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What a Difference a Day Makes

Yesterday afternoon I returned to work after a week-long vacation. As I often do, I sought out my co-worker who is also a Tiger fan and started to discuss recent events with the team. At that time I had no prior knowledge about the injury sustained by Troy Percival this weekend. As we were discussing their current pitching staff, I made mention that I thought the Tigers had made an error by not re-signing Esteban Yan, who would be significantly cheaper than Ugueth Urbina. I also mentioned that I thought Yan had done pretty well, except when being asked to serve as the team’s closer. I also supported this idea by saying that Urbina’s trade value has done nothing but diminish since the season has started and the Tigers would have been better off trading him before the season. I am not afraid to say that I was incredibly wrong. Not only was I wrong, but I am thankful that the Tigers had Ugueth Urbina to insert into the closer role as opposed to Esteban Yan (or any one else on the roster for that matter). Urbina’s value may currently be increasing for other teams with his recent improved performances, but his value to the Tiger’s has now increased exponentially. My assumptions was based on my naive belief that somehow Percival would remain healthy throughout the entire season (at least most of it).

I should have known better to succumb to this type of unhealthy optimism. Not only has Percival logged a lot of miles on his arm as he has advanced in age, he is coming off of an injury-plagued 2004 season. We all acknowledged prior to the season that the acquisitions of Troy Percival and Magglio Ordonez were risky propositons at best. At this point, with hindsight, would these moves have been made? Do you think Dave Dombrowski may be sweating a little bit today? I give Double-D a lot of credit of having the courage to make the moves. Had these moves been successful, they very well may have been enough to nudge the Tigers closer to being a more competitive organization. Still, what type of long-term ramifications may these signings hold. They have a lot of money committed to Percival and Ordonez and a fifth of the way into the season, their is a little hope that either will be much of a contributor to the long term success of the team. Will these two players, due to the economic commitments made to them by the team, now just be impediments blocking the paths of valuable younger players who need big-league experience so that they may be given the chance to contribute? The Tigers are certainly no longer in a position where they can consider trading Triple U.(Urbina)

An even more interesting scenario has now arisen. What will Trammell do if Urbina thrives in the closer’s role and Percival is able to return from the DL before the end of the season? How can you re-insert a poor performing, injury-plagued, aging reliever back into the closer’s role? Especially, if by some miracle of chance the Tigers remain in contention upon his return, this will be an interesting, if not crucial decision. With the emergence of a more reliable Franklyn German, the impending return of Fernando Rodney, and the promotion of Chris Spurling, maybe Percival should be the arm that has become expendable. I hate to suggest that the Tigers should cut bait, but I am strongly suggesting that the Tigers must cut bait with Percival while they may still have the opportunity to do so, assuming Percival returns to health.

Two more things, I am REALLY pleased by the recent performances by the starting pitchers. If this continues they may have no need for Percival’s return. I know that Jason Johnson will have his ups and downs. I know that Mike Maroth will also have some poor outings from time to time. Still, with the recent slumping Tiger hitting, the starting pitcher’s have done a wonderful job keeping the the team competitive. Finally, will Carlos Pena ever realize the magnificent talent he appears to posess?

Hey, I just found this blog. I’m a longtime Tigers fan, though I’ve never lived in Detroit. My dad’s from there, I grew up in the D.C. area and hated the Orioles, and appropriated his favorite team on the afternoon of game 162 against the Blue Jays of the 1987 season. Little did I know that it would be such a tough life. But the redemption, when it comes, and it will, will be worth it.

That was a great post a couple of days ago about the Lost Years and the squandering of the Olde English D’s top tier importance in baseball history.

Just wanted to let you know you’ve got a new reader! Keep up the great work.

Posted by Fritz on May 10th, 2005 at 2:45 pm

interesting comments about percival. i am leaning toward the tigers really trying to move him for something if he can come back healthy sooner rather than later.
i like percival, think he has been a top tier closer and he deserves a high amount of respect BUT the reality of it is they have a lot of young options coming up that will need time very soon.
if nothing else i really like seeing the tigers be in a position of too many closer types on the team! sure beats the days of searching for one when there were none in the organization.

Posted by Nook Logan Fan on May 13th, 2005 at 12:19 pm

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