UH, HE SAID WHAT???

By:  Holly Horning

Spring training is a time for experimentation and implementation of new ideas. But this year, due to waiting for Miggy and VMart, there is less patience.

According to Brad, everyone is doing well and the situation is rosy. But we still don’t have a real-world view of how the Tigers may gel as a team come April. It’s like going to the movies and watching all the coming attractions while we anxiously await the start of the real show.

Today’s inspiration is based upon some of Brad’s comments to the media and some experiments tried out on the field. It all started with the comments about VMart going back behind the plate. (Not reported was the small seismic event recorded in Michigan minutes after the comment was made.)

This was followed by the suggestion that Alex Avila would be tried out as the #2 hitter in the lineup.

But this week, the comments really started to fly with several decisions, both involving Romine and Perez. First, the decision to have them experiment with catching duties followed by several statements leaning towards keeping essentially two identical players on the roster instead of the needed bat in the form of Collins.

Maybe Brad has been living in California for too long…..

So if you’re a Tiger fan – and already hesitant about Brad’s managing style – what do you do? Well, ledges and thinking evil thoughts come to mind, but I have a better idea. With all of this being said, let’s calm ourselves and work through some of these questions. It may get silly but it just seems appropriate. So here it goes:

1. So I see Brad is working out Romine and Perez for the exclusive backup catcher position. Is this a sign he hasn’t figured out how to replace Don Kelly yet?

I don’t think Brad is experienced enough to trust his gut and go with a player who has a short track record.  Remember how his quotes are always about reliance on a guy’s track record?  I don’t think he’s confident enough to take a chance and go with a guy who is probably a better fit but doesn’t have the stats to back it up.

2. What is the fascination with Hernan Perez?

I really have no idea other than he’s a known commodity. Could also be that there is concern over Iggy that they feel they need him. I would hope that not having any remaining options is really a factor.

3. If Tyler Collins doesn’t make the team, who’s the hitter off that bench? (And laughter can be an answer here.)

There is no hitter! I’d hate to think Brad didn’t learn his lesson after the playoffs last year.

4. All things considered, do you think Brad got the VMart catching option idea from Victor himself?

Absolutely not. I think Brad is grasping for straws and not the outside-of-the-box manager he led the Tigers to believe. He’s looking for solutions without thinking of the potential consequences.

5. Remind me, is Brad really still the manager? Who can we call?

This is the sink-or-swim year. I’d like to think yes, but I have my doubts. The strategy isn’t all laid out for him this year like last. He’s got some real issues to handle. But unlike last year, there are some qualified managers waiting for calls and a special assistant who can help keep things stable until a real transition is made.

As far as Avila batting #2? Dial tone…..

14 thoughts on “UH, HE SAID WHAT???

  1. Hi, everyone! First of all, we’d like to thank you for reading Totally Tigers and sending us your comments. But we also need to let you know that this WordPress platform has its limits and won’t accept lengthy responses nor allow us to edit them down in order to fit. We’d love to publish them and ask that comments of 6 – 8 sentences maximum be submitted. For those who already submitted, we’d be happy to receive shorter versions. Thanks!

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  2. Wow Holly, lot of food for thoughts! I guess many fans start understanding how useful Kelly was off the bench. With Iggy still in the limbo I guess Brad will take north the duo Perez/Romine so do not lose anyone of the two off waivers after trading a number of MIFers lately. As mentioned on the DetNews Brad will more likely need to pinch-run rather than pinch-hit late in games and more often need a defensive replacement than need a substitute batter. So I’m with him on this one. When October comes it will be a different season…and roster. Vmart behind the the plate is a dream locked in the draw, not going to happen. I never thought there would be a talking about Avila batting in the # 2 spot, but sabermetricans say the game is changed and more than speed, managers look at OBP. Time will tell!

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    • Hi, Frankie – Yes, time will tell. Brad is still an enigma to me and I have to wonder if he’s “thinking too much” instead of looking at the real picture. I know it’s spring training and that Miggy and VMart have just returned, but there is a real concern about the Tigers once again having to depend upon these two instead of more players. The runs just aren’t coming. The bigger question is whether Brad learned a lesson after last year’s playoffs. Let’s cross our fingers!

