NICK NEEDS TO BECOME A STAR

The Tigers closed out a series on the 4th of July at Wrigley on Wednesday. As has been the norm of late, the team struggled to score runs. After another Castellanos homer, Rod Allen said doesn’t want to be good, he wants to be great. Given that, I had to repost the blog below. Enjoy it again as you continue your holiday. Happy 4th!

Totally Tigers

By:  Kurt Snyder

Nicholas Castellanos is a major league outfielder who is a talented hitter and emerging leader with the Tigers.

But the problem is – I am done. That’s it.  That’s all I have for you, folks!

Castellanos will head into a trade deadline next month with no emerging contract offer on the table. He will be one of a few Tigers expected to be on the trading block.

Why?  Well, we all know why. He can’t play the outfield a lick. And it is hurting his stock in a big way. He was an emerging hitter as a third baseman for a few years, but he couldn’t play there either, so the Tigers have an issue.

They have a talented one-tool player they would like to deal, mainly because, well, he’s a one-tool player. There will be no big money, long-term deal for a player who can only…

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JUST-IN TIME

As we celebrate this great country on the Fourth of July, here’s an earlier blog that is still relevant today. And as the year moves forward, and we head into July, there is an increasing fan voice about bringing up some of these youngsters. Is it time to see what we’ve got? It is time to sit some of the older players or those who are just here for the year? Should this be a true rebuild or should we gradually slide into it? All good questions that will hopefully be answered shortly.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

Totally Tigers

By:  Holly Horning

While everyone was focused on the MLB draft this week, all of the discussion centered around Casey Mize and secondarily, all of the other players the Tigers drafted. But almost no one discussed what the selection of Mize may, or may not do, for the Tigers’ rebuilding timeline.

Until now.

First of all, let’s understand the significance of Casey’s talents beyond his selection as the #1 draft.

He is unique in that he has 4 pitches, not the typical 1-2, that are considered to be dominating. He’s got speed and amazing control. A huge strikeout-to-walk ratio that would make Max Scherzer envious. But scouts go further and describe him as a creative pitcher who understands how to mix and match pitches really well.

Add in his mental skills and he’s considered to be at the top, too. His work ethic is considered to be flawless, he is…

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READERS WEIGH IN

Holidays always mean more opportunities for our readers to get their hands dirty and dig into more topics. We can’t wait to hear your answers to the following question.

Enjoy the 4th!


If you could make only one change to this team, what would it be?


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/.

THEY AIN’T PERFECT, FOLKS!

To celebrate Father’s Day, I dedicate this previous blog to my dad, who appreciated great baseball talent. JV and Miggy were among those players. Happy Father’s Day Dad!

Totally Tigers

By:  Kurt Snyder

We have had 2 baseball players in this city who, together for so many years, changed the landscape of the game in Detroit. And one day, we may see them both representing the Old English D in Cooperstown.

Being too quick to judge Justin Verlander has burned people before, and let’s be careful not to do the same thing with Miguel Cabrera.

It’s really easy to get caught up in the off-the-field battles and mistakes players make during their careers. Some players, like Derek Jeter, like Al Kaline, can go through their entire careers without seemingly doing anything to raise the eyebrows of fans or the press who are waiting for any kind of slip up. But many players don’t.

Justin Verlander had so many great years with the Tigers; so many mind-numbing performances, that they will stay imbedded in our brains forever. But during those years…

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WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU (AND DON’T)

As we celebrate this Father’s Day, let’s return to a blog written 6 weeks ago. How many names on each of the lists should remain? How many should leave? And are there now names that we should be adding?

Happy Father’s Day!

Totally Tigers

(with apologies to The Romantics)

By:  Holly Horning

What can we say about this new Tigers team so far this year? Certainly not as much as we’d like. Afterall, those infamous 40 games haven’t been played yet.

Players who are hot, may cool off. And some may not have found their groove yet. And Ron Gardenhire, like all experienced managers, is still exploring how to maximize his team’s ability.

But in the meantime, as we watch the games, we’ve come to have expectations about certain players and how the team performs. There are those we can’t wait to watch and also others who make us cautiously peer out from behind a pillow when they step up to the plate, walk to the mound or wait to catch a hard-hit ball.

Call this the “first impressions” era of the season. A time of the year where we have a decent idea…

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CASTELLANOS & THE NEW GUARD SHINE

At some point, if you want to stay in the game, you need to recognize the brains behind the technological end of the business.  Just in case you were wondering who keeps us up and running, well, it’s Alex Hosmar.  And he can write, too!

So we have given Alex the opportunity to take the spotlight for a bit and give us a rundown of the Tiger game from Sunday afternoon.  Alex attended the game and has provided one heck of an analysis from a detailed game account to some tidbits from the crowd.   Take it from here Alex!


By:  Alex Hosmar

Typically, my role with Totally Tigers has been under the hood, making sure the site is operational and aesthetically pleasing, so that each day, you are able to immerse yourself with some of the best opinions and commentary there are about the Tigers.

