Friday, April 8, 2011

Bullpen problems surface as Tigers lose lead and game to O’s 9-5

It wasn’t exactly an implosion, but the bullpen definitely faltered Thursday night in Baltimore. Brad Thomas, took the loss without recording an out, as the Orioles broke a tie game open in a 5-run 7th inning, in which the Orioles sent 10 batters to the plate.

Brad Penny started for Detroit, and pitched better than in his first start against the Yankees in New York. Of course, better is a relative term, as he lowered his ERA on the season from 16.62 to 11.17 as he pitched 5.1 innings allowing just 4 earned runs.

Alex Avila continued his torrid streak as he homered for the 2nd consecutive game, and is now hitting .294 on the season, after a 1-10 start to the season. Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch both had 2 hits to contribute to the Tigers offense, that scored 5 runs and should have been enough for the win.

In Buster Olney’s blog today he notes that late in Spring Training, Manager Jim Leyland talked about his concerns with the middle of the Tigers ‘pen, and they sure came to the fore-front in last night’s loss. Detroit lost the lead on three separate occasions in last night’s game.

The good news for the Tigers, who stand at 2-4 on the season, is that they return to Comerica Park for the home opener this afternoon with a 3:05pm first-pitch, weather permitting, as rain is in the forecast for Comerica Park this afternoon.

More good news came about last night, and it will hopefully have a positive effect on the Tigers bullpen, as Joel Zumaya, who remains in Lakeland Florida as he rehabs his injured arm, has been given clearance to begin throwing again. It’s not known when Zumaya will return to Detroit and rejoin his teammates.

An interesting theory was bandied about on the internet this morning, as the is reporting that Russell Branyan who signed a minor-league deal with Arizona might be cut loose at some point, and one of the landing spots “could be” Detroit. You can read the story here.

I hope that the Tigers aren’t tempted to tinker with the lineup just because they are under .500 this early in the season. I think that the Tigers bats will be fine, and once the bullpen situation comes around, the Tigers will play the kind of ball we all expect.

In case you missed it, in the recap of Wednesday night’s game Tiger Tizzy pointed out that Alex Avila became the first Tiger catcher to drive in 5 runs in a single game, since Pudge Rodriguez accomplished the feat against the Philadelphia Phillies back in 2007.

I’m not saying Mario Impemba, the Tigers broadcaster reads Tiger Tizzy, but he mentioned that very fact during last nights Tigers broadcast.

As the Tigers host the Kansas City Royals for the opening series of the season at Comerica Park, Max Scherzer get the start, becoming the 5th different pitcher to start a home opener in Jim Leyland’s 6 years as Manager of the Tigers. Scherzer will be opposed today by the Royals Kyle Davies. In Game 2 of the series, a pair of lefties square off as Phil Coke goes against Bruce Chen, and in the 3rd and final game of the Royals series, Rick Porcello take to the mound against the Royals Luke Hochevar.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Verlander, Avila impressive, as Tigers trounce O’s 7-3

Justin Verlander had never lost to the Baltimore Orioles in his career, and the Orioles were undefeated heading into Wednesday night’s game. Somebody’s streak was going to end. Especially with the O’s off to an impressive 4-0 start, and according to Elias Sports Bureau, they tied a MLB record with 4 consecutive wins to start a season, while not allowing more than 1 run in each game.

With the Tigers ace coming off a season debut in New York where he threw 114 pitches in just six innings of work, Verlander knew he had be more efficient with his pitches.

Mission accomplished. Verlander allowed just 4 hits in 8 IP, in the game where he threw 108 pitches and struck out 9 Orioles, to improve his career record against Baltimore to 6-0. Said Verlander after the game, "Definitely feel like I am throwing the ball better than I did at this point the last couple years."

Offensively for the Tigers Miguel Cabrera (3), Victor Martinez (2) and Alex Avila (1) all homered for Detroit, with, Avila and Martinez adding in a 2-base hit each, to pace the Tigers. Avila set a career high in the game as he drove in 5 runs, becoming the first Tiger catcher to drive in 5 runs in a game since Ivan Rodriguez did so against the Philadelphia Phillies back in 2007. Avila also came a triple shy of hitting for the cycle, for the first time in his career, as he added a single to go along with his double and home run in the game.

Manager Jim Leyland told Avila to “loosen up” prior to the game. Avila and Victor Martinez had been criticized for allowing an AL leading six Wild pitches behind the plate in the Tigers first 4 games. Leyland said after the game that he saw “tension” in his 24-year old catcher as he was working behind the plate in the teams first few games. Obviously Avila took the comment to heart and relaxed.

So, as some in the media are pressing the panic button on the Tigers 2011 season, (see here, here, and here), with Wednesday night’s victory the Tigers improve their record to 2-3 as they finish up their series at Camden Yards, on Thursday night, with Brad Penny, facing Chris Tillman, for the Orioles.

Brad Bergeson started Wednesday night’s game against the Tigers, in place of the scheduled starter, Jeremy Guthrie, who spend Monday and Tuesday in the hospital with a case of pneumonia. The Tigers win on Wednesday, prevented the 2011 Orioles from tying the team record 5-0 start to the season that was set by the 1970 Orioles ball club. The 1970 team won the World Series.

RHP Ryan Perry was placed on the 15-Day DL, and the Tigers recalled RHP Robbie Weinhardt from Toledo to take Perry’s place. Weinhardt saw action in 28 games with Detroit during the 2010 season.

Tigers start the season 1-3, is it really time to panic?

Every morning when I wake up, I drink my morning coffee and hop in the internet and browse the internet for the latest news, sports scores and articles about the Tigers.

It took a 10 run outburst as they beat the Yankees on Sunday, for the Tigers to avoid starting the season 0-3, and then the Tigs lost game one of the series against the Orioles, to fall to 1-3.

But being totally honest, it NEVER occurred to me to start to panic at the Tigers less than great start.

So when I opened up my browser on Wednesday and saw this article, I was a little surprised. Later on I got to THIS, and really became puzzled.

Hey, I am as much of a Tigers fan as ANYONE, and of course I want them to go 162 and 0. DUH! Of course it won’t happen, as even the biggest Tigers fan in the world knows. But is a 1-3 start really cause to question starting lineup choices, or pitching rotations, or even take actions, whatever they may be, to avoid “panic”??

I mean seriously, the season is 162 games long. Heck I could understand panic if we were talking about the Tampa Bay Rays, or Boston Red Sox. I mean the Rays were expected to contend for the AL East, or at least the Wild Card spot in the American League, and the BoSox were picked by ALL of ESPN’s experts to win the AL East title, with 33 of them picking the Sawx to win it all.

Now, if we are on May 1st and the Tigers record stands at 6-21, yeah I would be in panic mode. Heads would roll, changes would be made, the lineup would be completely blown up, minor league recalls would take place, and firings would happen.

Heck, I might even consider re-constructing Tiger Stadium, so the team could move back to the friendly confines of “the corner” just to try and turn the season around.

OK, maybe that was a bit much, but….

Hey, in the mean-time, gang, we are 4 games into the season. Let’s avoid panic, just yet. Give the boys a chance to have a few home games at Comerica before we let panic set in. I mean, we haven’t even seen a 70 degree day yet.

It’s early, relax.

Oh and by the way, congrats to Armando Galarraga, for picking up the win in his debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are managed, lest we forget, by former Tiger great Kirk Gibson, with Alan Trammell as his bench coach.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tigers “sick” as they lose to O’s 5-1

Maybe it was the plane food, maybe it’s a stomach virus making its way thru the Detroit Tigers locker room, no matter what the reason, and two Tigers were under the weather for the Baltimore Orioles home opener on Monday.

Closer Jose Valverde and Miguel Cabrera both had issues with the “bug”, during the game Cabrera had to make a visit to the clubhouse, and I shall avoid going into further detail. Unfortunately, for the Tigers, Valverde remained un-used in the ‘pen so his game performance wasn’t affected by the illness.

