BIRDS OF A FEATHER

By:  Holly Horning

This is another one of those instances when image consulting parallels the world of baseball.

Who knew?

But in my career as an image consultant, it allows me to speak from experience even though I’ve never stepped foot inside an MLB Front Office.

Believe it or not, baseball and a closet full of clothes have more in common than you think.  Let me explain….


One of the aspects of my job involves assessing, editing and building a client’s wardrobe. Creating a visual appearance direction for the client that will allow them to achieve their desired goals more easily and quickly.

Many of my clients tell me that they don’t understand why their wardrobes don’t work. Afterall, they have lots of choices. And many have spent tens of untold thousands of dollars filling their closets. Most will tell me that they have some very expensive pieces and question why, because of the price tag, they aren’t doing their job.

And it really is simple.

Most people buy pieces. They don’t buy outfits. (And if you’ve ever uttered the phrase “I have a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear,” this is why.)

And that is the key to making things work.

Pieces don’t take into account the big picture. Pieces don’t go beyond themselves. It is much harder to match random pieces that you own than it is to buy a number of pieces that all work together.

These related pieces – outfits – all work together nicely.

And they get you to the place you want to go. Looking great.

In baseball, these pieces are players.

Granted, every team at one time or another needs to add a piece from outside their closet, er, organization. And the smart teams look to add the right piece that goes with the rest of the team.

And then there are teams that focus solely on adding pieces. Maybe they are trying to fast-track success or buy a ring. Or don’t have a functioning farm system. They think that it’s enough to simply plug in a talented 2B-er, not taking into account how that player works with others or what special skill set they bring to the wardrobe, er team, as a whole.

I was reminded of this multiple times during the days leading up, as well as the actual ceremony, to the Hall of Fame induction. Alan Trammell, Jack Morris, Lance Parrish, Lou Whitaker and other members of the Class of ’84 talking about how they all came up together. How they were specifically selected to work with one another. How they complemented each other.

How they were a team.

And this was one of the most important reasons why they did so well, are ranked as one of the top 10 teams of all time – and won the World Series.

And if you think about it, the 2015 World Champion Kansas City Royals were similar. The majority of the players who came up through the ranks together and bonded with each other like the ’84 Tigers.

In contrast, let’s look at the Tigers over the past decade. Very few of them who played together in the minors. The vast majority of the team being cherry-picked from other teams and expected to come together with guys they only recently met and with whom they didn’t share a common bond or background.

And yet there are those who believe that because these Tiger teams were filled with expensive stars, that it was supposed to work. Afterall, they had expensive contracts! They had great stats! There was so much talent!

And the Tigers had one of the most expensive payrolls in all of baseball.

It’s a no-brainer, right? A slam dunk that these teams should have won, at minimum, 1 ring.

No, these teams were similar to the closet that had a number of very expensive items in it but didn’t really have anything solid to go with them.

Stories of players who didn’t get along with each other. Clubhouse fights and jockeying among the starting pitchers. Players not on the same page and athletes who were focused on individual instead of team stats. Lots of individual awards every year but no group ones. And questions about the lack of leadership.

Simply, the Tigers from the past decade were pieces, albeit expensive pieces – and not a team. They didn’t go together well.

We see this same story playing out currently with the Washington Nationals. Stories now coming out about how this very talented, very expensive team is dysfunctional. How the talent doesn’t work well together. How the talent doesn’t translate into wins.

And if you need further proof, reporters now saying that when they go into the Nats’ clubhouse, it is eerily quiet. No one is talking to anyone else. There are no personal relationships. Players are all plugged into their electronic devices and in their own private worlds instead of interacting with one another.

And this is what happens when you go out and buy a bunch of pieces. Pieces that look good individually, but don’t go with anything else.

You don’t get outfits. Or teams.


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TWO FOR TUESDAY

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

At long last, two more Tigers have entered the Hall of Fame! It was a long time coming for Alan Trammell and Jack Morris who represented Tiger baseball very well in Cooperstown on Sunday.

But before we put that wonderful day to bed and look forward to more celebrations of these 2 Tigers greats at Comerica for the number retirements, our writers would like to comment on the following question regarding Tram and Jack’s Hall of Fame event.


Finally!  The Hall just admitted 2 Tigers.  What are our 2 bloggers feeling?


