Detroit Tigers Thread: Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here

Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by Celemo, Apr 9, 2015.

  1. Duck Smoker

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    Legend. For the 1984 championship team, pitching all in relief:

    80 games
    140 innings (!!)
    3.2 WAR
    1.92 ERA

    With that usage, it's amazing he had three more decent seasons. What a career year that was for him.
     
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  2. ~ taylor ~

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    Or they could just show him Gung Ho.
     
  3. MG2

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    Cliffs:

    - Nothing indicates we're pushing the high end of the pitching market, and instead are likely to add multiple pitchers along the lines of Maeda, Lugo (who Petzold wrote today is looking for 3 years and we're offering 1), Frankie Montas or Alex Wood.

    - Tigers see Jung as a 3B and Keith as a 2B.

    - Thinks Canha is the closest to a "big" acquisition the offense will get in terms of vets

     
  4. MG2

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    Petzold also had a write-up today on why Severino makes sense, which I'll take a hard pass on.
     
  5. Vinegar Strokes

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    The free agent class sucks ass outside of the Japanese guys.

    I’m fine with not blowing money on mediocre players, we all saw how that bit us in the ass with Baez.

    we do need to make some trades to improve the team.
     
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  6. Vinegar Strokes

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    Trades like this are ones we should be making. Stop gap until Jung is ready, and trade bait at the deadline

     
  7. Duck Smoker

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    Baez comments, along with Harris and Hinch on Baez.
    Tigers

    Javier Báez plans on staying in Florida to train this offseason.

    Brutal as the 2023 season was for Baez, Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press relays that Baez is planning to spend much of his offseason stateside this winter rather than return to his home in Puerto Rico, as he typically does after the season comes to an end. During his time stateside, Petzold indicates that Baez plans to focus on strengthening his back and core muscles to recapture the athleticism that allowed him to connect for 86 home runs from 2017-2019, the fourth highest figure among qualified shortstops during that time span.

    He thinks his struggles are mental

    “I think it’s more mental than anything, to be honest,” Báez said. “I know the numbers are not there. The confidence at the plate is not there. Every time I go to focus on my approach, I maybe have it for one pitch and then it goes away. I don’t know what’s really happening. It’s not about the strikeouts. I’m still going to chase balls out of the zone and stuff. I’m still gonna hit ’em, too. But I don’t know if it’s timing or I’m just not recognizing the pitch. Just trying to do too much, but I go out there and try every day and try again. Nothing’s working.”

    … so the team is going to try “new ways to reach him”

    Harris said. “And we have some new ways we feel like we can support him this offseason. But it’s going to take organizational effort in Javy. The best thing and the best takeaway that we can have here from Javy is obviously he’s really motivated. … And it starts with that. We can’t get anywhere unless we have a real investment from the player himself in himself. We have that. We just got to find new ways to reach him.”

    and “hope that there are solutions out there”.

    “Trying harder doesn’t necessarily satisfy people where the expectations are super high,” Hinch said, “but it does give hope that there are solutions out there and there are ways to surround him with a different way of doing things.

    “Do I think we can just try harder again next spring? No, we’ve got to make some changes. I think he knows that.”
     
  8. ~ taylor ~

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    Baez could literally never get a hit and make another $100mm. I'm sure he's deeply motivated.
     
  9. DeToxRox

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  10. Vinegar Strokes

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    only a good move if it helps us sign that Japenese pitcher. Otherwise, it's a fucking horrible signing.
     
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  11. 20/20/20/20

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    If they sign Kenta Maeda, I think that will have helped them sign a Japanese* pitcher.
     
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  12. Vinegar Strokes

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    I'm talking about the 25 year old guy that said he wants to sign with team that has Japenese guys on it.
     
  13. DetroitNole

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  14. 20/20/20/20

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    Yamamoto AND Ohtani
     
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  15. Lip

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    why the fuck does your phone auto correct to Japenese twice?
     
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  16. Duck Smoker

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    I don't really follow awards much at all, but MLB.com had a Pipeline article about ROY candidates for 2024, and the Tigers have a very viable candidate. He would have to win the job early, Evan Carter would have to be more decent than really good, and Caminero would hopefully play in the minors for months for money reasons. Some other guys like Manzardo and C. Montgomery seem like other possible threats.

