In response to my post earlier today about the Tigers naming their All-Decade Team for the aughts, specifically the part where I claimed there just as easily could be an "All-Suck" team, BYB commenter "Misopogon" (aka Seth,.the Tiger guy from "The Wright Stache") took it upon himself to e-mail me. He told me he was having trouble logging into SBNation.
In addition, I received a long, well thought out and funny diatribe about Tigers futility.
I didn't want his All-Suck team to be lost in the wilderness, plus I was thinking of doing my own post anyway. No need, as Seth already did the work!
So with his permission, I'm posting his All-Suck team on the front page, and letting you all have it in the comments.
Here's what "Misopogon" had to say:
The all-suck team. Brilliant.
Rules: It had to be starters -- crappy injury call-ups and designated backups don't count. Was Neifi Perez in a Tiger uniform at one point? Christ help us, yes. Was he supposed to be anything other than a backup glove man? No.
Non-injury-related Opening Day Starters all count, as do all players who played a plurality of one season at a given position, even if that wasn't planned. I also count established MLB trade acquisitions who quickly washed out, even if their actual time on the Tigers was minimal, since their expected contribution was much greater.
For each player, I figured their value as the sum of their contributions while a Tiger from 2000 to 2009. Years before that don't help you (sorry Damion, Deivi and Higgy), and neither does it help if you moved on to become a star for another team (stern look, Carlos Pena).
My All-Suck Seventeen:
DH Palmer? (Note from Al: DH is explained below)
After the jump, the thought process behind the Tigers All-Suck team...Catcher: Mitch Meluskey
Candidates: Gerald Laird (2009), Pudge Rodriguez (2004-08), Brandon Inge (2002-03), Rob Fick (2001), Mitch Meluskey (2001), Brad Ausmus (2000).
There are a lot of trades that fans can rag on, but if there's ever a case of a trade being dumb from the get-go....how is it Randy Smith is the only guy in the world who didn't know Meluskey's .300 batting average in 2000 was a red herring? He couldn't hit, couldn't catch, certainly couldn't replace one of the only beloved Tigers of the time, and to top it all off, was a prick.
1st Base: Carlos Pena
Candidates: Miguel Cabrera (2007-09), Sean Casey (2006), Carlos Pena (2003-06), Chris Shelton (2005-06), Randall Simon (2002), Tony "The Tiger" Clark (2000-01)
The Year of the One Thousand Bad 1st Basemen (2000) had guys like Greg Jefferies and Hal Morris (not to mention Rob Fick), but Tony was Plan 1 and is the only guy who counts. Carlos Pena could be putrid at times, but then he would always flash a bit of that brilliance he finally discovered in Tampa Bay. Simon couldn't take a pitch or a throw to 1st base, but he at least got the bat on the ball. Shelton tailed off after his hot start in '06, but he was okay. Overall, Pena's not bad, but picture Pena on those days when he didn't go 6-for-6. In the end, I went with Pena over Shelton because Big Red beat him out twice for the job.
2nd Base: Omar Infante
Candidates: Placido Polanco (2005-2009), Omar Infante (2004), Fernando Vina (2004), Ramon Santiago (2003), Hal Morris (2003), Damion Easley (2000-02).
I could take the easy way out and go with Vina, since he contributed about diddly squat. But he was a poor man's Placido for the limited time he played, and I'm not one to count injuries against guys. So then what? Ramon Santiago was tagged by Tram, but he was really a shortstop. However, Infante's move to 2nd base was probably the lowlight of his career. Infante actually hit better than Easley while playing in the hole, but Easley's defense trumped the catastrophe that Infante was in '04.
Shortstop: Edgar Renteria
Candidates: Adam Everett (2009), Ramon Santiago (2002-03, 2009), Edgar Renteria (2008), Carlos Guillen (2004-07), Omar Infante (2003), Ramon Santiago (2003), Shane Halter (2001-02), Deivi Cruz (2000).
Renteria wins out, even though some of the individual seasons by his competition were much worse statistically, since he and his untucked shirt personified the can't-defend Tigers of 2008.
Third Base: Chris Truby
Candidates: Brandon Inge (2005-07, 2009), Carlos Guillen (2008), Miguel Cabrera (2008), Eric Munson (2003-04), Chris Truby (2002), Jose Macias (2001), Dean Palmer (2000-01).
So much suck to choose from, but you tagged this one right. Truby's probably the worst Tiger starter in my lifetime, except perhaps one guy coming up....
Left Field: Jaques Jones
Candidates: Ryan Raburn (2009), Carlos Guillen (2009), Marcus Thames (2008), Jaques Jones (2008), Craig Monroe (2003, 2006-07), Rondell White (2004-05), Bobby Higginson (2000-02).
Aquiring Jones was obviously a flop. That it caused us to play Marcus Thames and Gary Sheffield in left for much of the season makes it a bigger flop. True or false: had we let Timo Perez play left all year, 2008 would have gone a little better? Amiright?
