THE LEAD DOG

By:  Holly Horning

They are the 5th best team in baseball at the moment with a .614 win/loss percentage. One game back of the Yankees.

They also have baseball’s lowest payroll at $49 million. The next lowest team’s salary is $20 million more. And the Yankees? Their payroll is more than twice that of this team.

Historically, this team has always had the lowest or been ranked as having the 28th or 29th lowest in team payroll.

The Tampa Bay Rays.

They have long been considered to be baseball’s most innovative and progressive team. All due to the people they hired. All due to the owner who made a point of hiring all new people when he bought the team back in 2005.

You know about Joe Maddon. But then there’s also Andrew Friedman and a host of other executives who have been hired away by other teams and in turn, hired some of the best new minds in baseball like Farhan Zaidi. Teams like the Dodgers, Astros and Cubs. All teams that are enjoying winning regularly. All teams that are in first place.  All teams which hired Rays personnel.

And it’s not just a coincidence……

The Rays are in their second year of a rebuild and according to the media, they are well ahead of schedule.

Their focus? The farm system.

They put into place a comprehensive plan to rebuild the entire farm system that included overhauling their drafting and scouting process. They also put more attention and money into player resources which includes advanced nutrition and off-season conditioning programs.

In several short years, their farm system now ranks #2. They are deep in stellar prospects – many of whom are ready to come up to the majors soon.

The Rays have 9 players in the top 100 MLB prospects. All are home-grown.

Isn’t this the way it should be done?

But let’s not stop here. The Rays were the first to discover analytics. They invented the shift and the opener. Those two helped them win 90 games.

And the guy who brought it to being didn’t play baseball at all. He was a math major from Princeton. And he was hired in his 20’s to start baseball’s first analytics department. He also wears the team’s uniform and sits in the dugout. The players, as well as the manager and coaches, have all bought in.

And that’s the big thing. The corporate culture. From the owner on down. It’s all about being at the forefront. Being new and edgy. Progressive. Because that’s how you beat out teams in the primary market. Like the Yankees. Like the Red Sox. The teams in your division who are working with 2 or 3 times more payroll than you.

Everything within the Front Office emphasizes the need for everyone on the team, no matter their position, to embrace the different, the new. To not be afraid to do things differently.

Their top executives are all in their 30’s and 40’s. Very few came from a baseball background. Most of them have MBAs.

It took the new owner less than 3 years to put the pieces in place that took the team above .500. In his 14 years of ownership, the Rays have finished above .500 9 times and played post-season 4 times, including 1 World Series.

Oh, and the team is MLB’s most affordable team to watch. Ticket prices are low and the organization offers free parking and allows fans to bring in their own food.

Shouldn’t the Rays be the team the Tigers need to emulate?

Shouldn’t the Tigers be hiring some of their executives?

As they say, if you’re not the lead dog, the view never changes.

And the view never changes if you aren’t proactive and willing to shake things up.


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

A ROYAL MESS

By:  Kurt Snyder

Forget the Houston Astros. Forget the best teams in baseball. The Red Sox. The Cubs. Forget all of them.

Let’s talk Kansas City.

How things have changed when you can look at all the great franchises in baseball as models for consistency, models for success and benchmarks for how to build a championship. And it will be a while before you arrive in Kansas City.

The Royals. Everyone’s whooping boys for as long as you can remember all the way back to the 80’s, when they did contend, they did win titles, including a World Series.

After their World Title in 1985, the Royals went on a drought for the ages. Over the 28 years between titles, KC had 20 losing seasons. We’ve certainly beaten to death Mike Ilitch’s stretch of losing on this forum, but it just doesn’t compare to the Royals.

But KC has found themselves. They know what they are. They can’t pretend that they are a big market franchise, because they aren’t. They can’t pretend they are a destination for free agents, because they weren’t until just a few years ago.

They now earn what they get. They earn who they get. And they have earned an identity. You remember their formula, don’t you?

