TWO FOR TUESDAY

By:  Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning

Today, we address the trade deadline, which has now finally and mercifully expired. The Tigers have made some deals and now it’s time to dig in and let our writers dissect what has taken place.

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


What’s your take on what happened – or didn’t happen – now that the no-waiver trade deadline is over?


KURT

I tend to listen closely when Al Avila is being interviewed. He has had a reputation of being very transparent; disclosing more than you would think he would share as the GM of a MLB team.

So when he was interviewed following the expiration of the trade deadline, he shared. He is happy with what the Tigers received in the deals involving JD Martinez, Justin Wilson and Alex Avila.

What I was looking for from Avila was a confirmation that they had reasonable success. And I sensed his message was genuine.

Al could not stress enough how devoid of talent the team’s minor league is when it comes to position players, but many people have been critical about how heavy the return was on shortstops and third basemen.

How close were they to trading JV? Well, in addressing the Verlander situation, Al once again shared something that I don’t know needed to be shared. JV is more of a candidate to be traded during the winter according to Al.

Please tell me Al – why do you insist on showing everyone your cards? It’s just not necessary. If he had conversations with teams about the potential for a JV deal after the season, fine, keep those irons in the fire. But why share it with us? Why share it with the media? We don’t need to know.

From what we are being told, there is no special magic associated with the retooling of the organization. This is about rebuilding a minor league system, at all positions.

In the world of fantasy baseball, I am always checking the minor league landscape for some of the better, head-turning talent about to emerge and head for the show, so you recognize the names when they do indeed emerge.

Did we get anyone like that or close to that? The answer is no, initial impressions have revealed there are none.

We offered up one of the most dangerous power hitters in the game, rental or not, in exchange for what appears to be average minor league talent.

We offered up the most sought after left-handed power pitcher who will fortify the back end of the Cubs’ bullpen. And we threw in a veteran catcher having a very good year. And who did we get?

Well, Al says we did very well. But frankly, I would rather know before he even said a word. I am not in the mood for someone trying to convince me.


HOLLY

I keep looking for Al Avila to develop a pattern in his thoughts and actions and today still didn’t show me enough consistency to get a clear read on the team’s intentions.

First he says he’s open to trading everyone and anyone but then doesn’t do anything last winter. Avila should have traded some players before this season to take advantage of their best value but didn’t. Then he poorly timed JD’s trade this month but did better with Wilson, yet waited too long on Avila.

To continue the pattern of non-pattern, so to speak, he did poorly with JD yet gets props for the Wilson/Avila trade.

Avila also said that they were not doing a salary dump, yet he actively attempted to trade JV, Upton, Sanchez, Zimmermann, Iggy and Kinsler both last winter and this month. However, reports say he wanted too much for each of them so it wasn’t a classic salary dump in which players are traded for the sake of being traded.

So, is Avila’s actions/non-actions based upon not being up to the task? Are he and Chris waiting on news that will impact which path they take? Or, are they purposely playing a game of non-disclosure? A combination of 2 or 3 of these?

It appears that some kind of tightrope is being walked. Wanting and needing to shed salary but not wanting to appear anxious. Wanting to trade more players but hesitating at pulling the trigger.

And this confusion about where the Tigers are headed with their roster adds fuel to their refusal to explain where this team is headed. Do they intend to stay competitive? Re-tool? Re-invent? Re-build? Your guess is as good as mine because no one is saying anything. Yet.

And I don’t expect them to say anything for months to come – if ever. Leave the fan base guessing – and hopeful so the seats continue to be filled.

What they’ve done – or haven’t done – is really open to interpretation which is what I believe they really want to accomplish in the long-term. And the reasons supporting it are multiple:

1. Attendance is still really strong and any attempt to mess with the formula will be avoided until as long and late as possible.

2. They are trying to minimize fan/social media blowback by focusing on making off-season actions.

3. As the Ilitch family awaits the IRS judgment – with some form of penalty expected to be paid – it may or may not determine whether they keep or sell the team.

4. If the timing of selling the team continues to be explored, they may be waiting until a suitor, the process, an announcement or the desired financial balance is achieved before they show their hand.

This year is one of transition and intrigue. We shouldn’t expect to know more until this winter.

TRIGGER FAILURE

By:  Holly Horning

I am writing this on Saturday afternoon and wondering if any trades will be made before this blog is published. When Dave Dombrowski was GM, we never wondered. We knew. We expected.

