Posted on: January 12, 2010 4:21 pm

Why did the Detroit Tigers stop making moves

Benyo's Basement To make sure I ask all the missing questions

I sit here in Southern California and get my Detroit Tiger info second hand from or ESPN.   Like my most fans of the Tigers I am wondering why did we stop making moves.  The whole idea of trading Granderson in the first place was to signal to everyone that we are some major players.  So far we have only subtracted some good (Granderson and Jackson) and bad(Washburn, Huff and Lyon) players to what amounts to fairly decent moves.  The kid Auston Jackson is a major league player and Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth or "how ever you spell their last name" brothers are already big league ready pitchers.

The biggest questions here is if the Tigers are trying to dump a little bit of salary and bring back some depth to the end of the rotation or bullpen,  than why spend 8 million dollars a year to bring on another problem in Jose Valverde from Houston?  Please do not make that move.  That will join a long list of bad contracts the Dombrowski has us stuck in. 

I say it is time we consider what we have and implement the talent to the roster.

I lived in Arizona the last year Valverde pitched for the Diamonbacks and he was okay.  Okay. Not great. Not exceptional.  Okay. 

He was so Okay that he was not even offered a contract by the Diamonbacks after he spent a full season as thier closer.  He is so Okay that the Astros would rather offer money to the man he replaced in Arizona (Lyon) than bring him back to the Astros.

The Tigers biggest problem as they transistion from 2009 to 2010 is that they remain inconsistant in staying with a game plan.  Pitching and fielding win games( or better yet help you not lose games), but I say hitting seems to win the World Series.  Ask the Yankees or Phillies that.

Dontrelle Willis, Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson, and Zach Minor.  All could and should be candidates to work out of the pen next year. Here is the breakdown.

Willis-- still has an above average fastball and a decent change up.  Yes physically he is fine.  Mentally has been another story.  If you did not trade him for a change in scenery than why not let him work on becoming a late innnings man for us in Spring Training.  Personally I think he is the best suited for the job.  Do not lampoon him in Toledo for another year with spot starts for the Tigers.  If someone is listening and this works remember you read it here first. Probability of this happening --  4 out of 10.

Bonderman--  a guy whom seems to break down during the course of the year.  He has that lanky build that generates a lot of his velocity from his motion and push off from the mound.  He had a dynamic change up and curve when he is confident and could very well be the Tigers version of Papelbon from Boston.  He has to be a leading candidate for the job internally and even Bondo would have to admit it is his best shot at staying healthy enough to play a whole season.  Probability of this happening 7 out of 10.

Robertson-- enough with the 5th starter talk for probably the worst contract on the staff.  He also happens to be the best teammate one could want on thier team as well.  Even back in 2005 or 2006 that was a bad deal Dombrowski gave the likeable Roberston.  However a lefty who can pinpoint strikes has a lot of value in the 6th, 7th and 8th inning as a set up man.  Robertson is that guy and needs to be used every other day to stay sharp.  Another guy who can spot close and be a solid middle reliever if the Tigers stay committed to working with what they got.  Probability of this happening 8 out of 10.

Minor--  Good ole reliable Zach Minor.  He will actually still get about 10-12 starts this season as a #5 starter but should be considered as a closer like Willis and Bonderman.  He can be very deceptive with his pitch selection and has a tendency to keep hitters off balance as opposed to blowing the ball by them.  He is a bit of a soft toser but I was surprised at his velocity hitting 92-94 during our one game playoff with the Twins last year.  Probability of happening 5 out of 10.

I did not forgot about Joel Zumaya but realistically we should.  Even if he makes it back Zumaya needs to be nursed through the first half of the season just to be ready for the playoffs.  I would imagine he will become a compliment to the bullpen at the end of the season. 

