QUESTIONS, COMMENTS, KUDOS & CONCERNS

By:  Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning

After 78 games (35-43), the Tigers remain buried near the bottom of the American League. Now that July has arrived, things will really start to get interesting, as we contemplate player moves prior to the trade deadline.

Saturday’s segment is a day to touch on as many issues as possible. Let’s see what Kurt and Holly have on their minds this week. They don’t share their Saturday topics and it’s only for the readers’ benefit. So, expect a wide array of thoughts.


KURT

QUESTION

Is there any question that the baseballs are ‘juiced’ this season? Coming off a record-setting month for home runs and countless tape measure shots all season, how do we properly judge statistics from one season to the next when the actual baseball impacts the numbers? If MLB wants to juice the balls to add more excitement, and the numbers show an increase in long balls since 2015, then just keep it that way.

QUESTION

Would the Tigers be so bold at the deadline to include one of their 3 young starting pitchers in a trade package? You know, given that 2 of the 3 have not performed during a season when they were expected to make more of an impact, it would not surprise me, given our organizational leadership. But when Al Avila has already said he wants to get leaner, trading the lean wouldn’t make much sense would it?

COMMENT

An All-Star Game without Miggy? It says a lot about this season and a lot about our team, as the Tigers’ success normally lives and dies on the back of Miguel Cabrera. The fact that he hasn’t been good enough or healthy enough to even earn a spot on the ALG roster is a fairly safe indication for anyone to tell how well the team is doing without even knowing their record.


HOLLY

COMMENT

It takes a lot to get former pitcher-turned-analyst Ron Darling upset but with yet another injury to a player on the Mets, he unleashed a torrent of thoughts. Darling addressed all baseball teams about the rise in injuries as well as players who appear to play with constant nagging injuries that impact performance. He suggested that all teams bring in their former trainers to school the current ones about how to condition baseball players – “not weightlifters, not six-pack wearers” – and not be part of the problem that prevents million-dollar investments from being fully utilized.

CONCERN

It’s no coincidence that the two largest local newspapers both printed nearly identical stories by 4 writers in 3 days after the Tigers won 2 games over 3 days. The message was identical in addressing the controversial issues while also issuing decrees that fans who disagreed with their proclamations were “screechers”, irrational and unknowledgeable. Highly unlikely that all 4 writers came up with the same topics, tone, timing and attack on their own because it smacks of a coordinated effort with willing participants.

QUESTION

An interesting article this week by Pat Caputo who points out the habits so far seen in Al Avila since he became GM. Namely that the man has made no big decisions other than to sign an expensive pitcher and even appears reluctant to pull the trigger on either Brad Ausmus or trading players. But is it because Al doesn’t have the skills or is it because the new owner has assumed the decision-making powers?

OPEN MIKE!

microphoneIt’s Friday folks, which means it’s your day! This is the day for you to be heard. Today is the one day during the month where you get the opportunity to comment on the Tiger topic of your choosing.

This is the one day of the week where we open up the comment parameters for you, so you can really get those juices flowing. Comments on THIS DAY ONLY can be expanded to a maximum of 8 sentences.  So, pick a topic and let us hear from you. We know there’s a lot on your minds…

 

 

 

 

JV LEAVING WITHOUT A TITLE WOULD BE A SHAME

By:  Kurt Snyder

Some people react to news differently than others. Fans are all over the map in their response to something they hear. And when it comes to Tiger fans, you can be reasonably certain that the opinions and feelings about the news that Justin Verlander may indeed be on the trading block within the next couple of weeks, would be wildly different.

Of course, a lot of these stories that come about are fueled by rumor, and they do their jobs for the most part. They get our attention. They make us react emotionally. They make us talk about them. And this post is proof of that, isn’t it?

I had originally told myself that I would not react to this report. But sometimes you have to break your own rules. Mainly because when you are covering the Tigers, any mention of JV potentially wearing anything but the D on his chest causes an emotional stir.

