« | »

Tropicana Field and the Chicago White Sox

We’re back from our trip, and while it was relatively stressful at times, overall it was a very nice time.  My son got to meet Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Stitch, as well as a handful of other characters, and along the way, we made a stop at Tropicana Field to see the Devil Rays play the Toronto Blue Jays.  We sat just outside the new picnic area that the new managing partner had installed this year and overall, it was a nice park for being indoors.  My wife loved the fact that it was air conditioned and with the Devil Rays second to last to their Florida brethren Marlins in attendance, it made for decent family experience because it wasn’t too crowded.  I was impressed with the fans that were there, even if it was a pretty sparse crowd.  My family left early and I moved up to around the third base line after that and had a pretty good view of the rest of the game.

Just a couple of things of note, there’s no upper deck in right field but the upper deck along the first base line goes way up.  It’s pretty assymetrical.  Reed Johnson opened up the game with a homerun on the second pitch and then he homered again in the ninth to cap off a career day.  This is worth noting because I picked up Johnson for my fantasy because I’m short on runs and Johnson was my best option at the time.  I rewarded him by dropping him this week in favor of a hot Matt Kemp out in LA.

The Tigers play three in Chicago against the White Sox starting today.  Nate Robertson kicks things off against Freddy Garcia and hopefully the Tigers can set the stage by winning tonight.  A sweep would be huge and would give us a 5 1/2 game lead, although even if we drop two of three, we’ll still be in first place.  Neither the White Sox nor the Tigers have been playing great, so it seems like whoever can pick themselves up first will go a long way towards gaining ground in the division.

I’m going to stand by what I said in my column about Todd Jones being the closer.  I know he blew Friday night’s game, but that’s going to happen regardless of who we have in there.  Mariano Rivera has two losses and one blown save, and Todd Jones has two blown saves and three losses, although on Friday he had one of each.  It happens to the best and worst closers and all I was trying to say was, I’d rather have Jones coming in where a couple of hits won’t hurt him versus bringing him in with runners on in a key situation in one of the later innings.

And I did write this with the assumption that we were stuck with Jones.  I argued against spending $5 million per on him when it happened and while he hasn’t been “horrible” this year, he hasn’t yet warranted the salary.

How many “near blown saves” has jones gotten this year. There is a reason he is called the rollercoaster. It seems that the tying run is always at the plate. You may say that he hasnt been horrble this year. But I say he has been horrible his entire career. He had one breakout lucky year last season. That was a fluke and he will obviously bend back to his normal horrid self as of this season. Lets talk about Monroe though. Leyland has some balls to write his name in the line day in and day out. Have you noticed that Monroe never ever sits? he plays ever game!!! I’m tired of hearing people say that “the ball sounds different off his bat.” he sucks! Thames should be playing left. He can actualy hit. move him to left and go get a heavy hitting DH. enough already! Dan and I will be at the tigers game to night here in chicago.

Posted by Michael on June 6th, 2006 at 5:52 am

That’s exactly my point Michael. I’d rather have Jones come in with nobody on in the ninth, give up two hits, and save nine of ten (which he’s been doing the past couple of years), then have him brought in during a really key situation (say game tied, two men on in the seventh or eighth) where you know his chances of success are pretty low.

We’re stuck with him, and I think how he’s being used (closer) is the best possible job for him because it can be forgiving.

As far as Monroe and Thames, there’s no argument there. The only thing I hope is, Monroe hits a hot streak and we can get something for him. Maybe package both he and Jones somewhere, although it would surprise me to see the Tigers trade Jones to the Braves and Monroe to the Yankees.

Here’s a question. If we trade Jones at the deadline, are we actually “sellers.” I think the public perception would be that we’re trading someone helping us in our run this year, where as most of us would look at it as possible addition by subtraction.

Posted by Brian on June 6th, 2006 at 6:12 am

Brian, you’re missing the point entirely. Jones should not be brought into the game in the highest-leverage situations unless at least Zumaya and Rodney have already been spent. I suspect that you already have been trying to say this in so many words, but you absolutely refuse to admit that Jones is not a good pitcher. You just don’t want to back down.

