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Trimming the Fat

With a day and change left in the regular season, the playoff picture is finally getting a little more clear. The American League teams are now set, as the Angels topped Oakland. They join the Twins, Yankees and Red Sox. The only issue is who’s playing who. The Twins game went into extra innings and had to be suspended because of a Gopher’s football game, and if they can pull it off, they’ll be tied with the Angels. The team that ends up with the better record plays the Red Sox. The lesser record plays the Yankees.

The National League is also clearing up. The Dodgers clinched the NL West with a win over the Giants, so they’re in. Barry Bonds walked three more times, and according to John over at Only Baseball Matters, he’s got a shot at breaking Babe Ruth’s “Times on Base” single season record. Despite this, his team’s post season chances are now in jeopardy, as the Astros are safely in front of the Rockies. If they hold on, the Giants need the Astros to lose, and they need to beat the Dodgers in order to force a one game playoff.

Got it? Well, it’s a whole lot less confusing then it was even a day ago.

In my mind, the biggest dissappointment were the Cubs. I really thought they’d do something once they got in the playoffs, and Mark Prior was simply incredible on Thursday. Of course Blade is taking credit for their demise (he seems to think he plays for the Reds or something), but it kind of comes down to a choke job. I can’t really talk though, because I root for a team that hasn’t made the post season in 17 years.

The Tigers had their 11th straight losing season. From 1978-1988, they had eleven straight winning seasons. Their next longest streak of losing seasons is four, which they did twice, so this really is a very low point for the franchise. Yes, we are improving, but, we also have a long way to go.

I’m happy to announce that I joined the Society of American Baseball Research. It’s not official yet because my membership hasn’t been processed, but this is something I’ve been leaning towards for quite some time. It was basically time constraints (which I kind of still have) that held me back. In anticipation of this, I’ve added some links to a few of SABR’s resources on the web. Excellent material

This weekend my wife was out of town, so it was father and son at home alone for the first time (over night, I’ve had him for some pretty long days). Tigers are up 5-1 in the seventh, so let’s hope they’ll hang on. Wins today and tomorrow mean a 30 game improvement from last year.

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Trimming the Fat?

The Tigers decided not to offer contracts to Andy Van Hekken and Ben Petrick, thus allowing them to become free agents.

Andy got off to a hot start by pitching a shut out in his first major league start in 2002. Unfortunately, he hasn’t pitched above AA since that season. I’m sure the guy in my sim-league regrets burning a first round pick on him.

And the only real deal the Tigers made around the trading deadline was trading Adam Bernero for Ben. At one time (showing how bad the Tigers were at times last year) Tram was batting Petrick in the leadoff spot, and had him playing centerfield. In my mind, Petrick’s value was directly related to how well, and how often, he played catcher. The fact that he only hit .225 didn’t help him either, since it was his bat that was supposed to be his greatest asset.

Of course they’re both expected to be offered minor league contracts, so we’ll see if they decide to come back.

And the rumor mill has quit stirring. Like some of the comments in my previous posts, there’s a very good chance the Tigers could be about $10 million lighter this year as far as payroll goes. The only thing more ironic then that has to be the fact that they’ll still be better.

God, I hope they’re better. Sigh.

And the last major deadline has come and gone. 58 Non-tender free agents were created. Some interesting names (wonder if Gabe Kapler or Randall Simon will find there way back). Scratch Redman off the list, since he signed a nice deal with Oakland. There’s definitely some interesting names, mostly second tier closers, like Mike Lincoln and Cliff Politte.

And the Tigers could always sign Lou Merloni, bringing the Lou chant back to Detroit.

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