By: Kurt Snyder
Well, that was quick. All season long, the road to the trade deadline was a milestone for which to prepare. And July especially was a countdown unto itself. So let’s talk about the month of in our own special way.
All thoughts while contemplating the month are captured here. Holdovers are topics we need to continue to follow and ponder, and are necessary in the compilation of 20 more monthly thoughts, of course, for your pleasure.
So today, I bring you … 20 July Thoughts! Let’s begin.
1. In a season of rebuilding, the month of July has brought one very historic highlight for the Tigers, the enshrinement of 2 Hall of Famers. Cheers to Tram and Jack!
2. How good do the Indians have it? They couldn’t have asked for an easier set of teams to dominate as the Central includes Cleveland and 4 teams rebuilding. Can you remember another year like this in any division? The biggest question I have is will the Tribe be battle-tested enough to turn it on when playoff time arrives?
3. The jury is in on Nick Castellanos. No team found enough value in him to consider trading anyone for a one-dimensional player. Who can honestly say they are surprised?
4. Castellanos made the MLB highlights with his performance on Canada Day (July 1st), against the Blue Jays. The highlights? A grand slam and a great catch … yep, a great catch that he horribly misplayed but recovered, after almost spinning himself into the ground. The defense of course is what will make the difference between a good trade or maybe no trade at all at the end of the month. (This was a holdover, sort of, and we all know now that there was no trade. And Nick has to wonder what his future holds as his career continues.)
5. One of the most impactful events of the month was the oblique injury to Michael Fulmer. It was disastrous for a team who lost their most valuable commodity and their only high-end trade piece. His injury made his tradability non-existent. The next opportunity will be the off-season for the Tigers. For me, it took much of the starch out of any substantial trade deadline returns.
6. Where was Miggy all month? Has he been with the team?
7. Consider the acquisition of Leonys Martin a success for Al Avila and the Tigers. It was a revival of sorts for Martin as he had a very solid season in Detroit. He showed pop at the top of the lineup, added speed and excellent defense in centerfield. The fact that they were able to get a top 8 Indians prospect was an example of what rebuilds are all about.
8. Matthew Boyd has had a challenging season, with on-again and off-again performances throughout the first 4 months of the season. But you can see the tools that he has and how he is a worthwhile investment for the future.
9. As the season continues, it becomes more and more challenging to listen to the Tiger TV and radio announcers as they try to put a positive spin on things that don’t really deserve it. We all know this is a challenging time watching a once-exciting ball club turn into a losing one looking to start over. Craig Monroe in particular is someone the Tigers should consider replacing for next year. I see no value in what he brings to the broadcast and frankly, I don’t know what the team sees in him.
10. So who is still worth the price of admission for this Tiger team? Far and away, it is Jose Iglesias. And I could not be more pleased that he survived the trade deadline. Until the day he leaves Detroit, I will never grow tired of the incredible talent he puts on display every day.
11. In July, the offensive woes continued, so we had to hang our hats on a handful of great defensive plays. JaCoby Jones robbed opposing hitters of home runs with nice leaps and grabs at the fence in the outfield and Iggy did his thing at short with athletic pizzazz that never gets old.
12. What is it about Buck Farmer? He has a big arm with a live fastball, but something is missing. And I think it is between the ears and in his gut. If there is anyone out there who feels he will have a role with the team in the coming years, I would love to hear from you. (I chose this one as a holdover from June. I wouldn’t mind hearing from any interested parties on Buck. It may be a sign of how underwhelming he is out of the pen.)
13. I have seen teams heading into a rebuild looking a lot less talented than this current Tiger team. Is it so outrageous to suggest that the team could improve on last year’s record? After all, they did lose 98 games. (This is a good carryover, let’s hold onto this one at least through April. Well it’s April now, so yep it’s still here. It stays through May as well, and June / July) – after the losing streak in June and a rocky July, the team is indeed heading for that 100-loss plateau.
14. JaCoby Jones took a couple of steps back offensively in June. But from my vantage point, we have to stay the course. He has never played this much in his career, and this is good for him to weather the storms and continue to play strong in the other aspects of his game until the bat perks up again, which he continues to do. (Holdover from June – Jones has a long way to go before he becomes a threat at the plate. He has the tools on the base paths to be a leadoff candidate in 2019, but he can’t be hitting under .230 in order to make that a reality.)
15. Here’s something no one expected. Victor Martinez perked up in July! Not sure how it happened, but even power returned to that listless old bat. Will wonders never cease?
16. The catching position and who plays it next season will be a fascinating topic to follow. James McCann seems to be leveling off as opposed to being a rising talent, so who will it be? Grayson Greiner certainly has an opportunity.
17. Niko Goodrum has done an admirable job at second base after it had become clear that Dixon Machado was no longer the heir apparent. Niko has shown his versatility all over the field and should return to that utility role next season.
18. Dixon Machado, in a year when he was to finally find his spot in the Tiger lineup and stay there, unfortunately may be realizing that he just doesn’t have a future as an everyday player. And if that’s the case, what does the future hold for him in Detroit. (I am holding this over just to point out that we were right about him. He gone!)
19. I find the need to remind people that Shane Greene’s value in a bullpen is not at closer, but his experience as the Tiger closer, both his successes and his failures, will make him a piece worth acquiring for a contending team heading down the stretch looking for another experienced, quality arm, able to get hitters out in the late innings. (Hold over from June. Was certainly wrong on this front and frankly, I am quite surprised the Tigers were unable to swing a deal involving Greene.)
20. To close things out, Alan Trammell appropriately acknowledged Lou Whitaker during his speech to the throngs of onlookers in Cooperstown last Sunday. Reminding everyone in attendance of their longest standing 19-year run as a double play combination was good to communicate to fans out there who maybe were not aware of the role that Lou Whitaker played in Trammell’s enshrinement.
Also in the category of things people may not have known, was that in 1976, the Tigers drafted shortstops, Alan Trammell AND Ozzie Smith! Both Hall of Famers, but only one played in Detroit.
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 response length. All rules are at: https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.