Category Archives: Placido Polanco

Cliff Lee? Who cares? I only have eyes for Placido Polanco.


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

The Tigers played split-squad today, with no Detroit cameras. But the Phillies had their guys out at one of the games, and the MLB Network decided to replay it at 8pm for some reason. Initially I could not understand why this was happening, but I wasn’t complaining, because baseball! Tigers baseball! On my TV!!

I soon realized the game had probably been chosen for broadcast because CLIFF LEE, MAN OF PITCHERLY WONDERS was starting. As you will see. Liveblog from my notes follows.

Top of the first
–We join the broadcast in action to find that Will Rhymes led off the game and was beaned by Cliff Lee. So… thanks for not showing me what I would actually kind of like to see? Good start, MLBN.

–Ugh, I guess I had assumed this would be a neutral MLBN broadcast, but it’s not, they’ve just ganked the CSN Philly tape, so it’s Tom McCarthy, “Wheels”, and “Sarge”, although only two are in the booth at any given time. Wheels is Chris Wheeler, Sarge is Gary Matthews the Elder. Naturally enough they are concentrating on the Phillies. I don’t blame them, but I just want more Tigers focus. Stampy feet!

–One of them says this is Cliff Lee’s first appearance in a Phillies uniform. But… but…? I stare at the TV, begin questioning my own memories of 2009. Maybe they mean… first appearance back? First appearance this season? Maybe they should say that. Deep breath. Spring Training for everyone.

–Tigers scoring happens. Ryan Raburn triple! Don Kelly has high socks on. Ryan Strieby looks nice and solid, I don’t know why I’m commenting on this, it makes me sound like Rod Allen.

Bottom of the first
–Andy Oliver gets the start for the Tigers. Placido Polanco is batting second for the Phillies! I draw four sadfaces in a row on my notes. The announcers are still talking about Cliff Lee.

Top of the second
–I left the room to do some stuff, and when I came back, it was the next inning and they were still talking about Cliff Lee. CLIFF LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

–Brian Wilson is in the MLB 2K11 ad. “Digital Brian, I will come through that screen and rip you apart.”

–“Nobody has ever touched the beard. There’s a reason for that– you can’t. It’s too full of magic.”

Bottom of the second
–The ballgirls down the lines are Hooters girls. Don’t even know what to say to this.

–Is the Phanatic here? I wish they would show him. It’s a Philly broadcast, if he’s in the park they really ought to put him on camera.

Top of the third
–Placido Polanco throws out Audy Ciriaco. I draw another sadface in my notes.

–Kyle Kendrick has replaced CLIFF LEE CLIFF LEEEEEEE. He comes way inside on Rhymes. After Cliff The Precious Lee already beaned him! THEY ARE PITCHING HIM INSIDE WITH INTENT TO HIT, OOOOOO PHILLIES, YOU DID NOT. YOU DID NOT. No they aren’t, Kendrick immediately throws two balls carefully far outside. But it’s the principle of the thing.

–Raul Ibanez is currently bald up top, with a scruffy beard. Announcer: “Some folks said, you look like a professor!” Other announcer laughs. I didn’t realize bald + beard = professor. Is that a thing?

–On Jose Valverde: “He’s something to watch.” Stuff about his outings being “an adventure.”

“There’s not enough mustard in the world to put on that hot dog.”

“Most closers are put on this earth to drive fans crazy.”

Bottom of the third
–On the bench in the dugout, CLIFF MOST SACRED OF LEEs, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, and even Joe Blanton are all sitting in a row. Announcer says, “I like the way they all hang together.”

–They aren’t even in our league and I have to admit that’s a hell of a thing to see. All those cats on the same bench. Like… that’s some All Star Game stuff going on over there. If you’re a batter and you look into a dugout and you see that, you probably pee your pants a little bit. Just a little.

–Directly transcribed notes: MY PLACIDO, walks, oh he looks amazing ugggggh healthy sleek handsome

–No shame, ladies and gentlecats, no shame. This is baseball.

Top of the fourth
–Cliff Lee on-field interview EVERY INNING IS CLIFF LEE INNING

–Cliff Lee talks about getting to know the pitchers on this staff, this amazing ridiculous hyped-to-death-and-back-to-life-again staff, and he namedrops Placido Polanco. All the stupendous pitchers, and he has to mention how he’s been getting to know Placido. The only position player he names. PLACIDO.

Bottom of the fourth
–Adam Wilk is pitching. He majored in criminal justice.

–Gary Matthews says that Andy Oliver was penciled in as the Tigers’ fifth starter. Um… this is news to me? Where did that even come from?