And it’s not only because you feel a certain loss of a player we like to call our own. It’s the fact that he would be leaving without a championship in Detroit.

It’s the reason teams sign stars of the game to high dollar, long-term contracts. It’s foolish, especially for a pitcher, to think that they will have the ability to produce throughout the life of the contract. That’s really not the point. It’s about the ring.

These contracts are handed out in hopes that they will help to deliver a championship or 2 before someone like JV begins his decline.

But getting to this point, where JV, one of the faces of the franchise, is considered to be a candidate for a trade, is a failure. A disgusting failure.

Seeing Verlander pitch for another team would turn my stomach. In fact, I feel a little squeamish over just discussing the notion or the possibility.

When Verlander and Miggy signed their long-term deals, the Tigers were officially on the clock. You only have so much time to take advantage of their great talents. There is indeed a window.

And I have fought for a while about the window and whether it is closing or not. I have never been very cooperative in discussing a closing window. Mainly, because just when you thought it may close, there was Mike Ilitch pushing it open again with another big trade or signing.

But it’s over now, and I guess you could say it was a good run. I could say that, really I could. I could brush off all the individual accomplishments accumulated by our great stars since the 2006 World Series. I could chalk up all those things as exciting to experience, but never contributed to the accomplishment of the big prize. The MVP awards, the Triple Crowns, the no-hitters, the Cy Young Awards, none of them have gathered anything but dust.

But I can’t look at you with a straight face and say, oh well, we have to move on. Sorry. Ain’t happening.

I just wonder what fans across the country must think of the Tigers. How on earth could all these huge individual accomplishments be accomplished by one team over the course of 10 years and none of it equal a single World Championship?

How? Why?

And now here we are talking about one of those players, Justin Verlander, potentially boxing up all of his awards and heading out of town, all because an office full of supposed baseball geniuses couldn’t figure out how to complete the formula.

On a recent Sunday Night Baseball game, a weekly nationally televised game on ESPN, during a game televised from Detroit, the subject of Justin Verlander came up. The discussion went in a lot of different directions. But one direction hit home. The theory that Verlander would play anywhere else but in Detroit wouldn’t seem right. That JV should always be a Tiger.

I understood it. I agree with it to a point. Emotionally, we hope the faces of the franchise stay around forever. We are fans, we get used to having these guys around. We count them as our own.

But they are here to do one thing, and it’s the one thing they want themselves more than anything else, and that’s to win a title.

A failure to do that before they have to leave reflects badly on ownership and the people who run the team. And it sickens me that Justin Verlander could potentially walk out of this town without having held the trophy that carries the most weight.

JUST DESSERTS

By:  Holly Horning

Chances are that if you are reading Totally Tigers, you are not the type of fan I’m about to describe.

We know them from the social media threads. The ones who constantly defend the team no matter how badly they play or manage. Fans who never complain about the horrible defense, complete lack of fundamentals or the problems that payroll is now creating. They see no issues with players underperforming, pitchers being left in to get shellacked or coaches who send runners to their doom. In their world, each and every person associated with the team can do no wrong.

They live in a world of absolutes. And they also believe that if you are even remotely critical, well, then, you aren’t a real Tigers fan. And they often post more than anyone else in the comment section – usually refusing to back up their statements and often resorting to denigrating the poster as well.

So why do they behave this way?

Sure, there are some who only blindly follow and never question. And others who take personal loyalty very seriously. But there are still others who simply don’t want to believe that their trust has been misplaced. That they made the wrong choice. That the team they have devoted their attention and money to has not been practicing good faith towards the very fans who support them. That discovering the team has priorities over making them happy, or even winning, may just hurt.

Just maybe the reason they so vehemently support the team even in the worst of times is because they don’t want to hear the real truth. In other words, that reality may just bite.

Or, in the immortal words of Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, “You can’t handle the truth!”

