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This is one fight we all must join: Tigers fight to .500

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  • This is one fight we all must join: Tigers fight to .500

    Okay, I know you Tigers hadn't a winning season since 1993, but here is a question: what weak points did you suspect when they lost 109 games in '96, or the 119 games suffered in 2003? I am asking this because the Tigers need to get back in action, and that Leyland as the manager again should see a couple improvements.

    This fight is to get the Tigers back in shape to above .500, and seeing two good lefties (Kenny Rogers and Todd "Rollercoaster" Jones) joining the pitching staff and bullpen, respectively.

    (I know my team lost to you in 1968, but I ask this because the Tigers have been struggling because of Alan "Can't Manage" Trammell, going for three losing seasons, one as the worst in the millenium)

  • #2
    I think one of the main reasons why the Tigers haven't had any kind of success lately is due to sloppy play, careless attitudes, and inept front-office decisions. Current honcho Dave Dombrowski is a top-notch guy, and is highly regarded in his field. I think DD's done an admirable job fixing the mistakes made by Randy Smith, the former GM, and re-stocking the farm system with quality young pitchers. The Tigers recieved a lot of phone calls so far about some of the young guys we have (Granderson, Verlander, Zumaya, etc.), something that hasn't happened in a while. I have to believe that Leyland will install a new attitude, and that within a year or two the Tigers will be serious contenders in a much stronger Central division.
    "Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." - Edgar Allan Poe

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Solair Wright
      ....and seeing two good lefties (Kenny Rogers and Todd "Rollercoaster" Jones) joining the pitching staff and bullpen, respectively.
      Just to correct a point, Todd Jones is a righty.


      Prior to Mike Illitch's purchase of the team, the Tiger's scouting and farm system had been sacrificed to field a competitive major league team under long-time manager Sparky Anderson. Once it became obvious that the team couldn't perpetually trade and buy their way to competitiveness, Illitch's new GM Randy Smith was given the charge of remedying the situation by operating the team as a "less-than-major-market" franchise; i.e. drafting and developing young talent while keeping a lid on major league payroll. Part of the plan was building a new stadium to counteract an aging and dwindling fan base. Much of the emphasis (and money), however, was placed on marketing and not the product on the field. The infamous Juan Gonzalez trade comes immedately to mind.

      Gonzalez was brought to Detroit not as a well thought-out piece of the winning puzzle, but to create hype for the new stadium and prove to fans that the team was willing to spend big bucks for proven major league talent; never mind the fact that Gonzalez's power numbers were bound to suffer with Comerica Park's cavernous left-field dimensions. The team offered him a rich ten-year contract which he declined, choosing to instead leave in free agency the following year. That is one of those "oh-what-a-nightmare-it-could-have-been" scenarios!h

      Meanwhile, the talent that the Tigers were counting on to form the backbone of a long-term formidable line-up -- Tony Clark, Damion Easley, Bobby Higginson -- all retrogressed. It was Gonzalez's presence at the clean-up spot which was largely responsible for Higginson's finest season (he batted third) but Tony Clark never had the break-out season expected of him. Injuries also played a role here. Free agent signee Dean Palmer did all that was expected of him, but injuries finally did him in as well.

      With a looming debt hanging over the team from the new stadium, veteran talent and their salaries were dumped in trades. It was seemingly a never-ending string of one-year fixes until young talent could bloom. Alas, the young talent wasn't really of major league caliber -- Eric Munson, Nate Cornejo, Ramon Santiago, etc. It eventually cost manager Phil Garner his job.
      The team's only home-grown major league caliber pitcher, Jeff Weaver, was eventually traded by present GM Dave Dombrowski to restock the team with young "instant starters" Jeremy Bonderman, Carlos Pena, and reliever Franklin German. Only Bonderman has proven to be a major league force.
      Top draft picks Munson, Scott Moore, Matt Wheatland, Kenny Baugh, and Kyle Sleeth have proven to be busts for various reasons.

      Much has been written about how the move to Comerica Park from the "friendly confines" of Tiger Stadium has transformed the team's raison d'etre from one of outslugging the opposition to one of stressing pitching, team speed, defense, and smart hitting. This has proven to be a hard sell to fans, as well as to the players.
      The clarion call to hitters since the move has been to stress on-base percentage and working the count. This has seemingly been anathema to Tigers hitters for years; i.e. Tigers' hitters wouldn't buy into that line of thinking. Highly-touted "five-tool" outfielder Juan Encarnacion was one. He never fulfilled his promise with the team and was eventually dealt for Dmitri Young.

      Finally, in what seemed to be another marketing move, the team hired fan favorites Alan Trammell as manager with Lance Parrish and Kirk Gibson as coaches. It resulted in the worst season in team history.

