Cabrera defends Ausmus, talks deadline deals, wonders what if

Miguel Cabrera spent the last two Septembers playing through injuries in a push for a Tigers berth in the postseason. He has no postseason spot for which to push this September, and that hurts worse.

Cabrera finished off a batting title and an MVP season two years ago through a groin tear, and he hit .379 over the final month last year despite a stress fracture in his foot. The left calf strain he suffered this summer seems mild by comparison, but the last-place division standing does not.

He’s pushing, trying to finish off his fourth batting title in five years. But it’s getting tough, and his .189 average (10-for-53) this month shows it. He hasn’t been out of the playoff chase at this point since 2010, and he hasn’t had a losing season in Detroit since 2008, his first as a Tiger.

It’s no fun for the fans, and he knows it. It’s no fun for him, either, no matter how much he smiles when he’s on the field.

“The past two or three weeks, no. It’s no fun at all,” he said as he sat at his locker Wednesday afternoon, before a pinch-hit strikeout Wednesday night extended his hitless streak to 0-for-20. “It’s hard, man, when you lose a lot of games and all the stuff happens this year. It’s kind of hard, but we need to keep pushing,”

The stuff to which he referred included injuries up and down the roster, including himself. It included a buy/sell debate leading up to the July nonwaiver Trade Deadline, the deadline deals that sent out David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria, the dismissal of the general manager who put together those deals just a few days earlier, and now the managerial limbo of Brad Ausmus.

Cabrera watches Price and Cespedes star on their new teams, headed towards October baseball, and he’s happy for them. But he also wonders what might have been.

“You have to be happy for them,” he said. “Those are guys you’ve gotta want to see here if we were in the playoff race. You’ve gotta think how fun it is with these two guys, if this team’s together, how good we can be. It’s a big difference.”

Cabrera was still on the DL when the trades happened. Verlander was back, but was just beginning to round into form. Martinez was back, but starting his second-half struggles. Add in pitching struggles, and the midseason move back into contention to convince management to make deals never happened.

“I think if we were healthy, I think we’d be in the race right now,” Cabrera said. “I don’t know if we could be in the playoffs or first place, but I think we could be in good shape to make a run. Because with these three guys we traded, I think we’d have a good chance if we were together. But it was a hard decision. They made some trades, and we don’t have anything to think about.”

They still stayed on the fringe of contention for a few weeks until that three-game sweep in Toronto in which everything went wrong.

“Yeah, it was kind of tough,” Cabrera said.

Ironically, the series that essentially sank the Tigers’ season was the same series that gave Cabrera the plate appearances he needed to qualify for the batting race. At the time, he said it didn’t matter. He doesn’t dismiss it the same way these days, but he admits it’s conflicting for him.

“It’s over there,” he said, to the side, “but it’s hard when you’re losing games. It’s hard to focus on what you want and what the team wants, because if the team’s not doing good, you know you’re not going to do good. But hopefully we finish strong and make something happen.”

That focus isn’t helped by the speculation surrounding Ausmus, whose situation will be evaluated at season’s end according to GM Al Avila. When a Fire Ausmus sign was on display in Chicago, Cabrera reportedly signed a ball for a fan to get the sign from him. He couldn’t do that last week in Cleveland with reports of Ausmus’ season-end dismissal.

“We’re over there and see what’s in the paper,” Cabrera said, “and some fan comes to you, ‘Oh, the manager’s fired. Oh, you guys stink.’ Man, it’s kind of like, ‘This is not happening right now.’ It’s kind of hard to go to the stadium when some fan in Chicago and Cleveland tells you that. It gets you right here [heart] and right here [head].”

Asked how much he takes that personally, he said, “A lot, because it’s not his fault. So why are you going to blame a guy like that? Why do people say you’ve got to fire him?

“We got a lot of injuries this year. We didn’t come together this year. I think that’s one of the big reasons. I always say, man, if we’re healthy, we can push harder. But this year, we got a lot of key players out for one month, two months. With that, there’s no way you’re going to win, because we need everybody here. It’s not about one player. We’ve got a lot of guys here with big numbers and we don’t go anywhere. It’s not about numbers or stats. It’s about winning games.”


