THE SATURDAY SURVEY

The Saturday Survey offers another way for readers to weigh in on a relevant topic.   So here is a poll to gauge the pulse of our baseball-lovin’ peeps.

As always, we welcome your comments, so please vote and then submit your reasons ( 4 sentences max!) for how you voted in the usual comment box.  Don’t forget to come back later and view the results!


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

 

TWICE AS NICE

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

Go ahead and choose the scariest thing to watch on TV right now – Naked and Afraid, Dr. Pimple Popper or Tiger baseball?  Pretty dreadful choices aren’t they?

While you are formulating your answer, consider how awful the Tigers outfield defense has been this week. And now that you have done that and you have seen how horrifying it was to watch, let’s give our writers a chance to dive into the topic.

Holly and Kurt have not shared their answers to the following question for the purpose of offering a wider range of perspective. It usually works, but let’s see how things turn out.


Over the past couple of weeks, the Tigers outfield has experienced a number of collisions and near-collisions. How do Holly and Kurt view what is going on out there?


HOLLY

In less than 2 weeks, the Tigers have had awfulness in the outfield on 4 separate occasions with 2 occurring just in one night. It’s amazing that only 1 player was injured in all of this.

What is happening is the perfect storm of insufficient talent, positional inexperience, suspect coaching and a very thin roster that offers little flexibility.

Nick Castellanos is probably asking “Miss me yet?” because since he’s been gone, the Tigers have used 4 different players in RF and a rotating number of 7 players (Castro, Demeritte, Dixon, Goodrum, Jones, Reyes and Stewart) overall in the outfield. With the exception of JaCoby and Christin – who are both on the IL – the remaining 5 have only a handful of game experience in each position.

The fundamentals of play are clearly missing and we’re seeing the same mistakes over and over which makes us wonder about how much influence or advice Dave Clark has with them. No one is even admitting “my bad” and because this roster is stretched so thin, players aren’t being held accountable for even a day by riding the pine.

Stewart and Jones will be back next year so the question will be which of the remaining five will return to the outfield next year? Two at most with the possibility that Danny Woodrow will be called up from Toledo.

The bottom line is that no outfielder is a slam dunk to stay beyond next year and that the Tigers outfield is probably going to remain defensively-challenged even into 2020.


KURT

Whenever the subject turns to fundamentals, I can’t help but harken back to some of the quotes from Ron Gardenhire (when he was hired as the manager), the man tasked to teach during the rebuild:

“We are going to teach baseball…”

“…that’s the way I have always gone about my business – with respect and with paying attention to the details of the game.”

“We’re going to come with enthusiasm and play the game the right way.”

But in considering these quotes and then considering how the team plays the game, especially lately in the outfield, we can’t pick and choose when it comes to responsibility.

It may be Gardy’s continued intention to teach and to play fundamentally sound baseball, but he also normally has his own coaches who he trusts to execute the message, which in some areas (like outfield play), doesn’t happened to be the case.

But the Tigers have gone through a deterioration in talent, and frankly, a lack of instincts, when it comes to playing positions they aren’t really used to playing. Injuries and trades have caused this and forced players away from their areas of strength.

We can jump all over Niko Goodrum for disrupting things in the outfield, but there is such a complete package of blame to go around, it’s just not right to target one player or area.

Under Gardy’s guidance, I had hoped that the Tigers, even though they would be starving for talent, would at least be playing better baseball, but maybe we are learning the hard way that this a bad combination. Sometimes better baseball requires a certain level of talent – a level the Tigers are nowhere near reaching.


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NEVER ENOUGH

By:  Kurt Snyder

How many times have we heard it this season?

How often have we heard about all the pitchers in Double A?

It’s been unprecedented how much discussion there has been about the minor leagues. Not so much out of Toledo but plenty out of Erie.

The rotation that now includes another Top 100 pitcher has been putting on a show in Double A . Many dream that this rotation will someday be putting on a show in The Show with the Tigers.

But the odds are that they won’t all make it for whatever reason. Which is why I will always remember something my dad said hundreds of times. It’s a timeless message. It continues to ring true.

“You can never have enough pitching.”