And these fans are the real villains – not the ones who question the actions of the team. But unfortunately, their group has an even bigger representation in the larger sports world. Especially in certain cities like Detroit.

It’s because of their unwavering support in the face of poor organizational decisions that the team does not have the incentive to change. Why alter how you do business if the overall fan base continues to support you with their money?

No matter what anyone says, baseball is a business first and foremost. Teams are bought to generate income or enhance the bottom line of the owner. And that owner is usually a billionaire and one of the savviest people out there on how to turn a profit. And they usually base all of their decisions, at least initially, on how it impacts their bottom line.

So, if you have a team that repeatedly shows mediocre or bad performance, and still pulling in some significant attendance figures, blame those fans. They may think they are supporting the team but what they are actually doing is supporting the status quo.

I can guarantee you that with significant empty seats, ownership will get the message. And they will make changes. It happens on the East Coast where I live and fans overall have less patience to watch poorly-performing teams. Look at the NFL’s former darling, the Washington Redskins, with their 2+ decade waiting list for season tickets. A change in ownership and a sudden cheap attack by the owner drove fans away, eliminated that infamous waiting list, emptied the seats and forced management to make significant changes.

And now look at the history of the Detroit Lions. I think you get the point.

Fans who continue to come out and support their teams in significant numbers get the teams they deserve.

So what about the fans who criticize and find fault? Sure, there are those who are just never happy. But the majority come from a desire to see their team perform at their best. They love their team and want to see them rise to the very top.

And in many instances over the past couple of years, these fans have been spot on about the concerns they see. They come from a position of reality. You could say that these fans are the ones who love their team the most. It’s called practicing tough love.

Which brings us to today’s Detroit Tigers. A team right now that scares the heck out of a lot of fans. A team that is showing bigger cracks and has little positive going for it this year. A team that appears to be sitting on its collective hands and doing little to stop the free-fall descent.

And one of the reasons that the Tigers don’t appear to be proactive in stopping the bleeding has been written about here several times this week. The fact that the team is still pulling in some of baseball’s highest attendance per game. Seriously, if you were in charge of the team, would you change things? Admit that there were some big concerns? Change personnel?

Of course not. You don’t mess with your bottom line unless the bottom falls out of your turnstile stats.

And that will be a huge concern going forward. If fans continue to prop up those attendance figures, the Tigers will be loathe to make the changes required to make this team competitive. The Tigers are a business first and foremost. They are not a charity nor a non-profit with a goal of providing free entertainment. They are in it to make money.

This is a team that could languish in the cellar due to the crutch of misguided fan loyalty.

As harsh as it seems, the best things fans can do is to vote with their wallets if they want to send a message about the current state of the team and where it is headed. A message that long-term mediocrity will not be acceptable. It just may force moves that otherwise may not happen. And that may just make the difference between the number of years the team may spend wandering in the wilderness.

Fans must create an impetus for change. That’s going to be the best way for it to happen.

TOPIC FOR TUESDAY

By:  Holly Horning and Kurt Snyder

Today’s topic has everything to do with our manager and how he manages to survive this most significant of Tiger downturns.

As is the norm, Holly and Kurt have not shared their responses to the following topic; the best way for our readers to get the best bang for their buck. So here we go.


What is Totally Tigers take on why Brad Ausmus continues to have his job?


HOLLY

There is an alternate universe located on Woodward Avenue directly across from the Fox Theatre. If you have read literally a hundred tweets as I did on Monday morning, or watched/listened to any of that day’s MLB shows on tv/radio, the universal expectation of everyone (and we’re talking professional writers, baseball analysts, former GMs, etc.) was that Brad Ausmus would be out of a job after Sunday’s last game.

Never have I seen someone defy termination for so long and so successfully. A cat has nothing on this guy. Not even his GM is capable of telling us what Brad does well – offering excuses instead for purposes of deflecting blame.

