DETROIT TIGER FANS!
For full access to all our areas, please register (free), there are areas that do not show up until you register and log-in.

DETROIT TIGER FANS!

A place for Detroit Tiger Fans to come together for a bit of fun
 
HomeHome  CalendarCalendar  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  RegisterRegister  MemberlistMemberlist  UsergroupsUsergroups  Log inLog in  
Please log in and join in the fun of game day threads (GDT) and in overall Tigers chat.
CONGRATS TO CABRERA AND HUNTER on winning 2013 Silver Slugger Awards!
DETROIT TIGERS - 2011, 2012 & 2013 AL CENTRAL DIVISION CHAMPS!

Share | 
 

 Jason Beck Mailbag - answers fans' questions 2008-2009

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
Go to page : Previous  1, 2
AuthorMessage
GoGetEmTigers
DTF1 ADMINISTRATOR Detroit Tiger
DTF1 ADMINISTRATOR Detroit Tiger
avatar

Female
Number of posts : 57424
Age : 58
Location : Eastern Ohio, near Wheeling WV
Favorite Current Tiger(s) : JV, Hunter, Jackson, Porcello, Avila (really ALL of em!)
Reputation : 20
Registration date : 2007-10-05

PostSubject: Re: Jason Beck Mailbag - answers fans' questions 2008-2009   Mon Oct 27, 2008 8:16 pm

10/27/08 11:00 AM ET
Mailbag: Will D-Train dominate again?
Beat reporter Jason Beck answers Tigers fans' questions
By Jason Beck / MLB.com


  • Submit a question to the mailbag
  • 2009 season-ticket deposit information


Do you see any real hope for Dontrelle Willis to come around? Things were so ugly all through the 2008 season that it is very hard to believe that Willis can get it together.
-- Mark S., Columbus, Ohio


I actually felt like his last start was a sign of at least some hope. Once he got past the opening inning, you saw glimpses of him pounding the strike zone, hitting the outside corner instead of letting the ball sail, and getting into a groove. He needed 39 pitches in the opening inning, then just 49 over the next four. He ended up two outs shy of a quality start, which was hard to imagine him achieving under any circumstances a few weeks earlier.

Will he ever be the dominant power lefty he used to be? I don't know. He's older, and he doesn't throw the same way. But I do believe he can be an effective starting pitcher in the Majors again, whether it's next year or down the road. As long as there's no major injury, there's no physical reason he can't contribute again.

New pitching coach Rick Knapp comes from an organization which traditionally has top-notch pitching. What can he provide for the Tigers' young arms, especially considering this is -- correct me if I'm wrong -- his first Major League stint? What kind of things can fans look forward to that differ from the approach of Chuck Hernandez and Jeff Jones?
-- Phil L., Toledo, Ohio


Sometimes, as manager Jim Leyland put it, it isn't a completely different approach, but a different teacher with a different way of delivering it. If Knapp's message gets through, I think you'll see more first-pitch strikes and pitches for quick outs from Tigers pitchers, sometimes at the expense of strikeouts but potentially to the benefit of deeper starts. There could be a little less emphasis on opposing hitters, at least early on, and more focus on pitchers going to their strengths. That could be good for this team, as some Tigers pitchers seemed in need of a confidence boost by season's end.

If the Tigers do find another starter, like Freddy Garcia, is there any chance management would look at Nate Robertson in the closer role? Eric Gagne and even Dennis Eckersley were up and down as starters before finding a niche closing; the adrenaline might also keep him sharper.
-- Greg W., Cabot, Vt.


Jeremy Bonderman, if he's healthy coming back from surgery, has an above average fastball and a nasty slider. Why not make him the closer?
-- Matt S., Traverse City, Mich.

Why not move Justin Verlander to the closer spot? He has the stuff, the Tigers badly need an upgrade, and Verlander hasn't had a high winning percentage as a starter. Makes sense to me.
-- Jeff, Florida


I understand where folks are coming from on this, though I question the remark regarding Verlander's winning percentage, given that he's 46-32 over the last three years. The Tigers are in need of a closer, with no in-house favorite and plenty of competition on the hot stove market. However, teams that convert a starter to relief usually have two factors in common: serious doubt that the starter can succeed as a starter, and a sufficient surplus of starters that they can afford to move one to the bullpen. Philadelphia's Brett Myers was a successful starter before his one-year stint as the Phillies' closer in 2007, but it was a move out of necessity when Tom Gordon was injured.

The Tigers, on the other hand, have just three rotation spots set for next year. Verlander and Bonderman -- assuming Bonderman is healthy next spring -- take two of them. Even with Verlander's struggles this year, he remains the best, most talented pitcher on the staff. Bonderman is 42-34 over his last four seasons while averaging better than six innings per start. Detroit can't win without solid seasons from them, and as tough as it could be for the Tigers to find an effective closer, it's still easier to do that than to add an effective starter.

Depending on how much competition the Tigers have for the other two spots, they could send one or two out to the bullpen, maybe in a setup role if it's Zach Miner. But that's probably about it.

Wouldn't a young, proven ace starter like Jake Peavy be the perfect tonic for an ailing Tigers pitching staff? I'm sure we'd have to give up some talent in a trade, but imagine the possibilities with Peavy and Verlander as a one-two punch for the next decade. It looks like the Yankees are interested. Why not the Tigers?
-- Stan B., Sterling Heights, Mich.


Tigers officials will meet again in Detroit this week to evaluate talent on other clubs and talk about potential trades and free-agent signings, but the Peavy front isn't one seemingly in their favor. Peavy's preference to stay in the National League has become well-known, and with a no-trade clause in his contract, he can veto a trade to any place he doesn't want to go. That doesn't completely rule out a deal to the AL, but right now, it looks like a non-starter.