On the field, Rick Porcello made his first start of the year for Detroit, and pitched relatively well, allowing 5 runs in the loss. Included in the 5 runs scored was a 3-run homer to the Orioles Brian Roberts. With that homer allowed, Tigers pitching has now given up 10 HR in just four games this season. Prior to the inning in which Roberts hit his HR, Porcello had allowed just 4 hits. He allowed 3 consecutive his before Roberts went yard, in the 5th.

Also an issue for the Tigers has been the fact that between the pitchers and catchers, the Tigers lead the league in Wild Pitches, with 6.

I can’t say it for a fact, but my guess is that the Tigers are making a concerted effort to try and offset their reliance on the fastballs in key situations, and set them up with the breaking stuff. In May and later on during the season when it is warm, the cold weather won’t effect the pitches and make it as difficult to get a grip on the ball, but thus far the wild pitches are coming with great frequency. I can’t say that the other team’s pitchers are having the same difficulty with the ball, but both teams are pitching in these conditions, and Tigers pitchers have thrown twice as many wild pitches as their opponents. Is it pitchers or the catchers I am not sure, but no matter where you place the blame, it’s not a good start.

Jason Beck’s blog today brings to light what the Tigers are doing, specifically Alex Avila, to work on stopping the wild pitches.

The Tigers and Orioles are off today, with the series resuming on Wednesday, with Justin Verlander on the mound against the Orioles Jeremy Guthrie.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tigers beat Yankees by a Field Goal, to claim first victory of 2011.

In a game that featured 7 home runs by both teams, pitching was obviously not at a premium in game 3 of the Tigers 2011 season. The bottom line however was that the Tigers avoided the sweep at the hands of the Yankees by picking up a 10-7 victory on Sunday afternoon. Max Scherzer notched his first victory of the year, with Closer Jose Valverde recording his first save of the season as well.

The Highlights of the slugfest:

Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera hit his 2nd homerun of the game, only to be matched by the Yankees Jorge Posada who also hit 2 home runs in the contest. Not to be out done was Tigers DH Brennan Boesch, who became the first Tiger since Dmitri Young to have at least 4 hits, 4 runs and 4 RBI’s in a game. Young’s feat came on April 4, 2005. Of the 26 hits recorded in the game, 12 of them went for extra bases. Cabrera’s multi home run game was the 19th of his career, and in a bit of irony, his last multi-home run game also came at Yankee Stadium.

Meanwhile the Tigers picked up their first victory of the young season, as the got just their 2nd win in “new” Yankee stadium, as Detroit was 1-6 in their previous 7 games in the Bronx Bombers new stadium. And the victory was all that mattered to the Tigers, said Scherzer after the game, “I got the win, even though it wasn’t the best outing”, and when Cabrera was asked how good it felt to hit his first (and 2nd) home runs of the season, Cabrera answered, “it just feels good to get the win”.

The Tigers pitching staff doesn’t necessarily catch a break as Detroit now heads to the cozy confines of Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, as the Tigers staff ERA stands at 7.92. The Orioles enter the series with a 3-0 record, for the first time since 1997.

In the Series opener against the Orioles, Rick Porcello makes his first start of the season, after going 0-2, with a 3.90 ERA during spring training. Taking the mound for the Orioles will be Jake Arrieta. Porcello has a 1-1 record with a 3.00 ERA against the Orioles in his Career.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

So much for the “brand new Penny”

As the season started, many experts voiced concerns over the fact that during the previous 11 years of his MLB career Brad Penny has a 101-80 record, with a 3.99 ERA, while pitching in the National League, and a 7-8 record with 5.61 ERA in the American League.

One game into “Brad Penny: AL edition 2.0”, the experts concerns appear to be valid.

After going 2-1 with a 3.91 ERA in spring training and coming into the season with confidence. Tigers’ starter Brad Penny gave up 3 runs in each of the first two innings before settling himself down and holding the Yanks scoreless in the next two. After the Tigers scored 1 run in the 3rd, they added two more in the top of the fifth inning go reduce the Bronx Bombers lead to 6-3, Robinson Cano hit a disputed lead-off, double in the bottom of the 5th for the Yanks, Penny got Nick Swisher to ground out, but he walked the DH, Jorge Posada, and that was the end of the day for Penny on the mound.

The book wasn’t closed on the Tigers right-hander until Russell Martin hit a 3 run homer to left-center field off Brad Thomas to give the Yankees their 9-3 lead that eventually turned into the 10-6 win. Penny ended up allowing 8 of the Yankees 10 runs, while striking out 3 and walking 4.

Penny was making his first American League start since August 1, 2009, when he was a member of the Boston Red Sox, ironically against the New York Yankees.

The Tigers and Yankees conclude their opening weekend series from Yankee Stadium this afternoon, when Max Scherzer takes the mound for Detroit, against the Yankees Phil Hughes.

If you have been paying attention to the predictions heading into the 2011 MLB season, it would appear that the opening weekend series against the New York Yankees would loom to be important.

Many writers and sportscasters have predicted that the Boston Red Sox would win the American League East, leaving the Yankees to battle for the Wild-Card slot. Of the 45 experts to pick for ESPN, all 45 picked the Sox to win the east. While 34 picked the Yankees to win the wild card, 6 of the 45 picked the Tigers to win the AL Central, while another two picked Detroit to win the Wild Card.

So, if the prognosticators are correct and the Tigers and Yankees are battling for the Wild Card slot in the playoffs, thru games 1 and 2 of the season, advantage goes to the Yankees.

Despite the fact that the Tigers can’t win this series against the Yankees, for the season opener, they have a chance to redeem themselves against the bombers in a 4-game series back at Comerica Park May 1-5.

Let’s hope that during that series, Brad Penny, has returned to the form he showed in spring training, and “Brad Penny: AL edition 2.0” is proving the so-called experts wrong.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

2011 Season is underway. 1-down, 161 to go.

Coming into the season the Detroit Tigers said that one of the keys to the season was Justin Verlander having a good April. Technically today is still March, but the fact remains the same, in season action for his career, Justin Verlander has a 7-11 5.06 ERA in games during the months of March/April.

Verlander said all spring that he wanted to start the year strong. His record in the month of May stands at18-8, with a 2.75 ERA, so while what is considered the 2nd month of the season is Verlander’s best month; his season start pitching in March/April is his worst pitching month.

Verlander has said he was going to try and get off to a better start. Um, sure thing Justin.


The Tigers lost game one of the season, to the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium, 6-3. The good news is that Verlander didn’t take the loss- that went to Phil Coke, pitching out of the bullpen to start the season. The bad news for Detroit is that Verlander still struggled, despite striking out 8 Yankees in the outing, and was pulled at the end of the 6th inning, because he had thrown 114 pitches. Today’s game was the 62nd time in 166 career starts Verlander has thrown over 114 pitches.

I understand that the Yankees take a lot of pitches, and that Verlander has the tendency “go for the K” instead of pitching to contact and allowing his fielders to make the play. That being said, Manager Jim Leyland and Pitching Coach Rick Knapp, can’t continue to allow Verlander to throw that many pitches early in a game, let alone in the season.

Coke gave up a home run to former Tiger Curtis Granderson in the 7th inning, and that was soon followed up Derek Jeter driving in Russell Martin, on a Sacrifice Fly. The Yankees later added an insurance run in the 8th inning. Coke was in the game for 2 reasons:
1) Curtis Granderson was the lead off batter in the 7th and part of the reason the Tigers shipped him off to New York back in December 2009 was that the team felt that Granderson was weak against left-handed pitching, and that fact was just going to get worse.
2) Phil Coke is starting the season as Detroit’s 5th starter, and won’t be needed to start a game for the Tigers until later on this month, so- in order to get him some work, he is pitching in relief.

So today’s Tigers game ended the way many others have, with Mariano Rivera recording his 560th career save in a New York Yankees win.

