Sunday, October 20, 2013

Red Sox Outplay Tigers

Sun sets on Tigers Season

Every year when the Tigers get eliminated, I write a post congratulating the winner.  It's never been more difficult to do that than this year.  As a lifetime Tigers fan and Massachusetts resident, I was really looking forward to this one.  So, it was a really tough series, probably the most frustrating in 45 years as a fan.  It was difficult watching great pitching performances being wasted, hitters not coming through and just overall bad play by the Tigers.  And Prince Fielder...OK I'll stop there because we've got all winter to moan about that.
I'm not going to be a drama queen about this.  It was a good season overall for the Tigers - 93 wins, a third straight division title and an ALDS victory. I would have liked to see what they could have done in the ALCS with a healthy Cabrera, but injuries happen.  All of the Tigers weaknesses were exposed - weak bullpen, poor defense and one of the worst base running teams in the history of baseball. They also couldn't get any big hits.

I give the Red Sox credit for taking advantage of the Tigers mistakes and making their few hits count really big.  They simply outplayed the Tigers in every phase of the game not involving starting pitching.  Congratulations on your pennant Red Sox fans.


  1. Well not much of a disappointment. I expected the team to falter as we still aren't even close to grasping the basic fundamentals of how to play good baseball. And it all starts at the top and DD deserves to get essentially all of the blame unless you want to put it on Illitch. Once again this team entered the season with a highly illogical roster design, and once again we made no efforts or moves to shore up our weaknesses in an effective way, and once again we failed miserably to make strategic choices for long-term positioning concerns, and once again our team has been plagued all year long by having a severe lack of baseball intelligence, management, oversight, training, preparation, focus, leadership, and a few other things.

    David Ortiz said it best when they asked him about his Manager, and all he really had to say was that his Manager gave them Confidence and had their back with Support. That's it. That's all their Manager had to do to get the basic job done. But we didn't instill our players with confidence, we didn't help them individually with their weaknesses, and I could write a book of complaints and go and on but the gist of it is we weren't mentally prepared in the least nor did we have anybody striving to make sure that we were.

    So once again, I was right, this team was in fact a tremendous disappointment despite a bloated and egregious payroll for a ridiculous roster design, but there's always next year. Maybe then we will figure out how to play respectable and proper baseball, but it's not going to happen until they have a smart baseball person running the ship from the GM position.

    I'll be back next year to complain about how that team is failing the same it always has in each previous year, as well as how boring the repetition of futility has become.

    What a shame and a sham.

  2. Hi Lee: Ugh! I had WS tickets to games one and two in Detroit! I was really excited because I've never been to a playoff game before. Well here's to next year. It seems to me the turning point was Ortiz's grand slam in game two. Take that away and it would have been a completely different series. Can't believe how good Tigers starting pitching was, and how bad they were at every other aspect of the game. Has there ever been a playoff series like this? Still there were some real good games this year, and for the most part it was a pleasure watching the Tigers. Looking forward to your off-season articles and analysis. Cheers, Kevin

  3. Red Sox fan here. If the Tigers fix the bullpen they will be unstoppable.

    1. First thing's first, we need a GM, and a Manager that can instill proper baseball fundamentals and work only with legit baseball talents that deserve to be here and want to get better. And he has to be the kind of guy that knows how to get the job done. Get the right people in place...then play some ball.

    2. Isn't that what the Tigers tried to do with Leyland? How are the Tigers supposed to know if their manager knows how to get the job done i would think they thought that with Leyland so I'm confused how you go about doing that? What do you mean by legit baseball talents if you can tell me more about that. Red Sox fan says they need bullpen help and you say get the right people then play so wouldn't that be what Red Sox fan means since he says bullpen people are the only people needed?

    3. Well yes I would imagine that they had a lot of confidence in Leyland to be the type of baseball Manager that they were looking for. I just feel like there are a lot of areas of fundamentals of the game, basically every area to some extent but some more than others that we really come up short on and there's just not a good excuse for letting that happen. I have no idea what the methodology is exactly for how the Tigers choose a Manager, but to me they aren't asking the right questions nor putting the candidates through the right tests. Since I'm oblivious as to what they ask and how they go about evaluating who would make a good Manager, I can't really comment on that. But I can say I've never been impressed yet with a season of Tiger baseball as far as what the Managers have brought to the table. I think it's been pretty bad every year I have ever seen.

