I’ve gotten enough email about this and heard enough about it on talk radio to figure out Ivan Rodriguez’s complaints about the team have taken center stage. In addition, Alan Trammell has come under fire for the cliff this team has fallen off of. The two go hand in hand, so they’re worth disecting together.
What Ivan Rodriguez is doing is wrong. Plain and simple. It’s one thing to try to call your team out and inspire them, but what Pudge is trying to do is bring the team down. I know he’s had a rough season, both on and off the field, but what he’s done since the Farnsworth trade (openly criticize teammates and his coaches) is inexcusable. More so because he can’t even back up what he’s talking about. Maybe when he says the team sucks, he should be looking in the mirror when he says it, because his season hasn’t gone as well as season’s past.
He does lead the team in hitting, but he has a grand total of 49 RBIs. And this is for a guy who’s hacking at anything. Eight more strikeouts and he has a career best, and his .759 OPS is his worst in over a decade. The only thing that’s improved of late is his defense. To date, he has 12 Fielding Runs Above Average, which is his best since 2001. Three more and he’ll have his best fielding season since 1999.
Not to mention how guys like Brandon Inge and Craig Monroe, who have been with the team all season (really the only regular starters besides Pudge who hasn’t missed some kind of substantial time or gotten benched), must feel when they’re told by a future Hall of Famer that they suck. I doubt if they appreciate being told they don’t play the right way.
So, either Pudge is trying to get Tram out (and he’s going about it in a poor way) or he’s trying to get out of Detroit. I think it’s the later, but he has to remember that two years ago, nobody wanted him. We were his only suitors. And now he’s biting the hand that’s fed him.
Which brings me to Tram. I still feel, because of some misguided loyalty to what he did for the team in the 1980s, that he should be given one more year. He’ll have to contend with Pudge because I doubt if we’ll be able to unload him. I think that will be as big of a test as any. I think managment has to address the team’s needs (starting pitching and a quality left handed bat) and give Tram the tools to win. Let him fail without excuses.
Toledo is playing game three of their playoff series with the Indianoplis Indians. They’re up 2-0 and a win tonight will give them the Governor’s Cup. Unfortunately there’s a rain delay, so we might have to wait another night.