Tag: Detroit

AL Central: Could Detroit Tigers Trade for Eduardo Nunez?

Five players capable of handling the middle infield made the Yankees‘ Opening Day roster. Eduardo Nunez was not one of them.

Surprise rookie Yangervis Solarte made the roster after a very impressive spring training, while fellow rookie Dean Anna will presumably be filling in on the Yankees bench until Brendan Ryan comes off the disabled list. Regardless, the surplus resulted in the Yankees designating Nunez for assignment.

Now, the Yankees have eight more days to decide what to do with Nunez. They could send him to the minors, trade him or release him. He makes a quality depth option, but there may be a job for Nunez on one of the American League‘s best teams.  

With Jose Iglesias out for most, if not all, of 2014, the Tigers went out and acquired Alex Gonzalez from the Baltimore Orioles to take the reigns at shortstop. Gonzalez proved Dave Dombrowski right quickly, playing hero in the Tigers’ 4-3 win on Monday. However, the 37-year old has played in just 65 games over the last two seasons, and in addition to putting up average defense (-3.1 UZR in 2012, 0.5 UZR in 2013), Gonzalez struggled at the plate in 2013, hitting just .177 in 113 at-bats with the Brewers last season. 

So a strong Opening Day aside, Gonzalez isn’t exactly a strong option at short when put into the context of his last two seasons. And if the Tigers are going to pursue Stephen Drew, it seems at this point like they will wait until after the draft in June to avoid giving up draft pick compensation. So unless they want to ante up to acquire Didi Gregorius from the Diamondbacks or Nick Franklin from the Mariners, there aren’t exactly a plethora of quality shortstops available at a reasonable price.

Nunez is average at best as a defensive shortstop, but at the dish, his bat is a significant upgrade over the .177 average Gonzalez posted in 2013. While Nunez is as far from a power hitter as there is, he did hit 17 doubles in just 90 games in 2013, also stealing 10 bases (out of 13 attempts) in just over half a season. And even if the Tigers want to give Gonzalez a shot, having Nunez there to platoon with him will give Brad Ausmus a reliable option when Gonzalez needs a day off, which he will at some point.

Nunez is not as young as Gregorius or Franklin, nor does he have nearly as high a ceiling. But while there aren’t currently any reports indicating that the Tigers will claim Nunez if he makes it to their spot in the waiver order, he was once considered the heir to Yankee legend Derek Jeter, and while he’s certainly not a game-changing acquisition, the fact that he is both cheap and an upgrade makes swinging a deal for the 26-year-old a no-brainer for Detroit. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Miguel Cabrera: Tigers’ Superstar on Track to Smash ‘Untouchable’ MLB Record

On Friday, Basebook Baseball Magazine writer Paul Goode wrote a solid post that begged the question: Has Miguel Cabrera surpassed Albert Pujols as the premier all-round hitter in baseball?

While reading Goode’s feature, I could not help but notice one of Cabrera’s gaudy stats. Through 46 games, Cabrera is batting .388 with 14 homers and a whopping 1.154 OPS.

More striking is Cabrera’s 57 RBI. Per ESPN, Cabrera is on pace for 201 RBI this year.

Already an MVP, batting champion and a Triple Crown winner, Cabrera is on track to have one of the best individual seasons in MLB history. Should Cabrera stay healthy and avoid a few dry spells in the batter’s box, he has a shot (albeit small) to bust Hack Wilson’s major league record for the most RBI in a single season.

According to Baseball Almanac, Wilson posted 191 RBI in 1930. Trailing Wilson is Lou Gehrig, who earned 184 RBI in 1931. Hank Greenberg is third in baseball history with 183 RBI. Greenberg sits eight RBI ahead of Jimmie Foxx (175 RBI).

Wilson’s record has been deemed by many to be one of the most untouchable records in MLB history, alongside Joe DiMaggio’s record 56-game hitting streak. This philosophy rings especially true in the post-steroid era.

Fans who think nobody will ever come close to Wilson’s gaudy RBI record have a valid point. The closest any modern player has come to Wilson’s feat is Manny Ramirez. He earned 165 RBI with the Cleveland Indians in 1999. Alex Rodriguez mustered 156 RBI with the New York Yankees in 2007, also per Baseball Almanac.

