Postscript on Porcello

Talking with GM Dave Dombrowski Friday, he did not want to put a specific level of probability on Porcello making the team:

“I don’t know that I can draw any summation,” Dombrowski said. “He’s out of A-ball. It’s not really most likely, but that’s why you go to spring training and you see what happens. It’s not likely. It’s not highly unlikely.”

The one condition Dombrowski did put on it is that Porcello will not make the team as a reliever. He will work as a starter, whether it’s in Detroit or at Erie or at Toledo.


I have not posted in a while but I read everything. Being a Tiger Fan for all of my 52 years, I look forward to every Spring. Plus the older I get, baseball means warmer weather in Grand Rapids. I am excited to see Porcello. Our team needs pitching like we had in 06. With all the teachers in my family, we need a pitching coach that can teach these guys how to pitch. Hey, does anyone watch the MLB baseball channel on cable? I lost a few channels so I upgraded for 10 dollars a month. I was surfing and there it was. Live games from the Dominican and also classice games. Well, that is it for now. Thanks everyone for your comments as I really enjor. Go Tigers 09!
Dave from Caledonia

Been away for awhile and it is good to see the fan interest ramping up and the anticipation of Tiger baseball once again.
I am pretty sure this year will be better than last–it really, simply and improbably was a year that could not be coincidentally replicated. It was the classic (Im)Perfect Storm. Bonderman and Willis going down, Verlander having a poor year and Nate having a disastrous one (and really, one could include Kenny in there too)—decimated the rotation. Inge, Sheffield, MCab/Guillen, Renteria, the Jones boys, etc, etc, etc, etc.
Realistically all the above should or could improve their seasons significantly. Verlander should benefit from the humbling experience of personal failure, Nate’s eyes should be wide open to the fact that he is the type of talent that has to ALWAYS work harder to keep his job–he is not a natural talent like Verlander or Porcello—blue collar guy who has to remember that. Bonderman, of whom I am not a personal fan, is to me potentially one of the better pitchers in baseball——IF—— he learns the art of developing a 3rd PLUS pitch. Without it he is doomed to being average and a trivia question answer along with the likes of Paul Foytack, Walt Terrell and Joe Sparma. I can’t believe he has not been ordered to come up with that critical 3rd pitch. Talking about one every year has gotten very very old.
As to the 5th man in the rotation, I kinda hope it goes to Willis. He’s young still and somewhat charismatic. I hope he can discover himself and we get a lefty in the rotation. I personally believe that Nate could make himself into an effective tool out of the bullpen. Not sure what happens with Zach but I suppose he will be the swing man this year. In my mind they actually should have given him a shot at seeing what he could do as closer. Lyon should be OK-fingers crossed.
My thoughts on the positional players are that we are better off this year than last. Injuries were a factor for more guys than just the exalted Gary Sheffield. Guillen was not in perfect health, really, all year. Polanco had that bad back and we all know the mega-impact of Curtis’ untimely broken finger had on the club.
People seem to be a bit too presumptuous in their glee over Guillen being moved to LF. I think he will be OK but let’s face some hard facts here. He had to be moved FROM 1st base because he likely would have ended up with broken bones with the way he handled the bag. He had to be moved FROM 3rd base, because he had seriously degraded range and a very unpredictable style and erratic arm. Everyone talks of his natural abilities but they didn’t seem to get him through the hoops last year. Playing OF after a life in the infield is not as easy a transition as it sounds. Curtis is going to have a lot of pressure on him to cover the gaps between a novice in left and lead-footed star in right.
I can’t see Larish NOT making this team. Can anyone spell LHB?
This guy will out-produce Jacque Jones’ contribution last year in the first 2 weeks of baseball if he is allowed to play. I hope he can handle 3rd though I know Inge will get every opportunity to play there regardless of whether he deserves the spot or not. Obviously he has to hit above .250 to be a significant overall contributor to the cause. He will undoubtedly, improve from the dismal year at the plate last year but with the expected diminished output from Everett (compared to Renteria and previously Guillen), there should be some concern over a Don Wert/Ray Oyler scenario developing.
The reserves are an interesting bunch. Ramon gives you the glove and friendly personality for his mates and fans. I like the way he approaches his at bats too. Under-rated guy.
Raburn’s versatility is useful but he seems to lack that Pete Rose kind of determination that could make him a really good ballplayer. Not comparing him to Old Pete but he just seems to be a little too casual.
Marcus will always be the guy ready to play even when being taken advantage of. A guy who can actually carry the team for awhile. I am surprised they didn’t take advantage of his trade value. In my mind there are some teams in MLB that could really benefit from making him an everyday player..
Hessman is one of those guys I just plain like. I think he has not been given enough opportunity to show what he can do at 3rd base. With Inge struggling last year and the season in the crapper it was illogical not to have given him a longer look to see what he could do and at least showcase his abilities.
The jury is out on the bullpen and I suspect there will be the same “hope & dream” strategy as last year when names like Bautista, Cruceta, Bazardo and Beltran all flashed in their pans.
I was very glad to see the talk of Parrish dissipate. In my mind we have enough lefties in the mix right now and he was a very, very ordinary possibility. Rapada, McBride, Bloom, Nate, Willis should be adequate behind Bobby Seay. Granted, I don’t think Willis is a true bullpen candidate. I think he will make it as a starter or be pawned off elsewhere or banished forever.
I’m pulling for him though as a decent contribution from him will really help this ball club
I hope we find a surprise or two that can bolster the bullpen. We are going to also need to replace Aqulino Lopez who gave us some good innings last year. The hype about Knapp being a guy who emphasizes throwing strikes should help a lot, provided we have the guys who CAN throw strikes. JL is still defending Hernandez but it is abundantly clear he did not have an effective influence on his pitching staff. I am very hopeful for Knapp and am also relieved that dombrowski was able to get Gerald Laird.
We’ve heard the mantra many times——pitching, pitching, pitching. I think we are gonna “get it” this year.