What were they known for during their 2-year run to the World Series and then to a Championship? Well, 3 things standout – speed, defense and bullpen. But don’t forget smart, disciplined and opportunistic hitting.

Yep, the Royals are the team we should be modeling our approach after and not just because they rose from the abyss to become a World Champion. Nope, I almost have more respect for them now that they have stripped it all down and are already getting back on their feet.

With the same approach. The same formula that paved the road to an improbable championship run over 2 seasons:  A World Series in 2014 and a World Title in 2015.

Again, the Royals are stacking a lineup with speed, athleticism and spunk. They aren’t going to win the division this year. They will spend a fair amount of time in last place. But you can see their development. You can see players starting to fill spots in the lineup. The pillars of perhaps their next championship.

The organizations that are getting the most attention these days are the ones we are all following. The teams we want ours to follow. They are franchises built well from top to bottom.

But how many consider the Royals to be one of those teams? It’s what we forget about champions. They get there in different ways, with different kinds of players, with different formulas.  In different markets.

And you can’t help but pick one of the best and model yourself after them. Maybe it’s not a fit.  But maybe given the market, Kansas City is more the Tigers’ speed.

Truly modeling the team for the ballpark is something the Royals have done. It’s where the Tigers must start and what Kansas City is doing again. Of course, they have an organizational structure that lends itself to winning. That didn’t go away after most of their title winning roster bit the dust.

That’s the beauty in all of this. As a fan in Kansas City, despite the dismal record, it is a heck of a lot more fun to follow a rebuild a couple years after winning the World Series. It’s even more fun to watch when you are certain your team knows how to do it.

It’s the cross we are bearing in Detroit. We are not only impatient with our franchise, we have no faith that they know what they are doing or worse yet, we question whether they want what we want.

Not since 1984 have the Tigers figured it out. The Royals did and now still appear to know how to get back. I will easily put my money on them winning another title long before we see one here in Detroit.


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

ELEVATOR ANXIETY

By:  Holly Horning

It was bad.

It was really bad.

How bad was it, you ask?

It was so bad that after this past Thursday’s game, the Tigers covered the line score on their big scoreboard with a picture of a Labrador retriever. And I am not making this up.

I guess they lost the picture they had of a skunk. Or maybe it was an attempt to offer therapy for the fans who attended. Puppies always make us feel better.

Yes, the Tigers are in a “rebuild” – the exact method yet to be seen – and we know they are supposed to be bad. They are supposed to lose. They are supposed to lose a lot.

But this past week, we saw their play sink to a whole new level. And I expect that Hyundai will add this experience to its infamous elevator ad. You know, the one in which a couple gets on the elevator to say they need to go car shopping and are told by the elevator operator “Going down – way down!”. The elevator stops at floors for root canals, colonoscopies, music festival bathrooms, vegan potluck dinners, jury duty, airplane middle seats and “the talk.” I fully expect “attending a Tigers game” to be added to the list in the near future.

Forgive my grammar, but there’s only one way to say it.

This team is practicing stupid losing.

And that shouldn’t be acceptable for any team in a rebuild.

Losing is understandable. Stupid losing tells me that the organization simply doesn’t care. It also tells me that they don’t have standards.

It’s been a month in which the team has lost more than twice as many games as they’ve won. Four games out of 14 in which they gave up 15, 13, 11 and 17 runs. And not all of them solely due to pitching woes.

Games filled with sloppy fundamentals. Players leaving the field thinking there were 3 outs, instead of just 2. A lack of viable starting pitchers so severe that they bypassed Toledo and reached all the way down to AA, nabbing a thrower who had just been shellacked days earlier. (He drew the short straw.) A rookie, who is not a pitcher, brought in to pitch the 9th. He’ll be in therapy for awhile…..

And yet, the team refuses to go out and sign another pitcher. If you haven’t heard, there are still a zillion of them yet unsigned. There’s a bargain or two to be had at this point.  But it would appear that saving money takes priority over focusing in having a stable season…..