And if he were alive today, he would have certainly repeated it throughout the last couple years when the Tigers were drafting pitchers and little else.

His response to the negative comments about not having enough position players in the minor leagues would have been, “you can never have enough pitching.”

A team heavy in good pitching will always contend. It’s true, you can’t have enough. And it’s because they seem to drop like flies. When you least expect it, Tommy John comes calling for so many of these young pitchers, and some more than once, or even twice.

After Tommy John arrives, it becomes a crapshoot. Some hard-throwing young guns come back as good as new, throwing harder than ever before. But it takes time to get it back, if they do get it back.

Some don’t or some are not the same pitcher. Some have to change everything. They are unable to get hitters out the way they used to prior to being injured.

Tommy John claims pitchers every single year in the big leagues, and sometimes some pretty prominent ones. It won’t matter how many guys can hit the ball out of the park. More than anything teams will want a replacement who can come in and stop the bleeding.

All in all, TJS offers pitchers another shot and many have returned to form. But the recovery? It’s long. Plan on 2 years for them to really return to what they were or close.   So when you have to fill those gaps, you better be ready.

You can never have enough.

But wow, have you ever seen so many young, talented hitters like we have in the game today?  Powerful outfield talent, extremely young studs coming up from the minors, hitting the ground running. Shredding good pitching almost before they even get their own locker.

So I get it. Who’s going to come up for the Tigers late this year or next year to take the American League by storm? Well, no one probably. But, we have these pitchers …

But I don’t say that in a derogatory manner. Next year, the Tigers will more than likely be picking first in the MLB draft and most everyone thinks that it has to be a position player taken #1.

But, from my point of view and from what I have been taught, if the best player in the draft is a pitcher, then that’s what they should draft.

Need position players?  If you have enough pitching,  use them to get them. You can get yourself out of many a jam with arms.

Whether it’s a need at the big club, someone else’s big club, or because you need to improve your offense; quality on the mound is never going to hurt you.

But they are oh, so fragile, aren’t they? And you can’t allow injury to destroy a plan. ‘Next man up’ is a nice catch phrase for teams who need to quickly respond, but so many times there is very little to turn to when you lose someone.

It’s a timeless argument. And the reasons are endless.

Never enough.   Still true.


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THE RrrIGHT RrrEBUILD

By:  Holly Horning

Let’s continue our discussions on the rebuilding process, shall we? It’s really one of the few things worthwhile discussing this season considering the level of play currently on the field.

This week, Kurt and I have both discussed what we believe is going on with the Tigers. And it doesn’t have to do with rebuilding. Yet it is being presented as such by everyone within the Tigers’ organization and from the media. The latter, of course, having their direct pipeline with certain powers that be within the Comerica offices to help communicate the desired message.

And many fans are believing this is a rebuild as well. And a large number of other fans, myself included, are having a tough time using that “r” word. In order to rebuild, you have to have some kind of foundation first. Something the Tigers don’t have – yet.

Time will tell as to whether this will really be a rebuild, a “rebuild” in name only or merely a convenient label being used while the team is being prepped for a sale.

But let’s assume that at some point, the Tigers will be rebuilding. What exactly will it look like?

Teams have their own level of rebuilds. And timelines. Some teams have been rebuilding forever. Others, like the Yankees, do it in less than a year. The Cardinals never seem to have to rebuild and continuously put out a competitive product. Other teams, like the A’s and Rays, are constantly tweaking their rosters because of the bargain basement payrolls they are given.

But for most teams, the expected pattern is to trade away as many older and expensive players as possible. Cut the payroll and start bringing up those new farm faces. Figure out who is going to stick and where the holes still are. And expect to tank for 3 or more years while pulling in those top draft picks.

Currently, half of all MLB teams claim they are in the process of rebuilding. Some of them for quite awhile now. And for 5 of them, suspicions have been raised and the Players’ Association has asked for them to be investigated. The reasons? Lengthy “rebuilding” that doesn’t seem to end and extreme slashes in payroll.

As I’ve written about multiple times here at Totally Tigers, MLB’s dirty little secret is that tanking teams tend to make more of a profit than teams in contention. They receive top draft picks. Their payrolls are much lower. Long-term media contracts offer significant stable incomes.

