Saturday’s segment is a day to touch on as many issues as possible. It’s hard to imagine that we are on the doorstep of February already and soon Tiger pitchers and catchers will be headed to Lakeland. So there is much to contemplate as Spring Training nears.
Kurt and Holly don’t share their Saturday topics and it’s only for the readers’ benefit. It almost always translates into a wide array of thoughts.
Congrats to former Minnesota Twins manager Tom Kelly, who will be honored this season for leading the Twins to 2 World Titles; a statue will be erected in his honor. Congrats to David Ortiz, who will be honored by the Red Sox this season through the retirement of his #34. Boston will waste no time in honoring one of their greatest players who helped lead them to 3 World Titles.
The Tigers announced this week that Jack Morris will no longer be part of the TV broadcast crew. I can’t get behind a common opinion that Morris was one of the weakest of the color analysts. Without ranking strengths of the 3, I thought Morris brought the most to the broadcasts; a successful pitcher’s perspective is an underrated broadcasting attribute.
Did the Tigers overpay for Alex Avila? This week the Toronto Blue Jays signed former Tiger catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a minor league contract that could be worth $1.5M if he makes the team. Salty certainly didn’t help his cause hitting just .110 for the Tigers after August 1st in 2016, but Alex will have a hard time providing the deep threat that Salty brought off the bench, as so many of his 12 home runs were game changers.
Why have the Tigers not made more of an effort to get more left-handed bats into the lineup for more than a couple of years now? Analysts keep referring to their unbalanced right-handed lineup and how it limits them in creating consistent run production. They also said this is why the Indians dominated them last year given that they have a stellar starting rotation and bullpen of dominating right-handed pitchers.
It appears that Al Avila can keep a secret given the news that Vmart had hernia surgery almost 4 months ago. But while the Tigers typically downplayed the seriousness of it, other reports say it is identical to the surgery that both JV and Miggy had. But my greatest concern is why the Tigers seemed to have cornered the market on hernia surgery with 3 players now having had it in such a short time period.
No one should be surprised that Kirk Gibson was retained for the broadcast booth in ’17 despite poor audience feedback. Even if you disregard the Tigers’ infamous loyalty factor, no team is going to fire anyone who is battling significant health concerns which would shower the team with a virtual storm of negative publicity. Even the Red Sox, mired in last place with the second highest payroll, did not fire John Farrell who was experiencing serious health issues.