The sound you are now hearing is the padlock being applied to that owner’s wallet.

The list goes on…

Another runner on third sent home to his doom despite seeing that the A’s entire infield had been pulled in. The throw arrived at home plate with more than enough time. In fact, I saw the catcher texting his mom while he awaited the Tigers’ runner in order to apply the tag.

And in a scene out of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, players being DFA’d or sent down in bunches.

Excuse me while I make a quick visit to the ladies room…

The Tigers have been tearing down since Dave Dombrowski traded Cespedes, Price et al. That was 2015. Later that winter, Al Avila announced that the team was going into a rebuild. Almost 4 years later, what do we have to show for it? What, if any, improvements or advancements have we seen?

I can’t think of anything other than the analytics department and the replenishing of warm bodies in the farm system.

That and the payroll being dramatically reduced by a little more than half. (And yes, I’m being snarky….)

If this is a heartfelt rebuild, just how long is it supposed to take? Are we talking years or are we talking decades?

Shouldn’t we be able to point to some improvements in 3.5 years? Players we know are likely to stick? A noticeable difference in how the team now plays? An attention to detail that wasn’t there before now?

Have we seen any improvement on the field? Heck, Ron Gardenhire called out the organization for the lack of uniform play over the winter, which indicated that the Tigers Way manual hasn’t been written or at least finalized. And if it is, then it surely isn’t being taught.

As for Ron, have you noticed that he’s no longer diplomatically pointing fingers at those in the Front Office or even within his own coaching corps who aren’t doing their jobs? Maybe he realizes the futility of it all.

Meanwhile, a pool of promising pitchers is bubbling to the top. But once they get there, where are the other 8 men who are needed to support them? Where are the bats? And once they arrive in Detroit, will their talent be wasted because they won’t have run support?

When Al Avila inherited the GM job, the Ilitches gave him a 5-year contract because they said it would take 5 years for a successful rebuild to be seen. After this year, Avila has 1 more year. I have yet to hear anyone believe that this team will have a noticeable turnaround by then.

For those unhappy with how this ship is being sailed, I don’t see any significant changes to alter course before 2021. Definitely don’t look to Chris Ilitch.

He is the man reported by the media as not wanting to release Brad Ausmus from his last contract year because he didn’t want to pay two managers. For the record, Ausmus was making less than $1 mill per year. Ilitch is also the one who refused to give Dave Dombrowski the money to finally sign a closer (Nathan) until he traded a player (Fister) in order to free up the payroll.

He’s not going to fire Al Avila until his contract is up. And even then, he may not.

Many fans point to how generous his dad was with his wallet. But let’s not forget that after Mr. I bought the Tigers, the team had losing records in their first 12 out of 13 years – while maintaining one of baseball’s lowest payrolls. His reason for starting to spend big may be more accurately tied to his age, mortality and the desire to speed up the process while he would still be able to enjoy it. Chris, on the other hand, is only 53 years old. He’s got time. He’s also got an MBA.

Quite frankly, the best sign that this team is serious about rebuilding may have nothing to do with the farm system and everything to do with the intent to change the mindset and corporate culture.

The Tigers are never to going to get to that higher level with the same group of aged men who have been together as a group for over 25+ years. They have proven to be an insular group that shuts out the new ideas and technology that younger people with different backgrounds bring in.

Most importantly, they favor protecting each other over advancing the team’s development. It is an old-boys network personified. And when you put the needs of your long-term friends above the improvement of your organization, you will never get anywhere.

Almost every other team in MLB has gone out and poached the top talent of the best teams in order to get better and implement new ideas that will up their competitive levels. Except for the Tigers.

So what would put some hope in the hearts of fans? Chris Ilitch demanding change in the Front Office personnel. Al Avila finally showing that he’s in charge and making some long-overdue changes. Don’t you often wonder exactly who is in charge, who is the most influential man in the organization and who is making the decisions? I don’t always believe it is Al.

