Roster move

With Matt Joyce essentially out of a starting job, the Tigers optioned him back to Toledo so that he can play every day. Clete Thomas will be recalled in time for Friday’s game at Seattle.

31 Comments

on the recent roster moves: yes!!!!
i feel it is addition by subtraction, with Sheffield (finally) on the DL. please keep him there until he is 100%. no, make that 200%
I couldn’t be more thrilled that Thames will become a regular in the line-up. it is about time.
same for granderson getting more at-bats vs lefties. about time.
and as for the call-ups this year, it seems they are doing a decent job. maybe it is that their hunger is larger than those settled on the major league roster. dunno. but that is one area i basically have no complaints with this season.
so, welcome back clete, and thanks joyce!

WHY CLETE?!

Ya Joyce has not been hitting well lately, by I ask why Clete as well. I don’t think he is really ready for the bigs either, he stopped getting the hits after a while as well, it is like everyone figured him out and he couldn’t adjust. I guess it is that sacred left handed bat???

I can appreciate them sending Joyce back to give Thomas another shot, why not?…JL must like Ryan Raburn. I do too, but from what we’ve seen lately, he’s not doing as good as he looked last year. That’s ok, neither are quite a few of our other players.
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Giving Thames a shot to prove himself as an everyday player is a good idea, better him than someone with less experience. Hopefully, JL gives him enough time to actually prove himself, not just expect him to hit 2 home runs every game. That would be nice, but I don’t think we should count on it.
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I’m also just a little confused why we would bring someone up from Toledo to DH?…to me, it seems like we still have guys sitting the bench who could potentially get some extra batting time, as long as they are just sitting there, that doesn’t include anyone with hemorhoids, geez. I am, however, looking forward to see what Larish does in tomorrow’s game against the Mariners.
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Enjoy your day off everyone.

Does anyone know what happened to Timo Perez? I checked his minor league stats and they aren’t that great but he has always performed when called to the show! Do you think we could see him if Thomas don’t work out again?
Timo was excellent for the Tigers last year, and I am just interested in your opinions. By the way, WAY TO GO MARCUS!!!!!

Nice moves, about time. Only took JL 2+ years to figure out.

no sooner did i tell my buddy about how thames is a beast off the bench, and all he does is hit homers….. he hit his first, that landed about one section away from me….
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raburn disappointed me. i was hoping for better. also, no sooner than i said polanco rarely strikes out, he struck out, what, 2 times? guess i jinxed him on that one.
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good game last nite, i also enjoyed wednesdays game, even though they lost.
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all the angel fans in sections 415 and 202 wednesday and thursday got an earful from me! haha
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mike

Clete Thomas can do a number of things, such as pinch-run then take over in the outfield, and more importantly, lay down a bunt when needed. Plus he brings some youth and energy to this bunch. I think it’s a good idea.
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The moves with Granderson and Thames paid immediate dividends. The catch by Granderson was big. It amazes me how much JL has neglected the defensive aspects of baseball. Now if he can just be convinced that Inge should play third on a daily basis (and I’ll keep hoping for Santiago too), we may be on the way to having a team that actually fits together. Leyland moves very slowly on these things.
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–Rich

Yeah Rich. Clete does al those things and I thought they might bring him up. I did figure that Raburn would be the one to go though with JL’s comments the other day about being too “righthanded”.
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I think there is only a slight possibility that Jl will give Inge the 3B job again without an injury forcing the issue. He is stubborn and will stick a lot longer with Guillen than we would like to see.
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I don’t think we will see Santiago replace Renteria. JL needs to protect the DD trade plus Renteria is hs boy. We’re stuck with the limited range he provides there. At least if the ball is hit at him he will make the play and he works well with Polanco on the DPs.
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Shuggie, Timo is starting to heat up in Toledo. He started off very poorly but his bat is coming around lately. He has 6 HRs and went 4×4 yesterday.
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I still say that it was bad management with the Carlos/Cabrera switch. Guillen was showing some serious problems at 1B but nothing that he could not have corrected. Cabrera has spent 4 years in the bigs at 3b and the word on him there was that he had limited range but soft hands and strong arm. If baseball people had him there for that long then he had to have something going for him at the position. It should not have been a revelation that he suddenly couldn’t play 3B. They upset the team in going for a 3B and then they embarassed themselves by rejigging the whole show. I think his problems at 3rd were physical, the quadricep slowed him down.
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Anyway, best of luck to Jeff Larish. He does strike out a lot so be prepared!
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Matt Joyce looks like we will see him again.

