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Am I the only one who’s noticed?

It’s obvious that Dave Dombrowski has become Rob Parker’s personal whipping boy. When I saw the link on the Detroit News’ Tigers page today with the headline “Dombrowski has failed”, I had no doubt that the column was written by Parker. In today’s column (which I refuse to provide a link to and strongly encourage you not to click on), he makes the following (typically) specious arguments:

The Jeff Weaver trade stinks, because Weaver is “clearly” a better pitcher than Jeremy Bonderman (despite the fact that Weaver had to wait until the eve of Spring Training to sign a contract, because he’s clearly such a valuable commodity), Carlos Pena isn’t “an impact player” (mainly, according to the article, because his batting average has dipped 13 points in his Tiger tenure… Never mind that his OBP has dropped only 7 points and his SLG has jumped 37 points), and Franklyn German stinks. OK, so he’s right on that last one.

We overpaid for Pudge Rodriguez, Troy Percival and Magglio Ordonez. Well, duh, but how much of the fault for this is laid on Dombrowski, and how much on Ilitch? It is public knowledge that Ilitch personally assisted (glad-handing, attending a dinner, and/or actively negotiating) in all three of these contracts.

Speaking of Magglio Ordonez, he has an “oft-injured knee.” (Back here in reality, rational people realize that it’s only been injured once, but the nature of the injury was severe enough that he had to miss significant time for it.) Further, Magglio Ordonez stunk last year because his HR and RBI totals were far below what he had averaged in his healthy White Sox years. Gotta wonder how many interviews Magglio will grant to Rob Parker this year. I’m setting the early over/under at 1, and I’ll be betting the under.

“Only one Dombrowski-built team has finished over .500 – the ’97 Marlins.” Well, in order for this statement to be true, you have to believe that Dombrowski had little to do with the success of the 1990 Expos. I went and looked it up. Yeah, he didn’t have much to do with the acquisition of their hitters (Dave Martinez was the only regular that was a Dombrowski transaction), but he was responsible for the presence of Oil Can Boyd, Kevin Gross and Zane Smith in the rotation, who collectively started 78 games and logged almost 500 IP with ERA’s of 2.93, 3.42 and 3.23, respectively (league-average ERA was 3.79), but a win-loss record of 25-25 (I include the won-loss record for Mr. Parker’s benefit, as that is probably all he would look at, anyways). In the bullpen were Dombrowski Rule V pick Bill Sampen, Steve Frey (over from the Mets in a trade), and free agent pick-ups Dale Mohorcic and Dave Schmidt, who collectively accounted for another approximately 250 IP, with ERA’s of 2.99, 2.10, 3.23 and 4.31, respectively. They accounted for 24 wins against 14 losses and 26 of the team’s 50 saves. In other words, Dombrowski’s pitching acquisitions accounted for over 50% of the team’s innings pitched, most of those quality innings.

Now, do I think the Tigers have a great season to look forward to? Not necessarily. We’re in a tough division, the other teams in our division are only getting better, and we have a recent history of playing poorly against them, and we have an unbalanced schedule staring us in the face. Plus, most of the improvement that the Tigers are looking for is basically an improvement by guys we already have. In some cases, we’re looking for performance improvements, and in others, we’re just looking for the player to stay healthy the whole year.

I’m not saying Dombrowski is some kind of a god and should be above criticism. On the other hand, the fact that Rob Parker actually has a say in the annual Hall of Fame balloting makes me ill, because he just clearly doesn’t get it.

Parker closes his column with this:

“So, when will Dombrowski’s team finally win?

‘I think we’re in a spot where we have to start producing on the field and win some ballgames,’ he said.

If not, Dombrowski should be shown the door.”

Therefore, I close with this thought:

If Rob Parker continues to have merely a passing acquaintance with reality in his baseball columns, he should not be allowed to write them any more.

Thank you for blasting Parker. He’s an idiot. What about our minor league system? Has that improved since DD’s been here? I rest my case.

Posted by Pete G on February 16th, 2006 at 7:25 pm

Let me preface by saying that of course Rob Parker doesn’t know what he’s talking about. There isn’t a single baseball writer in Detroit who really does.

Good point about the farm system, but still. Was there anywhere to go but up? Do we have a particularly promising farm system? No. There is little by way of position prospects. It’s getting somewhat better though, so good point, I suppose.

Dombrowski has made some completely indefensible free agent pickups. I agree that Ilitch at least partially deserves the blame for this, but still.

