When searching for reasons to watch a mediocre Detroit Tigers team in 2018, it doesn’t take long to get to “hey Shane Greene is pretty good.” Manager Ron Gardenhire has already realized this, and named Greene the team’s closer on Thursday. It was a role Greene thrived in last season, when he converted nine of 10 save opportunities with a 2.49 ERA in August and September.
It also might be the easiest decision Gardenhire has to make this spring. Greene is arguably the most proven reliever on the roster, especially now that Alex Wilson is trying his hand as a starter. Greene also has some of the best raw stuff in the organization, with a fastball that averaged 96.1 miles per hour last season. His cutter was also a weapon, averaging 89.3 miles per hour while generating whiffs at a 17 percent clip.
Given the Tigers’ rebuilding status, Greene should get plenty of chances to hold onto his job. He could become a valuable trade chip in July with a strong first half, or help solidify a Tigers bullpen that was the worst in baseball by several measures last season.
Joe Jimenez wants to ‘get like Popeye’
The Athletic’s Katie Strang has been crushing it this offseason, deftly handling some difficult topics like the Larry Nassar trial and Derek Norris’ suspension. If you haven’t subscribed to her work yet — you get everything else for the same price too — you should.
Plug aside, Katie got back to the everyday grind on Thursday with a deep profile of Joe Jimenez. The young reliever opens up about how his family has dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, as well as his new offseason diet.
The 23-year-old reliever was told he needed to slim down and was put on a new diet to shed some pounds. He began eating ground turkey and loads and loads of spinach every day (“I was trying to get like Popeye,” he said) and he deliberately whittled his frame, cautious not to lose too much weight too quickly, for fear of sacrificing strength or the velocity on his fastball.
I nominate #GetLikePopeye as the team’s official tag line for the 2018 season.
Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it’s prospect time
Lynn Henning of the Detroit News released his annual list of the top 50 Tigers prospects on Friday morning. The list itself is a bit unconventional, with several players appearing earlier or later than on other lists in the industry.
Speaking of prospect lists, ours rolls on with catcher Joey Morgan, our No. 20 prospect in the organization for 2018.
Let’s talk about the Olympics for a hot second
They are here, the are more entertaining than reading articles about long toss, and they have a few Michigan tie-ins. Take, for instance, the construction worker from the Upper Peninsula who finished fourth in a snowboarding competition, but was gold medal-worthy for being an awesome dad. Or the awesome Shibutani siblings from Ann Arbor, who wowed America with their excellent performances in ice dancing. Skier Mikaela Shiffrin isn’t from Michigan, but is really effing good. John Daly does skeleton and is therefore insane, but also seems like a pretty fun dude.
Around the horn
The AL Central is boring as hell. The search continues for the next J.D. Martinez. Eno Sarris tries to fix baseball. Eugenio Suarez, wyd. Francisco Lindor’s hair is equally bizarre. The Angels are going to a six-man rotation now that Shohei Ohtani is here. The Orioles signed Andrew Cashner.
Baseball is weird and unpredictable
tim lincecum threw for 25-30 scouts this afternoon in seattle (at least 15 teams, likely 20). said to have thrown 90-93 mph, better than two years ago. chance for a job: improved.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 15, 2018