Wednesday, August 02, 2006

EVERYBODY PANIC!!! - The Lynn Henning edition

What is the latest issue that has Tiger fans on the verge of hysterics? The Gambler has been getting roasted. Fanning the flames and leading the panic charge is the Detroit News' baseball columnist Lynn Henning. Just what is the headline to today's column?

"Pull Rogers from the rotation."

OOOOOOK. And replace The Roaster with...who? Mike Maroth? Still rehabbing. Top prospect Humberto Sanchez? Has elbow tightness down in Toledo. Wil Ledezma or Roman Colon? Better to hide their limitations in middle relief. Go to a 4 man rotation? Yeah, that would be good for Justin "The Franchise" Verlander's arm. So who is the Tigers savior, in Henning's mind?

Chad Durbin

Who? What? Huh? The immortal Chad Durbin has won a grand total of 17 big league games in a 6 year, 5 organization odessey of a career. His career ERA? A sterling 6.22. That is the pitcher you want in the rotation during a playoff stretch run? Henning's reasoning is as such...

Chad Durbin, a 28-year-old right-hander who has pitched effectively for Triple-A Toledo -- 9-5, 2.88 ERA, 132 hits in 147 innings, 114 strikeouts, 32 walks.

He also has big league experience (Kansas City, Cleveland, Arizona).

Durbin is not overpowering but could give the Tigers a chance to be in every game he pitches, which hasn't been the case as Rogers' slide continues.

A chance? A chance to lose...

Sure, Durbin has nice stats for a dime-a-dozen Triple A pitcher. Durbin is the type most organizations have hanging around as emergency middle relief depth for the big club, and to be a starter on their Triple A club. A 4A sort of player, a decent minor leaguer, but a marginal, at best, major leaguer. His MLB stats bear that out. But to think that a Chad Durbin is going to step into the Tigers rotation, and be productive, is folly. That's asking for lightening to strike twice, as already the Tigers had Zach Minor step into the rotation, and pitch well.

There is a reason the Tigers brought players like Minor and Brent Clevlen up from the minors, rather than others, like a Durbin, who had better overall stats. It's because they are more talented ballplayers! The performances of Minor and Clevlen so far have proven that fact. If the Tigers do end up pushing the panic button, and I seriously doubt they will, odds are the Tigers would make a trade for a pitcher, or bring up a Sanchez or Jair Jurgens.

So what does Henning say to do with Rogers?

Use him out of the bullpen.

The team and Rogers need to swallow their pride and make a control artist an effective left-handed counter to the team's boatload of harder throwers.

The Gambler in the bullpen? I remember that not working out so well for the Mets a few years ago.

Does the Gambler situation bear watching? Damn straight it does. But to remove Rogers from the rotation now would not be showing confidence in a team that is a serious threat for the postseason. I'd be move of pure panic. Remember, it wasn't all that long ago that the Gambler shut down the White Sox in what was then called the most important Tigers series in 20 years. So it's not as if every start of Rogers in the 2nd half has been God awful. Just most of them...

If Rogers is still struggling in 2 or 3 weeks, then we can discuss doing something with his spot in the rotation. At that point, Maroth and/or Sanchez may be an option. Till then, as a veteran who carried the Tigers for long stretches in the 1st half of the season, the Gambler deserves time to work out whatever the problem (Save for old age) may be.

So can everyone please calm down? Fans and writers panicing over a team with the best record in baseball is so unbecoming...


  1. I agree that Henning's thesis seems a bit flawed, to put it kindly.

    But it does touch on a pending concern, and makes me wish the Tigers might have picked up on arm on Monday. Of course, if the right guy clears waivers, and the price is right, that could still happen over the next month.

  2. When I first heard about Henning's article I laughed. Sure like Ian said there could be some cause for concern, but Rogers did just start the All-Star Game not all that long ago.

    I think he will rebound and still put some quality starts in. Chuck Hernandez said he saw something on video and that he was going to talk to Kenny about it. My guess is that will take care of it and we will see Rogers rebound with a solid start!

  3. I agree that pulling Rogers would be a move of panic. Seems to me one of the luxuries of an 8 1/2 game lead (magic number 48) is that you can weather these storms.

    But you're also right that this situation definitely warrants some concern.