Thursday, June 14, 2007

An open letter to Dave Dombrowski

To: Dave Dombrowski
President & General Manager, Detroit Tigers
Comerica Park
Detroit, MI

From: Big Al
All around bon vivant, and blogger
The Wayne Fontes Experience
Monroe County, MI

RE: The bullpen


Congrats on the Justin Verlander no-hitter, snookering the rest of MLB with the drafting of Rick Porcello, and having one of the best teams on all of baseball. You deserve all of the kudos you've been receiving. But that's not why I'm writing you.

There's a festering issue, one that is on the verge of becoming a full blown crisis if you continue to sit on your hands. I think you know what I'm talking about, Dave.

I'm talking about the bullpen.

Your Tigers just lost 2 of the 3 games in your series with the Milwaukee Brewers. All 3 games were very winnable, yet you lost 2. Why? Because of the bullpen.

You only split your recent series with the team that you are going to be fighting tooth and nail with for the Central division crown. Again, all the games were winnable. But you only won 2 of the 4. Why? THE BULLPEN!

The Tigers are 1 1/2 games behind the Indians. Why? Thanks to the bullpen finding some way to blow, at the very least, 5 games. And that number is sure to continue to grow at a pace neither of us want to see.

Today was the latest example of your bullpen's ineptitude. The Tigers stirring 9th inning rally came up 1 run short. It would have won the game if it hadn't been for your relief pitchers, and their comedy of errors. Balks. Wild pitches. Late in the game home runs. An inability to put together 1-2-3 innings.

It's getting to the point that I hate to watch the Tigers play past the 7th inning, as no lead has been safe. No lead at all.

When you feel that you need your starters to go a full 8 innings every game in order to win, something is very wrong.

Come on, Dave. Enough is enough. I'm not expecting you blow up the pen, but changes have to be made. It's time.

You only have so many chances at getting to a World Series, and you don't want to piss away a great chance this season thanks to the borderline MLB pitchers you currently employ as relievers.

You know, games you lose now are just as important as games in August and September. They do count. It's no longer April, when you could write off the bullpen problems as an anomaly. I thought it was just that as well. But it's now mid June, and those same problems are still there. It's no longer an anomaly, it's a trend. And it's trending down...

You do have options, Dave.

1. You make a trade. Soon. Don't wait till the deadline, as that may be too late. I'm not telling you who to target, or who goes on the block, you know better than I. But something needs to be shaken up. You may have to overpay, but it's worth it to insure a playoff spot.

2. You have a wealth of starting pitching, in both the minors and the major league level. Move a starter to set-up or middle relief duty, at least until you are sure that Joel Zumaya is healthy. Andrew Miller, Nate Robertson (When he comes back) and Chad Durbin are all viable bullpen options. You have a log jam in the rotation, and it'll get more convoluted when Kenny Rogers is activated. Put those arms to use in the bullpen.

3. You had no qualms about putting the untested Joel Zumaya and Justin Verlander in the big leagues last season. They weren't experienced, but they had the talent. so you can't tell me that you don't have at least 1 or 2 arms more talented than Jason Grilli in the minors. You'd be lying if you told me otherwise. Bring up a Trahern or a De La Cruz. It's time to see what those big time prospects can do at the major league level.

4. Do nothing, and waste the best offense in baseball while losing games 10-9.

The bullpen's knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is just crushing the high hopes of your fanbase, Dave. It's killing us watching the Tigers lose games in 2007 that were won in 2006.

It's time, Dave. It's time to be bold, and make a move or 3.


Big Al
The Wayne Fontes Experience

PS: If you could find a left hand hutting 1st baseman who could actually hit the occasional home run, that would be cool too. But the pen is the number 1 priority. It's priority 2 and 3 as well...


  1. Yeah, right dude. Try being a White Sox fan. Then you can complain about your bullpen.

  2. Neifi's trade value has never been higher. Sell high to help the bullpen!

  3. Well said, Al. This is getting ridiculous.

  4. How bout it Chip! I'm sure if Dombo called either Hendry or Ken Williams he could get a reliever. Of course, then he would have a reliever from either the Cubs or Sox.