Time to man up, Mr. Avila.

Given the MLB-worst offensive stats for the second year in a row, a change in hitting coaches would be a good first sign. I mean, just how badly do you have to sink in order to make a hiring change?

Or in the words of the immortal Darryl Rogers, What does a coach have to do around here to get fired?”

Every team in MLB has signed on to a new way of coaching hitters but the Tigers cling to one whose tenure is over 4 times longer than any other hitting coach. How does a hitting coach, whose team has ranked dead last for 2 years in a row, keep his job for 14 years?

It’s not the only example but it’s the most apparent one. It reminds me of that lawyer joke: What does the release of a coach mean? It’s a good beginning.

And if they don’t make this one simple change?

It doesn’t bode well for the future of baseball in Detroit.


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

It’s time again to hear from our readers!   Today is the day to let us know what you’re thinking on a selected topic.

Sunday is the one day of the week where we open up the comment parameters for you, so you can get those juices flowing.

Comments on THIS DAY ONLY can be expanded to a maximum of 8 sentences.

We can’t wait to get your thoughts on the following topic:


What conclusions can you draw about Jeimer Candelario’s demotion and what does it mean for the rebuild? 

Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

THE SATURDAY SURVEY

 The Saturday Survey offers another way for readers to weigh in on a relevant topic.   So here is a poll to gauge the pulse of our baseball-lovin’ peeps.

As always, we welcome your comments, so please vote and then submit your reasons ( 4 sentences max!) for how you voted in the usual comment box.  Don’t forget to come back later and view the results!


The Tigers have been struggling to find starting pitchers – having to resort to bringing them up from AA and also using an “opener.” 

Please open the  survey and respond to the corresponding question.  Your input will tell us a lot.


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

 

TWICE AS NICE

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

This week, the Tigers had a pretty good showing when it came to the number of players ranked in the top 100 among prospects. We can hope for more, but the farm is in far better shape than it was when Dave Dombrowski was in charge.

So while we are on that topic, obviously there is a question to be answered. And our writers will answer it separately and privately in order to offer, hopefully, a wider range of perspectives.

Take a look at what we have for Holly and Kurt this week.


The Tigers recently had a number of minor league players ranked near the top of prospects. Given this, what are our two bloggers’ feelings about the progress of the team’s rebuild?


HOLLY

We finally have a reason to smile this year and it’s all about the farm system. Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Franklin Perez, Isaac Paredes and Daz Cameron were all included in MLB’s top prospects ranking. Mize comes in at #6 and is rated as the top pitching prospect but the top four are all in the majors now so he really is #2.

Three of them are RHP with one an infielder and the other in the OF but the Tigers needs so many more bodies, esp. when you consider the odds that 1 out of every 3 prospects, on average, makes it to the majors. Currently, the Tigers have way too many positions to fill and I don’t see them getting more candidates without at least a couple more trades.

If I had to be concerned about anything, it’s the timing of the rebuild. Nowadays, you have to do it much more quickly in order to take advantage of youth and team control and the Tigers have never had a sense of urgency. This rebuild can’t play out over the next 3-4 years – it has to happen much more quickly and the organization cannot allow that top talent to languish in the minors because they don’t want to start “the clock”.

Maybe the farm system will deliver some surprises as the Tigers now have the 10th ranked best farm system in MLB. It’s heartening to see that, given all those years Dave Dombrowski stripped it clean and had the system near the bottom by the time he had left for Boston, it has rebounded.


KURT

The Tigers are building quite a stable of pitchers and it’s encouraging for sure. To have a player who has already risen to the top pitching prospect ranking is really exciting, and boy, do we need someone to head our future staff.

What is not so encouraging is the lack of position players in the farm system. Outside of one here and there, the list of viable prospects is quite low. As a result, what will be the biggest challenge is the rebuild of a lineup that is currently in pretty tough shape.