Centerfield: Gene Kingsale (Note from Al: That's SIR Gene Kingsale!)
Candidates: Curtis Granderson (2006-09), Nook Logan (2005), Craig Monroe (2005), Alex Sanchez (2003-04), Gene Kingsale (2003), Wendell Magee (2002), Jose Macias (2002), Roger Cedeno (2001), Juan Encarnacion (2000).
In case you don't remember (Note from Al: To be honest, I'd rather not) the utter black hole of talent we had in centerfield since Co-Park opened, remember that Kingsale beat out Hiram Bocachica and George Lombard, all of whom were aquired for that same position. Trivia: which one was "Tram's Man" (after pre-2003 Spring Training interview). Also remember that after Grandy, the "Toolshed" Encarnacion was probably our second-BEST!
Right Field: Bobby Higginson
Candidates: Magglio Ordonez (2005-09), Bobby Higginson (2003-04), Rob Fick (2002), Juan Encarnacion (2001), Juan Gonzalez who can go screw himself (2000)
When Bobby moved to right field, he was so awful that Tiger fans still don't remember how good he used to be. I'd rather not talk about how bad Higgy was during his right field stay, because it's depressing and I liked Bobby. Fick was a pathetic fielder, but he hit pretty well while trying to learn the outfield. I'd love to stick it to Juan-Gone who can go screw himself here, but I'm gonna just leave it at he can really go screw himself and screw that guy. (Note from Al: Trust me, Seth didn't use "screw")
Designated Hitter: Why did you have to bring up Juan Gonzalez? This was a fun exercise until you brough him up.
Yes, well screw Juan Gonzalez.
Your candidates for DH are Carlos Guillen, Gary Sheffield, Marcus Thames, Dmitri Young, Dean Palmer, Luis Polonia, and Juan Gonzalez and screw him. (Note from Al: See what I said above)
Starting Pitchers: Jose Lima, Jarrod Washburn, Dontrelle Willis, Chris Holt, and Nate Cornejo (HM: Adam Bernaro, Gary Knotts)
Candidates: Oh my God are we really going to do this? Okay, fine, but I'm not giving you years. Here's guys: Washburn, Willis, Verlander, Jackson, Porcello, Bonderman, Galarraga, Miner, Kenny Rogers, Nasty Nate, Mike Maroth, Chad Durbin, Sean Douglass, Jason Johnson, Gary Knotts, Adam Bernaro, Nate Cornejo, Jeff Weaver, Steve Sparks, Mark Redman, Jose Lima, Chris Holt, Dave Mlicki, Hideo Nomo and Brian Moehler.
People still rag on Mlicki today, but he wasn't as bad as the guys above, for one, and two, he would at least give the bullpen a rest. He and Sparks together were always good for a 4-run game that Tigers could win 6-4 or lose 4-3. Washburn and Willis have to make the list for, respectively, tanking our chances in '09, and personally killing the buzz from 2006-07. That all the other guys I chose (and the runners up) were all in the same rotation together at one time is a testament to how awful our pitching was before Dombrowski had the marvelous idea of collecting pitchers who can throw a fastball.
Middle Relief: Jason Grilli
Candidates: Dude, I know you're just waiting for me to say it, so rather than give you a whole list of every Fu-Te-Ni the Tigers have rolled out in the aughts, I'll just say it: C.J. Nitkowski.
Setup Man: Franklyn German
Candidates: Brandon Lyon, Aquilino Lopez, Bobby Seay, Freddy Dolsi, Fernando Rodney, Joel Zumaya, Kyle Farnsworth, Franklyn German, Esteban Yan, Jamie Walker, Julio Santana, Jose Paniagua, Juan Acevedo, Matt Anderson, Danny Patterson, Doug Brocail
Look it up: Lopez pitched more 8th innings than Seay or Dolsi in 2008. Man that year sucked. But not as bad as German sucked as setup man in 2005. He later found a role as guy-who-blows-save-then-wins-in-extra-innings. German is the second guy from the DD-defining Weaver deal to appear on this list, which says to me "whoa, we got two bad major leaguers and one halfway decent one for Jeff Weaver, and I criticized it at the time? Shows what I know!"
Closer: Matt Anderson
Candidates: Fernando Rodney, Todd Jones, Ugueth Urbina, Franklyn German, Juan Acevedo, Matt Anderson
I counted German as '03's closer. It's not like there were actually many games to SAVE in 2003 -- most 9th innings (the 107 we actually even got to see) were basically Chris Spurling or Chris Mears or Matt Roney working on their curveballs at the end of a blowout. Anyway, there's plenty of bad here, but Matt Anderson after he lost his velocity and ability to find the strike zone was a special brand of crummy closer.
There you have it, folks. Now you know why I had to throw this up on the front page for dicussion. And I apologize for any traumatic memories Seth's list may have brought back.
Looking back at the past decade, who would you have on a Tigers All-Suck Team?