- July 19-Our newest Michigan Golf Scene Show with Chris Whitten, the LPGA, Rocket Mortgage, Oakland Hills North by Drone and Justin Abdelkader= Our 10th episode this year.
- The Detroit Tigers are shopping assets- Who's buying? (Below)
- Opinion-Al Avila's extension was a big mistake- Here's why (Below)
- IndyCar drivers Takuma Sato and Sebastien Bourdais got into an altercation (Motor Sports)
- PBA Summer Bowling (PBA Page)
- NASCAR- Kentucky winners and losers- story and photo album (Motor sports Page)
Al Avila's extension was a mistake- Here's why
What in the name of Mike Illitch is going on in Detroit? Al Avila's recent extension makes no sense. Here's why and yes, I will give credit where credit is due.
Avila has been in Detroit since 2002 where he was named the assistant general manager and vice president of the Detroit Tigers and was the General Manager in waiting when Dave Dombrowski was fired from the team. While 17 years is a good career stretch for anyone, that is a monster tenure for just about any general manager in sports. The point being is he was the chief talent evaluator as chief scout making Dombrowski's draft war room for many years and learning the job.
But the problem is, who in the heck has Avila drafted that has been a big league hitter over the years? Oh yeah, one average big league hitter in Nick Castellanos and then you might have to dig deep. The problem is Avila has been around for seventeen years and one so-so big league hitter is who Avila has to brag around the water cooler. Castellanos is not even considered an average player in the major leagues factoring defense and could be on his third big league position if he goes to first base and maybe even to designated hitter after Cabrera retires. Saying that, with free agency looming, the Tigers are leery about paying him and how many big league teams are going to show Nick the money?
How about second round picks? The Bengals NEVER brag about their picks below the first round. Am I wrong? Outside pitchers such as Matt Manning, Alex Faedo and Casey Mize who were all drafted very early in the first round, the Tigers do NOT want you to look behind the curtain at their farm system outside of the players acquired in trades in the dumping of JD Martinez and Justin Verlander. Jeimer Candelario is a player that has been painful to watch although he seems able to do some adapting to big league pitching. Jake Rodgers may be on his way to the big leagues, but he is a ho-hum player but his eventual arrival is a feather for Aliva's GM skills.
Avila should be credited for taking on the discarded JD Martinez after the Astros made a rare personnel mistake during the beginning of their resurgence. But the truth is someone has to play in the field and are you excited about the stopgap MLB players from Jordy Mercer and Gordon Beckham and company? You better. The Tiger have no promising players coming up through the pipe outside of players the Tigers aquired in the trades such as Daz Cameron and Issac Parades. There is not ONE position player that Avila has drafted that will be in Detroit anytime soon. Why are the Tigers not able to draft guys who contribute to the club outside of the first round? Detroit's next round of position players are further going to have to come from trades involving Matt Boyd, Shane Greene and even Joe Jiminez.
The Tigers top heavy drafting of power arms during the Dombrowski and Avila tenures is not a bad strategy. The problem is they have not developed the picks from the second round on and this is a glaring problem. In the 2019 draft, it appears the team has figured out they need someone that can play in the field. The drafting of OF Riley Greene may pay off and the team did invest in drafting position players five of the first six rounds of the recent 2019 MLB draft. In the case of Greene, Avila took a player just out of high school who will most likely NOT be ready for at least three or four years.
The bottom line is Mike Illitch was a win now kind of owner. His son Chris is much more patient in the process and is trusting a man who has not developed an an all-star calliber hitter during his tenure. Now Illitch is counting on Avila developing a roster full of these kinds of players and I just don't see it. Do You?
Detroit Red Wings add rugged Free Agent Defenseman
by Bob Heyrman
Detroit Tigers trade deadline nears: Who's for sale, who's interested?
By Anthony Fenech Detroit Free Press- The Detroit Tigers remain open for business less than a month until the July 31 trade deadline, as open as any of baseball’s non-contenders are to dealing players.
In their third straight season as mid-summer sellers, the Tigers have four players who are piquing contenders’ interest, each with varying levels of ability and team control.