    Tigers: Colt Keith, 3B/2B (No. 2/MLB No. 25) - from MLB
    Keith enjoyed his first fully healthy Minor League season last year and finished with 27 homers, 68 extra-base hits and a .552 slugging percentage across 126 games at Double-A and Triple-A. The call didn’t come late in 2023, but it should early next spring. He notably played more second than third over the final six weeks, but the Tigers aren’t loaded with third basemen at present either. There will be opportunities for Keith to crack the roster, and it’s his easy plus power that will drive his candidacy.
     
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  17. DeToxRox

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  18. MG2

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    Meh. Hopefully he can stay healthy enough to throw 120ish innings and has some HR luck the next few years. I prefer this to guys like Lance Lynn, at least.
     
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  19. Vinegar Strokes

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    At least he’s not a bitch like Rodriguez. I’ll take it.
     
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  20. Vinegar Strokes

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    $12 mil isn’t horrible

     
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  21. DeToxRox

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    Just wait until we also sign Ohtani and Ichiro
     
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  22. Vinegar Strokes

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    Move is probably us trying to get into the Japanese international market. Hopefully we can sign a free agent or two.
     
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  23. MG2

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    Petzold in the Freep bringing up Yamamoto at all is not cool. Don't get my hopes up that this organization might try to matter any time soon.
     
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  24. Thrillhouse77

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    Smallish sample size but he was real good second half of the year. Seems like a reasonable veteran 3rd starter
     
  25. DeToxRox

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    Law made me laugh

    Maeda returned this April after missing 2022 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, was awful at first, then went on the IL with a triceps strain for a couple of months. After he came back, he made 16 starts in which he had a 3.36 ERA/3.94 FIP over 88 1/3 innings with 103 strikeouts and 25 walks. If Maeda had done that for a full season, he’d be looking at $20-25 million a year, if not more. He hasn’t pitched that much in a season since 2019, when he was a starter/swingman for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Outside of his outstanding campaign in 2020 when he finished second in the AL Cy Young Award voting, he hasn’t pitched at the level of his second half of 2023 performance since his rookie year in MLB in 2016, so I’m not arguing he’ll just double his 2023 second half and be among the AL’s best starters. I am arguing that I think he can make 20-25 starts and be an above-average, 2-3 WAR pitcher, which would be an enormous help to the Tigers, whose lineup is starting to look pretty good but whose rotation right now comprises Tarik Skubal and four pitchers generated by AI.
     
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  26. Duck Smoker

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  27. Vinegar Strokes

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  28. Duck Smoker

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    Lottery is Tuesday at the Winter Meetings. Twins made a very lucky jump from 13 to 5 last year, we could use the same.

    18.3 pct -- Athletics (.309)
    18.3 -- Royals (.346)
    18.3 -- Rockies (.364)
    14.7 -- White Sox (.377)
    8.3 -- Cardinals (.438)
    6.1 -- Angels (.451)
    4.3 -- Mets (.463)
    3.0 -- Pirates (.469)
    2.0 -- Guardians (.469)
    1.6 -- Tigers (.481)
    1.2 -- Red Sox (.481)
    1.0 -- Giants (.488)
    0.9 -- Reds (.506)
    0.7 -- Padres (.506)
    0.6 -- Yankees (.506)
    0.4 -- Cubs (.512)
    0.2 -- Mariners (.543)
    0.0 -- Nationals (.438 -- ineligible for lottery pick)
     
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  29. DeToxRox

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  30. RalfBully

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    Someone want to post this?

     
  31. Vinegar Strokes

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    it wasn’t that interesting.
     