But now have we come to expect that the Tigers’ m.o. has become to do nothing? That they will never pull the trigger?

It sure seems that way.

But rather than believe that this is a new development, it’s really not. The Tigers have a long history of delaying decisions – both easy and hard. A corporate culture of trigger failure – the inability to make timely and sound decisions.

And Dave, despite being a genius at trading, had problems over the years solving perennial issues. The bullpen comes to mind. Also implementing programs and solutions for the yearly failures of base running and defensive skills. And don’t get me started on a better training and condition program after years of injuries that were routinely blamed for why that ring never materialized.

Although the Tigers had baseball’s best collection of starting pitching and hitters, Dave’s manager achieved only 1 win out of 9 games in 2 World Series appearances. The same manager, who in his last 3 years, barely managed to hang onto the division title by 1 game each year despite the immense talent.

It should have been a warning sign. But despite this, our GM continued to employ him even when Terry Francona, his former third base coach, became available. A manager with a proven track record, especially in October. The same man, who until last year, was 1 of 2 managers undefeated in World Series games.

You’re not alone if you think that Tito could have gotten at least 1 World Series flag if he had been hired.

But unfortunately, trigger failure goes beyond this. There is enough blame to spread around and the new GM, Al Avila, has taken indecision to new levels.

We saw it first when Al assumed his new position. He kept all of Dave’s former employees instead of putting his own stamp on the team. And he kept the manager with all his coaches. He also continued to ignore the lack of a bullpen. And since the signing of Jordan Zimmermann, Avila has made no decisions of any significance as GM.

Trigger failure reared its head prominently at the end of last year when Al made it clear that everyone and anyone was available for trade. And then, he didn’t follow through. He didn’t pull the trigger to get maximum value for Justin Verlander fresh off a great year and one in which many believed he was the rightful winner of the Cy Young. This year, JV is a year older, a year removed from his near award-winning season and now a year in which he has had some struggles.

And it was also a year ideal for moving JD Martinez. Waiting once again to trade a player mere months before he became a free agent brought the Tigers a disappointing return.

The pattern continues as reports surface detailing interest by other teams in Alex Avila is disappearing quickly as his stats started to drop closer to his usual performance.

Three years into his tenure, Al continues to hang onto his manager despite being unable to tell us why Brad deserves the job or even what he does well. What would the team have looked like if he had made changes even 2 years ago?

The corporate culture of trigger failure now continues to trickle down to the manager.

The evidence continues to pile up with players who have outworn their welcome yet stayed on. Athletes like KRod and Sanchez who had to totally implode multiple times before they were either released or sent to Toledo.

And now Bruce Rondon, who has more lives than a cat over the past 2 years. Not only does he remain on the roster but he’s allowed to come back into a game during a crucial inning where he lost it for the team on Friday night. Should we be surprised that he is still with the team?

In his 4 years as skipper, Ausmus has never pulled the trigger on badly-behaving players. Rondon, Nathan, Collins, Castellanos, KRod and the army of players who have ignored the signs from coaches. Even starting pitchers who take themselves out of games and disappear into the clubhouse are never reprimanded or benched.

Yes, a failure to show leadership but also a desire to avoid decision-making and confrontations that other managers use in helping steer the team back onto the tracks of cooperation.

And now we’ve got a clubhouse in disarray because the failure to make timely decisions has been avoided by management. Players wondering if they are going to be traded. Players knowing that they can make their own rules and not get called out or penalized. The same stuff happening over and over again with little to no improvement because decisions are not being made and rules are not being enforced.

How likely is it that Avila will make a timely trade or two before Monday afternoon? How likely will Bruce Rondon be shown the door before the season ends? And will Brad make it to the end of the year?

Given their track record, it’s a safe bet that trigger failure, rather than action, will be what we see. But at some point, someone is going to have to pull the trigger – and it’s not going to be pretty. And it will also be too late.

QUESTIONS, COMMENTS, KUDOS & CONCERNS

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

After 101 games (45-56), the Tigers remain buried near the bottom of the American League. As we head on through July baseball, that trade deadline looms larger every minute.

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

(Note to readers: Today’s blog was very tough to write. As someone who is “cautiously optimistic”, I simply could not find anything good to come out of this week.)