Beyond that, the Tigers have a tough time matching the prospect packages teams like the Braves and Astros and others can offer. That doesn't mean the Tigers don't have young talent in their system, but at this point, they need to retain it. From a contract standpoint, while Peavy has a deal through 2012, he'll be due around $60 million over that course. The Tigers, meanwhile, have to work out what to do about a contract for Verlander, now eligible for arbitration.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://alwaysatiger.forumotion.com
GoGetEmTigers
DTF1 ADMINISTRATOR Detroit Tiger
DTF1 ADMINISTRATOR Detroit Tiger
avatar

Female
Number of posts : 57424
Age : 58
Location : Eastern Ohio, near Wheeling WV
Favorite Current Tiger(s) : JV, Hunter, Jackson, Porcello, Avila (really ALL of em!)
Reputation : 20
Registration date : 2007-10-05

PostSubject: Re: Jason Beck Mailbag - answers fans' questions 2008-2009   Tue Nov 04, 2008 12:34 am

11/03/08 1:30 PM EST
Mailbag: Can Guillen stay healthy?
Beat reporter Jason Beck answers Tigers fans' questions

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

Submit a question to the mailbag

What's to make us -- or the Tigers front office -- believe that Carlos Guillen will remain healthy in left field, given his injury history? Even if he does, won't his lack of range be a defensive liability? I love having Carlos on the team, but it seems that his best chance of ongoing success will be as a DH at this point, as his best contributions come on offense.
-- David M., Pinckney, Mich.


If Guillen's back becomes a recurring issue, then you're right, left field won't hide that. But if he can get his back right this offseason, the expectation is that the outfield won't be as stressful on his knees. He wouldn't be making the same quick side-to-side movements he was at shortstop two years ago or at third base last year. And if he can make solid reads off the bat, range shouldn't be a question. Those are multiple "ifs", I know. But even with all his injuries the past few years, Guillen is such a natural athlete that it's hard to justify tucking him away at DH unless it's absolutely necessary.

While reading last week's mailbag, I agreed with one question. Why don't the Tigers move Nate Robertson to either a relief role or the closer spot? I've noticed that the majority of the time Robertson pitches, he gives up most of his runs in the first couple innings. I've played baseball for years, and I've noticed that a poor start from your pitcher puts a damper on the team for the remainder of the game. If the Tigers move him to a relief role or closer role, maybe it could put a different spin on the games he pitches?
-- Craig M., Windsor, Ont.


Statistically, at least, the bulk of the runs Robertson gave up came in the second (20), third (22) and fourth (22) innings. He gave up nine runs in the first inning over his 28 starts, which was actually a better ratio than he had in 2007.

Correspondingly, opponents' batting average rose from .265 in his first 15 pitches of an outing to .313 for his next 15 pitches, then .301, then .331. Opponents' OPS ballooned from .682 in his first 15 pitches to .967 over his next 15.

On the surface, that would make the case that he could be more effective in short relief. However, the problem coaches and scouts noted with Robertson this year is that he has to get the bite and command back on his slider, something that's going to affect him in any role. He has struggled to finish off left-handers for the past two seasons, and those would be big hitters for him in relief.

If new pitching coach Rick Knapp can get Robertson's slider back on track, and if Robertson's offseason workout routine recaptures some flexibility for him, I think he can be an effective pitcher regardless of role. But if he can't, I'm not sure a relief role would hide any holes in his game.

Jason, I like the Rick Knapp hire because of his "throw strikes" approach, but I am concerned that he has never -- to my knowledge -- charted big league hitters and put together game plans for big league pitchers. Does the pitching coach have the primary role in putting together "books" on hitters, or does that fall on the advance scouts?
-- Ron L., Sylvania, Ohio


That's kind of a combination task. Part of it falls on advance scouting for the teams that have it. The Tigers had Bruce Tanner in that role the past two years before he was promoted to Major League scout this week. A lot of teams also subscribe to a scouting service that provides reports on most hitters.

A pitching coach comes in on the video end, looking at what upcoming hitters have done in recent games. Pitchers said former pitching coach Chuck Hernandez made a big difference on the preparation end when he came on board a few years ago. That's an area where bringing back bullpen coach Jeff Jones is expected to be a strength.

One thing Knapp mentioned about Jones is that he not only knows Tigers pitchers, he knows the league. Jones' experience can complement what Knapp brings on the instructional side.


Not a question, but a comment regarding the Jair Jurrjens/Edgar Renteria deal. What no one seems to remember is that the Renteria deal was done before general manager Dave Dombrowski had any idea that they'd go after Miguel Cabrera. The Cabrera deal drained more prospects out of the system than the Renteria deal. Second, without Cabrera, we needed a good offensive shortstop. Already having a good field/no hit third baseman (Brandon Inge), we couldn't afford a good field/no hit shortstop. If Dombrowski had known he'd have Cabrera in the lineup, defense would have been a higher priority at shortstop than offense. In short, if the Cabrera/Dontrelle Willis deal had happened earlier, they'd have never done the Jurrjens/Renteria deal.
-- Tom S., Grand Rapids, Mich.


Good point, Tom, and it's something Dombrowski referenced to some degree at season's end. He said they made the Renteria trade believing that Inge would be the third baseman, and that his range could help out Renteria. Dombrowski never said they wouldn't have done the Renteria trade if they knew Cabrera was coming, but he said Inge was in their thinking.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://alwaysatiger.forumotion.com
GoGetEmTigers
DTF1 ADMINISTRATOR Detroit Tiger
DTF1 ADMINISTRATOR Detroit Tiger
avatar

Female
Number of posts : 57424
Age : 58
Location : Eastern Ohio, near Wheeling WV
Favorite Current Tiger(s) : JV, Hunter, Jackson, Porcello, Avila (really ALL of em!)
Reputation : 20
Registration date : 2007-10-05

PostSubject: Re: Jason Beck Mailbag - answers fans' questions 2008-2009   Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:18 am

11/10/08 10:00 PM EST
Mailbag: A question of shortstops
Tigers beat reporter Jason Beck answers fan inquiries

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

Send a question to Tigers mailbag

With a good shortstop a need for the Tigers, is it reasonable for team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski to go after Orlando Cabrera? He seems to offer decent batting, speed and fielding. It has made sense to me for a long time, because with him and Brandon Inge manning the left side of the infield, it would be a great upgrade defensively. Furthermore, offensively, his batting average is where Edgar Renteria's was, but he can also generate some extra bases through his legs. What do you think?
-- Josh, Cadillac, Mich.