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  32. ~ taylor ~

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    In the summer of 1978, the Detroit Tigers used their first-round draft pick on Kirk Gibson. The hometown two-sport star signed with the Tigers for $200,000 under the condition that he be allowed to return to Michigan State that fall for his final football season. Then he flew to Florida. The man who met Gibson at the airport was the mustachioed 33-year-old manager of the Class A Lakeland Tigers. Almost as soon as Gibson settled into the passenger seat, the manager about half his size started tearing into him. “Gibson, you’re not s—!” the skipper said, and he was just getting going. “I don’t care what you’ve done. I don’t care how much they’re f—— paying you. You’re gonna be at the park at 8 every morning. You’re gonna get to work.” ADVERTISEMENT That was how Gibson met Jim Leyland. Gibson’s summer break from football would be spent under the tutelage of a guy whose resume at the time included seven years as a light-hitting minor-league catcher, seven more as a manager in the low minors, and offseasons spent driving mail trucks, working construction and cutting out car windshields at a glass factory while living at his parents’ home in Perrysburg, Ohio. In the car, Leyland said his job was to make Gibson a big leaguer. A damn good one. And that would start at 8 a.m. the next day, and the next, and the next. When Gibson arrived at the Tigers’ facility each morning, Leyland was already there. They ran together and worked together. Leyland hit Gibson fly balls in the outfield, hammered his fundamentals, then threw batting practice for almost an hour. “Boy, did I respect that,” Gibson said later. “He taught me the game.” On Sunday in Nashville, Leyland’s baseball resume, now bolstered by 1,769 wins as a major league manager, three Manager of the Year awards, three pennants and the 1997 World Series title, will be considered for the Hall of Fame. Leyland and seven others — Lou Piniella, Davey Johnson, Cito Gaston, Joe West, Ed Montague, Bill White and the late Hank Peters — comprise the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s ballot of managers, executives and umpires whose primary contribution to the game came since 1980. What better reason for another round of Leyland stories? Not that his friends and former players need a reason. They all have favorites they’re quick to share. About Leyland golfing with the president. About him sneaking a smoke in the dugout or at the team hotel. About clubhouse tirades that went on and on but somehow ended with everyone in stitches. Writers have been collecting and printing stories about Leyland, now 78, for decades. In the spring of 1997, Miami Sun Sentinel writer David O’Brien (now The Athletic’s Braves writer) phoned a few Pirates players to ask about the new Florida Marlins manager. The guy to call, outfielder Andy Van Slyke told O’Brien, was bench player Gary Varsho. “That was Jim’s voodoo doll,” Van Slyke said. Varsho had stories, all right. The first one he told was of the day he was traded to the Pirates in 1991. He was sitting at his new locker in the clubhouse when Leyland ran out of the manager’s office in his underwear. The coaching staff’s March Madness pool had been decided. ADVERTISEMENT “He’s got $20 and $50 bills hanging on his jockstrap,” Varsho told O’Brien. “He’s bouncing around, saying, ‘Who won the basketball pool? Who won the pool, Varsh?’ I said, ‘Oh my god, this is our manager.’” Twenty-six years later, Varsho is still taking calls and telling Leyland stories. He’s constantly remembering more. Earlier this season, Varsho’s son, Daulton, a Toronto Blue Jays outfielder, was hit by a pitch. That took Varsho back. Three decades ago, he took a fastball to the back of the knee in a game against the Houston Astros. As Varsho writhed in the dirt of the left-handed batter’s box, Leyland walked over slowly, one hand in his jacket pocket, and stood over Varsho. “This mean you’re done for the day?” Leyland asked. Here’s how Leyland tells the story of the day the Tigers signed him in 1964. Their scout came to the door in Perrysburg. Leyland’s father answered. “Mr. Leyland, we would like to sign your son for $1,000,” the scout said. “Sir,” Leyland’s father replied, “we don’t have that kind of money.” The reputation Leyland earned across 22 seasons managing the Pirates, Marlins, Rockies and Tigers was as a no-nonsense manager. But he was savvier than almost anyone outside the game realized. What others saw as a gruff, chain-smoking caricature of an old-school manager, those in baseball considered brilliant for how he connected with everyone from the superstar to the last man on the roster to the least-tenured coach on his staff. Leyland could be rough around the edges, as one friend put it, but he was soft where it counted. “He always had the innate ability to earn people’s trust a little sooner than they thought they’d give it to him,” former Pirates and Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. When 21-year-old Barry Bonds debuted in 1986, he wasn’t prepared to trust Leyland, the first-year Pirates manager. Not yet. While their most publicized interaction was an all-time rant — Leyland unleashing 17 F-bombs after Bonds disrespected instructor Bill Virdon during a spring training workout in 1991 — their relationship, Bonds said years later, was “like father and son.” Bonds wholeheartedly trusted Leyland. He came to see that tough love was still love. ADVERTISEMENT “Jim Leyland was the type of manager that didn’t care if he got fired,” Bonds said. “He didn’t care what anyone thought. He was there to manage his players and have the respect for his players, for his city, and do his job. And we respected that. He would protect you like a father, then he would discipline you like a father. He allowed you to be your own man.” To this day, Bonds reaches out to Leyland on Father’s Day. “Barry Bonds would do anything for Jim Leyland,” said Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who hired Leyland as manager in Florida and Detroit. “He absolutely loves Jim. Same thing with Bobby Bo (Bonilla), Gary Sheffield. Those guys, they just loved Jim. And why is it? It sounds really simple. But it’s because he’s Jim Leyland. He cares.” Bobby Bonilla with Jim Leyland on the Pirates. (Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images) Later in the 1991 season, on a bus ride from San Diego to Los Angeles, Leyland motioned for slugger Bobby Bonilla to join him in the front row. The Pirates were in first place. Bonilla, who’d finished second to Bonds in the NL MVP voting the prior year, had put together another All-Star first half. But Leyland could tell there was discontentment bubbling beneath the surface. The Pirates that spring had given Van Slyke a three-year deal worth more than $12 million. Bonilla was in his walk year. He’d been one of the best hitters in the NL five years running, and yet it was becoming clear the Pirates weren’t planning to extend him. So, Leyland sat Bonilla down in the front seat and, for the next two hours, they heard each other out. Leyland wanted to keep Bonilla, but it wasn’t his money to spend. He told Bonilla his payday was coming soon, one way or another, but, for now, they couldn’t let this tear the team apart. It didn’t. The Pirates came within one win of the World Series that year. Then Bonilla got paid. His five-year, $29 million contract with the New York Mets made him the highest-paid player in team sports at the time, surpassing Patrick Ewing. The night before Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, Dombrowski and the Marlins coaching staff crammed into the manager’s office at Pro Player Stadium in Miami. The Marlins had just lost Game 6 to Cleveland. Leyland looked up. “I’m thinking of dropping Bobby Bo from cleanup to sixth tomorrow, just to take a little pressure off him. What do you guys think?” ADVERTISEMENT Bonilla’s bat had gone cold. He was 2 for his last 21 at-bats. But he hadn’t budged from the cleanup spot in more than three months, back before the wild-card Marlins had shocked the baseball world by sweeping the Giants and beating the Braves in the NLCS. After finally getting over the hump against Atlanta, Leyland embraced Bonilla at home plate. “I love you,” he said. “We’re going to the World Series.” Now they were trying to win it. Dombrowski left the lineup decision in Leyland’s hands. Leyland dropped Bonilla to sixth for Game 7. In the seventh inning, down 2-0, Bonilla blasted a home run off Cleveland’s Jaret Wright to get the Marlins going. Then, in the 11th, Bonilla’s leadoff single sparked a rally that ended with Craig Counsell racing home just after midnight. Leyland ran around the field waving to fans, carrying a flag and blowing kisses to his family. On one of his first days as manager of the Tigers, Leyland sat in the same Lakeland clubhouse where he had managed Class A in the 1970s. Leyland saw a Ty Cobb portrait on the wall. There was a tear in the photo, patched with a piece of tape. It had been that way since Leyland, in a fit of rage as a minor league manager, threw his shoe at the wall and accidentally hit Cobb. “I might have been the only person in history to spike Ty Cobb,” he once joked to USA Today. Ask anyone who shared a clubhouse with Leyland and they’ll say his signature move was to turn the chore of reaming out a team into a five-act play. He’d holler at ‘em for a while, storm into the manager’s office, start getting undressed then realize he had more to say. So, he’d go back for more.“It was like a show,” Torii Hunter said. A good Leyland tirade, Brandon Inge once said, could go 10 minutes. “He’d walk down the hallway still yelling, but you could hear his voice fading out down the hall. And then you’d hear him coming back and his voice getting louder. Everybody would go, ‘Sit back down. Here he comes again.” Ryan Dempster tells a version in which Leyland came and went five times, then said, “I’m going to go into my office and have a whiskey and a cigar. If I come out in this locker room and there’s anybody sitting here when I come out, I’m calling the cops and having you arrested for impersonating a major league f—ing baseball player.” ADVERTISEMENT “And I thanked him for it,” Dempster said, “because he was right.” “It wasn’t just a rant,” added Counsell, who now manages the Chicago Cubs. “He was saying it for a reason, and it always had an impact. By the time