CONCERN

The Tigers reached the nadir of their year this week between the Royals’ sweep, scores that resembled those of football, not baseball, and Bruce Rondon returning to his bad self. Then add in the bad baserunning, loafing to field balls, a complete loss of fundamentals and players now throwing each other under the bus. If this does not symbolize a team that is without a rudder, has no leadership and filled with unhappy players, I don’t know what is.

COMMENT

Interesting that there are currently 71 players from Venezuela, including 5 other Tigers, and no one other than Miggy has had their non-performance tied to the problems created by that country. In fact, some of this year’s best-performing players are from Venezuela and also have family members there. Jose Altuve, one of Miggy’s closest friends and from Miggy’s hometown, is currently considered to be the front-runner for the AL MVP Award with his league-leading .365 BA, 1.005 on-base+ slugging and MLB-leading WAR of 6.

COMMENT

Much concern has been made over Miggy’s weight but little attention has been given to a number of other players who have gained noticeable pounds or have not lost it this year. Bruce Rondon, of course, but also Nick Castellanos has regained the weight he lost in order to improve his agility at third and most alarmingly, Victor Martinez has added significant weight and simply can’t afford to put any more stress on those knees. Makes one wonder how much influence, if any, the health/nutrition department has especially after the high-profile roll-out of the “new and improved” nutritional plan back in February.


KURT

(I have nothing left in my little tank of patience. It’s empty. So excuse the regurgitation of disdain.)

 

COMMENT

I can’t in any way, shape or form condone what the Tigers are doing with Bruce Rondon. The mere fact that he continues to be on this team smells bad and just reinforces the poor message being spread around the organization. He should have been sent packing right after the KC series.

QUESTION

How and why does Brad Ausmus still have his job? His team is playing the kind of baseball demonstrated by teams without leadership. The mental errors on the bases continue and no one is questioned or held accountable.

COMMENT

Here we sit, waiting and wondering what the next move will be. Here we sit wondering why the more time ticks by, the more inactivity there is. Certainly a deadline deal awaits, but if not, wouldn’t it all signal a sale of this poor excuse for a baseball team; a message we have been preaching for quite some time?

OPEN MIKE!

microphoneIt’s Friday folks, which means it’s your day! This is the day for you to lead the discussion.  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. With all that is brewing in the news, you must have a lot on your minds.


 

 

 

 

WOULD YOU RATHER….?

By:  Holly Horning

Want to have a little fun while considering the tougher topics the Tigers have had to tackle? Let’s play a game!

For those of you unfamiliar with Would You Rather..?, you are given a choice of 2 actions, both with consequences. Each choice is hard. Each choice makes you think. And each choice is somehow joined in a common bond with the other choice. And you can only pick one of them.

Here is my version. Take your time thinking about each of them because I’m going to ask you to join in at the end.


Would you rather….

1. Have Chris Ilitch maintain control of the team or roll the dice on a new, unknown owner?

2. Trade off as many of the players as possible in order to facilitate a quicker rebuild or trade the minimal number in order to keep as much of the team intact?

3. Prefer the team to continue to collect exciting power hitters or assemble a squad of guys who are faster, practice situational hitting and are better defensively?

4. See JV wear another uniform or see him retire wearing the Old English D?

5. Have the joy of experiencing all those recent AL Central and playoff titles or a single year in which the Tigers win the World Series?

6. See the team play mediocre baseball for the rest of the year or have them tank which would likely inspire the Front Office to take quicker action in making bigger and more significant changes to the team?

7. Prefer to see Ausmus finish the year as manager or install a new interim manager from within the organization?

8. Watch Cameron Maybin in CF or Mikie Mahtook?

9. See Justin Upton opt-out of his contract or stay to contribute at the plate and remain as the only likely veteran outfielder?

10. See the team finish as well as possible or finish as one of the 10 worst teams and receive the benefits (including drafting perks) associated with the Competitive Balance component of the CBA?


Now it’s your turn.  Pick ONE of the above and support your argument with no more than 3 sentences.

TWO FOR TUESDAY

By:  Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning

Today, we revisit a topic that was very popular in the past. And it continues to be an interesting scenario to consider.

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


The S.S. Ilitch is taking on water and going down. Unfortunately, there is only 1 lifeboat on board that seats 5. Out of the passengers – owner, GM, manager, coaches and the 25-man roster, which 5 should be saved so they see 2018 with the Tigers – and why?