If the Tigers were going to mix things up some they should have considered trading the above mentioned if they are not in the plans to be used out of the bullpen.  A Bonderman or Willis/Robertson combo should have been considered when other teams are thinking about dumping thier own bad contracts like the Cubs with Milton Bradley.  At the very least he could have filled a void for a DH and spot outfielder with some bat control who draws lots of walks.  I do not like Milton much as a player but it would appear to be more proactive than not using any of your overpaid pitching staff out of the pen and not having a bat like Milton's to lean on.

This is still the same team that felt a solid lefthanded started like Washburn and a lefty swinger with some power like Huff was all that was missing.  Now we need to add a corner outfielder, centerfielder, and DH to the mix as well. 

The pickup of Max Scherzer from Arizona will make us forget some about Granderson.  He more than likely will be the #2 on the staff and push Rick Porcello into the number 3 or 4 slot.  A guy like Barry Zito would have made some sense as well if we could have moved Bonderman, Willis or Robertson to trade contracts.  I gurantee a package of Carlos Guillen with one of the pitchers above would have gotten us Zito, saved us a couple million and give us that lefty we thought Washburn was.  If anyone really looked at Zito's stats he has worked his way back to becoming a formidable pitcher in 2009 and even his bad years was more productive than what we got out of Bonderman and Willis.

Another possibility we should have considered and actually could still pursue is signing a vet whom swings from the left side like Jim Thome for at least 1 yr, deal.  He more than likely will be what we wanted out of Huff when we signed him last year. 

Realistically I just want to give Leyland the tools he wants to be able to turn things around some.  Minus--Guillen, or a combination or Willis/Bonderman/Robertson and to have brought in Bradley, Zito and Thome at a reduced payroll was likely and very well could have been with low risk due to it being a one year experiment with expiring contracts.

Some say the best trades you make are the ones that never get made.  Well at least for the start of 2010 I am going to drink that kool aid some because the Tigers right now seem to be out of sorts.
Category: MLB
Posted on: January 1, 2009 1:59 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2009 9:16 am

For Goodell or worse the NFL needs to modernize

I really ponder what qualifications does it take to be a commissioner.  It must be a hard job to be consistant with your decisions and try to provide a litle marketing to a league, that  has already become the new American Pastime.

What is wrong with Goodell?  I would not even waste a readers time about how inconsistant he was in 2008 with the discipline he handed out in regards to the leagues conduct policy.  A couple of other issues seem to make me wonder if this Commissioner is up for the job.

So Mr. Goodell i have three suggestions for you to ponder about the shape of the NFL.

1.  A three game preseason to me makes sense --less injuries by overagressive special teams players trying to make it in the NFL  so they can realize their dream by never playing a down all year anyway.

2. A 17 game season is for the birds, just expand the playoff teams from each division from 6 to 10 and now you will have a lot more interest because the teams that missed are now in.  Besides you should be more concerned about getting an NFL team make in the biggest media market in the world-Los Angeles ,and stop trying to promote a game in Toronto or London or Tokyo.  The NFL is never going to expand to those markets anyways because of the cost involved.

3. If you want to kill the Pro Bowl than pull the plug already instead of making it a slow painful process.

17 games seasons.  STUPID!!!!

What would make more sense at the end of the football season seeing a 17th game from the like of the Lions, Chiefs, Raiders, Bengals etc..  On the other hand who would want to go watch  a team like the Titans, Colts, Giants, Steelers, or Panthers play all of their second and third team players as they would overlook this 17th game and be thinking ahead to the playoffs.  This year was not as bad as others but we have NFL teams quit in the last two weeks of the season.

Expanded playoffs would make more sense.  Especially when you have a division like the NFC East this year when the old cliche of any given sunday really came into play.  If it is about revenue, " Everyone watches the playoffs."  TV revenue would be increased which means more of a split on advertising dollars and the Networks would be kicking back more because of the interst that marquee names generate and the expanded playoff format would help make this possible.