The star of the game had to be former Tiger Curtis Granderson who went 1-3 at the plate with the tie-breaking homer off Coke, as well as 2 outstanding plays in the field in the Yankee victory.

The Tigers have the day off tomorrow, and the series returns on Saturday from Yankee Stadium with Brad Penny taking the mound for the Tigers against A.J. Burnett for New York.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wow, where DID the time go??

Wow, sometimes life can certainly get in the way and keep someone from accomplishing things that need to be done, like working on Tiger Tizzy.

That being said, the season is 4 days away, and as spring training games come to a close, the Detroit Tigers could only manage 3 field goals as they lost to the Baltimore Orioles by a 14-9 score this afternoon in Sarasota, Florida.

The good news for Detroit is that the recently named starter at 2B, Will Rhymes went 3 for 3, with a run scored as he raised his spring training batting average to .328, to go along with a .377 OBP for the spring.

While I certainly don’t expect Rhymes to keep up that kind of production during the course of the regular season, it certainly bodes will for the first month of the season, and who knows, Rhymes could end up being a “sleeper” for the Tigers this year. So much for my speculation earlier in spring training that Sizemore would win the job.

The bad news for the Tigers is that Max Scherzer got pounded allowing 12 runs, 11 earned in his final start before the regular season. Hopefully this was just a one-time thing for the young right-hander. It’s hard to be terribly optimistic about a pitcher that ends spring training with an ERA that is 10.38 however.

Every time I start discussing spring training stats, I am reminded of Midre Cummings, however.

For those of you who do not know the name, well there’s a reason for it. Cummings ended up playing 11 seasons in the Majors, but from 1993-1997, he was in just about EVERY Pittsburgh Pirates spring training highlight shown on SportsCenter. And just like clockwork, by the time July rolled around Cummings was buried deep on the Pirates bench or back in the minors.

Yet, for 4 seasons, the man was just KILLING it in spring training. There is no way of tracking it but it just seemed like every spring training at bat ended up with Cummings striking out in glorious fashion, or hitting a bomb, that might be landing in Cuba just about now. I mean those baseballs he hit out of the park had some SERIOUS hang-time. For the record, Cummings ended his 11 year MLB career with a .257 career batting average, and 22 career homers.

I wish I could find out, but I bet he had close to 22 career spring training home runs in far fewer than his 1,113 regular season AB’s.

There, so I guess that was a really LONG winded way of saying I’m not expecting a .328 batting average for the season for Will Rhymes, or a 10.38 ERA for Max Scherzer.

Just call them spring training fluke events.

Oh, and by the way, welcome back to Tiger Tizzy, and I'm glad you stuck around.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cabrera Reports, makes statement.

According to reports Cabrera’s agent met with Dave Dombrowski Wednesday night making it clear Cabrera’s arrival in Lakeland was immanent.

Team officials announced after the team’s workout on Thursday, that Cabrera would address the media in Lakeland later in the afternoon.

Cabrera spoke, for a few moments, mostly in Spanish, with translation provided by Tigers Vice President, Assistant General Manager Al Avila. In his statement, which lasted for around 30 minutes, Cabrera “asked for forgiveness” and said the alcohol-fueled incident of 9 days ago was “just one bad decision on my part”.

Major League Baseball issued no suspension or even mandatory counseling for Cabrera, but in a statement released by MLB, Rob Manfred- Executive Vice President of Labor Relations, said “Mr. Cabrera understands the importance of this problem and is fully committed to the program”, and continued with “He also understands that any future alcohol-related incidents could involve more serious consequences”.

This is Cabrera’s second incident involving alcohol, where authorities have had to become involve, and is violation of MLB’s substance-abuse policy. The first of course was back in 2009.

Despite the fact that MLB did not suspend or require Cabrera to enter mandatory counseling, the last line of the statement issued, made it clear that Cabrera will not be given a “slap on the hand”, if there is a 3rd strike violation of the policy.

Cabrera also said that he won’t be issuing a statement to the entire Tigers team, but that he would speak to his teammates individually to apologize.

Reaction from his teammates, of course was forgiving. Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge said” We’re not mad at him. We’re not disappointed in him. We’re going to forgive him”.

Tigers officials are working hard to find someone who can supervise Cabrera on a regular basis, much like what the Texas Rangers have provided to their All-Star, but abuse-troubled, Outfielder Josh Hamilton.

In the meantime, the Tigers confirmed that Cabrera’s treatment will take place while he is around the team, and that Cabrera has been cleared to rejoin the club in full capacity, starting with workouts in Lakeland Friday morning.

Cabrera will not be taking part in the team’s annual exhibition opener against Florida Southern College, which will take place this afternoon.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Worst Case scenario, what if Miguel Cabrera misses the season?

The elephant that has been in the room since last Thursday has finally been seen and introduced to everyone in attendance.

Since he was arrested for drunk driving in Florida late Wednesday night, and the news got out Thursday morning, the question everyone was asking so VERY silently has finally been asked. Kudos to Matt Sussman of for doing so.

What happens if Miguel Cabrera misses the entire 2011 season?

Let’s face it; the Tigers have already announced that Cabrera will not be disciplined by MLB. So the idea of Cabrera missing even most of the season is very unlikely, but what will the Tigers do if Cabrera must sit out the season as he takes care of this problem?

Here’s what I think. (I have not read the article yet, so this is MY opinion, and not that of Matt Sussman.)

Well for starters, Cabrera won’t be traded or released, for better or worse, the Tigers have made Cabrera the “face” of the lineup, if not the team- apologies to Justin Verlander if I am completely off base. Cabrera is under contract with the Tigers thru the 2016 season, with no way to leave unless the team does the unlikely and makes a trade.

In all likelihood, the Tigers move Magglio Ordonez from RF to first base, but in conjunction with that move, newly acquired Victor Martinez, will split time with Ordonez at first base instead of at Catcher. The Tigers also might have to add another catcher, in some sort of minor move, to fill in for Alex Avila behind the plate.

That is just the first part of the scenario, involving the pieces of the puzzle.

Next, Jim Leyland and his coaching staff will have to take into account that Ordonez has zero games played at first base in his career. The already iffy Detroit defense will get worse having Ordonez at first, it won’t be AS bad with Martinez, but by having Ordonez at first base, every other player in the Tigers infield will have to work harder and concentrate solely on making the routine play, anything involving more risk has to be taken out of the equation. The impetus has to be on getting the “safe” out.

The pitching staff will also be affected by this move, as they too have to take a more conservative approach to trying to get the batters out. They will have to work on pitching to the strength of the defense, again with the intent of getting the safe out.

To see what Matt Sussman of Mlive thought the course of action would be in the “worst case scenario”, click on the link, as always.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spring Training Update: Tuesday Feb 22

Just Days after announcing the pitchers who will start the first two games of Spring Training, Leyland announced the starting pitchers for the regular season opener and the home opener.

It’s no surprise that Justin Verlander will start the season opener on Thursday March 31, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The start will be Verlander’s 4th season opening start, the most since Jack Morris started 11 in a row from 1980-1990. Meanwhile, the starter for the Tigers home opener at Comerica Park will be Max Scherzer on April 8.

This spring training, there has been lots of optimism regarding the Tigers, Miguel Cabrera excluded, and in addition to Leyland announcing that Verlander will be the Opening Day starter, Leyland also said that he expects that Verlander will be a 20-game winner,“on a consistent basis”. Verlander has been close, winning 17 and 19 games once and 18 games a season twice already in his 6 major league seasons.

With the signing of contracts by 6 players on Monday, the Tigers now have 31 of the 40 players under contract for the 2011 season. At the time of this posting, I am still trying to figure out the final 9 players on the 40-man roster unsigned for 2011. By my records Detroit as 12 players unsigned, but according to an article published today in the Detroit News, Tom Gage says the Tigers have 9 unsigned- so I have missed the signing of 3 players. As soon as I have it, figured out, I will be updating things here on Tiger Tizzy.