No more discussion on this issue. Jones sucks. Period. Yes, closers are going to blow saves, but would you not agree, Brian, that a better closer will likely blow FEWER saves? Do you seriously want to argue otherwise?

This is pointless. No matter how much a player sucks you will always get people coming in and saying that they think he is fine even though there is zero evidence that he is “fine”. Look at Jones’ stats, Brian. Look at his age, and look at his track record. Waste of money.

Posted by Dan on June 6th, 2006 at 6:22 am

Look! Actual Stats!

Pitcher Svs BSvs BSv/Sv
Ryan 13 1 .076
Jones 16 2 .125
Rodney 7 1 .142
Wagner 14 3 .214
Farnsworth 1 4 4.000

Please note that the above pitchers are the options that the Tigers looked at for closers last year. While Ryan has blown only one save he has three less saves. In four more chances, he could blow another and tie Jones.

Equalized for forty saves you get

Ryan 40 3.0 .076
Jones 40 5.0 .125
Rodney 40 3.3 .142
Wagner 40 8.4 .214
Farnsworth 40 160 4.000

Also the top ten in save chances are averaging 2.4 blown saves. They are as a group blowing .155 per save or 6.2 blown saves equalized over 40 saves. Five of those closers have three or more blown saves. Believe it or not, but Jones is actually blowing fewer saves then most top relievers. Now, if you want to go in denial and claim that the two blown saves by Jones is actually greater than the four that Jason Isringhausen has for St. Louis feel free.

Just remember that no matter how fine a player is, someone will say he sucks without actually comparing him to anyone other than a couple of hall of famers.

Posted by Mike F on June 6th, 2006 at 7:30 am

Typo in a chart above. Rodney would have 5.3 blown saves equalized for forty saves not 3.3.

Posted by Mike F on June 6th, 2006 at 7:35 am

You’re right, Mike. Todd Jones is a better pitcher than Fernando Rodney.

Saves is a statistic that measures usage pattern more than anything else. It is almost completely useless for evaluating player performance.

20 IP, 7 K, 4 BB, 1.55 WHIP

26 IP, 26 K, 13 BB, 0.91 WHIP

A few too many walks, but Todd Jones is not half the pitcher Fernando Rodney is. This comparison is a joke. As a matter of fact, every pitcher you listed above is far better than Todd Jones. Are you kidding me?

Posted by Dan on June 6th, 2006 at 8:18 am

Mike F, sorry, I just wrote you back, but I went back to look at your post again, and it is startling that you would use the table you used above. I mean, are you out of your mind?

Todd Jones is a shitty pitcher. Okay sorry, maybe he’s average.

Maybe not. Probably not, actually.

If you want to argue about how “fine” Todd Jones is, let’s do it. You are in way over your head.

Posted by Dan on June 6th, 2006 at 8:20 am

I have to agree with dan. when you look at todd jones by the numbers you will see why he sucks. He is a closer who cannt strike anyone out. He walks too many and gives up hits. that is why most of his saves come with the tying run already on base. Rodney strikes out a hitter an inning. he has a litney of pitchers that he can go to. You are using the same crooked mentality that is used to evaluate Monroe. You look at the fact that he might pop 20 homers, but you ignore his OBP and his average. Both are, and always have been, completely brutal.

Posted by Michael on June 6th, 2006 at 8:34 am

Talk about beating a dead horse, I think we all know Jones is not an elite pitcher and besides last year hasn’t even been near average. I think the point Brian is making is that Jones is signed and here so he has to pitch. I would rather have our best ptichers (read Rodney and Z-man) come in in tight situations in the 6, 7 and 8th innings to allow a save opportunity to Jones. Jones has less of a chance of screwing something up if all he has to do is pitch the 9th.