But consider this about Cabrera. Last season, the 30-year-old slugger had 139 RBI for the Tigers in 161 games. Yet Cabrera did not get RBI 57 until June 25 versus the Texas Rangers.

Cabrera is nearly a month ahead of schedule this season.

If injury is a concern, Cabrera has been as sturdy as baseball players come. Looking at Cabrera’s career stats, he has not played less than 150 games in a season since his rookie year (2003). From 2004-12, Cabrera has averaged 158 games played on a 162-game schedule.

Of course, all ballplayers endure slowdowns and slumps. Cabrera is no exception (although his slumps pale in comparison to other MLB players).

But should Cabrera maintain his rabid video-game pace, he may come eerily close to breaking Wilson’s seemingly untouchable RBI record.

And if Cabrera does, scientists may have to consider testing him to see if this superstar really is human.  

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Meet Miguel Cabrera’s 5 Biggest Victims

Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera is one of the most cerebral hitters the game of baseball has ever seen.

A career .320 hitter, Cabrera is a superstar heavyweight boxer, champion chess player and big kid wrapped into a 6’4”, 240-pound frame.

MLB pitchers who stare into the batter’s box at Cabrera know they have to outsmart the Triple Crown winner.  While some pitching staffs do have success against this 30-year-old Venezuela native, most find themselves kicking dirt in disgust. 

This includes staffs from the AL Central Division.  Per Baseball-Reference statistics, Cabrera has batted .320 (463-for-1,445) with 88 home runs, 89 doubles and 293 RBI in 380 career games against teams in this division.

While impressive, Cabrera has given five other teams outside the AL Central absolute fits in his 10-year career.  These victims of Cabrera’s brute wrath (minimum 150 plate appearances), are the subject of this slideshow. 

Source of Stats: Baseball-Reference.com and MLB.com

Begin Slideshow

Merry Christmas: Holiday Gifts for the Nice (and Naughty)

Wax up the sleigh. Check it for flight. Shine St. Nick’s boots. Make sure Rudy’s nose is bright and squeaky clean.

Test the GPS. Gather the weather reports. Check the sack for rips. Tell Mrs. C not to wait up.
It’s gonna be another long night, but then it always is on December 24.

The jolly, old, fat man is set to make his annual trek. Chimneys the world over wait. Fireplaces are about to be pounced on.

Santa has something for everyone, or so they say. Keeping the faith, I’m going to accept that statement as fact. So, with that in mind, let’s see if he can find room in his big, red pack, upon his back—as Andy Williams sang—for these goodies.

For Calvin Johnson, a new NFL record, but more importantly, a football team worthy of his gargantuan talent.

For Matthew Stafford, highlight reels of Slinging Sammy Baugh and Fran Tarkenton, so the kid knows that you don’t have to have perfect “mechanics” to be a winner in this league.

For Jim Schwartz, a general manager who will draft him some defense.

For Rick Porcello, a team who wants him.

For Jhonny Peralta, a new nickname: The Kitchenette, because they say he has no range.

For Torii Hunter, nothing—because he already had his Christmas when he signed with the Tigers.

For traffic lights throughout Metro Detroit, Anibal Sanchez’s timing.

For Alex Avila, health and happiness—and for him, they’re one and the same.

For Miguel Cabrera, the abolition of sabermetrics.

For Tigers fans, also nothing—because they already have their new third base coach.

For Tommy Brookens, the new third base coach, the best of luck.

For the NHL, coal in its hockey boot.

For Mark Dantonio, a quarterback.

For Brady Hoke, a headset.

For Joe Dumars, a slashing, scoring small forward in the draft, because it sure isn’t on his current roster.

For Lawrence Frank, a book on the Pistons of the 1960s—oh, wait, he’s already writing the remake.

For Andre Drummond, the career of Shaquille O’Neal, because Ray Scott told me that Andre reminds him of a young Shaq.

For Greg Monroe, the career of Bob Lanier, because (see above).

For Pistons fans, a new RV, because you can all fit in one.

For George Blaha, some recognition (finally) as a damn good football play-by-play guy.

For Charlie Villanueva, no regrets.

For Tayshaun Prince, a nice twilight so his career will be properly book-ended.

For all of us working stiffs, the longevity of Jim Brandstatter

For all of us husbands, Brandy’s marriage, too.

For Cecil Fielder, Prince Fielder’s smile at the next Thanksgiving table.

