TWICE AS NICE

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

As the Tigers have settled into a downturn and subsequent rebuild, fans can surely share in the agony after watching the window close on 10 years of failed opportunities and rosters full of great talent.

So about that rebuild and what the Tigers have done so far in Las Vegas … How do you think it’s going? The Tigers have made some moves and our writers have first dibs on evaluating what has taken place so far at the Winter Meetings.

As always, Holly and Kurt have not shared their responses to the topic below in the interest of offering a wide range of perspectives. So what will readers get today as Totally Tigers  addresses a question about the moves the Tigers have made so far?


The Winter Meetings are almost over. Were you happy with what the Tigers accomplished – or couldn’t?


HOLLY

I did not expect the Tigers to do as much as they did – and as soon as they did. I thought the presumed bargain-bin shopping would happen in January as more players were signed, making others more amenable to making a deal.

The Jordy Mercer signing was a surprise simply for the amount of money spent which may mean that the Tigers were so intent on getting a SS because they didn’t realistically see anyone in the farm system coming up at all this year.

I also didn’t expect Al Avila to trade Nicholas Castellanos – yet. He’s not going to be a top choice for teams and much more likely to be traded as the Hot Stove season winds down, the top players are moved and GMs who haven’t checked off their entire shopping list are now a little more desperate to fill their needs.

The most telling events of the Winter Meetings didn’t involve players. In an interview, Al Avila said the team’s top 2 goals were to collect prospects and to cut payroll, which means he’ll be pushed by ownership to trade more players like Castellanos, Greene and Hardy – the remaining highest paid players.

But most disturbing is that I’ve seen or heard more reports about how busy Jim Leyland has been than I have Avila. Broadcasters laughing about how often they see him, describing how he’s running from meeting to meeting and the report that he was instrumental in the selection of Mercer, overruling Ron Gardenhire’s preference.

In this case, the visible moves may be taking a backseat to what is happening behind the scenes.


KURT

I am befuddled by the moves that have been made, and it has nothing to do with the names or the faces or the spots they have filled, but how they arrived at the decisions.

Since we cannot trust the decision makers, it is hard to draw conclusions, to support or to argue. I understand the overall goal behind the transactions; the one-year low-dollar signings, the stopgaps, the place holders brought aboard to hold down the fort until the young guys arrive next season.

But to comment on Jordy Mercer, endorsed by Jim Leyland but not his manager; that’s just typical Tigers right now. Did they consider Troy Tulowitzki or did they enquire only to receive no returned interest?

The signings of the 2 veteran pitchers who will compete for starting spots seem fine but how thorough were the Tigers in their search and consideration? We have to question them. We can’t trust them, so any move they make will immediately be met with skepticism, at least on my end of the blog.

You may ask what it will take for us to trust what is a flawed leadership team. Well, maybe something even the slightest bit innovative instead of just ordering off a menu and settling for the soup of the day.

Have they at all considered under-the-radar major league talent out there, who may blossom in a new environment; not for future trades but to potentially be a part of the future?


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TWICE AS NICE

By:  Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning

As the Tigers have settled into a downturn and subsequent rebuild, fans can surely share in the agony after watching the window close on 10 years of failed opportunities and rosters full of great talent.

But what if you could go back and make a change or 2? What would you have done differently?

As always, Holly and Kurt have not shared their responses to the topic below in the interests of offering a wide range of perspectives. So what will readers get today as Totally Tigers addresses a question about past Tiger decisions?


Let’s play Back to the Future! If you could go back in time and change one thing about one year – that would impact the course of history for the Tigers – what would it be?


KURT

It was all lined up for the Tigers. After a gem of a pitching performance by Anibal Sanchez and a 1-0 victory to kick off the 2013 American League Championship against the Red Sox, the Tiger were cruising again in Game 2. They took a 5-1 lead into the 8th inning after Max Scherzer had stymied the Sox over 7 innings that included 13 strikeouts.

All the talk as the Tigers headed towards the late innings was how impossible things would become for the Red Sox should they go down 2-0 heading back to Detroit, where Boston would face Justin Verlander.

