The Detroit Tigers season turned out to be a disappointing failure for 2008. What must they do to turn things around in 2009? Can GM Dave Dombrowski come up with a solution? I believe it's going to be a tough haul , but do you have faith in the Tiger's organization? Let's look at the problems to be solved. I, like most analysts thought the Tigers would be a shoo in for the playoffs with the power line-up they fielded, only to watch them lose time after time due to a myriad of bad pitching and untimely hitting.
We'll start with the pitching debaucle. The ace of the staff Justin Verlander is having the worst year of his short career with nine wins and thirteen losses as of today. His E.R.A is at 4.60. Not what we expected from the 2006 Rookie of the Year recipient. With his contract up for grabs in 09, will the Tigers sign him for big money? Probably. He is too young and has too much potential to be let go as of yet. He must get better in 09.
Kenny Rogers had a better year than Verlander with nine wins and ten losses , and an E.R.A. at 4.94. It's not to bad considering his age and the Tigers seem to go into a slump everytime he takes the mound. Don't expect him back next year. I believe he will retire.
Armando Galarraga was the only bright spot in the rotation this year at twelve wins and four losses. Sign him up for next year. He is the true ace of the staff this year by far. And one of the only players that came over in a trade that didn't embarass our beloved GM.
Jeremy Bonderman will have to go through the painful rehab comeback trail. We all our hoping for the best in 09 for him. Only time will tell.
Nate Robertson was another disappointment never really finding his groove and giving up way too many base hits. In his defense the Tiger bats never helped him much. With an ERA at 6.09 its time to cut him loose for trade bait or maybe the bullpen.
Zach Miner was so-so as a starter late in the season, but in the bullpen he struggled. He is one of the only pitchers out of the bullpen that has more than two types of pitches, sadly. We may still see him around next year and maybe not. I would use him for trade bait.
Dontrelle Willis was the biggest disaster of the year. This guy couldn't find the plate if he was sitting at the dinner table. Maybe if he learns how to throw again he'll be back next year. Right now we're stuck with him. The guy could hit pretty good, put him in left field.
The bullpen. Wow! What a train wreck! Most games they could not hold a lead by four runs. To fix that mess it's going to take a miracle. Bobby Seay looks okay. Keep him. Denny Bautista can go away. Joel Zumaya has to go to instructional league to learn how to throw something other than a one hundred mile an hour fastball.
Aquilino Lopez is okay unless he is in a pressure situation, then he falls apart. Get rid of him. Freddy Dolsi is supposed to be our closer of the future. If he is, he better learn some control real fast. Walking 22 batters in 38 innings ain't gonna get it done. Lose him.
Fernando Rodney has a great change-up but can't throw it over the plate. Opposing hitters just sit on the fastball and knock him around the yard. If he only had another pitch. Send him packing.
Clay Rapada wasn't up long enough to get shelled, good thing.
Todd Jones was good for most of the year until injury caused him to give up his ghost. He should retire as a Tiger. I will miss him.
Ivan Rodriguez was traded to the Yankees for Kyle Farnsworth which turned out to be an insignificant deal for both sides. Farnsworth can go away too. My point is that not one reliever stepped up and showed Jim Leyland that he was the guy. I would not be surprised to see the whole lot of them in the minors or somewhere else by next season. And they deserve it. Leyland says you have to earn it to win it. This bunch earned a lot of runs and too many losses.
Infielder Ramon Santiago is showing some promise of late batting .321 out of 78 at bats. The Tigers should keep him around a bit, he should get better in time.
Magglio Ordonez had a down year compared to last year when he won the batting crown. The real question is if the Tigers will make a blockbuster trade with him or give him another go in 2009. I think you had best keep that .300 plus batting average around a while longer. He has a few more good years left.
Placido Polanco should remain a staple at second base for the Tigers in 2009. Period.
Curtis Granderson is still improving, and I look for him to have a great season in 2009. As long as injuries are not a factor.
Miguel Cabrera is starting to adjust nicely and is turning out to be the player to build this team around. Get used to him at first base for the next eight years.
Carlos guillen is aging a bit but not at the plate. The Tigers must keep his bat in the line-up as much as possible. I would have him DHing next year or at third if his fielding improves.
Clete Thomas needs to improve at Toledo before the Tigers bring him up to stay. I think he will be just fine in years to come . He is a good young player. Just wasn't ready for the bigs this year.
Matt Joyce I believe is the first choice for the starting left field job at this time . This kid hits for much needed power and is young and will improve tremendously in the next couple years. Most importantly he is a left handed bat.
Edgar Renteria was a bit of a disappointment this year,but all in all he got the job done . Sure he could have hit a bit better with runners on,but it was the boneheaded errors at shortstop that was bothersome. He could be trade bait, we'll have to see what Dave Dombrowski has up his sleeve.
Ryan Raburn is a utility man at best and has just not come around with his bat. Cut him loose.
Marcus Thames was a nice surprise for the power numbers he put up. I would keep him around another season even if he is platooned in left.He makes for a better designated hitter than Gary Sheffield.
Gary Sheffield should retire with some dignity before he ruins his lifetime average. He is not helping this club batting.234. Complaining about the DH role is not going to help. He was signed up on this team with a huge contract to be the designated hitter. Conform or die. It is a tough job to be a DH in this league, we all know that. Excuses and injuries is not what this team needs. With that contract, he is going to be hard to get rid of . I'm afraid we may be stuck with him for now. Deal him if you can. If not we'll be eating Sheffield pie for years to come.
Brandon Inge should be the starting catcher for the Tigers period. Yes, he needs to hit better, but give him a fresh start next year at a solid position and see what happens. Keep him. But shop for a better catcher and good luck with that.
Dane Sardinha ain't gonna get it done in the big leagues, you'll find him in Toledo.
It will be interesting to see what the Tigers do early. Dave Dombrowski has a very good track record up until this season, and he is a great guy doing wonderful things for Detroit. Will owner Mike Illitch turn him loose like last year? Will he allow him to dip in to the money box again? I don't think so. Dave Dombrowski will be forced to work with limited resources in the off-season.
Bottom line is: Keep the hitters and trade for good pitching. The pitching staff needs an overhaul.
We all knew the Tigers could hit and they do. At this point they are second in the American league in runs scored. The rotation needs work and the bullpen needs to be completely revamped. As I said we need a miracle.