My thoughts echo pretty much everyone else’s:
- Keep Sheffield on the DL until he’s healthy. This may take all year and would be fine.
- I think they Joyce as a future every day player and want him to play in the minors. I think they see Clete as a marginal prospect that can help with speed on the bases. Just my hunch on why they swapped them. As far as needing a LHB on the bench, I think they’re hoping that Larish fills that role.
- Thames in left makes a ton of sense. If defense is needed, Clete or Raburn can replace him. Let’s just hope Marcus doesn’t get hurt– remember the great play he made two years ago where he hurt his hamstring?
- Brandon at third and Carlos at DH– or DL until healthy– makes a lot of sense.

That’s all. I still hope to see Willis and Robertson flip-flopped and I’m hoping Nate proves me wrong tomorrow night. I know its just one win but I think the ship is starting to right itself… lets just hope they can make up ground.

No, I know I won’t have my boy Razor starting at short unless there’s an injury to Renteria. I’d just be happy to settle for Inge playing third at least most of the time. He fired up the entire infield and he is saving countless runs. There’s just no way to prove how many. I try to remember that when he check swings his way into a strikeout. Defense, man. We’ll get some hitting one way or the other.
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The Willis thing is getting interesting. I had convinced myself that Galarraga would have a bad outing last night and that would allow JL to insert Dontrelle into the rotation. Obviously, Armando ain’t makin’ this easy on the Ol’ Coot. :-) I don’t think Willis can really be used out of the pen and he’s just sitting there. So what to do? Well……..Brent…………there’s Nate. I think he holds his own in the rotation but something has to happen here. He’d make a solid relief pitcher. If you bring him into the game in, say, the sixth inning, there’s no rule that says he can’t go ahead and finish the game. This is some of that outside the box thinking that we need here. If Nate doesn’t need to pace himself much, he can bust some hitters up. How does Robertson, Rodney, Zumaya, and Jones strike everyone’s fancy for the majority of pen work? We’ve got until late tomorrow night to knock this one around.
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–Rich

i also believe robertson should be in the BP…. it just makes sense. unless or until willis proves to be a burdon, but he’s young and can probably correct whatever is wrong with him. robertson, nothings wrong with him, until he pitches 4 or more innings.
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i wonder if JL would consider a 6 man rotation? seems like that could justify it, and with the gambler not getting any younger, he might benefit from an extra off day. just my opinion, of course.
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i do, however, know… that when i looked into the tigers bullpen before the game and saw galarraga warming up (i expected robertson) i had a nice warm feeling in my stomach (maybe it was the vodka/cherry coke mixture i drank in the parking lot, who knows :)
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mike
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go tigers!