So the question to ask is why is Ausmus being protected? There has to be a reason and in most cases, if we are stumped as to the rationale, it is usually because it has been hidden from public and media scrutiny. But it’s there and it’s gonna require asking a lot of questions and having a few discussions.

And hopefully, we are arming you with a few topics to throw out there to your friends, family and co-workers this week……


Could it be as simple as Al Avila not wanting to fire someone after a win?

Could it be that the Tigers see no viable candidate currently to take over the helm?

Could it be that they are in the process of trying to finalize a plan of succession?

Could it be that Al wants to keep Ausmus as manager in order to take the attention off his own track record?

Could it be that Avila realizes that with Brad gone, his own job could be the next casualty?

Could the entrenched ex-managerial mafia be lobbying for the status quo in order to protect their own employment?

Could the Tigers simply be trying to avoid the bad publicity and increased press coverage a firing commands?

Could their corporate culture of failing to lay blame anywhere be a factor?

Could their corporate culture of avoiding bold moves and risk taking be a consideration?

Could their continual lack of urgency be a factor?

Could they be concerned about how the trade deadline may negatively impact their ability to successfully complete trades by the deadline?

Could Avila know that the team may be sold after this year – and could he have been asked to keep everything intact until the end of 2017?

Could Chris Ilitch know that the team will be sold in the off-season and that any new owner would replace everyone, including the GM, manager and coaches?

Could the organization be waiting to see if the clubhouse and/or team play continues to crumble? Could their “worst case scenario” for decision-making not yet be met?

Could they be waiting for a natural break in the season, such as the All-Star Break, to make a move?


Could it be one of these or a combination?

Or could it be what I strongly suspect? A revenue situation, pure and simple.
If you look at the attendance figures, per game, they are down, but not by much.

Yes, attendance is dipping for the third straight year, but the Tigers are still pulling in decent turnstile figures. Mid-30,000+ per game ain’t too shabby. Yet.

And when you are still putting fannies in the seats, you don’t want to rock the boat. Yet.

The Tigers are back for their next home stand and undoubtedly, the team will be looking at the numbers to see if they are changing. Don’t expect them to terminate any personnel unless the empty seats dictate it. As it is, attendance will plummet once those trades start to happen in July.

In the meantime, the entire organization will pretend it is business as usual. There will be no announcement of a sell-off until it starts to happen. Avila will continue to defend Brad without saying much of substance. And the tv network will continue to show 1984 highlight clips to keep fans from thinking too much about this season.

Afterall, baseball is a business. It’s a bi-i-i-i-g business and the name of the game is to keep those turnstiles clicking as long as possible. That’s the priority right now and quite frankly, it’s always been one of the top two goals of the past and current ownership.

And in all probability, this could be the biggest reason why the team has decided not to muss with Ausmus. Yet.


KURT

You know, I have to hand it to Brad Ausmus. If there was ever a season where you have seen so many dire faces and visual displeasure, it’s this one.

Even Brad himself has to wonder how he still has a job. The social media outlets are all asking the same thing. And why? Well, because when a team falters, a team considered to be underachieving, the manager is normally the fall guy. But why not Brad Ausmus? Why does he continue to survive all of this?

Well, it’s all on the ownership. The Ilitchs’ seem to love Al. They love Brad. But what is it all based on? What have they done? Has anyone seen the team move the needle in any kind of progressive motion?

The Tigers play the most constipated style of baseball than you can bear. It’s mostly painful and when they do win, it is short-lived.


So I have to turn to our readers on this topic.

I would ask our readers to put together a reasonable list of Brad’s positive attributes that have contributed to helping the team win.

I would also ask them not to allow excuses to cloud their thinking.

I would ask them if they believe that teams take on the personality of their manager. And if they do, isn’t that a bad thing, given the lack of fire and emotion the Tiger manager possesses? Haven’t you seen it rub off onto his team?

