By: Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning
Looks like Al Avila has been a good boy this year, seeing as though he appears to have completed all his shopping 3 days before Christmas. Not bad Al, not bad.
But what about the rest of the Tigers? Were they all in good favor with St. Nick this season or are there some players who will find coal in their stockings for 2015?
You can be sure our writers have a few in mind for both the Naughty and the Nice List. So who got the gold and who got the coal?
What 3 Tigers top the list of players who have earned the ‘not so great’ honor of Santa’s Naughty List?
KURT’S NAUGHTY LIST
Brad Ausmus – The manager finds the Naughty List because of his lack of ingenuity. I understand the injuries, the pitching deficiencies, I understand all of it, but there was a right time to use guys and there was a wrong time and he mostly never figured that out.
Bruce Rondon – When Bruce was sent home for his now infamous ‘lack of effort,’ Santa was watching. And Rondon has a lot of work to do, because he’s going to need a whole mine shaft to store all the coal he’s going to have delivered to his house this year.
Jose Iglesias – And while we are talking about effort; it’s one thing to be caught dogging it, but it’s another thing to try to defend it. Iggy finds the Naughty List this season for his immaturity that had better be remedied when this team hits the field again in the spring.
HOLLY’S NAUGHTY LIST
I need to define my version of “naughty” – namely avoiding Tigers who were short in the skill department. Rather, I’m basing my list on players who exhibited a lack of character or failed to meet team play expectations. Now that it’s clear, here’s my list of guys who deserve that lump of coal…
Jose Iglesias – A brilliant player who sometimes didn’t give 100% effort. Best exemplified by his dugout dustup with James McCann and an on-field confrontation with no-nonsense Ian Kinsler.
David Price – I love the guy and believe he sets the bar high for himself. But his ongoing dissatisfaction with Ausmus’ management of pitchers led him to make a decision to remove himself from a game based upon his own feelings and not the team’s – leaving them scrambling to get a new pitcher in the game.
Bruce Rondon – Maybe it was Dombrowski’s anointment of him as closer before he even hit the majors, his youthful age or a combination of both. But his lack of effort became a difficult team issue when the focus should have been on winning games.
What 3 Tigers top the list of players who have earned the honor of making Santa’s Nice List?
KURT’S NICE LIST
Miguel Cabrera – There are not a lot of players out there who struggle their way to a batting title. Miggy doesn’t even know how to spell Naughty, much less earn that distinction on the field, but we can’t ever ignore the merits of a batting title.
J.D. Martinez – This guy is about to get paid as are many who have found themselves on the Nice List over the years. But it’s new territory for JD, and he will be paid as if he is expected to stay on Santa’s good side for many years to come.
James McCann – It’s important that your catcher be on the Nice List and most are on the list because they lead their teams every day. The Tigers are lucky to have such a young catcher, possessing all the tools of the craft, behind the plate for at least as long as he wants to be in Detroit.
HOLLY’S NICE LIST
And now for my “nice” list. My standards for who receives presents are based upon players who stepped up and gave more than asked of them.
Ian Kinsler – A guy known for saying he didn’t want to be a team leader with the Rangers because it took away from his game, he saw there were leadership issues this past year with the Tigers. And he rose to the occasion with bat, glove, effort, intensity and the spoken word.
James McCann – A rookie who by tradition should have taken a back seat to those with more seniority. But a first year, pressure from his oft-injured #1 catcher and a need to call out a teammate for poor play makes him a leader-in-the-making.
Alex Wilson – Another young guy thrown into a new organization with a disastrous bullpen. He exhibited the qualities prized in a reliever – calmness, control, flexibility – and welcomed helping the team in any way and role possible.