      Pudge Rodriguez and Carlos Guillen were eventually signed and another chapter in the team's quest for .500 began anew.

      By the way, I've always admired the Cardinals organization. How do you guys do it?
      Last edited by moldyoldie; 01-27-2006, 08:11 AM.

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      • #4
        New to this board:

        The way I see things is that they (Illitch & co.) really had no clue on how to run a baseball organization when Illitch took over. In some repects the new regime under DD suffers from the same problem.

        They lacked VISION.

        Seeing as it normally takes even the best prospects 3+ years to get to the Majors they should have been stocking our farm system with guys who possessed the skills to take advantage of any newly proposed stadium design as early as 1995-1996. We have seen few if any players come up from the farm who possesed the skills required to take advantage of Comerica's design - i.e athletic outfielders with an abundance of range and strong arms to support the pitching staff. Comerica's design virtually dictated that a team like Detroit, who had been used to a lumbering power game in Tiger Stadium had to transition to a more agressive offensive style with speed taking a more prominent role. We never did and STILL haven't done that 6 years after Comerica opened it's doors. What we did instead was bring the fences in - in an attempt to make the ballpark fit the team, not the team fit the ballpark. By taking the former approach we have established NO advantage over our opposition in our home ballpark - if anything we've made their trips here much easier to deal with.

        I spent most of the 80's and early 90's in the military overseas so I missed the details of the Sparky strategy which depleted our system. I picked back up in 1997 - where to my amazement I watched a GM select a "Closer prospect" in Matt Anderson (coming off a 100 loss season no doubt) with the #1 OVERALL pick - when we knew full well we were losing Travis Fryman to FA and had a 19 year old Francisco Cordero literally destroying AA hitters as a Closer prospect for the future. From that point on we hadn't used a single premium draft pick (1st thru 3rd rounds) on an OF prospect to patrol the new ballpark who actually had a clue of how to play solid defense until we drafted Granderson in 2002.

        In some senses even today I see a similar lack of VISION under DD. Under his tenure he basically ignored the CF position while he was waiting for Granderson to develop - instead choosing to man it with poor defenders such as Sanchez and Logan. This going on while at the same time he's going with a young and inexperienced pitching staff (who by rights needed all the help they could possibly get behind them while they are still learning their craft). We still have a relatively slow team speed wise - still have an average at best OF defense in a park that DEMANDS above average OF defense - and DD has been at the helm going on his 5th year now.

        Maybin is a start in the right direction - an athletic OF to patrol our spacious OF and give the young pitching some REAL defense behind them - but he's likely still 2-3 years away. It's a shame we waited nearly 10 years from the time the designs were laid out to address the one critical position on this team in Comerica Park - Center Field. CF is the glue to a strong OF defense and that will be necessary to getting the most out of the young prospect pitchers for the future we are relying so heavily on. I just hope Granderson can hold down the fort until Maybin gets here - when we can move Granderson to LF and have a REAL Of defense.

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        • #5
          Great first post, Fraquar! Welcome!

          It's a great post because it emphasizes the importance of the centerfield position, especially at spacious Comerica Park.

          I cringed when I heard the Tigers opening day starting outfield last season might be Rondell White LF, Craig Monroe CF, and Magglio Ordonez RF.h Talk about triples waiting to happen!

          Here's hoping Cameron Maybin is on a fast track to the bigs and Granderson can handle a full big league season. I have every expectation that Monroe can repeat his '05 power numbers, if not improve on them. Here's also hoping Ordonez and Carlos Guillen (and the rest of the regulars!) can have relatively injury-free seasons. I also haven't given up on Nook Logan; how can one with that speed!

          The irony of the Travis Fryman scenario was that the Tigers signed their own free agent third-baseman in Dean Palmer. The thinking was that net-net it would be an improvement. While Palmer's power numbers weren't earth-shattering, they were certainly among the most consistent on the team for a few seasons. Fryman, meanwhile, got to play in a World Series with Cleveland.

          I, too, was a fan of Francisco Cordero. Still am. He was ultimately dealt to Texas in the ill-fated Juan Gonzalez deal.
          Last edited by moldyoldie; 02-01-2006, 07:03 AM.

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          • #6
            I'm actually pretty satisfied with our team. My only concern is that out team can stay healthy. It seems to be a Detroit curse that downtown teams never stay healthy, at least in football and baseball.

            Who knows how good we could have been with the DP combination of Guillen and Polanco? Or how good Maggs could have been with an entire season under his belt.

            It seems all we've been doing in Detroit forever is just hoping our lineup can make it through the year.
            I like cranberry sauce.

            "The Babe was a great ballplayer, sure, but Ty Cobb was even greater. Babe could knock your brains out, but Cobb would drive you crazy." - Tris Speaker

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