Can the Detroit Tigers Be Fixed?

adam smereckiCorrespondent IAugust 14, 2008

In the wake of Joel Zumaya's latest stint on the DL, it's time to focus on next year. Yes, I am throwing in the towel this year.

The Tigers never gained a swagger after their 2006 season. Of course, losing the World Series can bring a team down, but not this far.

Let's start with our beloved manager, Jim Leyland.

He looks as if he has lost his feel for the game. His crazy batting lineups and all-around poor judgement should be enough to get him to walk away on his own. Don't put it past him. He has done it before in Colorado.

If that isn't enough, we all know he has lost the respect of the team. It is obvious by the looks he gets from his players when he makes those insane pitching changes.

To top it all off, the Tigers need a manager that has the common courtesy to eat after he gives his postgame interview! Those of you who have seen this on FOX Sports know what I am talking about.

While we are at it, let's talk about our pitching coach. Chuck Hernandez has to move along as well. What exactly did he mean when he told Justin Verlander to hold back a little? I don't think Verlander has ever recovered from that gem of coaching knowledge.

Give us a break. Has anyone ever seen a pitching staff with more arm problems? Bonderman, Zumaya, Rodney, and Jones all went down with injuries at one time or another.

I have to attribute that to mechanics. Whose job is it to work on mechanics (don't answer that, it's a rhetorical question). Plus our pitchers can't field their position! Fernando Rodney neglects to get off the mound to cover first. Come on folks, that is elementary baseball!

Looking toward next year, we all know what we need...pitching! We need starters, relievers, long-term relievers, and yes, a closer! I am not someone who boos at games, but I sure as heck close my eyes when Jones is on the mound. Let alone when Rodney closes. It's painful folks, painful!

So what can we do to accomplish a good season next year? Well, we have to assess what we have to lose, to gain, and what we need.

The biggest position the Tigers need filled is a "lights-out" closer. Too many games this year have gone into extra innings because of the closing position. Sadly, Ordonez is our biggest fish for trade bait. We know our pitching staff needs improving, and I see a big trade involving Ordonez in our future.

To make up for his loss, we will need to pick up a bat that can protect Cabrera in the lineup. I am not sure Guillen's bat will do the trick. In the outfield, we have Matt Joyce, who can move to RF. His bat is strong enough to be an everyday player.

Joyce is definitely not going to fill Ordonez's shoes completely at the plate, but the pitching help we get for Ordonez will be worth it.

Renteria getting released is a given, and did I mention Sheffield has been put on waivers?

The Tigers have signed Freddie Garcia. Between Garcia, Bonderman, and Willis, they are all damaged goods, but not beyond repair. A good offseason of rehab could possibly do the trick for all three of those guys.

Marcus Thames is not an everyday player, but the Tigers don't want to lose him. That's where another big bat in LF comes in. I, for one, want Adam Dunn. I am not sure what it will take to get him, but I want him.

One bright spot this year...Galarraga

I was going to write up a lineup for next year...but I figured, after how good the Tigers looked this year on paper, I would only jinx them.