News flash: Ordonez will never match his totals from his prime years in Chicago for 2 reasons. One, Comerica Park is tougher for hitters, especially righties, and two, he is beyond his prime and fading. The money spent on his exorbitant contract is utterly wasted. Just watch the Tigers cry poor when they’re busy paying off the back end of that one. When that happens, I don’t want to hear anyone coming back with the whole “we’re-stuck-in-a-small-market/our-hands-are-tied” baloney in defense of Dombrowski. He is better than Randy Smith, but that is the faintest of allpossible praises.

Posted by Dan on February 17th, 2006 at 11:55 am

I have become attached to the Monday Tiger’s Extra in the News. This week’s was pretty lame. Then the Rob Parker gets printed. Dombrowski isn’t above reproach, but where would this team be had it remained under Randy Smith’s direction? My biggest beef with Parker is that in his Lion’s articles he quotes Dre Bly as if he is the voice of the entire roster and Parker is the mouthpiece to convey these messages. The Weaver vs. Bonderman debate is hilarious. Bonderman is only 23! I still think Pena may be a tradeable commodity at this point who may help them shore up an area of weakness come Spring Training.

Posted by steve on February 17th, 2006 at 1:44 pm

Finally see that I’m not alone in my opinion of Parker.

I flash back two years ago, the Tigers are coming off that horrid season and everyone is feeling good about the Tigers. Okay, most of us were ODing on happy dust…

But Parker predicts that the Tigers were going to be as bad as the 2003. Not almost as bad. Just as bad. (I believe he predicted 110 loses). Well, come summer when Tram and the boys beat his prediction, his response. “I told you they were bad and I was right.”


Posted by Mike on February 17th, 2006 at 7:46 pm

I’m fully on board with the “Parker is a hack” sentiment, but there one the that I do feel the need to say: at least in my mind, Dave Dombrowski is running low on time, and has run out of excuses. It’s high time for results, and I don’t mean our annual “will they crack the .500 mark” vigil.

Mr. Dombrowski, you’re on the clock.

Posted by Rob V. on February 19th, 2006 at 8:47 pm

Yeah, umm…that should read “there’s one thing that I do feel the need to say…”

I guess I tend to make typos when I’m seething.

Posted by Rob V. on February 19th, 2006 at 8:51 pm

I’ve thought for a long time now that Ilitch is making the key decisions and DD is just the unfortunate guy manning the position to carry them out. After all, Dombo had a pretty good pedigree coming here.

I think if Dave were left to his own devices — that is, running the team with autonomy — we would be in a better position to win sooner than we are now.

I would love to know, when it is all over, what the real story regarding decision-making on this team is.


Posted by Chuck Hildebrandt on February 20th, 2006 at 12:06 am

The idea that Ilitch is forcing Dombrowski’s hand doesn’t make much sense, and you hear it all the time. I do believe there is a certain amount of pressure on Dombrowski to lure free agents, but are you really sure that a GM would endlessly follow orders from above to the detriment of his product the way you’re saying Dombrowski has? What is the point of doing that? I understand that General Manager is a position with some prestige, but is it worth hanging onto if all you’re going to do is get your name dragged through the mud when the team plays like crap?

I understand your point, and like I said, I’m sure Dombrowski doesn’t have carte blance, but talking about him as though he is a puppet is silly.

He “had” to go out and get free agents, even if he had to overpay, supposedly, but calling Ordonez overpaid is an understatement. A totally undeserved deal was lavished on Ordonez for no goddamn reason.

Signing Kenny Rogers makes zero sense. It’s a bunch of money thrown at a guy for the purpose of, if everything goes well, winning 72 games instead of 67. You might as well flush the money down the toilet, because it doesn’t have the first thing to do with bringing a contender to Detroit.

Todd Jones had a career year last year, and his chances of repeating it are 1 times 10 to the impossible power. It is not going to happen.

I don’t care how much money you want to spend. Paying $12 million for Troy Percival reveals a baffling level of ignorance. He is guaranteed to get injured again almost instantly, and by this time next year, I predict, he will be retired.

Just awful. Say what you want about the prospects. They are getting better, but there are several moves by Dave Dombrowski that make zero baseball sense. I’m tired of watching the losing and hearing excuses. We needed a new stadium. We need revenue sharing. It’s garbage designed to veil the fact that no one knows how to do his job.

Posted by Dan on February 20th, 2006 at 6:06 pm

Parker is one of, if no THE worst, sportswriters ever. He should thatnk whatever he thinks is holy that Mitch Albom is around to make him look reasonably sane. Parker isn’t happy unless he’s calling for someone’s job. If Dombrowski qwere vlack, he’d be praising the job he did with the farm system. Stay tuned for the inevitable “The Tigers should hire Bob Watson” article from him.

Posted by Jim on February 22nd, 2006 at 9:00 pm

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