Teams don’t usually make coaching moves at this time of year but that didn’t stop the Tigers from making an adjustment. Longtime Tiger Brandon Inge announced his retirement today after the Pittsburgh Pirates placed him on the disabled list to start the season because of the shoulder that put him down for a good part of the season last year. His new job will be as the Tigers hitting coach.
A polarizing figure for fans, it’ll be interesting to see what the fan reaction is to this news. Inge did have some decent seasons, hitting as many as 27 home runs twice, but his lifetime batting average of .234 and a lifetime OPS+ of 83 makes him interesting choice for this particular spot. Inge is also the Tigers all time leader in strikeouts with 1,189. He left the Tigers for the Athletics last year after the Tigers granted him free agency but now almost a year later he’s back with the team. I also hope he spends some time with Miguel Cabrera at third base because Inge was known more for his fielding than his hitting.
Inge will replace Lloyd Mclendon and while there has been no official announcement, my guess is he stays on with the Tigers in some capacity. He’s been with the Tigers since Jim Leyland joined the team and the hitting coach for the last seven seasons. He’s had his share of successes (namely Austin Jackson last year) but we’ve also seen some guys who have had a hard time turning the corner like Brennan Boesch. I think the move will come as a surprise just because it came out of nowhere.
The Tigers finally announced their fifth starter and I don’t think anyone saw this one coming. When he wasn’t working out at second base, the Tigers were secretly stretching out Brandon Inge on the mound of all places. Apparantly their initial goal was to use him as a reliever/defensive replacement but he seemed to take to the role so well that Inge was actually going to get a spot in the rotation once the Tigers need a fifth starter.
Of course this could still change if the Tigers made a trade. Drew Smyly was the odds on favorite at this point but it looks like the team would like to see him test his mettle at Triple-A. And speaking of the Mud Hens, how cool is it going to be for them to have Jacob Turner, Andrew Oliver, Smyly and Casey Crosby all on the same team.
Brandon is a guy that people seem to either love or hate. I’ve always been a fan but this may be one of the more interesting turns in his career. It seems like he’s been able to bounce back whenever the Tigers pick up someone to replace him on the field and that’s just one more example. You just have to wonder how this is going to affect his hitting, which has been subpar for the past couple of years.
The Tigers lost their season opener yesterday and while Justin Verlander threw a nice game (six solid frames), he threw 30 pitches in the first inning alone and he managed through 115 pitches through six innings. It’s not clear whether it was the early work, or whether it was the higher early pitch count in such cold weather, but there was some soreness and the Tigers aren’t taking any chances and he’ll get to visit with renowned orthopedic surgeon, Dr. James Andrews.
The pen let the Tigers down yesterday and Phil Coke’s outing was particularly troubling. Inge didn’t help with a throwing error but Ryan Perry came in to help but even he gave up one of the inherited runners left by Coke. The only guy to really get out of an inning unscathed was Dan Schlereth and even he threw a while pitch and let a Ryan Perry run score.
Brandon Inge was the lone Tiger with two hits. He singled and doubled. Miguel Cabrera went one for two with a walk, an RBI and two runs. There weren’t a lot of hitting stars with CC Sabathia on the mound and the Tigers managed just six hits in all.
As far as Verlander, let’s hope he’s okay. How would he be able to celebrate April Fools day with a bum arm?
I didn’t have a lot of time to go back and see if this has ever happened before, but the Tigers, Yankees and Diamondbacks rosters got turned on their heads this morning when it was announced that the Winter Meetings deal that sent Curtis Granderson to the Yankees and Edwin Jackson to the Diamondbacks was reversed because of tampering. They’re not saying which team did the tampering but it looks like at least one of the players in the trade may have had some contact with their prospective team well before the deal went through. How the league kept the claim under wraps for so long is a big surprise but an even bigger one is how this move will affect each of the three teams.
For the Tigers, I think it’s good short term. Austin Jackson showed some promise, but having Granderson back out there (along with Damon and Ordonez) helps the lineup. Short term I think Max Scherzer for Edwin Jackson is a wash (although I would have rather had Scherzer going forward). It does ding up the bullpen though. Phil Coke is gone so the Tigers are short one lefty out of the pen and while Dan Schlereth didn’t make the team, I think the Tigers were hoping he’d contribute with some seasoning down in the minors.
