As the wild week of Winter Meetings madness was drawing to a close,
baseball fans (especially in Detroit) were still coming to grips over
the three-team trade that sent the beloved Curtis Granderson to the New
York Yankees. Everyone seemed to have something to say – no surprise,
most of it wasn’t good. I won’t dismiss those thoughts, nor can they
be swept under a dug-out bench. The feelings are genuine no matter
which side of the fence you sit on.
Immediately after their loss to Minnesota, I wrote of my profound disappointment in the 2009 Detroit Tigers. From Skip On Second:
Detroit Tigers were, in many ways, fortunate to be in first place. But,
in spite of the issues that plagued them, I truly thought that they
would find something (anything) within their collective baseball soul
that would propel them to win the division.
This team let me down. Period.
I also predicted:
But, as we all know, there is no crying in baseball, and now is the time to look ahead to 2010. That team will be different. In which ways, I don’t know. They WILL
be different though. They have to be. There will be some aspects that
we will recognize, some that we won’t. The changes may make them better
– or not.
Changes were inevitable if the Detroit Tigers were going to move
forward and become contenders within the next decade. No one said we
were going be ecstatic about those changes.
Four new faces will don the Old English D in April. Three of them, Max Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth, and Phil Coke
have been in the big leagues for only a short time, yet have the kind
of stuff that the Tigers can count on to help them win ball games. Each
pitcher joins the 25-man roster.
- On April 29, 2008, Scherzer made his MLB debut against the Houston Astros when he came on in relief and threw 4⅓ perfect innings while striking out
seven. While doing so he also set the record for the number of
consecutive batters retired (13) for a pitcher making his MLB debut as
- Schlereth was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 8th round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft, but did not sign. He then was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks 26th overall in the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft. He made his major league debut in a relief appearance against the Atlanta Braves on May 29, 2009, throwing a perfect inning.
- (Phil Coke) made his Double-A debut with the Trenton Thunder in 2008, going 9-4 with a 2.54 ERA in 23 games (20 starts). Later that year in Triple-A with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees,
he pitched in 13 games (starting one) and went 2-2 with a 4.67 ERA. He
made his major league debut on September 1, 2008, for the Yankees
against the Detroit Tigers with a scoreless inning and strikeouts of Curtis Granderson and Miguel Cabrera.
Dave Dombrowski feels that Coke could assume a spot in the rotation,
a chance, by all means. Our people liked him in the minors as a
starter, and he had good numbers. Those will be some discussions that
we have. I’m not making any declaration, because we haven’t made any
decision. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had the opportunity to be one
of our starters.”
On the other hand, outfielder Austin Jackson has never appeared in a
major league game. Don’t let that cloud your opinion of him. His last
season numbers out of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre are comparable to Curtis
Granderson’s last year (2005) in Toledo.
Granderson / Jackson
At-bats 445 / 504
Average .290 / .300
OBP .359 / .354
2B 29 / 23
HR 15 / 4
RBI’s 65 / 65
SB 22 / 24
Statistically, we may have Granderson-The Sequel.
Although Austin Jackson is the leading candidate to start in center
next season, the biggest unknown is his ability to cover the large
expanse of center field at Comerica Park. According to Dombrowski:
“He will have to earn that spot in spring training, but we made the deal with him being the centerfielder.”
Jackson appears ready to tackle the task of auditioning for the role.
“It’s exciting. You’re getting a chance to get your foot in the door and get your career started at the major league level.”