HOLLY

Seeing the players you grew up watching make it to the Hall of Fame should only inspire feelings of gratitude and love.  But while it was wonderful seeing Tram and Jack enter the Hall, those feelings of joy shared space with feelings of frustration – and I have to admit, a smidge of anger, too.

Especially when Rob Manfred read through Tram’s accomplishments in which he was identified as being one of baseball’s top 10 shortstops of all time according to the large number of categories in which he dominated.  Yet, despite being ranked above 14 shortstops currently in the Hall, it took Tram, via the Veterans’ Committee, a mind-boggling 17 years to get elected.

It’s been a whopping 29 years since the last Tiger, Hal Newhouser, was elected and a glance at Tigers in the Hall show that the vast majority of them were not elected via the player ballot but by the Veterans’ Committee.  The last to go in by regular ballot was Al Kaline, 38 years ago and before him, Hank Greenberg, back in 1956.

The excuse about the Tigers not being a major-market (or even media-based) city cannot be used when you see all the players from smaller towns in Cooperstown so one has to ask why this has been, and continues to be, such a laborious and often up-hill process for Tigers.  Especially when it concerns players who were part of one of baseball’s top 10 teams of all time.

As time goes on, voting writers who watched them play, retire and their replacements often cut corners and don’t perform diligent research before voting.  But let’s also put some of that blame on the Tigers’ organization which, for some illogical reason, does not provide binders, video or even support of their players to the voters unfamiliar with their play, like most of the other MLB teams do.


KURT

Finally, after 29 years of waiting, we finally have another Hall of Famer – and not 1, but 2. And as much as I should be happy, which I am, why is it so difficult to get Tigers into Cooperstown?

I can’t stand the big market argument anymore. What I blame it on most is our ownership and their continued lack of promotion of their former greats. But I also blame it on Major League Baseball, especially at this time when Trammell entered without Whitaker.

This is a team game, and our league has gotten a little stodgy when it comes to celebrating baseball. I know it’s a Detroit thing and nobody lived it more than we did, but Tram and Lou’s 19-year list of accomplishments deserve special recognition.

But the Hall does not allow for these special stories, special parts of their history. It’s only, are you good enough to get in? No room to venture away from the norm when a double play combination did something never accomplished before in the history of the game; you can’t ignore it, but the committee is doing their best.


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FEEL GOOD DAY BITTER SWEET

By:  Kurt Snyder

On Sunday, at long last, Alan Trammell and Jack Morris, were enshrined into Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

What a day for them! What a day for Detroit! What a day for Tiger baseball! The enshrinement of these 2 Tiger greats formally acknowledges 2 pieces from one of the best teams in baseball history.

You know all the stats associated with that 1984 team. But who gets tired of hearing them? Well, no one in Detroit.

Wire-to-wire champions. The 35-5 start. Jack Morris’ no-hitter in the first week of the season. It was a magical year. But until now, no one from that dominant team had been recognized as one of the game’s best. It has been pure insanity.

Of course, this all comes from a life-long Tiger fan. It comes from a fan who was able to attend 60+ games during that incredible year of baseball at The Corner.

My favorite player from 1984? Kirk Gibson. He was the fire that burned so intensely, you couldn’t help but be overwhelmed. The fierceness on the base paths, the dramatic homers that sewed up the championship in October, all the brashness that he brought to the ballpark, embodied him as a man and a competitor.

Dad’s favorite player in all the years he was running Tiger Stadium? It wasn’t Al Kaline. It wasn’t even Trammell or Morris.

It was Lou Whitaker.

Dad appreciated quiet talent. Baseball is perhaps the most difficult sport. And Lou Whitaker made it look easy every day. He was a quiet, go about your business type of player. He didn’t say much. He didn’t particularly relish his time in front of the press and he often didn’t give them what they wanted. He just wanted to play and be left alone.

So when you don’t talk, people judge you. To this day, I believe it was Lou’s personality that hurt him the most. It has potentially made the difference between being a Hall of Famer and not.

But despite Whitaker’s cool relationship with the press, he was an incredible second baseman. He made the game look so easy, the word laziness actually appeared in the list of labels for one of the greatest second basemen ever to play in Detroit. He got to the ball quickly and made what should have been tough plays, look routine. His gun for an arm made what should have been bang-bang plays at first base, not even close.

For a player with such a slender build, Lou had great power at the plate, constantly smoking deep drives into the second deck in right. That short porch seemed built for him and boy, did he take advantage.