But on Sunday, with the added privilege of viewing the game live from the stands, I had the honor of writing this post, recounting the 3-2 victory at Comerica Park. Because let’s face it, writing every day is a tall task, and Holly and Kurt could use a day off!


So, what about the game?

Well, this was a fast game with few stoppages, as the Tigers’ pitching staff ruled the day. After getting to the ballpark and reading the scouting report, it dawned on me that long reliever, Blaine Hardy, would get another start to allow Jordan Zimmermann to rest his shoulder. Like most spot starts, you just hope he can keep the team in the game.

Instead, Hardy gave the Tigers 7 strong innings, giving up 3 hits, issuing only one walk, striking out 6, and retiring the last 14 batters he faced. The hardest decision Ron Gardenhire had to make was whether or not to put Hardy out there for the 8th. Other than one mistake with his fastball to Yolmer Sanchez, who plated a run on a 3rd inning triple to tie the game, Chicago’s offense could not solve Hardy’s arsenal.

Joe Jimenez came on in relief to strike out the side in the 8th inning, which set up Shane Greene for the save opportunity. In what looked like a sure-fire save, with 2 strikes and 2 outs and the crowd on their feet, Jose Rondon roped a home run into the Tiger bullpen to make it 3-2. But despite this setback and walking the next batter, Greene settled down to record the final out, clinching not just the game, but a series win over the White Sox.

As for the offense, the Tigers did just enough to win the game, but unforced errors on both sides made the score closer than it needed to be. Grayson Greiner opened the scoring with an RBI double in the 4th inning, which marked the most consecutive games a Tiger has hit a double since 1934!

With runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out after Greiner’s double, the Tigers had an opportunity to open up the game early against James Shields. But just as the crowd was getting into the game, John Hicks was picked off at 3rd (yes, 3rd base) for the 2nd out of the inning, taking the sacrifice fly out of the equation.

And, as luck would have it, a few pitches later, Jose Iglesias flew out to deep right-center to end the inning. What should have been 2-0 Tigers was only 1-0.

In the next half inning, after Chicago had tied the game, another run appeared to score on a dropped 3rd strike past Greiner. But after a video review between innings, MLB announced as the Tigers were coming to bat that due to batter interference, Jose Rondon was called out, and the run was wiped off the board—a huge break for the Tigers.

After looking at the replay, the tip of Rondon’s bat clipped Greiner’s helmet, something even the umpires didn’t catch in real time.

But the hero of the day was Nicholas Castellanos, who plated the 3rd Tiger run in the 5th inning to give them a 3-1 lead, which after the home run given up by Greene in the 9th, proved to be the game-winner.

Not only did he win the game, but he did so on his bobble head afternoon with family and friends in the stands! Sunday’s game was a sound effort, both offensively and defensively. The pitching staff threw strikes and timely hitting proved to be the recipe for victory on this incredibly hot Detroit afternoon.


How about off the field?

While the crowd may have looked sparse, any shaded area, whether it be the updated Pepsi Porch, Kaline’s Corner (definitely recommend), luxurious club seating, or even stands underneath the upper deck overhang were packed with passionate fans who were engaged and excited to see the Tigers.

Speaking to fans at the game and overhearing conversations around me, there is still talk of the past, but also a greater sense of optimism for more impressive performances by the new guard of Tigers, particularly Blaine Hardy, who could make the case for a starting rotation spot with performances like these.

Interestingly enough, Miggy’s lengthy stint on the DL did not even come up until I brought it up.  But the couple I spoke to seemed more fixated on Joe Jimenez as he struck out the side.

Let’s face it, it’s tough to roam the grounds of Comerica Park without thinking about the past. The statues of Tiger greats in center field are a popular photo-op for spectators. But my favorite trip down memory lane was experiencing the interactive exhibits in the lower concourse, recounting the World Series victories, filled with newspaper headlines, informational graphics, and priceless images that define Tiger history (cue vintage Gibby in 1984 with both fists in the air).

Of course, many fans still wear Gibson, Trammell or Kaline on their back or gear with the circular “Mr. I” patch worn by the Tigers and Red Wings after their beloved owner and leader passed on last year.

While the loss of Mr. I and the effects of the recent trade deadline fire-sales are undoubtedly still in the minds of Tiger fans, Sunday’s game wasn’t just a great example of what’s to come on the field, but also a fan base that is fully focused on the future.

A healthy dose of reverence for those who brought the Tigers organization to this point can never hurt, but that no longer consumes as much bandwidth as it once did. Who knows, the newest statue could be playing right now.

Now…back under the hood!

BASEBALL STOPS WHEN THE ARMY CALLS

As we recognize Memorial Day, we kickoff summer. Yet we never forget the people who allow us to celebrate our freedom. Today, it’s appropriate to recognize all who have served.

Totally Tigers

By:  Kurt Snyder

On this Memorial Day, it is our duty as Americans to treat the holiday for what it is. To honor those who have fought for our country and protected our freedoms.

Join me in taking a look back at a piece written last year at this time. It is appropriate for this holiday and future Memorial Days to come.  Enjoy your day today!


https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/2016/05/29/baseball-stops-when-the-u-s-army-calls/

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IS THE FIRST CUT ALWAYS THE DEEPEST?

