Nerd of Batman, sports, logic, objectivity, Star Trek, personal enlightenment, Lincoln, the Rays, psychology, mic dropping. Kind've in that order.
KCP - Kentavious Caldwell Pope
WAR - Wins Above Replacement
FIP - Fielding Independent Pitching
LD% - Line Drive Percentage.
LOOGY - Left Handed One Out Guy
B/S - Batman/Superman
We were so enthralled with slamming Jim Schwartz's hideous decision to call for a fake field goal, we completely forgot to acknowledge that the difficulty of some games on the Lions remaining schedule went from Rookie to at least Normal, if we're grading on the Madden scale.
The skill level wasn't actually increased in one single day of games and performances, but over the course of the last few weeks. Things do suddenly change directions in the NFL quite often. And they could change again before the Lions encounter these impending challenges.
The good news is still that they've got any tiebreaker over Chicago with their two wins against the Bears. If the Lions beat Green Bay on Thanksgiving that'll be 1-1, but the Lions will move to 4-1 in the North, with only a game at Minnesota remaining in Week 17 that would prevent them from 5-1 in the North.
Now the bad news.
The Buccaneers, who visit as 9 point underdogs this Sunday, have won two and a half of their last three games. They took Seattle to OT 3 weeks ago on the road, they won the Distraction Bowl against Miami and they just hammered Atlanta. Tampa's backs keep dropping and no name heroes keep popping up to save the day for their run game, and rookie Mike Glennon has a 109 passer rating over the last year. Sunday won't be the walkover we expected several weeks ago.
PHOTO CREDIT - GETTY IMAGES
Almost from Week 1, I expected the trip to the Linc in Philly to be a loss, but the way the Nick Foles has played for Chip Kelly lately, the Lions defense - particularly the secondary - could be in for a humiliating afternoon. If they couldn't tackle Antonio Brown, good luck catching Desean Jackson and Lesean McCoy.
PHOTO CREDIT - GETTY IMAGES
And here come the Giants on their almost annual spurt through November + December, which almost always lands them winning their only game in February, and oh yeah, if they needed extra motivation that game will be played in their stadium. If the Giants handle their remaining schedule of Dal, @Wash, @SD, Sea, @Det, Wash and make the playoffs, then stay out of their way, and start thinking about Eli being up TWO Super Bowls on his brother. Could you imagine Eli vs. Peyton in the NY area Super Bowl. It would be like an entire entourage of Jerome Bettis's on one team being from Detroit. Prepare for incessant.
The Lions remaining schedule isn't unmanageable, and 12-4 wasn't going to happen anyway. Three of the final 6 games just became a bit more grueling, which isn't a bad thing if you're trying to define a winning identity that can help you advance through January.
And by the way, I'm not backtracking on my Ws and Ls.
Green Bay Win
@New York I'll flip here. Loss. EDIT - This is in Detroit. But the point remains, often the Giants are not to be toiled with in December.
10-6. 2-0 over the Bears, 1-1 vs. GB and 5-1 in the North. That SHOULD claim the 3rd seed in the NFC, and possibly create The Handshake Bowl at Ford Field during Wild Card weekend.
The Patriots haven't won a Super Bowl since they were implicated then fined for Spygate in 2007. One of the three teams New England beat in those title games were the Carolina Panthers. Perhaps there was fine print in addition to the $750,000 dollars in penalities that stated 'the league has the right to punish as we see fit moving forward until Brady & Belichick are gone.'
No black helicopters, just a lousy, cowardly retraction of a thrown flag.
Here is the photo of the final play of the Pats-Panthers game. Tomorrow morning, it will be everywhere. https://t.co/t5rNeb2DHE— Derek Thompson (@DKThomp) November 19, 2013
That could have been three penalties in my opinion, and possibly yours; DPI, holding or illegal contact.
If it was DPI, Carolina would've needed a goal line stand to prevent the Patriots from winning. That penalty would have moved the ball from the 18 to the 1.
Illegal contact would have moved the ball to the 13, and if I'm correct, holding would've moved the ball to the 8 yard line, and downs wouldn't have mattered since the clock had expired.