Unless Cabrera ends up settling for a one- or two-year contract, he's probably not going to draw a ton of interest from Detroit, where the Tigers are looking more for somebody to hold down the shortstop spot until Cale Iorg or Danny Worth is ready, which they hope is in 2010. Keep in mind, too, that Cabrera is almost a full year older than Renteria.

What are the chances the Tigers may go after Rafael Furcal to fill the shortstop void? He is also an effective leadoff hitter. Wouldn't that be a good fit, or is he too pricey?
-- Kevin C., Tallahassee, Fla.


The problem with Furcal is that he's drawing interest from a lot of teams. He appears to be at the top of the market despite his recent injury history. That's expected to push his contract beyond where the Tigers would go to, again, essentially hold down a spot for the short term.

What do you think of the chances of the Tigers brass going after Nick Punto for the shortstop position? He won't be commanding that high of a salary that I can see. Might be a nice pickup.
-- Cas K., Perrysburg, Ohio


Punto's going to be an interesting case on the free-agent market. He can be a defensive option for teams in need of a shortstop that lose out on the top free agents, and his versatility around the infield can be appealing for teams looking for a utility infielder. He had interest from a few teams as of late last week, according to his agent, but the Tigers weren't one of them.

Doesn't the classification of Renteria as a Type A free agent make it a no-brainer that the Tigers offer him arbitration? If he signs elsewhere, the Tigers can recoup the two prospects they lost in the form of Draft pick compensation. If he surprisingly accepts, the Tigers are only on the hook for one year, which would solve the answer for a short-term shortstop.
-- Brad E., Green Bay, Wisc.


It's a good point, but the potential hitch is the timing. Teams don't have to decide on arbitration for free agents until Dec. 1, and free agents don't have to decline or accept it until Dec. 7. Waiting until a week into December to figure out what Renteria will do could knock the Tigers out of the market on some options at short, especially on the trade front.

Considering how quickly the organization moved to deal for Renteria last fall, and Gary Sheffield a year earlier to fill needs, it'll be interesting to see what Dombrowski decides to do on this one. They place a lot of emphasis on the Draft, and an extra first-round or sandwich pick will be very tempting.

Why doesn't Inge come up as a possible solution at shortstop? He's got great range and a cannon for an arm. If I recall correctly, he was drafted as a shortstop.
-- Jim K., Harper Woods, Mich.


This question keeps coming up in the mailbag. And indeed, Inge was a shortstop in college, though the Tigers drafted him with the intention of making him a catcher. Keep in mind, though, that he hasn't played shortstop at all since college, and he's now in his early 30s. He could play there in a pinch, but playing Major League-caliber shortstop every day is another matter.

One argument as to why Tigers struggled so much defensively was the shifting of positions, starting with Spring Training. The idea behind shifting Inge back to third is to let the Tigers take advantage of their best defensive option at the hot corner and help out their pitching staff, while also letting Inge work at his strongest position. Will it work long term? Time will tell, but the Tigers believe it's their best combination right now.

When the Tigers announced that they were sending Jeff Larish to the Arizona Fall League, they said that he would work on playing third base. The box scores from that league indicate that he is playing first base when he plays. How much control do the Tigers have when they send a prospect to the Winter Leagues?
-- Eric F., Livonia, Mich.

Good question. While Major League teams will send prospects to the AFL with recommendations on how they'd like to see them used, the final decisions are up to the managers. In Larish's case, Marlins first-base prospect Logan Morrison was expected to play the bulk of his time there, but missed time last month with an injured foot. That left Larish as Mesa's main option at first. With Morrison back over the last couple of weeks, Larish is now getting more games at third.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://alwaysatiger.forumotion.com
GoGetEmTigers
DTF1 ADMINISTRATOR Detroit Tiger
DTF1 ADMINISTRATOR Detroit Tiger
avatar

Female
Number of posts : 57424
Age : 58
Location : Eastern Ohio, near Wheeling WV
Favorite Current Tiger(s) : JV, Hunter, Jackson, Porcello, Avila (really ALL of em!)
Reputation : 20
Registration date : 2007-10-05

PostSubject: Re: Jason Beck Mailbag - answers fans' questions 2008-2009   Mon Nov 17, 2008 5:31 pm

11/17/08 1:45 PM EST
Mailbag: Could Varitek help Tigers?
Tigers beat reporter Jason Beck answers fan inquiries

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

Could Detroit go after Jason Varitek? After all, he grew up rooting for the Tigers by living in a town not that far from Detroit. He could end his career living in his home state, and mostly he could help mature and develop Dusty Ryan.
-- Jacob S. Kalamazoo, Mich.


Actually, the Detroit area connection isn't that extensive. Though he was born in Rochester, Mich., his family moved to Florida when he was pretty young. As a catcher, he has some appeal for teams, notably with his ability to work with pitchers.

However, he's expected to seek a long-term contract, which makes him an unlikely fit into the Tigers' picture. It's also a tough decision to make on a catcher who will turn 37 years old next April. If agent Scott Boras tries to match the four-year, $52 million deal that the Levinson brothers negotiated for Jorge Posada last winter, the Tigers are likely out. A Boston Herald report, however, suggested those expectations are overblown, that a two- to four-year deal is more realistic. A two-year deal might interest the Tigers depending on the salary.

If Kenny Rogers decides to retire and not to come back to Detroit, who will the Tigers use as their fifth starter? They could use Zach Miner.
-- Gareth R., Okemos, Mich.