I would ask readers if they noticed how grateful players are when their manager charges onto the field to defend them and argues on behalf of the team. And then I would ask if they noticed that these events become topics of conversation because they rarely happen.

And then I would ask this. Shouldn’t the GM who hired a manager who has made no measurable positive impact on the team, be held accountable for that hire? And shouldn’t that same GM get a second strike for renewing his contract when he had every reason to pull the plug?

And I would also ask this. Why would ownership be so concerned about attendance when they should be more than pleased with the throngs of people who still attend games?


I believe this. The Tigers must have a deteriorating fanbase. And I am not talking about quantity. I am talking about quality . The Tiger organization seems very concerned about the bottom line. So much so that a future firing of the GM and the manager is perceived to be a concern to fans and thus would affect attendance.

To me that insults the intelligence of the fans who understand the game and recognize a downward trend when they see it. It also insults the fans who visit Comerica Park strictly for the entertainment. And they surely would not understand why the Tigers would fire their manager, because of course, he doesn’t play in the game, so how could he be at fault?

This is not the time to lollygag. This is the time to act. Transition time is now. Only losing will slow down the attendance. Firing Brad Ausmus and/or Al Avila would be moves supported by fans who understand what is happening in Detroit.

But next would come the selling of stars the people love, which will not be understood by the average fan. And with it will bring more losses. That’s when the turnstiles stop turning. It won’t have anything to do with the firing of a GM or the firing of a manager.

STICK WITH THE GAME YOU LOVE

By:  Kurt Snyder

Well, they did it. The Tigers put an end to their 8-game losing streak. They finished their road trip with a 1-6 record and will head back home to fans who are none too thrilled about their baseball team.

They head back home to us.

And under the circumstances, this is when we find out what kind of fans we want to be. Are we just Tiger fans or are we baseball fans?

It’s way too easy to say, you know, forget the Tigers. If this is how they are going to play, if this is how they are going to be managed, if this is how the organization is going to be run, well, then I am out of here. Wake me when they are serious about winning.

It would be easy to do that, wouldn’t it? And I am sure some of you are already at that point. There is no easier task as a fan than following a winning baseball team. And there is no tougher task than following a losing one.

But this is where you have an opportunity. A challenge. Think about the reasons you have chosen to follow this blog. Holly and I are baseball fans first. We are Tiger fans second.

It’s the only way to approach this situation. We get frustrated when the fundamentals of the game are not honored the way they ought to be honored.

We want the game to be played well. I find myself intrigued by teams who have put it all together. And I am intrigued by how they have done it.

So I have a homework assignment for everyone. Start watching more baseball, not less. Watch more baseball than just Tigers baseball. Watch the teams who appear to be championship caliber. You can learn so much.

We think we know what’s ailing the Tigers. We can place blame on just about anyone because it makes us feel better. We are all guilty of it. But let’s shift our attention to the game we love so much.


Aaron Judge is this year’s great story? Where did he come from?

The Houston Astros have pushed the World Champion Cubs out of the spotlight and are front and center when it comes to teams primed to win a title. How did they do it? What kind of game do they play?

The Kansas City Royals, a team considered to be done, were back to the bottom of the well in the Central Division, where all Tiger fans feel they belong.  But they have made a charge and are worthy of our attention. How are they doing it? What has been the difference? What part of the game have they been mastering to win baseball games?  Watch them closely in Detroit this week.

The Chicago Cubs, America’s darlings, have hung around the .500 mark all season. They were (and are) a team considered to be a favorite to be standing there at the end holding the trophy. What problems are they having? What’s different? Why are they having so much trouble finding a leadoff hitter? Why is Kyle Schwarber now in the minor leagues?

The New York Yankees. Absolute world beaters for so much of the season, have now fallen on hard times, victims of a losing streak that has pushed them back into a tie for first place in the East. What happened? What has changed? What aren’t they doing now that they were doing before?


And then there’s the Detroit Tigers.

