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  1. It’s absolutely hilarious that the Tigers, with Miguel Cabrera AND Prince Fielder (not to mention fairly terrible defense all-around) have a hole at DH.

    Comment by Ian R. — June 15, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

  2. The Tigers are built horribly, especially for the park they play in. They need OBP, speed, and defense, and have little of any of these.
    I agree with your assessment here, but I think 2B, RP (not much after Valverde, Benoit….Coke?), then corner OF are most pressing needs. Problem is so many holes, not sure they can fill them all.

    Comment by Backdoor Slider — June 15, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

  3. Wouldn’t Alex Avila actually starting to hit the ball at all help out their situation? I know he is on the DL now, but he’s nowhere close to the 4.9 WAR player he was last season. That would be a huge help.

    Then they could pick up an upgraded defensive third baseman and DH Cabrera (seems like getting rid of Brandon Inge was a bad idea). Boesch has been hitting the ball better as of late as well. I don’t think they are that far away, assuming Fister comes back healthy and Scherzer becomes competent.

    Comment by Pinstripe Wizard — June 15, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

  4. Yes, their lack of defense is likely hurting their starting pitching. They have the lowest defense efficiency rating (.669) in the AL since the 2008 Rangers, a team that gave up 5.97 runs per game.

    Comment by Semi Pro — June 15, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

  5. Brandon Inge was awful, both at hitting and his fielding had evaporated. Cabrera really isn’t that bad at 3rd base, especially considering how bad I was expecting him to be. Problem is, most teams can deal with one poor defender as long as they can hit, but given the rest if the Tigers infielders….. Cabrera isnt helping

    Comment by J6takish — June 15, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

  6. It’s debatable whether Scherzer and Porcello should be entirely blamed for their struggles. The team – as a whole – is allowing a BABIP far above the league norm, and these storms have been localized above Mad Max and Kid Rick. Scherzer’s xFIP is 3.47, Porcello’s is 4.09. We put a lot of blame on team defense for that BABIP and for an inability to turn double plays and it’s probably not true that both parties aren’t getting the job done.

    Comment by Chris Hannum — June 15, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

  7. FYI: Dirks has a linger achilles injury, too … He’s eligible to come off the DL today, it doesn’t look like that’s actually going to happen.

    Comment by Tigers guy — June 15, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

  8. Inge may not be the fielder he was five years ago, but Cabrera’s defensive stats are so bad (because he’s been a bad baserunner for years) that his WAR right now is only 1.5. Inge was at 0.9 for the season. It’s not like he would be that much of a downgrade. The guy that Cabrera would be replacing at DH, Delmon Young, has a -0.1.

    Comment by Pinstripe Wizard — June 15, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

  9. More birdies

    Comment by Ryan — June 15, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

  10. To be fair, Inge’s WAR is inflated by some VERY unsustainable offensive performance (for him, at least).

    However, on the defensive front, he’s put up positive fielding numbers for the last 5+ years or so, so he’d be a huge improvement over Miggy on that front.

    Comment by BX — June 15, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

  11. Not Funny, this is as painful as my last neck operation!
    The need to also pray Al-Albeq comes back to the witch he was last year prior to injury as well!
    I’ve heard Carlos Lee rumblings as the DH

    Comment by Polka — June 15, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

  12. sorry, and possibly Placido coming back to fill the 2b slot for his D and avg bat to boot-

    Comment by Polka — June 15, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

  13. Getting Kevin Youkilis from the Red Sox seemingly makes a lot of sense here. He’s a player that shouldn’t cost Detroit much of anything to acquire. They put him at first base where, even after injuries, he’s probably at least a competent defender and move Prince to DH. This improves their defense and if he can return to a level near his 2011 performance it probably improves their offense as well. Then, even if it doesn’t work out, what has it really cost them?

    Comment by GosoxJ — June 15, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

  14. The Tigers need…to wait out some pretty bad slumps from some key players.

    Not saying that this team is flawless or that a trade or two wouldn’t help, but so many guys have been under-performing their career averages that mere positive regression from a few guys may be enough to capture the division.

    Comment by RationalSportsFan — June 15, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

  15. Avila is at a 110wrc+, which is fine for a catcher. He’s not the problem. The problem consists in second base, bad defense, and Delmon Young sucking.

    Comment by Nope — June 15, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

  16. Positive regression? Is that like jumbo shrimp?
    Anyway, I think you’re wrong. Avila, Peralta, Delmon…all the career years were last year. Might they improve? Yeah, but this is essentially who they are.

    Comment by Backdoor Slider — June 15, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

  17. I agree that he is doing just fine for a catcher, but he was well above average as a catcher last season. He put up a 140wrc+, so he’s significantly below his production from last season. Besides his first full season in the majors (where he put up a 80wrc+), his full seasons as a professional (including minor leagues) have been 123, 128, and 140. For him to be at 110 just isn’t where he should be at. I’m not saying he’s the sole reason for the Tigers struggles, but he is a contributing factor that was not discussed in the article.

