Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Answering the Detroit Tigers burning questions: Asshattery in Tigertown edition

Garcia's on board, Sheffield's bitching, Verlander is being abused and the Tigers are slowly fading into the sunset when it comes to the pennant race. You know what that means, right? Burning questions? I thought you'd never ask!

In news that broke this afternoon, free agent pitcher Freddie Garcia signed with the Tigers. Garcia, who not long ago was at the top of the White Sox rotation, is recovering from arm surgery and hasn't pitched in the majors in over a year. Smart signing or wishful thinking?

Smart signing. It seems like a solid move on the Tigers' part to me. Garcia signed a minor league deal, and will going to Lakeland to build up his arm strength. We'll know soon enough if Carlos Guillen's BFF has anything left.

It's worth taking a flier on a solid starter who averaged 15 wins a season before he got hurt. All Garcia cost Detroit was time and money. When you consider the holes (now, and in the future) in the rotation, the former White Sox ace could easily fill one quite capably...if healthy. And that's the caveat.

Caveats or not, this is a no risk signing. If Garcia shows he has big league stuff and joins the rotation, the Tigers could decide to lock up Garcia for next season, taking care of the spot likely to be vacated by Kenny Rogers. If he shows he can't cut it, the Tigers are only obligated to pay a relatively small amount of cash, as the current contract only runs through the end of this season. When you've already dropped $138 million this season, what's another few thousand?

Gary Sheffield, bitchy prima donna or...

There is no reason to finish the question, as Sheffield is proving to be a petulant, bitchy, prima donna whiner.

"I don't wanna be DH and you can't make me! I wanna be a REAL baseball player"

Real baseball players hit more than .230. I might take his complaints seriously if Sheffield had a legitimate complaint. He doesn't, so please shut the fuck up and play ball, both at the plate and in the locker room.

Really, what does taking his petty complaints to an out of town reporter accomplish? It undercuts his manager, it pisses off the fans who've looking for a scapegoat (They have one now!) and makes Sheffield look fucking clueless. He knew coming into Detroit he would be a full-time DH. All playing in the outfield did was ruin the next 1 1/2 seasons for everyone involved.

I've been as big of a defender of Sheffield as anyone in Detroit, but I've reached my limit with Glass Shoulder Joe. You're being paid $14 million to go to the plate 4 times a game, and be successful 3 out of 10 times. When you can't even do that, let alone stay healthy enough to swing a bat, yet still complain about not playing in the field and some non-existent platoon?

I can now understand where the people saying Sheffield was an ass were coming from.He's a hall of fame talent with a bigger talent for pissing people off.

So what do you do with the glass shouldered one?

Not much, actually.

The $14 million Sheffield is owed for next season makes him essentially baseball kryptonite. You can't trade him, as no one in their right mind would take Sheffield off the Tigers' hands with that much guaranteed money left on the table. You can't release him, even though fans have been screaming for it, as Mike Ilitch would gag at the thought of paying someone $14 million to just go away. As much as Sheffield bitches, you can't risk playing him in the field, as his shoulder would turn into so much hamburger.

All you can do is keep your fingers crossed, hoping Sheffield stays healthy and regains his hitting stroke. You pick your spots with him, and hope he's successful. You also keep putting out feelers for any takers in a trade, and hope to God some desperate GM finally says, "Sure, we'll be happy to take Mr. Sheffield off your hands." (Hey, it could happen!)

You then get him out of town ASAP, before he gets hurt again, nullifying the deal.

In Justin Verlander's last start, Jim Leyland left him on the mound to throw 130 pitches. (My arm twinged just writing about it) Last night, in his first rotation turn since that marathon outing, Verlander had nothing, looked for all the world that he had a tired arm, was shelled by the Blue Jays, lasting only 4.1 innings. Thoughts?

I actually have a question. Who in the HELL is advising Leyland? The young pitcher killer and all around clueless fuckhead, Dusty Baker? Someone needs to grab Lelyand, AND SLAP HIM SILLY!

As rough as a season Verlander is having, his right arm is the future of the Tigers franchise. To leave him on the mound for 130 pitches is on the bad side of abuse. It's fucking moronic. Hell, it's stupendously idiodic and I'd have the Tigers' manger checked for signs of mental retardation.;

Pitch counts have been an issue with Verlander all damn season. You'd think Leyland (or Chuck Hernandez, Dave Dombrowski, even the God damn batboy!) would have realized it, and prepared for it. They could have called someone up from the minors. Leyland could have put in a position player to pitch if he was so motherfucking adamant about not using the bullpen. He could have forfeited, for all care. Anything but leaving your franchise pitcher on the mound till his arm is hanging by shredded tendons.

I could give a shit about winning a MEANINGLESS game when it comes to keeping the Tigers' current and future ace healthy. Asshattery abounds in the Tigers' dugout.

I don't want to give anyone nightmares, but...I'd hate to look back in a few years, and say, "Remember that year the Tigers let Veralnder throw 110+ pitches a game? 2008? When Leyland "Mark Prior'ed" him? That's the season he was ruined."

Am I overstating things? More than a little. But wouldn't it be smart to err on the side of caution when handling young starters?

//Al throws hands into the air, walks away muttering to himself//


  1. I'm beginning to wonder if Verlander is hiding some minor arm problem the way that Bondo did last year. You'd think he'd be smarter than that, but if he thinks he owes it to the team to go out there every fifth day no matter how he feels, he might not mention the twinge in his forearm. But, he does seem to have regained his April and May form, doesn't he? As to Sheff, it appears to be public (at least WWLeader) knowledge that he's on waivers. What's the chance that if someone picks him up that DD tries to weasel a Class A back-up catcher out of them? He'd be a perfect fit for the Dodgers...when Manny is being Manny ad disappears for the 9th inning, Sheff can go to left and be Sheff.

  2. ESPN.com is reporting the Tigers are running Sheffield through waivers. Best case scenario is that some GM out there trades us a token minor leaguer for him and agrees pay some small fraction of his salary through the end of next year. Illitch and DD can save face, while removing him from the roster. Move Magglio to DH next year to keep him healthy for his option years.

  3. I'm beginning to wonder as well, Omar. I don't know if he's hurting, just plain off, or if it's in his head, but Verlander ain't right. He should be watched carefully, no left hanging out to dry, throwing 130 God damn pitches.

    Sheff needs to start hitting (tonight was a good start), because the trade market for .220 hitting DH's making a king's ransom is basically nil. Tampa, the Dodgers, someone please take him off the Tigers' hands!

    KJ, my fingers are crossed someone bites. I can dream, anyway. I was a big time Sheff backer, but I'm at my last straw with him. Throwing Leyland, by far his biggest backer, under the proverbial bus, was totally uncalled for. An assholish move.

  4. Maybe Sheff is expressing the thing that Marcus Thames could never say........the platooning thing. A few of the other guys are probably pissed off too. I'm pissed off at all of them.

  5. Mark Prior.

    If Dusty Baker ever crosses in front of my car, I will consider it a sign from the baseball gods that I was the one chosen to run him over. Repeatedly.

    It won't even have to be a rental - I would risk denting my very own car for that.

  6. Kathy, everyone is pissed at everyone. It's just starting to become public as the fans begin to bare their fangs.

    Baroque, I'll chip in to make sure you get that rental. What Baker did to Prior and Kerry Wood was criminal. He shouldn't be coaching a T-ball team, let alone a major league franchise.