Month: July 2011

Dave Dumb-rowski

I agree with Houston fans that Ed Wade is not a great general manager. Probably my biggest beef with him is the way they handled Berkman. From what I know of the situation, basically, they traded him when his value could not have been lower last year (which is dumb) and then when he expressed interest in returning to Houston in the offseason the Astros kind of blew him off (which is sad). But I really don’t like Dave Dombrowski either. Granted, the Tigers have been pretty much a .500 team the last few years, but what has been holding them back are some of the idiotic moves that DD has made the last couple of years:

– Trading Jair Jurrjens for Edgar Renteria before 2008 season. This wasn’t a great trade at the time and has become unspeakable horrible this year.

– Dontrelle Willis. The problem wasn’t trading for Willis, because the Tigers had to take him as part of the Miguel Cabrera trade. The problem was giving him a three year, $29 million extension before he had even thrown a pitch despite his coming off three straight years of decline. This was a complete and unmitigated disaster.

– Brandon Inge and Nate Robertson. After the Tigers great 2006 world series run, DD decided to go out handing out Christmas presents, in the form of a four-year $24 million contract for Brandon Inge and a three-year $21 million deal for Nate Robertson the year after. That’s $74 million bucks from a mid-market team for a pile of stinking crap.

– Trading Curtis Granderson for Austin Jackson and Phil Coke. This was actually a three-way trade, but this is what it boils down to. Now, the above bad contracts wouldn’t be so terrible, except for the fact that the Tigers were so cash-strapped by these terrible deals that they couldn’t afford to pay Granderson, and decided they needed to deal him. This was the absolute worst, because since they couldn’t trade any of their worthless players with expensive contracts, they had to trade one of their best players who also had a reasonable contract. Awful, just awful.

DD has always been a solid builder, able to spin veterans for prospects for cash-strapped teams. But he has not really learned how to sustain a contender or how to add finishing pieces to a team on the cusp. If DD had made the right moves after 2006, the Tigers would not still be looking for their first division championship since 1987. Gaw…..but you know what, at least we’re not the Astros.

All-Star Game Thoughts, Part 2

Some final All-Star Game thoughts (yes I know I have wasted enough breath on this already but this will be the last of it…until next year):

– I kind of like the “This One Counts” idea (where the league that wins the All-Star game gets homefield advantage for the World Series). However, if MLB wants to truly sell this idea and for the fans to buy into it, they have got to go all-in with the idea. If you were really trying to win a game, would you ever pull Cano for Kendrick? With a roster full of stars, do you really want Michael Cuddyer having a key at bat at the end of a game? I see a couple of ways to help resolve this:

1. Allow starters to re-enter the game. It’s fine to get everyone into the game at some point, but if your supposedly best players have left the game and cannot re-enter, you are forced with a choice of either relying on a marginal all-star at the end of the game in a key at bat or letting a starter play a full game at the expense of giving everyone an opportunity to play. If the AL is trying to make a comeback in the bottom of the 9th, wouldn’t it be exciting to see Jose Bautista come back and pinch-hit? This seems like a relevantly simple and elegant solution.

2. Reduce the size of All-Star rosters. With all of the players that were injured or unavailable, more than 80 players were named “All-Stars” in the past week. 80!!! Depending on how you count relievers, there are only about 450 to 500 “regular” players in the major leagues. If you name 1 out of every 6 players to the All-Star team, doesn’t that water down the accomplishment? If you are a player that is good enough to play in the major leagues for 10+ years, even if you are a league average player, odds are that eventually you will have a first-half that is randomly good enough to make an All-Star team. I don’t think that should be good enough. Cut down the rosters, and (a) you will increase the quality of play in the game as there will be less pressure for managers to cycle through players during the game at such a frenetic, farcical pace and (b) you will increase the prestige of the All-Star achievement, making players that are elected (like Jeter) more likely to take it seriously. Included in this reduction would be the elimination of the one-player-per-team requirement. Who the hell is Aaron Crow?