For Notre Dame football fans, you don’t get anything—your prayers were already answered.

For NHL fans, never Fehr.

For Alex Karras’ legacy, a diabolical plan to gain induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

For Miguel Cabrera, whatever he wants.

For Dominic Raiola, a seven-second delay.

For Ndamukong Suh, peace.

For Louis Delmas, two good knees.

For the two Vs, Vinnie Goodwill and Vince Ellis (Pistons beat writers), a thesaurus to help them describe what they are forced to watch nightly.

For Jerry Green, many more Super Bowls.

For Rob Parker, see Dominic Raiola.

For Mark Sanchez, the hell out of New York.

For Toronto Blue Jays fans, somebody to pinch them.

For Chicago Cubs and Lions fans, a support group.

For Billy Crystal, the only known celebrity Los Angeles Clippers fan, a winner.

For Billy Crystal’s movie career, the same, for it’s as overdue as are the Clippers.

For Magic Johnson, all the success with the Dodgers as he had on the basketball court.

For the San Francisco Giants, the antithesis for Magic.

For Linda McCoy-Murray, happiness with her new man. But he’ll never write like Jim.

For Jim Leyland, we folks off his back already.

For our daughter, anything she wants, because she tamed Oakland University as a freshman like she had ice water in her veins.

For my wife, see Charlie Villanueva.

For all of you who read me every week, a year’s supply of Zantac.


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Detroit Tigers: Anibal Sanchez and the Dominoes He’s Knocked over

We all remember musical chairs. It was a simple numbers game—there was no other way to look at it, unless you grew up spittin‘ game like me and always lined up behind the cute girl in class so that as soon as the music stopped you swooped right underneath her so her backside conveniently landed right in your lap—but that’s neither here nor there. There weren’t enough chairs to go around.

A baseball roster has only 25 spots on it, and the Detroit Tigers have a problem similar to the level of suaveness of Arthur Fonzarelli: something we call a surplus.

The Tigers just re-signed RHP Anibal Sanchez to a reported five-year, $80 million contract. There’s a lot to like in Anibal’s game, but shelling out $80 million on a guy without a “stellar” year to his credit is a lot like handing the role of Superman to Brandon Routh. Let’s hope this was more of a Dave Dombrowski move than a Mike Illitch move.

The problem with the Sanchez signing may not lie in the numbers—since Illitch literally has as much care for his finances as Charles Montgomery Burns—but it does create a riddle of space and volume within the Tigers organization.

As mentioned, we have 25 spots, and more than 25 names with which to fill them. Let’s look at the numbers, and see how this Sanchez signing may affect the overall landscape of the Tigers’ Opening Day Roster.


What the Team Looks Like Today

If we drew up the 25-man roster today, here’s what we would have:

The batting order: 1. Austin Jackson, 2. Torii Hunter, 3. Miguel Cabrera, 4. Prince Fielder, 5. Victor Martinez, 6. Andy Dirks, 7. Jhonny Peralta,  8. Alex Avila, 9. Omar Infante.

The starting rotation: Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, Rick Porcello.

The bullpen: Bruce Rondon, Joaquin Benoit, Octavio Dotel, Bryan Villareal, Al Alberquerque, Phil Coke, Drew Smyly.

The reserves: Ramon Cabrera (backup catcher), Quintin Berry (utility OF).

Here is where it gets tricky. We’re already at 23 players are there a few names you already know are missing.

Don’t forget that the Tigers just drafted two players from the Rule 5 draft: Kyle Lobstein and Jeff Kobernus. If you’re not familiar with the rules regarding this draft, it’s very simple: any player you draft must remain on your 25-man roster for the following year or he is forfeited. Basically, you can’t send anyone you draft down the minors. 

Another detail is that you actually do not have to draft, if you so choose. So, by following simple logic, the Tigers did draft these players and, therefore, must like them. They will be on the roster this season.  And, what a coincidence, they round out the 25 men.

If you aren’t familiar with either of these players, don’t be ashamed. Lobstein is a LHP who will come out of the bullpen, and Kobernus is an infield version of Quintin Berry (speed for days, decent bat and good defense).

Now, let’s see how this roster affects all those little rumors swirling around out there.