Speaking of Tom Gage, at the bottom of this article, Gage lists 10 things that “Tigers nation” should be keeping an eye on for 2011. Interestingly enough, Tiger Tizzy has already addressed issues #2, 3, 4 and 9.

Stay tuned, as I am currently finishing my Starting Pitchers, OF/DH and Bench reviews, as well as taking a quick look at the role Jim Leyland and GM Dave Dombrowski will end up playing in the success or relative failure of the 2011 Detroit Tigers.

Also good news on how Carlos Guillen is looking as he comes back from micro-fracture surgery. Word all during the off season was that Guillen was on track. Then, just days before spring training started, Jim Leyland told reporters that he “didn’t think Guillen will be ready”. Of course red-flags went up all across Tigers-nation that Guillen’s injury history would end up coming back to hurt the Tigers for 2011.

Now that camp is underway, Leyland is backing off of those pre-Tigers Winter Caravan comments, as evidenced by this comment on Sunday afternoon; “I’m pinching myself. I don’t want to get crazy, but he has looked really good”. The Tigers aren’t yet ready to hand the starting job at 2nd to Guillen just yet, because there is still a lot of work to do to have Carlos ready for the 162-game grind, but it certainly eases MY mind that Guillen seems to be headed in the right direction health-wise.

Just coming across the wire as I was working on this post, news came from Florida that Tigers Slugger Miguel Cabrera has an arraignment date of Wednesday March 16, 2011 in Circuit Court in Fort Pierce, Florida. In the meantime, camp continues without the slugger, for the rest of your Detroit Tigers

Spring Training Update.

All is quiet on the Miguel Cabrera front as Spring Training enters week #2, and the first week with all players at camp (Cabrera excluded).

Dave Dombrowski said on Sunday that Cabrera is being looked at by MLB doctors and he didn’t rule out that Cabrera “could be away longer than a few days”, if it is decided that Cabrera needs to enter a rehab facility, but that decision hasn’t yet been reached. Dombrowski also said that the Tigers will comply with the recommendation from the Doctor.

New Tiger Victor Martinez has endeared himself to the catchers in camp. On Friday night Martinez treated all 6 minor league catchers, as well as catching mate Alex Avila, and bullpen catcher Scott Pickens to dinner in Orlando.

Manager Jim Leyland has announced who will get the starts for the Tigers first two games, this spring. Minor league prospect Andy Oliver will start the game Friday in the annual tilt against Florida Southern College. He will be followed by prospect Jacob Turner, Daniel Schlereth and Ryan Perry. Detroit’s 2nd game of the spring is against the Toronto Blue Jays, with Phil Coke getting the start, to be followed by Jose Valverde, Brad Thomas and Robbie Weinhardt.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Former Tiger Sheffield files retirement papers

Former Tiger Gary Sheffield has officially filled his retirement papers with Major League Baseball, on Thursday.

The 42-year-old Sheffield, hit 509 career home runs, with 1676 RBI in a career that lasted 22 seasons with 8 teams, including Detroit. Sheffield played with the Tigers during the 2007 and 2008 seasons, he ranks 24th all-time in career home runs.

The always opinionated Sheffield says that he thinks he’s got a Hall of Fame worthy career, but unfortunately for Sheff, his testimony to the BALCO grand jury, admitting steroids, will probably keep him out.

Whether or not Sheffield is really a HOF worthy candidate will make for a fun debate.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

One Man's Opinon on the Miguel Cabrera Story

The Detroit sports-talk radio shows have been covering the Miguel Cabrera story all day, since earlier today the story broke that Cabrera was arrested on charges of Drunk-Driving in Florida.

Most everyone knows that Cabrera had an alcohol related incident at the end of the 2009 Tigers season, and after the story broke this morning about his latest incident, Dan Le Batard reported of an incident that happened during a photo-shoot for ESPN the Magazine where the then 20 year-old Cabrera was drunk to the point of “scaring” people.

I am a HUGE baseball and lifetime Detroit Tiger fan, that’s one of the reasons why I started writing for Tiger Tizzy.

The 2011 season SEEMED to be one full of potential and promise as Spring Training started. The news of Miguel Cabrera’s relapse to drinking has put that cause for optimism on hold. As a Tiger fan I want to see Cabrera on the field for 162 games and 600+ AB’s so they can maybe reach the World Series. If Miguel Cabrera does that, the Tigers have a better chance of going to the Series, than if Cabrera misses significant playing time, that’s not fiction; it’s just the bottom line truth.

MY hope for the Detroit Tigers is that they do the proper thing for Miguel Cabrera the PERSON. I don’t know Miguel Cabrera, nor have I ever even met the man, and I probably never will. The number of athletes, who have battled alcoholism and lost, is well documented. The Tigers can show they are a first–class organization by doing whatever is needed in 2011 to take care of Miguel Cabrera the person, no matter what the effect will be for the 2011 team on the field.

Hopefully, the Detroit Tigers, Cabrera’s agent, the MLB players union and Cabrera himself will admit there is reason to believe he has some sort of addiction, and they all work together to treat the disease. Thousands of “regular” people without Cabrera’s talents, money and potential support systems have been able to beat alcohol. They have done so because they realized what they might have lost in their lives if they didn’t change. I hope that Miguel Cabrera will come to the same realization, sooner rather than later.

Do the Tigers have "dead weight"? They might...

In an article yesterday in the Free Press, beat writer John Lowe points out that unlike last season, where the Tigers were carrying dead weight, specifically in the form of members of the pitching staff. Three days into spring training, the word out of Lakeland is; that is not the case this season.

Last year the Tigers paid over $20 Million for the performances of Dontrelle Willis, Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson, who combined for 60 appearances 315.2 IP, 15-20 with a 5.59 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in the Majors during the 2010 season. The details of the various contracts are listed at the bottom of this article for those of you who are interested.

I think that the Tigers have a couple of players that can either contribute or end up being “dead weight”, and hopefully for Detroit’s sake they end up being able to contribute.

I hope the Tigers get a good contribution out of Carlos Guillen this season, but if he can’t recover fully from micro-fracture surgery, he could VERY well end up being $13 Million worth of dead weight.

Another potential “dead weight” player, in my opinion, is reliever Joaquin Benoit. Pitcher performances can fluctuate radically from season to season, and while Benoit last year in Tampa Bay, appeared to be perfectly healthy after having rotator cuff surgery in 2008, the possibility exists that he could struggle in his first season in Detroit.

With the breaking news out of Florida this morning, Miguel Cabrera could end up having a very rocky year as he struggles with his sobriety, and while you can’t say that a potential MVP candidate (when sober) like Cabrera will end up being dead weight, if he has to miss time to get sober and struggles with it, his $20 Million contract will be VERY hard to live-up to.

So I ask you, Tiger Tizzy followers, do the 2011 Tigers have dead weight on the roster? If so, who?

Here are the details of how much the Tigers paid of Robertson and Willis's contracts for last year, as well as where Willis, Bonderman and Robertson are now.

Robertson was traded to the Marlins at the end of March, with Detroit paying $9.6 Million of his contract. He was then designated for assignment on July 21 and released on July 27, and pitched for two other NL teams and in the minors.

Willis was traded to Arizona in June, with the Tigers picking up all of Willis salary except for a pro-rated portion of the $400,000 MLB minimum, and he too spent time pitching in the minor leagues.

Of course, Bonderman spent all of 2010 in the Tiger organization, and they let his contract expire and he remains a free agent at this point of spring training. Robertson signed a minor-league deal with the Mariners while Willis signed a minor-league deal with the Reds.

Breaking News: Cabrera arrested in Florida

First Baseman Miguel Cabrera was arrested for drunk driving last night in Lakeland. Cabrera posted bond and was released early this morning.

We all remember the incident late in the 2009 season, before the Tigers lost the Central Division Title to the Twins.

I certainly hope that the Tigers get Cabrera the help it seems that he desperately needs. I don’t know Miggy, but he is approaching the midway point of what can be a Hall of Fame career. I hope he can find away to take care of the problems he has as a person, let alone as a baseball player.

