The World Series is over. The 2019 season is long gone. College basketball season just began. Yes, it is that time of year when baseball fans begin to switch gears for the coming winter, either pivoting to another sport or hibernating until the warmth of spring returns. In the meantime, there are still some topics of discussion floating about. The most important one currently for Detroit Tigers fans is that of Lou Whitaker and his return to the Hall of Fame ballot.
Sweet Lou’s last chance at Cooperstown
Lou Whitaker is arguably the greatest second baseman to ever play for the Tigers, with only Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer challenging him for the top spot. Not to mention, Whitaker was also one of the best second-sackers in the game while he was playing — an era that was flush with Hall of Fame names. Which is why his exclusion from the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame is truly a travesty and an affront to every Tigers fan.
The story begins with Whitaker falling off of the ballot after his first appearance in 2001, garnering only 2.1 percent of the vote. However, one should consider that two other members of that Bless You Boys team required a Veteran’s Committee ballot in order to be enshrined, so there appears to be a great lack of love for that 1984 squad. But that does not soothe the sting of rejection.
“One and done, that was such a crime — come on,” (former teammate Alan) Trammell said. “Now hopefully that’s a moot point. In a couple of months we can be talking about Lou being in the Hall of Fame with myself and Jack — where he deserves to be.”
So now it is up to the Modern Baseball Era (née Veteran’s Committee) ballot to get Whitaker in his rightful place — right next to Alan Trammell in the hallowed Hall of Fame. Among those on the current ballot, Sweet Lou is first in career rWAR with 75.1 and is easily the best player on the list. However, you never know what might happen when a 16-member committee votes, especially one needs 12 of them to get their approval.
Whitaker will be a slam dunk. Simmons a possible pick, give he missed by one vote last time. Miller will continue to get screwed.— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) November 4, 2019
The Tigers need bats
To the surprise of absolutely nobody who even glanced at a Tigers box score this season, the team is in dire need of some upgrades. Cody Stavenhagen takes a look at what needs to be addressed (spoiler: pretty much everything) in this article for The Athletic.
In short, the Tigers need to somehow bolster their lineup, most likely by signing a free agent bat or two on a short gap-filler contract. The team is also hurting badly at the catcher position, where Jake Rogers and Grayson Greiner are just not ready for full-time duty in the big leagues. From there, the Tigers could also use some strength up the middle, where Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison failed to meet expectations last season. Then there is issue of depth in the starting rotation.
I told you, it was pretty much everything.
On top of all that, there still needs to be room to play the youngsters and allow them to develop at the major league level. Additionally, the Tigers need to make their plans with prospective future trades in mind, with players such as Matthew Boyd. It is not going to be an easy task, but a few good moves could steer the club in the right direction.
A bit of Tigers history
Speaking of great Tigers second basemen, here is a little throwback to aforementioned Charlie Gehringer, a.k.a. the Mechanical Man.
Michigan Wolverines who went on to play for the Detroit Tigers: Charlie Gehringer, Hall of Famer, One of the greatest Tigers of All-Time: Michigan '1923, Tigers 1924 - 1942. Nicknamed "The Mechanical Man." “You wind him up on opening day and then forget him.” - Lefty Gomez pic.twitter.com/LWR22TXePn— Iffy The Dopester (@IffyTheDopester) November 5, 2019
Welp... someone won the trade.
Almost five years to the day since Devon Travis was traded for Anthony Gose... https://t.co/UiehqzDxi7— Evan Woodbery (@evanwoodbery) November 4, 2019
- Qualifying offers, options, and opt-out decisions kick off MLB free agent season. November 4 is decision day. Track all the decisions here!
- 2019 Tigers Review: Josh Harrison was not the bounce-back candidate the Tigers wanted. Just about everything went wrong for Harrison in 2019.
- The Tigers should sign Yoshitomo Tsutsugo because he would (probably) make the team better. The talented Japanese native could find regular playing time on the Tigers’ 2020 roster.
- The Tigers should sign Kwang-hyun Kim because he would make the team better. The Tigers haven’t been players in the Asian market, but it’s certainly a good time to try something new.
- 2019 Tigers Review: Daniel Norris was the Tigers comeback player of the year. After several rough seasons, things are finally pointing in the right direction for the southpaw.
Around the horn
Here is a complete list of all ejections and the umpires responsible in 2019. Automated strike zone to debut in Minor League Baseball in 2020, Rob Manfred says. Take a look at the 2019-20 top 50 MLB free agents with predictions. Craig Calcaterra warns us to prepare for another cold offseason. These 10 free agents got a qualifying offer.