With 2 outs in the 8th inning of Game 2, Boston loaded the bases with 2 outs with David Ortiz coming to the plate; and a  decision was looming. In his career to that point, Ortiz had gone 2 for 18 versus Phil Coke, who was warming in the pen along with Joaquin Benoit. But Leyland chose Benoit and the rest was indeed history.

The Ortiz grand slam still turns the stomachs of Tiger fans to this day, and what is remembered most as time has faded, was how close Torii Hunter came to catching that ball. But what should be remembered most is the decision to bring in Benoit instead of a more favorable matchup versus Ortiz.

We don’t know if the results would have been different, but a win in Game 2 more than likely would have propelled the Tigers to a World Series they would have been favored to win. And one decision by Jim Leyland, one he normally would make based on matchups, could have changed the course of baseball history in Detroit – World Championship history.


HOLLY

The dials in my DeLorean are toggling back and forth between October of 2008 and September of 2013 with only 1 thing in common. The need for the Tigers to change managers while the window for winning it all was still open and the talent was at such a high level.

As I’ve often written, Jim Leyland was the best choice to manage back in 2006 because the clubhouse was an uncontrollable mess but when your team has evolved, you need a different voice to take you all the way there.

JL told Dave Dombrowski in early September 2013 that he was retiring and the Tigers had the chance to go after Leyland’s close friend, Ron Gardenhire, whose contract was expiring with the full expectation he would be cut loose from the Twins. Granted, Gardy may not have been the best choice, but he had playoff experience while never having the talent that the Tigers contained – and his contract was not renewed by the Twins until after the season had ended.

Leyland, after the surprise year in 2006 was allowed to coast for the next 2 – coming in 2nd place in 2007 and dead last in 2008. He would end up having a 4-year drought in-between playoffs which is inexcusable given the remarkable level of talent contained within this team that included Miggy, Max, JV and so many others.

After hitting the instrument panel in the DeLorean, it finally settled on October 2008 because that was the year some of the best managerial talent was available. Many new skippers were hired by other teams, including AJ Hinch, Clint Hurdle, John Gibbons, Dusty Baker and Joe Girardi.

Hiring one of these guys would have gotten the Tigers into the playoffs more consistently and the changes made to history would most probably have prevented the team’s knee-jerk reaction from moving from one of baseball’s oldest managers (in age and strategy) to hiring one with zero experience.


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TWICE AS NICE

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

After a long drought in Detroit, it took a trip to Boston for Dave Dombrowski to win another championship. And our writers would like to put in their 2 cents.

As always, Holly and Kurt have not shared their responses to the topic below in the interests of offering a wide range of perspective. So what will readers get today as Totally Tigers addresses a question about the former Tiger GM?


Dave Dombrowski just won his second Executive of the Year Award with the Red Sox to join the one he received with the Marlins. What are our two bloggers’ thoughts?


HOLLY

Sometimes it is much easier to work with an organization that gives you an unlimited budget with which to work as is the case with Dave and his tenure with the Marlins, Tigers and now Red Sox. And it’s also an advantage to come into an organization with a fully loaded farm system and a roster of emerging stars as he did in Boston.

But Dombrowski is indisputably talented as evidenced by this second award and recognition as only 1 of 4 GMs to win in both leagues – joining Gillick, Schuerholz and Epstein. Unlike his tenure in Detroit, he was described as being highly adaptive to the changes in the game and for the ability to analyze Front Office talent and maximize their ability to produce.

Which now begs the question as to why he did not win this award with Detroit. Was it due to his bad decisions involving the bullpen, lack of analytics and hiring of a rookie manager? Or were his ideas and goals thwarted by Mr. I and other employees? Did Dave take his experience with the Tigers and hard-learned lessons to Boston where he changed his approach and strategies dramatically?

The only thing we do know is that Dave took absolutely zero Tigers employees with him when he got the job in Boston, keeping the entire Boston Front Office intact.
Lots of factors are probably involved but it never looks good when your GM leaves and earns everything your previous employer wanted but never got including that infamous ring and industry-wide accolades.


KURT

Fourteen years come to mind when contemplating Dombrowski’s successful capture of a World Championship in Boston. They represent the time he spent in Detroit trying so desperately to attain what he achieved in just a few years with the Red Sox.

