Sometimes as a Detroit-area sports fan, it feels like there is no justice in the world. Rarely is that sentiment stronger than last week, when former Tigers second baseman Lou Whitaker was snubbed again by the Baseball Hall of Fame selection process, inciting the ire of many members of the media and fan base alike. Sometimes — sometimes — things end up working out alright. For Whitaker, the Tigers franchise made a big decision that in many ways nullifies the disappointment of the Modern Era Committee’s decision.
Sweet Lou gets his due
The time has finally come to retire Whitaker’s jersey number and hoist it up in Comerica Park along with all of the other legends of Detroit. After dropping the ball for two decades on the deal, the franchise is finally making right on a wrong both it and the Hall of Fame voters are guilty of.
It's time.— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) December 17, 2019
We're retiring the number 1. pic.twitter.com/kOp1B1cE4g
Sweet Lou’s iconic No. 1 jersey will join fellow 1984 Bless You Boys members Alan Trammell and Jack Morris in baseball immortality, taking a spot on the park’s outfield wall. Upon hearing the news that Tigers chairman and CEO Christopher Ilitch announce his number would be retired, Whitaker had the following to say.
“It’s one of those things that you just don’t know what to say. Even after watching the wall with all those names for 19 years, and now, here, there’s a day for me, for us, and it’s hard to put the words into meaning.
“It’s just so much love and appreciation that goes with it from the many years that I played there and the support from all the fans and of course, the Detroit Tigers organization for giving me the opportunity. I can only say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker are one step closer to living for eternity side-by-side, just as the baseball gods had intended.
Tigers sign Shao-Ching Chiang to MiLB contract
In a very under-the-radar move, the Tigers have signed Taiwanese RHP Shao-Ching Chiang to a MiLB contract with an invite to Major League Spring Training. Chang most likely represents starting pitching depth at Triple-A Toledo, but will be given an opportunity to contribute to the big league club.
The Tigers have agreed to terms on a Minor League contract for the 2020 season with RHP Shao-Ching Chiang, who will also receive an invite to Major League Spring Training.— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) December 18, 2019
JAWS and the 2020 Hall of Fame ballot, Pt. IV
FanGraphs’ Jay Jaffe has been releasing his Hall of Fame candidate assessment series, using his JAWS system to analyze each player. This time around, he has profiled several ex-major leaguers, many with compelling credentials for Hall of Fame induction.
A map of MLB team relocations
Check out this interesting diagram that maps the movement of various baseball franchises over the years posted on Reddit.
- Tigers agree to one-year deal with C Austin Romine, per report. Brother of all-nine-positions utility player Andrew Romine, no less!
- Don’t take the Austin Romine signing in isolation. An underwhelming move at catcher is okay if the Tigers actually follow through on their promises elsewhere.
- The Tigers should sign 2B Yolmer Sánchez because he would make the team better. The Tigers could use a middle infielder who plays plus defense. Sánchez could fill that hole.
Around the horn
Former Tiger Rick Porcello chooses to stay close to home with the New York Mets. Nobody really wanted Corey Kluber. The Tampa Bay Rays welcome new slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. Gerrit Cole signs with the New York Yankees on a nine-year, $324 million contract.