Monday, July 30, 2007

EVERYBODY PANIC!!!: Wait till the trade deadline first edition

I know that the Tigers looked absolutely awful on the West Coast this weekend. Last night may have been the most troubling game to watch of the season. Bad starting pitching, bullpen issues, and a stagnant offense all reared their ugly heads in the suburbs of Los Angeles.

Obviously, my opinion about the Angels loss may have been skewed due to suffering through the asinine babbling of so-called "Analyst" Dusty Baker on the worldwide leader's airwaves, but it was a very ugly game all the same.

Despite the recent performance of the Tigers, I'm not going to fall in line with the internet fan's Chicken Little mentality. Which means I'm not going to pass judgment on the Tigers, or their playoff hopes, based on a bad couple weeks. All teams have stretches of awful baseball. Factor in that the Tigers have spent nearly the entire month of July on the road, and it was bound to happen.

It cannot be denied that injuries have been much of the cause of their troubles, the latest of which is Kenny Rogers joining Marcus Thames, and the set up men I call Zumdney, on the DL. Combined with the suspension of Neifi Perez, and the bereavement leave of Zach Miner, that's more than 1/5th of the roster currently missing games for one reason or another.

Add in Nate Robertson, Tim Byrdak, and The Gambler all missing a significant amount of time earlier this season, along with Brandon Inge and Placido Polanco playing through injuries, the weekly Gary Sheffield controversy, and the sudden demise of Craig Monroe as an everyday player, well, that's one Hell of a lot to ask any team to overcome.

The Tigers were bound to wear down trying to overcome all the adversity. It's amazing that they are still in 1st place. Which is something to remember, the Tigers are still a 1st place team!

But to say I'm not concerned? I can't truthfully say I'm not.

Which is why I think the next 48 hours are going to be quite telling as to how the Tigers feel about their chances. Thus, I'm waiting till after the trade deadline passes before deciding to lean on TWFE panic button like a cabbie leans on his horn.

You have to think the Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland have seen the recurring problems, realize that the Tigers aren't World Series bound with the roster (Specifically the bullpen) as is currently constituted, and have some sort of contingencies in place. I'm sure they are doing their damnedest to make those plans happen. They also know more about the health of Zumdney, whose injuries are much to do with the current situation.

Rumors abound that Detroit wants a utility infielder (Who can play shortstop well, as Perez may finally be persona non grata), and a solid bullpen arm. The Tigers blogs have been all over the who and why, so I'm not even going to try and guess who the Tigers may, or may not, be targeting. I'm sure the Tigers have their prime targets, though.

I'm not asking for a Teixeira type blockbuster. I'm not expecting Detroit to sell the farm to get a Dotel, Cordero or Gagne. I don't want to piss away the future on guys who aren't true, big time difference makers.

But if the Tigers could find a solid arm or two, relievers who aren't gas cans, which would allow them to jettison some of the usual suspects of bullpen arson (Grilli), I'd feel one Hell of a lot better about the next 2 months.

So I'm going to wait and see. I want to know the status of Zumdney, and we may know more about the dney part of the equation soon. I also want to see what the Tigers do over the next 2 days. Let alone I want to see what the Indians, Twins, Angels, Red Sox, and Yankees do as well.

By Wednesday morning we may have a much better idea as to how the season's final weeks could shake out.

Let's convene after the deadline passes, and we can then determine if it's time for EVERYBODY TO PANIC!!!

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