Top Story: The Battle of Lakeland
Spring training has finally begun. Everyone likes to say that the games are meaningless, yet for some, they mean too much. There are guys out there fighting for jobs that mean everything to them.
Sure, most of the rosters are pretty much set from the get-go, but many guys are auditioning for other teams and playing for future considerations when guys get hurt.
While nothing noteworthy can really be said after only two games, Your Party Host will take this time to predict what the final Opening Day roster will look like (barring injury or trades) and who is fighting for what.
Projected Starting Lineup
C: Gerald Laird
1B: Miguel Cabrera
2B: Scott Sizemore
3B: Brandon Inge
SS: Adam Everett
LF: Johnny Damon
CF: Austin Jackson
RF: Magglio Ordonez
DH: Carlos Guillen
IF: Ramon Santiago
IF/OF: Ryan Raburn
OF: Clete Thomas
C: Alex Avila
Left in the Cold
Don Kelly, despite being horrible, has the best chance of anyone to unseat Thomas as the final position player to make the team. The Tigers are going to probably take a lefty up for a bench spot, and that would be Kelly or TYhomas.
I think due to Jim Leyland’s personal man crush on ol' Clete and his above-average arm, Thomas will win out over Kelly’s ability to play any position and lose fly balls during key games.
Wilkin Ramirez and Casper Wells will be in Toledo this year waiting for someone (Gullien) to get hurt.
Brent Dlugach, despite his Barry Bonds start this spring (3-for-4, two homers), looks like a career minor leaguer to me. And whatever happened to Cale Iorg? Wasn’t he supposed to make us forget about Alan Trammell by this point? Maybe he can open a sports bar with Chris Pittaro or something.
Finally, Jeff Larish will try to remind people that he is still in the Tigers system. He will probably fail. Other than him, it’s a bunch of kids running around getting hit in the face by fly balls.
SP: Justin Verlander
SP: Rick Porcello
SP: Max Scherzer
SP: Jeremy Bonderman
SP: Dontrelle Willis
LRP: Nate Robertson
RP: Phil Coke
RP: Bobby Seay
RP: Ryan Perry
RP: Zach Miner
SU: Joel Zumaya
CL: Jose Valverde
Left in the Cold
Armando Galarraga, it’s sad how far you have fallen since 2008. Getting shelled in his first spring inning with four earned runs, four hits and two walks isn’t going to help. His ship may have sailed.
With $34.5 million owed this year to Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis, I can’t see any of them not making the team unless Mr. Dombrowski pulls a Sheff on one of them.
Personally, I’m rooting for Willis to make an unlikely return to glory. Despite two leadoff walks in two innings, he had a decent start to his year. Plus, we have to replace Curtis Granderson with a “good guy” on the team, don’t we? That annoying little bastard Brandon Inge can’t do it all by himself.
Bondo looked good in his debut, too, with two scoreless innings and three strikeouts. His spot is assured. And Nate? What would this site be without him? He's allowed three hits, three walks and two earned runs in his 1.1 innings so far. God bless him.
Sadly (for him, not me), this also leaves Fast Eddie Bonine without a roster spot to start the 2010 year. Eddie’s more of a Quad-A pitcher to be called up due to injury, anyway.
Also left out would be lefty relievers Brad Thomas (who I still wouldn’t be able to pick out of a police lineup) and last year’s rookie standout, Fu-Te Ni. Hopefully, Bobby Seay can be dealt somewhere while he has some value left so my boy Fu can make the team.
As I said, especially this early, the stats don’t mean much...yet. But over time, some tough decisions need to be made. Basically, two spots are open—one position player and one pitcher. We’ll check back in a month and see how close I was with all of this...not that I made any wild stretches or anything.
In Other News
A Couple Always A Tiger Updates
Casey Fien’s roller coaster week continued as he was claimed off the Boston Red Sox by the Toronto Blue Jays. That’s got to suck. You get claimed from the Tigers by a perennial World Series contender, only to get claimed again by a team that is consistently fighting for third place. And the team’s in another country, too.
Life sucks sometimes, Casey. You’d better start learning the words “eh,” “aboot” and “looney” so you can fit in.
Jeff Weaver commented this week about the minor league deal that he signed with the Dodgers, saying that he can opt out of the deal if he doesn’t make the team for Opening Day. He says that he “doesn’t want to do the Triple-A thing again.”
I loved Weaver when he came up with Detroit, but after the ’06 World Series , I hope Weaver not only doesn’t make the Dodgers, but also hope his testicles fall off on the mound one day. That would be a fun story to cover.
- Tim Marchman of SI.com ranked the Major League Baseball general managers from one to 30. Double D managed to finish 13th in the rankings. If only it were a “Best Dressed GM” list. Those Cosby sweaters sure are sharp.
- At the official Tiger site, Nate Robertson says he wants to be remembered in Detroit as an innings-eating bulldog type. I was waiting for Nate’s turn at having a spring “feel good” story so I could rip it apart. But sorry, I just don’t have it in me anymore, I guess. Enjoy independent ball after this year, Nate.
- Sam at RotT makes dolphin noises when she hears Roger Clemens’ kid saying he’d be honored to be compared to Brandon Inge. I’m not one to give parenting advice to anyone, but if my kid ever tells me that he wants to be compared to Brandon, I’ll take a baseball bat and bust up both of his knees. Then he can be like Inge.
- Jen at OED rips off Jason Beck. Hahahahahaahaha...hey, I’m allowed to poke fun at Jen. When I was thinking about ending this blog a month or so ago, she was the one that talked me out of it. So yeah, blame her if you hate my stuff. And yes, it is odd that the nicest Tiger blogger and the biggest jerk Tiger blogger have become friends. I don't get it either. Ha, I called her a jerk.
See ya in a couple days when I talk about a spleen disease. Seriously.