I've been away for a while, in places like this and this, places without much in the way of satellite TV and internet connections and box scores, though I certainly brought my Tiger hat with me. Thanks again to Mark for filling in while I was gone. Belatedly, comments on the news of the past week:
- Dave Dombrowski and John Schuerholz got together and made what turned out to be the biggest deal of an anticlimactic trade deadline day: Kyle Farnsworth for Roman (don't call me Ramon) Colon and Zach Miner. BYB'er rebellingboxer already posted Baseball America comments for both new Tigers, and they seem like a reasonable haul given that Farnsworth was unlikely to re-sign. Pitching prospects traded away by the Braves have been notoriously unsuccessful (though Jason Schmidt is a glaring counter example), though we can hope that Colon and Miner don't look as hittable as their predecessors who have left the tutelage of Leo Mazzone. A further reason to dislike the trade: Miner wasn't in John Sickels' Top 20 Braves Prospects, though I expect he will be in Detroit's top dozen or so. A reason to like it, from BP's Will Carroll:
Middle relievers are normally not worth two prospects. That's the going price, whether it's Ron Villone or Danys Baez.Relief pitchers are generally interchangeable, and while Farnsworth was having a tremendous year and was the Tigers' best wrestler, he won't be missed too badly. Getting two potential starters -- though not likely #3 starters, boxer -- is excellent value. Look for Fernando Rodney to take his gaudy strikeout numbers into the closer role, and for Franklyn German to be next in line for saves. Colon should fit right in to Rodney's set up spot before moving to the rotation next spring, and Miner will go straight to Toledo where he'll try to learn not to walk so many batters.
- Speaking of Tiger-Brave pitchers, I was never a particular fan of John Smoltz until he returned to starting this year. I expected him to make it to 130 innings at best, and here he is at 162 with only 146 hits allowed. He's won me over.
- The trade deadline was a dud, and if you weren't driving through Nevada like I was and tried to watch ESPN's Trade Deadline Special, I can only imagine what a boring several hours that must have been. If I rooted for the Royals, Reds, or Rays, I'd be even more depressed than normal after today's inertia-dominated non-events. How can you not trade players you're going to lose, players that at best can make the difference between 62 and 65 wins this year? Sunday's inactivity also makes the Polanco-Urbina trade look even better, and makes me think that the Tigers didn't get particularly close to trading White or Johnson. Remember, however, that players that clear waivers can still be traded in August, and that it's surprisingly easy to pass someone through waivers.
- I hope the Urbina and Farnsworth trades establish a pattern the Tigers will follow in future seasons: sign a famous free-agent relief pitcher, make him a closer, trade him for prospects. It's a plan Oakland followed for years with their Isringhausen-Koch-Foulke-Dotel progression of closers. Look to see Percival get dealt at next year's deadline if the Tigers will pick up some of his salary and he seems almost sort of healthy.
- The Tigers ran into a juggernaut in Oakland this weekend. The A's are 25-6 in their last 31, and no one, least of all the Tigers, are going to slow them down. Crosby, Swisher, Kendall, Chavez, Street, Harden, Blanton -- they're all blazing hot right now. Oakland is going to hunt down the Angels, and they're going to make life miserable for someone like Chicago in the playoffs. Don't read to much into the Tigers' failure to capture a game this weekend. Also recognize headlines like this from Saturday's Free Press ("Tigers need to copy A's hot streak") as really terrible and obvious sportswriting.
- Several days ago now Curtis Granderson got sent down. I was surprised and a little disappointed, but as billfer pointed out, they wanted to make sure he could play every day. Granderson will be back next year, if not sooner, and the outfield should be Monroe-Granderson-Ordonez, with Logan spotting for defense and pinch running. I might have sent Logan down instead, or at least committed to playing Monroe fulltime in center, but Monroe made a big error and Logan has been back out there starting the last few days.
- Brandon Inge's slump has reached alarming proportions. His OPS has declined every month this year, and July's .603 is eerily reminscent of his career line before last season. Please don't turn back into a pumpkin, Brandon.
- Dmitri Young, on the other hand, came out of his slump quite nicely, posting an .882 in July. Next year's salary, however, is all but certain to vest.