Miner is going to have a strong chance at a rotation spot. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski mentioned him when discussing the Tigers' starting pitching picture Friday, and not necessarily as a contingency plan. Miner's effectiveness as a starter compared to some of the early season struggles he had as a reliever makes a good case for him.

There's been a lot of talk about the Tigers possibly trading Magglio Ordonez. Now, I'd just as soon the Tigers keep all their big pieces, but if they must trade away someone, why is all the attention focused on Maggs? Why not consider trading Carlos Guillen instead? When healthy, he's a decent run producer in his own right, the Tigers really don't have a place for him, and his ability to play three (maybe four) different positions would interest a wider array of teams than Ordonez.
-- Melissa J., Toledo, Ohio


First and foremost is a matter of no-trade clauses. Carlos Guillen now has full no-trade rights as a 10-and-5 player -- 10 years in the Major Leagues, and the last five with the same club. Ordonez has partial no-trade rights, limiting where the Tigers could trade him. But beyond that, Ordonez simply carries more appeal to teams at this point, both because of his consistent run production on offense and his ability to stay healthy the last few years.

With the need for a shortstop so prominent this offseason, why is there little talk of the two Major League shortstops -- Ramon Santiago and Guillen -- already on the roster? It was mentioned in the last mailbag that it was a bad idea to move around too many players last year. Why not move Guillen back to short, playing Santiago more often in an effort to keep Guillen healthy. Brandon Inge would help make up for Guillen's lack of range, and we have plenty of other options for left field. Seems like the good short-term solution the Tigers are looking for.
-- Ben M., Muskegon, Mich.


One of the stronger statements Dombrowski made about his club Friday was that Guillen will be the left fielder. At this point, his days as a shortstop in Detroit appear to be over, short of an extra-inning game or injury need. The Tigers want Guillen to be able to focus on one position rather than shifting around. Asking someone to bounce around between shortstop and a corner outfield spot on a regular basis is a tough request, especially for someone who hasn't played the outfield.

As far as pitching goes, you hear about CC Sabathia, Derek Lowe and names like that. But now a name that's coming up is a Japanese right-hander by the name of Junichi Tazawa. He's a youthful Japanese arm that could definitely add to this team's pitching staff, and because we aren't going to go after big-name free agents anyway, why not get this guy right out of Japan? Are the Tigers going to go after him?
-- Thomas V., Caro, Mich.


The Tigers have some interest in Tazawa; to what degree remains to be seen. The problem they'll face is that they'll have a lot of competition, including from teams that have a deeper history with Japanese players. Plus, the price is not expected to be low. There was a report somewhere that it could take a big league contract to get him, forcing a team to put him on the 40-man roster right away. That doesn't necessarily pose a problem for the Tigers, but it's a sign of how much competition there'll be for him.

Why do retiring pitchers file for free agency?
-- John B., Saginaw, Mich.


In a word, paperwork. If their contract is up, they have to go through the process of removing themselves from the team's 40-man roster. Plus, it allows them to sign with any team they want if they decide to play again down the road.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://alwaysatiger.forumotion.com
GoGetEmTigers
DTF1 ADMINISTRATOR Detroit Tiger
DTF1 ADMINISTRATOR Detroit Tiger
avatar

Female
Number of posts : 57424
Age : 58
Location : Eastern Ohio, near Wheeling WV
Favorite Current Tiger(s) : JV, Hunter, Jackson, Porcello, Avila (really ALL of em!)
Reputation : 20
Registration date : 2007-10-05

PostSubject: Re: Jason Beck Mailbag - answers fans' questions 2008-2009   Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:52 am

11/24/08 12:34 PM EST
Mailbag: The shortstop question
Tigers beat reporter Jason Beck answers fan inquiries

By Jason Beck / MLB.com


  • Send a question to the Tigers mailbag

Why are the Tigers shopping for a shortstop when they have Ramon Santiago? Besides the lack of his power hitting, he seems like a pretty decent option and is a surehanded fielder.
-- Colin V., East Tawas, Mich.

That has been a much-asked question for a lot of fans, Colin. Santiago has certainly held his own and them some when he has been in there, including that extended stretch in September 2007 when the Tigers used Carlos Guillen at first base. However, club officials have had doubts for some time that Santiago could hold up to the wear and tear of an everyday role. Does that rule him out as some sort of option at short? No, since he could share time. It's highly unlikely, though, that he would get the job outright.

If the Tigers are looking for a shortstop, then why would they be looking for someone like Julio Lugo, who would probably put up similar or worse numbers than Santiago? I think Lugo's good "offense" is dwindling. Secondly, why might the Tigers possibly give up pitching for him when pitching seems to be Detroit's biggest need? Couldn't there be a better trade to be made, with Santiago as the shortstop?
-- Dan K., Toledo, Ohio


Lugo's appeal would be in part from a contract perspective, especially if the Red Sox were to pick up part of his salary. He's signed for two more years, and trading a larger contract such as that for Dontrelle Willis would essentially fill a team need while lowering the Tigers' payroll. The Tigers would also have to be convinced that Lugo is capable of a turnaround season closer to past years. The risk, of course, would be giving up a pitcher if there's a rebound in store for Willis.

With all the talks about looking short-term for a shortstop to bridge the gap for next season into 2010, how sure are the Tigers that the prospects they have in mind will be able to fill the role they have envisioned? While I understand the countless reports from the roving scouts, and the comments from the respective managers and other team officials that oversee the Minor Leagues, I know there is that slight possibility that one or both could take a little longer to reach Major League abilities.
-- Frank T., Toledo, Ohio


True, you can never be certain with prospects. But you can be confident enough to set up the opportunity. And in the case of Cale Iorg, there's a good amount of confidence right now. Plus, there's competition in the prospect ranks with Danny Worth and Brent Dlugach. Whatever the Tigers do at shortstop for 2009, they'll have a veteran option of some kind in '10 in case they need him. But there's a big difference between having an insurance policy at shortstop in 2010 and, say, signing a free-agent shortstop for three years and having to trade somebody to create a spot.