KURT

Every good team is built well up the middle. A strong catcher, second and short combination as well as a centerfielder possessing all the tools both offensively and defensively; they are all components that will find their way onto the lifeboat.

Unfortunately, the Tigers don’t have all those components to build a strong up-the-middle core; but they are close. And speaking of up-the-middle, pitching will always be a huge attribute. So if we have any to build on, they find their way onto the boat. After that, this cannot be a boat full of Tigers without the Big Fella.

1. Miggy – Although Cabrera is having one of the most difficult seasons of his career, I am confident 2018 will be different for him. All indications point to the need to begin a lesser role defensively and also I would expect some change in management, beginning with Brad Ausmus; a move I believe Miggy will welcome.

2. McCann – You may be shocked by this, but I still see James McCann as the catcher of the future for the Tigers. Many have thought the Tigers could afford to unload James, but he is the one with all the potential; strong arm, athletic behind the plate and a leader, which we can’t take lightly.

3. Kinsler – Ian, even as he heads into his mid 30’s, represents a whole bunch of leadership swagger. He more than anyone else is the guts and the glue for the Tigers; he’s not only on the boat, he’s helping guys onboard.

4. Iggy – You cannot underestimate the value of a rock solid, defensive wizard at the shortstop position. Jose Iglesias is a gold-glover in waiting and deserves to anchor the Tiger infield for years to come.

5. Fulmer – I don’t know if there is much to say here. Of course he’s on the boat.


HOLLY

Before you can select the “final five”, you gotta pick your goal for the future. And for me, it’s pretty clear about the direction this team has been taking over the past couple of years so it’s time to rip that band-aid off in one single pull and go for an up-front rebuild before it gets really, really ugly.

For the most part, I am going younger, leaner, less expensive and possessing more tools – with a couple of exceptions. Players who were crucial to have, like closers, won’t be as important going forward short-term, which is why you won’t find them on my life boat. But I’m also putting a focus on athletes with energy, attitude and attention. Oh, and ones who are hungry. All aboard……

1. Michael Fulmer – No explanation necessary.

2. Mikie Mahtook – He’s reverting to the promise seen in 2015 and already meeting or eclipsing those stats with more than 2 more months to go. Minimum salary, only 27 years old, better range, better defense and faster.

3. Ian Kinsler – The guy never gives up, has a tremendous work ethic, top defensive skills and is the glue and leader that holds this team together. He’ll be needed to mentor the young and all these factors easily outweigh his age and contract.

4. Matt Boyd – He’s had amazing growth this year both with his mental game and pitch development and he’s someone who could easily be part of that 1-2 punch with Fulmer. Don’t mistake his unevenness this year for lack of talent because it’s really a typical path for a starting pitcher who just turned 26 in spring training and has been in the majors for less than 2 years.

5. Miggy – I don’t buy the excuse that his alarming total lack of emotion and focus is solely based upon injury or Venezuela – both issues that have plagued him for the past 2-3 years without impacting his performance to this degree. Don’t be surprised if changes made within the Front Office, managerial/coaching levels and medical/training/conditioning show a resurgence of one of baseball’s best hitters.

COACHES COUNT

By:  Holly Horning

I was listening to a program about the Cardinals the other day which piqued my interest and offered some solutions to what is going on with their team this year. It also offered some clues about the Tigers.

As you may have seen, the Cardinals are uncharacteristically mired in 4th place this season, a couple of games under .500. Naturally, everyone in baseball is asking why. Is it the injuries? Is it the loss of some players? A change in clubhouse chemistry? Is it the manager?

But it’s not just the losses. Those who know the Cards point to the “loss of the Cardinal Way.” Poor fielding, a definite downgrade in fundamentals, loss of focus and sloppy play as the rationale for their losing ways.

So the hosts went to their sources – several former players who remain connected to the organization. Separately, and without knowledge of what the other one was going to say, they both pointed to one factor. The loss of Jose Oquendo after last year.

Jose was the Cardinals’ third base coach until he was forced to retire due to health reasons.

Both former athletes said he was the glue that held the players together. Jose spent time talking baseball with the players, inviting them out to dinner, taking rookies under his wing, checking in with them over the off-season and even using their plane trips as an opportunity to discuss baseball.

