Wait, the Tigers have a baserunning consultant? (update)

fielderIt was easy to overlook with Don Kelly’s return and the full slate of non-roster Spring Training invites, but thanks to those who pointed it out from the press release: The Tigers also announced the hiring of a new baserunning guru, bringing former Major League coach Jeff Cox to camp as a consultant. He’ll spend Spring Training in big-league camp and pop in on the club during homestands over the course of the regular season, according to the press release.

UPDATE: Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Wednesday afternoon that Cox will focus on individual instruction. They’re bringing him in to work with Austin Jackson, Andy Dirks and others on basestealing. Third-base coach Tom Brookens will continue to handle the team baserunning drills.

“He’s going to work with Jackson and some of the guys that have the potential to steal bases, Dirks, guys like that,” Leyland said of Cox. “Really, Jackson’s the primary guy obviously. We want him to get a little better at that. That’s always been one of [Cox’s] strong suits.”

Cox spent four years as the White Sox third-base coach under manager Ozzie Guillen before he took last season off and spent time with family. He was a coach with the Pirates and Marlins in previous stops, including the 2003 World Series championship team in Florida.

cabreraIt doesn’t forbode any change on the Tigers coaching staff, but it seemingly signifies an emphasis on baserunning for this club going forward. Leyland has mentioned several times over the years that he’d like the Tigers to become a better team on the basepaths, smarter and more aggressive if not actually faster. Prince Fielder’s out at the plate in Game 2 of the World Series might well be the lingering memory from the Tigers’ sweep out of the Fall Classic. Third-base coach Gene Lamont took much of the blame for it and accepted it after the game, but others suggested a better slide from Fielder would’ve gotten him around the tag.

Presumably, Cox won’t work with guys like Fielder, and he definitely won’t be working on base-to-base stuff. Still, it reflects the general emphasis. If they’re looking to turn basestealing into more of an asset for Jackson, it’s just as big.

“We just think that’s a real nice fit,” Leyland said. “That’s always been his expertise. It’s always been. We just hope he can get some of that across to some of our guys.”

19 Comments

this move is a big ole lead in the right direction

I thought that all along Prince is a terribe slider and since he didn’t try to either ram his way in, he didn’t try to make the target smaller by going to the outside with a swipe tag instead he gave Posey the biggest target possible. In the end……it wasn’t the only thing wrong Fielder did in that post season…..he and the other big 2 (Verlander and to an extent Cabrera were all horrible). Not one of them stepped up.

Fielder’s slide was one, but a lot of these guys need better sliding techniques. That issue is actually MLB-wide.
I must say, it will be good to see Don Kelly in camp next month.

How about a bullpen consultant?

hahah but so true

DD:
“I’d think you’d have to say Porcello has a leg up because he’s got more experience at that point, but Smyly did such a good job for us last year and you ideally want a left-hander in your rotation.”
Mlive.com

We can use all the base running help we can get

MLB Network is having a 2 hr show tonight called: San Francisco vs. Detroit in the 2012 Fall Classic. I don’t think I can watch.

how times have changed. i remember a young Juan Encarnacion who arrived at the major league level having never learned to effectively slide feet first. not quite sure how that happens, but i’m not joking.
.
have never understood the head first slide when advancing a base. was it the ‘Pete Rose’ effect?…guy who slides headfirst leaves observer with the impression that he is ‘hustling?’

So, in other words, Austin Jackson and Andy Dirks are going to have a private tutor sounds like to me. Like Rod Allen says, A-Jax is fast, but not Quintin Berry fast or, in my words, not even Torii Hunter fast.

It’s good to see them at least acknowleding that this is important. They should be working with Berry, too, though he’s pretty good as is. Movement on the basepath can really throw off the defense.
-Mike

http://minoringinbaseball.com/

I don’t see Berry making the team if they go after a RHB outfielder and keep Boesch.
I don’t think Berry is any more promising than Josh Anderson was.
Speaking of RHB—Mariners got a pretty good one today.

I think if we can get better bunting from quinton berry than he would have much better chance than don kelly to make the squad. He is the best pinch runner we have period. And that occasionally wins games.

win ya 2-4 a year prolly

I again checked the Tigers depth chart . As of today, Coke has been removed from the Closer slot and replaced with Rondon. Still no Below in the pen, but Lobstein is there.

Lobstein must be there since he is a rule 5 draft pick. If he fail to make the team , he must be returned to his team.. Koubernus, the other Kelly must be there too.

Don Kelly is a great guy and, as JL is fond of saying, “one of his favourites”. But I hope that does not play into a roster selection. He is almost capable of earning one but I fear he simply misses the competency level. I wish he would have signed with another team that could afford to let him play.

Agree with you on this one Slow. We should develop a four man bench which covers our defensive needs and also gives us some base stealing potential and some pinchhitting with pop. Our manager’s comfort zone will be Pena, Santiago, Kelly, and Worth. It will be sad if that is where we get after a crucial spring training for this franchise. I’ll just give you a couple other four man combos that would get us headed in the right direction. Pena, Kobernus, Berry and Worth will be the best base stealing combo. Berry is the best outfield backup by far. Worth can cover more positions than Kelly if he really gets work in the OF this spring. Truly believe that Leyland might desire this combination: Pena, Kobernus, Dirks, and Worth. For this to be the bench, Garcia or Castellanos will have to beat out Dirks for left field. Dirks is by far our best pinchhitter and also would provide some pop coming off the bench. Also, with three RHB in the outfield our fourth outfielder becomes a no-bainer as Andy would be the ideal guy for our manager to try to get ABs. Personally, I don’t think that either will be ready this spring but stranger things have happened. As you see, I think Boesch, Kelly and Santiago are on the hot seat. To make the team, Boesch has to win the left field job or someone has to have an injury. We do not want that to happen. Trades in spring training are rare but one or two may happen this year.

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