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“But we couldn’t even begin thinking about making the trade because we didn’t have starting pitching,” Dombrowski said.
“But then everything happened quick. We got to the winter meetings in San Diego, and the Alfredo Simon thing happened within a day.”
Simon. 4.93.-0.4 WAR Porcello 5.06 /0.5

Simon is a #4 or#5 Starter. He leads the Tigers with 13 wins, which is 8th best in the AL. Porcello has produced 8 wins in exchange for his new front end Starter contract.

A deadline deal having a dramatic impact on a pennant race is not uncommon. I can’t recall it happening in both leagues with players traded from the same club.

Looking back I don’t think alot of fans feel sorry for Ausmus . This season is all but flushed away . There is alot of blame to go around . Myself I cant wait for 2016 and seeing what roster will be built .

Miggy just wants to have fun—that’s all he really wants.
And we want to see him having fun. It is not much fun watching him now.
Buena suerte a mi amigo y pasar un buen rato.

McCann ´s ERA:
While his defense is very good. He is bad at framing. Ausmus is considered the best since they are tracking it. But…

I don’t feel sorry for Brad. In my mind he inherited a good team. He has not won the really important games nor has he inspired his club to play consistent baseball or find some “chemistry”. He has mis-managed the bullpen repetitively. He has not maximized the speed in his lineup and has let it slip into waiting (and waiting) for the lumbering giants inn the middle of the lineup to clear the bases. Has been slow to react to situations when proaction was actually indicated. He has handled the press in an homogenous fashion and also candy-coated his answers to media questions. He has managed to take a team that regularly won 90 games to a last place team that may not win 75 this season and finish 20 games behind. Fans are disillusioned and seats are empty. His GM was likely fired because of his record.
It is not his fault he had no managerial experience but two seasons later he doesn’t seem any more experienced than when the radical experiment started. I think that is enough time and results for him to bear the brunt that managers do. When a team plays poorly when they are expected to play well-the manager gets fired.
He is a likable guy. He still has a future in the game ahead of him.
I don’t think the fans of Detroit would get behind him if he were to be retained.

Perfectly said…

McCann’s framing should improve, he has seen the stats. Maybe that will be his self assigned off season homework.

I feel sorry for Ausmus only because of the pitching staff he was given. But, the bad decisions on how to use that staff is on him. He could have made better BP decisions that probably would have resulted in more wins. I just don’t think he was the right choice to begin with. Especially after Leyland.

I wouldn’t agree that all Miggy wants to do is have fun, last night he tried too hard to hit a home run. He doesn’t follow his own advice.

I WANT to see Miggy have fun. When he is he is mashing the ball and it influences others in the lineup to play better. Fun is not “all he really wants”, he wants to win.
Miguel is a big star with a big heart and a big impact on his team-mates. I hope he is able to separate the miserable state of Detroit Tiger baseball from any kind of self-implied ownership he may be feeling for its presence. It seems to me there is a weight on his shoulders. Miggy has done everything possible to make this team work. He can’t overcome the mistakes that management, coaches and front-office have put upon this team this year.

The best thing that can come out of this is if the media and fans place NO expectations on this club next year. I didn’t think they would win the division last year or this year, but the “experts” kept on picking them. We can have fun with a team that’s not expected to win everything.
As a former co-worker of mine would always say, “Everybody just needs to go sit down for awhile.”

When they hired Brad I was really hoping it would work out. That doesn’t seem to have happened. As Dan suggests above, he doesn’t appear to be learning much on the job.
I suppose our opinions can be pretty laughable to those in the know, but we see what we see.

the bullpen numbers are bad despite using heavily the guys who proved they could get outs (Wilson, Hardy, Soria). the injuries and lack of bullpen depth might just buy Ausmus beginning another season in charge. I do expect a change at pitching coach, even though Jones shouldn’t shoulder the majority blame either. the bullpen issue is primarily a talent problem imo.

Getting back to Miggy…so the big guy is hurting, is he being helped by the hitting coach…why is he playing? Why does he swing at everything thats thrown at him?
He’s killed so many potentional rallies,,,strike outs, dp’s…pitchers have no fear of him any more….so, (a little late, but) take the rest of the season off. please.
Maybe, he could lose a few pounds, as well.
Does anyone know Joba is now with the KC team? He came in relief against
Cleveland and, to no ones surprise…gave up a grand salomi…I imagine he’ll
be used against the Tigers this final series against KC…no matter.

Note:Moya looks a little lost at the plate…hopefully, he’ll work things out..