As you take your tour around the league, and you gaze upon the teams that are playing the game the right way, you begin to see what you don’t see in Detroit. You see a brand of baseball that you don’t see in Detroit. And you begin to recognize the importance of speed and defense and pitching.

But you also see the intangibles.  Aggressiveness without recklessness. Enthusiasm. Motivation. Leadership. And good old fashion fun. That’s right. Fun.

This is still a kid’s game. Kids play it for fun. But so do the professionals. They are getting paid to play a kid’s game. And managers, the good ones, realize how important it is that their team is having fun. It keeps them loose. And it builds a bond.  Joe Maddon is a master at finding ways to keep his team loose, to enjoy the process.

So watch the good teams. Look for some of these things. Write them down. Write down the names of teams and players that demonstrate these winning qualities. And then circle back to the Tigers.

Watch them play. Acknowledge the strengths. Establish the weaknesses, and follow closely. Because this is one of the most intriguing parts of the season; whether your team is headed in the right direction or not.

It’s a time to test yourself as a fan. I believe there are a lot of baseball fans reading right now. And despite the home team’s performance, force yourself to embrace the game. The last thing we want is for you to turn away from the Tigers. It would be a very easy thing to do. Sometimes we just get frustrated over how long the process takes, how long the road is to winning.

But remember this. In baseball, there is much to be learned from losing. So don’t fight it. Don’t look away. Don’t abandon it.

Losing is always part of the path to winning.

THE (DRUM)BEAT GOES ON

By:  Holly Horning

If you’ve been reading and commenting in the social media threads about the Tigers, you’ve noticed that the drumbeat for a managerial change has only gotten louder. Fans demanding immediate change.

And you can’t blame them.

But are Chris Ilitch and Al Avila dragging their heels over this now that things have come to a rather serious head?

Not necessarily.

And that’s because in order to eliminate a problem, you’ve got to have a solution in place first and ready for implementation.

In my last blog, I outlined the biggest reason why Ausmus needs to be replaced. The number of players coming out publicly to diss his methods. The fact that it now appears visible to all that Brad has lost the clubhouse and maybe the biggest reason why the team is so listless, disinterested and not playing the way they should be.

And the fact that Al Avila is traveling with the team and apparently talking to Chris Ilitch regularly.

https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/its-time/

And the question readers are left with is who would be the replacement. And the time to tackle that question is now because there is a chance that when the Tigers finish their series with San Diego, the team charter may just drop Brad off at his front door on the way to the airport.

The first issue to explore is whether the Tigers will opt for an interim manager or seek a new, permanent one. And in this case, an interim manager will most likely be the decision. In part, due to questions about whether this team will be for sale shortly but also due to the slim pickings in the applicant pool.

It’s always best to wait until you can observe the number of candidates grow and also potentially see which candidate-worthy coaches catch your eye during the current season. And if the Tigers are indeed going to change their ways about the type of team they develop, they also want to make sure their new manager is of the same mindset.

Which brings us to the rent-until-you-own category. And there’s a choice here, too. Sure, you could go outside the organization and bring in a former manager who is hungry to lead a team again. But the downside to that is that he doesn’t know the players which means a learning curve would be involved. The half-way mark of a season is not the best time to start over.

Which now brings us to…… you guessed it……… rut roh. Someone from inside the organization and something the Tigers are really good at doing. (Said with tongue firmly planted in cheek.) And, of course, we have our usual suspects. Let’s inspect the lineup, shall we?


1. Jim Leyland is the logical first choice. He knows the team, is respected by all and isn’t afraid to call someone out. He would bring back some much-needed stability. However, numerous reports have him angling to shore up an iffy Hall-of-Fame chance which is why he took the job of managing the US in the WBC. How likely is it that he would willingly take on this thankless job that would further weaken his record and take the luster off his WBC title?