On this Memorial Day weekend, while we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country, here is a blog from 6 weeks ago. Still as relevant today as when it was first written. And a refresher in advance of Wednesday’s blog that questions the extent of the Tigers’ rebuild.

 

Totally Tigers

By:  Holly Horning

Tiger fans are expecting another year where famous and familiar faces will be leaving the team at some point this summer. Players like Nicholas Castellanos and Jose Iglesias who will be traded because of impending free agency.

Iggy is a free agent after this year and currently makes over $6 mill/year. It’s no secret that the Tigers have been trying to trade him for the past 2 years now.

Castellanos is due to become a free agent in 2 years but 2018 is the best year for trading him in order to get a higher return before he becomes a rental. He is also making over $6 mill this year and arbitration, should he stay next year, will zoom to somewhere around $9-$10 mill. There have also been stories that report the Tigers tried to extend him and he refused.

But when he was asked, Nick said…

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WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU (AND DON’T)

(with apologies to The Romantics)

By:  Holly Horning

What can we say about this new Tigers team so far this year? Certainly not as much as we’d like. Afterall, those infamous 40 games haven’t been played yet.

Players who are hot, may cool off. And some may not have found their groove yet. And Ron Gardenhire, like all experienced managers, is still exploring how to maximize his team’s ability.

But in the meantime, as we watch the games, we’ve come to have expectations about certain players and how the team performs. There are those we can’t wait to watch and also others who make us cautiously peer out from behind a pillow when they step up to the plate, walk to the mound or wait to catch a hard-hit ball.

Call this the “first impressions” era of the season. A time of the year where we have a decent idea about what will happen during the course of the season but with the understanding that performance levels may not yet be set in stone.

And with that, here are my lists of the Tigers and trends I am loving right now – and the ones who are making me frown.


THUMBS DOWN

1. Bullpen – (Gee, what a surprise.) The concern level is further raised with multiple poor outings by Alex Wilson and Shane Greene.

2. Medical Issues – Why is it that once Zimmermann, Miggy, Norris and others get injured, their issues seem to linger forever and never be fully resolved?

3. Nick Castellanos – That bat will only get him so far but it’s not enough to compensate for his inability to play the outfield or to run the bases without error.

4. Dave Clarke – New levels of bad have been reached with the infamous one hand signaling to score and the other one to stop both at the same time.

5. Sloppy Play – Old habits are hard to break so it may take a while to hammer home the importance of fundamentals.

6. Scoring Position – How many additional games could the Tigers have won if only they had managed to score those runners on third?

7. Norris – This riddle wrapped up in an enigma has the talent but maybe not the mental tools with time running out as the Tigers try to figure out how to unlock his potential.


THUMBS UP

1. Ron Gardenhire – How refreshing it is to listen to a manager who speaks clearly, decisively and with a sense of humor – and isn’t afraid to rein in his players.

2. Attitude – No longer disengaged zombies, this team appears more focused and actually looking like they are having fun, including Miggy and VMart.

3. Fight – These cats aren’t giving up and remaining feisty and competitive late in the game unlike previous years in which they rarely fought back after the middle innings.

4. Accountability – Players aren’t making the always-present excuses of the past and are being called out on bad performances by Gardy and his coaches.

5. The Young Starters – Aren’t Michael Fulmer and Matt Boyd the pitchers you build a new team around?

6. The New Starters – Francisco Liriano and Mike Fiers have surprised us all and calmed the critics who disliked their signings.

7. The Sparkplugs – Leonys Martin with his .829 OPS and versatile Niko Goodrum who are both sassy, loud and the cheerleaders that keep this team going.

8. The Speed – Stolen base co-leaders Niko Goodrum, JaCoby Jones and Jose Iglesias show how much fun speed is – and how much we’ve missed it in the field and on the basepaths.

9. The Two J’s – JaCoby and Jeimer look to be showing the potential we were promised with both their bats and still-emerging defensive skills.

10. The Man – Miggy has lost that dead look in his eyes from last year and has once again returned to leading all his teammates in BA/OBP/SLG/OPS.

11. J Squared – I’m not gonna say it. I’m not going to jinx it. But you know what I’m thinking about Joe Jimenez.


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/.

WHAT’S IN A TITLE?

On this holiday weekend, please enjoy a previously published blog that continues to be relevant. Happy Passover and Easter, everyone!

Totally Tigers

By:  Holly Horning

When we talk about baseball players, we usually understand their strengths. Whether they are great at hitting or at fielding. Sometimes solidly possessing both skills.

And then there’s the phrase “5 tool player” which refers to a player who is solid at all the top baseball skills.

But what about GMs? They’re people, too.

And for some reason, many in the baseball world – from owners to fans – believe that every GM should be strong in every aspect of their job.

But is that a fair assumption to make?

Should every GM be required to excel in every facet?

And how many of today’s GMs actually do?


Before we can analyze, let’s identify the primary skills required of a GM:

– Scouting

– Drafting

– Signing current players/free agents

– Trading

– Negotiations

– Creating and implementing a vision and strategy

– Hiring Front Office personnel

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