Detroit Tigers: Great Trade
I love talking baseball in December. It reminds me that the warm weather will arrive some day. While starting day may be a long way off, the Tigers prospects are heating up after the winter meetings.
When the season ended last year, the Tigers needed to address two positions: left field and third base. Brandon Inge, after a 24 million, four-year deal, turned out to be a liability at third base, which is a power position in the American League. He was also the ninth-place hitter for the Tigers, while names like ARod (Alex Rodriguez) and Mike Lowell led their respective teams in RBI production in the same position. After the Craig Monroe/Marcus Thames experiment failed, left field also needs a bat. Miguel Cabrera addresses both problems.
Miguel Cabrera is a star — there is no other way to express his talent. He came up to the Marlins very young, but is still only 24 years old. He is a perennial all star. He has a lifetime average of over .310 and consistently hits 35 home runs with over 100 runs batted in. He is naturally a third baseman, but played left field two seasons ago. The only reason the Marlins let him go is MONEY.
The Tigers also get Dontrelle Willis. While Willis had a lousy 2006 with an ERA over five, he was at one time considered one of the best young pitchers in the game. He is also a marketing department’s dream; the microphone just loves this guy. Again, money was the reason the Marlins let this guy go, not talent.
Apparently, the Marlins are trying to save on payroll. While their tendency to have a garage sale after every successful season is one way to get a stadium built, they’re disgracing the major league and killing their Florida fan base in the process. This time, they lowered their payroll to less than nine million dollars total – a bench player to the Yankees.
Anyway, the Tigers did have to give up some talent: Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin. Both are very good prospects who showed potential with the Tigers last year. They were also first round picks in 1995 and 1996 respectively. The other four players are unknowns, but may be great in a few years. When Andrew Miller wins the CY Young Award in 2011, we all may be cursing this trade; but for now, BRAVO.
The Tigers are now ready to win. They just need to fit Willis in the rotation as a third or fourth starter, get rid of Nate Robertson and get some new prospects. Cabrera can be plugged in at either third base or left field and get his bat in the three, four or five spot. If they add a set-up guy for Todd Jones, the Tigers could have a really fun summer.
What should the starting line up be for 2008? Granderson, Polanco, Ordonez, Cabrera, Sheffield, Guillen, Rodriguez, Renteria and Inge.
November 29, 2007
Detroit Lions: What Now?
Okay, I was eating the cornbread a few weeks ago when the Lions were 6-2. (Thanks WDFN radio.) All the blue and silver needed to do was win one out of the last three games, and their position as a wildcard team would be fairly secure. The Arizona game was the first setback. While the Cardinals are an improved squad, the Lions needed to take care of business. Then, there was the Giants at home. While the Lions moved the ball up and down Ford Field, they turned the ball over too much and lost. Let’s just forget about Thanksgiving -- the old man and the Pack are definitely back.
Now, after Thanksgiving, the Lions are a respectable 6-5. In the weak NFC, they hold the second wild card spot if the season ended today, but there are a mass of teams at 5-6 that can pose a problem to their playoff hopes.
What now? Just win.
If the Lions can win three of the five remaining games, that would get them to 9-5 and probably a playoff spot. The problem for fans is mustering up faith that such a thing is possible. The Lions have to play the Cowboys, Chargers and Packers down the stretch – all of which are probable losses if the Lions don’t improve. After years of futility, the Lions have to learn to win.
We heard a lot about Rod Marinelli changing the culture around the team. Discipline and commitment are words that have been thrown around for the last two years. It is now time to show the change. The Lions have enough talent to contend. The offense can move the ball and is exciting with Williams and Johnson on the outside. They must improve in the red zone and protect the ball. Jon Kitna needs to produce points, not passing yards. The defense is what it is; it will keep you in the ballgame like in the Giants game, but it won’t win the game.
The playoffs are there for the taking. Anything less than a 9-7 season after starting 6-2 will be a disappointment. Stumbling down the stretch with so many offensive weapons will be a blow to the Marinelli regime. I want to believe, but having faith is getting harder by the week.
Always remember, they are the Lions; there is always another year and another coach.