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Spring Training, Roger Clemens and the WBC

Nate Robertson was having a very good spring. In his first two starts he gave up only one unearned run in five innings. Yesterday against the Twins, he gave up eight hits and seven runs (four earned) in only two innings of work. If the Tigers are going to have any chance of being good this year, they need solid pitching up and down their rotation for the entire year. Robertson’s done well the last two years in the first half but then has dropped off in the second. Hopefully he can get over that hump this year.

Brent Clevlen has had an exceptional spring. While I don’t have the box score for this afternoon’s game (the Tigers just lost 3-1 to the Jays), Clevlen’s eight for nineteen with two doubles and a team leading three homeruns. He also has five walks next to five strikeouts. Not that we need yet another outfielder, but in a lot of ways it makes the Magglio Ordonez signing that much more excessive. Brandon Inge (.400/.478/.650 in 20 at bats) and Marcus Thames (.304/.360/.652) have also hit the ball well. Inge’s stats don’t include his first homerun of the spring, which he hit off of James Baldwin today.

First it’s Barry Bonds and now it’s Roger Clemens. I’m not sure who Jeff Passan is and I’m sure he’s a top notch journalist, but this column kind of irked me. Passan is basically telling us that the best pitcher of our generation, and possibly ever, should just “end the charade” and call it quits. I also thought that bringing Clemens wife into it wasn’t appropriate. And I don’t understand how it’s a charade. Maybe I’m missing the point so it could be me.

A lot of people tend to forget that the Astros started this by not offering Clemens arbitration. Had they done that, odds are things would have been resolved by now, but the Astros weren’t willing to play their hand. The way I look at it, if Clemens comes back, that’s great because I’ll get to see one of the greatest pitchers to ever lace them up pitch again, even if it is just on television. Although Houston comes to town in late June so maybe Clemens will make a curtain call. And I know he might not even travel with the team if he’s with the Astros, but whatever.

And if he decides to call it quits, that’s fine too. If he quits, then comes back, then that’s also fine, because who the heck am I to say what Roger Clemens should or shouldn’t do.

Today’s a fun day because the WBC is on all day (although I have to run out to get some errands done soon). In what could be a huge upset, Cuba is taking it to a stacked Venezuela team and is now on top 7-0 in the seventh. Omar Vizquel couldn’t convert a double play in the fifth that would have ended the inning with a 2-0 score. Then the next batter hit a three run shot and that was followed up with a solo shot. Costly error. I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m really enjoying the WBC. There’s been some great games and they have drama. It’s not what I’m used to in March.

Spoke too soon. Endy Chavez just hit a two run shot and it’s now 7-2. Of course if you can’t get to a TV, you can follow the action at Baseball Musings. David’s doing a great job of commenting on the games as they happen.

Todd Jones pithed today for team USA. I think this guy throws meatballs, and this was a bad signing by the Tigers. They obviously didnt learn from the last time they had him. Look for Jones to blow many save opportunities in April and demoralize the Tigers confidence and the fans as well

Posted by Darryl on March 12th, 2006 at 8:47 pm

They signed a 36-year old player who just had his best season. Does anyone in the front office read Baseball Prospectus?

It’s certainly possible that Todd Jones has another season like last year’s. The point is that it is highly unlikely. This team is run by idiots.

Posted by Dan on March 13th, 2006 at 11:07 am

While not specifically on topic, Granderson is quietly having a nice spring and more inportantly Logan is having a terrible time at the plate (plus a 3 error game). I hope this stops any ideas that Leyland had about giving Logan a lot of playing time. Granderson is not a top notch prospect, but I think he has the potential to be an average to above average major leaguer. The team needs to give me consistent playing time to either allow his development to continue or to find out that he is not going to be an answer.

Posted by Ryan on March 13th, 2006 at 12:22 pm

It’s times like these, when someone who projects to be at least a quality major league regular is jerked around for no good reason, that should remind us how far we are from actually being good. We have some good young players, and the farm system has greatly improved, but it takes more than that. Only in coin-flip situations should everyday jobs be won or lost in March. This is not one of them. Granderson has hit at every level, and the rate at which he is adjusting is a very good sign indeed. Nook Logan has never been a productive player. Period. I hate that we have to sit and watch baloney like this. Here’s hoping Jim Leyland gets over his absurb speed fetish.

Posted by Dan on March 13th, 2006 at 2:11 pm

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