The list of similarities is short. In Detroit, the money to build was limitless under the guidance of ownership, just as it is in Boston. The star power in both cities rivaled each other, even with some of the same players playing for both franchises.

But there is one big difference – Mike Ilitch was involved when he shouldn’t have been and wasn’t when he needed to be. At times you wondered who was responsible when the Tigers made outlandish deals for talent that maybe DD wouldn’t have made on his own.

In Boston, ownership pulled back the reins on Dombrowski when the talent in the farm began to thin due to deals for veterans. In Detroit, he never had a leash and Ilitch never stepped in until the very end when DD revealed he was all out of bargaining chips – i.e. farm system talent and depth.

In the end, there is no doubting Dave’s skills as one of the game’s best general managers and he deserves everything he gets for delivering that prize to Boston, but the Red Sox ownership and deep farm talent helped him navigate the ship, keeping him from veering off course.


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TWICE AS NICE

By:  Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning

Our writers address another topic today. And it is in reference to our team and their concerns. Obviously, given all the issues, who knows where this topic will go?

As always, our writers have not shared their responses to the topic below in the interests of offering a wide range of perspectives. So what will readers get today as Kurt and Holly address a question about the 2019 roster?


What is the biggest single issue the Tigers must resolve that involves their roster for 2019?


KURT

Fundamentally, I would like to see the team do a better job of putting the ball in play, striking out less and playing better defensively.

Again, I will not gauge the success of the team based on wins and losses, but the team needs to evolve fundamentally, a staple within a Ron Gardenhire regime.

Given Gardy’s suggestion about building the roster for the ballpark, the Tigers need to experiment with different combinations of outfielders. They could be players we have already seen but I am doubting they are who will earn the jobs when the team begins to improve.

Hopefully, they are understanding, just through the constant reminder of playoff baseball, that defense is critical to success. And those corner outfielders of theirs, assuming they stay with Stewart and Castellanos for 2019, cannot be the end all, be all for a team that is rebuilding.  To me, they are placeholders, not answers for permanent spots in the lineup.

Initially, I intentionally skirted past the offensive issues with this team, mainly because this question revolves around roster changes. Players are going to have to fight through the deficiencies of their hitting coach in order to improve in the areas I have mentioned. Can that be done or must Ron Gardenhire make an addition to his staff to help hitters to go to the plate with a plan?


HOLLY

The Tigers must trade Nicholas Castellanos for multiple reasons but the ability to do so may hinge upon Miguel Cabrera (and his bat) coming back strong and healthy.

Nick is entering his final year before he becomes a free agent and has a zero chance of staying with the Tigers.

With every day that goes by, his already-diminished value decreases. But without a trade, the Tigers will not tender him the $18.1+ million qualifying offer so he will be allowed to walk with the team receiving absolutely no compensation whatsoever.

With the likely addition of Christin Stewart in the outfield, the Tigers will be regressing defensively and returning to their outdated past of all-bat, no glove – instead of moving forward.  And as we’ve increasingly seen in the playoffs and World Series, you don’t have a hope if you can’t play solid defense. Keeping the two players together will tell me that the Tigers aren’t rebuilding with any real conviction.

The young starting pitchers expected to take over this year will become the sacrificial lambs as a result, knowing that batters will be trying to run up the score by hitting to LF and RF. Not exactly the mindset or experience you want your youth to have. Any rookie pitcher needs to establish mental fortitude, strategy and routine, which will be hard to do –  not to mention setting them back –  when you know you can’t really experiment with your pitches because you can’t depend upon your corner outfielders.


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TWO FOR TUESDAY

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

Ahh, the Hot Stove League! It’s what keeps the home fires burning in the hearts of baseball fans while they wait out the winter and pray for an early spring.

But how hot will the stove actually be in Detroit this off-season? What is going to keep us excited or at least interested?

As always, our writers have not shared their responses to the topic below in the interests of offering a range of perspectives. So what will readers get today as Holly and Kurt address a question about the Hot Stove League?


Is there any reason for our 2 bloggers to be excited or interested in the moves made by the Tigers during the Hot Stove season?


