Tuesday, August 02, 2005

TURBULENCE ON THE TIGERS SHIP

The Seattle Mariners and Oakland A's did not end the Tigers season by beating them five of six games during a recent western swing.
The Tigers season ended when closer Kyle Farnsworth was sent to Atlanta for a pair of mid-level prospects.
The deal angered the dressing room. Guys fumed and grumbled to teammates that the Tigers were not committed to winning. A quality closer is one of the most difficult things to find. Farnsworth was solid the past month. That is not enough time to give him a seal or approval.
But teammates felt he could help them this season and in 2006.
Players are questioning Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski, chief among them catcher Pudge Rodriguez. The Tigers promised him they'd increase payroll and make a commitment to winning. They've done that for the most part.
But a dangerous signal was sent by management that as soon as it felt the season was out of reached it traded away a high profile player that teammates liked and respected. The Tigers brought in the future again, rather than play for the present or near future.
It did not sit well with players, some who grumbled that they want out.
It will be interesting to see how the Tigers play the following weeks. My guess is they will not finish anywhere close to .500.
The dive might not come immediately. But it is coming. A sign may have come during the Tigers dismal western swing.
Guys are questioning management. More questions are sure to follow.
Chief among them is does Pudge turn private talks of wanting a trade into a demand of management. He has not done that yet. But it is something to look out for.

20 Comments:

Blogger billionaire said...

Clerical issue
Terry reread your post on steroids me and trrw posed some interesting points that needs your attention.

As far as the tigers they should really look at the mirror. If you want to be taken seriously then you should not go 1 for 5 on the west coast. Also they did sign Palanco which I think they felt Farnsy was not going to be apart of the future. You have got to look at the past to move forward. Farnsy has had that history of missing the plate check his cub stats. Plus when Ugy was traded folks were salty especially Mike but as you can see the tigers got the better end of the deal. I am not a baseball fan other than it brings business to the local bars however I do know something about a winner and loser and the tigers are still losers although they will cross into the winner circle at some point. Trammell my Arrow is already in the bow ready to be shot.

I hope folks picked the right 18 to move on in city council and pretty soon I can start blasting away at the ex Mayor Kilpatrick

8:27 PM

 
Anonymous Larry from Detroit said...

Hey Terry.....I called in to the show earlier today.......you said I was crazy and even called me Kwame Kilpatrick man! I can deal with the crazy part....but you didn't have to call me Kwame man!(voted for McPhail today, by the way).

Anyway, since you obviously don't see where I'm coming from, let me elaborate to try to bring you over to my side on this one:

First off, I don't think this was a bad deal for the Tigers. It wasn't NECESSARILY a good deal. But I think it is average at worst. Yes trading Farnsworth was raising the white flag for this season - But after the road trip they had, they already tied the rope to the flagpole and began the process! DD just finished up the job.

If it was obvious Farnsworth wanted to test the free agent waters, I think it was sensible for the Tigers to get whatever they could for him. And as I said on the show earlier today: "It's just as likely right now as it was 5 days ago that Farnsworth will be a Tiger on Opening Day 2006".

I know you didn't like that, based on Farnsworth going from Detroit to Atlanta. Thing is, it's neither unprecedented nor far fetched. From what I've read, he didn't dislike it here, he just was determined to test his free agent value. Also, if you look back a couple of years ago, Baltimore traded Sidney Ponson to the Giants for 3 minor league pitchers. Ponson was a free agent in the off-season and went right back to the Orioles. The Orioles had perennially been in 4th in the AL East, and the Giants at that time had been near the top every year. But Ponson elected to go back to Baltimore.

I think the Tigers not physically being in possession of Farnsworth at the end of the season has little bearing on their ability to sign him, especially since it wasn't a particularly nasty or ill-willed breakup between the two.

Also, you can't have it both ways. On one hand, fans say that the Tigers astute realization that they weren't going to re-sign Farnsworth was a sign that they were a "loser organization" because they did not have the confidence that they could re-sign him.

Yet when presented with my statement that they have an equal chance now as 5 days ago (and Doug Karsch made a similar argument later) everyone says "Are you crazy? The Tigers are losers, why would anyone come back????" Who has the loser mentality now?

If the criterion for the ability of an organization to be a "winning organization" is confidence in resigning players (and I'm not sure that should be part of the criteria, but that's another discussion), then we should all be confident that the Tigers can sell themselves in the off-season and don't have to resort to risking letting Farnsworth walk away for nothing because they're afraid if he goes somewhere else he'll see how bad Detroit is.

The players don't live in bubbles....if he was determined to hit the market, then whatever he discovered in the off-season he was gonna discover whether he ended the season in a Braves uniform or a Tigers uni.

At least the Tigers made an effort to salvage something....and the guys they got MIGHT be hot garbage, but they also might be pretty good, and if the latter is the case, then we made out pretty good. And if the only cost for doing so was giving up on a season that was already dead.....it's one I'm willing to pay.

I think DD has this organization running full speed in the right direction and I don't think the players are justified in the least for rocking the boat because ultimately it's their fault for doing so much losing out West. They have to look in the mirror.