2. Alan Trammell. Former manager who was disrespected by his star players. A similar situation that makes him an unlikely candidate. (Maybe if the Tigers had retired his number and put up a statue of him, things might be different……)

3. Kirk Gibson. Health reasons are the biggest obstacle to him being named interim manager.

4. Gene Lamont. News of his “promotion” would send thousands of Tiger fans in search of the nearest cliff. ‘Nuff said.

5. Lloyd McClendon. Former manager and the almost-successor to Jim Leyland. Really wants to manage again. It was assumed that his re-hiring by the Tigers was part of the strategy to take over in case of a massive managerial fail this year. However, his record as hitting coach this year has taken a substantial beating and has weakened his chances at manning the helm for Detroit.

6. Omar Vizquel. A great player and loved by fans. However, his recommendations to the team have been disastrous. Steve Lombardozzi, anyone? And he has no managerial track record other than the WBC – the same track record as Brad. Been there, done that. But it could give the team a chance to try him out and see his people skills. It may also be a popular fan choice – in the beginning.


Not a collection of inspiring options, are they? Which is why we shouldn’t be too surprised if Ausmus stays for the rest of the year. Afterall, if the Tigers wouldn’t fill their CF hole, they may not mind having another one in the dugout.

And if the Tigers can’t get Leyland to bite, they may simply decide that the status quo is the way to go. Afterall, they are not an organization of bold decision-makers.

And if fans continue to fill the park, they have even less reason to make changes. Which is just fine for the GM who can hide behind the controversy surrounding his manager. Ausmus is Avila’s own personal shield and should it get removed, he may also be exposed.

Just remember, knowing your manager needs to leave is one thing. Replacing him is another. Keeping him around doesn’t mean the team approves of the job he’s doing.

QUESTIONS, COMMENTS, KUDOS & CONCERNS

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

After 72 games (32-40), the Tigers are plummeting and fast, sitting in last place when this post went to press, which in a morbid sort of way, will make the next month pretty darn interesting.

Saturday’s segment is a day to touch on as many issues as possible. Let’s see what Holly and Kurt have on their minds this week. They don’t share their Saturday topics and it’s only for the readers’ benefit. So, expect a wide array of thoughts.


HOLLY

COMMENT

There is a reason why Tigers fans are often apoplectic over a number of Brad Ausmus’ in-game moves. A study was published that ranked all of MLB’s current managers based upon their strategic and tactical acumen. No one should be surprised to learn that Ausmus ranks #29 out of 30.

CONCERN

I’m now at a loss for words (and that is hard, folks!) after Brad used KRod twice within this past week in high-leverage situations and eventual losses – and I have to think he made these moves for reasons other than the actual game. Was it: To send a message to Al Avila? To hasten KRod’s departure from the team? To put KRod in his place? Or did he see the writing on the wall about his future with the team and decided he wanted out by inducing his own firing? (It appears he got at least one of his wishes Friday night.)

KUDOS

More than one analyst is asking how the Tigers failed to keep Cameron Maybin while also getting fleeced in the process of trading him. Maybin is leading the AL in steals, scored 46 runs for the Angels (tops on the team), hitting .277 and has an OPS of .829. Mike Scioscia has maximized Maybin’s talents and the entire team credits him as the firestarter – which couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.


KURT

COMMENT

Now that the Tigers have dismissed KRod from Detroit, it adds another layer of mistrust in the ability of Al Avila to make smart deals for the ballclub. Why the Tigers didn’t think they could get a better deal involving KRod prior to the season instead of Maybin, I just don’t know. Instead, Rodriguez stuck around long enough for the Tigers to get absolutely nothing, while Cam continues to thrive with the Angels.

QUESTION

Every year it seems, the demise of the Tigers always includes the word “underperforming.” Why is that exactly? Why do they underperform? Whose responsibility is it to get the most out of their talent?

QUESTION

Almost as quickly as KRod complained about his ‘mop-up’ role in the pen, Brad gave him a bigger role in the now overused term ‘high-leverage’ situations. You make the choice. Was Brad catering to one of his stars to shut them up or was he giving Rodriguez enough rope to predictably hang himself?

