A coworker approached me at work this morning wondering if I thought the Tigers would actually pursue Johnny Damon to fill the (nominally) vacant designated hitter role. My response: āno wayā.
There was some talk of Detroit brining Damon back following the injury to Victor Martinez, but the signing of Prince Fielder filled the DH void without directly filling it. I think everyone (except Mr. Damon, apparently) realizes that the Tigers arenāt looking for another āno defenseā hitter to join their roster.
But you canāt really blame Johnny for trying. Heās not necessarily chasing dollars right now, heās chasing additional rings, but apparently no oneās a taker. Reports are that Damon also reached out to the Yankees this offseason before they decided to go with Raul Ibanez.
āat this point of my career, I want to have some say in who I can and canāt play withā¦ pay me whatever, and Iāll try to help you win a championshipā
It was that last portion that my coworker keyed on when asking me my opinion on the matter. If Damon approached Detroit saying that heād play for any amount of money, is there a number small enough that it would make sense to add the 38 year old to the roster?no comments
Lynn Henning has a Detroit News article out today in which he extols the virtues of Austin Jacksonās changed batting approach. Henning admits that Jacksonās 11 strikeouts in 29 at-bats donāt look very good (as I pointed out the other day), but he quickly dismisses the 32% strikeout rate as not being an issues because of āa different circumstance from 2011ā.
I canāt imagine what the ādifferent circumstanceā would really be besides the fact that heās currently racking up the whiffs in spring training, which means heās likely facing inferior pitching. I guess Henning is trying to argue that Jackson is smacking the ball hard, so heās looking like a ābetter hitterā right now than he did at any point last season, even though his strikeout numbers are still sky-high. But I think heās well off-base with what heās trying say. Hereās the money quote:
āJackson, if anything, has been dealing with bad luck after two weeks in the Grapefruit League. He scorched a grounder and a line drive at the shortstop against the Cardinals on Saturday, and came away with zeros.āno comments
The Tigers came to Lakeland this spring with six in-house candidates competing for the last spot in the starting rotation. Jacob Turner was probably the odds-on favorite to win the job, Duane Below was the safe pick, Drew Smyly was the sexy dark horse, and Andy Oliver, Adam Wilk and Casey Crosby were āin the mixā.
Three weeks later, weāve received very little clarity on the situation in an official capacity, but itās pretty easy to guess where things are headed. Only Casey Crosby has been declared out of the running ā heās was optioned to AAA Toledo a few days ago ā but on-field performance helps us pretty much figure out the rest.
Adam Wilk has probably played himself out of the running. Heās been pounded in 9.2 innings of work, putting up an elevated 5.59 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP. Heās known as a control pitcher, and heās been fine in that respect giving up just two walks, but heās only struck out three batters, and heās allowed two home runs (something he also struggled with in his brief time in the majors last year). Heās also a candidate for a long relief position, but he probably only has a chance there if Below makes the rotation ā I donāt really see both in the bullpen ā otherwise weāll see Wilk starting in Toledo.no comments
The numbers for Brandon Inge this spring donāt appear to be all that great on the surface ā a sub-.300 on-base percentage should impress no one ā but heās doing exactly what should be expected of him, and thatās produce against lefties.
Weāre all well past the point of expecting Brandon to be a plus hitter. Even in his peak years (2004-2006), he was āonlyā good for an OPS in the mid-to-upper .700ās. The numbers heās put up this spring ā .240/.296/.440 ā would probably be on the extreme high end of what could be expected of him in a full season. They could probably pass for a full-time second baseman with average (to slightly above) fielding prowess, but itās how heās accumulated these numbers that show us why he shouldnāt be expected to replicate them as an everyday player.
Ingeās lefty-righty splits are currently pretty extreme. Versus righties this spring, heās batted for a slash line of .154/.214/.231 (.445 OPS). Versus lefties, those numbers jump to .333/.385/.667 (1.051 OPS). The problem here, though, is that heās had an even number of opportunities against each type of pitcher (14 PAās versus right-handers, and 13 PAās versus left-handers). An everyday player wouldnāt be afforded that luxury. Generally speaking, about 70-75% of starting pitchers are right-handed, so an everyday player would face in the neighborhood of 2.5 times as many righties as lefties.no comments
We received the obligatory article this offseason about Austin Jackson. About how he spent extra time in the batting cages with hitting coach Lloyd McClendon. About how he was changing his style of hitting to gain a better ātwo-strikeā approach. And about how he was becoming really comfortable with the adjustment.
But early returns so far this spring give us little hope that change will make any difference for Jackson. With two strikeouts yesterday, his total has climbed to ten in nine games. Thatās an absurd 37% strikeout rate in his 27 plate appearances. Heāll need to be strikeout free for his next ten PAās just to bring that down to last seasonās (high) 27% rate.CONTINUE READING THIS POST>>
Ryan Raburn is off to a blistering start with the bat this spring. He has pounded six extra base hits (four of them home runs) in his 17 plate appearances and now posts a ridiculous 1.937 OPS. His hot start at the plate has some fans hoping that heāll skip his annual first half swoon this season, and just pound the ball from the get-go.
Unfortunately for Ryan (and the rest of us), his career spring training stats have been a terrible indicator for how he has hit in the seasonās first half. Here's a look at his splits over the past four seasons (spring, first half, second half).
Yesterday morning, as I was surfing around for Tigers chatter, the following tweet came across my timeline from Mark Anderson of TigsTown.com:
I was actually floored that there are folks out there who are clamoring for Castellanos to move positions right away! Itās true that Castellanos is in Major League camp right now, but, as Anderson points out, heās still likely to spend two full seasons in the minor leagues before joining the Tigers. Being āblockedā by Cabrera shouldnāt factor into an organizational decision at this point in time.Scouts have wondered all along whether or not Castellanos would be able to handle third base defensively at the major league level (and the jury is still out on this). If the answer ends up as a ānoā, then the likely move would be to a corner outfield spot. So, the idea of Nick switching positions isnāt a new one, but the Tigers organization should hold out as long as possible before deciding to make that switch official. Five reasons:
CONTINUE READING THIS POST>>