HOLLY

For the first time in many years, I will be yawning at whatever moves the Tigers make because 2019 is a year in which the intent is to tread water until some farm talent develops. The Tigers just signed 15 former MLB players to fill their farm system and add depth with only 2 of those players having played for major league teams last year.

Other than a continued attempt to trade Nicholas Castellanos- which will only garner a secondary prospect in return – any new players will be stop-gaps signed for a single year.

What I will find much more interesting is watching the seismic shifts going on all over MLB that involve the increased youth movement within Front Offices, the battle over long-term expensive contracts and the increased competitiveness between top teams. This is one of the biggest times for change in baseball and we need to pay attention to what is happening.

Will Manny Machado and Bryce Harper successfully battle the emerging trend of shorter and less-expensive contracts? Will Theo Epstein once again pull a genius move to get his club back on track? Joe Maddon is in his last contract year and the team has stated they have no intent to offer a contract extension this year.

Will the Giants’ analysis of their organization finally influence the Tigers to change their ways? They stole Farhan Zaidi from the arch-rival Dodgers because they said, in an infamous quote, that they looked around the Front Office and only saw “a bunch of middle-aged white men who held old-fashioned ideas about how to build a team and had no diversity of opinion.”

It will be a very interesting off-season – just not for the Tigers.


KURT

The Hot Stove League in itself has always been very interesting until last year when players almost had to beg teams to sign them, but this year most of the intrigue will surround Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

They will command top dollar and we will find out if teams will stick to their guns and spend more rationally or will there be a team or 2 still dumb enough to offer $300-400m for one player.

From the Tiger camp, the Hot Stove League doesn’t stand to be even remotely warm, so the word ‘excitement’ will not come from my lips. Mostly it’s because of the lack of trust in our ownership and management team.

The days of putting together a package of talent and striking a deal that the Tigers actually win, are long gone, or they at least have taken an extended hiatus. Expect more of what we saw during last season’s HSL – more dumping salary, more signing of free agents to 1-year deals and preparing them for trades.

Gone are the days of cutting-edge deals and extravagant signings during the HSL for the Tigers. If nothing else, they were exciting and got you charged up for the coming season. We lived it for a long time and we knew exactly what the Tiger organization was doing – trying to win now.

The biggest difference now is that we don’t really know what they are doing. What will be interesting is trying to decipher if they know, or not.


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TWICE AS NICE

By:  Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning

Our writers address another topic today. And it is in reference to their most tradeable and talented player. Of course, his future with the team is in question and our question will address a popular topic.

As always, our writers have not shared their responses to the topic below in the interests of offering a wide range of perspectives. So what will readers get today as Kurt and Holly address a question about Nicholas Castellanos?


The Tigers have confirmed that they will not be moving Nick Castellanos to first base and will keep him in RF. Did they make the right decision?


KURT

It’s my impression, and it is shared by many, that Nick Castellanos will not survive this rebuild in Detroit. At most, 2019 will be his last season with the Tigers. So how does the team preserve his value or perhaps increase it?

Well, it does not include spending any time playing first base. On one hand, many would think the Tigers could increase his value by making him become more versatile defensively. But we are talking about a player whose defensive abilities are his biggest challenge, and having him spend any time at a new position at this juncture won’t be good for anyone.

He has improved as an outfielder since he first trotted out there, but his defensive ceiling is not high. In fact, he is just about ready to bump his head. And that translates to a slightly less than average outfielder.

Moving him around from position to position has only showed the Tigers and the league in general his continued deficiencies and his overall weakness. The best thing for him and the team is for him to become the best right fielder he can be and continue to rise among the ranks of the best hitters in the game.


HOLLY

Whether the decision is right or wrong depends upon whether the Tigers are finally going to be successful in trading Nick.

Unfortunately, when they drafted him, there was never a clear-cut strategy about how to use Nick. He started as a SS, moved to 3B, then LF when Fielder was signed, moved back to 3B and finally ended up in RF. He probably would never have developed into a strong defender, but the constant position shuffling did a certain amount of damage to his defensive development.

So now the Tigers have a choice of either trying to shore up their outfield especially if Christin Stewart is going to man LF or enhance their chances of trading Nick for some badly needed prospects. Talk about your “Sophie’s choice.”