he was done he was in his sliding shorts and his cleats.” Jim Leyland with Torii Hunter at Leyland’s retirement announcement. (Leon Halip / Getty Images) Back when Hunter was still with the Minnesota Twins, he and Leyland, two big personalities with a gift for gab, would meet behind the batting cage before games. Once, when they got to talking, Hunter told Leyland he’d love to play for him one day. Leyland returned the sentiment, told Hunter he hoped the opportunity would come, and said he respected how he played the game. Then Hunter had a question. He looked to the ground. “Man, why you always wear spikes though?” Hunter said. “You know,” Leyland said. “Sometimes, the way we’re playing, I feel like I might have to pinch-hit for some of these guys.” In 2009, the Tigers were in Kansas City, and broadcaster Dan Dickerson headed out for a morning run. Maybe 200 feet from the hotel, right across the street, he stepped in a hole and went down hard. People gathered around Dickerson on the sidewalk. He had torn the quad tendon in his left knee and partially torn the quad tendon in his right knee. The Tigers arranged a flight home to Detroit and scheduled surgery for the next day. Leyland called Dickerson while he was at the airport, called again after surgery, called another time after the game on a getaway day, and called a fourth time when the team plane touched down in the next city. It wasn’t his typical teasing this time. “Just genuine concern,” Dickerson said. Later, Leyland told Dickerson’s wife, Lori: “I saw all the commotion outside the hotel. I was thinking to myself, I really should go see if it’s one of my guys. “But then I had a smoke.” It was 3 a.m. in Anaheim. The Tigers were checking into the team hotel after a long flight to the West Coast in 2007. Leyland was at the front of the check-in line and received his room key. ADVERTISEMENT Ten minutes later, Leyland came bounding back downstairs. “Excuse me ma’am,” he said. “My name’s Jim Leyland. I’m in Room 278. I just wanted to let you know that somebody’s been smoking in my room. I don’t mind it, I just don’t want you to charge me.” First baseman Sean Casey asked about it the next day. Leyland grinned and said he’d learned that trick from someone else in the league. Casey had been traded from the Pirates to the Tigers the previous year. His first day with Detroit, Leyland pulled Casey into his office with assistant coaches Gene Lamont and Lloyd McClendon. Leyland went over some basics, then Lamont gave Casey a crash course on the team’s signs. At one point, Leyland interjected. “If you get on base, I don’t want you looking to third at Gen-o,” he told the slow-footed veteran. “I want you looking in the dugout. I want you to look at me. If I come to the top step of the dugout and we catch eyes, as soon as we catch eyes, if I jump up and never come back down, that means I want you to steal.” What those who know Leyland want to be sure isn’t lost in the cigarette smoke and the zany stories is his big heart. When Hurdle’s daughter Maddie, who has Prader-Willi Syndrome, graduated high school in 2021, Leyland, unprompted, sent her a graduation gift. That reminded Hurdle of the first time Leyland went out of his way for their family. When Leyland took the Rockies job in 1999, he retained Hurdle as hitting coach. Most of the other coaches had worked with Leyland in Pittsburgh or Florida, and they signed identical contracts with the Rockies. At some point that spring, Leyland discovered Hurdle was making less than the rest of the staff. He immediately went to GM Bob Gebhard to fix that. Hurdle learned about the raise later and thanked Leyland. “You don’t have to thank me,” Leyland said. “It was the right thing to do.” In 1992, Carl Barger suffered an aneurysm at the Winter Meetings and died soon after. Barger was the first president of the expansion Marlins franchise and previously had been president of the Pirates. He was one of Leyland’s best friends. Leyland and his wife, Katie, had planned to make Barger the godfather of their daughter, Kelly. ADVERTISEMENT Dombrowski stayed at Leyland’s house in Pittsburgh in the days leading up to Barger’s funeral. He recalled Leyland anguishing over finding the right words to say at the memorial service. At the service, Leyland began by saying he had tried to call Barger. His new number was 1-800-HEAVEN, and Leyland got sent to voicemail. “And this was Carl’s message,” Leyland said, according to newspaper accounts. “‘Sorry I can’t come to the phone, but I have a meeting at 8, 10, 1, 3 and 5. At 6 o’clock there will be a press conference, and the greatest commissioner of all mankind will be my new teammate. It’s the most beautiful ballpark I’ve ever seen, and we’ve got the original skyboxes. There’s no TV, no arbitration, no free agency, no lawsuits and no salary involved — but we sure are having fun. And to all of you mourning my passing, please leave your message at the crack of the bat.’” Derek Shelton was dodging phone calls. It was November 2019. Shelton had accepted his first managerial job, with the Pirates, but it had not yet been announced. The news had leaked, though, so Shelton’s phone was lighting up with calls from reporters. One number with a Detroit area code kept coming