By: Kurt Snyder
Looking back on November, it was not one of the most riveting months for baseball. However, there were a couple of story lines that piqued my interest, which I plan to address.
Keep in mind that not everything you see in these monthly segments are about events from the past month. They are random thoughts, some having to do with the previous month and some that do not. I will do my best to strike a balance between the good and the bad, but I don’t know how successful I will be.
Anyway, here are my 20 November Thoughts.
1. Sounds like Brad Ausmus had some opportunities to manage, but turned down chances to interview, especially with some big market teams. Smartly, he saw how he would be a small fish in a big pond waiting to get swallowed up by the madness. The front office is where he belongs, and he got that shot in Anaheim. Wondering if he will find his niche and stick to it.
2. I cannot get over the moves by so many contending teams who have turned their teams over to inexperienced managerial hires. But we are tainted here in Detroit and may think quite differently if we hadn’t been so badly burned by the Tigers’ hiring of Brad Ausmus.
3. We pause for this brief interruption. Have you heard enough about Giancarlo Stanton? Pick a team already! Get a hold of yourself! Am I the only one who doesn’t think he’s the savior everyone thinks he is?
4. While we are on the subject. I used to admire the Cardinals and the Giants for their smart, under-the-radar transactions that were all about building a championship team. They generally stayed away from the huge contracts that would hamstring them if they pulled the trigger. So, I am a bit puzzled by their interest in Stanton, the salary they would take on and the young talent they would have to surrender. Out of character.
5. Hey, everyone! Miggy may be stronger than ever! Remember that one early in the month? Why does the media think we are sheep?
6. Speaking of Cabrera: The no-nonsense approach of Ron Gardenhire should be good for him. We can’t afford to have Miggy rule the roost like he is used to doing. He’s not in charge. He doesn’t make the call on when he plays and when he doesn’t and that should be made clear. (Carry over from October – will ring true until the season starts)
7. Consider the release of Bruce Rondon one of the biggest organizational failures the Tigers have ever experienced. The caliber in leadership at his next stop, and there will be one, will determine his future success or continued failures.
8. The Yankees finally made their choice for manager. Given their talent and the post-season experience for the young core, the sky is now the limit for them. So, was firing an experienced manager who has had success there in favor of an old fan favorite with no coaching or managerial experience the way to go?
9. We are less than a week away from the Hall of Fame voting and seeing if Alan Trammell and / or Jack Morris will finally realize their dreams. I say one gets in. It’s not a good time to have any harassment skeletons in your closet, which one Tiger does, and it undoubtedly will be a factor.
10. Hey, Justin Verlander and Kate Upton got married. We can all move on now. JV got his ring, put one on Kate’s finger and now we can all go back to concentrating on the Tigers.
11. With the winter meetings approaching, we will see if the Tigers will emerge without their current shortstop and second baseman. I would like to keep half.
12. As far as our middle infielders go, holding onto a still relatively young Iglesias and pairing him with an athletic Dixon Machado at second base would be a nice combination for a team rebuilding. (Carryover from October, until Iggy walks out that door, I will lobby for this.)
13. There are 4 teams I will be watching intently in 2018. All 4 will have new managers. The Tigers, of course, with Ron Gardenhire, The Nationals with Dave Martinez, The Red Sox with Alex Cora and the Phillies with Gabe Kapler. Add a 5th, the New York Yankees now, to that list.
14. One thing we try not to do on this site is to speculate on possible trades. But other blogs tend to fill their space with it. And frankly, I can’t quite understand how some of them pass their own laugh test. Like how the Nationals may have interest in reacquiring Jordan Zimmermann. When I am done rolling on the floor laughing, how big of a bow can I put on Jordan’s head for delivery back to DC?
15. We have real trouble with Jordan Zimmermann. Since the discovery of his nervy neck issue in the spring, he has been much more bad than good, and with lots of years left on his contract. Even though he did return for a couple starts at end of the season, we should be very concerned with healthy and contributions going forward. (Holdover from September, and may stay on this list for a while – yep, staying on for November, too.)
16. Dear Mr. Commissioner, I will make a deal with you. I will consider the pitch clock to speed up games, but I want something back. The ‘no blocking the plate’ rule must go. It has hurt the game. I will be awaiting your call.
17. Which Tiger player will give Ron Gardenhire the most trouble? Will it be Miggy or VMart, someone else, or will he keep it behind closed doors? I vote the latter.
18. Dear Chris Ilitch, we would love to hear your plan for the rebuild of this team. Do you plan to speak to it? Maybe you will after you figure out how to get people to actually sit in the seats during games at Little Caesars Arena.
19. Do you expect Nick Castellanos to stay in the outfield for the entire 2018 season or do you see Gardenhire trying another spot for him in the infield, like first base? Remember, typically, your best outfield arm is in right field.
20. A question for the readers. What, beyond losing, would be a major disappointment in 2018?
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