Dave Dombrowski, please work with this man’s agent, and your team, and give him the help he needs.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tigers not interested in Michael Young;“Make or break” for Zumaya; Tigers on TV

As the countdown to Spring Training continues, and by the way, Pitchers and Catchers have to report to Lakeland on Sunday, for workouts that start on Monday, for your Detroit Tigers, a couple of interesting articles appeared on the Web this week.

First, the Tigers have said they were not interested in trying to pursue Texas Rangers Infielder/DH Michael Young, who has requested a trade from the AL West winner. Young is a 10 and 5 player, meaning he has 10 years MLB service and 5 with the same team, and he can veto a trade to any but 8 teams, and the Tigers are not on that 8 team list. GM Dave Dombrowski said that as far as he is concerned, the team is in the “same place” they were 2 weeks ago, the infield is set. You can read more at Jason Beck’s blog here.

One of the sites that I frequent is MLB Trade and yesterday they posted an article about Joel Zumaya. Is it as they say a “Make or Break” year for the Tigers reliever?

I believe that it is. Zumaya was slated to be the Tigers “Closer in waiting” after his spectacular rookie 2006 season, but as it says in the article, since then Zumaya has been on the 60-day disabled list 5 times since the start of the 2007 season. If Zumaya had been able to remain healthy Detroit wouldn’t have had to sign Jose Valverde during last year’s off season-not to imply the signing was a bad decision.

Zumaya’s career has been highlight radar-gun breaking appearances when healthy, but mostly injury after injury after injury. Zumaya says that he’s healthy and on track to start the season “pain free”. Only time will tell. IF Zumaya can prove he can pitch an entire season, specifically THIS season, he would be one of the anchors of a bullpen that could help the Tigers go deep into the playoffs and, if things go well, into the World Series. He would also secure himself a potentially long-term contract somewhere for 2012.

Also yesterday the Tigers announced that all but ONE game of the 2011 season will be on TV for 2011, and that game could also work its way into being on TV as well, as long as the Tigers are making a playoff push. The only game that (for now) won’t be on TV is the Saturday Sept 17 game at Oakland, and as Jason Beck points out, it too, could end up being televised.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

On Monday the Detroit Tigers agreed to contracts with 8 of the players on their 40-man roster as the team is now just days away from the start of Spring Training.

Among those signing contracts were Pitchers Charlie Furbush and Phil Coke, who is slated for a spot in the starting rotation for Detroit after spending the majority of his major-league career pitching out of the bullpen.

Also, news from this past weekend, as former Tiger Woodie Fryman passed away last Friday night. Fryman joined the Tigers during the 1972 season, and went 10-3 with a 2.06 ERA helping the Tigers win the AL East title under Manager Billy Martin.

Fryman won 141 games in a career that spanned form 1966 to 1983. Fryman pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs and Montreal Expos, for whom he was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 1995, as well as the Tigers.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Bonderman won't return to Detroit; Interest from Tribe?

Earlier this month rumors were floating about, that there was a chance that Jeremy Bonderman would be offered a contract to return to Detroit.

In an article that appeared on the Detroit News website on Tuesday, General Manager Dave Dombrowski said there was no chance that the 8-year veteran would return to the Tigers. Dombrowski also indicated that Vladimir Guerrero wasn’t “a good fit”.

This afternoon, there were indications that Bonderman wouldn’t appear to be a complete stranger for Tiger fans, as reports came out that the Cleveland Indians were “close” to signing Bonderman to a deal.

If those rumors end up being true, look for Bondo to sign a Minor-league contract with an invitation to Spring Training with Cleveland, where he could make the rotation with a strong spring training performance.

2011 Tigers Preview: The Bullpen

Heading into the 2011 season, the Tigers bullpen stacks up with Jose Valverde as Closer, with newcomer Joaquin Benoit taking on the role of primary set-up man, Ryan Perry and Joel Zumaya will try and get to Benoit, with Daniel Schlereth, Brad Thomas and Robbie Weinhardt filling out the remainder of the Bullpen.

The long relievers for Detroit will be Daniel Schlereth, the son of former NFL lineman Mark Schlereth, Brad Thomas and Robbie Weinhardt, who will have some spring training competition from Al Alburquerque. Schlereth and Thomas will also split time in the role of ‘left-handed relief specialist”; to face left-handed batters in key situations.

Jose Valverde will once again be the Tigers closer. The two-time NL saves leader (2007 & 2008) finished 9th last year his first with Detroit and in the American League. For his career Valverde, averages 10.7 K/9 IP and 24 saves with a 3.15 ERA, which is exactly what you want from your closer. Valverde also only had 3 blown saves for the season, in 2010.

Setting up Valverde, will be Joaquin Benoit, who comes to Motown after spending 2010 in Tampa Bay as the Rays primary set up man. The 33-year old brings a career 31-28 record with a 4.47 career ERA with him. GM Dave Dombrowski signed Benoit to a to a 3-year $16.5M contract after a career best season in Tampa. Part of the problem last year was inconsistency in close games getting to Valverde to slam the door shut, and if Benoit picks up where he left off in Tampa, the Tigers will be in quite good shape.

The Benoit signing also allows the Tigers to take some pressure off of soon to be (Feb 13) 24-year old youngster Ryan Perry who has pitched in 113 games the past two seasons in the Tigers Bullpen with Flashes of brilliance and loads of inconsistency. While compiling a 3-6 record and 3.69 ERA over his career, Perry has struck out an average of 7.6 batters per nine innings, but also walked 4.4 BB/9.

Perry and Joel Zumaya, who is trying to shake the injury bug and prove he can pitch effectively, will help get to Benoit and Valverde. Zumaya, who hasn’t pitched a full season in Detroit since his rookie year of 2006, says that he is in good health for 2011, and if Detroit can get a full-season of Zumaya, the Tigers will be really tough to beat.

Bullpen: Thomas, Weinhardt, and Schlereth will all be improved for 2011 over last year, and Schlereth could fill Zumaya’s role albeit from the Left side, later on in the ‘pen if Zumaya succumbs to the injury bug yet again. In Benoit and Valverde the Tigers have two of the best in the American League at the back-end of the Bullpen, all they need from the starters is to get to inning 5 or 6 and the Tigers bullpen crew could nail down a victory.

The White Sox and Twins all have had serious losses in their pitching staffs, so the advantage in the A.L. Central bullpen battle should end up with Detroit.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Baseball junkie

So I have to admit I might be a baseball junkie.

A line from the Tampa Bay Rays press conference where former Tiger Johnny Damon and his old Boston Red Sox teammate, Manny Ramirez were officially introduced as Rays.

Damon was asked how many games he anticipated playing this season

Damon: "I would love to play 162 games, will it happen? Probably not, but my body is my temple, it always has been, I've learned over the years how to say healthy."

Manny: "Let's do this, (looking and pointing at Damon) you play 100, I'll play 62, that's what we gotta do."

Laughter from everyone.

Great line, but I am sure plenty of Rays fans are hoping the statement doesn't prove to be accurate.

Personally, I laughed REALLY, REALLY hard when I heard it. Maybe Manny can start his own comedy tour when he retires. I can see it now, the "Manny-being-Manny" comedy tour. I don't think that the boys from the "Blue Collar Comedy Tour" are worried, though.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Infield Outlook for 2011

Continuing with my position outlook for the 2011 Detroit Tigers

1st Base- Miguel Cabrera-
Cabrera is the foundation of Detroit’s present and future. The soon to be 28-year old is already a 5-time All-Star. Since becoming full-time major leaguer at the age of 21, in 2004, Cabrera has averaged 100 runs, 40 doubles, 34 Home Runs, with 117 RBI, and a .317 batting average. Last season, Cabrera almost became the first AL Triple Crown winner since Ted Williams in 1967, by finishing 2nd in Batting Average, 3rd in Home Runs, and 1st in RBI. Cabrera was the centerpiece of the December 2007 trade with the Florida Marlins, and can not test the Free Agent waters until 2016 at the earliest.

