Leyland on Raburn: “I probably screwed him up”

One year ago around this time, Ryan Raburn was on his way to getting booed out of Detroit. His experiment as the Tigers’ regular second baseman was going horribly, offensively and defensively, and the fan response was growing.

Manager Jim Leyland waited it out, hoping Raburn would get that one hit to spark him on the kind of roll that he gets on — the kind of roll he’s on right now. It never happened, and it was probably the decision fans critiqued the most during Leyland’s oft-questioned contract year.

Now, as Raburn returns to Detroit in a Cleveland Indians uniform coming off AL Player of the Week honors for going 11-for-12 with four home runs in a four-game stretch, Leyland is trying to put the blame on himself for Raburn not working out as an everyday player.

“Everybody knows what I think of Ryan Raburn,” Leyland said. “I always have, and I always will. And I know he’s a talented player, and if he gets comfortable again he’s going to do well. I think I probably screwed him up last year making him a second baseman. If I had played him part-time in the outfield and moved him around and not just had high expectations, he’d have probably been fine. So I’ll take the responsibility for that. He’s a talented guy.

“It was probably my fault. I just thought maybe we could get 15 home runs out of him playing second base. It didn’t work, so it’s my mistake.”

(A reminder worth noting: At this point last year, second base had been a black hole in Detroit for some time. Omar Infante’s play last fall and this season has made that easy to forget.)

That said, it won’t be Leyland getting booed when Raburn is introduced. Leyland is hoping it isn’t Raburn getting booed.

“First of all, from a normal situation, I don’t like to get any player on any team get booed unless he’s not giving an effort,” Leyland said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s my team or anybody else’s team. I don’t like to see anybody get booed. If a guy’s not giving an effort, whether it be a manager, a coaching staff, pitching coach, whoever it may be, then you deserve what you get. But if a guy’s giving an honest effort every day and putting out and busting his tail, I don’t like to see anybody get booed.

“I don’t get any satisfaction seeing any player booed from any team. I mean, this is a hard game to play. It’s a funny game. You just don’t know.”


hah, yea and where do i get my refund for the 200 abs he crapped away at a measly .171 /.226 /.254 /.480? For 420,000 hot and readys all detroit got was a -1.5 WAR. Don’t forget about that skip.

i hope some of those alex avila hits head over raburn’s way. i’ve waited 7 years to have a chuckle at a raburn defensive mishap.

I don’t think you will hear many boos. I expect fans will give him a pretty warm reception.

Yeah, they’ll probably love him up now. Kind of like “we were just kidding.”
Another issue with that secondbase business last year was trying to stick Inge into the mix and running a 3-ring circus throughout spring training. The end result was that none of Inge, Raburn, or Santiago got enough reps. All three of them failed miserably out of the gate and never recovered.
In 2011, Raburn was supposedly handed the LF job but a hot streak by Boesch late in ST put the ka-boesch on that idea. Raburn was the starter for about three days before being put into competition with Brennan. When Jim says “I’ll take the responsibility” you bet he will.
The sad part is, it always seemed as if the entire fan base hated Raburn, and that was far from the truth. The haters were just loud.

I never hated him I can’t tell you many how many games I was at were he drove in the winning run or had walk off hits of some sort. The idiots at Comerica screwed with his head, Inges head and Grilli’s head. I’m not even saying it wasn’t time for some of these guys to go but fans made damn sure they would never recover from their slump.
By the way I was listening to a white soxs broadcast last week and they think of Ryan Raburn as a “white soxs killer”

Grilli hates Leyland. He had harsh words for him .

I never hated “Rugburn” either. However, I did hate how Jim stuck with Boesch so long that it pained us to watch him. Ryan has had a few misadventures out in the field this year, but he sure has become a star for Mr. Francona. The Tigers are coming home to crummy weather Maybe that will wake them up.

I don’t know that many in Detroit “hated’ Raburn. They hated the fact that he had enough talent to have these amazing hot streaks where he hit like an All-Star, so you couldn’t give up on him. Unfortunately the rest of the time he looked completely lost at the plate. He just never had the kind of consistency that he needed to display to be a regular starter. He’s just too streaky, and as good as he is when he is rolling, he is BAD when he is slumping.

I’m glad he’s doing well for Cleveland. I’m also glad that his unbelievable inconsistency is their problem now, and not ours.

And that is an excellent analysis. Great comment.

Agree, too. Good job Jaime. Never said an unkind word about Ryan myself. Truly thought he deserved a shot to be the starting second baseman last year unfortunately Mr. Leyland was in an awful position and never could quite get it right early on last year. Here’s what the numbers say on Ryan this year. He has had three streaks this year. First one he was 9 for 42 for a .214 average. Sound familiar?? Then he had a torrid 11 for 13 streak with 4 homers. He never had anything quite like that with us. Since the hot streak he has gone 4 for 18 for a .222 clip. He recently received some bonus PT, as Michael Bourn was injured, and took advantage of it. Good job Ryan. Now he is against us so stay cool for a while Ryan. Who do you guys play next after us??. Good luck then.

Great point. I do think he got scapegoated for the Tigers’ bigger early-season problems last year, though. I kind of look at him as a similar streaky role player to Marcus Thames, yet fans loved Thames and always will.

I hadn’t considered the Thames angle. That’s an eye opener.
As usual, a fan base of say 10 million will have 10 million different opinions, and most internet comments and talk radio call-ins stem from a desire to vent over perceived negatives. And boos are louder than non-cheers.

Thames hit a HR every 10 something AB. He was one of my favorites

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