If Brad keeps sending Miggy out there that his decision. Is another batting title that important to Miggy? We can’t be sure. Geez, he has a Triple Crown… many players can say that? He will be fine next year and that’s what matters.
Miggy swings at everything because he feels it’s his job to hit a home run, I said before he tries too hard. In his urgency to win a game he throws his baseball smarts out the window and hopes he connects with the ball.
I don’t remember people getting upset with The Mayor (Casey) for chit chatting. Like Dan, I love Miggy having fun and hope he never changes. Love him or hate him, he will be in the HOF. And yes, he’s my Tiger!

The season is over. He is not injured. He can keep chasing the batting tittle. It is not his longest slump for his career and he is not hurting anyone
It is a big deal. He will be the 4th RHB since the dead ball ERA with 4 batting titles . His name will be along: Hornsby( 7), Clemente, Waner.Madlock. Before 1920: Honus Wagner and Nap Lajoie.
Since 2010, every year ,a Venezuelan has won a batting title.

Daren William:
Miguel Cabrera when swinging at pitches in the zone
2015 .450 / 2014 .368/
2013 .406/ 2012 .402/ 2011 .417/
2010 .373/ 2009 .409 /2008 .368

Mark Simon thinks Cespedes could win the GG as .. Tiger. He leads in DRS , part of the algoritm used by the Saber soc to qualify the finalists

if Twins miss out on playoffs by narrow margin, yesterday’s loss will be remembered…first Tiger win this season when trailing after 8 innings…no Perkins

I guess we owed ’em one, Woody.

I don’t see any sensible reason to take your fan drawing, future HOFer, highly paid superstar and sit him for the rest of the season. Wow.

Dodgers DFA Mat Latos in September. Whatever’s wrong with him, they deemed non-fixable in 2 weeks.

Absolutely right Rich. He has to play for the integrity of the game, to keep meaning in the batting title. He understands that better than any of us could ever. He will get himself out of the slump and win title because he is the best hitter in the game.

If anyone thinks I want Miggy to shut down they are wrong. I mentioned Brad keeps sending him out there as a response to someone commenting Miggy is doing nothing “so take the rest of the season off, please”. All I meant is Brad makes the decision, not Miggy.
Maybe tonight the slump will end. I hope he does win the title so Venezuela can continue to have bragging rights.

Understood, Kate. You weren’t the one that suggested it.

Same here.And thanks

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Same here Kate.

The Tigers have some issues, but I read that of the 15 top WAR scores in the AL 3 belong to Miggy, Kinsler and JD. The team is fixable, if Avila does his job. By comparison, DD has some really big issues. Porcello, with 8 wins, is listed as the BoSox #1 on their depth chart.

DD needs to do a good job in Boston. Red Sox Nation can be a very hostile baseball fan base.
Hopefully Avila can snag players that DD may go after also. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Does anyone think the Tigers consider FA Doug Fister this winter?

I have neen saying yes to Fister for a while. He needs a one year contract to rebuild his career

I don’t. Apparently Doug has lost significant velo and he needs every MPH he had to make his stuff effective. JMHO
I do hope they consider guys like Brett Anderson, Bucholz, Estrada,Leake and Zimmerman though. I really like Zimmerman but Rich would really have a good idea of what he might be able to do.

I’d also be looking at a possible FA left-fielder. Moya is likely not going to be ready, at least not if Illitch is still trying to cobble a pennant contender.
If he is then the best of the bunch is Jason Heyward. Many of us would like to see Yoenis back but we really need a LHB in that lineup. Jason is also considerably younger. He is probably on the verge of super-stardom.

Fister had an injury this year and we’ve seen how those things can nag. I don’t think he’s done and for the salary might be a worthwhile risk.
Jordan Zimmermann is a guy who can carry a rotation when he gets it going. Quietly gets the job done. The Nats have an abundance of starters but they may want to keep it that way. Lots of injuries.
I’d love to get Cespedes back but he’s just going to cost too much. I’ve always liked Heyward and saw a lot of him in spring training the last few years.
Mr. Avila has a dandy little challenge facing him. Should be interesting.

Speaking of Cespedes, I read a recent article in which his trade to the Mets was laid out. Apparently Cespedes was going nowhere unless Fulmer was the return. The Mets didn’t want to go there , but caved in out of need. It seems the Tigers might really have something in this guy.

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