And the worst teams get a bigger piece of revenue sharing as well as an additional monetary allotment from MLB. Technically, the funds received for being bad are supposed to be funneled back into the club for improvement. But in most cases, they are not. Instead, they are lining owners’ pockets.

Currently, the Tigers have slashed their payroll by (app.) half in just 2 short years. And given a number of continuing trade rumors, all involving the team’s most expensive tradeable players, they aren’t done yet.

But fans see the best players leaving. They see the big contracts go away. And they see the team tanking now for 3 straight years. They see the farm system collecting top prospects.

So is what we are seeing really a rebuild? Afterall, this is what the Cubs and Astros did for years and the Tigers are merely following their blueprint some fans say.

And this is where the comparison stops.

The big difference between teams like Houston, LA, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay, Minnesota and Atlanta – and the Tigers – is what happens beyond the roster. All teams made significant changes within their Front Offices, farm systems and evaluations methods. But the Tigers have not broomed a soul.

In the case of the Astros and Cubs, there was a change in ownership followed by a complete sweeping out of their Front Offices. There was a concerted effort by each owner to completely change the corporate culture of their organizations. And it doesn’t hurt to invest mightily in analytics. They now have 2 of the top 3 analytics systems in all of MLB.

There are multiple interviews with Justin Verlander and his recounting of how Houston has greatly helped him. He said he was astounded by everything the team gave him and confirmed that he had none of that in Detroit. And other articles point to Houston’s ability to focus on all new players, giving them reams of information and specialized coaching to help them evolve into better players.

The Dodgers had MLB’s biggest payroll that was a staggering $300+ million. And they still lost until hiring Farhan Zaidi to change the organization. Their payroll is now under $200 mill and the team is performing brilliantly. Zaidi has now gone to the Giants where they hope he will do the same thing for them.

It’s not enough for the Tigers to cut payroll and collect draft picks. A competitive roster will not put itself together on its own. Today, advanced analytics and different ways of evaluating and maintaining talent are paramount. And the Tigers’ analytics software system, Caesar, is not quite 3 years old and considered by most to still be in its infancy and not yet nearly as advanced as most teams’ systems.

If you look at the Front Office, it is MLB’s oldest collection of executives. Much of the group has been together since Dave Dombrowski worked with them in Montreal, Miami and now Detroit. Guys who have been together for 20-30 years. Guys who have been riding on their scouting laurels from 10-20 years ago and can’t keep up with their competition because they don’t have the modern tools being used today.

Most importantly, none of these people, save for Jay Sartori (analytics head), have the advanced skills that most other MLB teams are collecting at a rapid rate. The new Front Office exec is young (30’s and early 40’s) and has 1-2 degrees from the top colleges in the country. They have majors in economics (esp. sports economics), statistics, technology, sports medicine and psychology. The majority of today’s GMs have MBA degrees.

The Tigers don’t have any of this. They have the old school model of all of their execs having come from baseball.

So even if the Tigers follow the general rebuild pattern, it’s no guarantee that a rebuild will be successful. In fact, it’s stacked against them given the advantages other teams have with their youth (as it pertains to modern day practices), advanced and specialized degrees and developed analytics systems.

If this team is truly in rebuilding mode, then they must be rebuilding their Front Office in the off-season. You can’t put an old motor in a new chassis and expect it keep up with the newer models.

But Chris Ilitch gave Avila a “multi-year” contract extension. And if you’ve been reading these blogs lately, you know it’s not an affirmation of the job he is doing. And if there are no changes in the Front Office, then we have to hope that the team is going to be sold.

Otherwise, they will be spinning their wheels.


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

YOU CAN’T SELL A REBUILD THAT ISN’T

By:  Kurt Snyder

If you followed Holly’s 2-part series, A League of His Own, you were offered compelling puzzle pieces that, when joined together, revealed a nice big image of a “for sale” sign.

And it looks real. It’s believable. And it offers, well, hope!

Believe me, I am not obligated in any way, as a blog partner, to endorse anything put in print by Judge Judy (inside joke) in DC. But if it’s compelling and it makes sense, who am I to fight it? I am buying into this one and I suggest you do, too.

