Yes, I know Todd Jones has a 31.50 ERA

As soon as the great J.R. Towles took Todd Jones deep for the sixth run of the fourth inning, I figured this was coming: A mailbag question arrived starting with the words, "Is it just me or is Todd Jones taking a beating this spring?"

He had a scoreless inning and a one-run inning in his previous two appearances this spring.

My point isn’t to defend Jones, but to defend this point in the spring. Pitchers who don’t have to worry about a roster spot usually go into outings to work on something specific, though whatever Jones was doing clearly wasn’t working Tuesday. Hitters, as Nate Robertson pointed, are in some cases doing the same thing. And games just don’t have a whole lot of intensity, though it would’ve been difficult telling that to the fan in front of the press box today who was yelling at the umpire on literally every pitch before he finally had his fun and went home. And breakout guys on the end of roster or simply non-roster invitees are sometimes doing their damage against Triple-A competition in the later innings, such as Wilkin Ramirez so far.

Once the games get to the middle of March, then there’s something to read. Denny Bautista’s solid spring will get more of a test. Robertson’s inside fastballs will start getting turned upon to some degree. Right now, we’re getting early impressions of who’s on who isn’t, but it’s a small sample with inconsistent criteria.

4 Comments

Jason,
There’s nothing to explain. We all already know that Todd Jones’ ERA, when it’s not a save situation in the 9th inning, is 168.2.

I have a couple of comments. First, there are three things that make a championship team–pitching, pitching, and pitching. The Tigers (or the Tigres, as Jason’s headline had them a couple of days ago) will be great fun to watch, but all of our hopes for playoff success will go down the drain if their pitching isn’t good. Everyone knows that the relief, especially the middle relief is a big question mark. I say get some more help.

Which brings me to the second topic–Mr. Inge. I know everyone likes the guy, but his comments about catching affecting his batting are a little bit too much. What, is he going to bat .130 instead of .230 if he’s catching? Players with huge egos like Arod and Ichiro are willing to change positions. Granted this is the second time, but Inge is no ARod or Ichiro.

I think JL should just bench him until he’s willing to do whatever he can to help the team. It’s not like the Tiger’s are exactly depneding on his batting, anyway…

Question for you guys. Can this be one of the 5-6 absolute “stinkers” per year we’ve grown to expect from TJ, or doesn’t spring training count? If the answer is “yes”, it’s good to get one of them out of the way now, instead of vs. the Indians in July.

Todd Jones has never been one of my “fav fiv”. That being said, I am not any more concerned by his outing yesterday as I am in general about him being a championship calibre closer. He’s simply just not.
In the fever we got caught up in with Renteria, Jones and MCab/Willis, I was very diappointed that the club forgot that they really needed to find a shut down monster to finish off the games that we will have worked so hard to win.

The emphasis was never there, and as much as I admire DD, I do feel this was a mistake. I think they figured they could stumble through once more with TJ and if it doesn’t works out so well then they could defer to the expected maturation of Zoombya. That plan went awry in the wildfires of California and it was at that time that they should have gone out and found a solution in preparation for this coming season.

It is true that there are some really nice arms in the minors and in the bullpen right now. It is also true that sometimes a bullpen savior appears quite unexepectedly and becomes a phenom almost overnight. But what we don’t have out there is the rock solid guy with tonnes of experience and the physical skill to polish it off. Jones has one, but not the other. He is a competitior, highly experienced with a demeanor for the job but his skills are only barely passable at the MLB level.

I wish him all the best this year but I do hope DD does not slip back into the “hope & dream” mentality that beat us last year.

The bullpen does suffer from Achilles Heel. I hope they can fix it before too long.

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