But they also said that Oquendo set the standards for the team and enforced them. Players performed well because they knew they would be called out if they didn’t. If they didn’t care, if they didn’t pay attention to the details, they received “a visit.” Sometimes even a benching.

They also said that there is no one currently on the team who has filled that role. And that is why the team has slipped in its performance.

Which brings us to our Tigers.

We’ll never know what goes on with players and coaches when they’re not on the field. And don’t expect players to get thrown under the bus publicly. But evidence seen during games is another matter.

Players are routinely running through Dave Clark’s stop signs. It doesn’t say much about their respect for the coach. Others are throwing to the wrong base or exhibiting sloppy, disinterested play. And the interviews done with the manager the next day never indicate that the problem is being addressed so it doesn’t happen again.

Fundamentals are still very poor, yet nothing changes. And the other day on tv, Kirk Gibson mentioned that he keeps emphasizing certain base running strategies that players, like Nick Castellanos, keep ignoring. While Gibby only works with the team during spring training, the failure to listen or to correct the mistake is a common thread.

Add to the poor play, the inability of the team to enforce the message they want to send. When was the last time a player was benched? You can even flip off the fans with a single digit or a flick of the chin and be guaranteed that you will be playing again the next day.

To fans, we don’t have any visible proof that either Clark, Vizquel, Dubee or McClendon have made any visible inroads in encouraging and enforcing better play. And with the news that Brad did not speak to the players (per Justin Verlander) at the rare clubhouse meeting, there’s little hope with the manager taking charge.

And this will be the concern that Al Avila has to address in the off-season.

He should be commended for finally establishing a “Tigers’ Way” manual. However, no matter how excellent and detailed it may be, the new policies laid out will fail if he doesn’t find that crucial final piece(s) to implement it. A standard-bearer in a managerial or coaching uniform.

Al’s got a lotta work to do……..

QUESTIONS, COMMENTS, KUDOS & CONCERNS

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

After 94 games (43-51), the Tigers remain buried near the bottom of the American League, but still not out of the division race, regardless of how they are playing. As we continue the season’s second half, that trade deadline looms larger every minute.

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

CONCERN

There is way more going on with Miggy than the injury or Venezualan crisis explanations offered by the Tigers and it is extremely alarming. For the past couple months, he has been unsmiling and his eyes appear “dead.” Even after his walk-off walk the other night to win the game, he remained emotionless and did not participate in the celebration that surrounded him.

QUESTION

Where is the leadership on this team and who is leading it? Justin Verlander spilled the beans about what happened in last weekend’s clubhouse meeting by mentioning that Brad Ausmus, who attended, did not address the team. Given this, should we really be surprised to see this team play as inconsistently, individually and erratically as they do?

KUDOS

In a year where we have to dig to find the positive, I am thrilled to see the rise and evolution of Mikie Mahtook. He is hungry to rebuild his reputation and find a place to call home while putting up numbers that are close or above his very nice 2015 year. The emotion and energy he showed hitting that HR the other night as he rounded the bases and jumped into the dugout has been sorely lacking within this entire team – and Mikie’s moment was a refreshing event to witness.


KURT

COMMENT

Night after night, game after game, we hear about players with multi-homer games, another 3-homer game and balls that travel 450+ feet at every turn. Go ahead and tell me that MLB hasn’t brought a gloried super ball to the game this season in the interests of adding more excitement. OK, you did it, you succeeded in increasing home runs, but how is the effort on shortening the length of games going; anyone have an answer?

QUESTION

What influences you when you read about prospects your team has received in a trade for a popular player? What gets your attention? Is it where they are ranked in the Top 100 – or are you as angered as I am about even dealing with a team whose farm system ranks in the bottom third in all of baseball in minor league talent?

KUDOS

I felt so bad for Mikie Mahtook Thursday night after he hit the go-ahead home run in the ninth inning in KC. He showed the kind of excitement and passion that we crave and he looked equally as down when it ended up meaning nothing. But I don’t view it as nothing; he’s a good example of what we need more of on this team, and even though it seems like I am grasping at straws, these are the kinds of things you have to look for when you make decisions about players for your future.

OPEN MIKE!

microphoneHappy Friday! It’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.


If the Tigers could trade only 1 more player, which one’s departure should it be?  Offer a realistic argument, explain your rationale, list the benefit received and support your answer!  (Exclusions apply:  Miggy, VMart and Zimmermann cannot be considered.)


