Panic Time in the D Started Last Year

May 10, 2012


By Eric Ratkowski

Tiger nation,  I want you to take a deep breath, sip your drink if you need and slowly repeat after me.

“These 2012 Detroit Tigers will NOT win the World Series.”

Stop hoping Ryan Raburn is going to have this magical second half of the season where he provides that final boost to get over the hump.

Stop blaming Brandon Inge for the slow start, the economic crisis, impregnating your wife, etc…

Stop praying to the baseball Gods that Verlander is going to singlehandedly carry this team to the promise land.

Now take a deep breath and go listen to some Mozart before continuing. I will wait…







Don’t you feel a lot better right now? Ok now let’s step into reality for a second and just took a look at this team.After scouring the roster for 20 seconds, it becomes apparent that this team has major holes.

A manager on a quality ball club should not have to have a gut feeling on whom to trot out at second base every day. Absolute worst case scenario is a decision between a high-end prospect and a serviceable veteran; not a space cadet, a career .245 hitter and whatever you want to call Danny Worth.

This is the case in the corner outfield spots and the bullpen as well. (Jim Leyland must be so excited when deciding which time bomb he gets to call in after JV goes 8 strong.) It isn’t a matter of who is going to go out there and produce; it is a matter of who isn’t going to set themselves on fire when they go out there.

If you think I am just straight up hating on the Tigers, would you like to know who is 4th on the Tigers roster in batting average?

Wait for it, wait for it.

It literally rolls off the tongue.

GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG—MONEY. That’s right ladies and gentleman, Gerald Laird is currently 4th on your team with a .304 average. Granted it is a smaller sample size and a decent number, but ……..Gerald Laird.

He is as surprised as you are

To make matters worse, 4 rotational players (Boesch, Young, Santiago and Raburn) are hitting under .240. Boesch is swinging at anything within 45 feet of the plate, Santiago’s career numbers are right around that, Young did nothing last year outside of the playoffs so this is no surprise (more on this later) and the only thing distracting Tiger fans from Raburn was Brandon Inge.

The pitching is, if at all possible, worse than that.

Bullpen……you do not have one.

Valverde was not going to be perfect again and he sure hasn’t been. Benoit is pretty good, but would you trust him to close? Nobody else is worth mentioning because nobody knows who is there anymore. Phil Coke ftw.

Verlander is Verlander. He is a stud, ace, workhorse, whatever you want to call him. However, he cannot be relied on and before I get death threats, let me explain.

He was off the charts good last year, nobody can argue that seeing the few pitchers that are legitimate MVP contenders let alone win the award.To ask him to replicate that season is an unbelievably tall order. To force him to go 8 or 9 innings every time he hits the mound is simply too much. Yes you NEED him to be your ace, but he is going to be worked into the ground. Then you have a repeat of last years playoffs where he just did not have his A+ stuff.

Verlander aside, who on that staff is going to hold down the fort?

Drew Smyly has shown he has potential but is far from a proven commodity. Doug Fister seems like a solid number two. I would like to see an entire season out of him before I proclaim him anything more than that though. Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer are either good not great or a human gas cans. If there is an in between, I have yet to see it.

While it is true the starters have been incredible lately, I have a very simple question to ask you;

Game 3 of the ALCS tied 1-1, the Texas Rangers are trotting out Yu Darvish. Who do you trust with the ball?

You are thinking right now, that should terrify you.

There is very simple reason as to why this team even advanced as far as it did last season; they played out of their skulls.

Alex Avila came out of nowhere to play the role of warrior to hit .295 with decent power (career year). He wore down because the Tigers did not have a backup catcher who has serviceable (sorry Omar Santos). Avila literally caught fire in certain situations.

Jhonny Peralta came over the previous year for a large Hani and a bag of Molten Buffalo Wing Ruffles (try them and you will understand why the Tigers were hesitant) to hit .299 with power (career year).


Delmon Young stopped throwing bats at umps and had not started yelling obscenities at those of the Jewish faith yet to hit 5 homeruns in the postseason.

Valverde was perfect, Benoit showed the player he was with the Rays and not the Texas minor leaguer.

Fister came over and caught lightning in a bottle.

Even Ryan Raburn decided to show up second half of the season.

Last season was pure magic.

Reality is setting in now.

Dave Dombrowski won GM of the year award for the simplest of reasons; the seasons the above mentioned players had were incredible.

What was the clue that was going to happen again? A lot of moves went literally as well as possible.

“O it is ok though, we can get a guy come deadline and everything will be all right. ” ………ha.