So where is Lou today? Well quite literally, he is waking up in Cooperstown, but not as a Hall of Famer, but as a man having attended the enshrinement of Jack Morris and his long time playing partner at shortstop, Alan Trammell.

It took quite a while for Trammell and Morris to make it. But who dreamed Trammell and Lou would not have been brought in together? And who thinks now that Lou will now be forever forgotten?

I have had mixed emotions since the day we heard Tram and Jack had made the cut. I’m sure I’m not alone in those emotions. The game of baseball and all it stands for, in recognizing great players, their accomplishments and their great stories, have blown it.

Trammell did his due diligence on Sunday, reminding fans in attendance, Hall of Famers in attendance and anyone who had anything to do with who gets in and who doesn’t, that he and Whitaker had been joined at the hip, from the very first day they stepped on the field together.   They dominated together, feeding off each other –  knowing every move the other would make.

The longest running double play combination in the history of the game, simply ignored by Major League Baseball. Ignored over and over and over again.

Now anyone of influence who understands the significance, will plead for Whitaker to have his Cooperstown day in the sun. Well, sorry, it’s too late. Now was the time. The opportunity was there. It was right there in front of them.

But don’t be surprised. A loyal reader reminded me on Sunday about how little Lou’s own team has done to promote him. The Tigers, too, must take a lot of blame for the omission of half of a historical combo from the Hall of Fame.

Tram and Lou joined at the hip, but not enough for baseball or the Tigers themselves, to care to recognize.


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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

By:  Holly Horning

We all do it. We think about what may have happened if we had the chance to turn back the clock and do things differently.

And in the first full year of the Tigers’ rebuild, we naturally think about “what could have been.” We think about the lost opportunities. We think about the goals not met.

We also think about the decision-makers who were in charge. We think about what we would have done if in their shoes.

It’s only natural. And some of what we saw was obviously wrong. And some of what we saw may have been a tough call.

And everyone has their lists. I know I do. Here are my top 5 at the moment:


1. Other than the Prince Fielder signing, were there other big contracts that hindered the Tigers’ progress to get that ring?

2. Was Dave Dombrowski’s strategy for winning it all truly outdated or was he hampered by Mr. I’s desire to add “stars” to the roster?

3. If the Tigers had acted earlier on the managerial availability of Ron Gardenhire and Terry Francona, would they have at least gotten one World Series flag flying over Comerica out of it?

4. If the Tigers hadn’t constantly moved Nick Castellanos from position to position (SS to 3B to OF to 3B to RF), would his defensive skills have been better if he was allowed to stay and develop within 1 position?

5. If the Tigers had promoted their Hall of Fame candidates like other teams, would Alan Trammell, Jack Morris and others have entered into the Hall of Fame earlier and without the help of the Veterans’ Committee?


Which one of these resonates with you most of all? Select one and support your case in 8 sentences or less.

Then make sure you watch the Hall of Fame ceremony afterwards…


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NOTABLE NEWS

With the trade deadline now only days away, teams are making moves. But no moves so far involving our beloved Tigers. Our writers have had their say on the topic over the last week, so what is on their minds heading into the final weekend of July?

Holly and Kurt don’t normally share their topics with each other in the interests of getting a wider range of perspective. During any given week, they could head in a number of directions.

Let’s see where they ended up based on what has transpired this week heading into the series at home versus the Indians.


KURT

Some of the highest profile news revolves around 2 of the game’s biggest stars and believe it or not, Bryce Harper has been mentioned as someone who may be on the trading block at the deadline. Moving him would be the wisest thing the Nationals could do. I’d trade him in a heartbeat and watch the prospects roll in.

The Yanks, having already made a couple of moves to shore up their bullpen and starting rotation, now find themselves wondering if they need to make a move to supplement their outfield with the loss of Aaron Judge for a while.  Did the trade value of Baltimore’s Adam Jones just take a jump?

On the Tiger front – Iggy may be the only player who is ramping up his trade value.


HOLLY

Trade rumors and actual movement of players between teams is starting to pick up steam with just days to go before the non-waiver trade deadline.

In the case of Nicholas Castellanos, the rumors are slim-to-none based upon the 12+ other outfielders known to be available combined with his well-below-average defensive capabilities.  His defensive value (when compared to the average RFer) currently ranks second to the bottom at a -1.7 among all qualified RFers and essentially turns him into a prospective DH for AL teams in need of one.