Think of the teams that just missed the playoffs this year--Cowboys, Patriots, Jets, Bears, hell even the Broncos.  Dallas, Boston, New York/New Jersey, Chicago, and Denver.   Those are the biggest cities in the USA.  They are major markets.  Those citites have the money to spend on 100.00 tickets and 10.00 beer and all of that overpriced crap that you can buy at a playoff game when your team is involved. 

There also would be more interest to have at least two extra playoff games in each league which means 8 more teams are creating more revenue than the other 30+ could do with a tired 17th game of the season.

The NFL just announced that next years Pro Bowl will be played the week BEFORE the Superbowl in Miami.  STUPID!!!!!!  The issue about the Pro Bowl as well is becoming almost mute.  That event is huge in Hawaii as anyone whom has gone knows. 

How is that a better outcome than what is already implimeneted in place.  Now for sure there is no chance in hell that  we will see any players from the teams playing in the superbowl, "So why are they trying so hard to cram the game in?"

Why not have the ProBowl in the middle of the season as a revolving game like every other all star game in the 3 other major sports and give it a grander stage on a non cable channel where everyone could watch it.  If it is about marketing and money than the ratings for the game should be huge because it is just before the ratings sweeps week with the local networks and someone will pay a lot of money to advertise and hold the rights to the game.  Just as long as it is not buried on ESPN after sportscenter.

Possibly  there should be a clause for players whom have participated in the superbowl can have and exemption if they want to skip the game. 

 A lot of the veterans players can make a huge part of their seasonal income and gurantee extra years on their contract by making the Pro Bowl squad so they have a tendancy to want to shine in that contest to be taken notice of and will play the game at a normal game speed. 

There are some perenial players that seem to take plays off and treat it more like a MTV rock n jock event, but it still has some substance.

Speaking of substance I promised to not berate you Mr. Goodell about how inconsistant you were in 2008 when dealing with the abuse of substance.  That would be a long boring road but if it was consistant it has a chance to not be twisted.

Category: NFL
Posted on: September 25, 2008 1:10 am
Edited on: September 26, 2008 1:04 am

Fire Millen!!! Oh $#!*% Someone was listening!

           Who was the best President/GM in the NFL over the past 7 years. Matt Millen. 

Please hear me out on this and kick my butt in the thread comments later,  but whom else would we all have wanted to work for if you were a slightly above average talent in the NFL and wanted to get paid like a HOF'er.  Matt Millen.

If you were a career assistant coach or a journeyman head coach whom failed where his predecessors did not and an NFL team came knocking at your door with a 3-5 guaranteed contract that put you in the upper half of what NFL coaches at that time where being paid, whom did you want to work for.  Matt Millen.

Never mind the 31-84 record which was the worst in the NFL over that span.  Play for the Lions and you will get paid well as if you played for Indy, New England, or even Dallas.  In the case of Tatum Bell you can even leave with nice parting gifts courtesy of our next bust of a free agent. Sorry that one was easy.

My favorite slogan for the year 2008 has been Hindsight is the best Foresight. I started saying this when the Tigers kept getting close to .500 and than someone would get hurt and we would bring our AAA baseball team up for some quality big league starts and usually end up losing the game in the 7th, 8th or 9th inning. 

Why would I bring this up when we are talking about Matt Millen. Conceivably we live in an era now that buying a ball club only will help sell tickets and not buy a championship hence the NY Yankees of the new millenium era, New England Patriots from the past couple of seasons, the Detroit Lions from the history of time, and now the 2008 Tigers whom should have kept developing their farm teams and slowly add pieces instead of what happened this year. 

 Rumor has it that Matt Millen had lunch with Dave Dombrowski over the MLB offseason and told him to "Go ahead spend, spend, spend the owners money, I do it."  Althought this cannot be proven some of Benyo's Basement sports spy's have Fernando Bryant, Dre Bly, Marcus Pollard, Steve Marriucci, and John Kitna agreeing Matt Millen was one great GM to work for.