up. Shelton ignored it the first few times, then, while out to dinner with his wife and a few friends, he saw it again and picked up. “Hey,” the caller said. “This is Jim Leyland.” Shelton wanted to melt into the restaurant floorboards. He apologized profusely. Leyland laughed it off. He congratulated Shelton and invited him to breakfast at the Chartiers Country Club when Shelton was in Pittsburgh for his introductory news conference a couple of days later. Four years later, the former Pirates manager and the current one still have breakfast together at the country club about once a month. Jim Leyland and Terry Francona in 2013. (Jason Miller / Getty Images) There’s a good chance Leyland is your manager’s favorite manager. ADVERTISEMENT In 2021, when Guardians manager Terry Francona was considering retiring after 22 years of managing in the majors, he phoned Leyland and asked for advice. Leyland shared all the thoughts that had churned through his head about how to walk away from the game the right way. Then, after Francona returned for another year, Leyland checked in with him every so often. Francona phoned Leyland again late this season. He knew his decision this time. “I f—ing love (Leyland),” Francona said before one of the last games of his likely Hall of Fame managerial career. “He came in here yesterday and we were talking, me and the coaches. I don’t think you could print one word of any that was said, but we laughed our asses off.” Francona added: “He’s the gold standard, in my opinion. I’ll never change that. When you look at a manager, I’m like, ‘Man, that’s him.’” It was early in September 2013 when Leyland told Dombrowski he’d be retiring. He wanted to give Dombrowski and ownership time to formulate a plan for the next manager, but he didn’t want word getting out until after the Tigers’ playoff run. That came six weeks later when the Boston Red Sox bounced the Tigers in Game 6 of a dramatic ALCS. In the cramped visiting clubhouse at Fenway Park, Leyland thanked the players for respecting him, for playing hard, for establishing the Tigers as a winning organization. The players clapped. Leyland walked into the manager’s office. In the clubhouse, nobody said a word. “It was like a bombshell,” Leyland recalled later. “It was dead silence. So I came back and told them, ‘Fellas, this is Jim Leyland retiring, this is not Babe Ruth. Get a beer. Have a sandwich. Go enjoy yourself.’” Earlier this week, Shelton, back in Pittsburgh for a few days before the Winter Meetings, called up Leyland and asked about getting together. They met for breakfast at the Chartiers Country Club. Leyland is a sounding board for Shelton, an advisor who’s been involved in pro ball for 60 years and still lights up when discussing lineup construction and bullpen strategies. ADVERTISEMENT “He’s an encyclopedia of baseball knowledge that’s a phone call or text away,” Shelton said. “The fact he’s invested in me is something I can never pay back to him.” At breakfast Thursday, Shelton brought up the Hall of Fame vote. Leyland shrugged it off. But Shelton knows the old skipper with the big heart cares more than he’s letting on. “I think it is important to him,” Shelton said, “because the game is important to him.” Varsho has more stories, each more colorful and expletive-riddled than the last. There was the time the pitcher was due up with a runner on second in the late innings, and Leyland called over Varsho — but not to pinch hit. “He goes, ‘Run back to my locker and get me another pack of cigarettes,’” Varsho said. There was the time Varsho had a bunch of friends and family from Wisconsin at a game at Wrigley Field. Leyland started Varsho, as a favor, and Varsho homered twice. “After the game,” Varsho said, “he told me, ‘You can tell your family and friends they can go the f— home, because you ain’t playing the rest of the f—ing series.” Gary Varsho when playing for the Pirates. (Stephen Dunn / Allsport) Then there was the time in 1992 when Leyland called Varsho into his office. “I’m going to tell you something I never thought I’d say,” Leyland said. “Today I had to make a decision. Kirk Gibson. Gary Varsho. Kirk Gibson. Gary Varsho.” Leyland moved his hand back and forth, weighing the options. “All-American football player, All-Star, World Series champion? Or Gary Varsho? You know what the f— I decided? I decided to keep your ass and let Gibby go. Can you f—ing believe it?” Later, when Varsho’s bat disappeared again and his confidence fell, Leyland explained that Varsho’s offensive production was easily replaceable, but his willingness to play part-time wasn’t. He needed a bench player who wasn’t angry being on the bench. Do the best you can, Leyland told him, and that’s enough. ADVERTISEMENT “That was Jim,” Varsho said. “Total belief in me even when I was terrible.” Cooperstown is the ultimate prize for a baseball lifer, and Varsho can think of nothing sweeter than seeing Leyland inducted into the Hall of Fame. Van Slyke was right that Varsho was Leyland’s voodoo doll. But Leyland was also the man in Varsho’s corner when no one else was. “Somebody who gave a s— about Gary,” Varsho said. (With reports from The Athletic’s Zack Meisel) (Top photo of Jim Leyland: Leon Halip / Getty Images)
     