Posted by Ryan on June 6th, 2006 at 12:49 pm

Not when we’re winning by one run, Ryan. I agree with you, though, for the most part. And if it’s beating a horse so be it, but I don’t think it’s dead. Bullpen mismanagment is rampant in major league baseball, and I don’t want to be a fan of one of the culprit teams. This crap has got to go, and we have to start using guys based on their quality, not how much they are being paid. I’ve already made the point on this site, many times over, that we grossly overpaid for Jones and, incredibly, people argued with me about it. Please. As soon as people start looking at FACTS instead of how they choose to FEEL about something, I’ll stop beating a dead horse.

Jones is not a very good pitcher. Go ahead, keep disagreeing with me. We’ve had well over a decade of futility because people wouldn’t look at simple facts such as these. Jones is not a very good pitcher, and he shouldn’t be pitching when the team is up by one run, tied, or down by one run when we have better pitchers on the bench. Are you people going to seriously keep arguing with me about this?

Give Jones some work when we’re up by 3, up by 4, or up by two against a crappy offense. Otherwise, leave him in the bullpen and let the better pitchers do the work. We lost that game against because Todd Jones came in, in my opinion. Of course, no one can say that we would not have lost it othewise, but our chances of losing it would have been less. Are you guys starting to understand this concept?

Posted by Dan on June 6th, 2006 at 1:33 pm

And before you respond to what I’m saying, if you choose to, stop and ask yourself WHY you’re responding the way you are. Are you arguing just to argue? I sincerely believe, based on the stunning defense of Todd Jones (Todd F-ING Jones!), that many of you don’t even know what you’re arguing about or why you’re arguing.

When it comes down to it, you are defending the use of Todd Jones in late-and-close situations where the leverage index is extremely high. Many of you are clumsily “defending” Brian, who’s point in the first place was not that Jones is a great pitcher but that having him pitch in close games in the 9th inning is better than having him pitch both the 7th and the 8th. In general, he’s right, but in my opinion he was being too easy on Jones and on Tiger managment, who I believe are using Jones in these situations in deference to a stupid statistic that doesn’t mean anything and to his large paycheck. My point is that Jones should be used when Jones is the best option and NEVER otherwise. If you think Jones is a good option for late-and-close situations then, well, I don’t know what to tell you. You have a screw loose, and you don’t know anything about evaluating player performance.

You have to underdstand that Jones is being put into these situations because the Tigers, for various reasons, think of him as a “closer”. They do this because of name recognition, age, paycheck, team history, and facial hair. It’s bullshit, and it has nothing to do with running a baseball team optimally. People who haven’t read up on the subject and can’t think critically tend to buy into it because it’s repeated over and over on ESPN and in every newspaper. Look beyond the facial hair people. He doesn’t strike anyone out, which means he’s very hittable. About 30% of balls in play that aren’t homers go for hits, and when you’re striking out 3 per 9 innings this is a problem, and it’s probably why Mike Lowell and Kevin Youkilis were able to do what they did. They had a one-run lead, so it didn’t take much. One of Jones’ strong points is supposed to be that he keeps the ball in the ballpark, so this would make him a safer choice when we’re up by 3 or 4 runs and they likely need a big homer. Up by 1 against a team that scores nearly 6 runs a game is not a good time for Jones. Not for the 7th, not for the 8th, and not for the 9th (or the 5th or 6th for that matter). Why? He won’t be good enough often enough.

Rodney strikes out 9 per 9 innings, and Zumaya something like 10 or 11. Each has a far far better chance of striking out Lowell and/or Youkilis (who gets into a lot of deep counts), and you don’t have to worry about a 2-run homer as often. Go look at the batting averages against these pitchers and then come back here to tell me you want Jones in there with a one-run lead.

Let’s talk about something else. Nobody listens anyway.

Posted by Dan on June 6th, 2006 at 1:52 pm

To quote Dan, “…but would you not agree, Brian, that a better closer will likely blow FEWER saves?”

To quote Dan, “Saves is a statistic that measures usage pattern more than anything else. It is almost completely useless for evaluating player performance.”