Considering that Jeimer Candelario was handed 3rd base after being acquired from the Cubs in exchange for Justin Wilson and Alex Avila, he was officially the first new Tiger to watch as someone who could help lead the team back to contention.

So the news of Jeimer being sent down to Toledo this week was a bit of a gut punch. The problem is, he deserved to go down and he is just one of many who just aren’t hitting.

If you had to pick one player who you were confident could be plugged in for your future, he would be the one; maybe the only one. Now, even he is in doubt.

All in all – we will have to wait for things and players to develop to determine who is a future piece and who is not.


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

IT’S JUST NOT FUNNY ANYMORE

By:  Kurt Snyder

What have you noticed about Miguel Cabrera lately? Is there something about his demeanor that seems a bit odd?

No, I’m not talking about his lack of power. I am not talking about what little impact he has had on the team offensively this season.

Nope, it’s something that is the same, but different.

Miggy has always had this carefree attitude while on the field. It has always been a trait that I have found very enduring about Cabrera. The fun-loving joking with his teammates, opposing players and even fans has aided his popularity.

However, even as his performance has declined and his injuries have mounted, the banter on the field has continued. Well, let me rephrase that. It has increased.

Never before has Miggy been so animated and it’s different now because it seems so forced. With all of his off-the-field troubles both in business and in his personal life, difficulties in baseball have to be overwhelming for him.   In combination, there really is no place left to hide.

All his troubles must be tough to endure and many professional athletes find solace in the game they play so well. Once they get out onto that field of play, their troubles tend to disappear, if only for a few hours.

Many athletes, the stars of their games, have the ability to separate the two sides of their lives, personal and professional.

But Cabrera, who may still be hampered by injuries, may now be overwhelmed by the fact that he’s looking at nothing but disappointment everywhere he looks.

It’s documented through his business dealings that he is not a happy man. And sometimes when you are unhappy and dealing with some level of depression, you tend to force happiness or humor.

The little kid in Cabrera is that guy, always messing with people, joking around, making light of situations and at the same time, masking what is really going on in his life and in his head.

If he indeed is dealing with more back trouble, an angle that Holly discussed on Wednesday, it is just one more body blow that Miggy has taken.

Cabrera sparred with Justin Verlander early in the week, telling JV that he better bring his A game when they face each other on Wednesday night. Well, I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t looking forward to a JV vs. Miggy matchup like you would think.

At this point in time, given the level of performance of each player, this would have been an ugly mismatch in favor of JV. Instead, a knee strain, or whatever the Tigers want to call it,  most likely saved Miggy some embarrassment.

Once again, he missed the opportunity to face JV. And maybe his aches and pains felt a little worse with Wednesday’s game approaching.

Hey, I know how it sounds. How could I question Cabrera’s desire to compete, in any circumstance? Well, that’s how far the man has fallen.

Yes, he’s still good enough to hit the ball up the middle or hit it the opposite way. He’s a gifted hitter, although at the moment, severely limited in what he can do.

His safety valve now? Humor. Jokes. Attempts to convey to everyone that he’s not worried about how he’s performing, so why should we?

But he can’t think we are falling for it.

We have seen all this before. It’s just no longer funny. I actually feel sorry for him. And pity is not at all what he wants.


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

DISK-CONNECT

By:  Holly Horning

Thank goodness for some of those social media threads that newspapers offer with each article. They allow some fans to report the information that local journalists should be doing – but don’t.

It was the fans who first noticed and started discussing Miguel Cabrera’s lack of power at the plate. Presumably, the media didn’t find it newsworthy to report that Miggy only hit his first home run after a full month into the season.

Only when it was readily apparent, and became the elephant in the room, did reporters start to ask questions. And Miggy responded by blaming his teammates and the lack of protection he received as the reason for his lack of power.

Never mind the fact that Nick Castellanos had one of his best years in 2018 with no protection behind him and this year, Brandon Dixon is one of the team leaders offensively – and with JaCoby Jones batting behind him. ‘Nuff said.