2nd Base- Scott Sizemore, Will Rhymes, or Carlos Guillen Sizemore, Rhymes, Guillen will compete for time as the team’s primary 2nd baseman. Here’s what we know; starting with Carlos Guillen. Guillen is coming off microfracture surgery on his left knee, injured last season, and the Tigers are cautiously optimistic he will be ready for game action in Mid-March. We know that Baseball America has projected Scott Sizemore as the Tigers 2nd baseman of the Future, in its prospect handbook issues from 2009 and 2010. That being said, we know that Will Rhymes spent the most time at second base for Detroit in 2010, of all the players on the spring training roster.

In a perfect world Guillen returns healthy and resumes the form that made him a 3-time All-star. Reality says that won’t end up happening as Guillen has had a consistent decline of AB’s per year since 2007, and has missed an average of 49 games a year over the past 5 seasons. According to GM Dave Dombrowski, the doctors supervising Guillen’s rehab say he should be able to start playing in games around the middle of March, which means Guillen would already be a month behind, at the start of the season.

So the Tigers go into the year with their biggest question mark on the roster, with who will play 2nd base for the team. If Sizemore is going to make the position “his” this is probably his last year to do so. Sizemore has a .296 batting average, with a .382 career On-base %, in 5 seasons in the Tigers minor league system, so the potential is there. Rhymes has similar statistics over his minor league career, but is a bit older, with less power. Rhymes, also bats left-handed and brings a bit more speed to the position. Regardless of who ends up garnering the most AB’s out of spring training, 2nd base will end up being the weakest position in the Tigers 2011 infield.

Shortstop - Jhonny Peralta He started 2010 as the Cleveland Indians starting 3B, but in June Peralta was traded to the Tigers for minor league pitcher Giovanni Soto, and cash. In coming to Detroit, Peralta moved from 3B, where he played in 91 of his 100 games with the Tribe, to Shortstop for the Tigers. Peralta and Brandon Inge give the Tigers a pretty solid left-side of the infield, but questions persist regarding Peralta’s range at short. What Peralta does do is bring a potent bat for his position, averaging 564 AB’s, 33 doubles, 2 triples, 18 HR’s and 78 RBI a season since 2005. The cost of that power is that he also strikes out 132 times a season, with a .266 batting average.

3rd Base- Brandon Inge After starting his Tigers career as a Catcher, the former Virginia Commonwealth University shortstop, moved out from behind the plate starting in 2004, and settled in as the Tigers “super-sub” playing 3b, C and OF in ’04 and ’05, and parts of 2008, but as the Tigers primary 3B in 2006, ’07, ’09 and ’10 seasons. From 2001-2003 catching took its toll on Inge at the plate as he hit only .198 and averaged 5 HR’s and 74 K’s per year. Since moving out from behind the plate, Inge has brought his batting average up to a decent .246, while increasing his power to 23 doubles, 4 triples, 17 HR’s and 71 RBI per year, the added power has also upped his strike-out total to 127 per year as well. Concern remains for the Tigers that with Peralta’s somewhat limited range at short that Inge will have to make more plays defensively, and risk injury or struggle at the plate as a result.

Infield: If the left-side of the infield, (Inge and Peralta) can stay solid defensively, and Sizemore can handle being the team’s second baseman for the now and “of the future”, the Tigers 2011 Infield has a chance to be very solid all the way around, and in the case of Cabrera- Spectacular. The offensive potential is there for the Tigers to help improve on their runs scored this season, and if the defense is solid, the 2011 infield could lead the way for Detroit to be playoff bound.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mike Maroth retires

It didn’t make news on Sports Center, or even on the main MLB page on, but the other day, former Tiger Mike Maroth announced his retirement.

Maroth was never a high-draft pick or Top-10 prospect for the Tigers, but due to circumstances beyond his control, for one inglorious season, Maroth became the face of the Tigers.

Back in 2003, Maroth became the first MLB 20-game loser since 1980, when the dubious feat was logged into the record book by Brian Kingman, of the Oakland A’s. That season, Maroth started 33 games for a Tigers team that lost 119 games. Maroth pitched his way to a 9-21 record that year. To put it into perspective, Maroth’s 9 wins on a team that only won 43 games for the season, is like a 19-win season on a team that won 90 games.

Due to injury, and despite attempts to return from them, Maroth decided to hang up his cleats. He won’t ever be in the Hall of Fame, or listed as a Tiger favorite, but for the class in which he represented himself, his teammates, and the game, in the face of a record most Tiger fans wish to forget- I wish the best for wish for nothing but the best for him.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

2011 Season Preview: Catchers

Alex Avila and newcomer Victor Martinez will be the primary catching duo for the Tigers in 2011. At the time of this evaluation, Manager Jim Leyland says that OF Don Kelly will work out in spring training to be the team’s 3rd catcher as needed this season.

Alex Avila- after spending 2008 and most of 2009, in the minors, the son of Detroit’s Vice President, Assistant General Manager Al Avila, the 5th round draft choice out of the University of Alabama, took over the primary catching duties with Detroit in 2010, appearing in a career high 104 games, with 7 HR, 31 RBI and a .228 Batting average.

The soon-to-be 24 year-old right handed hitting catcher hit .280 in 151 minor league games, so his less than .230 batting average last year, was a disappointment to the Tigers. According to a recent article in the Detroit News, Avila says he’s been working hard to improve his conditioning, footwork and hitting consistency.

Avila’s goal for the 2011 season is to be prepared to take a physical beating his position demands, and to do a better job transitioning from “offense to defense, and vice-versa during the games”.

Avila will be working with the newly acquired Victor Martinez, who has caught in 827 games over the course of his career, to refine his catching and offensive skills, as he continues his role as the Tigers “catcher of the future”.

Victor Martinez- the 32-year-old, 4-time All-Star, signed with Detroit as a Free Agent in November, after spending one and a half seasons in Boston with the Red Sox. Martinez started his career in Cleveland before being traded to Boston in a salary dump, move by the Tribe.

General Manager Dave Dombrowski and Manager Jim Leyland envision that Martinez will serve as Detroit’s primary DH, while spelling Avila at Catcher, and Miguel Cabrera at 1st base, this season.

ESPN had Martinez ranked as the 4th best Free Agent heading into the off-season this year, and Dombrowski signed him to a 4-year $50 million contract that will expire at the end of the 2014 season. Martinez brings a .300 batting average and 131 career home runs to Detroit, where he has hit 4 home runs for his career. From 2004 to 2010, Martinez has hit for an average of 18 HR’s a year and hit for a .300 average, which will help improve the Tigers offense, which finished 8th in the American League in 2010, scoring 751 runs.

Bottom Line: Catcher should be a strong suit for the Tigers in 2011, if Avila can hit .250 with 10 HR’s and provide decent defense, and Martinez hits .300 with 15 HR’s and 85 RBI’s. Nobody else in the American League has that kind of offense from the Catcher position, including Minnesota with former AL-MVP, Joe Mauer.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Adios, Armando

After days of speculation, the Detroit Tigers officially traded away Armando Galarraga to the Arizona Diamondbacks, for 2 minor league pitchers.

According to the Tigers website, Detroit received Kevin Eichhorn and Ryan Rabowski. Eichhorn,a 21-year old Right handed starter, is expected to start out at low-Class A West Michigan, and Rabowski, a 23-year-old Left-handed reliever who could start the season at high-Class A Lakeland or Double-A Erie.

The Diamondbacks will pick-up all $2.3 Million of Galarraga’s contract.

The deal brings together the Tigers and Diamondbacks together once again, in a swap of pitchers. Detroit got Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth back in 2009 in the deal that sent Edwin Jackson to Arizona, and last summer, Detroit sent Dontrelle Willis to the D’backs for pitcher Billy Buckner.

New Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers says that Galarraga will compete for a spot in the rotation, putting Galarraga in a similar situation he faced after the Tigers signed Brad Penny.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Optimism, optimism, everywhere.

Granted it’s the time of year where every team feels that at the VERY least, they have a chance, and for some, excluding the Chicago Cubs, this is THEIR year.

As the Detroit Tigers hosted Tiger-fest at Comerica Park this weekend, and they hit the road for their annual “winter caravan”, the feeling is that 2011 could be a very good year for baseball fans in Michigan.

Local Columnists and even some of the Tigers themselves feel that the A.L. Central will be theirs for the taking. If nothing else at least one should hit better this season. (Also note in the article, why Lloyd McClendon feels his job as hitting coach should be easier”).

Also announced during Tiger-fest this year, was that the Tigers will be retiring Sparky Anderson’s #11, at some point during the season.

Dave Dombrowski feels that the chances are “likely” that a deal will get done to trade away Armando Galarraga, who became expendable with the signing of Brad Penny,

In other MLB news, the Tampa Bay Rays have signed, pending physicals, former Red Sox teammates, Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez to contracts.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Damon to Tampa?? Could be.

Doesn’t it figure? Just a few hours after I make a blog post regarding former Tigers on the job hunt, and I never mention that Tampa Rays as a possible landing spot, and according to a report on, the Rays are close to reaching an agreement with the 37-year old outfielder. Damon would reprise the role he filled last season for the Tigers in Tampa this year, as the Rays primary DH and part-time outfielder.

Of course the fact that Scott Boras is Damon’s agent means the deal could be done later today or just before spring training,with Boras you just never know.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

On the job hunt.

Former Tiger Nate Robertson signed a minor league contract with the Seattle Mariners earlier today, and received an invitation to Spring Training, but more than likely Nate won’t be able to crack the rotation for the Mariners. Starting the season for Seattle’s AAA team in Tacoma seems to be the likely destination for Robertson.

Meanwhile the signing of Andruw Jones by the Yankees means that Johnny Damon’s return to the Bronx is very doubtful. Damon wanted to return to New York, but the Yankees already have a crowded outfield and at bats would be slim for the 37-year old, not to mention that Damon is at this point considered a defensive liability. The Toronto Blue Jays are still considering making a run at the Scott Boras client, but for now the wait continues to see where he will end up.

The recently designated for assignment Armando Galarraga is still awaiting word what will happen to him, as well. Rumors persist that the Tigers have received offers for the 29-year old pitcher. Possible landing spots are Baltimore and the New York Yankees, but nothing appears to be imminent.

Jeremy Bonderman is also waiting for offers, as he was linked to a few teams during the off season, but like Galarraga, nothing appears imminent. Bondo will probably have to end up taking a minor league contract and spring training invitation, like Nate Robertson.

Tigers Caravan gets rolling, Guillen is a question mark.

As members of the Detroit Tigers kick off their spring caravan across the state of Michigan this season, Manager Jim Leyland made a few comments to the Detroit News regarding the “state of the Tigers”.

Surprisingly one of the comments contradicted what the team has been saying all winter long about Carlos Guillen. The team has said all along that Carlos Guillen was expected to be ready for spring training, yesterday in Toledo during the first stop of the Tigers annual winter caravan, Leyland admitted that “I don’t think he’s going to be ready to start”. Guillen, of course, is coming off microfracture surgery on his left knee, that kept him from performing any activities since September when the surgery was performed.

Leyland also acknowledged that he was comfortable with any of the following filling in for Guillen at various positions, until he is healthy; Will Rhymes, Danny Worth, Scott Sizemore, Ramon Santiago and Ryan Raburn.

Leyland also commented about the team’s newest starter, Brad Penny “He’s a horse, he’s good, but we have to keep him healthy…The Cardinals were really pleased with the way he started the year (for them), but then he got hurt – and that’s happened in the past. So as I said, we’ll have to keep him healthy”.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

An explanation of the Galarraga signing.

Ever since the Tigers announced that they had signed Armando Galarraga to a contract, to avoid arbitration, and then promptly designated him for assignment, the question has been out there. WHY?

Well basically it comes down to the rules of baseball, as opposed to the Tigers desire to keep him under contract.

When the Tigers tendered Galarraga to a contract last month, they had already committed to signing him for 2011. They had no other choice, but to negotiate a contract or have it go to arbitration. Either way, Galarraga would have to be signed to a Tigers contract for 2011.

By avoiding arbitration, the Tigers have an out, on Galarraga’s contract. The non-arbitration contract signed by the Tigers and Galarraga is not a guaranteed contract, so even if the Tigers end up releasing him, they will only end up owing him a fraction of the $2.3 million.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What's the buzz

Despite the fact that Spring Training is over 25 days away, and things are still a little "slow", with no games or even practices being held, I've tried my best to keep the Tiger Tizzy faithful, up-to-date with the latest news regarding your favorite baseball team.

I've avoided "putting my own opinion" on here, not because I don't have any, but because I have wanted to get a feel for blogging, as well as making sure I have my own ducks in a row.

All that being said, I have to wonder what exactly Dave Dombrowski has in mind, after designating Armando Galarraga for assignment, less than 24 hours after signing him t0 a 1-year $2.4 Million contract.

So, once again Dave Dombrowski, has gotten all of the Tigers arbitration eligible players under contract, prior to the arbitration hearings. Ryan Raburn, and Joel Zumaya are both decent contracts, that could easily prove to be "value" contracts at the end of the season- IF Raburn can live up to expectation, and Zumaya can stay healthy for the entire season.

Signing Armando Galarraga to his contract and then designating him for assignment, makes me wonder what is in the works. Obviously Dombrowski and Leyland want their rotation to start with Verlander, Scherzer, Porcello, Coke and Penny. That rotation has the potential to be in the upper tier in all of baseball, let alone the American League.

Armando would have a hard time breaking into that rotation, unless he pitches more along the lines of 2008 version (13-7, 3.73 ERA), instead of the 10-19, 5.06 ERA pitcher that has taken the mound for Detroit in 2009 and 2010. Sorry Armando, those numbers won't help your case to deserve innings in the Tigers rotation.

I am wondering if Dombrowski has a trade partner all lined up, to send Galarraga off somewhere, once the ink dried on his contract. If not, why bother signing him to a contract in the first place. Don't sign him, let him go to arbitration, and walk away as a free agent. Rumors are already hitting the Internet that the Yankees might take a look at Armando, with the pickings for quality starters very thin in the ranks of the remaining Free Agents.

As Spring Training progresses, I will be taking an in-depth look at your 2011 Tigers, from the starting rotation, bullpen, infield, and finally outfield.

As always, your comments regarding the Tigers and Tiger Tizzy are welcome.

Galarraga on the move

Well this move explains why Brad Penny hasn’t been listed on the Tigers 40 man roster.

According to MLB Trade, the Detroit Tigers have designated Armando Galarraga for assignment. The team now has 10 days to trade, release or outright him to the Minor Leagues.

In an announcement made on Twitter this afternoon, the Tigers officially announced the deal they have reached with Brad Penny, that was reported a week ago, while simultaneously designating Armando Galarraga for assignment.

The official announcement by the team of Penny’s signing, was pending a physical which Penny took and passed, late last week. Once the Tigers had Galarraga under contract, they could then make the move to designate him for assignment, and “officially” announce the signing of Penny.

Since the Brad Penny signing, I have been keeping an eye on the Tigers roster, but Penny hasn’t been listed, despite the reported announcement of his signing, 6 days ago, on Jan 12.

3 and Out

As been his history since joining the Tigers, General Manager Dave Dombrowski, once again avoided going to arbitration with all his eligible players as the Tigers reached an agreement with pitcher Armando Galarraga on Monday night.

The team announced the deal earlier this morning, as being a 1 year contract worth approximately $2.3 Million. The deal is a good one for the Tigers, as Galarraga’s contract is not fully guaranteed. Detroit can let him go into spring training, but release him by March 15 and how him just 30 days termination pay, according to Jason Beck’s blog. You can find more details on the contract by clicking on the link.