9:12 PM

 
Anonymous Brian said...

Terry,

I must admit I was very upset when I saw this deal was made. I don't care about Farnsworth wanting to test free agent waters or what not. This guy was pitching lights out and earned his spot. It doesn't matter if the Tigers weren't going to make the playoffs. What matters is there was a new respect for this team and the progress they have made by there aquisitions such as Farnsworth. You can see that the air has been let out of the balloon after this trade.

So long 2005 MLB season.

12:04 AM

 
Blogger The_Real_Right_Way said...

The Heat have launched a mega deal. I have never been much of an Antwone Walker fan, but I think he will make them better. Jason Williams is a nice improvement at point guard. They had trouble getting the ball up the floor last year. Posey can give their starters a rest and play some hellacious defense.

Overall, I hate to see Eddie Jones go but, the Heat just got better.

Being that the series was close last year, how will the Pistons answer?

12:25 AM

 
Blogger PERALES said...

Screw Farnsworth, the real issue here is Pudge. I've been his biggest supporter since his days in Texas and I was ecstatic when I heard he actually signed with the lowly Tigers. But when we trade away our most promising players, it only shows Pudge that we're not committed to winning now. Pudge isn't getting any younger and I think he's been fleeced by DD. Dumb-rowski assured Pudge he would be surrounded by the pieces to win and now that's all changed.

I support Pudge completely and if he wants out at season's end then we should applaud him for all that he's done for us while he was here. DD doesn't realize that one of the major selling points to the top Latin free-agents is that a ball club have a all-star Latin player on the team already. When Pudge leaves we're going to have an even more difficult time signing free-agents.

We Love Pudge. Screw DD and the Tigers, I'm moving to whatever city Pudge plays for next year.

7:33 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Atlanta definitely has a leg up on resigning Farnsworth, however, at this point they will NOT be using him as the closer, instead using him as their setup man.

If his goal is to be a closer and he isn't given that opportunity in Atlanta, then the odds increase that he will go elsewhere, giving Detroit a legitimate shot. Of course if Rodney pitches well and shows he can get the job done, moot point.

Frank

7:36 AM

 
Blogger dt said...

T -

You know I love you guys, but do you all have sources on this one or are you just speculating on the silence from Pudge. I'm pretty sure neither of you was in Seattle when the deal went down so you must have talked to some players or fellow reporters since then, right?

Look, the Tigers aren't going anywhere with Alan Trammell as manager and THAT is what the players know. But in spite of Tram's glaring weaknesses as a manager, the players - led by DY and Pudge - have managed to keep this team somewhat focused and together. For that, they should be commended.

But if the Farnsworth deal is the straw that rips them apart, then screw 'em, because that just an excuse.

Pudge Rodriguez is being paid $ 10 million a year to be the face of this organization and he needs to remember that an be grateful. He needs to remember that there is a very slight market in MLB for a steroid free Pudge. Since last year's All-Star game, he is hitting .292 with 16 HR and 66 RBIs in 578 ABs. He has struck out 103 times in that time while walking only 25. He is the one not pulling his weight (even at 30# less!), not Tigers' management.

Farnsworth was NOT going to be the difference on this team between a Wild Card and not. The lack of offense and defense is where this team falls short - and that's where guys like DY and Pudge need to just shut up and produce - something neither of them have done to their capabilities or their contracts all year.

Of course, this is all just speculation on my part! ;o)

7:50 AM

 
Blogger dt said...

Hey perales - name the list of "most promising players" we have traded away since Pudge got here. If Farnsworth was intent on leaving, then we should commend DD for getting a major league arm in return. He certainly wan't going to be the difference between a Wild Card and not. The West Coast swing last week proved that.

Pudge needs to shut up and remember that no one in baseball will pay $ 10 million and year for a 185# Pudge. HE - and others' his lack of production - are more responsible for this team remaining under .500 than Tigers' management. (Check out Pudge's stats since last All Star game in my other post if you don't yet believe.)

7:56 AM

 
Blogger dt said...

... and, oh by the way, if the Tigers DO make one of their patented "mail-it-in" nosedives again this year, that should be it for Trammell.

So maybe's there IS a bright side to all of this!

7:58 AM

 
Blogger T Foster said...

It is up to you to believe me on this one. I have a very good source on this. If it were not true Pudge would have said so. But he does not want to lie. He is angry and upset. When reporters approached him he grew angry and told them to talk to Dombrowski or Tram.
Trust me on this one. Pudge is not happy with the move. I am sure the Tigers will be hearing from him more.
and yes I was not in Seattle. But I know people who were in Seattle. There is a ton of stuff I suspect and have said nothing about. This one is true

8:14 AM

 
Blogger T Foster said...

Sometimes I ask you guys to trust me. this is one of them.

8:16 AM

 
Blogger dt said...

Thanks T - I'm witcha on this one.

I still don't think DD makes the deal if the Tigers go 5-1 on the WC swing, rather than 1-5 and I still think the OFFENSE has more to do with that than the closer.

