Welcome to your off-day Monday. The Tigers had a back and forth contest with the Diamondbacks on Sunday that eventually went the wrong way for Detroit, but they walked out of the giant sauna that is Arizona taking two out of three, which isn’t anything to complain about. After the off-day today, they roll up to San Francisco for a two-game tilt against the Giants. First pitch on Tuesday night is 9:45 p.m. Oof. While you prepare yourselves for that experience in sleep deprivation, please enjoy some links.
Is there an opt-out? Is there not an opt-out? That somehow still remains a burning question for those interested in how long A.J. Hinch is going to be around to manage the Tigers. There are conflicting reports about the existence of this now fabled opt-out. For Hinch’s part, he’s not interested in addressing the question.
“I’m not going to talk about any contract,” Hinch said. “There’s no need for me to. I’m the manager of the Tigers. They’ve signed me here for a long time. I feel good being here.”
This strikes me as something that could be very easily put to bed with a simple yes or no answer, but I’m not Hinch so I don’t get to decide how he handles the situation. On the other hand, Ken Rosenthal reported recently that according to Al Avila, there is no such opt-out clause. It would be nice if Hinch would confirm considering the back and forth here, but for now the only trustworthy reporting comes from Rosenthal, so we’ll have to go with that barring more openness from the team.
The folks over at MLB Trade Rumors bring you in for the Hinch contract talk and then seamlessly segue into who the underperforming Tigers could be looking to unload at the trade deadline. If this was the season you thought Detroit would be the team on the other side of this article, my condolences. I assure you, you are not alone. The silver lining — if there is one to be seen — is that the organization would likely only be looking to unload expiring contracts that would bring modest returns. Names mentioned include Michael Fulmer — who many thought they should have dealt earlier in his tenure with the Tigers when he had more value — Andrew Chafin, Tucker Barnhart, Robbie Grossman, and Michael Pineda. Who, if anyone, goes remains to be seen, but I would expect speculation to continue bubbling up.
To his credit, Michael Fulmer isn’t paying much attention to the recent chatter about where he might be headed before the trade deadline. He’s saying all the right things about focusing on the team he’s playing for and not thinking about where he’s going to be in the future, but he has sought some advice from a former teammate who is familiar with being moved at the deadline, Daniel Norris. In discussing Norris, Fulmer had this to say:
“He had a chance to pitch for a playoff contending team,” Fulmer said. “He said that was a big deal for him. I think everybody’s goal is to pitch in the postseason eventually.”
I would love to see Fulmer pitch in the post season. I would prefer to see it in a Tigers uniform.
Jason Beck has some nice things to say about Tigers catching prospect Dillon Dingler. From being known as the donut guy because he picks them up for the team on the regular, to his approach to trying to figure out hitters as the team progresses through a series, people seem pretty happy with how he’s handling himself. Seen initially as an offense-first catcher, his preparation behind the plate and the way he has stepped up to take ownership of the Erie Seawolves' pitching staff is definitely getting noticed.
Building a Mystery
Evan Woodbery is the latest to offer his thoughts on why the Tigers' 2022 season has been such a massive disappointment. What it comes down to for Woodbery is that more than half of the team is underperforming at a “massive, almost unprecedented scale.” He notes that five members of the starting lineup currently rank at or near the bottom for their positions league-wide and that all but one of them have a track record for a much higher level of success. He notes the pitching issues and other factors but comes back to the fact that proven big-league players who should be counted on to perform are not doing that, and he wonders if it is appropriate to lay that all on the shoulders of Al Avila. He compares this year’s Tigers to last year’s Twins and wonders if the organization has the fortitude and wherewithal to follow in Minnesota’s footsteps. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if he’s right, and if they do.
West Coast Beef
After a few contentious games to start the series, where inside pitching was getting to be pretty ridiculous on both sides, the Angels and Mariners finally decided to get physical on Sunday engaging in a benches-clearing brawl that led to eight total ejections including both managers and six players. The best part of the whole fracas in my opinion was Raisel Iglesias coming back out to the field after things had settled down to chuck bins full of sunflower seeds on the infield, and it was captured so accurately by Rob Friedman.
Raisel Iglesias, Knuckle Seeds (With Tail). pic.twitter.com/BzrGuNJ3Uy— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 26, 2022
Anybody know this guy?
One of our own makes it on the TV.
Around the horn
Fangraphs on why the Tigers' historically bad offense is just one of the team’s problems. The famed New Jersey mud used to rub up baseballs could be on the way out. Former number one overall pick, Mark Appel, finally gets called up at the age of 30. Major League Baseball clears the way for CBD team sponsorships.