I’ll provide more details as they develop but this should make for an very ODD DAY.
It just keeps getting stranger in Detroit. Yesterday, the Tigers cut bait on Gary Sheffield and while that move was somewhat of a surprise, the Tigers have followed that up with a doozy. The Tigers announced this morning that they brought Juan Gonzalez out of retirement to be the team’s every day left fielder.
Apparantly he’s kept in shape, but this still has to be a questionable move. He hasn’t played in a big league game since 2005 when he played in just one game for the Indians. His last solid season was 2003 back with the Rangers and his last MVP season was over a decade ago in 1998 (he also won one in 1996).
Gonzalez played for the Tigers during Comerica Park’s inaugural season back in 2000 and it was kind of the end of the line for him. He was effective when he was on the field (.842 OPS) but he played in just 115 games that season. He later turned down a $144 million deal and nixed a trade that would have brought Alfonso Soriano to the Tigers.
Now he’ll be back in a Tigers uniform. It seems premature to just hand him the every day job, but his pedigree must be doing most of the talking. It’s also ironic that he’s 39, just one year younger then Sheffield, who’s played the past couple of years. It also looks like Marcus Thames is once again the odd man out because I’d expect Carlos Guillen to move into the full time DH role.
It looks like one at bat was enough. Clete didn’t make himself available for comment, but after belting a double in his only major league at bat, the young outfielder has announced his retirement. He’ll end his career with an impressive 1.000/1.000/2.000 line but now it looks like the Tigers will have to move on after the announcement.
My guess is, Timo Perez will get called up to take Thomas’ spot. Brent Clevlen is also an option as well as Freddy Guzman. It’s a strange start to a strange day so be sure to mark your calendar (no really, mark your calendar).
Now this came out of nowhere and man is this huge. With Kenny Rogers looking to miss at least three months of the season, the Tigers acted quickly to replace him in the rotation by signing sure thing Hall of Famer Roger Clemens to a one year, $22 million deal. I guess Clemens figured, why play for the Yankees when you can play for the team that beat the Yankees in the playoffs. On top of that, the Tigers threw a bunch of money at him and if the Tigers weren’t favorites before, they’re definitely at the top now. I haven’t heard whether there’s any weird travel clauses in his deal like Clemens had in Houston but regardless, the Tigers rotation just got much more solid.
Last year, Clemens made three or four minor league starts so Chad Durbin will probably fill in for a couple of weeks until Clemens can get back into the swing of things. Late April at the latest before we see him in a Tiger uniform. And how cool is it that Clemens might be going for win number 350 in Comerica Park.
This is definitely a historic day in Tiger history. Mark your calendar. Better yet, check your calendar. What day is it?
Needless to say, this took my by surprise when I saw it this morning. Everyone’s read about the Yankee’s pitching woes. At one point heading into the spring, they had seven possible starters. Two of those are starting the season on the DL and two others are dinged up. Their ace is 42 years old and had a bad back. So I’m not completely surprised they pulled the trigger on a deal to get them some more pitching.
I am a little surprised that the Tigers would take on this much payroll, unless there’s some cash involved in the deal that I don’t know about. I also wonder whether Mike Ilitich believes that the star power of A-Rod will put fans in the seats and that the two time MVP will pay for himself.
I’m also a little bummed because I always liked Brandon Inge. He was a great story in 2004, when after being given up for dead after the Pudge signing, he turned himself into a Tony Phillips esque utility and finally settled in at third base, where I project he’ll win his first gold glove. He didn’t hit nearly as well in 2005, but at least his numbers were respectable.
If I had to guess, Joel Zumaya will now move into the rotation. The Tigers don’t need a fifth starter until mid-April, and they’re probably hoping Aaron Small is ready by then. Small had an interesting season last year. He came out of nowhere and finished 10-0 witha 3.20 ERA, but many feel he’s set to come back down to earth. He doesn’t strike out many guys and his walk rate isn’t all that great either, but as a back of the rotation starter, he’s not that bad.
Sounds like physicals are being done today so the trade can be finalized before each team opens up the season.
And if you made it this far, check your calendar, because it’s April Fools Day.