My point is that the Tigers have underperformed all year and it is NOT the fault of upper management. The men in the clubhouse - beginning with Tram, Gibby and including Pudge, DY, Inge, Infante and the pitching staff - need to step up, accept some resonsiblity, become accountable, and stop looking for excuses.

This should NOT be a sub-.500 ballclub.

Period.

Thanks again (and I certainly didn't mean to impugn your integrity. Sorry about that if that's how it came off.)

8:39 AM

 
Blogger PERALES said...

dt,

You do make a good point that Pudge's production has dropped this year and I can't dispute the accusations of steriods but my point goes beyond his stats. When no one wanted to come here, Pudge agreed to but only on the assurance from DD that the Tigers would surround him with talent. So when Pudge showed up in Detroit he brought instant credibility to this club and for that alone he has earned his 10 million per season. Do you think Urbina or Ordonez would have considered signing here without him?

Pudge also brings some much needed toughness to the club as did Farnsworth but that's gone now. Maybe Pudge is upset because he finally saw a player with the fire that you need to win in the post season. Since Pudge has been catching for so long, I think he's a pretty good judge when it comes to recongnizing a closer's strengths. Pudge knows that Farnsworth had the tools and the desire but know it doesn't matter.

If Pudge leaves who will lead this team, an injured Ordonez, an injured Guillen, Bondermania? I just think that with this trade the Tigers alienated a lot of their players.

8:42 AM

 
Blogger dt said...

perales -

All valid points and I do agree with just about all of what you say - to a point. The fact that Pudge came here (for $40 million reasons that no one else would give him, btw), doesn't give him the carte blanche that you offer. He's got to play and he's got to LEAD.

At some point, it simply becomes all about the players and they have to produce. This year, they haven't done that to their potential. We can hide behind injuries, we can blame trades or point fingers at the manager, but the fact of the matter is that the PLAYERS have caused this team to underperform this year.

Just once, I'd like to see a 'leader' like Pudge stand up and say so. But to bitch and moan about the trade of a free agent-to-be closer being a signal of surrender is ludicrous. The team's perfomance was so bad on the West Coast last week, they didn't even NEED a closer.

The players mailed this season in and called it quits long before Dave Dombrowski made the Farnsworth trade. Any player suggesting management quit on them needs to look in the mirror.

8:56 AM

 
Blogger The_Real_Right_Way said...

Terry,

You had asked about Stephen A. Smiths new show the other day. I had it taped and just watched it last night. It was damn good.

From my perspective, it was an interesting dynamic that I think deserves merit. Bottomline, Stephen A from one brother to another, can relate to Allen Iverson and many other athletes like most of the other TV Media Joe's out their can't.

He was able to break it down and let Allen talk and give his perspective unlike any other interview with A.I. that I have seen.

Most importantly, he didn't go into the interview with a preconceived notion of what was going to come out of it.

This show is on my DVR list and Stephen A. did it like only he could. I hope ESPN allows this to develop into what it can be.

9:08 AM

 
Anonymous DetroitTitanFan said...

I'm sick of the Tigers and their one step forward two steps back approach. I have decided not to renew my ticket package for next year. I have a feeling many will do the same after we finish no better than last year.

At that point with lower season tickets sold and the Red Wings back, we can expect Illich to go back to his old ways and allow the Tigers organization to rot like it did throughout the 90s.

9:08 AM

 
Blogger dt said...

trrw -

Good call on SAS. I thought the one-hour gig with Iverson was one of the most compelling, revealing sports show I have ever seen.. Of course, I am a huge AI fan so I might be skewed a bit, but it was obvious that AI felt as ease with Stephen A and it showed throughout the interview. It will be interesting to watch as SAS ventures out of the NBA or Philly scene as to how it plays in the future.

Great stuff.

9:14 AM

 
Blogger billionaire said...

CLerical Issue

Props to my Guy Freman Hendrix for beating the ex Mayor by double digits. I know it is the primary but for an incumbent to lose by that margin I feel hesitantly okay. The mayor said this is what he wanted I say let's duke it out Baby.

TRRW I posted on Stephen A Smith In which I said Espn2 lucked up on this great show just like WXYT lucked up on the Sports Inferno. It is high fox sports net looked into the Mike and Terry for a show.

Why would you guys doubt what Terry says. He brought in Joe D for an interview and he talked up larry leaving from one of his sources. Terry I know all you sources hahhahahah

9:20 AM

 
Anonymous Jazzy Jeff said...

Perales -

Just curious, because you are a big Pudge fan - what do you think of his shrunken size? I think roids were definitely in his past. I'm not being sarcastic, I just want your opinion. But if you're moving to whatever city he goes to, considering his numbers...enjoy Tampa Bay.

9:41 AM

 
Anonymous Nathan said...

They made Farnsworth an offer. Him and his agent declined it, and told the Tigers that they planned on going into free agency to see how much he was worth.

Why not get a couple young arms for him to develop? You're not going to the playoffs that season (and the players would be naive not to know and understand that), and you'll have just as good of a shot at getting Farnsworth in free agency anyways.

I think this is being made into a bigger deal than it is. People need to cool out.

10:01 AM

 

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