      I have very comprehensive and specific philosophies as to what I feel is the right type of attitude and methodology to run a baseball team, to me it's about Logic at the core of all team-related issues and decisions that a GM has to make, and also as such for a Manager for what is under his/her umbrella of responsibilities. I feel like you could give me a list of 1,000 Managers and I could cut through them like hot butter. How I would go about it on a grand scale just trying to figure it out theoretically, well I would devise a baseball test that was hardcore about logic and principles and if only 10 guys from that 1,000 can figure out how to get a perfect score, well bam that can be an immediate shortcut to a manageable interview list. The test I would create wouldn't be multiple choice that you could guess your way through, I'd have very specifically designed questions that have opportunities for the kind of Manager that I'm looking for in spirit and mentality to hone in on and any unqualified Manager wouldn't be able to hit ALL of the critical points that the test is aiming to uncover. So just trying to think of a practical way as an outsider that would make sense to me, so I can only assume the Tigers have their own system that is their Logic test that filters it's way down to a short list of formal interview candidates for a more in-depth experience and evaluation.

      Legit baseball talents - ok yeah I have to admit that's a funky phrase that doesn't make a whole lot of clear sense even as I read it myself imagining what is that guy talking about if I don't happen to know what that guy is talking about. I would classify this as just players that I am not interested in and that could be for any of these traditional reasons that irk me:

      A) Players with HUGE contracts (to a lesser extent as the level of production matches) -

      So a player like Torii Hunter could fit here. I don't want to get too much into a complex math analysis here since this is already getting pretty lengthy, but suffice it to say you aren't going to find many baseball analysts in the world who calculate the Hunter acquisition more unfavorably than I do. You don't even want to know what that number looks like, trust me, it's just a scary number from my perspective. And we do things like this across the ENTIRE roster albeit at small levels for guys like Don Kelly who is worth less than $0 on my scorecard, and this adds up big-time across the FULL roster and then seeps in to affect us more negatively when we make trades to give up value chips for damaged goods, from my numbers perspective at least. It's the opposite though for the Tigers, where I see RED numbers and NEGATIVE signs, they somehow compute that stuff out in the BLACK and show gains. Their baseball logic accounting skills are wildly insane, and yes that's a professional diagnosis!

      B) Older players that don't have much of a future and block younger prospects that might be better anyhow or more efficient

    4. C) Players who don't seem to want to improve badly enough or just can't -

      So a guy like Prince Fielder can fit here. I don't feel like he has the attitude or passion that I would hope he could have and he has made so many fundamental mistakes playing 1st Base. Now I don't know if he's betting coached poorly, but either the coaching was non-existent or he just doesn't get it. To be honest I'm pretty darn sure it's a combination of the two things as I've already alluded to before that I'm pretty sure we come up short in supporting the players in virtually every category of fundamentals, and I just think we need a new approach towards training and teaching. Back to that Manager test, I sure hope the Tigers ask the new guy about what he can say about that stuff. That has to be one of the questions in the interview and the candidate better have a DARN good answer for how he can convince our GM that he will get this job done and no excuses, literally NO excuses. The candidate should probably say look if you don't like what I'm doing 2 months in then you can fire me and I'll pay all my money back if I failed at delivering my promise. You don't even have to prove I failed, just tell me you believe I failed and I'll reimburse you, that's how damn sure I know I'm going to teach these guys how to play good baseball and nothing will stop me from achieving that. Ok, that was a better answer than the last guy, not bad so far! I like a Manager that is willing to offer a money-back guarantee. That's because it's the kind of thing I would say if I was interviewing for the Manager's job. Just pay me $10 an hour so I can put gas in my car, and when the year is over you can give me a bonus for what you think I deserved. I don't even have to ask for my money, all my leverage is the guilt-factor the owner probably has for not paying me upfront like he pays everybody else. And I'm sure that's more money than I would have needed since I live for this stuff and heck I'd be willing to just Manager the team for free for 1 year just so I could get my foot in the door! Although my money-back guarantee offer sure won't have a whole lot of teeth to it in that scenario!