interesting to note jurrgens vs. galarraga
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jurrgens
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W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV SVO IP H R ER HR HBP BB SO
5 3 2.86 11 11 0 0 0 0 66.0 58 24 21 2 2 24 49
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galarraga
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W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV SVO IP H R ER HR HBP BB SO
4 2 3.44 8 8 0 0 0 0 49.2 32 23 19 5 4 22 33
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pretty similar. consider that jurrgens plays in a weak NL and galarraga plays in the AL….
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not saying i at all agree with the renteria trade, but it seems to imply to me that with miller, jurrgens, maybe galarraga was kind of an aftersite, same with clete thomas and camerin maybin (overrated)
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JL was actually saying things about “having to do something”, and talking about how Clete’s energy could help. I agree he is slow to make changes, but there’s a reason for that. If everyone here had their way, any proven starter would put put on the bench when they slump. Then the unproven young guys would go in. When they have trouble, you’ve got to either bring your veteran off the bench where you put him when he was slumping, or leave the struggling young guy in. That’s not a position you want to be in. I don’t understand all the calls for Santiago and such. Rentoria is solid, if unremarkable. There’s no guarantee Santiago would hit well at all.

santiago is guy sitting on the bench, for years, much like marcus thames. given the opportunity and the number of at bats, i find it hard to believe that you can even compair santiago and renteria in the same sentence……… beyond being shortstops, santiago has better range and is hitting better than renteria. maybe, and i mean MAYBE renteria might have a magical 2nd half…. but at this point, i doubt it. his defense is limited, guillen might’ve still played a better SS than renteria……..
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it is what it is….
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mike

Jason, your article on Leyland tonight was very well written. When you read the article it summarizes exactly where the 2008 Tigers are at.

A part of me feels sorry for our coach because I know how much he loves the team and wants them to do well and another part of me wonders why we are more than 50 games into the season trying to find team chemistry.

If I was the caller ringing Mr. Leyland’s phone, I would tell him how close he is to having the chemistry in order. The lineup is looking better with Sheffield out of it, the starting pitchers go after hitters more with Inge at 3rd (when was the last 2 starters went into the 8th throwing under 90 pithces?). There is a good balance of LH RH bench players and role players to come off the bench to play defence or give a guy a day off (Santiago/Thomas). Larish can play until Guillen is ready to take over the DH spot.

Now please make Cruceta earn his chance to be the go to guy when the game is on the line. He has cracked under pressure in every close game. Show some respect to the other RP’s who are starting to show signs of improvement (Miner, Lopez) and who aren’t afraid to be in clutch spots. Also please allow the SP’s to finish their innings (e. g. Bonderman at 83 pitches). You have also missed a few chances to get Dontrelle in to get some work (Seattle series last week) so we can where he is headed.

At this point of the season it looks like our tryouts are just about finished. Perhaps Sheffield’s injury is a true blessing not even in disguise. If I were to give Mr. Leyland a little advice I might ask him to consider putting inch back at 3rd full-time and allow Guillen and Cabrera to share time between DH and 1st. This wouldn’t allow some of the disconnection that Sheffield was obviously feeling with not being involved with the game. On days that Cabrera or Guillen may need to be spelled or a day off Sheffield or one of the many left-handed hitters could step in.

This “Could” reestablish some of the chemistry that’s obviously been missing and return the team to the caliber that everyone expected.

