June 26, 2016

The $200 Million Rapscallion

This Tigers Team is Abrupt 

The amazing thing about the 2016 incarnation of the Detroit Tigers is just simply how terribly they can play at any given moment.

Cut, take two.

The amazing thing about the 2016 incarnation of the Detroit Tigers is just simply how incredibly they can play at any given moment.

I wrote about this the other day.

I am writing about it again today.

Because it is the roller coaster effect.

Mr. Avila. 

Last August 4, the direction of the franchise changed. Dave Dombrowski was out as the president and general manager and his longtime assistant Al Avila was now in charge. It's reported the Avila had it in his contract that he would be paid like a GM and could not interview with other teams for their GM openings. Suddenly after an awkward trade deadline scenario where we dealt players to teams with records similar to ours after saying we would be buyers, the Tigers were a much worse team not worth watching with a GM … with a boy on the team. Not to mention a manager on the hot seat twisting in the wind.

I believe that Avila intended to fire Brad Ausmus but once one of his lieutenants leaked the information to the media, he had to backtrack and "keep" him. Into the next season, in fact. Ausmus has been out–managed many times and he has also over–managed many times. The Washington Nationals hired a similarly under–qualified manager around the same time the Tigers hired Ausmus when they brought in Matt Williams. Last off season, realizing the team was talented but way underperforming, the Nats fired Williams and brought in a true manager, Dusty Baker. The Nats might be the best team in baseball in 2016 — sorry Cubs.

The change at the top and the no–change in the middle manager seat has probably caused much more than confusion in Tiger town. The constant rotation of players from Toledo to Detroit and back to Toledo is getting old — Buck Farmer up and down 19 times in the last couple of seasons. Okay, maybe that's why the Tigers cannot develop players. The constant injuries have finally caught up to Anibal Sanchez; Sanchy as they call him looks like he's about done for and we only owe him around, oh, $32 million for the next couple of seasons. (Plus a buyout). Naturally, we questioned the signing of Mike Pelfry from the moment the ink hit the paper. He signed a two–year $16 million contract. Our old buddy Doug Fister (don't get a Tiger fan started on that deal with the Nats) signed a one–year deal with Houston for $7 million. The large contract for Justin Upton (basically the old Prince Fielder albatross of a contract) was lauded but with caution.

It's going to be a long season of ups and downs. This team looks amazing then amazingly terrible. And that's not to say that eventually Brad Ausums won't be a good manager — it just won't jell in Detroit.

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