–Another direct notes transcription: Rhino —> Rhymes threw out S Victorino @ second trying to run stretching a single oooo! snap snap

Game continued AFTER THE LINK!
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tiger-striped Thanksgiving, 2010


image by Samara Pearlstein

I know that our Polanco days have passed, but it’s Thanksgiving! We cannot have Thanksgiving without gazing upon the succulently roasted head of Placido Polanco. Maybe next year I will be sufficiently recovered from his departure to do a Jhonny Peralta spherical turkey, but for now, look back on Placido’s perfect merging with the bird with fondness.

Things for which we can be thankful:

–Miguel Cabrera, in all ways.

–The fact that at least one half of the Jackson/Sizemore experiment worked out better than we had any reasonable right to expect.

–Will Rhymes on the Internet.

–A multitude of stupid hair decisions to amaze, delight, and amusedly horrify us.

–Brandon Inge on into the Future.

–The graciousness of Armando Galarraga.

–The fact that Dontrelle Willis is still in baseball.

–The Big Potato’s facial expressions.

–Max Scherzer’s magical X-ray vision eyes.

–Rod and Mario, and Rod-isms, and Mario’s gentle tolerance of the Rod-isms.

–The fact that somehow, against all reason, Justin Verlander has survived another season of eight zillion pitches without his arm disintegrating in the middle of a game all Joel-Zumaya-style.

–Still the best home uniforms in the league.

–Max St. Pierre’s big chance.

–Brennan Boesch’s first half.

–Ryan Raburn’s August.

–The critical mass of Venezuelanness that convinced Victor Martinez that Detroit was the Place to Be.

–Dave Dombrowski’s striped polo shirts.

–Alex Avila’s unstoppable beard.

–Scott Pickens’ dog.

–We may be getting more of their former cats on our team, but we are still not Racist Logo fans.

–All you cats who read Tigers blogs, and comment on Tigers blogs, and all the other cats who write Tigers blogs, and twitter Tigers tweets (?), tumble Tigers Tumblrs, and take photos of Tigers and put them on the internet, and comment on Tigers message boards (but not Yahoo commenters, those people are the lowest of the low). Wicked thankful, as ever, for the whole digital lot of you.

May your day be filled with turkey and thoughts of what Placido Polanco’s head would look like as a turkey, family and friends, and quality football (please, Paws, let there be quality football. I have to go home to Patriots fans in a couple of days). Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, kids and kittens!

mysteries of the Detroit infield


digillustration by Samara Pearlstein

So the Phillies have signed Placido Polanco to a 3 year deal (option for a 4th year, when he will be 38 years old). To play third base.

You can take a moment to revel in the sheer WHAT of that, but when you’re done I think we need to talk about WHAT IN THE HOLY CATS ARE THE TIGERS GOING TO DO WITH THEIR INFIELD IN 2010?!

Catcher

The Tigers were rumored to be ‘shopping’, or at least open to potentially trading Gerald Laird, I guess because he’s probably going to make at least $3 million next year? OK. I don’t even want to think about this. He’s going to be 30 years old for the entire 2010 season, he hasn’t been unusually injury prone or anything (what, some small back spasms that didn’t land him on the DL?), he’s a great defensive catcher who gets insufficient credit for that because his bat was weak as hell this season.

No, he isn’t Joe Mauer, but you know what, we aren’t going to get Joe Mauer. JOE MAUER: NOT OURS. This is a Fact of Life, I have accepted it, I have digested it, I am over it. Yadier Molina: not ours. Also not ours: Pudge circa 2004, Bill Freehan circa 1974.

Could we find a catcher who would come cheaper than Gerald Laird? Yes, of freaking course we could, we could spend the season with a cheapity-cheap-cheap combination of Dusty Ryan and Alex Avila’s 5 o’clock shadow, and maybe they would sometimes hit, and maybe they would make some good throws on occasion or whatever, but they would not be as good defensively as Gerald Laird and they’re just children so they would not be as big a help with our pathetic pitching staff, which has issues, you know that it does, we love it anyways but our love is not enough to heal it.

G-MONEY 4EVA

(Don’t even bring up Brandon Inge. Don’t even. You don’t want to go there with me.)

First base

As of right now, Miguel Cabrera is our 2010 first baseman, but he too has been at the heart of a number of trade rumors this winter. This is because

a) he has an enormous contract ($20 million next year, then $106 million from 2011-2015. That is a lot of millions) and the Tigers, as they keep telling us over and over and OVER again, are trying to do something to reduce their payroll,

b) he was pretty much the only Tiger from ’09 to hit with something approaching consistency (good consistency, not, you know, consistently failing to get hits) and as such is one of the few Tigers who can be said to have real trade value without people laughing at us,

c) he got all mutually combative with his wife and she threw him out of the house because he came home drunk after partying with Wrong Sox players when he had potentially division-clinching games to play in the next two days and the police got involved and Dave Dombrowski had to pick him up from the police station really early in the morning, at which point Cabrera’s blood alcohol level was still quite elevated, and I’m sure none of this made Mr. Dombrowski real pleased with him,

d) and also because Lynn Henning likes trading away the entire team.