It is all starting to make perfect sense. Sometimes we forget that Chris Ilitch, more than likely, is a pretty smart guy. Fans make assumptions based on what they want, not necessarily on what Chris and the rest of the Ilitchs’ want. And in making the wrong assumptions, the Tiger ownership can look pretty clueless.

But you don’t have the success in business like the Ilitch family being stupid. Chris is just an owner with completely different goals than the fans have. So when he makes decisions to support his plan and not ours, it looks messed up.

You can look at all the steps now and justify every one of them.

All the people that Chris has kept around in the organization, are here for a reason. It has nothing to do with loyalty or comfort. It has everything to do with positioning for the sale.

Upgrading in the front office is not cost effective. So there won’t be any of that. New costs money, so keep the old for now. Just patch the holes, put a fresh coat of paint on the place and give it that curb appeal.

It will look good from the street, but it will be billed as a fixer upper, because it could certainly use it when the time comes.  Don’t make it the best house on the block, that’s a death sentence. Why put a bunch of money into a “rebuild” if you are never going to get the return? After all, this is Detroit, mind you.

So now, take another look at this team and this organization. If you look at every move going forward as progress towards the selling of the team, doesn’t it all make much more sense?

Won’t future decisions be more understood? Making minimal change to a roster that is clinically ill will cement high draft picks for as long as we want. And it will be much easier for our friend Al to pick a quality player. Another #1 pick will mean more value in the marketplace. Consider each one a win that supports the sale.

You know, I just might be getting excited about all this! All that really needs to be asked after every move or trade or transaction is, “how does this support the sale?” And if fans do that, the ones in the know, if they are following Totally Tigers, Chris may begin to gather support. And we can eagerly await the next big milestone of complacency! Pretty exciting stuff, right?

Come on! What we have watched has turned out to be brilliant! We just didn’t know it. Keep Al? Keep Ausmus? Keep Leyland? Keep the training staff? Keep the coaches? What the heck is wrong with Chris anyway?

Nothing! Absolutely nothing!

There isn’t anything wrong with Chris, so quit looking for reasons to support it. Now, you don’t have to like that Chris flushed all the stars out of Detroit; it was absolutely crushing. And you certainly don’t have to like that they want to sell instead of rebuilding. We wanted the rebuild to be underway and progressing. But he’s not rebuilding. That has never been more clear.

We can no longer compare what Chris is doing versus the likes of the Astros and the Braves. They are teams who have successfully rebuilt or are moving quickly in an upward trajectory thanks to their rebuilding efforts.

It’s classic Apples vs. Oranges. Rebuilding vs. Selling. We can now rub our eyes and clearly see the difference.

The rebuild in Detroit will start with the next owner. And the unfortunate thing is we don’t know when that is.

So support Chris like you’ve never supported anyone before.  The sooner there’s a new owner, the sooner the rebuild can begin. A rebuild from the top on down.

This house is getting prepped for sale, so if Chris wants to hand out flyers, we should all line up to help.  Post them all over. At every street corner.

The Tigers are for sale! And we are behind it 100%.


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN – PART 2.

By:  Holly Horning

Last week, we addressed the reports about Al Avila’s trading skills that were based upon interviews with other Front Offices and baseball scouts. We also dug a little deeper to examine his performance on other facets of his job, which were also “underwhelming.”


https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/2019/08/06/a-league-of-his-own-part-one/


Yet, despite the reviews that don’t paint a flattering picture and tend to show a man in over his head, Chris Ilitch extended his GM with a “multi-year” contract. Is Ilitch oblivious to his GM’s performance?

Not likely.

Or is the extension part of a bigger plan that he’s not yet revealing?

Quite possibly.

First of all, let’s examine the extension itself. Announced at the last minute on a Friday afternoon, the day after the Fourth of July. Done so quickly that few reporters were able to attend or were on vacation. All the better so there would be fewer questions, especially with the absence of those who cover the team nationally. On a long summer holiday weekend.

It’s what is done in Washington when you want to bury a story and avoid being called out.

And then, Ilitch did not attend. He left his own GM to make the announcement about himself. Talk about awkward.