Do you know the latest on Jeremy Bonderman? Will he be ready for Spring Training?
-- Aaron S., Wyoming, Mich.

The last update on Bonderman was that he started to do some light tossing a couple weeks ago. Club officials sound increasingly confident that he'll be ready to pitch in Spring Training.

What would you think if I said that the Tigers need more lefties in the batting order?
-- David S., Windsor, Ontario


I would think that sounds like a familiar refrain over the last several years, and something the Tigers have tried to address in years past. The Tigers' answer is that there's a key difference between having a left-handed bat simply to balance out the lineup and having a productive bat in the lineup that happens to be a left-handed one. If they can find a shortstop or catcher who bats left-handed, it would be a nice bonus for them, but it won't be the overriding factor. While the Tigers would like to balance out the lineup, they believe their run producers can hit right- and left-handed pitching well.

Did I miss out on TigerFest 2009 tickets? If not, any clue when I should start looking?
-- Robin L., Farmington Hills, Mich.

No worries, Robin. You did not. Look for information on TigerFest, including date and ticket information, in December.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://alwaysatiger.forumotion.com
GoGetEmTigers
DTF1 ADMINISTRATOR Detroit Tiger
DTF1 ADMINISTRATOR Detroit Tiger
avatar

Female
Number of posts : 57424
Age : 58
Location : Eastern Ohio, near Wheeling WV
Favorite Current Tiger(s) : JV, Hunter, Jackson, Porcello, Avila (really ALL of em!)
Reputation : 20
Registration date : 2007-10-05

PostSubject: Re: Jason Beck Mailbag - answers fans' questions 2008-2009   Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:30 am


An everyday role for outfielder Marcus Thames in Detroit looks unlikely. (Jim Mone/AP)

11/30/08 10:16 PM EST
Mailbag: Pondering Thames' future
Beat reporter Jason Beck answers fans' burning questions

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

Send a question to Jason Beck


I understand that the Tigers plan on using Carlos Guillen as their left fielder. What about Marcus Thames? What does his future with the Tigers look like? Over the past three seasons, he has had limited playing time, but he's still hit 69 homers and averaged a homer every 13 1/2 at-bats. Why haven't they considered him as a starter?
-- Tony B., New Baltimore, Mich.


The Tigers indicated around the end of the season, the same time that they announced Guillen's move to left for 2009, that Thames could still be a valuable bat for them as a fourth outfielder. Given Thames' arbitration status and the young outfielders that emerged over the past year, though, it would not be surprising for the Tigers to check and see what trade value was out there for him, something that has been done before. I know fans have debated Thames in an everyday role for the last three years or so, but if it hasn't happened by now, he's probably on the outside looking in on a regular spot barring injury, at least in Detroit.

Why wait on the shortstops of the future? Alan Trammell was young when the Tigers brought him up, and he had low numbers the first couple of years before he took off. I just don't understand the logic of waiting. I think the Tigers should have an open competition this spring and put one of them in the position now. We should have realistic expectations for either, but why not try it?
-- Patrick D., Mansfield, Pa.

Trammell was a pretty exceptional case, and a pretty difficult comparison for other young infielders to meet. Keep in mind, too, that Cale Iorg missed about two seasons from his career during his Mormon mission to Portugal. This year was not only Iorg's first full season as a pro, as it was for Danny Worth, it was his first full season at any level in a few years.

Why did the Tigers go after Freddy Garcia last year if they were not seriously thinking about signing him to a deal? I have heard nothing about the Tigers even being interested in keeping him.
-- Paul W., Salt Lake City, Utah


The Tigers signed Garcia in August to watch him up close and get an idea where his arm was for next year, as well as give themselves a fair shot at signing him for next season. Keep in mind that he just started pitching in games again within the last couple weeks after working his shoulder back slowly following the tweak that knocked him out of Detroit's season finale on Sept. 29.

There has been some interest in Garcia from other clubs, but nothing has come close to a deal quite yet. Interested teams at this point will watch Garcia in Winter Ball and see how his arm looks, which was the main reason Garcia wanted to pitch this winter.

Just curious as to when the Spring Training schedule is to come out. I'm thinking on heading south this March. Did the Major League Baseball regular-season schedule come really early this year, or was it just me?
-- Jamie D., Stratford, Ontario


The Spring Training schedule should be coming out soon. As far as the regular-season schedule, yes, it was out early. That's becoming the habit of MLB teams, though, as a way to get fans looking forward to the next season while the current season is wrapping up.

What are the possibilities of signing John Smoltz as a closer?
-- Brian G., Omaha, Neb.

Smoltz is rehabbing his way back from right shoulder surgery. If he's ready and able to pitch, he will most likely stay with Atlanta.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://alwaysatiger.forumotion.com
GoGetEmTigers
DTF1 ADMINISTRATOR Detroit Tiger
DTF1 ADMINISTRATOR Detroit Tiger
avatar

Female
Number of posts : 57424
Age : 58
Location : Eastern Ohio, near Wheeling WV
Favorite Current Tiger(s) : JV, Hunter, Jackson, Porcello, Avila (really ALL of em!)
Reputation : 20
Registration date : 2007-10-05

PostSubject: Re: Jason Beck Mailbag - answers fans' questions 2008-2009   Tue Dec 16, 2008 5:53 pm

12/15/08 10:00 AM EST
Mailbag: No arbitration for Renteria?
Beat reporter Jason Beck answers fans' burning questions

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

- Send a question to Jason Beck

Tiger fans are owed an explanation about the decision not to offer Edgar Renteria arbitration. Considering the market for shortstops, our need for one for one year and a pressing need to restock the farm system, the decision to decline an offer is baffling. If it was a decision based on money, why aren't larger contracts, such as Gary Sheffield's or Magglio Ordonez's, being dumped?
-- Andrew S., Alexandria, Va.