The other fly in the ointment is the need to appease their most expensive player, Miguel Cabrera, who has stated that he dislikes the DH role and wants to play a position on a regular basis.

Moving Nick to 1B is a risky strategy considering that the learning curve will be increased. But then, the Tigers have no one who can take over in RF and would have to shop for a stop-gap player. And should he flounder at 1B, his trade value will increasingly drop.


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TWICE AS NICE

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

Well, the off-season is officially here. The Fall Classic is behind us, we have a champion and now our writers return to analyzing the state of the Tigers and one performance in particular. And it’s fair to start right at the top.

As always, our writers have not shared their responses to the topic below in the interests of offering a wide range of perspectives. So what will readers get today as Holly and Kurt address a question about the owner of our baseball team?


It’s been almost 2 years since his father passed. What are our bloggers’ impressions of Chris Ilitch so far? Is he a quiet force, an enigma, savvy businessman and/or a disinterested owner?


HOLLY

Chris is all of the above – a man very much unlike his father because he is known to dislike the public spotlight and only works with scripted statements. But he’s also a solid businessman so everyone needs to understand that the Tigers are primarily a business to him and not part of a personal passion being played out.

When his father was ailing back in 2013, he took over the reins and forced Dave Dombrowski to trade Doug Fister in order to free up enough payroll to sign Joe Nathan, despite the need for a real closer after the disastrous 2013 playoffs. That is indicative of a man who is focused on the bottom line instead of giving Tiger fans a winner.

Unlike his father, Chris has an MBA and is focused on the financials, cutting over $100 million from the payroll in less than 2 full years and working to reduce operating expenses. We’ve yet to hear him speak about the future of the team other than the cookie-cutter phrases that offer no details and are more akin to PR statements.

However, we’ve heard him speak multiple times about “improvements” that will be made to Comerica to enhance the fans’ visit and get them to part with more bucks. And then there’s the “new” sports media company he’s exploring that was reported right here 2 years ago – just another example of the focus on improving the bottom line instead of the actual team.

Which is why I believe his primary goal is on righting the books and putting business ideas in place in order to enhance the value of the team for a future sale. He’s got too many other priorities as he runs Ilitch Holdings – priorities that will generate higher profits than what the Tigers currently offer.


KURT

I don’t trust Chris Ilitch. But, on the other hand, when I try to decide which of these traits most embody the Tiger owner, I believe he is all of them, except disinterested.

Maybe that’s not what you expected from me; I do feel he is interested, just not focused on the things I think he ought to be focused on as a new owner, because that is really what he is.

As the new owner of the Tigers, you would expect more detail on what the plan is for the team under his watch, but his answers, as few as there have been, lack substance, which for me removes the trust and makes you questions his motives.

If the plan is to prepare the team for a sale, then I am all for it and would support his plan whole-heartedly. But the Tigers have denied that any of that kind of conversation is taking place, which makes you wonder where all of this is headed and where Chris is focusing his efforts.

So far, he just looks to be someone looking to make a buck. Mike Ilitch didn’t care if he was making money at all with the Tigers. He only cared about winning, which was both a strength and a fault all at the same time, because many of the moves he made to sign players came with a lot of risk, was very short-term and win-now driven, all of which has led us to this day.

But Mike is gone and Chris is now in charge, and winning seems further down the list for Chris than it was for Mike, maybe not on the list at all.


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TWO FOR TUESDAY

By:  Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning

Well, we made it! The Fall Classic is upon us. And for Tiger fans, we are still quite familiar with plenty of these players still at work.

So let’s talk about the Series. Our writers certainly have an observation or 2 when it comes to these teams and the players who will be on display.

As always, our writers have not shared their responses to the topic below in the interests of offering a range of perspective. So what will readers get today as  Kurt and Holly address a question about the clash between LA and Beantown.


It’s the Dodgers vs the Red Sox in the World Series. What are our two bloggers’ thoughts about these teams?


KURT

There are a few times during the year when you are reminded of what is flawed about the game, with one very big one leading the charge.