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  3. Leyland! I defended the guy on the tiger site as not many, how can fans not give him credit for changing the baseball culture in Detroit, FA willing to come to Motown to play for him. Enough said. Winning a ring is another story and not the easiest thing in the baseball world, how many WS did the Braves win while dominating the first half of the 90s and one of the best SR? IMO, maybe Jimmy’s fault might have been to not credit enough stats and go the “Old Style Way” which has gave him a big chance to be in the HOF. One day Brad might be a great manager, but for now I hope he knows he has a lot to learn.

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    • Hi, Frankie – (Boy, are you sneaky!) Leyland’s rep will change as he is compared to Ausmus’ style of managing. As for “One day Brad might be a good manager”, we here are still trying to figure out the mixed message the Tigers sent in hiring him, knowing he needs to learn and also declaring that they are in “win now” mode.

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  4. Holly, I think VMart HAS to catch in NL cites in the WS, but that all hinges on the Tigers getting that far. I think it is wise to give him a few games behind the plate late in the season to prepare for that. Ausmus is NOT working out Romine & Perez for, as you say “the exclusive backup catcher position”. He is doing the intelligent thing and preparing them for EMERGENCY duties at catcher. Doesn’t every team have a plan for emergency catcher duties?
    All I can say about the fascination with Perez is, I don’t know what it is?!?!?!?!?

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    • Hi, Ian – I’ve never seen a team go through such effort with their catchers. (As for the exclusive comment, that was a “wink” statement from us.) But other teams do have plans for when a catcher goes down and they all involve bringing up another catcher from the minors. The Tigers do have 3 or more. Just seems Brad should be focused on other stuff….

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      • Holly, bringing up a player “tomorrow” from the minors because of an injury is not an emergency plan for catcher. An emergency plan is having a guy on the roster who can play catcher “today” in case of both catchers being injured or otherwise unable to play. Having a guy or two who can catch in that emergency situation is what ANY intelligent manager does, right? It’s called Plan B…or maybe Plan C since the team is down to their third option.
        I kinda figured your “exclusive” comment was tongue in cheek, but frankly, I thought the entire thing about Perez & Romine wasn’t to be taken seriously because there is an obvious need to have that Plan B/C in place.

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      • Hi, Ian – Just seems that with Toledo less than an hour away, the Tigers have will Holaday down there who can come up that day in an emergency. To focus on having more than 3 available catchers takes away from other more pressing issues. As it was, Don Kelly was the “emergency” catcher and the only time he was needed was in 2011.

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  5. Regarding Tyler Collins; conventional wisdom dictates young players are better served by PLAYING in the minors rather than SITTING on the bench in The Show. Personally, I think every player should be treated the way he will best perform. Some players (young or old) can handle sitting on the bench waiting for their turn and some can’t. It’s kinda like being a DH. Some players are good at it while others abhor the idea of not playing in the field. I can see the validity of Collins staying as much as I can see it be reasonable to send him down.
    PS Does there come a time when my comments are not waiting for approval, and they show up immediately after I post them?

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    • Ian – You are sneaky like Frankie. 😉 We’re in agreement about sitting players but I gotta wonder, with the Tigers having such a hard time scoring this spring (and second worst record in ST about to be the worst), that Brad needs a bat on his bench instead of two identical players.

      As for your comments, our web geek is working on all of this. These systems are very hard to customize and require major overhauls in order to change methods. In short, no, all comments have to go through approval first as it’s much easier to do it that way, then to hire someone to monitor posted comments. But we like you, so that shouldn’t be a problem. 😉

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  6. Billy Beane said in Moneyball that a guy is pretty much who he is from the get-go, and that you can’t change him. While he was talking specifically about athletic talent and approach, I think that assessment also applies to managers and their mindset. Therefore I expect the same “Brad-in-the-headlights” look out of our manager in 2015. The Tigers and their fans will live and die according to Ausmus’s by-the-book decision making and his refusal to manage according to the situation at hand. Any attempts at shaking up the lineup or trying something different won’t last long. He’ll manage not to lose, which does nothing but increase the chances of losing. That’s why I’m picking this team to go 82-80 this year.

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    • Hi, Tom – Food-for-thought comments. I am trying to be on the fence re Brad but it’s not encouraging. Early on will tell if he develops as hoped. Currently, I just don’t see him as confident or comfortable yet in his decisions. He may never be. Btw, did you see Tram sitting, almost hiding, in the corner of the dugout in today’s game?

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  7. I’m thinking maybe take Perez and an extra BP arm at this point. We have 4 outfielders. They can always call someone up from the farm if one of them is injured. It’s the pitching, at this point, I’m more concerned with.

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