Though there was a rumor before Thanksgiving that Renteria was going to sign a two-year, $19 million deal with the Giants, that was still a rumor when the Tigers had to decide on arbitration for Renteria. In the end, team officials were still afraid that the Giants deal could fall through and he could accept arbitration with the Tigers. Would it have been terrible? Not necessarily, with Brandon Inge back at third to cover more ground in the hole. From a financial standpoint, though, the Tigers couldn't really spend $9 million to do it. For that matter, Jack Wilson's $7.25 million salary and $600,000 buyout would've been a lot for them.

When the Tigers traded Pudge Rodriguez, both Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland indicated that they were going with Inge behind the plate in '09. What changed? Was it Carlos Guillen's health? Inge's performance behind the plate as a catcher and hitter? Inge's performance at third? The emergence of Dusty Ryan? Do pitchers like Ryan calling the game better? Or was it some combination of the above?
-- Patrick O., Anaheim


I would say it was a combination of the above. Trading Rodriguez at the end of July gave the Tigers a chance to watch Inge behind the plate for a month and a half before going into the offseason. The decision out of that was that third base was a better position for him, and that the Tigers were better off looking for a regular catcher. It was a big adjustment for a 31-year-old to move back behind the plate after not catching for more than three years.

With the World Baseball Classic, how will that affect the Tigers' Spring Training Rosters? When will the players playing in the World Baseball Classic leave the team, and when will they return?
-- Thomas C., Tallahassee, Fla.


It's going to affect the Tigers pretty heavily, since they're expected to have anywhere from four to seven prominent players on the national squads -- including Miguel Cabrera, Ordonez, Guillen, Armando Galarraga, and perhaps Justin Verlander and Curtis Granderson. Those players, if they're selected, will leave camp around late February -- though the Venezuelan players won't go far, since they'll be training in Lakeland -- and return in mid- to late-March once their teams are eliminated or win the title. In between, you'll see the Tigers invite more players from the Minor League camp and give them some more playing time than usual. You'll also notice that there are no split-squad games on the Spring Training schedule, precisely for that depth concern.

Then again, the last time the Tigers had to deal with the World Baseball Classic, they went on to the World Series that year.

When Jeremy Bonderman comes back, why not try him as a closer? What are the two things you need as a closer -- a good fastball and nasty slider. Bonderman has both.
-- Matt S., Traverse City, Mich.


I don't think the Tigers are deep enough in starting pitching to make a closer out of Bonderman, who currently shapes up second or third in Detroit's rotation. Plus, as long as Bonderman has the potential to develop into a great starter, I don't believe the Tigers will give up on that. Keep in mind that, after six Major League seasons, he just turned 26 years old and his only major surgery was for a constricted blood vessel, not an elbow or shoulder ligament.

With the acquisitions of Edwin Jackson, Gerald Laird, and Adam Everett, is it possible that the Tigers will go after one more starter via free agency? I just can't trust Nate Robertson or Dontrelle Willis to step up next year. I'm intrigued about Junichi Tazawa from Japan, and that the Tigers have shown interest.
-- Andrew J., Dearborn, Mich.


Tazawa already signed with the Red Sox. As for another starter, I don't see anything happening there, certainly not in free agency. If they add a starter as the secondary part of another trade, that's another matter, but I don't think it's a major focus of theirs at this point so much as securing an improved bullpen.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://alwaysatiger.forumotion.com
GoGetEmTigers
DTF1 ADMINISTRATOR Detroit Tiger
DTF1 ADMINISTRATOR Detroit Tiger
avatar

Female
Number of posts : 57424
Age : 58
Location : Eastern Ohio, near Wheeling WV
Favorite Current Tiger(s) : JV, Hunter, Jackson, Porcello, Avila (really ALL of em!)
Reputation : 20
Registration date : 2007-10-05

PostSubject: Re: Jason Beck Mailbag - answers fans' questions 2008-2009   Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:13 pm

12/22/08 1:45 PM EST
Mailbag: Is the Tigers' rotation set?
Beat reporter Jason Beck answers Detroit fans' questions

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

-> Send a question to Jason Beck

With the pickup of Edwin Jackson, is it safe to conclude now that the fifth spot in the starting rotation will be earned in Spring Training? Have Dave Dombrowski or Jim Leyland voiced anything about who has the edge for that spot at the moment, whether it's Dontrelle Willis, Nate Robertson or Zach Miner? Finally, is it possible one or a couple of these guys could be traded before the season, or do the Tigers want their bullpen expanded with the guys who don't make it as a starter?
-- Joe M., Mount Pleasant, Mich.


I think a Spring Training competition is a safe assumption, and given how tough it is to guess how Robertson and Willis will look after their 2008 season, it's a relatively wide-open competition. The fact that the Tigers haven't committed to Miner as a starter or reliever adds another factor to the mix, since they could find a role for him as either. You can't completely rule out a trade, but I think any deal involving those guys is extremely unlikely, given that the Tigers are pretty well set everywhere but their pitching staff.

What have the Tigers decided to do about Freddy Garcia?
-- Steve R., Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.


The Jackson trade pretty much fills up their starting rotation. Even before the Jackson trade, however, the Tigers had not been pursuing Garcia this offseason, though a lot of teams have basically taken a wait-and-see approach on Garcia while he prepared to pitch in winter ball. I think Garcia will land a rotation spot somewhere, just not Detroit.

Why did the Tigers trade Matt Joyce for Edwin Jackson? They're always looking for a lefty with home run power, and Matt Joyce was just that. He could not only handle the bat, but he could play extraordinary defense. I understand the Tigers' need for another pitcher, but I think they gave up too much.
-- Justin B., Battle Creek, Mich.


