Grand Cards: The Grand Scheme Feels Like A New Man

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Grand Scheme Feels Like A New Man

The New Guys Phil Coke—starter or reliever? John Lowe reports that Dombrowski says he’ll get a shot to start, something that would make the Granderson trade seem orders of magnitude better given the team’s need for a lefty starter.

DD and Leyland might want to have a chat though, as the skipper says “not so fast my friend” (via Beck’s blog)
"Personally, I'm looking at him more as a bullpen guy," Leyland said. "I think we're going to have enough issues when you talk about Galarraga bouncing back and Bonderman bouncing back and Nate Robertson bouncing back and Dontrelle Willis bouncing back. There's only so many innings.

"Am I ruling it out? No, I'm not. But you can only give so many innings to so many guys in Spring Training, and the one thing you want to make sure is that you're getting the guys ready that you know need to be ready."
Figure it out fellas.

Of much greater interest, is the development path of uber-prospect Austin Jackson. Rosenberg reports the bone-chilling story of how Jackson is preparing to make an impact on the big league club. The scary details:
Austin Jackson will arrive at Comerica Park today, take his physical, then find out what he is doing wrong.

It’s a little early in the baseball season to make a mistake, but Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon doesn’t care. McClendon calls Jackson, the club’s new centerfielder, his “biggest project.” So McClendon will pull the 22-year-old into the indoor batting cage and go right to work.


This is why McClendon is eager for his first Jackson cage session. He wants Jackson to know exactly what they will work on in spring training.

“It’s just a matter of him understanding what the swing is all about and what he is capable of doing when he does it right,” McClendon said. “He is so talented from an athletic standpoint that he does a lot of things wrong, particularly with dropping his hands and creating a long swing, and he’s able to get away with it. We’re just going to try to make it more efficient where it doesn’t take as much effort to get to the ball.”
Yes, we’re putting the fate of our talented, but still developing center fielder of the future in the hands of this guy:


Welcome Back Both the Free Press and the News have nice articles up about Miguel Cabrera’s stuggles with alcoholism and the steps that he’s taken to recover over the offseason. This was no joke:
Cabrera promised he will not drink anymore. OK, fine. Anybody can say that. What I found encouraging is that he seems to have confronted the reasons he drank. President and general manager Dave Dombrowski said "it did not take a lot of convincing" to get Cabrera to deal with his problem. Dombrowski also said Cabrera's sessions with his doctor "in the beginning were three, four days a week -- 2 1/2 , 3 hours a session.
This wasn’t your regular AA situation. Cabrera has a personal doctor and ongoing treatment for what was, admittedly, alcoholism. As difficult as this must have been (and must continue to be) for Cabrera, indications are that he has turned a corner. He expanded upon earlier statements that he “feels like a new man”:
"I feel happy," he said. "I feel more comfortable. I feel more comfortable with you guys, talking. I think it's going to be a new season, a new life for me. I'm going to be a better dad, better person, better player, better with the fans."
Miguel Cabrera is an exceptional baseball player, and while Detroit fans may still be angry with him and other fans will likely chastise him for years, I think it is important to realize that he is a young (26) man, who could have had his life spiral out of control. Instead, he has addressed and is actively working on issues with addiction, and in so doing has improved his life and the lives of everyone he interacts with. This is a big step and I think that he deserves the support of all Tigers fans from here on out. We’re looking at a once-in-a generation franchise talent, and if he can act the part, then we should treat him as such.

Also in the “New Man” category, Tom Gage says
1. Biggest impression in two days of the Tigers' caravan: Magglio Ordonez looking fit and happy. He'll be 36 next Thursday, but suddenly is looking younger.
On the flip side Continuing in the category of “Tigers who’s off-the-field antics make them less likable,” Gerald Laird is still trying to figure out his legal troubles from his super punch-out in Phoenix.
"Right now, I'm just trying to wait for the whole situation to clear itself and then I'll talk about it a lot more."

"[Dombrowski and Leyland] supported me. They said, 'Take care of it and be ready to play in spring training.' That's where it is right now. It's going through the process and hopefully will be done pretty soon."
To which I say, yes, please get it straighted out. Also, don’t do it again, you moron. Also, why will you talk about it “a lot more” once it’s cleared up. I say, clear it up and then just let it be. Honestly, nobody cares about this particular incident so let’s just sweep this one under the rug for the future.

I’m not convinced Matt Sussman at says that the Tigers have historically fared well in trades with the Yankees.  I’m not sure that I’d go so far as to say they’ve “fared well” as much as “haven’t fared poorly.” There’s hardly a trade that seems like it was particularly good or bad for the team. Unsurprisingly to me, the Sheffield trade was considered a good one—the prospects given turned into nothing, which is always the risk of trading a proven commodity for prospects, ahem, like we did in the Granderson trade—it was the extension given to Sheffield that was the questionable part.

2010 Topps I still don’t have any in hand, but I like what I see for the most part. A few comments:
  • I wish that they had used the Tigers’ logo instead of the script team name
  • I like the SPs—I think that they look excellent and hope there is a Tiger in the mix-- but I wish that they were either pre-announced or otherwise made clear so that we don’t need to go guessing for them. I like surprises, but I hate asymmetric information.
  • The inserts get a thumb-up. Legendary lineage looks great. Turkey Red too. Seems like a lot of fun stuff in the set.
  • Jury is still out on the base cards, as very few Tigers have been floating up. Come on case-breakers, get to it and make some team sets available.
  • I haven’t seen much in the way of Autos, relics or otherwise difficult to pull cards. Could this be the result of a retail-only release so far? Are hobby/jumbo boxes available anywhere?
Once these become a little more widespread, I’ll dig deeper on my analysis.

Misc. Tigers galleries are coming along swimmingly, although I have plenty of more cards to track down. Remember that big box of cards I got for Christmas? I’m going to start pulling out the goods to show off—there was some fun stuff there, so keep your eyes peeled. I’m thinking that we Baltimore-based bloggers need to organize some sort of gathering for the 2010 National. Would anyone be up for this? I realize that this “Misc.” section is usually links, but today it’s random thoughts. Ok fine, one outside link. Zistle is going for the gusto in 2010.  They’re good people, so give them a look-see. Have a nice weekend, everyone.