Fans passed off his comments as being selfish, angry or frustrated. Ron Gardenhire thought the comments were “kinda crazy.”

Others blamed his lack of power on being out of shape, still recovering from his bicep surgery, excess weight and the ageing process.

Yes, they all could be factors but I believe it’s due to something else. Something that no one within the organization has dared to mention since 2017.

It’s his two herniated disks.

At the end of the 2017 season, it was revealed that Miggy was in tremendous pain for much of that year due to the disks in his back. They were also blamed as the primary culprit for his worst year ever.

In the off-season, the Tigers made sure to flood social media with pictures of Miggy doing his new workout routine that would build up his core and help alleviate the pain in his back. Fans were reassured that surgery would not be needed and that careful attention, a different workout and a little TLC would cure, or at least successfully manage, everything.

In 2018, a bicep tear took front and center and the herniated disk issues faded into the background. In this last off-season, we saw nothing on social media that showed Miggy training. No updates by the Tigers. Maybe Miggy was just too busy in the courtroom.

But as this season opened, there was a smattering of mention about his bicep recovery. No single media outlet asked a question about the issues concerning his back. It was forgotten. Or writers were encouraged to ignore it.

But lately, more than a couple fans posted their observations about Miggy at the plate. Fans who had some noticeable level of experience in playing baseball. And to a T, they all mentioned that Miggy’s swing had changed. They all noticed that Miggy is swinging with his upper body. That he’s no longer striding or using his lower body.

As in the majority of sports as well as in general body movement, it is the lower body that generates power. And in baseball, using your lower body generates power in your swing and creates more extra base hits, esp. home runs.

Miggy is last on the team, tied with Mercer and Harrison with 1 HR each. JaCoby Jones has more HRs. Cabrera’s hit no triples and sits in the middle of the pack in the number of doubles.

A lack of power overall.

And if you look at the stats, Miggy has played more games as DH than as the first baseman. The Tigers had said he’d play DH occasionally.

There’s something going on.

It’s time to break the cone of silence.

Back in 2017, Miggy complained about the pain he experienced in his hips and legs because of the herniated disks. He has radicular pain (also called “nerve root”) that results from the disks putting pressure on his spinal cord.

It creates a neurological deficit that results in a lack of power.

Ding, ding, ding.

It takes more force to move more mass and Cabrera, being a big guy, requires more force to move the ball further. That force is absorbed by the spine. And when you are swinging, you need rotational force that is powered by the hips. The problem is that Miggy is experiencing pain in his hips, which is why he is only moving his upper body- trying to minimize the pain.

Even Miggy was quoted back in 2017 that the pain caused him to change his swing. He said he stopped using his lower body and started using his arms more in order to compensate. He also mentioned that his SO rate went up because the new mechanics favored going after balls outside the strike zone. He is currently tied for 2nd on the team in the number of SOs.

What can we glean from this? That there is an uncomfortable similarity between watching Miggy at the plate in 2017 and watching Miggy at the plate in 2019.

Add in his playing time in the field. Despite Gardy’s quotes about giving Miggy some downtime by DHing him occasionally, Cabrera has spent more time in this slot than as the first baseman. Doctors will tell you that the bending and stretching required of fielding a ball is also impacted by herniated disks and becomes quite painful.

There is simply too much evidence that supports Miggy having continuing problems with his herniated disks. Problems that aren’t going away.

The question to ask is why he is blaming others? He obviously understands what is happening to his body because of the spinal problem. He understands that he needed to change his swing in order to play. He’s been quoted on the record.

We do know that Miggy has played in pain for years with numerous ailments and broken bones after the fact. And he’s never complained or revealed the problems until the season was over. Maybe he also doesn’t want the other teams to know lest they use his injury to their advantage.

Given that medical information is confidential, the Tigers can’t reveal any lingering issues with his back unless they have his permission.