The World Series, when Major League Baseball crowns a champion, continues to institute a rule that handicaps the American League team. Every year, AL teams must adjust to a different game as the visiting team, while the National League never does.

So here is Dave Dombrowski, who must now consider putting Mookie Betts at second base in order to keep the big bat of JD Martinez in the lineup. In doing so, he must take 2 risks defensively, one at second base and, of course, in rightfield.

The last thing the Red Sox want to do is compromise what is a very good defensive team, and for them to have to do it in the World Series, is (let’s just call it what it is) blatantly unfair. No sacrifices will have to be made when the Dodgers visit Fenway; they need only add a hitter.

When it comes to this series, I will switch my allegiance to the Red Sox as I can’t find it in my soul to root for a Dodger team which now showcases Manny Machado, who unfortunately, despite his tremendous talent, must taint it all by playing dirty and embarrassing himself.

Playing a little on the edge and taking some liberties in the interests of aggressiveness and trying to gain an advantage is one thing; but doing it with the intent to injure, coupled with vulgarities directed at the fans, have no place in any sport.

Hopefully, we don’t have to see any of that in the Series; I would rather see Manny display his talents, not his distasteful personality.


HOLLY

I’m disappointed that it’s 2 of the richest big-market teams because I always like to root for the underdog who cultivates the ability to do more with less.

The Red Sox have MLB’s highest payroll ($228+ mill) which has been significantly jacked up each year since Dave Dombrowski took over. The Dodgers have the third highest but they have cut over $100 million dollars just in the past couple of years to end up under the $200 mill mark.

This is best exemplified by the still relatively old-school GM who freely spends and moderately dabbles in analytics while his counterpart is the trail-blazer in the industry who continues to put a highly competitive team in the World Series while cutting $100 mill from the books and making much smarter choices.

The Red Sox have to address the DH dilemma in a NL Park given that they need JD’s bat but don’t want his glove and it will be interesting to see if Dombrowski has belatedly learned some lessons about how to win a World Series at the expense of his time with the Tigers.

Personally, I dislike both teams but do admire Dodgers’ GM, Farhan Zaidi. I will root for individuals instead – all being former Tigers with the exception of all-around exemplary role model, Clayton Kershaw.

But what will be most interesting is how well the losing team recovers in their bid for next year. The Dodgers, other than Kershaw’s contract (which goes for only 2 more years), have very manageable contracts. The Red Sox don’t and at some point, Dave Dombrowski, should he avoid the revolving door of Red Sox GMs, will have to deal with what he escaped in Detroit – ageing players with limited tools and contracts that make it very challenging to trade them.


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TWO FOR TUESDAY

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

Welcome to Week 3 of the 2018 Post Season! And for Tiger fans, well, we are quite familiar with plenty of these players still at work in the playoffs.

Now that we are down to the Final Four, 2 teams have emerged as the battle of the heavyweights in the AL. The team with the best record versus the defending World Champs.

As always, our writers have not shared their responses to the topic below in the interests of offering a range of perspective. So what will readers get today as Holly and Kurt address a question about the Astros and Red Sox.


What are our two bloggers’ thoughts and feelings about the Astros – Red Sox playoffs?


HOLLY

I’ve already let it be known how bittersweet it is seeing so many ex-Tigers not only getting into the playoffs, but being catalysts for their teams’ success. I am thrilled for each one but also can’t help having feelings of extreme disappointment coupled with a dash of anger over how they were all together in Detroit and couldn’t get it done.

And it further rubs salt into the wounds to also know that the Tigers are paying the salaries of 4 ex-players, including JV, to perform in October for other teams.

But if I had to pick a side, it would be rooting for the Astros. Not just for JV, who deserves every accolade, but because Houston plays the game the way it should be. They are solid in every category, play hard and show such a great love of the game.

As for Boston, I wish Kinsler, Price, Porcello and JD well – but I don’t want them to win. Part of it goes back to the gut-wrenching playoffs with them in 2013 symbolized by the vision of the Boston police officer celebrating instead of rushing to Torii Hunter’s aid.

But it would also be too painful to see so many Tigers get it done for another team when they were unable to do it in Detroit. And there is a big part of me that doesn’t want to see Dave Dombrowski get that ring because it would really open a Pandora’s box of concerns about why one of baseball’s best rosters and pitching rotations for nearly a decade couldn’t get it done in Motown.