Since coming to Detroit back in 2002, Dombrowski has kept the Tigers out of arbitration hearings every year. Dombrowski previously reached agreements with OF Ryan Raburn, and RP Joel Zumaya over the past 2 weeks.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Avoiding the Arbitor

The Tigers avoided arbitration with 2 of their 3 arbitration eligible players, OF Ryan Raburn and P Joel Zumaya, both players signed new contracts last week. Raburn signed a 2 year contract extension, worth $1.3 Million for 2011 and $2.1 Million for 2012. Zumaya signed a contract for a reported $1.4 Million.

The Raburn and Zumaya signings leaves SP Armando Galarraga as the only arbitration eligible player. Despite the fact that the arbitration process is completely separate from what are considered “team” activities, the Galarraga arbitration hearing could prove to be very relevant to how the Tigers rotation sets up for the 2011 season.

Of course the Tigers are going to try and get Armando signed to a low contract, while Galarraga’s agent will try for the opposite.

If you are unfamiliar with how the arbitration process works, here is a link to a website that explains the process in simple terms.

If Armando’s hearing awards him a high dollar contract, Jim Leyland might be forced to bump one of the team’s currently scheduled starters, Rick Porcello, or Phil Coke to keep him in the rotation. I doubt that scenario takes place, but it could happen and would be something to watch as the hearing takes place before spring training.

The Tigers are in a very good place with their rotation, and I’m sure that the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals are wishing they had Detroit’s “rotation problem”- of having too many qualified candidates. The Tigers have 6 pitchers competing for 5 rotation slots, and any of the 6 has the potential of being above average for their slot in the rotation.

I will be addressing the rotation and as well as how the Tigers stack up against their competition in the AL Central as the spring progresses.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tigers ink Penny, roster complete

The Tigers and starting pitcher Brad Penny, have agreed to a 1-year, $3 Million deal, with another $3 Million reported in incentives. The deal is still pending completion of a physical by the 31 year old right-hander.

With the signing, GM Dave Dombrowski feels like the Tigers roster and rotation are set for Spring Training, which starts in a little over a month.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Newest Tiger??

According to his twitter account, Brad Penny will be making a decision where he will sign and pitch very soon.

Here's the link to his twitter page where he says he will be making a decison by the end of the day.

Penny has been drawing interest from the Tigers and a few other teams, but the Detroit has shown the most interest lately.

If Penny has fully recovered from the lat injury he suffered in May, while pitching in St. Louis, he could be an upgrade for the Tigers in the #5 slot in the rotation.

Handing out Non-Roster invitations for 2011

We are 35 days away from the start of Spring Training. While Dave Dombrowski is working on finalizing the 40-man roster, he’s also working on the complete list of Spring Training Non-roster invitee’s.

In a post on the Tigers website, as well as his Detroit Tigers blog, Tigers beat writer Jason Beck reports that Jim Leyland’s son Patrick has gotten an invitation to spring training as a non-roster player.

Patrick Leyland, a catcher, joins fellow Tigers 2010 draftee’s Bryan Holaday and Rob Brantly as non-roster invitees at the catcher position. Also coming to Lakeland as non-roster catchers are 2009 draftee John Murrian, and Omir Santos, and Max St. Pierre, who have MLB experience.

Listed as non-roster pitching invitees are Enrique Gonzalez and Fu-Te Ni, who have pitched for Detroit, and John Bale, who has pitched with Kansas City, Toronto, Baltimore and Cincinnati, and Aussie Chris Oxspring who had a cup ‘o coffee with the San Diego Padres back in 2005.

There will probably be other invitations handed out and we will keep you updated here at Tiger

The entire list of Non-Roster invitees is listed below.

Pitchers -- John Bale*, Enrique Gonzalez*, Fu-Te Ni*, Chris Oxspring*, Adam Wilk, Brendan Wise

Catchers -- Rob Brantly, Bryan Holaday, Patrick Leyland, John Murrian, Omir Santos*, Max St. Pierre*

Infielders -- Argenis Diaz*, Brandon Douglas, Scott Thorman

Outfielders -- Andy Dirks, Avisail Garcia, Ben Guez

*- Major League experience

Players drafted by the Tigers.
Rob Brantly, Bryan Holaday, Patrick Leyland-2010 Draft

John Murrian, Adam Wilk-2009 Draft

Andy Dirks, Ben Guez-2008 Draft

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Filling Out the Rotation

As January rolls along, your Detroit Tigers continue to tweak their roster.
According to, the Tigs are exploring bringing back a couple of names from the past; Freddy Garcia and Jeremy Bonderman, as well as trying to sign Brad Penny.’s Jason Beck says the Garcia idea is “possible, but not likely”. You can view the article by clicking this link. Detroit Tigers Rumors: MLB Rumors -

Bonderman of course had an 8-10 record with a 5.53 era last year, after returning from a blood clot in his axillary vein in 2008 and more trouble with his throwing shoulder in 2009.

Garcia has spent the past two seasons pitching for the rival Chicago White Sox, after a 3-game stint in Detroit in 2008.

Penny, he of 11 MLB seasons and 108 career victories, 101 of them in the National League could end up being the wild card signing.

Earlier this winter, ESPN’s Buster Olney ranked the Tigers starting rotation as the 7th best in baseball, behind the Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, Oakland A’s, Tampa Bay Rays, and Boston Red Sox.

The Tigers rotation lines up like this
1. Justin Verlander
2. Max Scherzer
3. Rick Porcello
4. Phil Coke (moving from the bullpen)

Garcia, Penny, and Bonderman would be competing with Armando Galarraga for the number 5 slot.

I respect Buster Olney’s opinion, but Scherzer and Coke need to show me more before I really anoint them as solid contributors to the rotation, so I have my doubts, the Tigers rotation will end the 2011 season as the 7th best in all of baseball. We certainly can hope it does.

Spring training is a little over a month away, so there is time for the Tigers to decide what do to, but watching the battle for the #5 slot could prove to be one of the better things to watch in Lakeland this spring.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Will they or Won't They? Hall of Fame edition 2011

Yesterday was a big day across the state of Michigan, and it had nothing to do with the events in Ann Arbor.

It was the day that the Baseball Hall of Fame announced the players elected to Cooperstown for 2011, by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

On the ballot were former Tiger greats Alan Trammell and Jack Morris.

Morris, on the ballot for the 12th year garnered the 4th highest vote total of 311 votes, appearing on 53.5 % of the ballots. Trammell, appearing on the ballot for the 10th time, received 141 votes, appearing on 24.3 %.

Sadly, Tram appears to be a very unlikely candidate to get into the Hall, and Morris still may not, considering the candidates that will appear over the next few seasons.

Trammell is one of my favorite Tigers ever, but he doesn’t necessarily belong in Cooperstown. Jack Morris, despite winning the most games of any pitcher in the ‘80’s, is seemingly doomed to fall short due to his VERY high 3.90 ERA.

While this is a Detroit Tigers blog, I have to give out congratulations to Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven, who were chosen for election. Both are deserving candidates, and would receive the votes on my ballot, if I had one, which you can see listed below.

Scotto’s Hall of Fame Ballot -2011

Roberto Alomar*
Jeff Bagwell
Bert Blyleven*
Barry Larkin
Edgar Martinez
Jack Morris
Dale Murphy
Tim Raines
Lee Smith
Alan Trammell

*- elected by BWAA voting

Feel free to respond with your own opinions. Help me make Tiger Tizzy one of the best baseball blogs on the internet.

New Blogger

Good Day everyone,

My name is Scott and I will be working on the Tiger Tizzy blog here for 2011.

A little about me, I'm an avid sports and Tigers fan, and have been for most of my lifetime. I'm 44, live in Flint and work in radio and broadcasting.

I will be hoping to add some life to this blog and I hope that you join me for what could be a very interesting 2011 baseball season.