The Tigers, led by general manager Al Avila, have not been bashful about their position: They are in the midst of a rebuild — not yet two full seasons through it — and are seeking to maximize the value of their major league players with prospects who will aid the organization’s farm system.
Tigers GM Al Avila has big decisions to make as the trade deadline approaches.
The players on the block — lefty starter Matthew Boyd, right fielder Nicholas Castellanos, closer Shane Greene and set-up man Joe Jimenez — are well-known. But given the stagnancy of the trade market in recent years — with teams being less willing to trade top assets for a player who will help immediately — it’s unlikely the Tigers will find destinations for all four players, especially at the prices they desire.
All but one of their trade targets are signed into the future: Boyd is under team control through the 2022 season, Greene through 2020 and Jimenez through 2023. But that team control — especially in Greene’s case — is one of the reasons why the time is right to move.
The Tigers have been talking with several teams, — teams traditionally do not like the burden of setting the market with an early trade -- and as next week’s All-Star Game comes and goes, trade season will take center stage with the Tigers serving as one of the key players.
Here's the latest on each of the Tigers’ trade deadline candidates:
*Stats through July 1
Matthew BoydAge: 28.
Contract: Free agent in 2023.
Stats: 5-6, 3.72 ERA, 1.09 WHP, 17 GP, 101⅔ IP, 91 hits, 17 HRs, 20 BBs, 129 Ks.
Boyd has been linked recently to the Yankees, according to George A. King of the New York Post, and Astros, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Both reports are accurate. King reported the Tigers’ asking price was 22-year-old infielder Gleyber Torres, considered a future superstar, who is hitting .295 with 19 home runs and 45 RBIs this season and was an All-Star as a rookie.
You can’t fault the Tigers for shooting for the stars, but their ceiling in a Boyd deal is likely a similarly projectable prospect to what Torres was three years ago, when the Cubs traded him to New York for closer Aroldis Chapman. Problem is, teams began shying away from similar trades shortly thereafter: The prospect return in the June 2017 Cubs-White Sox trade — the White Sox received Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease for veteran lefty Jose Quintana — has yet to be matched in recent years.
Houston has not included top prospect outfielder Kyle Tucker in their packages, Morosi reports. Tucker is the type of young offensive player the Tigers would like to receive for Boyd. In addition to the Astros and Yankees, the American League Central division-leading Twins and the Phillies have touched base with the Tigers on Boyd, who has made significant strides this season.
Boyd is less of a household name than Giants ace lefty Madison Bumgarner, who is considered the best postseason pitcher of this generation and also available on the trade market. Boyd, however, provides more value, with four years of team control remaining, and he is cheaper, younger, and trending in a different direction.
Any team interested in Bumgarner likely would be interested in Boyd, but for what price?
Contract: Expiring, free agent in 2020.
Stats: .276 BA, .339 OBP, .461 SLG, 8 HRs, 27 RBIs, 77 GP.
What has been a down contract year for Castellanos should still take a turn in the next month. Though he certainly hasn’t helped his trade value, it’s hard to imagine the Tigers won’t be able to deal him for something. What that something is remains to be seen, and likely will be underwhelming.
Nicholas Castellanos hits an RBI double in Pittsburgh on June 18. (Photo: Justin K. Aller, Getty Images)
The Tigers have been down this road before, trying to trade an impact hitter on an expiring contract, and saw the difficulties with J.D. Martinez in 2017. Martinez’s powerful second-half performance with the Diamondbacks only poured salt into the wound.
Castellanos has improved defensively in right field, which in theory should help his stock, but the fact remains he is a free agent after the season, not yet an elite hitter and average at best in the outfield. National League teams would be required to take a leap of faith in acquiring Castellanos, guaranteeing him a spot defensively. Houston offered outfielder Derek Fisher for him last summer, a deal the Tigers might consider a year later. They kept contact with the Tigers over Castellanos into the spring months, and could deploy him at designated hitter or in short left field at Minute Maid Park. Another team to keep an eye on is the Indians, who could use offensive reinforcements. This spring, Cleveland was said to have around $5 million left to improve their team at the trade deadline. Castellanos’ pro-rated $10 million salary would fit.
Shane GreeneAge: 30.
Contract: Free agent in 2021.