    Comment by Pinstripe Wizard — June 15, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

  18. You realize that Comerica isn’t an extreme pitcher’s park, right? It’s been consistently average for years now.

    Comment by ThePartyBird — June 15, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

  19. Not referring to Avila or Peralta who have already bounced back (though Avila getting healthy will certainly help. I am referring more to guys like Delmon, Boesch, and the platoon at 2B, where guys are significantly under-performing what would be reasonable to expect from them.

    Also, even with the poor defense, the difference between Porcello and Scherzer’s FIP and ERA will likely decrease. Add that to Fister’s return and there is room for improvement in the rotation as a whole.

    Comment by RationalSportsFan — June 15, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

  20. Things can regress for the good, regress does not mean “get worse” it means “trend back towards to mean”. If someone is underperforming, they will regress back to their previous level of play just as someone who is over acheiving will regress as well.

    Comment by Ron Gardenhire — June 15, 2012 @ 4:42 pm

  21. Delmon Young has been a replacement player except for a slightly above average season two years ago and a solid rookie cup of tea debut. He sucked last year. He only hit a few “memorable” home runs in the playoffs.

    Comment by Nope — June 15, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

  22. How is Jackson due for plenty of regression? He’s only outperforming his career BABIP by 6 points. His plate discipline is clearly improving (both the pure BB% and K% as well as the peripheral stats associated with them) and while his HR/FB is higher than usual, 14% isn’t exactly unsustainable.

    He made some big changes in his swing in the offseason and he’s simply hitting better as a result.

    Comment by ThePartyBird — June 15, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

  23. Delmon young is a corner outfielder who doesn’t walk, doesn’t play defense and frankly….doesn’t even hit for power, he does however have an ill gotten reputation as a dangerous middle of the order hitter. Tiger fans love them some Delmon Young. They focus their hatred on public enemy number one, Austin “Not Quentin Berry” Jackson.

    Comment by j6takish — June 15, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

  24. Miggy has been a lot better than I thought at 3B and I think his UZR is a little low….he’s missed a few plays to his left but been excellent down the line and with bunts…..his throwing has been sensational so far this season. Prince has been awful, whoever’s been at 2B hasn’t been good (suprisingly includes Santiago), and Boesch has been awful in RF.

    tldr; defense has been awful but not because of Miggy.

    Comment by the fume — June 15, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

  25. Because this is fangraphs. A stretch of good hitting will always regress if it proves the author’s point.

    Comment by asdfasdf — June 15, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

  26. pfffffff. we have full *seasons* worth of data that suggest he’ll K 29% of the time. you forget that 25 year olds never improve.

    Comment by ccoop — June 15, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

  27. You realize that’s not what I said, right? Large outfield makes speed/defense important. Has nothing to do with hitter/pitcher park.

    Comment by Backdoor Slider — June 15, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

  28. Dotel getting healthy will help and both Marte and Villareal have been lights out since recall 2 weeks ago, and Below has done great as a long guy, with Papa getting on track and Benoit steadily very good. The bully is fine.

    Acquisition wise? Frenchy from the Royals in RF, Boesch to DH and Delmon to the scrap heap. He’s the worst fielding OF I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen Manny and the old Johnny Damon. 2b is a black hole that we could move Jhonny to if we can pry Drew (if healthy) away from Gibby’s ahole owner as a rental….

    Starting pitching wise? Porcello for whatever we can get for him. We can’t keep him and Max and Fister long term, and the latter two guys are clearly better players….Crosby nor Turner are ready but someone will be dumping a back end innings muncher soon….

    all that won’t happen, but Ricky for Frenchy, and Oliver and a bully arm prospect not named Bruce Rondon for Drew…..be super happy with that

    Comment by Tim — June 15, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

  29. Thome makes a lot of sense for them. The Phillies have said they aren’t going to play Jim at first, but he can clearly still hit. After inter-league, he’s going to wallow away on the bench. The Tigers only need a stopgap at DH until VMart comes back, and sure enough, Thome’s on a 1 year deal. Finally, he’s basically useless to the Phillies after inter-league is over, so they have very little leverage. The Phillies desperately need a righty out of the bullpen, so if the Tigers can come up with someone that’s better than Qualls (and honestly, who isn’t?) it could help both sides.

    Comment by Brian — June 15, 2012 @ 9:39 pm

  30. Are you a saber guy? Valverde actually sucks. He just gets “saves” with 3 run leads and gives up hits+runs during tie games. He’s close to a replacement level player the last two years.

    Frenchy sucks. He was roughly average last year but there are several years of replacement level performance to temper his recent performance. Boesch can’t hit, even his “good” year in 2011 wasn’t impressive for a DH.

    Porcello is fine. He’s a roughly average to slightly above average starter. Since he’s a ground ball pitcher the defense is killing him. Look at Scherzer’s xFIP also, he’s getting very unlucky this year.

    Your post is one of the worse semi knowledgeable comments I’ve seen on fangraphs. End rant.

    Comment by wat?! — June 15, 2012 @ 11:35 pm

  31. The Tigers bullpen looks pretty deep to me. Valverde has been the main problem, yet you list him as an asset…try Villareal on for size – he’s for real. Below has been great all season, and Dotel will be back soon.