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  33. Vinegar Strokes

    Vinegar Strokes Fire Izzo
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    Lmao. Have fun reading that long paragraph.
     
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  34. DeToxRox

    DeToxRox Uncle T
    Staff Donor TMB OG
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  35. 20/20/20/20

    20/20/20/20 running thru the house with a pickle in my mouth
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    Getting all the Japanese connections set up to bring in Yamamoto and Ohtani.
     
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  36. Vinegar Strokes

    Vinegar Strokes Fire Izzo
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    now spend some fucking moeny and make some trades.
     
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  37. Tug

    Tug Well-Known Member
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    Show me the moeny
     
  38. Duck Smoker

    Duck Smoker Cheekbones like geometry and eyes like sin.
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    Baseball America mock draft based on Lottery outcome. Included picks on either side of the Tigers just show names in that range to watch. Wasn't expecting to see a HS kid from Michigan.

    6. Royals — Vance Honeycutt, OF, North Carolina

    Honeycutt made an early case as the favorite for the top player in the 2024 draft class with a sensational freshman season in Chapel Hill. He homered 25 times, stole 29 bags and put on a defensive clinic in center field of Boshamer Stadium. He remains near the top of the class thanks to his standout toolset, but he has dealt with injuries and has yet to hit over .300 in a single season. Honeycutt did cut his strikeout rate from 29.7% to 20.4% in 2023, which was a significant question mark entering the year. Opinions will vary significantly on Honeycutt’s hit tool, so he’ll need to improve his swing, his approach and produce a high batting average to ease skeptics next spring.

    7. Cardinals — Chase Burns, RHP, Wake Forest

    The top-ranked pitcher in the 2024 class, Burns has powerful pure stuff including a fastball that averaged 96 mph and has been up to 102, as well as a hard, upper-80s slider that is a clear second plus offering. What separates Burns a bit from some of the other power-armed college pitchers currently in the first round is the fact that he’s thrown 152.1 innings with a 7.5% walk rate. That walk rate will provide some optimism that Burns can profile as a starter, even though he spent time during the 2023 season as a piggyback reliever with Chase Dollander.

    8. Angels — Seaver King, SS, Wake Forest

    King was one of the most consistently praised, up-arrow prospects in the college class throughout the summer and fall, thanks to his combination of athleticism, quick-twitch actions, speed, pure hitting ability and defensive versatility. He’s passed every offensive test with flying colors so far in his college career. He is a .399/.454/.676 career hitter with Division II Wingate (N.C.) and also hit well in the Cape Cod League and with Team USA. King will be tested in the ACC for the first time in 2024 after transferring to Wake Forest.

    9. Pirates — Braden Montgomery, OF/RHP, Texas A&M

    Montgomery has big raw power and arm strength that makes him a classic right field profile, and he took a sizable step forward with his approach from 2022 to 2023. His walk rate jumped around 10 points from 6.6% to 16.5% year-over-year and with that his on-base percentage climbed 100 points from .361 to .461. He’s a switch-hitter with above-average raw power from both sides of the plate and has homered 35 times in two seasons. After moving from Stanford to Texas A&M, Montgomery will look to continue his offensive development, and he might also be more of a factor on the mound, where he has a big fastball that’s been up to 98 mph.

    10. Nationals — Tommy White, 3B, Louisiana State

    White pairs huge raw power with solid bat-to-ball skills and an aggressive approach that makes him one of the most fearsome sluggers in college baseball. He likes to swing, and he likes to swing with intent to do damage, and that approach led to a .360/.425/.754 slash line with 27 home runs as a middle-of-the-order hitter in one of the best offenses in the country a year ago. While White’s offensive production stacks up with almost anyone in the country, scouts will nitpick his swing decisions and defensive ability at the hot corner next spring. There’s a real risk he moves to first base in pro ball, and if that’s the case more pressure will be placed on his standout offensive skill set.

    11. Tigers — PJ Morlando, OF/1B, Summerville (S.C.) HS

    Morlando was one of the most consistent offensive performers in the 2024 prep class throughout the summer and fall. He was the one reliable offensive presence on USA Baseball’s 18U National team, and his combination of advanced hitting ability, contact skill and accessible raw power makes him one of the safest overall profiles in the prep class. He is on the older side for the class and will be 19.2 on draft day, and there’s risk that he winds up as a first baseman only—though he is a skilled defender at the position—but there’s lots of conviction with him on the two most important tools: hitting and power.