Just because the Panthers got the benefit of a poorly officiated final play, doesn't mean they still wouldn't have won that game anyway on the untimed down.
And even if they did lose, I would still state the following...
Because of the 27 Denver put up on KC, Carolina now leads the league in points allowed per game at 13.5. They're the number two defense in overall yards per game. Along with their stout defense, I have immense trust in the Panther running game - even after a quiet night for the backs - which can be guided by Cam Newton's legs if needed. The Panthers exhibit characteristics that travel well to any environment. With two games against the Saints looming, they can win the division, but I think the Panthers may be the only team in the NFC that visit Seattle or New Orleans in January and win on the road.
Which leads to my second notion, that the ascending Panthers remind me a lot of last year's Super Bowl participants.
The Steelers' Bumblebee jerseys proved too slippery for the Lions tacklers early on, Jim Schwartz made, IMO, the wrong decision to run a fake field goal, Reggie Bush's effectiveness was neutralized by the dreary Pittsburgh weather, Suh & Co. couldn't get a breath on the oft-sacked Ben Roethlisberger and the looming sense of uneasiness I have on the Lions as we depart Week 11 is that the Buccaneers and Mike Glennon are looking formidable these days.
The Lions host the win-streaking Bucs next week. It's not a MUST WIN, but it's a must win.
If we rewind the calendar two weeks to the Lions' bye, at 5-3, I expected and predicted them to be right where they are this second. 6-4. Time travel back with me, and you'd agree too, right?
Loss at Chicago. Win at Pittsburgh.
Of course you'd like to win all the games you can, but if the last two weeks were going to go one win and one loss for the Lions, you need to ignore negative narratives that could arise this week about Detroit in exchange for the enormous tiebreaker the Lions hold over the Bears.
There's also little chance Aaron Rodgers is 100% healthy on Thanksgiving. So calm down.
The Lions lost on a day where a home-domed team was impeded by weather and by a prideful team that probably its finest game of the year.
It's the NFL. It happens. If you'd like evidence, and if you believe Seattle and New Orleans are the very best teams in the league, or among them, examine their scuffles away from home.
- Regardless of its outcome, I believe the fake field goal was the wrong call. One of the balls Bush put down was punched out, but if the stormy weather cut in to his playing time, it was not a wise decision to expect a punter to cleanly execute that play from beginning to end.
Yea, I know, if they'd converted and scored 7 they likely would've sealed the victory. But if they'd converted a 27 yard field goal there's NO reasonable way they can lose the game on the ensuing drive with the score being 30-23.
- The Lions have harassed QBs all year, right? Yes. Curiously, they do only have 16 sacks. Perhaps I underrated Ansah's absence, and it sucks not having the depth from Jason Jones, Fairley's been inconsistent and Suh was in and out of the game against the Steelers. That Pittsburgh line had given up 4 sacks a game, and the Lions only got 1 and 1 QB hit. You didn't need me to tell you that, or a stat sheet to know Roethlisberger had plenty of pocket time all afternoon. So what's up!?
- Did the Steelers unearth two ways of searing the Lions defense? One, whatever they did to block for Ben. Two, I thought the secondary was going to enjoy a painless Sunday without having to stop a Gordon, Green, Marshall & Jeffrey, or Bryant. Antonio Brown's done a fine enough job replacing Mike Wallace, but he's none of the physical marvels the Lions have tried to defend over the last month or so. Is the new strategy against the Lions porous secondary going to be get it to the fleet receivers and let them dart past a not-so-nimble linebacking core and a dreadful back end? With Desean Jackson, Jordy Nelson, Torrey Smith and Victory Cruz looming...uh. Oh.
- Did the DeAndre Levy INT magic wear off? He dropped one, and early in the game a ball was in the air that screamed 'DEANDRE CATCH ME' and the ball fell harmlessly for an incomplete, not an INT.
- The Packers lost.
- The Giants won again. This has me thinking they're about to go on another 9-7 Super Bowl run.
- After I tweeted disagreement with the fake, I got this from Zac at Side Lion Report. I like Zac's stuff, but sometimes we can bang heads.