 

 

 

 

WHITE FLAG RAISED, BUT CENTRAL UP FOR GRABS

By:  Kurt Snyder

It was a long day of complaining on Wednesday, wasn’t it? Countless fans and radio hosts all across Tiger Nation, all upset about the players the Tigers got in return for JD Martinez.

So I am sure a lot of our readers are interested in knowing what our take is at Totally Tigers. Well, I don’t know what Holly thinks, but I am not jumping in the fray and pretending like I know any more about the 3 prospects than anyone else.

After all it’s been beaten to death.

The consensus all over town has been this:

The Tigers got robbed.

The players we received for JD aren’t any good.

Al Avila is a lousy GM and he is going to screw up every deal we make between now and the end of the month.

Some or all of this could be true. But none of it can be proven. Not right now. So I’m not joining in the madness. I will say one thing though. Al Avila has some really big shoes to fill when it comes to making deals. His former boss, Dealin’ Dave Dombrowski, was and is one of the best in getting great deals for his team. He rarely loses a trade.

Right now, the Tigers are considered the loser in this deal. And everyone who feels that way can go on their merry way and pretend they have it all figured out. News flash! They don’t.

If you’re disappointed in this synopsis, which I guess you could say, isn’t one at all, well, I’m sorry. Anyone and everyone has been shooting from the hip on this one. But I’m just not going there.

Keep this in mind though. On August 31st, when all the dust settles, I may just cut loose. Here’s hoping it will be about how the future appears bright rather than how our GM has done us wrong and steered the Tigers into the deepest of ditches.


Let’s switch gears here for a second and talk about this season. This Tiger team. And this division.

The sad part about the current dismantling of the Tigers is that this season, maybe more than ever, the Central Division is there for the taking.

Just when you think Cleveland is about to take off and run away from everyone, they go into a funk, like the one they are in now. At only 3 games over .500 after their loss on Wednesday, they are keeping teams in the race for the division title.

It’s a funk that has kept Minnesota in the race. It has kept Kansas City in the race. And yes, even Detroit, where the sky is falling, was only 4 ½ games out of the division lead heading into Wednesday night’s game in KC.

Now I can hear you already. I’m like Santa. I know when you’re naughty or nice. So watch your language. This is still the game you love. And if you are like me, I love it for a lot of different reasons. And maybe what I love most is how unpredictable the game can be.

All year long, we have waited for the Tigers to go on a run; waiting to see if they could get themselves in the mix. But it has gotten too late, and the team priority is their future. And you can’t blame them.

If the team had taken the season by storm and put up a fight, we might be talking about something completely different right now. Up to this point, the team has not performed like a team that can compete for a playoff spot.

But here we are.  And I hate to tell you. This thing ain’t over!

A team 4 ½ games out of first in the 3rd week of July is far from out of it.  Far! I don’t care who we just traded. I don’t care!  (Actually I do, I’m still cryin’!)

Baseball can be one of the nuttiest sports out there. And it has been known to make fools out of all of us at one time or another. People speak so confidently sometimes about their opinions regarding their future. They appear so confident in proclaiming seasons over or declaring that all hope is gone.

But, man, I am not doing it when the team is 4 or 5 games out of first place. Not now. Not in this division. Because no one seems to want to put a stranglehold on the Central. And until someone does, even the Tigers, with all their flaws and all the players that may be heading out of town, are still in it.

Now with all the moves anticipated within the next 10 days or so, the Tigers may indeed cease to be able to compete, and they may then fall completely out of things.

But until that happens, shouldn’t we just continue to be fans of our baseball team?  Who stops watching their team when they are 5 games out or even less?  Many of us may be upset that things have come to this point. Many may be upset with how the team is being managed both on the field and in the front office. And many are undoubtedly furious that the Tigers had to trade JD Martinez.  It does hurt.  It hurts a lot!

But don’t we still just want them to win?  Even now? And given where the Tigers currently sit, in a very average division, nothing is impossible. Don’t pretend that crazier things haven’t happened. Because you know they have.

The Tigers are raising the white flag. And in doing so, all pressure is off. No expectations from here on out.  So, let’s just see what happens.

(Kurt’s note to self: Don’t forget. Straight jacket fitting is Friday).