Who exactly do you have that is worth anything?

Nick Castellanos has been deemed untouchable. I don’t believe people are as high on Jacob Turner as they once were or we would be hearing his name more often. Admittedly just a hunch, but I have a strong feeling. After that it is…….Andy Oliver?

There is no one, nada, zero, zilch in the minor league system who other teams covet. This lack of anything is why I was not a major fan of the Prince Fielder move.

Fielder is a great player, do not get me wrong and his signing was a move many felt they had to make with Victor Martinez’s injury. However, Fielder made a strength unworldly but left major holes on the roster. Many would argue that it was a move that had to be done, I can see that argument.

Here is a lesson my dad taught me many moons ago.

“If you are going to do something, don’t half ass it.” – the great Gary Ratkowski.

Dombrowksi did not secure an everyday second basemen, did not get bullpen help (Octavio Dotel is not a long term solution so don’t start), did not secure a solid 2-5 starter and did not get a leftfielder.

That screams half ass to me. So this begs the question and this is where I start ranting so please hold on to them britches.

Slightly more difficult for Jared.

Does Dave Dombrowski have any form of plan?

He brings Santiago back at a $4 million total for two years. Why not sign someone productive for that amount of money, if Santiago is going to sit on the bench?

He sent the possible answer to your second base problem away in Scott Sizemore for a reliever who I would be highly surprised if he is in the league. Instead of giving him away, why not keep giving him chances until he proves you wrong? Not many better options nor was it costing you anything nor was he blocking anyone better.

He resigned Delmon Young for $6.75 million. HE HIT 12 HOMERUNS LAST YEAR AND IS A HEADCASE. WHY? You have literally the same player in Brennan Boesch and could have probably picked up Vlad Guerrero for a pack of Trident Layers if things became desperate. Delmon hit 12 homeruns in the regular season and had more errors by a left fielder (7) than anyone else in the MLB. That is worth nearly $7 million?

MMMMM money well spent

As noted, Doug Fister is turning out to be a good pitcher. In order to get him, Dombrowski sent away a possible left fielder (Casper Wells), a possible end of the rotation guy (Charlie Furbush), bullpen arm (Chance Ruffin) and ANOTHER possible second basemen (Francisco Martinez) in order to get him. I believe that trade just listed off every need that the Tigers currently have.

To not crush your soul, I will just list off a couple names and I think my message will be clear. Aubrey Huff, Edgar Renteria, Nate Robertson, Dontrelle Willis, Curtis Granderson, Matt Joyce, Carlos Pena, Brandon Lyon and just for funzies Brandon Inge.

I cried for Tigers fans when Dombrowski and Leyland were given extensions. (My Leyland article will be coming when the team is fully healthy as to give a fair assessment.)

Dombrowski gives fans these players. Guess what? They suck.

I have zero doubt Cabrera and Fielder will turn things around and start raking. Jackson is having a career year, if they let Andy Dirks play who knows what will happen and it isn’t out of the question a few players are just going through a slump.

If Ryan Raburn was the only problem the Tigers had, no one would really care.

This roster as currently constructed, has a very limited ceiling. Unless major moves are made, I do not forsee anything more than a division championship.

However that is also the floor, the Central is just that bad.

The Fielder signing sent a “World Series or bust” message to the fanbase. If winning a pathetic Central is good enough for you, don’t worry about it. If you actually have ambition in life, start reading the writing on the wall.

Let the fun begin.

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2 Comments on “Panic Time in the D Started Last Year”

  1. erat77 Says:

    I really do like Smyly. He has a bright future but I cannot think of the last dominating rookie not named Strasburg.
    The bullpen needs help. Whether you believe Albuquerque back is the answer, Turner possibly, etc.. that player is probably not on the current roster.
    Another thing I do not understand is the use of Duane Below. When given an extended opportunity, he is a good pitcher. He isn’t a situational guy in my opinion and that is his current role.


  2. Stefan Jagot Says:

    Doug Fister has done little to show he is not a capable 2nd starter in the rotation. But as you stated prior the lack of third pitcher will haunt us. Might not be a bad idea to throw Smyly in at number 2, and move Fister to the 3rd spot.

    When the Tigs made their World Series run they fully implemented having a lefty in Kenny Rogers at the number two spot. It was a great change up from seeing Verlander the day prior.

    However all of this is moot if the Tigers can’t get any bullpen production. Balester gave up a bomb to none other than inge tonight, and even Benoit looked shaky. It was a terrible feeling thinking that Detroit could have possibly blown a 10-2 lead going into the 8th last night.


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