I hope they let Porcello continue to develop. You have to wonder how good Bonderman could be if he had been held back until he had developed a full pitching range. Now into his 7th season and still only 26, I wonder if he will ever get the ability and confidence to throw a 3rd, let alone a 4th pitch.
If we are going well, maybe a September call up to help solidify the bullpen, similar to what the Rays did with David Price.
You have to feel good about the Tigers for 2009. We have options with our pitchers (agree with Dan that Willis must start to be effective) and who knows what role Nate and Zach might (hopefully) play in the bullpen. I would though like Cordero as cheap July insurance to Lyons and Rodney.
DD has intentionally set up 2009 as a year by which nearly the whole team has 2010 contracts to play for. Intensity levels should be higher with many established players coming off contract, new acquisitions on one year contracts, our bench effectively intact and more experienced (Thomas and Hollimon back from injury with only the loss of Joyce) and the farm prospects showing real potential.
Bring on spring training!!

I am actually looking forward to this year. I agree wholeheartedly with Dan’s “Perfect Storm” comment. Let’s face it, anything that could go wrong did go wrong last year. Are we that much different from the team that was supposed to win 100 games last year – with the big “if” being the health of several key players?

Our top six in the lineup could be formidable. Our bottom three will not produce huge offensively, but should offset that defensively. We’ve replaced Pudge, Edgar, and Jones with Laird, Everett, and Inge from last year’s projected opening day lineup. If Sheff and Carlos are healthy, our starting nine should be fine.

It ultimatelty comes down to pitching. Verlander, Bonderman, and Jackson all have potentially electric stuff. I expect Nate to come back, while Willis is the wild card. The bullpen is probably the the key to this team. For us to go anywhere, we need Zoom and Rodney, plus to get lucky somewhere (Rincon?). This team gave away too many games last year. Better defense and relief pitching would go a long way towards reversing that. With all due respect to the rest of the division, I don’t believe we’re that far away. With no expectations, we could surprise.

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