diamondbacks interest in Edwin Jackson. And Dombrowski has a weak denial (my interpretation) that the team is close to any deals.

UPDATE 4:54 PMFoxsports.com has updated their site reiterating that a deal is close for Jackson but still call Arizona and Seattle as the favorites. Joel Sherman said Mariners officials are downplaying their interest while Ed Price said the Tigers are mulling over a dozen offers for the right hander. Morosi says the Angels are still in on both Granderson and Jackson.

UPDATE 4:18 PM: Foxsports.com reports the Tigers are close to trading Jackson and lists the D’backs and Mariners but rule out the Dodgers, Brewers, and Mets. Buster Olney tweets the asking price for Jackson is very high. The Chicago Tribune says lobby buzz is that the Yankees are hot on the trail of Granderson. Ed Price calls interest lukewarm because of unwillingness to deal Austin Jackson.

UPDATE 3:14 PM:Ed Price tweeted rumor that the Mets acquired Edwin Jackson, but then quickly clarified and Mets officials issued a denial.

UPDATE 1:59 PM: Bob Nightengale tweets the Tigers are close to trading Edwin Jackson. No mention of where that might be though.

There is no real news on the Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson trade fronts, but here is a roundup of some news and related tweets from this morning.

Image credit: yoppy on flickr