    12. Red Sox — Konnor Griffin, OF/SS/RHP, Jackson Prep, Flowood, Miss.

    Griffin possesses some of the loudest pure upside in the 2024 class. He’s a tooled up athlete with an elite, 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame with tons of strength projection remaining and he is a double-plus runner who also has plus raw power and arm strength. He has shown an ability to play both shortstop and center field with solid actions at both positions, and his underclass track record of hitting and overall bat-to-ball skills are encouraging as well. On top of his upside as a hitter, Griffin has real potential on the mound and there are some scouts who prefer him as a pitching prospect although most of the industry leans towards his upside as a hitter.

    13. Giants — Caleb Bonemer, SS, Okemos (Mich.) HS

    Bonemer was the biggest riser in the class throughout the summer and fall. He’s a physical high school shortstop with a 6-foot, 195-pound frame and a strong power/speed combination. He projects to be an above-average runner in the future and has turned in double-plus run times. Bonemer consistently barreled the baseball and showed loud exit velocities all summer. He also has the tools to be a good defender on the left side of the infield, with solid hands, a strong arm and a nice ability to make plays on the run.

    14. Cubs — Charlie Condon, OF, Georgia

    Condon’s .800 slugging percentage was good for seventh among all Division I hitters and was the best mark among freshmen in the country in 2023. Baseball America’s 2023 freshman of the year, Condon is now a draft-eligible sophomore and provides huge raw power that stacks up with the top sluggers in the country. While Condon’s long levers create some swing-and-miss concerns, he did show solid plate skills with a 17.7% strikeout rate and 13% walk rate. His strikeout rate was the second-lowest among all players with 25 or more homers, behind only Maryland’s Nick Lorusso.
     
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  39. Duck Smoker

    Duck Smoker Cheekbones like geometry and eyes like sin.
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    We're too cool for the Rule 5 draft - there will be no Mason Englert type this year.

    1. Oakland A’s — Mitch Spence, RHP, Yankees
    2. Kansas City Royals — Matt Sauer, RHP, Yankees
    3. Colorado Rockies — Anthony Molina, RHP, Rays
    4. Chicago White Sox — Shane Drohan, LHP, Red Sox
    5. Washington Nationals — Nasim Nunez, SS, Marlins
    6. St. Louis Cardinals — Ryan Fernandez, RHP, Red Sox
    7. Los Angeles Angels — PASS
    8. New York Mets — Justin Slaten, RHP, Rangers
    9. Pittsburgh Pirates — PASS
    10. Cleveland Guardians — Deyvison De Los Santos, 3B, D-Backs
    11. Detroit Tigers — PASS
    12. Boston Red Sox — PASS
    13. San Francisco Giants — PASS
    14. Cincinnati Reds — PASS
    15. San Diego Padres — Stephen Kolek, RHP, Mariners
     
  40. Vinegar Strokes

    Vinegar Strokes Fire Izzo
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  41. ~ taylor ~

    ~ taylor ~ Well-Known Member
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    Stop stalking Emily Waldon
     
  42. MG2

    MG2 I like to give away joy for free
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    Would you have traded Reese Olson, Ty Madden, Jason Foley and maybe one more decent prospect for Juan Soto?

    Because I think that's as good as what the Yankees gave up and I would have done that deal in a heartbeat even for one year of Soto.
     
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  43. Vinegar Strokes

    Vinegar Strokes Fire Izzo
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    following someone on Twitter is stalking?
     
  44. Tug

    Tug Well-Known Member
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    It’s not stalking if it’s a second date
     
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  45. Thrillhouse77

    Thrillhouse77 Well-Known Member
    Michigan State SpartansDetroit PistonsDetroit LionsDetroit Tigers

    Was trying to figure out what the tiger equivalent was and that seems reasonable. Bring up Keith Jung and Malloy sign a pitcher and we would be in good shape
     
  46. Vinegar Strokes

    Vinegar Strokes Fire Izzo
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    He was awful last year.

     
  47. DetroitNole

    DetroitNole Well-Known Member
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    We are going to be cheap again and don't even have miggy contact to blame anymore.
     
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  48. Duck Smoker

    Duck Smoker Cheekbones like geometry and eyes like sin.
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    Florida GatorsDetroit Tigers

    Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects for the Tigers:
    upload_2023-12-13_20-24-21.png

    #10 was interesting, I don't recognize his name.
    upload_2023-12-13_20-24-58.png