Rick Porcello Will be Traded

According to media reports, there are as many names about to replace Porcello‘s in the fifth rotation spot as there are actors who have portrayed Dr. Who (personally, I find it a shame Christopher Eccleston doesn’t hurl the pill, but the Brits never did like “the baseball”). The question still begs: Is it worth it to trade Porcello? Let’s watch the dominoes fall if that in fact were the case:

Consequence 1: Drew Smyly fills his spot.

Consequence 2: Tigers have to trade Porcello for a LH relief pitcher.

Consequence 3: Tigers farm system is even more depleted.

Alternative? Roll out the all-righty rotation with Porcello at No. 5. Smyly returns to the bullpen where he shined in the playoffs, and the Tigers have protection in terms of depth in case one of their aces (here’s lookin‘ at you, Fister) succumbs to injury.

Let’s also not forget the dreaded 2014 offseason. Both Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer become free agents at that time, and it’s hard to believe that even Illitch (likely exiled to a full-bodied respirator a la Arthur Digby Sellers, Lebowski-style) will have the pockets to retain both of their services. 

In the likely instance the Tigers lose one (most likely Scherzer to the Yankees), they will be counting on Sanchez and Fister filling the holes while Porcello and Smyly represent a bright future. Without one of them, I don’t see another pitcher in the system ready to handle a role like that.


The Tigers Will Acquire an Established Closer

Herman Boone once handed the reins to the offense of the T.C. Williams football squad to a quarterback who had never played a down (at least in the movie), and look what happened? Sunshine rode them golden locks to the state title. It can happen. Youth can be a lighting rod.

Look around the league. Atlanta, the Yankees, Boston with Papelbon, Texas and Neftali Feliz. What do they have in common? Homegrown bullpens. If there is one subdivision of a baseball team that needs to be homegrown, it’s a bullpen. Why do think teams are so quick to flip successful middle relievers for young prospects? Because they’re a dime a dozen. 

High-octane arms with a two pitches are not hard to come by for those who look for them in the draft. 

Closers? Difference story. But you know what? It’s time for the Tigers to sack up and roll the dice.  Bruce Rondon needs to be the closer this year. Come out and say it, Dave. Make no doubt about it.  Either that, or you send $15 million for a one-year deal for Rafael Soriano? C’mon

Rondon is going to get his chance sooner or later. Might as well be now. If he blows it, that’s why MLB invented a trade deadline. Make a move then. This is one of those rare occasions where the right move and the thrifty move are one and the same.


The Tigers Need an Upgrade at Shortstop

This one goes back to Rick Porcello. Dave Cameron wrote a very interesting piece on Kid Rick (found here) where he astutely outlines that if Porcello had a decent defense behind he would actually be a very valuable pitcher. Sorry, Jhonny Peralta, but that means you gotta go. Stephen Drew rumors have been swirling around forever, but nothing’s happened. 

Time to change that, Dave. Grab the defensive whiz and start saving some runs for Porcello—who could become the best fifth starter in baseball.

So, say Drew is added. Where does Peralta go? Send on the prospects! Where do the Tigers need the most prospects? In the infield. Hitting machine Nick Castellanos and Avisail “the Tool Man” Garcia are waiting in the wings in the outfield, and, with Austin Jackson, pretty much have the Tigers covered pole-to-pole for the foreseeable future. A project at 2B or 1B would be ideal since either FIelder or Cabrera will switch to DH once Martinez’s contract is up after 2014.


Where in the World Will Brennan Boesch Land?

Boesch was likely the most notable name left off the 25-man roster above. Once a fan favorite for this ability to hit, he has now slipped into afterthought status due to a string of mediocre performances. The man is on his way out, it’s just a matter of when or for what price. Personally, I can’t say these words enough: MORE PROSPECTS!

There are rumors of Boesch to the Mariners for a LHP (Charlie Furbush doing his best Darth-Vader-return-to-the-light-side impersonation, anyone?), which I’m personally fine with. It may be best to trade him for Brendan Ryan and have Ryan he a platoon guy with both Drew and Infante in the middle. Ryan hit .234 against LHP last season and is considered the best defensive SS in the game. Any upgrade to the defensive side of the baseball should be a welcomed one.


Who Gets the Scraps

Unfortunately, a fan favorite of mine, Ramon Santiago, is another odd man out. He, along with Danny Worth, do not have a job come the beginning of April and need new homes. Ship them for prospects and hope we get lucky is all I can say. Poor Ramon.   

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

2012 World Series: Why the Detroit Tigers’ Starting Pitchers Can’t Be Blamed

For all intents and purposes, the World Series ended on Miguel Cabrera’s pop-up in the fifth inning of Game 3. It was the symbolic play of the 2012 Fall Classic: The Giants have maximized their opportunities, and the Tigers have not. More than any one play, that pop-up summed up why San Francisco has a 3-0 lead and could very well end the series Sunday night.

But Saturday night, Detroit lost a second straight 2-0 game and joined the 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers with the dubious distinction of being shut out in back-to-back World Series games. A pair of runs scored by the Giants in the second inning might as well have been 20, because the toothless Tigers simply could not generate offense against Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum and Sergio Romo.

The shame of it is that Anibal Sanchez pitched well tonight for the second time this postseason, only to lose. Like his first loss against the Oakland A’s, Sanchez was more than good enough to win. His final line was very good: Seven innings, six hits, two runs and eight strikeouts. But like that start in Oakland a couple weeks ago, there was no offense to be found.

Who would have thought that Justin Verlander would potentially have the worst start of the World Series for the Tigers? It is certainly starting to look that way as Doug Fister and Sanchez were largely brilliant. Over 13 innings, they allowed a mere 10 hits and three earned runs, but are 0-2 combined. Under most circumstances, a total ERA of 2.07 would be enough to win at least one game. 

Instead, the Tigers are staring at a history that now officially seems impossible: No team has ever overcome an 0-3 deficit to win the World Series. To make matters worse, no team has even won a game down 0-3 since the 1970 Cincinnati Reds. The only other team in history to do so was the 1937 Giants. The New York Giants.

So when it comes time to ask, “what went wrong,” there will be plenty of goats to choose from for Detroit. But there is no way you can point the finger at the starting pitching. Even as Verlander was getting hit in Game 1, the offense did not break through until the sixth inning, two innings after Verlander exited.

This three-game deficit is clearly about the punchless lineup Detroit has had. I targeted a trio of players that would be key to Game 3: Andy Dirks, Prince Fielder and Sanchez. Only the starting pitcher held up his end. Fielder, who is now 1-for-10 in the series (including 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position), continued to fail in big spots behind Miguel Cabrera. 

Dirks was 0-for-3 with a walk, but was largely part and parcel of the whole for Detroit’s inability to score. Too much red ink at the plate has the San Francisco Giants on the verge of ecstasy and the Tigers agonizing over another World Series meltdown offensively. In 2006, the Tigers hit .199 in the World Series. This year, they are hitting .165 overall.

Give some credit to the Giants and their tremendous pitching. But Detroit has had chances and had their big guns up. And like that Cabrera pop-up, they have often been meek and underwhelming in big spots. Now, it looks as if the Tigers’ arms will have to be perfect, or they’ll watch San Francisco celebrate a championship at their expense. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

3 Detroit Tigers Who Will Be Key to Game 3 World Series Win

After watching the San Francisco Giants do a little bit of everything and a lot well to take a 2-0 series lead, the Detroit Tigers take solace in returning to their home field. Though history suggests a comeback is not in the offing, the club remains confident. 

To win the vital Game 3 though, Detroit has to improve in a few vital areas. First and foremost, they aren’t hitting. Give the Giants credit, they have played brilliantly at times. But the vital organs of their potentially explosive offense have not been functioning. Hitting just .167 in the series so far, Detroit must start producing at the plate or the Major League Baseball season could be done before the weekend ends. 

But in all fairness, the problems have not just been limited to the Tigers’ woes at the plate. With an ERA of 5.63 thus far, the pitching hasn’t been playoff-caliber either. And for once, the blame can’t all be heaped on Jose Valverde. So here are my three key players that have to deliver for the Tigers to get back into this series.

Begin Slideshow

Kerry Wood: Detroit Tigers Fan Reminisces About Pitcher’s Debut at Tiger Stadium

I remember the Detroit Tigers vs. Chicago Cubs interleague baseball game in 1998 like it were yesterday.

It was June 25. And my friends and I had recently graduated high school at Southgate Anderson High School in suburban Detroit.

This was the second full season that Major League Baseball had implemented interleague play.

While I was always excited to attend a Tiger game, watching my home team play the Cubs made for an even more fun night.

Five summers before, my father took me to my first Cubs game at Wrigley Field. I watched in horror as Orlando Merced of the Pittsburgh Pirates smacked a game-winning, two-run home run off Shawn Boskie.  

While disappointed, I found solace in pictures of our drive to the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa, prior to our journey to Wrigley.

Back to 1998, with very little money and no ballgames to play on our schedules, we piled into my friends beat-up Chevy sedan and hit I-75 northward toward Tiger Stadium.

It was nearly first pitch by the time my friend halted his squealing chunk of metal in a decrepit parking lot, just a stone’s throw from at least a one mile walk from the ticket office.

Like madmen, we hustled to the ticket booth hoping tickets were still available for the game. While the Tigers were not doing so well at 35-45, 30,000 Tigers fans came out to the ballpark that night.

For some fans, this was perhaps one of but a few opportunities remaining to watch a game at this white palace at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull. It was no secret this stadium was on its last legs, as chipping bright blue paint inside the stadium could attest.

Add insult to injury, the once-powerful offense the Tigers assembled during the mid-1990s was no more. Shortstop Alan Trammell and second baseman Lou Whittaker had recently retired, leaving a gaping hole in Detroit’s hearts.

Mickey Tettleton had taken his powerful swing to the Texas Rangers. And Cecil Fielder, who thumped home runs 50 and 51 on the final day of the 1990 season at Yankee Stadium, had been traded to the New York Yankees for Ruben Sierra and Matt Drews.  

Rob Deer, Dan Gladden and Skeeter Barnes had also handed in their badges to the Tigers front office.

Yet for all the carnage, Tony Clark and Bobby Higginson still roamed the hallowed grounds for the Tigers. These two ballplayers gave the hometown fans some hope for a positive future.

Fortunately for my friends and I, the $5 center field bleacher seat tickets we wanted were still available. With hot dogs and Cokes in hand, we made our way to our favorite part of the ballpark. We loved sitting 440 feet from home plate for two reasons. First, we could heckle opposing outfielders. Second, homers looked truly majestic as they sailed past blue steel.

To say we were excited for the ballgame against the Cubs was an understatement. My friends and I had the rare opportunity to watch one of baseball’s most electrifying young pitchers at the time take to the hill for the Cubs.

His name was Kerry Wood.

Wood was our generation’s version of Stephen Strasburg—without all the social media buzz.

This 6’4” flame-throwing Texas native burst onto the scene in 1998, when he struck out 20 Houston Astros hitters in a complete game shutout at Wrigley Field.    

Coming into the game against the Tigers, Wood was 7-3 with 118 strikeouts.

Having heard the hype about Wood, we were anxious to see for this growing legend with our own eyes.

Now, sometimes youth combined with adrenaline can equal delusion.

Although the Tigers were terrible, we were convinced our home team would crush Wood that night.

That was until we heard Wood’s first fastball hiss through the hot summer air, before thumping into catcher Tyler Houston’s glove.

My friends and I just looked at one another in amazement, as we heard the fastball from center field.

This would be the first of many times Wood would do this for the Cubs that night. He ended up striking out eight Tigers in six innings of work.

But for the record, Wood did not leave this game unscathed.

Damian Easley took him deep for a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Tigers added two more runs off Wood in the bottom of the sixth, when Geronimo Berroa doubled Bobby Higginson and Luis Gonzalez home.

Wood went on to surrender three earned runs on four hits in a no-decision for the Cubs.

The Tigers ended up winning the game 6-4 that night, thanks to a three-run homer by Tony Clark.

I must say as a baseball fan, I truly enjoyed watching Wood pitch at Tiger Stadium. After watching Wood, my friends and I thought he would easily go on to a Hall of Fame career.

This was especially true after Wood finished the 1998 season with a 13-6 record and 233 strikeouts in just 166.2 innings of work. He also won National League Rookie of the Year honors.

Sadly for Wood, injuries would plague the rest of his career, as he was never able to find his groove.

Although some consider Wood’s career 86-75 record, 1,581 strikeouts and 3.67 ERA respectable, others are convinced Wood by no means lived up to high expectations.

To this, I will let others debate this over the course of the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, I will continue to reminisce about Wood’s performance at Tiger Stadium that night.

Because frankly, it is a night that will stick with me forever.  