Schwartz essentially said the same thing. From Justin Rogers a mlive.com...
"Because we're trying to win the game," Schwartz said. "You could have said the same thing about the Redskins game. Why risk it? Why risk it? Every play is a risk. We're going to try to do our very best to win the game."
So what happened in the Washington game?
A QB sneak from a yard away is not nearly the risk of a rookie punter busting through the line on a sloppy wet day trying to gain five yards. There's no comparison here.
Before baseball's MVP award becomes as bloody as the Battle of Gettysburg, it's time for the game's civil conflict to end.
You know which clash I speak of.
That between the emerging, and at times finger waving, condescending, sabremetric mob just a few decades old versus the traditionalists, who eschew big data and simply just watch the games.
Or stats against scouts. It can be classified in a variety of ways.
This isn't like the interminable clash for the Holy Land where one faction triumphs and all others must vacate, or actively submit to the rule of the victor.
If WAR wins (the irony of THAT word in this context), and there will be no 'winner,' those who oppose won't be asked to turn over their TVs, have their ability to purchase the At Bat app revoked, nor will they be denied admission to any of the great ballpaks the game has to offer.
Because of the growing acrimony, I'm beginning to think I should actually hope for one side to triumph. At least that way I can get back to enjoying baseball without being stuck in the middle of a nearly intolerable cacophony of whose opinion of the game and the decisions made by all those in it are so right or oh so wrong.
How do we make our approach to Appomattox? With the way most other conflicts begin to march toward resolution; respect. Wait, perhaps there's a first step. Both sides must recognize the other LOVES the game. So, first is acknowledgment, which I know in deeply angered emotion is a struggle to embrace. Then comes the respect. Respect, that there's an almost endless about of information to analyze and help us draw objective conclusions about what we see on and off the field. Respect, that we've watched thousands of games and 1s and 0s cannot possible account for what can be infinite amount of variables in a game dealing with very corporeal beings, not machines.
This is why I reside firmly in the middle of the raging civil war in baseball. I lose myself for hours on Baseball Reference and Fangraphs poring over information that captivates and enlightens me to games and players I don't have the time to watch. I also love watching a game, attempting to read body language for pain or psychological discomfort and how the players and managers try for a harmonious chemistry that translates to winning.
Why did I believe Andrew McCutcheon was the National League MVP? Because he had wonderful statistics AND, if I were a voter, I would acknowledge how McCutcheon was the genesis of the baseball revival in Pittsburgh. He was a beacon. I realize that started upon his arrival in the league years ago, and that the MVP is an award given for that season, but THIS year was the successful culmination of the Pirates rebirth. To me, there are unquantifiable emotions and pressures that come with what I would essentially call at least an honor, at most a burden...of reanimating prestigous Major League baseball franchise.
In the previos paragraph, I was going to start 'Andrew McCutcheon was the proper cho...' but then I stopped myself.
In powerful contrast to what Brian Kenny or Keith Law would have you believe, while some opinions are less educated or refined than others, none are wrong. Some are downright idiotic, but if you choose to live in that ignorace, that's your decision.
The BBWAA has failed its annual intelligence test. Again.— keithlaw (@keithlaw) November 14, 2013
1. They weren't wrong. This isn't math where 9 divided by 3 is always 3.
2. There's that condescension, which will never lead to overall progress.
Think about it this way. Which teachers did you learn the most from; the ones that taught with yelling and virtually fear, or the ones that talked to you, and just about nurtured your mental growth.
I actually think Brian Kenny has begun to do damage to the cause of growth of advanced statistics in baseball. Maybe even in other sports as well. *Actually no, the advanced stats movement in the NBA has been far less cantankerous*
Kenny is an evangelist.
I apologize if you think I'm treating you for stupid here, but I want to share the exact definition of an evangelist.
A person who seeks to convert others to the Christian faith, esp. by public preaching.
I don't mean to offend here, so I apologize if these characterizations go awry, but Kenny has come to remind me of Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. They are bombasts to me, and there are more effective advocates to fight for the/a cause.