And speaking of RFers, an increasing number of analysts are saying that the Washington Nationals should trade Bryce Harper now while they can get something in exchange for him before free agency hits in 2 months.  With yet another DL stint for pitcher Stephen Strasburg, combined with the team’s overall horrible performance and struggle to even reach .500, experts are now saying that the window for the Nats has closed and they are in need of rebooting.  A team identified as one of the favorites for the World Series has taken a spectacular dive and never even got off the ground at all this year.


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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. What’s on your minds?


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A BUYER FOR NICK? ANYBODY OUT THERE?

By:  Kurt Snyder

It’s now countdown time.

Teams around the league, most by now, have targeted the players they would like to trade and players they would like to add.

With the trade deadline less than a week away, all eyes are on Nicholas Castellanos. But whose eyes? Well, good point. Maybe the best way to put it is – in Detroit, all eyes are on Nicholas Castellanos.

Because, aren’t we all watching him and shaking our heads?

Aren’t we dismayed by a man with a bat, but no sign of a glove? Isn’t it a shame that he is at risk of staying in Detroit?

Yeah, you heard me. Nick staying in Detroit would be a failure for him. It would be a stamp of disapproval. But who knows better than Al Avila? He knows what he has in Nick and he knows what he doesn’t. But expect him to be very aggressive in taking, well, not much.

Because if Nick emerges from the trade deadline as a Tiger, a question also emerges. Now what do we do?

Nick is a DH. He has proven it. He doesn’t have a spot in the field where he can thrive or even reach an average level of performance. It’s been talked about at great length on this site.

National League teams will not be interested in him. So if he goes, he stays in the AL, for obvious reasons. But, what is best for the Tigers?  Is this an addition-by-subtraction kind of situation?

You don’t pay handsomely for someone like him. You pay for complete packages. You pay for diverse talent. You pay for a player who can do a lot of things for your team. And none of this describes Nicholas Castellanos.

And frankly, I don’t think there is a single team in all of baseball that will want to take him on beyond this season. The Tigers may find a taker for him, but it will be for very little.

All the questions for the team revolve around what their motives will be. Are they looking for a return or are they simply looking to say goodbye?

The Tigers are sellers. They are looking for long-term answers. They need future pieces to build a championship puzzle. But I doubt they feel the return for Nick will be helpful. The goal sadly, will be simply to unload him.

It’s all part of the game of rebuilding, however. You establish who is part of your future and also who is not. The Tigers have had enough of players who have held them back, players who limit their ability to do different things, and win in different ways.

So how did we get to this point with Nick? Why is he still here?

Nick is here because he was Dave Dombrowski’s diamond in the rough. There was interest in Nick around the league early on in his career. The word was out that he projected to become a very good big league hitter, and that has proven to be true. Teams wanted him included in deals, but Dombrowski wouldn’t budge.

He was Dave’s untouchable. And ironically enough, it will now be a tough sell to get teams to want to touch him now.


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DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN

By:  Holly Horning

The only thing worse than living through the Tigers’ failed quest to win it all during the last 12 years is…….

……having to experience it all over again.

As we know, since 2006 when the Tigers went to the World Series, we have experienced both pleasure and pain with our team since then. Years of all that immense talent. A team with powerhouse pitching and hitting. Years of regular expectations and playoffs. Division titles.

And failure to do well against the very best teams in MLB.

We saw that window start to close 5 years ago, heard the alarm bells go off and saw the team’s management refuse to do anything about the lack of speed, defensive holes and, of course, the bullpen.

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, they inexplicably hired someone who had never managed or even coached a game in his life to take the team all the way.

And now, we’re viewing the aftermath of the storm. Brooms being taken to the payroll, top players traded in and brave smiles all around by the janitorial Front Office as they survey the mess and try to clean it up as best as they can.

And if I haven’t suffered enough, it’s happening to me all over again. Albeit with my current (but not favorite) hometown team.

The Washington Nationals.

You’ve read earlier blogs of mine over the past couple of years about how eerily similar they are to the Tigers. And now, we may be witnessing the first signs of their imminent demise.

For those of you unfamiliar with the team, let’s recap.

Ted Lerner bought the Washington Nationals (formerly Expos) in 2006 and until 2012, the team routinely finished last in their division every year, well under .500. Lerner also owns the local hockey team (and Stanley Cup winner), Washington Capitals, and an entertainment conglomerate that also owns parts of the professional Wizards and Mystics. Oh, and he also owns the hockey stadium.

