Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Try that hot stove again

I'm trying to get warm by thinking about baseball. Yet after the White Sox acquired Javier Vasquez last week, any delusions I might have had about the Tigers competing in the AL Central next season seem to be lost in the snow. At this point, a third-place finish seems optimistic, fourth place realistic.

Maybe I'm dealing with short-term memory - and these moves only look good on paper right now - but has a defending World Series champion done a better job of possibly improving its team than the White Sox have? The Red Sox tried, when they signed Matt Clement and Edgar Renteria. But they also lost Pedro Martinez. And Renteria is now with the Braves. Kenny Williams isn't just using money to fill the holes. He's making smart deals (and with an eye on the future). With Vasquez and Jim Thome, both their lineup and starting rotations could be better next season.

Like Brian at Beyond Boxscores (and the Free Press's Drew Sharp), I hope the Tigers haven't finished their offseason by signing Kenny Rogers and Todd Jones. (I also hope their lineup is as good as the Freep's John Lowe thinks it is.) I want them to do more.

But after seeing the deal that Jarrod Washburn signed with Seattle, I'm beginning to think Dave Dombrowski is taking the right approach. Sign a couple of stopgaps to two-year contracts, and hope the celebrated minor league prospects are ready to step in after that.

What's a better deal: $8 million per season for Rogers or $9.4 million for Washburn? Washburn's younger (31), but is he a better pitcher? And if he craps out, Seattle is on the hook for four years. The Tigers can cut their losses after two.

To me, Dombrowski doesn't look so much like Mr. Freeze anymore. He's just staying out of what is now definitively a bat$#!+ crazy market for free-agent pitching. I'm curious what the rest of you Tigers fans think.

Lookout Landing hates the Washburn deal, and supplies a bunch of information that explains why.

♦ U.S.S. Mariner isn't a fan of the signing, either. Actually, that's probably being kind.



  • At December 21, 2005 9:47 AM, Blogger the sports dude said…

    I still for one think they are good safe signings, that is about it. It is clear that the market is, as you put it, going bat@#$% crazy over pitching this off season, where as the Tigers looked and said thanks but no thanks! Todd Jones gives the stop gap before either maybe Rodney or German is ready to handle the pressure of being a closer. Kenny Rogers gives a safe veteran to a pretty quality starting rotation. Could they use one more starter in there, sure, but why overpay? I like the looks of Rogers-Bonderman-Maroth-Robertson-Verlander, I really do.

    As far as the lineup the key really is health. Shelton-Polanco-Guillen-Inge-Pudge-Monroe-Granderson-Maggs-Young, that is really not that bad if guys are healthy. I think the key is the managers, maybe I am just being a slappy but I think the Tigers are better off than a lot of people think. Is it enough to contend? Maybe not, but I think it is definitely enough to stop the string of losing seasons. Baby steps, I guess that is all we can ask for at this time.

    Hey, happy holidays and all that crap too!

  • At December 22, 2005 12:16 AM, Anonymous Evan said…

    I agree with the sports dude 100%... The Tigers kept flirting with .500 even before Shelton was playing full-time, even while Maggs was hurt, and even when Guillen was in and out. A reasonably healthy line-up and a managerial staff that can keep these guys focused is all they'll need to be competitive. Not to win, of course. But to compete certainly.

    As for pitching, we have to expect Bonderman and Robertson to be better than they were last year and Maroth to be about the same. Rogers is an upgrade over Johnson. And Verlander...well, he's going to give a few monster nights and a few shitty ones. But if that's the 5th starter, I can live with that...especially considering the experience he'll get for the next year.

    Getting back to the manager, though, I can't say enough about how this *could* be a bigger deal than people may think. The best teams are always exceptionally professional. Look into the Pistons' eyes at the end of a close game or before a big game. Or recall the workman-like attitude each and every Red Wing had during their back-to-back cup years. That kind of razor-sharp focus is something that you get from coaching or from a veteran team that's been together for a while. Since the Tigers aren't really the latter, they definitely need the former. Tram could teach the young guys the fundamentals, but he couldn't bring that gravitas that guys like Scotty Bowman or Larry Brown could for their teams. Leyland might. And if he does, that sets them up to get better and better in the future no matter who they sign and no matter who the manager is.

    The Lions could learn a little something from that.

  • At December 22, 2005 11:54 AM, Blogger Greg said…

    I think the Tigers did good with Rogers. I mean, get a little veteran "leadership" in there. Plus, Washburn stinks. He's so inconsistent. 4 years for him is nuts. The Tigers need two more years and I think they can challenge, maybe.


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