By: Holly Horning and Kurt Snyder
The Tigers headed home after a nice road series win in St. Louis, who had previously been the hottest team in baseball.
While the Tigers flexed their muscle in the form of Miguel Cabrera, they were “forced” (thank God) to sit their designated hitter under the lovely rules of interleague play.
So it only makes sense that question #1 is about Victor Martinez. Can’t wait to see how we compare on this one ….and the next one as well.
1. What should the Tigers do about Victor Martinez?
VMart’s refusal to come out of a game or even submit to batting right-handed until his left leg is healed is disconcerting in so many ways. First, it tells us that he puts himself ahead of the team – or that he’s just too stubborn to accept his poor performance from the left side for what it really is.
Then there is also the risk to consider that Victor will end up getting seriously hurt if he continues to swing from that powerless left leg.
But the more troubling story is the lack of power and influence Brad has with him, and probably with others on the team. Is he being ignored because he has little cred with the players, too little experience or because he’s unfamiliar or hesitant about managing people?
After VMart’s comment the other day, it appeared that there’s a potential mini-power struggle between Martinez and manager. Victor sat while the rest of the bench pinch hit, however the next day, his turn took him back to the left side of the plate.
Once a player is seen as getting away with dictating his own strategy, others will follow and it could become a team in name only. Brad’s got to “man”-ager up and tell him he either hits (from the right) or sits. If he’s smart, he’ll present it as a compromise.
Well, I hate this question because it infuriates me. The Tigers continue to ignore VMart’s injury. And if they aren’t ignoring it, than they are just plain in denial.
Brad has been asked about VMart and whether they have considered putting him on the DL. And apparently they have. But then he gets a couple hits and then they decide not to.
Chances are they have asked Victor if he wants to go on the DL, which is probably why he isn’t. I can’t for the life of me understand how Brad and his staff can continually watch Victor limp up to the plate, swing awkwardly, hit nothing hard, and struggle to run to first base.
From the left side of the plate, he is no threat. From the right he is better but has been quite vocal about how he won’t consider hitting from the right side exclusively, as if it’s completely up to him.
I firmly believe Victor won’t hit the DL until they have to help him off the field some night. How they can continue to put him out there says a lot about our manager.
Brad continues to talk about Victor’s situation, but still writes his name on the card every day. Frankly, he should be ashamed of himself for not addressing this and putting him on the disabled list.
2. Do you feel Cespedes is meeting expectations?
I’d like to have more info but currently, I think there are few surprises about Yoenis. His stats this year fall almost identically along the same lines to the stats he put up last year between Oakland and Boston.
He’s fast in the field but hardly steals any bases so I have to wonder why more effort hasn’t been put into developing that skill. He definitely upgrades the outfield with his arm. But his OBP is below league average while SLB and OPS run average for the past three years of stats.
Reading between the lines, clubhouse atmosphere is important to his ability to produce. The heavy Latino influence is certainly helpful and I’ve seen him relaxed and friendly with Iggy and VMart, however he was also seen arguing with Miggy.
It’s logical to think that he will up his game this year as much as possible given that his agent is Roc Nation. His contract is structured to attract the maximum number of bids without a draft loss to the team who signs him. It will be interesting to see if he can come anywhere near the stats he put up in 2012, his best year.
I like Cespedes. And I think he has given the Tigers everything they expected, at least to this point.
We knew about the tools he possesses; the great power, excellent speed, a great arm and he plays a very good leftfield. In fact, I think he has overachieved defensively. He looks better than advertised and his arm has lived up to the advanced billing.
Offensively, he tends to swing for the fences sometimes, which can cause a lot of the strikeouts. But he has also shown the ability to hit the ball the other way. So he knows how to hit, but he can get greedy by trying to hit the ball so hard.
Knock on wood, but Yoenis has been known to get dinged up a lot and miss time with a lot of little injuries. We haven’t seen that yet, which has helped the Tigers weather the storm of JD’s miserable hitting slump. Whether he was hitting or not, he was still an imposing threat while JD struggled.
So, yeah, the Tigers should be pleased with who they have acquired. Cespedes has been a big part of a much improved outfield and demands respect at the plate. It would be nice to be able to hold onto him beyond this season. But chances are he will be way too expensive.