Sound familiar?

But Lerner, who was getting advanced in age (currently 92) and not in the best of health, decided he wanted that ring and started putting time, attention and money into his team. He tripled the payroll in just 6 years and started adding expensive stars to the roster. You know a couple of them, one of which has a monstrous contract that will continue to eat a big chunk of the entire payroll for 15 years.

Agent Scott Boras loved Mike Ilitch and also Ted Lerner. At one point, he had 11 of his clients playing for the Nats. And unfortunately, because of the media rights that are shared with the Baltimore Orioles, the Nats only receive 35% of the revenues. Fans are already starting to wonder how the team will be able to remain competitive as their financial obligations to players grow and grow.

But despite solid winning seasons for the past 6 years, the Nats have lost all 4 LDSs they played in. Years in which they racked up 95 – 98 wins each season and won 4 division titles.

The current GM has been with the team now for a decade and has yet to fulfill his boss’ goal. He inherited the position from his former boss. Sounds like a couple of others we know.

Where the team has been busy is with managers. Six of them in 10 years with the longest tenured one lasting a whopping 2.5 years. All of them experienced in managing and coaching until they hire Matt Williams, who, like Brad Ausmus, had zippo experience. Both were hired to take their top-talented teams to the World Series.

But unlike Brad, Matt lasted 2 years and was fired when he failed to take his team to the playoffs in his second year. Everyone knew his days were numbered with stories about dissension on the team and the infamous choking of Bryce Harper by Jonathan Papelbon in the dugout during a game because the reliever was sick of not seeing players hustle. Papelbon would have had a field day in Detroit.

Williams was followed by trusty Dusty Baker, a veteran manager who took this team to MLB’s best record. And promptly got fired because he couldn’t advance the team in the playoffs.

And now the Nats, in their infinite wisdom, decided that the Brad, er, Matt Williams experiment went so well that they hired another rookie manager. Let’s call this the “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me” period.

And during a year in which they have played mostly under .500, despite being labeled as most likely to see late October baseball, Max Scherzer called a team meeting and screamed at everyone.

You won’t be surprised to know that it didn’t help much. And last week, the Nats had another dugout dustup with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg getting into a heated argument during a game. At least no one was choked this time.

Unlike the local Detroit media, the scribes in DC pull no punches. There are no sacred cows. They are publishing articles highly critical of how the team is being run as well as the quality of play. Even the franchise face, Bryce Harper, has not been immune to criticism and is called out on a regular basis.

You won’t read any press releases in the Washington papers. They take no prisoners.

The Nats are universally being described as an unhappy, uninspired team that plays sloppy baseball. And everyone here characterizes the team as routinely underperforming, disconnected and not focused. Sound familiar?

In fact, some of the media have predicted that a collapse of the Nats this year is going to happen soon.

Stars are having down years. Top pitchers, and others, are having problems staying healthy. Rumors of conflicts with the manager who lacks the experience to motivate his players. Players having to take over leadership roles.

And their window is closing. Four instrumental players, including Bryce Harper, who will become free agents after this year. Harper’s agent is Scott Boras who will definitely take him away to the highest bidder.

A team roster that is now one of MLB’s oldest. A top pitcher who now spends more time on the DL than he does pitching.

Add to that the so-far-successful rebuilds in both Philly and Atlanta. Two teams who are much younger, talented and very, very hungry.

And now, DC’s team owner who is rumored to be sick and has recently ceded all control of the team to his son to run. Rut roh. We know how that turns out.

Change the name of the city – from DC to Detroit – and you’ve got history repeating itself. It’s too bad that one owner couldn’t have taken the lessons from another in order to avoid the upcoming mess.

It may be easy for you if you don’t live here. Personally, I’m getting tired of answering my local baseball friends’ questions about how the Nats appear to be on the same course as the Tigers. But I especially don’t want the constant reminder of what happened to my favorite team.

It’s easily summed up with the great line from the movie The Princess Bride with Billy Crystal playing Miracle Max:

“Why don’t you just give me a paper cut and pour lemon juice on it?”


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TWO FOR TUESDAY

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

Today, our writers have decided to change it up a little bit. This edition of Totally Tigers is all about lists, and looking forward.

This season is all about evaluating who has a future with this team. So why not try to envision what the team will look like next season? Who will be here? Who will not?