I think Leyland may be inching close to the answer. I’ve been hard on him this week but I want to reiterate that there’s no one I’d rather have managing this team. Long time readers here probably know this.
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Most of us have ideas on what to do, and I’d bet all of us that do think we have the correct answers. :-) Nothing wrong with that. For discussion’s sake on an off day, I’ll offer my humble (my wife will love that one) thoughts on a general outline.
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For an old-timer like me, I believe that a team is built on pitching and defense. 100 mph fastballs and 450-foot homeruns are sexy, but that alone is not what gets you into October. With that in mind, I’ll start with pitching.
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The rotation has been good as of late. We’ll have to be cautious with that assessment because the Angels either don’t hit or aren’t hitting very well at this time. I think we can live with this for now, but it leaves the problem of what to do with Willis. I don’t have an answer for that, other than the radical step of moving Robertson to the pen, but these things tend to work themselves out. I certainly don’t wish an injury on anyone but often that’s exactly what happens. Bottom line, as long as your rotation is doing well, don’t change it. Regarding the bullpen, it appears to me the steadiest pitchers we have right now are Lopez and Miner. While neither of these guys are a slam dunk every night, they don’t get rattled and always give their best effort. Until we get the two headed monster, Rodney Zumaya back, that’s what we’ve got. And let’s not forget Willis, ONLY if he can start his own inning. Dontrelle has been around the block at his relatively young age. Jones as closer, of course, and isn’t it funny that we probably long for even a chance for Todd to blow one. :-) Talk about a forgotten controversy………..
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Defense. It saves runs, builds the pitcher’s confidence, and is constantly underestimated. There are some on other boards who think defense is not important at all. That’s foolish. Since we have a lot of groundball pitchers, you’ve got to have a tight infield. As we’ve seen, our best chance at that is with Inge at thirdbase. This does indeed create a traffic jam around the horn, with only Polanco being the “no-brainer” starter. Tough one for Jim. I can only suggest a slow shuffle. Guillen at third some nights, Guillen at first to spell Cabrera on other nights, and use the DH to keep various bats in the lineup. Renteria, in reality, does have to stay at short, but I wouldn’t be afraid of using Santiago for late inning defense, even if the score is close or tied. After all, if it’s the ninth inning of a tie game, Ramon is not the worst guy you could have at the plate in a situation. He can do a lot of things offensively, and just doesn’t get enough chance to prove it. It appears the outfield defense has been taken care of with Granderson now starting nearly all the time. Good move, Mr. Leyland.
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Now, do we really haaaave to talk offense? :-) These guys will hit, and we don’t need a slugger at every spot to do it. First off, leave Thames in there, maybe even in that 3 hole. Let him see some fastballs in front of Maggs. I don’t care if it’s a RH pitcher, Marcus has an amazing ability to reach out and yank pitches back to Rod Allen’s “pull field.” You just have to leave him in there long enough to pile a few dingers up. It will happen. We haven’t seen Larish hit in the show yet, so that one is up in the air. I’m going to defend Inge a little here, because he’s not as bad as people make out. He’s looked better at the plate this season, but doesn’t have the numbers to show for it. Besides, if my secondbaseman is hitting .340 and my shortstop is driving in runs at .290, that takes the pressure off the need for offensive production at the hot corner.
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Whew, this is taking longer than I thought it would. Or maybe it’s my slow typing. I’ll have to stop here, but like I said up top, I think JL is almost there. At least I’m looking forward to tomorrow night’s game, so that in itself is a welcome change.
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–Rich

I have to agree with Rich and Mike on the Santiago/Renteria controversy, if there is one. Have to disagree with you Steve. I just think the more athletic Santiago would take away so many more hits defensively than Renteria could add offensively. Yes Renteria is solid. He is still a very talented savvy player but he lacks the range needed at SS to make that rally killing play. I don’t think you lose that much offensively with Santiago either. In fact Santiago runs very well and he can bunt effectively too. I know JL’s not going to start him over Renteria, but I would at least suggest that he could replace Renteria as early as the 5th or 6th inning with a lead….say a lead of 2 or more runs. Get him in as early as possible, where he can help the team.

At least I’ve gotten 2/3s of my wishes… Inge at 3rd and Thames in LF. I would say that .235-.250 would be an acceptable BA for Brandon provided he could get his share of clutch hits. Seems his hitting approach has been better on the whole this year over last even though his average may not show it. He can still drive the ball deep and is seeing more pitches per AB. I hope JL is patient and fair with Marcus. He really deserves this chance….well he actually has been deserving of it for 2 years now but who’s counting? He will have bad games but his good ones will be beautious.

I like the idea of Nate going to the BP. He could be great in long relief, and not just as an innings eater but he could go 2,3, even 4 innings a couple times a week. But I wouldn’t want to see him be the guy that goes in with the Tigers behind in the game, like an innings eater. How often would you anticipate the Tigers being in game situations that would warrant him coming in? This isn’t a rhetorical question, I’m asking for opinions. But upgrading the pen, yes Nate would do that. Would he be happy accepting that role? If he was it could work out well.

