WILL 2 LESS ARMS MAKE IT RIGHT?

By:  Kurt Snyder

“Same story,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “We didn’t pitch well, didn’t throw strikes, walked too many guys. I guess the silver lining is, if we keep pitching like this the (roster) decisions will be easier.”


Ladies and gentlemen … I agree with Brad Ausmus.

Now let’s all hold him to it.

There are several pitchers stinking it up this spring, some never meant to be around come April. But there are others who were not only expected to be around, but who have been highly compensated to contribute.

If Brad truly means what he says, pitchers like Anibal Sanchez and Mike Pelfrey should be nervous.

We asked a question this week, looking for readers to decide if the issues with hitting or the issues with pitching bothered them the most. Sometimes the answers to the questions tell us a lot of about what you are thinking. Some don’t.

Let me put myself in your shoes. If I had to answer the question myself I would have said pitching. It’s what bothers me the most about the Tigers’ spring training.

But here’s the thing, I don’t care much about spring training. I never have. Before partnering with Holly to form Totally Tigers, I never paid attention to the games. I just could never find anything meaningful about the performances; just too many abnormal variables to consider.

There are pitchers who have been in the major leagues for a long time who are perennially bad in the spring. Their goals are different. Victories mean nothing. But they do work to dial things in, heading into April, and they are there when the bright lights go on.

However, when it comes to 2 Tiger pitchers, these guys are not looking to dial in what they have, they are still trying to find what they lost. And that is a dangerous place to be in March for pitchers looking to solidify important roles on this team.

Frankly though, it would not surprise me if one or both still make the roster. Brad makes it sound easy, but I think his comments are a little tongue-in-cheek. They are meant to motivate, of course. They are meant to try to get these guys to kick it in gear.

All in all, he has handed out a nice challenge. If you don’t perform, you don’t stay. But I am going to have to see it to believe it. The decisions on Sanchez and Pelfrey, if their performances don’t change dramatically, will say a lot about what team management intends to accomplish this year.

Don’t the Tigers have to treat this season differently? Certainly the goal to win a title for Mr. I didn’t just last a couple of weeks. If this team means what they say, that this season will be dedicated to their fallen owner, then they have to swallow hard and make some potentially expensive decisions.

Of course, we hoped one or both of these 2 would turn around, but they have spent the spring giving us more of the same. Pelfrey and Sanchez, based on what we have seen so far, don’t deserve roster spots. But we have another month. So we have to keep throwing them out there.

Last season, injuries forced the team to pitch Sanchez more than we wanted. The loss of Zimmermann was a huge blow. Pelfrey was a lock for the starting rotation, because, well, that’s why they acquired him.

There is not much that can be said about him. The Tigers made 2 mistakes; signing him in the first place and then signing him for 2 seasons. It was a nonsensical mistake that will make Al Avila scared to death to make another ‘gut’ decision.

So I am kind of with Justin Verlander on this one. Things aren’t pretty but what does it all really mean? In spring training, outside of 2 pretty troubling pitching examples, what’s happening hardly limits my yawning.

Just wake me when it’s over.


If you’re not yet on Twitter, you need to be!  It is so much more than 140 characters.  Totally Tigers presents the best articles, videos, pictures and radio/tv interviews for the most relevent news on the Tigers not found easily or locally.  We do all the work for you and bring you the latest news as it breaks.  And we’ll always leave you thinking.  Read us in the morning and get updates on the latest news throughout the day on Twitter.

If you haven’t checked out our site (@totallytigersbb) yet, here’s what you missed this week:

      Could Joe Girardi be looking for a new gig?

      Do you know what the term “Moycado” means?

      Pudge’s controversial remarks about allowing PED users into the Hall

      JV is adamant about punishing PED users

      Jim Leyland loves the Yankees’ chances, but he’s not saying much about the Tigers

      The Red Sox are still not out of the woods re David Price

      More rankings of the farm systems

13 thoughts on “WILL 2 LESS ARMS MAKE IT RIGHT?

  1. If the Tigers were simply willing to settle for a reliever that may never pitch above AAA they could have sent Sanchez to the Angels instead of Maybin. Detroit would have been much further ahead. But then maybe the Angels wouldn’t have given up a pitcher that may never pitch above AAA for Sanchez. Bah, wake me up on April 3rd.

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  2. It really doesn’t matter….The Tigers have NO management in the front office or on the field. Followed the Tigers since 1955 and this is the worst I have seen management wise

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  3. Keeping poor performers on the roster based on $’s owed has the potential to adversely affect team morale & fan enthusiasm. It can also do irreparable harm to the self-worth of the failing pitchers. Lack of team spirit & $’s lost at the gate would be costly & add to the financial burden already imposed by those expensive contracts.

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  4. It is unfortunate, Kurt, that many of the Tigers and the brass have the same attitude you do toward ST–YAWN. Wasted time. Nuts to getting ready, mentally and physically. Why bother with the horrible fundamentals needing correction? Just a very nice time in the sun, while the rest of us suckers freeze up north and await our heroes who generally don’t give a damn!

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  5. Kurt, if I’m not mistaken, Holly mentioned that Pelfrey’s agent is Scott Boras and that there is a strong likelihood that he convinced Mr. Illitch to sign this faux pas at the Copa. Even though he has to live with Pelfrey, Avila’s gut should be in good shape on this signing because it falls on Mr. I.

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  6. So Leyland loves the Yankees, not so much the Tigers? Easy to see, one has a real ML manager, has had for years, the other had a mediocre manager for about 10 years and replaced him with one even worse. I think you can figure out a lot of the problem, even though Jim never will.

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  7. Pelfry, Sanchez and Lowe. Cost us a play-off run last year. Will do the same this year. Take them and Zimmerman out and you have the money to sign max and porcello.

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    • Not even close, Mike. Max wasn’t coming back no matter what and Porcello was traded, essentially for Fulmer. Each has had one really good year. I think I would take my chances with Fulmer. Just saying.

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  8. W’/L’s have never bothered me in ST- unless their is a tsunami of bad mojo. This team and the “baggage” they are carrying are treading on dangerous ground. Kurt, you nailed THIS ST “what they do will tell us what managements intentions are.” Thomas Butch hits my other concern…and Holly’s. Where is the conditioning? “Coaching?” How can a ML (Iggy) slide HEAD First into home?

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  9. I would feel a lot better about this if anybody else was pitching well. Obviously, Sanchez and Pelfrey have no business on a major league roster now. But it is unclear that the Tigers can replace them with anybody better.

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  10. The emotional “winning a title for Mr I.” had a 2 week shelf life just like the knee-jerk emotional reaction to renaming the new arena “The Gordie Howe Arena” after Gordie passed. After a couple of weeks, the emotions passed over.

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  11. pitchers like Anibal Sanchez and Mike Pelfrey should be nervous. Really ? with all that $$$$$ due to them to sit on their cut-from-roster butts — nervous ? Where do I sign up for early retirement and guaranteed dough ? makes to wonder if they are conning everyone and stinking it up on purpose !

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