October 2007

Tigers pick up option on Pudge

More to come later …

Check that

After Sheffield’s representative double-checked with doctors, the original timeline stands, that he should be ready for the start of next season. They’re not saying anything certain about spring training right now. He’ll almost surely be there when camp opens, but he might not be at 100 percent. They’ll have to wait and see how he progresses in his rehab before getting a better idea about that.

Sorry for the confusion.

Update on Sheff

Just got off the phone with Rufus Williams, Sheffield’s representative. He said that at this point, they’re anticipating Sheff should be ready to go for Spring Training. So if that remains the case, that’s probably the best scenario the Tigers could hope for out of a labrum tear.

Sheff has surgery

Among the repairs were a debridement of the AC joint and a labral tear that was discovered once Dr. John Uribe looked inside the shoulder. That makes it a little bigger procedure than expected. A Tigers spokesperson said they anticipate he’ll be ready for the start of next season, which is different than the terminology used last week, when he was expected to be ready for the start of spring training.

Sheff to have surgery

After being examined by Dr. John Uribe today in Miami, he’ll undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder on Monday. No idea yet whether that’s the procedure he had discussed earlier, where bone would be shaved down in his shoulder. Whether it is or not, however, it’s not expected to be major surgery, since he’s expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training.

Enjoy the postseason

Whether the Tigers are in it or not, it’s a stretch that baseball fans should watch and enjoy, because you don’t know what’s going to happen anymore, and every play becomes magnified tenfold. In some ways, it feels like the first day of March Madness because it’s a marathon stretch the next couple days. Tuesday night, in turn, was the first night in months without baseball.

On another note, I just wanted to give a belated thanks to everyone who has read and posted on the blog this year. You all are the ones who give this site its energy and make it work. I’ll be covering the ALCS for the national site, so I’m hoping to be able to post some things as that goes along. Plus, I’ll try to keep posting during the offseason, as much as a collection of links as anything. It probably won’t be as active as it is during the season, but it won’t become dormant.

Your comeback ex-Tigers of the year

Admit it, you follow what former Tigers are doing over the course of the season. I know this because of all the emails people send me about Carlos Pena. Well, the Comeback Players of the Year were announced today, and they’re two former Tigers first basemen. Pena won the AL award on the strength of 46 home runs, 121 RBIs, a .282 batting average and even 103 walks for the Devil Rays.

So what was the difference between Tiger Pena and Devil Ray Pena? Rays manager Joe Maddon had a telling quote:

"You know what I love, how he took every at-bat," Maddon said. "He does
not waste an at-bat. … I think Carlos, as this season went on, really
became involved with his at-bats. Every at-bat became a new adventure.
I think as the season wore on, this last month, his pitch selection got
even better

In the National League, Dmitri Young’s renaissance season with Washington earned him that award. He batted .320 with 13 home runs and 74 RBIs. It was the kind of season Young enjoys in the NL with the Reds before he fell into high-power, high-strikeout tendencies in Detroit. But the bigger adjustment for him, obviously, was cleaning up his life and improving his health once he was diagnosed with diabetes last fall.

I talked with Dmitri in July during the All-Star festivities, and he was very frank in saying he could’ve been dead if not for the doctor who diagnosed him and the people who forced him to change his life. More telling, he had the big smile back again that was absent in Detroit even when he was around in 2006.

No extension for Leyland … yet

He met with Dave Dombrowski this morning. Dombrowski said he was prepared to offer a multi-year contract but Leyland, as planned, expressed interest in simply adding another year onto his contract to take it through 2009. There’s no deal yet, according to Dombrowski, who added that he has to talk with owner Mike Ilitch on the issue. He wouldn’t comment on whether and when he would expect a deal in place, but he said he hopes to talk with Ilitch about it in the next couple days.

Other highlights from Dombrowski’s end-of-season press conference …

  • He indicated the Tigers have not yet made a final decision on whether or not to pick up Ivan Rodriguez’s contract option, and that they might not have one until the deadline, which is 10 days after the World Series. When it was asked whether the Tigers would’ve decided it right away if they were going to pick up the option, Dombrowski said that’s not necessarily true, that they might want to see what their options are.
  • They’ve expressed their interest in bringing Todd Jones back for next year, but while he would come back as a closer to start the year, they wouldn’t commit to keeping him there as the season went on. Jones wanted to wait on that and see what his options are, particularly whether a team close to his Alabama home would have any interest in him. Dombrowski wouldn’t name the team, but obviously it’s the Braves.
  • Dombrowski backed up Leyland’s view that they have three rotation spots set, but added that they’ll leave one spot open for one of their younger pitchers to win in a spring training competition. The other spot will go to either Kenny Rogers, if he decides to come back, or to another veteran pitcher to be signed if Rogers doesn’t return.
  • Ramon Santiago will not be the starting shortstop next season. They’ll look for another shortstop via trade or free agency.
  • Dombrowski floated the idea of a platoon in left field with Marcus Thames and a left-handed hitter that they could sign. However, as he admitted, they’ve tried for a couple years now to acquire a left-handed hitting outfielder and haven’t pulled it off.
  • Jair Jurrjens is going to spend the offseason staying with Gary Sheffield in Tampa and working out with Sheffield’s personal trainer. The goal is to get Jurrjens stronger.
  • Unless something unforeseen comes out of Sheffield’s talk with the doctor later this week, Dombrowski expects him to be fine heading into next season.