What happened to February? In a blink of an eye, the Grapefruit League schedule is in full swing. This edition of the – growing in popularity – 20 Thoughts, should leave you breathless with Tiger baseball! Who needs 10 Thoughts when you can have 20?
1. I am comin’ in hot! Why after one week of spring training do the Tigers feel the need to make statements about who are “long shots” for positions on the Opening Day roster?
2. Who should take more grief? Is it the Pistons, who many think are retiring too many numbers, or the Tigers, who most feel they downright ignore their greats?
3. In our rival city of Chicago, will the White Sox recognition and retirement of Mark Buehrle’s #56, finally motivate Tiger ownership to once and for all retire the numbers of their historic keystone combination?
4. I won’t rush to judgment on Anibal Sanchez’s poor first performance any sooner than Jordan Zimmermann’s good one. But is there concern? You bet there is.
5. Nick, Nicholas, whatever …. I would prefer to call him the #2 hitter.
6. As the Tigers experiment with lineups this spring, I would hope one experiment would not grow legs: VMart batting second.
7. Since I will probably never get my way on abolishing instant replay for our sport of baseball, there are two clocks, no more and no less, that I would endorse. One which limits the time it takes for a manager to decide to challenge, and one that limits the time it takes for a ruling on a challenge.
8. Instant replay is a hot button for many, and we have a decision to make. Do we make decisions in the interests of getting it right, or forgo that importance for the sake of pace of play? Asking for both is the easy answer. But challenge yourself.
9. So where are you on the ownership of the Tigers? Are you convinced the Ilitch family will continue to lead them long into the future? I am not.
10. Tyler Collins picked a bad time to get hurt, but I still believe he will be part of the centerfield solution. Mikie Mahtook from all indications appears to be leading for at least half of a platooning.
11. The Tigers have tough decisions to make on Stephen Moya and Dixon Machado. They will have to ask themselves a question on both. What’s more important, a defensively- challenged left-handed bat or a solid backup option at a key infield position?
12. Who is the most important reliever? Who offers the most potential star power? Who offers both talent and trade value in July? It’s Bruce Rondon. He offers all of that, and stays on this list. (Carryover from December 2016 and January.)
13. Will both Sanchez and Pelfrey make the Opening Day roster?
14. It seems the further we get from Jim Leyland’s time as Tiger manager, there is growing amnesia present in fans who have forgotten how truly great he was for this franchise. I have decreasing patience for the ramping up of the disdain for Leyland as if he was a failure as a manager in Detroit.
15. How crazy would be it be for Anthony Gose to emerge again and head north with the Tigers in April? It’s not impossible. Actually, if there is room on the bench, speed and outfield defense are his strengths; sometimes hard to turn your head away those 2 attributes that the Tigers will lack again in 2017. (Carrying this one over; there is value there as a backup, but is there room?)
16. Andrew Romine stands in the way of opportunities for both Gose and Machado. Many undervalue his versatility and contribution to this team. You may laugh, but he is an important piece; every team needs a Romine.
17. There are several scenarios to consider as the Tigers fill out their starting pitching rotation. But Dave Dombrowski would get all the credit if the incredible happened. Fulmer, Norris and Boyd all in the starting rotation in Year 2 as Tigers? It’s more of a probable than a possible.
18. Who makes the list of Tiger time bombs as we move on through the spring? Who are injuries waiting to happen? Zimmermann? Greene? I will give VMart a break for obviously putting in a huge amount of work in the weight room. So, I’m not adding him to this list – looks in tremendous shape.
19. Starting pitching depth? If your depth consists of 2 pitchers who have not been good for a while, that’s not depth. Depth is based on pitchers with the ability to win when called upon. Drew Verhagen’s spring will be monitored closely.
20. Looking forward to our first report from Spring Training. Our readers know their contribution may find its way to Totally Tigers. So who’s down there? Who’s going?
If you’re not following us on Twitter (@totallytigersbb), here’s just some of what you missed the past couple days:
Ian Kinsler’s argument for retiring #1 and #3
Miggy is the team leader for Venezuela in the WBC
JV’s fastball is still there in MPH
A Michigan family who just may be interested in buying the team down the road
The Dodgers interest in Kinsler and JV and why it didn’t happen
Miggy’s impressive work ethic
And stats, rankings, radio interviews and video! We’ve rounded it all up to keep fans informed!