These changes of course will be much more meaningful if the Tigers can begin getting the early lead they haven’t been able to do consistently (hardly at all really). With the SP improving as it has, we may begin to see more early leads, and lower pitch counts, and then defense becomes all the more important.

Ahhh…Rich, we did it again. But I like your version much better.

Marty, we’ve got to quit meeting like this. :-)
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I can attempt an answer at how often you’d want Nate out of the pen. I’d say anytime he’s available and our starter is reaching that magical 100-pitch count around the sixth inning. If Nate finished a game like that, you’ve saved your entire bullpen for a day.
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Will this ever happen? No. Is it fun to imagine? Yes indeed. Most current baseball practices start with one manager having some “crazy” notion.
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–Rich

Hey Rich, in an earlier post you asked us to hear your version on the Renteria trade. Yes, I would.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I think JL is reading our posts. Granderson (my Tiger) going against lefties, Marcus given a chance to play full time, etc. Yes, us old timers know that it is pitching and defense so isn’t JL an old timer? The pitcher says to his teammates, I am throwing strikes so be ready. Sounds like a chant from the little league stands “make him a hitter”. Nate seems to be pitching good but has one bad inning. It might be worth an experiment in the pen.
I have talked about walks many times so I will not bring it up again:)
I think Atlanta is 1st in pitching and Seattle is last.

What do you all think about having your best hitter batting 3rd, Thames batting 4th, MC batting 5th, and Guillen hitting 6th?
Go Wings, Go Pistons, GO Tigers!
–Dave

We all seem to think that the offense will come around. That is a forgone conclusion. I guess it is possible that it won’t but very improbable.
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The starters are coming around and the rotation is taking shape. There is a problem with finding a role for Willis.
I think the idea of Nate going to the bullpen is a good one–better than Willis. I also think Kenny Rogers could be extremely effective out of the bullpen. This could be somehting that would extend his career too.
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I think they should stick with Galarraga until he shows he can’t do the job.
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The bullpen will give us fits all year. Even when Rodney and Zumaya return.
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As much as I like Inge, I do think it is better for all concerned that he find a new home on a new team. I know there is talk about him catching next year but I don’t think that is the best option either. A guy with his talent, atheleticism and swing (at times he is a good hitter) has to hit above .260 or you just can’t afford to keep him IMO.
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Sheffield and Guillen are the central figures in how the roster materializes.. I think they figured they would get a year out of Sheff then move Guillen to DH. This frees the spot up for a the LHB Larish (which they really need). Wit the unexpected move to 1st for MCab, the possibilities have become murkier.
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Brings up Hessman, the guy is hitting a ton down on the farm. I think he could play up here but he is 30 now so it’s not like they can afford to groom him. If they could showcase him they might be able to interest someone enough to get something in return. I would have liked to see him play 3rd and Guillen DH, but that is not in the cards with Inge around, nor should it be really.
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Inge’s value to the club is high. I think he makes Raburn redundant here and unless Thomas and/or Larish really bomb, I would expect Raburn may get sent away when Sheffield returns. Not sure what his options remaining are but his is not contributing enough to justify his spot on the roster.
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Santiago is a keeper. They are going to have to be realistic when it comes to Renteria’s range. It is no better than what Carlos whas showing. I honestly can’t say I remember seeing him get to anything in the hole between 3rd and short all year. Santiago gets there and has some juice in the consequent throw to 1st. Renteria is basically “OK”, but you need more than “OK” from the critical position of ****. They will obviously go the limit with Renteria but taking him out for a defensive replacement is something they all need to come to terms with. He knows he is not what he used to be so if JL can say as much then perhaps it will not become an ‘issue” to have to be camoflauged and glossed over. Do what’s right for the team, no matter who you are or what you have accomplished.
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There is no time for *****-footing around anymore. 1/3 of the season is G-O-N-E already!

