How bad ideas get going

We have finally arrived at the dead time. The week or two between the Super Bowl and reporting day for pitchers and catchers is usually the roughest. Football season is over, which lets you know that baseball is right around the corner. But you haven’t rounded that corner quite yet. Usually it’s once the Super Bowl has ended that I start counting down the days left before spring training begins, but if temperatures stay like this all week in the Midwest, I might have to start counting down the hours. In any case, it’s probably the dullest time of the offseason, which is how even the smallest rumors can take off.

So MLB.com’s intrepid reporter at the Caribbean Series, Jesse Sanchez, talked with Juan Gonzalez, who says four teams have expressed interest in signing him. A report in Puerto Rico cites the Tigers as potentially one of those teams along with the Angels and O’s. And so we have chaos, at least on the message boards and (to a lesser extent) in the email inbox.

By the end of the weekend, not only has Dave Dombrowski denied interest in signing Juan Gone in the Free Press, but so have the Orioles in the Sun. Who knows about the Angels, if only because there’s enough other stuff going on to dominate the L.A. sports scene that nothing has been written. And it ends up appearing that Gonzalez is trying to drum up interest.

The evaluations on Gonzalez are mixed. Derek Jacques, reporting for Baseball Prospectus (subscription required), wrote on Friday that Gonzalez "makes the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz look flexible and nimble." More:

Watching him run the bases, I constantly expected to hear a loud
snapping sound followed by a trail of body parts. Igor still has the
long looping swing, but his bat speed isn’t where he can really turn on
[Elmer] Dessens’ heat in the third. He’s trying to cheat, and it just isn’t
working.

Supposedly Gonzalez looks lean and in good shape. But the fact that he has not played outfield all winter says something. Unless a team is desperate for a DH, it’s going to be difficult for him to get back into the big leagues unless he can play the field. Even if he was hitting the cover off the ball every night and looked like a Greek god, though, he probably wouldn’t drum up interest from Detroit. The Tigers have a right-handed slugger on their bench already with Marcus Thames. And there’s just too much history with Gonzalez and this city to not have him be a distraction.

6 Comments

Juan Gone’s coming back? Great. I’m sure Dombrowski could lure Higginson out of retirement. If we could only trade Thames and Ordonez for Gabe Kapler, we’d have the makings of a great outfield… Geez, its cold outside and I’m bored. Can’t wait for spring training to start.

I have a question, Jason, which might help to break up the monotony of the “dead time”. I’ve been surprised by the lack of rumors about other teams talking to the Tigers about trading for pitching. I understand that DD plays his cards close to his chest, but it would seem that it would leak from the *other* side sometimes, and I haven’t seen or heard much reported.

I’m not saying that I want them to trade anybody, although it might make sense for some of the guys who are out of options and don’t have real prospects to make the club. Maybe you hear things, but all I seem to hear about is when the Tigers are interested in a player on another team, not when other teams talk to us…

Just curious.

matt

Ya know it’s “that time of year”, when the “news” is, Juan ThankGawdHe’sGone is trying to make a comeback.

Matt, are you speaking of our prospects, and why there has been no news of their possibly being dealt? Maybe, because there is no market for them! As I have stated before, sometimes when an organization gets as fortunate as the Tigers did in ’06(bringing up TWO future All-Star pitchers), the other farmhands get over-rated by the fans. The thinking is: “who else is down there”?

Of course, the answer is: “No one”. At least no one like Zoom or Justin. If they were, they’d already be “up”(with the possible exception of Miller, but we’ll see).

We haven’t heard any rumors, because there aren’t any.

Most organizations have pitching prospects that have a chance, if they improve. That is how the Tigers’ prospects are now. Possibilities. Nothing more, nothing less.

To change the subject, here’s hoping Maroth makes a compete comeback. Not just because I am a Tiger fan, but because he deserves it. After years toiling and losing on a bad team, he should get in on a few of the spoils.

No matter HOW he pitches this spring, I personally think the organization owes him a chance to start the season in the rotation. He took the ball when the Tigers were down, I think the Tigers should give him the ball when he is down. At least for the month of April. He didn’t beg out of that twenty loss season. Loyalty should count for something.

Going through the Tigers’ lineup, who do y’all think would get the quickest “hook” if they started slowly? My guess, would be Ordonez. I can easily see Sheff in right, and Thames as the DH, if Maggs has a .200 April.

A piece of personal advice(IMHO)………….stay away from the “Message board”. Someone actually suggested a Granderson & Maybin for Ichiro trade in there, and they are debating it……lol. Unless you are in need of some comedic relief, of course.

Another web site my wife and I are on(use your imagination)is suggesting a Cubs/Tigers World Series. I could go for that………..we OWN those guys.

Lastly, I can’t believe so many people and publications are discounting the Twins. Again. They could play .500 baseball, except when Santana pitches, who will give them a +20 to +24 games on those days, and they finish with between 91 and 95 wins! And yes, Santana is THAT good. The team only has to be mediocre on Santana’s days off. I can see the Twins easily being 26-6 in the games Johann starts, can’t you? The media(sorry Jason….lol)is so influenced by big names, and the “East coast bias”.

Now, about that Direct TV thing……………

The rumors die down at this point because there’s usually no motivation to deal guys right now. With spring training just around the corner, teams prefer to wait until at least mid-March to start up trade talks again. By then, clubs have a better idea what they really need, some others might have injuries that create a need, and still other teams that thought they had a surplus suddenly don’t. The Tigers have an extra middle infielder and maybe some extra pitching, but a lot can change between now and Opening Day depending on a tweak here, a strain there, or somebody just plain stinking up the place in Lakeland.

Re Mike Maroth, Scratch, it goes beyond loyalty. This guy is a proven major league starter and shouldn’t have to “make” the team in spring training. I realize he’s coming off an injury and will be under observation, but they have to let the guy get in shape without having him worry that he has to impress someone. That’s the quickest way to another injury. So I agree with you, he should be looked upon as in the rotation.

The poor downtrodden Twins. Never given a chance, they usually win, but Gardenhire never gets Manager of the Year. Pretty strange, hey?

Jason, good horror story about Juan Begone and the Tigers “being interested.” Of course, they’ll have to move the fences in. Again.

I agree with Rich– it is entirely possible that I’m overstating Maroth’s ability but I see him as a solid starter with the ability to average 15 wins over the next 5-7 years. I felt like he was our best pitcher last year until his injury (Rogers was pretty tough too) and I’m pumped to see Maroth back out on the mound. To be honest, I’m expecting Maroth and Bonderman to carry the staff. I’m leary of Rogers (old) and Verlander (young) and think that Robertson is solid but lacks true star potential. (I expect to be challenged on this opinion.) I think that Maroth’s health is a key factor in the Tigers success this year.

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