As we sit on the back end of a sweep by the Boston Red Sox and a dreadful run that has seen the team go 6-25 since the beginning of June, allow me to be the first to welcome you to a merciful four day break where we don’t have to watch the Detroit Tigers lose a baseball game. For all the excitement that may be lacking on the field and at the major league level there’s enough going on away the diamond and in the minors to keep you interested. Allow me to run it down for you.
Just a little patience
If you happened to be sitting on a sunny beach somewhere where wifi and news don’t reach or otherwise disposed, you may have missed the news that the team extended the contract of general manager Al Avila. The response has ranged from tepid to hateful with just the lightest whisper of anything beyond begrudging approval.
Tigers owner Chris Ilitch dug himself out of his bed made of money to ask that we all observe the wise words of Axl Rose and exercise a little patience. Well, I’ve been walking the streets at night, just trying to get it right, and I have come to the conclusion that my patience probably expires sometime after the 2020 season. It’s more leeway than many would give, but I figure that a rebuild can’t fully occur until this thing has been ripped down to the studs. If the Tigers aren’t beyond that point at the end of 2020, then I don’t know what they are doing.
What’s really fun is that the team is on pace to bring about the kind of articles that begin to question if they might challenge that historic 2003 season. Doing their best Molly Hatchet impression, this team is flirting with disaster. They aren’t on pace to hit that mark — and no one actually thinks they will — but if things go the way they might at the trade deadline, this squad is going to roll into the last months of the season looking a lot worse than they are already. The silver lining: the Tigers are gunning for that number one spot in next year’s draft, and 113 losses would almost certainly do the trick.
A little ditty about Jack and Miguel
If you haven’t been a fan of Jack Morris in the Fox Sports Detroit booth (and many of you haven’t) allow me to offer you some potential fuel to find further grievance with cranky old uncle baseball. It seems that Morris took the opportunity to opine on leadership, both how it was back in the good ‘ol days and where things are now. There are some fun quotes in that article, but let’s hit the high points.
“We had accountability in our clubhouse,” “Nobody ever got too far out of line without somebody taking charge and getting it back in line.”
Apparently Morris is not seeing the same kind of leadership with the current team.
“There’s a lot of guys that have leadership qualities in that clubhouse, there’s no doubt in my mind. The problem is, you need to have wins. Wins say more than anything else. You can talk all you want (but) you got to show it.”
Great point there, Jack. Answer me this: how are you supposed to get those wins when you’re trotting out a starting nine that has a combined WAR of 2.1 for the season. That’s less than one-third of the production of Cody Bellinger alone.
When asked about Miguel Cabrera as a leader, Morris, for whatever reason, felt compelled to actually give a substantive answer.
“You can’t ask a guy to be anything he’s not,” Morris said. “Miggy has always loved the game. He has fun playing the game. That’s who he is.”
So, when asked about the leadership qualities of Miguel Cabrera, Jack Morris thought that saying he doesn’t have any would be a good answer.
Cabrera, unsurprisingly, took umbrage, saying mainly the following (I tried to whittle it down to the most essential comments, but Jeff Riger has more on his twitter feed if you want to check).
Cabrera "I want to be a leader here, I want to show people like Jack Morris who say well he's not a leader, I say what the f**k are you talking about? You don't know whats going on here"— Jeff Riger (@riger1984) July 7, 2019
Castellanos saw comments from Morris and told Cabrera. Cabrera said don't worry about it and Nick said "Miggy that's bull s**t, no no no, thats the way he thinks, you don't have to worry about the way he think, you got to worry about how you're going to go out there and be good"— Jeff Riger (@riger1984) July 7, 2019
Cabrera "I know you guys are hard on me but I don't be mad at you guys" He was really angry about the Morris comments and said he wants to be a good leader.— Jeff Riger (@riger1984) July 7, 2019
Cabrera says hes been leading by talking to guys, questioning why they do what they do but doesn't want to make a big deal about it because he doesn't want Morris to think all of a sudden he's trying to lead because of what he said.— Jeff Riger (@riger1984) July 7, 2019
As you can see, it looks like things are going swimmingly in Morris’s first full year as an analyst for the Fox Sports Detroit team.
The Tigers are talking trades and the market seems as though it may be warming up a smidge. There’s talk of the Houston Astros looking to add to their rotation, as well as the New York Mets, for some unexplainable reason, still thinking they are buyers. It’s July. These things are going to start gaining some legs. Let’s hope the Tigers make moves where they should and move things in a positive direction.
In some very welcoming news, Casey Mize has returned to action. After missing three weeks with an inflamed shoulder, Mize pitched a three inning simulated game in Lakeland without any trouble. His next start is slated to go four innings or around 65 pitches.
Tarik Skubal was recently promoted to Double-A, and his first outing was an eye-opener. The young southpaw notched 11 strikeouts in his first game. I think that might be good.
Matt Manning appearing the MLB Futures Game is great news for the organization. Not only does it showcase a strong young talent, but it’s a bit of a feather in the cap of the organization’s development of a raw, inexperienced pitcher. Manning came to the Tigers as a very raw product, and at the age of 21 he is well ahead of schedule for someone at his age.
His performance in the Futures Game could have gone better, but at least his shoes were dope.
Around the horn
Odubel Herrera suspended for the remainder of the 2019 season. Daniel Norris learned his work ethic from this Boston Red Sox pitcher. Carlos Carrasco reveals he has leukemia. When will the first female play in the major leagues?