Tom Gage of the Detroit News gives an account of an interview with Jim Leyland prior to yesterday's TigerFest. First, Leyland dismisses any notion of a another "five year plan":
"I know what's going on here," Leyland said before Saturday's annual TigerFest at Joe Louis Arena -- his first as manager of the Tigers. "Mr. Ilitch is getting a little impatient. I don't blame him. We don't have a lot of time. I think we have to get something accomplished rather quickly.Since I think they are not ready to contend any time soon, it's not good to hear that Illitch is putting pressure on them to win now although it was pretty obvious this was going on with some of the free agent signings they have made. As a fan, I'd rather Illitch let the baseball people determine the time schedule for success. The good news is that so far Dombrowski has not given up top prospects for quick fixes.
"That's why I haven't talked about any plans. Sparky (Anderson) had a five-year plan, but we don't have that long. That's just the way it is. I'm not talking about a World Series, but we have to make some strides and we have to make them rather quickly."
The rest of the main part of the article is a motivational speech by Jim Leyland. He said all the right things but anybody who has talked to me on message boards knows I don't put a lot of stock into those things.
At the bottom of the article are a few notes of interest:
Dmitri Young missed TigerFest in order to remain in Arizona, where he's attending a conditioning camp.As I said before, if Young can get in good enough shape where he can play in the outfield occasionally, that gives them a bit of flexibility on the 25 man roster.
Recovered from the health problems (knee and hernia) that bothered him the last two years, Magglio Ordonez , who'll be 32 next week, said, "I feel like I'm 20 again."Ordonez's defense and power seemed to be affected by his injuries quite a bit last year so this is good to hear.
Dombrowski ruled out any interest in former Tigers' right-hander Jeff Weaver , who's still available as a free agent.The Tigers never gave any indication that they were interested but this may put a damper on message board speculation that the Tigers would pull of another late free agent signing similar to Ivan Rodriguez and Ordonez.
Because his days as a closer are over, Troy Percival has suggested to the Tigers that he'd consider starting -- the difference being he'd have substantial rest between appearances.I think it's a longshot that he'll pitch at all.
Another article by Brian Vanochten of the Grand Rapids Press discusses Joel Zumaya and the possibility of him winning the fifth spot in the rotation. Most of the talk has centered around Justin Verlander but I think Zumaya may be just as ready as Verlander at this point. There has been talk about Zumaya pitching out of the bullpen for the Tigers this year. Some people in the organization feel as if he will ultimately be a reliever but at the age of 20 I'd really like to see him be developed as a starter.