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Craig Monroe

Craig Monroe’s recent performance tells me he deserves a chance next year at being an everyday outfielder. Early in the year, many people wanted to write him off because he had become so ineffective against left-handed pitchers (a strength last season) and his power numbers had dropped so markedly. His recent tear gives him a decent opportunity to approach or match last years output and he now appears to be a more complete hitter overall.

I am also glad that the Tigers were unable to pull off the proposed Cliff Floyd for Bobby Higginson trade before the deadline. In essence, the Tigers would have 3 or 4 of the same player had they pulled the trigger on that trade. (Dmitri Young, Rondell White and Cliff Floyd are quite similar as players and you could argue that Monroe is very similar to them except for the fact that is he younger and more versatile)

By refraining from that trade, I think Monroe has a better shot at playing outfield next year full time while the Tigers will have to evaluate what they are going to do at 1st base, the entire outfield and 3rd base. I hate to suggest it, but they can’t exactly be pleased with this season’s offensive production by Dmitri Young, even considering his injury. He is a large man and we have seen many players who are big begin to break down more frequently from injury as the rigors of the sport and betrayal by their own body cause their careers to tail off. Do the Tigers at this point need an every day DH, when they have so many players they can use their? I really love Dmitri as a team leader and he had an excellent season last year. In the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world of professional sports the Tigers will be faced with some tough decisions this offseason.

Bobby Higginson has admittedly been an albatross in recent years. The fans have been quite merciless at games I have attended this season. In years past, when he was still in good favor with the local media these same fans would have supported him as the only recognizeable “Star” the Tigers possessed in their everyday line-up. I often grouseded at how overpaid he is (and still is). I have reverted to coming to his defense this year. Even with the low batting average and power numbers, I think he has been as valuable this year as in any previous just by understanding his role with the team, playing good defense (he leads the league in outfield assists), and by not striking out so much. That being said, I think the Tigers will officially be able to move on from the Randy Smith debacle when he is no longer brandishing the Old English “D”. They have already released Danny Patterson and in weeks Matt Anderson will be gone. It is time to make whatever trade possible to end his career in Motown. If there are no prospective trades, it may be advisable to eat that remaining year and use that roster spot next year for a developing player or an even more productive player.

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