Stats: 0-2, 0.87 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 22 SVs, 31 GP, 31 IP, 17 hits, 3 HRs, 9 BBs, 32 Ks.
Though Greene has another year remaining on his contract, the time is now to trade him. On Sunday, he was named to the AL All-Star team for the first time in his career.
Catcher John Hicks and closer Shane Greene celebrate the Tigers' 7-5 victory against the Nationals at Comerica Park, June 29. (Photo: Gregory Fisher, USA TODAY Sports)
The Tigers were ready to trade Greene two offseasons ago, after a strong 2017 season, but opted to try for more value the next season. Last year, Greene couldn’t duplicate his success, but he has taken two steps ahead this year. He is perhaps the most reliable reliever on the market, figuring to serve a back-end role on contending teams, if not as the closer, and should command a solid prospect or two in return.
Greene’s All-Star appearance won’t hurt his cause, but given how good he has been — and how quickly things could change — the Tigers would be wise to move quickly. The Dodgers have inquired with the Tigers on Greene’s availability.
More: Here's how Max Scherzer proved he's the best of the Tigers who got away
Joe JimenezAge: 24.
Contract: Free agent in 2024.
Stats: 2-6, 5.12 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 36 GP, 31⅔ IP, 28 hits, 7 HRs, 16 BBs, 47 Ks.
An All-Star last season, Jimenez continues to ride the roller coaster early in his career, showing flashes of brilliance on any given night but still the inconsistency that is keeping him from reaching his potential.
Joe Jimenez reacts after giving up a home run to Twins DH Nelson Cruz during the eighth inning June 7. (Photo: Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press)
Jimenez, still considered by some to be the Tigers’ closer of the future, has received interest from multiple NL East teams, including the Mets, who have checked in on both Jimenez and Greene.
The case for trading Jimenez: The Tigers might not think he is as good as advertised, and would prefer to capitalize on his potential. Most problematic has been his career-high seven home runs allowed.
The case against: Jimenez remains young and one of few players whom the Tigers can hold onto when the rebuilding comes to fruition.
Keep an eye on the Rays, who have one of the deepest farm systems in baseball, and are said to be scouting Jimenez, and others, looking for a seventh-inning bullpen man.
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Steve Yzerman has a big job. Just the Red Wings luck, he's up for the task and jumps into the spotlight right away. With the sixth pick in the NHL selection draft, he's armed with one blue chip to get his tenure started.
Just one week away from the 2019 NHL entry draft, Yzerman is charged with rebuilding the Red Wings on the fly and with ten picks in the June 21-22 event, the Red Wings could rocket themselves toward the NHL playoffs with five picks in the first 66 selections. Most fans are focused on the top selection but they key is where the team develops picks further down the pecking order.
The problem with most drafts is the help you need will need seasoning for multiple seasons and Yzerman must keep overseeing Jeff Bashill and his staff, finding players who can bridge the gap between tomorrow's team and keeping guys like Dylan Larkin motivated. Yzerman hopes he has the midas touch.
“Ideally we hit on all of these prospects and have players that turn out for us, but there’s no guarantee of that,” Yzerman said Thursday afternoon at Little Caesars Arena. “It’s more difficult than it seems. But it sure speeds things up, the more players you can get out of each draft.”
As for the draft, most scouts believe there are four difference making players with minimal seasoning to make the NHL jump. Forwards Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko are projected to be the first two picks, and defenseman Bowen Byram and center Alex Turcotte are likely to be gone before No. 6 . There is no chatter on whether the Wings make a move up or drop down.
The players just missing making the top four include Dylan Cozens, Cole Caufiels, Vasili Podkolzin and National Developmental player Trevor Zegras.
“The big two up two, they get a lot of attention and they deserve it,” Yzerman said. :Looking into the second round, Yzerman gave reporters some optimistic insight.
“But we’re as excited — maybe it’s a different level of prospect, but we’re as excited about the 35th pick. We do think it’s a good group of players and we’re excited about every step of the way. I think there are a lot of good young prospects in this draft.”
Most fans believe teams should hit on the first pick, but its the second round on that usually pushes teams over the top. Ask the Blues. Last year, there fans were feeling Blue, now they are painting St. Louis with Stanley Cup fever.