But Chris did publish a statement. It read:


… “I’ve been impressed with Al’s leadership and focus, and the steadfast way he has led our baseball operations since becoming general manager.

“Al has methodically implemented his plan, and the execution of that plan has demonstrated progress and results in scouting, drafting, player development and analytics. I am especially pleased with the progress we have made in securing a stable of talented prospects which bodes well for our future. Al has a proven track record in this game, and his nearly three decades of experience is paying dividends in this rebuilding phase.”


(Excuse me, I had to run and get my waders….)

No wonder he didn’t show up for the press conference. Or answer reporters’ voicemails, especially those inquiring about exactly how long this “multi—year” extension is. Chris – and the entire Tigers organization – isn’t saying. It’s a secret apparently.

And the Tigers remain as the only MLB franchise to not release contract extension dates. All the other 29 teams expressly publish the dates of continued employment for their GMs.

Folks, none of this indicates that there is support for Avila by the owner. If it did, there would be contract details and the owner would have planned a proper press conference – and shown up for it.

All of it indicates that there is something else going on.

Over 2 years ago, I indicated that there were signs that Ilitch was preparing to sell the team.

And today? There are renewed signs.

Let’s go through the clues……

On the personal side, a variety of financial publications point to the estate tax issues as well as to family members who are pressuring him to sell the team so they may collect their inheritances. Also in print is the cash flow issue – money needing to be freed up so other projects may receive funding.

As for the team itself, Mr. I left the organization in the red. What was left was a bloated payroll, MLB’s highest team operating expenses, a down-trending team and declining attendance. These past 2+ years have been a time of righting the books in order to maximize the selling price.

As I wrote in an earlier blog, the Tigers made their first profit in over a decade last year. Revenue, believe it or not, has remained stable despite 2 last place finishes with 98 losses.

Under Mr. I, the Tigers had double the operating costs of the average MLB team. Today, it’s one of the lowest.

In just 2 short years, payroll has gone from one of MLB’s highest at just over $200 million to an Opening Day payroll this year approximately around $110 mill. Almost halved. And also the explanation for all of the most expensive Tigers being traded or non-tendered (who are actually tradeable). Expect this pattern to continue in the off-season. There are now only 5 Tigers making more than $1 million.

And the financial papers are also reporting significant cuts in personnel, esp. with those who work at Comerica.

And if we look at the team itself, we see that the wallet has been slammed shut. The Tigers have been without a 5th starter now for most of the year, despite the injuries to 4/5th of the starting rotation. Al Avila is not being allowed to go out and get another starter, even one at a bargain rate. Not even when the team is forced to use Brandon Dixon as a pitcher. Additions to the team are only reclamation projects at this point and making minimal salary.

The goal appears to be getting the payroll down to an absolute minimum, cutting costs as much as possible and stocking the farm system. A farm system that now, btw, is now publicly ranked among the top 10. All keys to maximizing the sales price of the team.

But the biggest clue that the team is being readied? A visit by Steve Greenberg, Hank’s son, to Comerica 2 years ago. And the media thought that he was visiting his father’s statue. They didn’t notice that he was there in a pinstripe suit clutching a briefcase. And they probably don’t know what he now does for a living.

Greenberg is the former Deputy Commissioner of MLB before becoming the sports world’s (esp. baseball) biggest mover and shaker in the selling and buying of sports teams. And he had a track record with Mr. I. He’s also super-secretive and keeps his info, work and name out of the media.

He’s also the one behind creating MLB.tv. Potentially, there could also be a tie-in with Chris Ilitch’s statement about exploring the creation of a regional sports network. Which, btw, is something you can do even if you don’t own the team anymore. Owning a sports network is actually more profitable than owning a sports team – and costs much less to run it, too.

Which now brings us to Ilitch’s contract extension for Al Avila. Chris may just be putting the future of this team on auto-pilot until the Tigers are sold.

To make changes in an organization, especially by firing employees under contract and hiring and training new ones, costs money. Chris has shown through his business track record that he is loathe to spend money when he absolutely doesn’t need to do it.

It is simply easier and less expensive to keep the status quo. And when you consider that Avila is the lowest-paid GM in MLB, it makes all the sense in the world.

