QUESTIONS, COMMENTS, KUDOS & CONCERNS

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

Saturday’s segment is a day to touch on as many issues as possible. Even with the season over for the Tigers, there will still be much to talk about as the team takes another shot at finding that magic formula.

Holly and Kurt don’t share and it’s only for the readers’ benefit. It almost always translates into a wide array of thoughts.


HOLLY

COMMENT

We may finally have an answer as to why Doug Fister was traded and it’s because Chris Ilitch was in charge of the team in 2013 when his father was very ill. When Dave Dombrowski wanted to sign Joe Nathan after the playoffs that year, it was reported in several publications that Chris told him he had to cut payroll if he wanted Nathan. Exactly one day after trading Fister, Joe Nathan was signed.

CONCERN

It is being reported in several outlets (no, not the mainstream papers) that Chris Ilitch is now officially running the Tigers on a daily basis – and that he was the one with the final decision about keeping Brad Ausmus for just the one year because he does not want to pay for 2 managers down the road. The national media mentioned that when it comes time for manager renewals, owners usually asks for star players’ opinions because they make the most money, have the most influence in the clubhouse and it’s essential that they are kept happy. This winter’s Hot Stove season will be telling about Chris’ continued influence if payroll is cut in any significant ways.

QUESTION

Am I the only one mad that on his last day, the Boston Red Sox retired Big Papi’s number during a surprise ceremony at Fenway Park? The Tigers don’t promote their own players or go to bat for them like other teams do when it comes to Hall of Fame voting. If ownership doesn’t do this, should anyone be surprised that deserving Tigers are ignored and fall off the ballot?


KURT

COMMENT

Time and time again, ex-Tiger David Price has drawn interest from teams enamored with his dominance as one of the best left-handed pitchers in the game. But how many teams have been enamored with his playoff performances? I have one thing to say about David Price: no amount of money is worth acquiring a pitcher who seems to lack the intestinal fortitude to help his team win a championship; you almost can’t pitch him in October!

QUESTION

The day Rajai Davis left the Tigers was a day I questioned what value they found in players who made up the fabric of a baseball team. As much as I have despised watching the Indians do so well, I can appreciate teams who understand the importance of a guy like Davis; someone with infectious laughter and positivity, oh and someone who can still lead the league in stolen bases. What was it about the Tigers that made Davis want to leave?

COMMENT

If you were to ask the Tiger organization what they feel was the reason for the decrease in attendance in 2016, I wonder what they would say. They were a team with a better record than last season. They were in the playoff race all the way to the end in ’16 versus a last place finish in ’15. Would really love to know what they think.

18 thoughts on “QUESTIONS, COMMENTS, KUDOS & CONCERNS

  1. Holly is, as usual, correct. It is deplorable how little the Tigers promote their star players, both past and present. Kurt asks a very pertinent question: Why is attendance down? Because the Tigers play DULL baseball, which in some ways is worse than playing bad baseball. Describe the last time you saw the Tigers generate a real rally.

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  2. Knowledgeable fans have figured out that the Tigers will not be playing the game the way that champions play the game so long as Ausmus is manager, so attendance is down. You see more effort at a little league game for lots less money.

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  3. The Nathan/Fister deal and the Ausmus affair shows Chris will not be aggressive as his father, will start saving money and maybe try to build a more athletic team. Watching better baseball might bring fans back to the park.Avila offered Davis the same money, the Indians offered him something more with the clauses. Plus Ausmus didn’t allow him to steal as much.

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  4. Anybody who reads and comments on TT knows exactly how I feel about the Tigers not honoring their former players of HOF-worthy achievement. It makes no sense. With attendance on the downside next season would be a great time to retire 1, 3 and 47 in separate games. They would be guaranteed sellouts

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  5. I strongly feel that Davis left because he wanted a chance to play everyday somewhere. Brad treated him like a platoon or utility player and I think he got real tired of that. Showing up every day not knowing if you are going to play that day has to wear on a person, especially if that person feels like he should be a starter.

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    • Davis IS a platoon player and really nothing more. But he is what an important platoon player on a winning team wants. He can’t play every day, his defense ALWAYS catches up with him but Davis or Aviles/Collins/Moya/Etc?? No question, Davis.

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      • Well, Davis really wasn’t replaced by that group. He was replaced by, take your pick, Maybin or J Up. Frankly, I’d rather have either one of them over Rajai!

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  6. What were the actual attendance numbers & was the loss at the gate significant? Is it true that Pelfrey & Sanchez combined for 30 losses? Rajai said “I get to play my game..Be free..not many restrictions”. Would love to know who restrained him and why.

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    • Hi, Helen – Attendance has been going down each year since 2013 and picking up speed the last 2 years. Overall, down by almost 600,000 and from one of the top teams to one smack in the middle. The real concern is that Tigers have the second highest committed payroll and attendance is the biggest contributor to paying those salaries. As for Rajai, tv picked up an argument between him and Brad last year. Seems Rajai stole a base and didn’t have approval to do so. He felt that he should be able to run when his instincts told him and Brad wanted to call each stolen base. Brad benched him a game as a result. Avila offered him a contract for this year and Rajai turning it down to go to Cleveland for essentially the same money but with some incentives added. At that time, it wasn’t known that Brantley would be out for the entire year. Great questions – thanks for keeping the conversation going! – Holly

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  7. Loved Rajai, but really, he wasn’t an everyday player, even with the Indians this season. Yes, he played more than he did with the Tigers in 2015, but 454 at bats is not the total an everyday player would attain. It’s pretty much the same number of at bats he had in 2014 with Detroit. When the season began, J Up was 28. Rajai was 35.

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  8. Holly, after Fister was traded, I went to some Washington area papers and read what their take on the trade was. They reported, the reason for the trade was, Fister told the tigers he would not sign an extension and he was not liked in the club house, he was no cancer, just not liked.

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    • Hi, im41mtk – I had heard those stories, too, however the comments did not come from the organization, but from some fans. Some even said he wanted to return to the West Coast, but that wasn’t the case when he signed with Houston. He was here in DC for awhile and always seemed to have a good rep and was hanging with Max. In a class act, he gave up his lifelong jersey number to Jonathan Papelbon when he came on board and there was evidence the Tigers were interested in bringing him back this past year. We’ll never really know the whole story, but if it’s true that Chris Ilitch was the one who made Dave choose, it’s admirable that Dave never said a word and took all the heat. Thanks for continuing the conversation! – Holly

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  9. Holly and Kurt great again. Both max and porcello said tigers would always be JV’s team. He would start opening day and so on. Both said their happy with new teams. Sounds like all three felt unliked by some in clubhouse.

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  10. Chris Illich chose to keep Brad to avoid paying two coaches? Was it not an option year? How does that work exactly? If Tiger decline they owe Brad still?

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    • Hi, Matt – Yes, despite an option year, there is a salary tied to Brad even if his option was not picked up. But more to the point, the stories I encountered all mentioned that Chris did not want to extend Brad beyond this year because that would have meant he’d have to pay him his full salary if he was terminated down the road, along with a new manager. Thanks for keeping the conversation going! – Holly

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      • IWould love TT retrospective on Illich family for a winter read. We can see failings of their tribute to players in past so that chapter is well covered already.

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  11. The trade of fister was actually an awesome trade by the tigers and one the fan base was completely wrong about. That’s the exact way you want to make a deal as you trade away a guy right before his value drops off.

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