    Comment by Ian — June 15, 2012 @ 11:35 pm

  32. Soriano and Dempster? (Tigers eat all the money)

    Maybe for Porcello? (would the Cubs roll the dice hoping a change of scenery helps Porcello?)

    Comment by Joe — June 15, 2012 @ 11:40 pm

  33. For a supposed “saber guy” you sure make a lot of claims with no statistical backing. Boesch, career 101 wRC+ “can’t hit.”? Valverde, with a 3.57 career FIP, sucks? Seems like an overstatement.

    And the original poster said that only good things about Scherzer, so I am unsure what bringing up his xFIP does.

    And Frenchy has been way above replacement in 3 of his seasons.

    In conclusion, your post is one of the worse semi knowledgeable responses I’ve seen on fangraphs. End rant.

    Comment by RationalSportsFan — June 15, 2012 @ 11:46 pm

  34. 1) Valverde ERA in save situations 2011-2012 1.25, non save? 5.95

    2) Saber guys need to watch games and do payroll management too. Ricky is a soft stuff guy w/o an out pitch. He is nowhere near a MLB average starter. My eye test is better than your xFIP on Ricky. Maybe he gets it all figured out at age 26…by then he will have been paid another$20m in arby and will be a FA looking for a 5/65 type deal…The Tigers already have what he is supposed to be…his name is Fister. I’d rather spend $15m more on Max in arby and see if he can harness his talent….and so will the Tigers given they choose power arms over junkballers at every level It looks clear that they want Smyly and Turner as cost control back end guys with upside. Ricky is 23 and can be bait for a win now siuation…

    The rest of your nonsense has already been jumped upon…

    also in thread elsewhere-

    No one anywhere is eating even half of Soriano’s deal..dream on…and the last thing the tigers need is a low average and OBP horrible fielding LF, especially one that is getting paid 3x/season what Elmon is for twice as long.

    Frenchy isn’t an ideal, but you have to deal for who can be had for what you want to give up….and Quentin is another Elmon-like player…Frenchy’s RF defense with a decent stick and decent wheels is a huge upgrade over Elmon right now if u shift BB to DH and get some combo of Berry/Dirks/Raburn in LF….

    Comment by Tim — June 16, 2012 @ 2:16 am

  35. Tigers bullpen is very very good 4 deep (then Valverde), after that, atrocious.

    The defense is truly truly awful, definitely the worst in the league. Austin Jackson (and Laird, when he plays) are the only above average fielders in the lineup. And Dirks and Peralta are the only others close to average.

    Comment by The Nicker — June 16, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

  36. Cabrera’s UZR is so low compared to his actual performance in the field that it has me questioning whether it’s actually useful in his case. It seems entirely likely he’s doing something to break it.

    Comment by stormhit — June 16, 2012 @ 10:41 pm

  37. They need some positive regression, that’s it. Better defense would be ideal but that’s not going to happen. Leyland just needs to not be senile enough to keep playing DY in LF. Even with the expected uptick in performance they still might not be better than the White Sox, everything that went wrong for them last year has basically been fully corrected and Chris Sale is apparently an ace caliber pitcher.

    Comment by Colin — June 17, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

  38. The Tigers Need… Inge. Can anyone give a reasonable explanation as to why Inge was cut before Raburn? There’s honestly no reason for Miggy to play in the field at any position.

    Comment by gnomez — June 17, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

  39. The first — and most obvious reason — is that Raburn’s offensive upside is much, much higher than Brandon Inge’s. If you seriously believe that the Tigers would be even slightly better with Inge, then I don’t even know what to tell you — it’s just not true.

    Also, Cabrera’s not nearly the problem that Prince Fielder is on defense. Cabby’s been much better than most expected. UZR hates him, but it’s hardly a useful stat with less than a half season as a sample size.

    Comment by The Birchman — June 17, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

  40. I don’t think anyone who has seen him play thinks that Miggy’s D is actually -15 uzr/150 bad (which is not even as bad as people were suggesting he was going to be). He has a 0 DRS right now and he’s ‘looked’ decent out there. uzr takes a long long long time to stabilize into anything meaningful so I think Miggy is definitely not the problem on D.

    Comment by Colin — June 18, 2012 @ 9:55 am

  41. Comerica park favors line drive hitters offensively, not fly ball hitters. Fielder acquisition aside, that is how the lineup is constructed. It also demands a left-fielder with center-fielder range, which the Tigers have never even tried to put out there.

    Comment by Chris — June 18, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

  42. True,
    Regression is to move BACK to the mean.. whereas
    Progress is to move UP (to and beyond) the mean.

    If a player is in regression, its to do less than what he was.. not more. Sure, he is going to the mean, but in a backwards direction.

    Comment by Cidron — June 18, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

  43. Both Prince and Cabrera don’t want to DH, which is why they’re both in the field. Maybe it’s not optimal, but it’s the reality. They’re not trading for someone to move Prince or Cabrera to DH, whoever they get will be a LF/DH.

    Comment by Yinka Double Dare — June 18, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

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