Another analog I could use is the civil rights activism of Martin Luther King Jr's more gallant methods vs. the more violent ways of Malcolm X. Kenny,with his aggressive and disdainful tone would be the latter.
Kenny's tweets can be fantastic teachers, and exposure to new ways of looking at a game I love dearly. There are times though, I feel, especially as an intelligent fan, as if I'm being chastised for the way I watch the game. It gives me a sour taste for the game, and I begin to think some of the traditionalists's attitudes are correct. If through this pompous panorama is how I have to view the game, then I'm out.
This sums up the Kennys and Laws nicely.
There's more of that conversation here.
At the outset of this essay, I compared the MVP award to the bloodiest battle in our nation's history. One hundred and fifty years ago, 51,000 Americans could be defined as casualties during the Battle of Gettysburg. It's accepted that the Union won the battle, and it was a turning point for so much of where our country is at this very moment. 28,000 Confederate soldiers, secessionists as they may have been, were part of that casualty record. According to Abraham Lincoln secession may have been a designation, but those in the South were never, ever anything but Americans. Here for that. Or here for those sentinements in Lincolns March 4th, 1961 inaugural address. I guess it's like saying WE when you refer to the team you root for. You can say that, but you're not them.
Can we end the civil war so we can ALL enjoy the game?
Part 2. We need to modernize the MVP award.
7 years and $168 million dollars.
That's how much is potentially left of Prince Fielder in Detroit.
PHOTO CREDIT - GETTY IMAGES
My thoughts of Fielder are rather direct.
He's a dreadful first baseman, I think he'll be better offensive the next several seasons than he was in 2013, he's proven to be below replacement level in October, and for what the Tigers are financially creeping into, his contract is already a barrier in front of improving short and long term. Fielder has to go.
So much could alter the economic landscape of MLB during its time, but at the present moment, only a handful of teams could afford to pay Fielder $24 million for seven years.
We can rule out more than half the game's interest in a simple stroke.
Houston, Florida, Tampa, and so many budget conscious teams such as them.
None of the Yankees, Phillies, Red Sox, Angels or Dodgers need a first baseman.
What about the remaining teams who have the potential to be lavish spenders?
For better or worse, the Cubs have committed to Anthony Rizzo.
The Nationals will be moving Ryan Zimmerman across the diamond before you know it.
We're left with:
The rebuilding Mets. My top destination for Fielder. UPDATE. They're responsible!? Fielder would constitute a draw for a boring team, perhaps they'd still consider.
Rangers. They can afford him, though sending him to a league rival is not my first choice.
Mariners. Still seeking power.
Giants. Brandon Belt could be moved to the OF, and similar to Seattle, SF always in need of power.
Toronto. With Bautista rumors floating, they've showed they spend, so I wouldn't ever rule the Jays out on anything. UPDATE. Fielder is an upgrade over Adam Lind when he's at first, not Encarnacion, and they have relievers to spare.
The Rockies. A wild card. Tulo and Cargo make a ton, and adding Fielder to that could be cumbersome, but that would be an imposing middle of the order. Much like the Walker, Galaragga, Bichette days. That is, if they truly mean it when they say they won't move Tulo. UPDATE. Rockies rumors from MLBTR all in line with the above. Replacing Helton, they think they're close, yadda yadda.
We know the variety in the free agency shopping aisle has been choked off in recent years because of teams sensibly signing away the arbitration and early free agency years of their emerging 20-something stars. After that age, you're essentially taking a considerable risk with a player who's likely already begun his rapid physical decline.
If free agency in the future at first base is going to look similar to this year's selection, then the Tigers may actually have an asset in Fielder.
Fielder's cost is locked in and protected from future free agency inflation. Even with less talent to choose from, the contracts give to those players will still likely rise. 90% of the time free agency is a practice in overspending. The market rarely ever goes backward, even if the quality of the players do. Supply and demand.
$24 million a year. Take him, he's yours.
Allow me to make Fielder even more attractive to potential suitors.
I will pay $45 million towards the remaining 168. That brings that AAV down to 17.6 million. MUCH more reasonable for what you should be able to source from Fielder, at least for half of the remaining contract.