Two factors made a Joyce trade feasible for the Tigers. One was the development of Jeff Larish, their other young left-handed power hitter, who might yet end up working on outfield play in Spring Training on top of his corner infield capabilities. The other is the projected recovery for Clete Thomas, Detroit's other outfield prospect who hits left-handed, after his Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery last September.

With all the past talk of a left-handed bat needed to balance things, why trade Matt Joyce and not Marcus Thames?
-- Kevin W., Sturgis, Mich.

Joyce attracted much more interest among teams this offseason than Thames, who was mentioned surprisingly little at the Winter Meetings. In the Rays' case, they wanted an outfielder who batted left-handed. Plus, Joyce is seven years younger and won't be eligible for arbitration for at least two more years, while Thames is up for arbitration.

Why doesn't Fernando Rodney add another pitch to his two-pitch arsenal? It seems like players are just sitting on that changeup because his fastball control has been dismal. Why not add a slider or cutter ... something? I don't believe he can be effective or counted on with his control issues and lack of pitch options.
-- Andy P., Watervliet, Mich.

Actually, Rodney has a slider, and a pretty effective one at times. It was a bigger part of his repertoire before he had Tommy John surgery in 2004, and he's used it only sparingly since -- in some stretches, not at all. One of the challenges that the coaching staff tried to tackle with Rodney last year was to build up his confidence in the slider and encourage him to at least throw it enough to keep it in hitters' minds, rather than simply allow them to focus on the change of speeds.

Bullpen coach Jeff Jones remembers Rodney's slider from his days at Triple-A Toledo, but he also knows that the slider can be a tough pitch to believe in once a pitcher has gone through that kind of surgery. If Jones and new pitching coach Rick Knapp can get Rodney through that, he'll be a more effective pitcher for it. His fastball command will still be critical to everything, though.

My family and I are wanting to plan a Florida vacation to see the Tigers in Spring Training, but we want to see some of our favorite players, such as Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen and Curtis Granderson. I read that these guys may be going to the World Baseball Classic, and that would change when we would want to plan our trip. When will it be announced who is going to play in the World Baseball Classic?
-- Shawna, Kalamazoo, Mich.


World Baseball Classic rosters are expected to be announced in January. If it makes a difference in your plans, though, the Venezuelan team will be working out at the Tigertown complex in Lakeland in late February and early March leading up to the opening round games. They'll also play a Spring Training game against the Tigers on March 3 at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://alwaysatiger.forumotion.com
GoGetEmTigers
DTF1 ADMINISTRATOR Detroit Tiger
DTF1 ADMINISTRATOR Detroit Tiger
avatar

Female
Number of posts : 57424
Age : 58
Location : Eastern Ohio, near Wheeling WV
Favorite Current Tiger(s) : JV, Hunter, Jackson, Porcello, Avila (really ALL of em!)
Reputation : 20
Registration date : 2007-10-05

PostSubject: Re: Jason Beck Mailbag - answers fans' questions 2008-2009   Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:41 am

12/29/08 12:28 PM EST
Mailbag: Who can handle staff better?
Beat reporter Jason Beck answers Tigers fans' questions

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

Do you think there will be a big adjustment with a new starting catcher, as far as the pitching staff goes? I know it's been a popular theme to bash Ivan Rodriguez's play calling. I just didn't really see any evidence the time he was here. Actually, I thought he worked really well with Armando Galarraga, Jeremy Bonderman, Zach Miner and Kenny Rogers especially.
-- Kim P., Allendale, Mich.


Gerald Laird talked a little bit about learning the pitching staff after the trade was officially announced, saying it would be important for him to work with the starters in Spring Training and get some sort of comfort level. I do think there was an adjustment factor over the final two months last season after Rodriguez was traded. Keep in mind, though, that the Tigers' two catchers down the stretch were Brandon Inge, who hadn't been a full-time catcher since 2003, and Dusty Ryan, who had never been in the Majors until September.

Aquilino Lopez (4-1) was the Tigers' most consistent guy in the bullpen last year. Why did they let him go? Freddie Dolsi walked as many as he struck out -- not something you want in a reliever. Why is he still on the roster while Lopez is not?
-- Rob H., Ann Arbor


Dolsi is younger and has more potential with his stuff, while Lopez is eligible for arbitration after basically working from the back end of the Tigers' bullpen last season. Lopez's statistics are impressive on the surface, I know, but they're deceiving given the game situations and inherited runners. Dolsi was thrust into some big situations from the outset and had to learn on the job.

While Miner has had his ups and downs as a reliever, he has been solid as a starter in both seasons that he was given the opportunity. Why is Tigers management so reluctant to give him the props he has earned and call him the No. 5 starter?
-- Jeff H., Sebring, Fla.

Miner's stuff and his ability to get ground balls make him a potentially versatile option as a starter or reliever, kind of like Chad Durbin in 2007. If either Nate Robertson or Dontrelle Willis show the foundation for a rebound to give Detroit five set starters out of Spring Training, Miner could end up as a seventh- or eighth-inning option in the bullpen.

Did the Tigers consider moving Jeff Larish instead of Matt Joyce? I understand that Larish may be making a move to the outfield in the spring, but Joyce already plays there. Was it a case of Joyce being more marketable than Larish?
-- Darren B., Hamburg, N.Y.


Larish also attracted interest on the trade market, but his versatility -- first and third base, plus the potential to add outfield duties in the future -- made him a more valuable left-handed hitter off the bench, which is the role either he would likely have to fill in 2009.

Now that Brent Clevlen is out of Minor League options, do you see any place on the Tigers roster for him, or will he yet be traded or simply released? I wish the Tigers could find a spot for him on the team.
-- Bill E., Ishpeming, Mich.


Unless the Tigers move another outfielder such as Marcus Thames, or one of them opens the season on the disabled list, the Tigers are going to be hard-pressed to find a roster spot for Clevlen. His defensive acumen in all three outfield spots is a plus for a possible role off the bench, but the fact that he bats right-handed and has yet to show himself an effective hitter in a bench role since 2006 doesn't help his case. Depending on what happens in Spring Training, the Tigers could either try to deal him before breaking camp or try to sneak him through waivers in hopes of outrighting him to Triple-A Toledo.

