July 02, 2009

The Detroit Nine

The Tigers are in first place. The White Sox and Twins are closing fast. This week–end, the Tigers visit Minnesota to battle the Twins. Taking two of three is a must for our Detroiters. The Tigers don't hit much (remember, they were going to score 1,000 runs in '08) and their bullpen is shaky. If I were to be the General Manager for a day, I would make three changes.

To get the billboard reading something like this, the Tigers need to do something like this:

The Tigers need somebody who will hit the ball with authority. I don't know if they have any positions where someone can be displaced because the defense is sound, but I think I would release Magglio Ordonez because his production has suffered. He may end up suing the organization, but maybe a buy–out can be reached. You can't pay someone $18 million to hit five home runs. Then, I would platoon Ryan Raburn and Josh Anderson in right or left field, and try to trade for a slugger. Someone can be pried loose for a couple of prospects. The trade deadline is coming up.

Next, I would acquire a proven closer. There is someone on a team who is struggling who can be traded for a top–level prospect. The Tigers have a couple of infield prospects who may bring a return. Maybe they have to trade a major league player, as well. It could be Fernando Rodney. Yes, it's true he hasn't blown a save, but after three years of Rollercoaster Jones, we Tiger supporters would prefer a dominant closer. I thought it would be Huston Street (imagine releasing Magglio to bring in Street; the irony!) but the Rocks have been playing much, much better since jettisoning their longtime manager.

If Fernado Rodney doesn't start closing games in a safer manner, he's going to be selling Bud Light to the fans in the stands.

Finally, I would forget about pitch counts for your horses like Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson. Let them pitch. They have a few years behind them, they can throw 125 pitches night in and night out. Let them complete some games. "Stretch them out," as Rod Allen says. Get those guys ready to be the workhorse/bulldogs they want to be. Let them go. Let them pitch. That eliminates the bullpen from the equation when those two are chucking.

In 'o6, the Rookies dominated. Verlander's dominating again; Zumaya's still thinking about that "box that fell on my shoulder."

Does anyone else remember "Gum Time?"

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