If Miggy isn’t hitting for power now – and given that he’s playing less in the field – how long before things get worse? Afterall, he’s only played one-fourth of a season and there are 4.5 more months to go.

Will he miss much of yet another season? Will he eventually have to have surgery? And if he does, it means a recovery time of 3+ months. Not so easy for a guy who would miss the rest of this year and be 37 next season. Almost 2 years minus a couple months of not playing.

For the Tigers, any long-term injuries to Miggy could seriously impact and delay the rebuilding process. He still has a minimum of 5 years and $154 million left on his contract. That contract is guaranteed which means he gets paid even if he can no longer play.

The real question to ask is whether the Tigers have taken steps to protect themselves. Historically, they have not insured their players like other teams.

But even if they insured Miggy, policies are renewed every 3 years and will no longer offer coverage on existing or previous injuries. They usually involve premiums that are 10% of the entire contract and pay out approximately 50% of the player’s salary.

But when players reach their 30’s – and in this case, 36, insurance companies cover very little. But even if they do, should a player have to retire due to injuries, a team usually has to keep them on the 40-man roster in order to get reimbursed.

And that precious spot, that would be occupied by a retired player, directly conflicts with a team trying to rebuild.

Let’s hope that this year doesn’t play out like 2017.

The only thing we can say with certainty is that Miggy will be a Tiger for life through 2023. Even if he can no longer play the game.


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

WILL THE FUTURE INCLUDE BASEBALL?

By:  Kurt Snyder

You don’t have to go too far to hear it. You don’t have to go too far to see it. On the radio. On the internet. The message is loud and clear. And it is consistent. Baseball is in trouble and not many care.

Nobody cares? Well, let’s just say fans are supporting this sport less and less. So many things are to blame that we need to take the worst offender and deal with that.

The game of baseball has evolved before our eyes. So much is going on with the game all at once.

From a pace of play standpoint, the Commissioner has tinkered with our game. He and his brain trust are trying hard to take minutes out of a game that few are watching.

And it appears to be a mistake, centering all of the attention on pace of play. Would fans really care how long the games are if the excitement level was at, let’s say, an exciting level?

When did anyone ever say, ‘it was an exciting game, but it was just too long.’ When do you really notice the length of a game? Well, if you are checking the time, chances are you’re bored.

Yes, what we are finding is that the game doesn’t need to be shorter to be loved, it needs to be more exciting. There are plenty of things you can blame it on, but the day analytics came to roost is the day the game changed and not for the better.

There were some interesting comments on Sunday. Your responses to our Question of the Week were very telling. What is building in baseball is the ultimate ‘when worlds collide’ scenario.

Analytics has turned baseball into an all-or-nothing sport and it’s not helping the appeal. If players aren’t hitting home runs, they are striking out! And who’s finding that exciting every night?

Pitchers like Matt Boyd are near the top of the league in strikeouts, but given how the game is played now, doesn’t it take a little bit of starch out of it? Are you as impressed by that as you would have normally been, say, 5 years ago?

The game has changed that dramatically. I understand that there is more than one way to skin a cat. And I understand that the game will change over time.  It’s inevitable.

Technology alone changes processes across the board, beyond sports, in every walk of life. So I get why analytics must now be considered when you are looking to compete. The edge is in the data and every team is working hard at being the best at using the data to their advantage.

It is smart and understandable. But while teams use data to win games, they are boring the hell out of the fan base. The Commissioner can beat his head against a wall trying to fix pace of play, but who is telling him this is the root of all evil?

Because it’s not. Analytics is. It is ruining baseball. It helps teams strategize but the fans are not entertained. They are becoming more and more disinterested. And in the entertainment industry, isn’t this the biggest of all sins?

At a time when the game is searching for ways to impress or entertain or whatever they are looking to get out of the younger fan, today’s baseball is confusing the older fan now as well.

The older fans are the purists. Until now, they have loved and counted on the simplicity of the game. But simplicity is now being kicked out the back door in favor of analytical formulas and more and more stats.