KURT

Was I alone in wondering why, prior to the start of the playoffs, the Astros were being mysteriously forgotten and rarely mentioned?

Not surprisingly, baseball’s rivalry took center stage instead. The 108-win Red Sox vs. the 100-win Yanks, the series many wanted the most, overshadowed the whooping that Houston put on the Indians.

The Astros are the best team in baseball; only getting better this season by upgrading at starting pitcher, catcher and at closer. But even with all of that, they got no love and I would guess they have enjoyed being in an odd  position – out of the spotlight as defending World Champs.

I don’t think anyone beats the Astros this season, and conquering the Red Sox along the way would make it even sweeter. The last thing I want is for Dave Dombrowski to spend 14 years in Detroit without winning a title, and then go on and win one somewhere else.

I feel like it would be sweet justice if Dombrowski led a team to the most wins in all of baseball, but still didn’t have the best team or win a title; this reflects a lot of jealousy, but it would be the least of a plethora of emotions we all suffered through over the last several years of failing to win.

Meanwhile, the Astros, led again by Justin Verlander, have now conveniently emerged as everyone’s favorites to repeat, which is just fine with me.


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TWO FOR TUESDAY

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

Welcome to Week 2 of the 2018 Post Season! And for Tiger fans, well, we are quite familiar with plenty of these players still at work in the playoffs.

And this quite quickly brings us to this week’s Tuesday topic.

As always, our writers have not shared their responses to the topic below in the interests of offering a range of perspective. So what will readers get today as Holly and Kurt address a question about former Tigers?


There are 21 former Tigers in the playoffs this year. What are our two bloggers’ thoughts about seeing these guys who used to wear the Olde English D?


HOLLY

I am thrilled for Justin Verlander, JD Martinez, Ian Kinsler, Anibal Sanchez and the others who are still in the mix this October and deserve all this good fortune. However, forgive me if I also feel a whole heapin’ helping of frustration and anger about all the lost opportunities when they were in Detroit.

In 2014, the Tigers ALDS starting rotation consisted of 3 Cy Young Award (and 1 future) winners – Scherzer, Verlander, Price and Porcello – and yet they got swept by Baltimore. How does something like this happen, especially when it is known that great pitching almost always beats great hitting?

And now that all these stars have left Detroit, they are universally recognized as instrumental players who got their teams to the playoffs and have helped them survive these October games. JV went 16-9 (2.52 ERA), Porcello 17-7 and even Anibal finished above .500. JD’s offensive stats were last achieved by Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx on his newest team – and most recently in all of MLB by Miguel Cabrera.

Even those in the national media joke about the “ex-Tiger effect” that is proving formidable for the new teams. And if that’s not enough, it is painful to know that the Tigers are paying most or all of the salaries of Verlander, Sanchez, Fiers and Martin while other teams are reaping the benefits.

For the Tigers to have such a tremendous amount of talent for over a decade and to achieve exactly 1 game win in the World Series is painful, totally inexcusable and requires an in-depth soul-searching mission and accountability review by the organization. #neverforget


KURT

What stands out the most is how many of the former Tigers have significant roles. They are still, or have become, difference makers for their individual clubs.

JV, of course, is a home-grown Tiger success story, and still sits near the top of the league as one of the game’s best. JD represents a find by the Tigers, from the Astros of all teams, as someone who had been on the scrap heap, but who the Tigers had kept their eyes on a player they felt  had much more to give.. He now sits near the top of the game as one of the most feared power hitters.

And even Anibal Sanchez, who many can admit, seemed only destined for retirement after he left Detroit, had a comeback season in Atlanta and has already started a game in the playoffs; simply amazing in itself.

In Milwaukee, Cory Knebel and Joakim Soria, Tigers who were traded for each other, now play key roles on a Brewer team with a great shot at going to the Series.

All of these and others stand near the top of the heap when we consider all whom the Tigers have let go and are still very much alive and well. They represent what could have been; they represent missed opportunities. So many great players wore the D, and they have all left the city without a single ring; something that is still hard to explain.


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