Welcome to Rudy Dominick & Johnny Lawrence's seventh weekly installment of Detroit Tigers information and analysis.
Each Thursday, we will delve into all things Tigers. Read and digest, or skim and spit out our insightful banter.
Keep An Eye On
Thad Weber, Starting Pitcher—Lakeland Flying Tigers (A)
(June 11—June 18)
1-1, 16 IP, 11 H, 0 BB, 8 K, 1.12 ERA.
Drive-By Argument: With Nine Major League-Caliber OF's, Which Three Should Start? Who Should Hit the Trading Block?
(Josh Anderson, Curtis Granderson, Carlos Guillen, Jeff Larish, Magglio Ordonez, Ryan Raburn, Wilkin Ramirez, Marcus Thames, and Clete Thomas)
DOMINICK: Anderson (LF), Granderson (CF), Ramirez (RF).
Anderson is tied for a team-best 10 stolen bases and has a .293 career batting average, Granderson's inclusion is a no-brainer, and Ramirez is posting hard-to-ignore numbers at Triple-A Toledo—.272, 6 HR, 17 RBI, 20 SB.
Sure it may resemble an outfield built for the National League, but the object is to put the best players on the field.
As the old saying goes, "speed never goes into a slump." Remove the legless from the field and let the youth take over and play some defense.
To keep some sort of power outlet plugged in, I'd slot Thames in at designated hitter.
My trade block would include Ordonez, Guillen and Raburn.
Guillen and Ordonez are two aging veterans that have fallen noticeably short of their hefty contractual expectations. If the Tigers feel they could get something in return for either, don't be surprised if they pull the trigger on these heroes of 2006.
LAWRENCE: Anderson/Thames (LF), Granderson (CF), Raburn/Anderson (RF).
I agree with your wishes to slim down the outfield, but I differ with who to trot out there at the moment.
Switching Magglio Ordonez from right field to designated hitter will keep a contact hitter in the lineup, while giving the mobile Raburn a chance to showcase his trade value in right. Let's show the Mets or Cardinals they can afford coughing up a reliever for this utilityman.
A short-term platoon system in would work to the Tigers advantage. Without Raburn in the lineup, you can insert a burner (Anderson) and a thumper (Thames). Right now, neither are streaking, but in due time their contributions should stay consistent enough to keep the Tigers competitive.
It's clear Ramirez still needs more time to work on his offensive skills—a .272 average and 56 strikeouts in 184 Mud Hen at-bats doesn't translate well. Let Ramirez continue to develop everyday in the minors while those with trade stock man the outfield.
Concerning the trading block, I'd be open to sending anyone not named Curtis Granderson out of town.
Take A Seat Dontrelle, Saturday Belongs To Alfredo Figaro
Fresh off an Eastern League Pitcher of the Week honor, Figaro's next start will come in a Tigers uniform.
He will take the mound against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, replacing the troubled Willis who was placed on the disabled list with an anxiety disorder for the second time this season.
The 24-year-old Figaro looks to douse the Tigers' end-of-the-rotation flames. In his previous two appearances, he whiffed 18 batters in 14.1 innings (2-0, 2.51 ERA).
Perhaps his most appreciated quality in management's eyes is his tendency to attack hitters. Figaro pounds the strike zone with ferocity. He has walked just 16 in 62.1 innings this year, two fewer than Willis issued in three games prior to his demotion (11 innings).
Though the shifting of Willis was necessary and anticipated, the move came as a surprise to some.
Around Detroit, speculation suggested the next in line to join the staff would be Luke French from Triple-A Toledo, a lefty who tossed three scoreless innings for Detroit in mid-May. The glaring desire for a southpaw remained evident in the clubhouse, but ultimately the right-handed Figaro was given the nod.
Barring a remarkable showing, the Dominican is not expected to stick with the big league club for long.
June 19-21: DET Justin Verlander vs. PIT Frank Catalanotto (.100, 1-for-10, 2 K).
June 19-21: DET Pitching vs. MIL Prince Fielder (.404, 4-for-20, 8 K).
June 19-21: DET Batting vs. MIL Braden Looper (6.89, 15.2 IP, 20 H, 5 HR).
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