Kurt and Holly have lists that answer the following questions.


1. If the Tigers are truly focused on rebuilding, which players, out of the current 25-man roster, should we expect to see on Opening Day 2019?

2. Are there players from Toledo we should expect to make the roster by Opening Day 2019?

*Indicates position probably needing to be filled from outside the organization.

In case of multiple players listed for 1 position, the first one listed will be the primary player with the second as back-up.


HOLLY

C – Grayson Grenier, John Hicks
1B – Edwin Espinal*, Miguel Cabrera
2B – Dawel Lugo, Ronny Rodriquez
3B – Jeimer Candelario
SS – Sergio Alcantara, Ronny Rodriquez
LF – Victor Reyes
CF – JaCoby Jones
RF – Christin Stewart (by default)
DH – Miguel Cabrera
U – Niko Goodrum

STARTING ROTATION
Victor Alcantara
Matthew Boyd
Michael Fulmer
Blaine Hardy
Jordan Zimmermann

RELIEVERS
Johnny Barbato
Louis Coleman
Kevin Comer
Joe Jimenez
Daniel Norris
Zac Reininger
Paul Voelker
Alex Wilson


KURT

C– James McCann, Grayson Greiner
1B – John Hicks, Miguel Cabrera (as little as possible)
2B – Dawel Lugo
3B – Jeimer Candelario
SS – Sergio Alcantara
LF – Victor Reyes, Mikey Mahtook
CF – JaCoby Jones
RF – Christin Stewart
DH – Miguel Cabrera
UT – Niko Goodrum

STARTING ROTATION
Blaine Hardy
Matthew Boyd
Michael Fulmer
Jordan Zimmermann
Alex Faedo

RELIEVERS
Joe Jimenez
Victor Alcantara
Alex Wilson
Johnny Barbato
Louis Coleman
Drew VerHagen
Zac Reininger
Daniel Norris


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INJURIES DAMPEN DEADLINE DEALS

By:  Kurt Snyder

The worst possible July scenario for the Tigers has happened.

Any value they had to offer for quality prospects is now reduced to whatever they can get for Nick Castellanos and Shane Greene.  Nick’s defense will limit his value and Shane Greene’s stock has gone down too.  But all hell broke lose when Michael Fulmer went down.

His oblique strain now makes him untradeable. And isn’t that just perfect? He represented the Tigers’ best shot at getting real value in return. But now, that’s all done. For how long? That remains to be seen.

This new development only reinforces my position on the ‘Trade Fulmer’ side of the equation. He may win games next season, but they will be empty stats for a losing ballclub.

But right now, Fulmer’s next season is up in the air. He will recover, but will remain a ticking time bomb. You have to wonder about him even more.  Another reason to wonder about his long-term viability if he stays a Tiger. Another reason to wonder about his future value if you are a prospective trade partner.

If trade partners for Michael Fulmer have had reservations about him up until now,  this certainly impacts how they feel about him in the off-season even after his oblique has healed.

Expect them to take a step back and take a ‘wait and see’ approach until this time next season. But also expect teams to lowball the Tigers, just to see what they are willing to take.

Gauging the market in the future will continue on the Tigers’ end. He stays in Detroit for now, with more to prove to both sides. Can he stay healthy and have success on a more consistent basis when he returns to action?

For now, expect the team to shift gears and be more protective of Fulmer than ever. The controllable years in his contract just became more valuable to them; more than just a marketable part of a talented trade piece.   They can invest more time in him without an eye on the clock.

But, the injury forces the timeline to 2019. As we all know, this is still a pitcher who looks like he is an injury waiting to happen every time he throws the baseball.

He has a well-known violent delivery that appears to stress his body and his arm. I don’t question his talent. I don’t question his great arm. He is a power pitcher, but he does not possess the traits of someone who will have a long career.  Sorry, he just doesn’t.

So where does the fan base stand now on Michael Fulmer? Are there readers out there who are starting to move over to my side of the ledger? Or are there readers who stand firm in their support for him and feel these injuries don’t cause concern.

Who still believes he is the future ace of the Tigers? Who feels the team is set at that most important of positions as we continue with this rebuild?

Michael Fulmer came to Detroit with high hopes. And heading into a rebuild, he was more valuable for someone else than he is in Detroit. He was. But the window to shop their most prized possession has now been slammed shut.

Any trade is on hold and the rebuild just took a severe hit.


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