Some may afind this interesting:

“Rumbling through the jungle
• Mad Dog for sale?: Greg Maddux to the Braves? Hey, it’s a beautiful plot line. It’s a rumor that never quite dies. And it sure isn’t impossible, if the price is right. But clubs that have spoken with the Braves say they’re more focused on trying to find a younger starting pitcher they can hang onto for just the last few months of this season. So think more along the lines of the non-free agents who could pop onto the market (though not necessarily these names in particular) — Joe Blanton, Rich Harden, Bronson Arroyo, Daniel Cabrera, Jeremy Bonderman, etc.
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Robertson
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• Catch a Tiger: Here’s another pitching name to file away for your pre-deadline rumor mill: Nate Robertson. The Tigers have told clubs they might have a left-hander available in a few weeks. And it certainly wouldn’t be Kenny Rogers or Dontrelle Willis. So that leaves Robertson, who won 13 games in 2006 but is only 11-18, with a 5.04 ERA, in the two seasons since.
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“I’m not sure what to make of him,” said one scout. “Last time I saw him, he cruised through four innings with shutout stuff and command of three pitches. Then he gave up a home run in the fifth, and it looked like the Titanic just sunk. He became totally different. I could still recommend him, but it wouldn’t be a strong, this-guy-can-save-our-staff kind of recommendation.”

Hey Dan,

Where did you get that info. Want to post the details on my blog. I’m going to be honest and say I highly doubt the Tigers will unload Bonderman. I think the Robertson trade is more likely but this only happens if Willis comes back into the rotation and is strong and consistent. If not, who do they move into the starting rotation? And really, what do you get in return for Robertson?? A couple of picks? maybe bullpen help??

I wonder if both DD and JL are thinking that the long term solution with Zumaya is to punch him in the starting rotation now (doubt it, but maybe)? Particularly with the injuries. I also highly doubt they think Porcello is ready. All this leads me to believe that the starting rotation is the last place they are going to make a move if they do.

— EMS

Hey Jason,
Why was my post deleted (or did it not work) lol??

Just wanted to know where Dan got the trade rumor from.

Nevermind!!! I see it’s posted lol.

— EMS

Eric, Jayson Stark over on ESPN has that story.
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–Rich

Thanks Rich

—Eric

Dan, I always enjoy your posts. Can tell just by reading them that you are a passionate Tiger fan. I must respectfully disagree with you on Brandon Inge. I would take Inge at 3rd even if he hit .240. Sure he is prone to strike out alot, but in ’84 we won it all with a platoon of 3 guys (HoJo, Brookens, and Castillo) who together whiffed over 130 times! Inge’s defense offsets his batting and I think he brings this “TEAM” closer to the right chemistry. It just doesn’t make sense to me to have probably the best defensive 3rd baseman in the league sitting. I would not like to see him end up with anyone in our division like Fryman to Clevland or Monroe in Minnesota. Besides, if this lineup hits the way it is supposed to, no one would notice. If you can’t hide Brandon in this lineup, he wouldn’t fit anywhere.

Ohio Tiger Fan,
Thanks for the Inge endorsement. Dan and I have agreed to disagree over Inge since I joined this blog last year. All of your statements are valid. And I would contend that he could hit better if he were inserted at 3b in the lineup and left alone. He’s an old Virginia boy who just loves the game, and will give his all. Finally, when the Cabrera trade was made, if Miguel could ahve been sold on the idea of coming in as a left fielder, I don’t think all of this garbage would have happened. The Guillen first base experiment was halted before it really began. Cabrera came up as a left fielder, and I do believe he would have bought into the idea of moving back to left field. I guess we’ll never know.
Jake Wood had over 140 strikeouts as our second baseman in 1961. Infield defense is critical to winning championships.
Keep INge at third or let him go.

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