Major League Baseball had better be careful. Because as the game moves to remake itself, fans need to be first in line to approve.

We are ultimately the most important variable. Statistics show we aren’t coming to games anymore. So you can stick ‘exit velocity’ where the sun don’t shine.

The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter how fast the ball leaves the park if fewer fans are coming in to see it.


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

EVERY DUGOUT NEEDS A MOMAGER

(2019 edition)

By:  Holly Horning

It’s baaaack!

Did you honestly believe that I would let a year go by without reminding everyone how much better the Tigers would be if they had a momager in the dugout? Especially since this team is a fortress of an old boys network…..

It’s a celebration of Mother’s Day and despite all of my in-depth blogs that shed light on the serious impact created by finances and corporate culture, for some reason, I get more requests from you to continue this particular blog than any other. Go figure.

It just goes to show that Mom really does know best.

For those of you who have recently joined us, a momager is the one who runs the team and rules the dugout and clubhouse. And she does it in heels and performs her job much better than any manager. And given the Tigers ever-increasing roster of younger men, well, let’s just say that moms are needed more than ever.

And all of us work for nothing. Well, really, love and appreciation is what we want. And one of these days, owners and GMs will realize the savings and value added we bring to the table. We will be the trend that follows analytics. In fact, I hear rumors that the Houston Astros are currently interviewing for that position.

So how would momagers handle things? Like the Marines, we “run towards the sounds of chaos” and we offer our teams a distinct advantage – all without having to resort to beanball wars. That’s why we are well-equipped to handle anything that presents itself.

So what would this momager address with the Tigers? Since this blog appeared last year, here’s my Top 10 list…..


1. Every parent knows that if you put 1 good toy in a room full of boys and expect them to share, you shouldn’t be surprised to see a fight break out. I know enough to ensure that every single one of my broadcasters has his own comfy chair. And also my advice to “play nice” – or else.

2. If you are a slow runner, you will not be wearing those big heavy necklaces – the size and weight of snow tire chains – around your neck while you try to round the bases. I will hang onto them for you. Besides, that jewelry always looks better on me.

3. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Obviously some players don’t get it. But if you do throw a teammate under the bus, you will be writing “I am sorry” 100 times on the clubhouse whiteboard and dropped down to 9th in the batting order for the next game.

4. For those players who are unable to self-monitor themselves in the off-season whether due to diet, training or complicated family issues, I will be in touch. Regularly. I can tell simply by the sound of your voice on the phone if you are not holding up your end of the deal. And you definitely don’t want a visit from me.

5. When you have not just one, but two children by a woman who is not your wife, you’ve taken dating to a whole new level. Which is why I’m bringing in Trevor Bauer to teach Miggy his infamous three rules of dating. Maybe that will help.

6. I am much better equipped to evaluate your physical health – not the coaches, manager or trainer. Just try to hide the problem or deny it – moms just know. If I see you dragging a body part or two around the bases, by the time you reach the dugout, your appointment with the specialist will have already been made. The same goes if you are wearing a knee brace and trying to play. Don’t even atttempt it.

7. Speaking of which, moms make much better trainers. We’re out of the dugout before you even hit the ground. I’m 100% confident that I will reach you before Ron Gardenhire and Doug Teter even attempt to navigate the dugout steps.

8. Sometimes all the training and coaching in the world doesn’t help a player who is struggling. Which is why Daniel Norris and JaCoby Jones will get daily hugs from me. And freshly-baked brownies.

9. There’s no excuse for not knowing your teammates names even if much of the roster is new this year. If I can train my non-baseball fan husband to learn the Tigers entire starting lineup, Miggy will learn the first and last names of the entire 25-man roster. His spot in the batting order depends upon it.

10. Moms know when their baby birds need to fly on their own which is why the collection of former managers and their coaches need to leave the nest. We know how to practice tough love.

Sooo, did you call your mother yesterday? If not, then we need to talk…


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.