In short, Saves are a great statistic to prove what Dan wants, but are a bad stat when then show Dan might be wrong. A pitcher who strikes out a ton of batters and blows saves is not a good a pitchers (Farnsworth) as my father the Cubs fan will tell you. Jones is doing an average job as a closer measured by the number of chances he blows, but he doesn’t look like a closer or strike out batters like a closer, so he must be crappy. Rodney who would have about the same number of blown saves, does look like a closer, so he’s great! You can’t have it both ways.

Keep in mind , Jones is only a temperory measure. Two years and he’s gone. If Rodney or Zumaya continue to develope, he will be out of the closers role by this time next year. Both Wagner and Ryan are locked into huge five year contacts (read Dimtri and Maggs) that are going to weigh the Phils and Blue Jays down towards the end. Even money ssys that the Tigers would have needed to pull out seven years to get either, and everyone would have been pissing and moaning about that contract.

Also, keep in mind that Zumaya did a damn good impression of Jones the inning before the blown save, with only a great catch by Granderson preventing a double to tie the game. If Jones had done that it would be proof he sucked, but since Zumaya did it if proves he’s a better pitcher. Like I said, you can’t have it both ways.

Posted by Mike F on June 6th, 2006 at 2:08 pm

the defense of todd jones based purely on the number of saves and save percentage is laughable at best. the tigers are winning a lot of ballgames, so jones has had a bunch of save opportunities. the fact that he’s only blown 2 saves is largely luck.

just look at jones’ numbers, forgetting the face that he’s a closer. just think of him as a pitcher, and compare him to any other pitcher. his stats (WHIP, ERA, etc.) are terrible.. they wouldn’t be acceptable for a pitcher in any other role (starter, set-up, middle relief) aside from mop-up guy.

ask yourself what pitcher couldn’t go one inning a night and do what jones is doing. just about any other pitcher in the league could have done the job that jones has done this year. jones has protected some 3 run leads for one inning. big deal. most mlb pitchers can do that. the way closers are used these days is dumb. they are paid boatloads of money to pitch in what are often times very low leverage situations for usually 1 inning.

the bottom line is the tigers have at least 3 better options out of the pen. i don’t care who the closer is, because saves are a stupid stat and i don’t think there is any super mythical quality that makes you able to pitch the 9th inning. i want the tigers to use their best options in the highest leverage situations, those usually being zumaya, rodney, walker (and spurling if they ever keep him on the team). who ever ends up finishing the game means very little to me.

Posted by Kyle on June 6th, 2006 at 4:17 pm

The points that you raise are valid. In short, Jones’ slightly above average performance is a matter of luck, but he hasn’t blown more than average saves yet.

I checked a stated fact “Jones blows more saves than other pitchers” and found that in wasn’t true. Jones actually has blown fewer saves than other closers if you equalize to the same number of saves. The non-fact was used to support the statement that “Jones sucks.” If blown saves are a measure of “suckitude” as was ORIGINAL suggested, Jones is doing okay. But to turn around and argue that saves are irrelevant when you stated that they were shows a lack of integrity.

Posted by Mike F on June 6th, 2006 at 5:08 pm

I’d like to take this opportunity to resort to an ad hominem attack, because I don’t have time to respond. Mike F, you are an idiot.

Posted by Dan on June 7th, 2006 at 12:49 pm

On second thought, forget it. I give up. You’re right, Mike F. Todd Jones is a very good pitcher and a real go-to guy.

Posted by Dan on June 7th, 2006 at 1:15 pm

Post a comment

Tigers Resources
Baseball Historians
Minor League Blogs
Search TigerBlog

Send email
Your email:



Swag of the Moment
coffee mug swag

Show the love! Pick up your very own TigerBlog coffee mug or other item from the TigerBlog Store today!
Historical Baseball Sites
Tiger / Detroit Sites
Reference Sites
General Baseball Sites
Archives by Month
Archives by Category
Powered by