I would like to take this brief momemet and point out how many of us from Detroit were very proud this past  year when the Red Wings won a Championship in this new salary cap era.  It brought a lot of critisism to its knees when they used to pay top dollar to lure free agents away from other organizations and it hopes of a strong playoff run only to have the NHL banish us and maybe the NY Rangers as bad example of how succesful hockey organizations are hurting the smaller markets.  Very good for us to have a last laugh. 

I do hope that one day before I die( I am 37) and before my grandchildren become bitter like I am towards my favorite NFL team, I would love to see some quality football.  The type of team that drafts to fill voids.  The type of team that will try and make judgement calls when it comes to guaranteed contracts.  Finally the type of team that when you wear their shirt or hat people can shout out other names of great players instead of remind me all the time when they see me wearing my teams logos how great it must have been for us to have had a once in a lifetime great player like Barry Sanders.  I always say the say thing, " Yes it was but even he got fed up and left."

Okay so back on Matt Millen.  Great NFL linebacker.  Really nice home in PA.  Quality broadcasting career and now a very padded bank account for life.  Not bad for a guy whom if he really is passionate about the NFL and the players he overspent for while running an NFL team maybe he will take on the task of replacing Gene Upshaw and become the new head of the players Union.  Whom else could be a better candidate.

Because in Detroit during the Matt Millen era only the players are choking on their own tears right now that he is gone.  Best wishes Matt and don't let the door hit you on your way out.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 26, 2008 3:57 am

You might as well call him Ocnalop Odicalp

Who earns every penny of a bargain salary of 4,600,000 per year, has a career batting average of .306, and last year set a league record for most games connsecutively without an error?  Here's  a hint he was once a castoff in Philly for the much more heralded Chase Utley and he was part of a trade that brought Scott Rolen to the Cardinals.

He had the lowest strikeout percentage in the major leagues last year at around 5% and broke another all time fielding record by recording 647 chances without an error for a second baseman in 2007 as well.

He is a league batting champion.  Would have won a second batting title for the AL in 2005 with a batting average of .338 if it had not been for a league rule not allowing his at bats with the Phillies for interleague games carry over to his current team the Detroit Tigers and therefore he did not qualify for the league batting title for having not enough at bats.  Again in the season had the lowest strikeout percentage of anyone in the Majors at a rate again of around 5%.

Placido Polanco come on down and be recognized.

In a year when most in Detroit Tiger baseball have failed to live up to their potential there you are again playing a solid second base, again among the league leaders in batting average and lowest strikeout potential.  You are doing all of this while being paid less than the stud pitcher whom was traded for in the offseason by the name of Dontrell Willis whom when was last sighted was driving a Bentley to his next minor league game.

Here is a true MLB player.  When he was finally given his USA citizenship he wore his work uniform to the ceramony. Hence it was held at Comerica park before a July 9th Tigers/Indians game but why ruin such a good story.

Although the Tigers made huge mistake this year in throwing that Little Ceasars pizza money around and signing extentions for other players instead of you Placido.  You have not complained publicly once.  Whie the Tigers were making trades for aging veterans like Edgar Renteria and Garry Sheffield, and than overspent when they picked up and than dumped Pudge Rodriguez option and by bringing back Kenny Rodgers, again you say nothing.

When the Tigers had signed Brandon Inge to a contract extension that if well above your current average salary even though his current seasonal average is around .209 and he makes more errors than my typing without spell check.  Again you are happy to be playing full time in the Major Leagues. 

So now I am hoping someone in Detroit can hear me from my home in Arizona.Here is one long time and now suffering Tiger fan calling out to Dave Dombrowski and asking him to please come to your senses and give this guy a new deal that will keep him in a Tiger uniform at least for the next 4-5 years while we right our ship and get back to the top of our division. 

 Who knows maybe he will give you a World Series MVP to match the 2006 AL divisional LCS MVP he has already won.

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