3. Double-down on the DH. I noticed that both teams used the DH this year even though the game was in an NL park, presumably to get more hitters into the game. I agree with this; there’s no point in having pitchers hit in an all-star game, regardless of where the game is played. But why not go even further and have each team have TWO DH’s? This would create a 10-man lineup, but so what? This way, you can let more of the starters play all or most of the game (which they should, because they are presumably the best players) while you can cycle hitters through the DH slots to make sure that even all the bench players get an at bat. The more I think about this, the more I think that this is the best idea I have ever had. Even better than my cellphone / electric razor idea. Even better than my idea for a gym where the kinetic energy from people working out is harnessed and converted into electricity. Best. Idea. Ever.

All-Star Game Thoughts – Part 1

Ah….All-Star selections. In recent years, I haven’t had too much beef with the selections, but man, do I have a lot to say about this one:

– First of all, many of you may not agree with this, but I believe that the All-Star game should exactly be that: a game of STARS. I have no problem with superstars that are having off-years or declining surefire hall-of-famers being included in the game over mediocre journeymen having small-sample-size-skewed randomly good first halves. So, I have no problem with including Jeter and Chipper on the rosters, especially when there aren’t really great alternatives available. Even though I’m a Tigers fan, do I want to see Jhonny Peralta over Jeter in an All-Star game? HELLLLLLL NO.

– Along those lines, because the sample size of just the first half of a season is so small, past achievements should be considered, especially performance from the second half of the previous season. Obviously, current season first half performance should be the primary criterion, but if a player has an awesome second half the previous year and ended up winning the MVP award (or getting close), that’s fresh enough in people’s minds that they should want to see that player in the all-star game. So I have no problem with putting a defending MVP like Josh Hamilton in the game, even though he has been injured this year.

– On the other hand, I don’t believe that you can reward players based simply on a team’s performance from the previous year. Let’s all admit it now; the Giants got lucky last year. Does that mean they should get undeserving players into the All-Star game because their manager has a hand in selection? That’s stupid. Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain are borderline but acceptable selections due to their track records, but Ryan Vogelsong is not an All-Star and neither is Brian Wilson.

– Let me say that again, BRIAN WILSON IS NOT AN ALL-STAR. The guy is like the 2nd ranked reliever in fantasy but he has a 1.42 WHIP and, trust me, every Giants fan in the Bay Area is having a heart attack every time he is on the mound. Moreover, he is a relief pitcher. More on that later.

– How bad is the National League? The NL starters include Rickie Weeks at second base and Placido Polanco at third base, and those selections are actually defensible. That’s sad. The Polanco selection is particularly bad. This is a guy who has no power and no speed, whose only asset is hitting for average….and he’s hitting .274. Aramis Ramirez would be a better choice, but it’s not like there’s a huge difference between those players. Whatever.

– RANT FOR ETERNITY: For the millionth time, there are WAY TOO MANY RELIEVERS IN THE ALL-STAR GAME. Think about it this way: in the American League, there are five starting pitchers per team, so about 70 starting pitchers total. There are only 14 closers; one per team. All-Star selections should conform to those ratios; there should be five starters on the roster for every closer. The ratio this year is two to one. That doesn’t even factor in the fact that starting pitchers have thrown well over 100 innings by the break, while relievers are more at like, what, 30? And, since most selections are made off of current season performance and not historical performance, how do you put a reliever in an All-Star game after a measly 30 innings pitched? That’s like putting a starter into an All-Star game after four or five good starts. It’s immensely stupid. Again, I love the Tigers, but Jose Valverde does not belong in the All-Star game, and Brandon League and Chris Perez DEFINITELY do not. In general, the AL All-Star pitching staff should annually be made up up of 10 starters, Mariano Rivera, and then MAYBE one other closer if they are having a great year (none of this year’s selections qualify). And don’t even get me started on including MIDDLE RELIEVERS. Craig Kimbrel beat out Johnny Venters for the closer job in Atlanta, and is having a fantastic season, tied for the major league lead with 25 saves with good ERA and WHIP numbers and is the #1 fantasy reliever this year….and VENTERS is the All-Star and not KIMBREL? I don’t care how good Venters’ numbers are. He’s a middle reliever. The only way a middle reliever should be in an All-Star game is if he has 50+ IP, 75+ Ks, zero losses, an ERA under 1.00 and the ability to fly. Tyler Clippard is having a great season but he’s not quite there.