OPEN MIKE!

microphoneIt’s time again to head into the weekend hearing from our readers.   You have the rest of the week to hear from Kurt and Holly, today is the day to let them know what you’re thinking on a selected topic.

Friday is the one day of the week where we open up the comment parameters for you, so you can get those juices flowing.

Comments on THIS DAY ONLY can be expanded to a maximum of 8 sentences.

We can’t wait to get your thoughts on the following topic.


Alex Avila and JD Martinez are currently the best hitters on the team.  Kinsler, Miggy, VMart, KRod and Rondon are having some of the worst years of their playing career.  Given the discussion that the WBC (of which the latter 5 played) tends to mess with players’ in-season performance, is this a coincidence?  How do you explain these 2 groups?  Support your answer!


 

 

TEAM POORLY EQUIPPED FOR DEADLINE EXECUTION

By:  Kurt Snyder

So. Get your arms around it. Accept it. Come to terms with it. The Tigers need to sell.

June was supposed to be the month when the Tigers would get on a roll. The schedule was supposedly in their favor. But they have done nothing to take advantage. They have gone backwards instead and are in the middle of a stretch that could sew up the direction of their future decisions.

So, ok, fine. They need to unload talent for prospects. We had a taste of that in 2015. And frankly, it went pretty well. However, this time, it feels like it will be more extensive doesn’t it? Or not?

In July of 2015, the Tigers had 3 legitimate stars they could not afford to re-sign. And in his final act for the team, Dave Dombrowski brought talent to Detroit.

In my mind, prior to the deals, I trusted him. I believed this was ultimately Dombrowski’s strength. Negotiating. Bargaining. Taking a hard-line stand on who he wanted and sticking to his guns, right to the final minute in the case of Michael Fulmer.

It was the first time the Tigers had been in sell mode, well, ever, it seems. So even though it was concerning, and knowing how important it was to get high quality talent for the likes of Price, Cespedes and Soria, did you have any doubt Dave would get it done? I didn’t.

But with Dave gone and the Tigers gearing up for another round of selling in another month, how comfortable are you now? Do you feel the situation is in good hands with Al Avila? Again, interject Kurt’s opinion here: Answer: Heck no!

Let’s take a look at what has been Al’s strength since he became GM. Go ahead; I will give you a minute….. (insert silence here).

With JD Martinez in the hands of Al Avila, will the Tigers get good value or will they get fleeced?

Will Al make sure a deal sending Ian Kinsler out of Detroit draws a bag of good young talent? Finding out what we get in return may end up being quite cringe-worthy.

I believe the Tigers are in a terrible position with Al Avila in charge to begin this process. Heading into the season, didn’t Tiger ownership believe selling at the deadline was a very likely scenario? Well, let me tell you. The fans sure did.

And given that assumption, if you are owner or acting owner of this team prior to the start of the season, didn’t you need to take a hard look at your GM, and what he has brought to the party? Didn’t you have to decide if he was the right person to lead the franchise into battle?

This is a pretty important trade deadline and off-season coming up. We’ve got talent to deal. Forget the names, it could be anyone. But the Tigers have talent to deal. Now, no one wanted any part of it prior to the season, so it makes you wonder what other teams thought of Avila? Was he realistic in his dealings, or did they just decide to hold their cards until the deadline?

So many questions, so few answers.

Knowing how precariously close the Tigers were to selling off stars before the season, ownership needed to start brooming in the front office beforehand. A pursuit of a seasoned GM more-suited to heading the inevitable transformation of the roster was in order; and one more-suited to realizing the need for a managerial change. The all-important first priority.

But Tiger ownership chose not to do it. They didn’t take a serious look at the storm down the road. If they did, they would be more prepared. But they are not.

Avila will lead us into the deadline, and we all better hold our breath and hope we are wrong about him.