Do you think the Tigers will have a more set lineup this coming season? Seems like last season, it changed a lot on a day-to-day basis.
-- Kirk S., Napoleon, Ohio


The Tigers used 110 different lineups last season, according to baseball-reference.com. A bunch of injuries and more than a handful of defensive changes were the big reasons why they got there. If they're healthier, they have a good chance at dropping that total quite a bit, since they have the makings of a stronger fielding team. Manager Jim Leyland's track record shows he'd prefer to set a lineup and stick with it, but the success of the players will determine whether he can realistically do that.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://alwaysatiger.forumotion.com
GoGetEmTigers
DTF1 ADMINISTRATOR Detroit Tiger
DTF1 ADMINISTRATOR Detroit Tiger
avatar

Female
Number of posts : 57424
Age : 58
Location : Eastern Ohio, near Wheeling WV
Favorite Current Tiger(s) : JV, Hunter, Jackson, Porcello, Avila (really ALL of em!)
Reputation : 20
Registration date : 2007-10-05

PostSubject: Re: Jason Beck Mailbag - answers fans' questions 2008-2009   Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:40 pm

01/12/09 2:56 PM EST
Mailbag: When will Laird catch on?
Beat reporter Jason Beck answers Tigers fans' questions

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

I'm just curious, do you think there will be a big adjustment with a new starting catcher, as far as the pitching staff goes? I know it's been a popular theme to bash Pudge's play calling. I just didn't really see any evidence of that during the time he was here. Actually, I thought he worked really well with Armando Galarraga, Jeremy Bonderman, Zach Miner and Kenny Rogers especially.
-- Kim P., Allendale, Mich.


Gerald Laird talked a little bit about learning the pitching staff after the trade was officially announced, saying it would be important for him to work with the starters in Spring Training and get some sort of comfort level. I do think there was an adjustment factor over the final two months last season after Ivan Rodriguez was traded. Keep in mind, though, that the Tigers' two catchers down the stretch were Brandon Inge, who hadn't been a full-time catcher since 2003, and Dusty Ryan, who had never been in the Majors until September.

Aquilino Lopez (4-1) was the Tigers' most consistent guy in the bullpen last year. Why did they let him go? Freddie Dolsi walked as many batters as he struck out -- not something you want in a reliever. Why is he still on the roster while Lopez is not?
-- Rob H., Ann Arbor


Dolsi is younger and has more potential with his stuff, while Lopez is eligible for arbitration after basically working from the back end of the Tigers' bullpen last season. Lopez's statistics are impressive on the surface, I know, but they're deceiving given the game situations and inherited runners. Dolsi was thrust into some big situations from the outset and had to learn on the job.

While Miner has had his ups and downs as a reliever, he has been solid as a starter in both seasons that he was given the opportunity. Why is Tigers management so reluctant to give him the props he has earned and call him the No. 5 starter?
-- Jeff H., Sebring, Fla.


Miner's stuff and his ability to get ground balls make him a potentially versatile option as a starter or reliever, kind of like Chad Durbin in 2007. If either Nate Robertson or Dontrelle Willis shows the foundation for a rebound to give Detroit five set starters out of Spring Training, Miner could end up as a seventh- or eighth-inning option in the bullpen.

Did the Tigers consider moving Jeff Larish instead of Matt Joyce? I understand that Larish may be making a move to the outfield in the spring, but Joyce already plays there. Was it a case of Joyce being more marketable than Larish?
-- Darren B., Hamburg, N.Y.


Larish also attracted interest on the trade market, but his versatility -- first and third base, plus the potential to add outfield duties in the future -- made him a more valuable left-handed hitter off the bench, which is the role he would likely have to fill in 2009.

Now that Brent Clevlen is out of Minor League options, do you see any place on the Tigers roster for him, or could he yet be traded or simply released? I wish the Tigers could find a spot for him on the team.
-- Bill E., Ishpeming, Mich.


Unless the Tigers move another outfielder such as Marcus Thames, or one of them opens the season on the disabled list, the Tigers are going to be hard-pressed to find a roster spot for Clevlen. His defensive acumen in all three outfield spots is a plus for a possible role off the bench, but the fact that he bats right-handed and has yet to prove himself as an effective hitter in a bench spot since 2006 doesn't help his case. Depending on what happens in Spring Training, the Tigers could either try to deal him before breaking camp or try to sneak him through waivers in hopes of outrighting him to Triple-A Toledo.

Do you think the Tigers will have a more set lineup this coming season? Seems like last season, it changed a lot on a day-to-day basis.
-- Kirk S., Napoleon, Ohio

The Tigers used 110 different lineups last season, according to baseball-reference.com. A bunch of injuries and more than a handful of defensive changes were the big reasons why they got there. If they're healthier, they have a good chance at dropping that total quite a bit, since they have the makings of a stronger fielding team. Manager Jim Leyland's track record shows he'd prefer to set a lineup and stick with it, but the success of the players will determine whether he can realistically do that.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://alwaysatiger.forumotion.com
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Jason Beck Mailbag - answers fans' questions 2008-2009   

Back to top Go down
 
Jason Beck Mailbag - answers fans' questions 2008-2009
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 2 of 2Go to page : Previous  1, 2
 Similar topics
-
» National events 2008/2009
» Write out your 2008/2009 Ottawa Senators lineup
» PIVOTPEGZ WR250R/X 2008-2009 (Footpegs)
» 2008-2009 boxxer world cup fork 550obo and fox dhx
» 2009 Airush Choptop - Ideal first 'Surfboard'

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
DETROIT TIGER FANS! :: Tiger Talk :: Team Discussion & Game Day Posts-
Jump to: