By Denny McLain
In Play Magazine
First, let me start off with the rumors concerning Johnny Damon.
Radio broadcasters are going crazy that Johnny Damon may be coming to Detroit and that paying a “Real Player” $6 million dollars is too much money and that some of these broadcasters would boycott rather than attend the games. Who the hell can Damon hurt?
By all means, get Johnny Damon for a year if not two.
He’s a pro, takes care of himself, knows the game and can sure help this organization.
Johnny Damon has only won it all folks…twice! Once with Boston and once with the Yankees…Duh?
So what are we talking about here? Let’s take a look at Damon’s stats from last year; .282 BA, 24 HR, 82 RBI, .365 OBP with a .489 SLP. Hello, what the hell is wrong with this picture?
Isn’t it time we get some real winners here, guys who know how to win, guys who can show the younger kids what winning is all about and how to get there? Is that too much to ask?
A guy who knows how to play at crunch time in September, or was it the managers I saw running around out there in the field last year that lost the division with two weeks left in the season?
I think that “You know who” should be ashamed of that finish last year. But when you are making the kind of money he’s making does he care? After all Leyland was pretty much embarrassed by the front office last year right?
I suggest to you Damon isn’t going to show up and not do the job, he is a real refined professional. He knows more about playing the game then most the people in the Tigers organization.
Does Illitch want to cut payroll or do you think he wants to make room for other “Real Players.” I think he wants to spend the money to win, but he will have to release or trade Robertson, Willis, Bonderman, Inge and some others to do so. He’s going to have to take the hit in the pocket book now or in September when Comerica’s gates are closed and he’s watching other teams in post season play.
The only solution is to get rid of these dead weights, go get some real players and pay them in order to even have a chance. We cannot win with Robertson, Willis, Bonderman or Inge. These guys will not win the Division for you, they just proved it again! Inge is a nice guy, but .230 is .230 folks and he hit .230 with good knees too! No one plays a position well enough to warrant a .230 hitter playing each day. No Way!
Now, onto Justin Verlander.
His stats for 2009, ERA3.45 W-L19-9 269 1.18 .243 and $80 million dollars. I assume that theses stats are considered (in today’s game) an outstanding season.
I also understand that you want to contract him into a long term deal, but a long term deal would have made more sense if the Tigers had a chance of winning something, am I right or wrong? To sign a guy (long term) who was not even eligible to leave you makes no sense, it’s not my money though.
The real and only criticisms I have of the $80 million is that the Tigers really don’t (want to) see what others see at times.
Verlander does have a tendency to give up runs in clusters when the Tigers have the lead.
It happened a number of times last year, it may be a lack of concentration with a big lead, but, when you’re the pitcher, the ace with the lead, there is NO inning more important to shut down the opposition, than in the one when your team puts you in the lead.
Verlander, 65-43 with a 3.92 ERA, turns 27 this month. And an ERA of 3.92 (almost 4.0) gets $80 million dollars, I don’t get it? They didn’t have to give him this kind of cash now, they could have waited til next year.
I have always said that all you have to do is look at the last numbers of a pitcher’s stats…exactly, his ERA! This is a far better indicator of how a pitcher is doing than not. ERA defines consistency, and a 4.0 ERA is not a great definition of consistency.
I am not saying that they did not need to do something in a serious manner with Justin, but when you look at the Tigers’ past deals for pitchers you lose confidence in their management ability. You would also think and hope that they would hire a real pitching coach who has been there, knows the ins and outs, the mental side of the pitching game and can talk to a “Star” in certain terms, about the good and the bad.
I have only one fear, “Injury!”
After winning 108 games in 5 years, at the age of 25, I injured my right shoulder in such a way that I was never really effective again, of course MLB had something to do with that also. MLB lowered the pitching mounds by at 6 inches league wide because the Pitchers, according to the brains in the Commissioner’s office, thought the pitchers had taken over the game. Us Pitchers were on a real run back then, but when they lowered the mound and expanded the game MLB made up for that little edge.
And, when we’re injured, the teams just loaded us up with pain killers and shot us full of Cortisone and sent us back out on the field, never telling us what we were doing to ourselves or our careers.
Sorry folks, that always makes me mad! Back to the point at hand.
If we were to believe the papers and the press lately, Justin is on his way to the Hall Of Fame! What?
This is a guy who has five complete games in his entire career! What in God’s name am I missing? I have said this in the past; the days of a real starting pitcher ever getting into the Hall Of Fame may be a thing of the past, because none of these guys have got great career ERA’s or complete games!
Justin has also a little issue with “temper tantrums.”
JV, control that temper when things go wrong or bad. Don’t show anybody on the team up and good things will happen. When that first fan yells “That is what we get for $80 million dollars? You just ignore it and say “Thank you for coming to the park sir.”
You are now the face of the Detroit Tigers, maintain yourself and great things will occur in this city in which you play. Play hard, give our fans who are in some cases not working or have lost their homes, give them a 100% effort each time! Treat them like the greatest fans in world, because they know when you are not giving them an honest effort.
Now, onto some things I have been hearing from around the league.
From what I hear, MLB has had meetings and discussions lately about raising the mound again, to at least 14 inches.
This would be a great thing for pitchers, it would save so much strain on the arm, my God you might even see a complete game once in a while…in under two hours!
The jury is still out on complete games though, the managers are too afraid to see if a guy can actually complete a game and learn how to pitch in the 7th, 8th or 9th inning to boot.
Gosh, imagine seeing Porcello in the 8th inning of a game! That would be something we should all hope for, take the children’s glove off Porcello and let him pitch! You sure can’t win when this kid only pitching 5-6 innings.
And this 100 pitch per game system, that is still the most ridiculous BS in the game today!
Ask yourself this, if that 100 pitch system really worked, why are so many of our pitchers still getting hurt?
Who the hell does this system protect, certainly not the pitchers!
Have a good one folks….
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