Is there a catch? No, not really. The Tigers will HAVE to receive something back from one of those teams mentioned above, but this is economic and on field addition by subtraction.
$123 million dollars over 7 years are off the books. So is half of your bad infield duo, and a revolting October performer, which could constitute the most important 10% of the their season (up to 19 games out of 181).
The savings on Fielder can be repurposed in other places to help improve the Tigers. Immediately.
For 2014, we're doing one of two things: Victor Martinez is your primary first baseman. He showed off some surprisingly dazzling foot work, athleticism and hand-eye coordination on certain Sundays last year. I think we were all impressed. Immediate defensive upgrade over Fielder.
The other option is Martinez remains the DH, and Cabrera goes back to first.
You can now go sign, or trade for a third baseman, and outside of not allowing the player to use a glove, this addition will make the Tigers again better defensively.
Keep this in mind. Due to paying whomever that $45 million to take Fielder, you're essentially adding $6.4 million to the incoming player or player's salary for seven years. Or maybe the Tiger just write that check up front and forget about it forever. Then the financial strain really evaporates as we progress deeper into those seven years that Fielder is elsewhere.
On a personal note, I JUST did this. Paid a huge chunk to get out a $500 car payment, brought it down to $340, and in 36 months, no more upside down cars. It hurt now, but it's nice saving $150 every month on car payments. It will slowly replenish the money I put down.
Before you think 'great, Fielder's gone, now we can afford Scherzer!' Eh, I'm not very eager to pay another player 25ish million dollars for 5 or 6 years. The only way GM Chase is signing deals to that length anymore is in pre-arb and free agency years.
Look at it this way; beyond 2014 is Verlander, Sanchez, Scherzer, Smyly, someone THAT much more optimal than Verlander, Sanchez, Fister, Porcello, Smyly...and the pick or players you get back for Scherzer? Review this last item very deliberately before you snap to judgement. Porcello and Fister will be paid handsomely in free agency, but not what Max will demand.
OK, Fielder's gone let's get to work.
Of all the dozens of ways to proceed, Nick Roddy asked me to consider having Granderson return, and he pointed out that not ALL of the former Tiger's power was housed at Yankee Stadium. Hmmmmmm.
PHOTO CREDIT - GETTY IMAGES
Granderson will be 33 when 2014 starts and coming off a year where he played just 61 games.
He made $15 million last year, and 10 before that.
I'm going to guarantee him $40 million for three years. He should take that.
I'm also dealing Porcello for Howie Kendrick to replace Infante, and taking the draft pick for Scherzer after 2014. Max, thank you. I hope you have a World Series to go with your Cy Young and Boras-sized deal you'll sign with the Marlins, before they trade you.
I guess this is turning into 2014 Tigers 2.0. So be it...
LF Granderson (career .357 OBP vs. RHPs. Leads off against them)
DH Castellanos (will play all over. LF/RF/1B/DH, I'm working him back at 3B too)
I'm also signing the versatile Kelly Johnson for a bench role. If you'r unfamiliar with him, imagine if Don Kelly didn't have you seething in anger with his every appearance.
Johnson, Holaday, Perez, Kelly. With Fielder done clogging 1B, Castellanos and others, even starters, are essentially 'bench' players as well.
PHOTO CREDIT - GETTY IMAGES
The Tigers top priority this offseason should be exiling Fielder from their roster. If they accomplish that, with fiscal responsibility they allow themselves a toy chest of future moves to remain a viable contender well into the second of the decade. To me, that's more important than winning a World Series. Contending year after year will eventually bring that elusive championship.
What took 1200 words to say, is this: if you follow my $45 million dollar idea to liquidate Fielder, you've given yourself $17 million to make upgrades and aside from arbitration increases, the payroll isn't going to continue to maraud towards the luxury tax.
So do whatever the hell you want, within (my) reason with it!
It's inevitable that Max will win the American League Cy Young tonight, right? Inevitable to most but the evangelical Brian Kenny.
The Tigers are going to listen on just about any player anyone would call about.
That includes Scherzer. The return must be at least an immediate contributor + one premium prospect. That's the foundation. The conversation must still continue.
Here's what I wrote a week ago.
If the Nationals offer a deal resembling former top prospect INF Anthony Rendon (Tigers would have a Ron & Ren-dohn), a choice of inexpensive RPs - Fernando Abad or Tanner Roark - and probably two of the Nats top prospects, beginning with a guy who had the best stuff of any pitcher in the 2012 draft, Lucas Golito, then I'm all ears.
From MLBTraderumors today, for David Price. Price is a year younger and further away from free agency, but the proposed trade is similar.
The most telling stat from the Pistons game last night wasn't the misleading final score of 113 to 95. It was never that close.
Remember the talk last year of Kevin Durant joining a club of some of the game's most efficient shooters? Nash, Bird, Miller, Price Dirk, and then Durant as part of the 50-40-90 club. FGs-3s-FTs.
Golden State had a cotton piercing 60-50-80 last night of their own against the Pistons and even THAT wasn't the most impressive performance of the night for me.
If you thought he'd been long gone from the league, you are wrong. The ancient Jermaine O'Neal, still hanging on for scrub minutes on a good team, notched 17 points on 7 of 8 shooting, and 6 rebounds in only 23 minutes last night. We all remember vintage O'Neal from his Pacers' day, and it was back bludgeoning Detroit last night. It was embarassing.
It was the second night of a back to back, out West, and their third game in five nights. If this was February, the dog days of the NBA season, I could swallow the reasoning of a team being tired, but we're 7 games into the season, so exhaustion hindering effort is not acceptable to me.
Common sense said the Warriors were going hit 3s like unguarded layups last night because of the Pistons non-existent perimeter defense.
Uh, common-er sense actually stated that there was no reason to bomb away on 3s, when the Warriors could conduct a passing and scoring clinic slicing up the interior of the Pistons defense.
Yes, the Pistons have better scorers this year, but the Warriors showcased a diversely skilled offense last night that carved up the Pistons. The Warriors have seen stingier defense in pregame layup drills than what the Pistons could pose last night.
The Pistons interior defense looked so lost by Golden State's artful interior passing - yes, against a poor defensive team - their jerseys might have well as read GENERALS.
Josh Smith, who from the end of the 1st quarter in Portland through last night had scored 2 points, was benched.
Benching your splashy free agent acquisition?
This is troublesome in two ways.
Just NOW, 6+ games into the season Mo Cheeks is recognizing Smith HAS to make smarter decisions with the ball!? This was his reputation before he even arrived.
And Cheeks let a known weakness of Smith get so out of hand that he felt the need to bench him!? That's quite a severe penalty for something Cheeks SHOULD'VE been managing before the season, during and in between games.
Brandon Jennings and his captivating 39 FG percentage - 27 on 3s - ways should be on notice now.
Chauncey Billups is about finished. The game's too quick for him now, and he doesn't have a good enough distributor (Jennings, again) to get him the ball in a position to quickly hoist up open shots.
Playing Villanueva on Monday was laughable. Cheeks has been around the league for decades. There was no changing, or improving, what CV is, and enough already with Rodney Stuckey and his 41% from the field. Those stripes aren't changing.
They were junk minutes because of the blowout, but in 41 of them combined, #freegigi and KCP had 19 points and 3 threes.
Drummond had a monster stat game with 16 and 14, 8 offensive, and only had two missed shots. He somehow managed a +1 for the night. I need him out of the starting lineup now. He was part of the circus show bad defense that plagued the Pistons interior, that allowed Golden State to finish this game by the Pistons first timeout. THE 9 MINUTE MARK OF THE FIRST PERIOD. 11-2 Warriors.
Jennings, Stuckey, Singler, Smith, Monroe
Bynum, KCP, Datome, Drummond.
It's 2-5, and of the Pistons four major summers moves - Cheeks, KCP, Smith, Jennings - I liked one of them, KCP. Time for this siht show to get its act together before this season turns into the ones we've become so familiar with, and that have emptied out the Palace over the years.
Good luck to the guy who wasn't that impressive as a coach in his prior two stops. Be prepared to have a sword plunged into your chest if this continues.
A single final thought before the last of the steam evaporates. If the Pistons had an inkling they could acquire Brandon Jennings when they did, or if they'd targeted him for sometime, then Andre Iguodala probably would've been the sharper signing over Smith and having two ball chuckers.
Jennings, someone, Iguodala, Monroe, Drummond.
If that'd been the structure of the summer, then there'd be just one poor decision maker- Jennings - and a savvy, experienced, unselfish All Star as opposed to two players with a list of weaknesses, and mostly out of position anyway (Jennings not a PG, Smith not a SF).
What a mess.
First the Tigers were interested in Joe Nathan. Exceptional closer...that will cost far too much for where they shouldn't be focusing financial resources. I understand the Tigers want absolutely certainly at the back of their bullpen, but at the cost of what else? Possibly enough to cost them Infante and be forced into an unwise trade of Porcello as an asset. How often do I need to repeat the final four closers of the postseason, none of whom began the year in their role: Benoit, Rosenthal, Uehara, Jansen.
I like Nathan. Not his price tag.
Now they're also interested in Brian Wilson. As they should be!
You can tell I want the Tigers, or any team for that matter, looking to buy low on closers. You should've seen how irate I was when the Phillies signed Jonathan Papelbon to the richest closer contract in history.
Vaulting Bruce Rondon into the closer role before the end of 2012 was buying low, but it was also driving drunk, while blindfolded down the busiest street you could find with equally drunk and blindfolded pedestrians. THAT decision by Dave Dombrowski may have cost Mike Ilitch his elusive World Series.
Bargain hunting through injured relievers last year, I'll admit it would've been a mistake to sign Ryan Madson. He didn't pitch all year. Joakim Soria may have worked out just fine though, and certainly better than giving laughably going down Valverde Street once more. Bringing him back wasn't a two grand slam death blow to the bullpen in the postseason. That happened much earlier.
What about Brian Wilson in November of 2012?
Wilson didn't pitch until August this year when he signed on with the Dodgers, but even if the Tigers had to hold on until they could rush him back, it too would've been more optimal than Valverde, and with Wilson, they MAY have won the World Series. Maybe.
Wilson's 2013. 18 games, 13.2 innings, 13 K's, 4 walks, 8 hits, WHIP of .87, and an ERA of .66.
Wilson will probably be less expensive than Nathan. Though not by much. And both pitchers will probably have fine 2014s, but if the Tigers sign Wilson, I'll wonder how '13 would have turned out if he'd been hired a year ago.
This is a follow up to today's earlier post on the Pistons early struggles.
For my money - and it's none since it's free - no one dissects the NBA quite as sharply as Grantland's Zach Lowe does.
Two Pistons tidbits:
Um, so, opponents have outscored the Pistons by 22 points in the 135 minutes that Josh Smith, Andre Drummond, and Greg Monroe have been on the floor together. Everyone expected scoring to be a chore as the Pistons sorted out their spacing issues, and Detroit indeed has shot fewer 3s and turned the ball over at a ghastly rate when all three play together — indicative of all the passing through small creases required for a single good shot. There's more in the link
Exactly what I noticed last week, and suggested earlier today. Drummond's minutes last year = #freegigi in '13-'14.
...Villanueva served as the power forward in those lineups, and it looks as if Cheeks has Datome pegged for that role this season. Watch how the Pistons have Datome lift up toward midcourt on this Will Bynum/Drummond pick-and-roll, taking a help defender with him:
Datome has started 0-of-6 from long range, and the Pistons benched him last night in Portland in favor of Villanueva. But the dude can shoot! He's not the quickest guy, but he's smart and he battles on defense. Free Gigi!
Please check out the whole story for early season trends and rest of the content on the Pistons.
-- I wish it were easier to scour through tweets of days gone by. But I found what I was looking for.
My back and forth with Vince Ellis from the Free Press.
It began with this.
@Vincent_Ellis56 lack of it, and being able to defend it.— Eric Chase (@Eric_Chase) November 2, 2013