In this case, Al may simply have the job as a glorified gatekeeper until a new owner takes over. It’s fair to assume that this secretive contract is one that actually terminates upon the sale of the team. It’s the only way to explain the refusal to reveal the length of his contract.

And that type of contract is actually a selling point for a new owner. No one wants to buy something and come into the agreement having to pay out salaries of people they no longer want.  They end up paying two salaries – the one that they fire and the one that they hire. It also makes it much easier for any new owner as they are removed from the firing process.

But until that day arrives, don’t expect the Tigers to make any other personnel changes. No new coaches, trainers or Front Office personnel. It is much less expensive to simply keep them on until the papers that transfer ownership are signed.

Who knew that keeping the old-boys club together could actually mean something good?


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

It’s time again to hear from our readers!   Today is the day to let us know what you’re thinking on a selected topic.

Sunday 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:


With so few current Tigers looking like candidates to fill a regular
position going forward, what are your thoughts about Harold Castro?

Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

THE SATURDAY SURVEY

The Saturday Survey offers another way for readers to weigh in on a relevant topic.   So here is a poll to gauge the pulse of our baseball-lovin’ peeps.

As always, we welcome your comments, so please vote and then submit your reasons ( 4 sentences max!) for how you voted in the usual comment box.  Don’t forget to come back later and view the results!


Former Tiger catcher, James McCann, has appeared in 84 games with the White Sox so far this season.  He  has 12 home runs, 38 RBI’s, a career high 19 doubles, a .463 slugging % and an OPS of .805.  For the first time in his MLB career, McCann was an All-Star catcher.

This past week versus the Tigers at Comerica Park, McCann had 7 hits, 3 doubles and 5 RBI’s among his 15 plate appearances.



Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

 

TWICE AS NICE

By:  Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning

The dog days of summer during a baseball season tend to settle in about right now. But when you are watching baseball like we have witnessed in Detroit, the season seems a whole lot longer.

After the trade deadline, a franchise like ours moves all of its focus to the young guys with the big club and the future talent of prospects in the minor leagues.

With the farm system improving, so are the rankings versus the rest of the league.

So, what’s Kurt and Holly’s take on the boys down on the farm?

Should we be encouraged about the progress?

K & H  have not shared their answers to the following question for the purpose of offering a wider range of perspectives. It usually works, but let’s see how things turn out.


The Tigers’ farm system, depending upon whom you ask, has improved and is now (mostly) ranked within the Top 10. What are our two bloggers thoughts about these rankings?


KURT

The Tigers have made it no secret that the farm system is improving and rising in the rankings. They have made it no secret that we have a formidable starting rotation in Double A.

But during a season like this year when the product on the field is so poor and when the prospects for improvement seem so far away, so many of these players in the minors better be really good in Detroit.

I agree that the starting rotation in Erie is very encouraging, but you can’t count on all of them to take their games to Detroit and star in the big leagues. It could happen and it would be a hell of a story, but it just doesn’t happen that way. We won’t know for awhile whether or not they are studs or pretenders. But I am willing to wait and see what happens.

It’s just that negativity reigns when you look at the current team and see so few pieces falling into place. You would like to say we have enough talent to fill most of them from the minors. Continued progress will tell us a lot in 2020, when we can better define the rebuild and judge the maturity of our young talent.


HOLLY

It’s a good thing to see the Tigers’ farm system rise in the rankings and have more potential talent in it compared with the days when much of it was being traded while the Tigers searched for that elusive ring.

But we can’t take these rankings (anywhere from #12 to #6) at face value because they don’t tell the whole story or take into consideration the development process.

Each system rating takes into account different factors and only emphasizes potential and not real world stats. Many of the evaluations are based upon potential talent, depth, impact players vs. elite ones, proximity to the majors and the balance between pitchers and position players.

One thing you will notice as you peruse the multiple standings is that the most successful teams with years of competiveness tend to sit towards the bottom because they have either traded or called up their top prospects while those teams near the top are most often associated with rebuilding or losing seasons. Therefore, you can’t equate the higher rank with guaranteed success once the player is called up.