Related Articles:

Motown, ‘The Song of Solomon’ and the Detroit Tigers

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers Prospect, Continues to Fly Beneath Hype’s Radar

By the end of this weekend, the baseball world will be swimming in highlights from 20-year-old Mike Trout’s call up in Cleveland and 19-year-old Bryce Harper’s debut in Los Angeles.

Come Monday morning, fans will drag their bodies back to work, talking about these two future All-Stars over hot coffee and cubicles.

“How awesome was the Dodgers-Nats game on Saturday,” the guy with a crooked tie will say to his co-worker checking his email. “Seeing Harper finally play on the big stage was off the hook!”

“Never thought Trout would go hit-less in his call-up,” another will say to a fellow Angels fan lounging in the company’s kitchen.

Meantime, in Lakeland, another 20-year-old will wake from slumber, the morning after raking more pitches .

His name is Nick Castellanos.

This 6 foot 4, 210 lb., power-hitting Florida native is considered to be the future face of the Detroit Tigers.

Drafted (more like stolen) 44th overall out of high school by the Tigers in the 2010 Major League Draft, Castellanos has escaped the wrath of hype’s radar thus far.

Deemed by scouts become an Evan Longoria-like player one day, Castellanos has not disappointed fans during his early professional career.

Minus Longoria’s power, Castellanos hit .312 with 158 hits, seven home runs, 36 doubles and 76 RBIs between the GCL Tigers and the Western Michigan Whitecaps last summer. To be fair Castellanos also struck out 130 times in 507 at bats.

Eek! That’s a lot of air.

But Tiger fans, thou shall not fear!

For, this spring, Castellanos is working like a lumberjack to chop down on strikeouts, all the while maintaining his hitting prowess.

Castellanos seems to be having success in achieving this end. Through 19 games at Class A Advanced, Castellanos his hitting a blistering .413 with 31 hits, one home run and 14 RBIs. He already has eight doubles and a 1.012 OPS. And while Castellanos’s strikeouts are still a bit high (15), this young gun is showing signs of improving his plate patience for the Flying Tigers.

It is obvious the Tigers front office loves Castellanos. For the team had a chance to acquire Gio Gonzalez earlier this year. But when Oakland brought Castellanos’s name up, the Tigers immediately slammed the door on the deal.

Yet while Trout and Harper snag the headlines, Castellanos will continue to fly below the radar, despite being the 51st best prospect in baseball.

But that is OK, for while Castellanos seasons his own fries in the minor leagues, a bright future awaits him once he arrives in the Motor City.

This is the beauty of having a winning franchise loaded with superstar players.

Well, that is unless you are Nick Castellanos.

Then it is torture.


James is a huge baseball fan who loves to write and make new friends. You can follow James on Twitter by clicking HITHA!  

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Prince Fielder: Another 50 Home Run Season Is Possible for Newest Detroit Tiger

With a wave of his hand, or should I say wallet, Mike Ilitch has dramatically altered the Detroit Tigers fortunes. With the signing of Prince Fielder, the cloud of despair that formed over the city when Victor Martinez went down has cleared. 

The forecast for next season is sunny skies and plenty of victories.

It was surely one of the biggest, and most surprising, moves in Detroit sports history. It also showed how serious Ilitch is about winning. The addition of Fielder has made the 2012 season one of the most anticipated in Tigers’ history.

The Fielder signing has all the trappings of a feel-good story of the year. Everybody knows the story by now. He was born in 1984—the last time Detroit won the World Series—and grew up as a Tigers’ bat boy. He learned baseball from his father Cecil, who holds the Tigers record for most home runs in a single season

As Ilitch pointed out at this press conference, the Tigers just missed drafting Fielder. Milwaukee selected him just ahead of Detroit.

With all his connections to the city and the team, maybe it was fate that brought Prince back to Detroit. I’m sure the obscene amount of cash didn’t hurt either.

With this signing, the Tigers are automatic American League favorites to go to the World Series and they should put up impressive numbers along the way.

As for Prince, he has the talent to supplant his father as the best Fielder to play for Detroit. The lore surrounding Cecil is great. He legitimately hit 51 home runs before everyone and their brother was doing it—before steroids took over.

But with his skill set, and playing on this team, Prince has a chance to have a special season. He has a chance to break his father’s team record—51 home runs in 1990.

Here’s why I think he can do it.

Begin Slideshow

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress