TMS MLB Preview 2009: Detroit Tigers

7:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

DETROIT TIGERS

SO LONG: Edgar Renteria, Matt Joyce, Kenny Rogers, Kyle Farnsworth, Vance Wilson, Todd Jones, Casey Fossum, Freddy Garcia

WELCOME: Adam Everett, Gerald Laird, Matt Treanor, Edwin Jackson, Brandon Lyon

PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Curtis Granderson CF
2. Placido Polanco 2B
3. Magglio Ordonez RF
4. Miguel Cabrera 1B
5. Gary Sheffield DH
6. Carlos Guillen LF
7. Gerald Laird C
8. Brandon Inge 3B
9. Adam Everett SS

Starting Rotation: Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, Armando Galarraga, Edwin Jackson, ?
Setup: Fernando Rodney
Closer: Brandon Lyon

What the hell happened to the Detroit Tigers? After suffering defeat at the hands of the Cardinals in the 2006 World Series, the Tigers have taken several steps backward. This is surprising considering the overall talent these guys have. Last year they added Miguel Cabrera to an already potent lineup including Sheffield, Ordonez, and sparkplug Curtis Granderson, yet they only managed a record of 74-88, good enough to finish dead last in the Central, a game below the Royals. The Royals! Detroit needs to pitch better if they're going to compete this year. The Indians made some quiet improvements, the Twins and Sox always seem to play well, and the Royals have some young talent on the rise, which means this division is going to be tough again this year. Aside from shoring up their catcher and closer positions by adding Gerald Laird and Brandon Lyon, the Tigers remain a team of question marks. Can Carlos Guillen stave off decline and post solid numbers this year while playing left field? Can Jeremy Bonderman regain his 2006 form after health issues? Can anyone in the bullpen stay healthy and effective? How fat will Miguel Cabrera get? Who in the name of Zeus's butthole is the 5th starter going to be? Is it time to stick a fork in Dontrelle Willis? How many cigarettes will Jimmy Leyland smoke before he says "Fuck this" and quits the team? And who the in hell thought signing Adam Everett was a good idea?

PRESEASON AWARDS
Mr. Sexy Time: Curtis Granderson - Detroit has some big boppers in their lineup, such as Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, and the temperamental Gary Sheffield, but its Granderson who fires this lineup. He's a solid leadoff hitter, speedy and a smart base runner, always a threat to swipe an extra bag to get into scoring position. He's also got some pop in that bat, capable of hitting the the long ball to get the Tigers out to an early lead. When Granderson is playing well, the rest of the team seems to follow suit. When he struggles or misses time, the rest of the team struggles as as well. Granderson was invited to do an interview and photoshoot with Playboy magazine in the offseason and he asked his mom's permission before going, saying “I wouldn’t have done it if she had said no to it". Aww.

The Underrated of Underrated Players: Placido Polanco - Placido Polanco always seems to be under the radar. You never hear much about this guy, yet from the time he was with the Cardinals, he's quietly put up solid numbers. He usually hits around or above .300, always seeming to be on base. Last season, he struggled in April, hitting only .227, but still posted a .307 average for the year. He could have won a batting title in 2005, but because he was traded from the National to the American League mid-season, he didn't qualify. He scored 105 runs in '07, and 90 runs last year. Polanco set the major league record for second basemen with his 186 game errorless streak. He is also the only second baseman to go an entire season (2007) without making an error. This is one of my favorite players in all of baseball to watch. Not a lot of flash, but plenty of substance there.

The Oprah Winfrey Award: Miguel Cabrera - When Miguel Cabrera first came up to the majors he weighed 210 pounds. When he reported to spring training in 2007, he was 260 pounds, mostly due to the arepa, a cornmeal pocket filled with cheese and other good stuff, worth about 550 calories, depending on the ingredients. With the Tigers, Cabrera clocked in at 240 pounds. His lack of mobility led Jim Leyland to move Miggy from the hot corner to first base. Now there's certainly nothing wrong with a little girth, but this guy's weight fluctuates like the tide. Here's hoping he can put the arepas down and keep off the weight before he becomes the Venezuelan Prince Fielder.

FOR MORE READING

Bless You Boys
Tiger Tales
D-Town Baseball

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