    5. D) Bottom line litmus test - Can I with you, or more likely without you?

      Every player decision is a case-by-case basis but the bottom line is that I feel you need to know what your chances of winning a World Series are overall, and how that number is affected with each decision. The Tigers often sellout the future and pay premiums to shore up their current year odds, but that actually gives away more percentage that the percentage being taken in. Now their math may not disagree, but the problem is they probably don't have any clue as to how much future premium they are truly and EFFECTIVELY paying. Thus when I examine our players, most of our players tend to be guys that make more sense to SELL because our logic is screwy in determining why we acquired them in the first place. So what we tend to have are guys that give us 'x' percent points towards being able to win a series, but we can actually trade them for something greater than 'x', but yet we choose not to and then when we DON'T win the World Series what happens is ALL of our players DEPRECIATE and that is expensive. The more you lose, the more the compounding depreciation keeps adding up, and that's something you want to battle and tread. If you can come up with a smart plan and stick to making only smart decisions, then over time the negative piling on can reverse and become more like a positive wave that keeps piling on riches. But the trick is you have to get over the hump in order to get the forces to swing back the other way. And we keep trying to climb the wave in such a sloppy and haphazard way that we keep getting only part of the way there and then we fail and have to start all over again. We have now done this TEN TIMES IN A ROW! AND WE KEEP DOING THE SAME THING! It's just pathetic to me that we spend $150MM every year to fail. Why are we spending big money to fail? Either spend big money because you know what you are doing and that ultimately leads to winning, or don't spend the money if you have no idea what you are even buying! Our baseball team's results are hardly worth half what we pay for it! I think our win total is very fair for a team that spends 50% the cash that we spent. For this level of dollar, well you don't want to know how many wins I expect, it's off the charts because I'm using a different formula that isn't weighted down in consideration of what other teams do. I don't care if the Yankees want to spend a quarter billion dollars to fail. Those dollars DON'T COUNT! ONLY SMART DOLLARS SPENT affect the market price of a baseball player. I don't let bad contracts cloud my judgment. No matter what any team pays to any other player that does not make sense, all I need to know is what is my team's chances of winning the WS, and what is this player worth on that scale to me to do that, I am interested in paying what a player is worth on THAT basis only. So you need to instead of making the same mistakes as the other teams do, you need to play off of how they bungle the game and anticipate how to get the most valuable players for your WS objective. And that's not by chasing other teams into the quicksand traps. One man's trash is another man's treasure. For example, I value Don Kelly at below $0, meaning he would have to pay me to justify why I kill a roster spot on him. A guy like Ryan Raburn has a positive worth. It's crazy to favor the 0 over the positive number. But if you ask the Tigers, well they saw it the opposite way. So if I'm the Tigers' GM or any team's GM, I don't have to go pay a premium to get a Ryan Raburn. I can just sit there and wait for some team to cut one in place of their Don Kelly. So to me this is an art about finding all of the guys in baseball that teams undervalue and to target them, and then find the guys they overvalue and stay away from them or pawn them off in trades if you have some on your team.

    6. Deciding who is a "legit" baseball talent can be far more complex for me to describe so pardon if I'm seeming still long-winded without giving you a fully complete answer. But this last category should help cover the rest, basically to me it's a case-by-case basis of looking at any player to decide if they should stay so what I mean here is if a guy is worth 'x' and some team is willing to pay '1.5x' in trade, then you have to consider those deals, and you have to spot them if they potentially exist. The bottom line decision I look at with any player is I have to see how I can win a World Series with that player. If I can't win the World Series THIS year, then ALL of those players' usage times and investments have just produced a weak ROI. I don't accept weak ROI. So if the odds of winning the WS aren't high enough at the start of a season, then I must look to move anybody I can that can help me get those odds shored up, and in conjunction with the long-term picture.

      Sorry I'm getting a little long here but you asked a few good and interesting questions and I'm just getting fired up thinking about some of this stuff and sharing. For the last question about the bullpen guys, well yes perhaps if we only needed a few new player changes and that was the position where you can get the most bang for your buck for improvement, then sure add the bullpen guys. What I meant in my post by "play ball" was not actually meant to say "play the game". I meant "play ball" in terms of the GM playing ball to make choices. So fine and dandy if we need bullpen help, but we have to settle in on who is the GM and what the long-term outlook of that is first, and then let the GM decide if it's bullpen help we need. I believe it's not the case and I think the other half needs to be worked on first because I think our offensive roster is just way, way off the mark in terms of value and efficiency. Again this gets complicated because I've been doing my thing for a while and I can tell you right now I don't know any baseball experts anywhere that I feel have talked about what's wrong with the Tigers in a way that makes sense. So again I have to feel like my analysis is showing the offensive calculations to be much more bleak than what everybody else's answer sheet shows. So if you don't like the offense or have a problem with it, then slide over to my perspective and add another helping of disgust on top of that and then you will feel how I feel. We have a lot of Defensive concern issues, but to me if you think about that as you tweak the offensive roster problems, well you can handle both things at once, and then once we have the RIGHT Manager in place, well that will shore up the technical play and keep it accountable and respectable to watch.

      Well I hope I gave you a few good pieces of insight into addressing the questions you had, or feel free to ask me more clarifying questions if you need more specifics on anything that's still vague. I tried to put in perspective the place I'm coming from and how I feel when I look at both the objective and subjective elements of the team. To me it's critical to see the big picture and have an encompassing understanding overall on how to keep baseball professional and proper, and that's really what the key is. Some guys can hit the nail on the head here and there, but a true baseball man and the best baseball men can hit the nail on the head everywhere and all of the time and consistently because they know the game and they know what it takes to master it and be the best. Those are the guys you need to find and put into play in the office, in the bench, and on the field. But if you aren't that kind of baseball person yourself, then you probably are going to be challenged and unlikely to determine who those people are. And that's the conundrum that our team is in. We just don't get it, it's flat out just that simple.



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