Because the Tigers have now had several #1 picks and close to it, they receive the most points (100 bonus points for each) for these players which boosts their standing among other teams. This means that many of their points reside only with a handful of players and not – what is ideal – a lot of qualified impact players which we see in the Tigers having only 3 players in the Top 100.

It’s a huge jump from potential to reality which is what has me concerned considering that the Tigers, for years, have successfully developed very few quality players (JV, Castellanos, Granderson) and even those they have traded (outside of 1 or 2) haven’t been difference-makers for other teams.

My biggest worry resides with the developmental process within the minors because if the Tigers don’t address and overhaul their shortcomings there, these rankings really won’t matter much at all.


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

IS DAVE ALREADY DONE IN BOSTON?

By:  Kurt Snyder

Things are just a little bit different for Dave Dombrowski in Boston than they were in Detroit, aren’t they?

Last season, the Red Sox won a World Series after having won a team record 108 games during the regular season. After winning the Series, Dave was named Executive of the Year.

After getting that monkey off his back, you would think Dave would certainly have bought himself some time in Boston, working to win another title. Well, no, it’s just not the case. Less than a year later, Dombrowski is on the hot seat.

You see, the ownership in Boston is just a wee bit different. Gone are the days when Dombrowski could spend as much as he wanted without any disruption from his owner.

Yes, he has spent a ton in Beantown, and yes, he did build an ultra-expensive World Title team in his third year after 2 division titles. But increasingly, the reins have been put on DD – to the point where this year’s trade deadline came and went without Trader Dave making a move at all.

Did you read that correctly? A trade deadline without a Dombrowski move. By George, you must be kidding me!

Sure, the game has changed quite a bit, and so many more things are considered now, before teams make a move.  But geez, what a departure from the old days in the Motor City!

In Detroit, we used to throw Trade Deadline parties as we waited in anticipation to see what team Dave would fleece. People would call in sick or declare a Trade Deadline holiday. Fans gathered in bars, glued to the big screens, waiting and wondering when an announcement would be made about the Tigers next big get.

OK, I’m kidding. About all of it. But you get the point. Fans knew almost every year that something big was going to happen. Some new star was going to come to Detroit.

I was at the game years ago when the Tigers, all of a sudden, pulled Austin Jackson off the field. Out of nowhere, he left centerfield and hugged all his teammates in the dugout. Within minutes, the news came out. The Tigers had acquired David Price.

It was crazy. But very exciting.  Did the Tigers need David Price? Oh, hell no! They needed relievers. They had a shaky bullpen that would soon doom them if they didn’t do something.

But Dave must have felt that Scherzer, Verlander and Price would be a tough out for any team in 2014.   And they should have been.  But the problem is they needed bullpen help, and there was no one there during the 3 game sweep at the hands of the Orioles in the opening round of the playoffs.

When Dave went to Boston, he seemed determined not to let a poor bullpen beat him again, acquiring closer Craig Kimbrel, as one of his first orders of business. And, of course, he injected life into the starting rotation with the arrivals of Chris Sale and that’s right, David Price.

There was so much satisfaction on DD’s face when he finally had won another World Title last season. It surely seemed he would spend a long career heading the BoSox after delivering the ultimate prize.

But they entered the trade deadline this season with a struggling team, far behind in the standings behind the hated Yankees. What they needed was bullpen help. Once again. In the worst way.

But this was the message from their owner, heading towards the trade deadline:


“We’re already over budget and we were substantially over our budget last year and this year. We’re not going to be looking to add a lot of payroll.”


Uh oh! Dombrowski had been shut down.

How the times have changed for the game and for Dave. He was given 14 years to try to bring a title to Detroit. Fourteen years!

Mike Ilitch didn’t open his wallet for Dave, he gave it to him. And Ilitch didn’t shut him down until Dombrowski told him he had nothing else to trade from the farm.  After 14 years!

In Boston? A little different.

In an incredible turn of events after bringing another World Series title to the Sox, Dombrowski appears to be in trouble.

Has the game changed that much? Well, yes.

Has Dave changed that much? No, he hasn’t.

The Red Sox are just smart enough to know that Dave struggles to operate without holding the big man’s wallet.   And they are in the process of taking it from him.


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