But let’s face it, Miggy is going to be 27 next year. He’s entering his prime. We just got him all nice and broken-in at first base. It’s going to be difficult to find someone else willing to take on his contract, and even if that happens, the Tigers will need to be offered something truly out-of-this-litter-box spectacular to make it so. It is unlikely to be made so. So, uh, there.

Third base

It will be Brandon Inge. He’s due $6.6 million in 2010 and he just had surgery on both knees at once. He is such an untradeable commodity that we can’t even call him a commodity, he’s just, like, THERE. Not that I consider this a bad thing, because I love Brandon Inge and eagerly await his 2010 resurgence, fueled entirely by hustle and determination and sugar-laden gum and bionic knees.

Look, you know that Detroit wants Inge to do well next year, he is the longest-tenured Tiger and it would be a good story, and there isn’t really much of anyone else to back him up. If you think they DIDN’T pump his knees full of self-repairing nanobots while they had the chance, well, I would just have to question your obvious baseball naïvité.

Second base

Scott Sizemore is allegedly the cat for the job. He is a few months older than me, he went to Brandon Inge’s college, he split last year between double-A and triple-A, hitting moderately well at both levels. He broke his ankle in the Arizona Fall League and has been recovering ever since. Allegedly it’s healing well and he hopes to be up to speed by the end of Spring Training.

He has not had a single at-bat at the Major League level and the Tigers are willing to entrust second base to him. I know it worked out OK for FredFred and it worked out… kind of horribly, actually, for Jeremy Bonderman, but that wasn’t immediately evident– anyways the point is that I’m not so sure this is a good idea for a position player.

I don’t know! I’m not a Scott Sizemore expert. Presumably the front office cats who are familiar with him have reasons for believing that this is a doable thing. I just worry. It’s what I do. If Sizemore’s ankle doesn’t end up being ready, or if he isn’t as competent as hoped right away, I’m not sure what the Tigers do. Is there a viable backup plan? (Just lie to me and say yes.)

Shortstop

HOLY CATS Y’ALL I HAVE NO IDEA

Try to get Adam Everett back after not offering him arbitration? Try to pick up some scrub and pair him up with Ramon Santiago all season long? Try to work a trade for someone random I can’t think of right now? Or dip into the unimpressive free agent pool?

Which would mean… go with someone old? I think all the free agent shortstops this winter are old. Like, over 30. Craig Counsell will be 39 years old, can he still walk? (Aside: I have a cactus named Craig Counsell. True story. He needs to be re-potted but I keep putting it off because it’s hard to re-pot a cactus.) Orlando Cabrera is 35 and I am pretty sure he’s a Type A guy. Bobby Crosby will only be 30 but he’s so injury-prone that his body is more like 78. The Red Sox probably just signed Marco Scutaro.

Shortstop is a huge, gaping hole for the Tigers right now. Combine that with the uncertainty about second base, and the possibility of (Paws forbid) Inge getting hurt again or something, and we are looking at a very unhappy situation with a lot of Tiger fan tears in the coming season.

Seriously, what are we doing for a shortstop? We aren’t really considering Ramon Santiago full time, right? Please, someone tell me that they have an idea that does not involve Ramon Santiago full time. Please.

the arbitration ship sails on Placido Polanco

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Goodbye, goodbye sweet Placido! We shall sorely miss your breathe-right strips and your cold-weather snoods and your little goatee and your giant skull and your grimacey batting faces on these Detroit shores. *sniffle*

Today was of course the deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their arb-eligible players. The Tigers elected to make that offer to Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney. They did not make the offer to Adam Everett, Aubrey Huff, Jarrod Washburn, and Polanco.

Polanco was a Type A free agent, which means that if the Tigers had offered him arbitration, other teams would have had to give up a first round draft pick and a supplemental first round pick to sign him. This would have made him less valuable on the open market, because he’s kinda old and teams don’t generally like giving up those early slots. So it was at least somewhat likely that if the Tigers had offered him arb, he would have accepted it, and gotten a snotload of cash on account of his Gold Glove and all that. Sure, it would have only been a one-year deal, and maybe in rosier economic times the Tigers would have done it, but all we’ve heard about this winter has been ZOMG THE MONEY IS GONE, GONE, ALL OF IT GONE– the amount of money Polanco was likely to make in arbitration was apparently a deterrent for the Tigers. He should still be able to get a good contract elsewhere, now that interested teams know they don’t have to give up The Future to snag him.

Fernando and Lyon are both Type B free agents, which would net the Tigs someone else’s first round pick (no supplementals) some random supplemental picks if they’re signed away. Ugh. I guess it wouldn’t be terrible if Lyon accepted… he made $4.25 million last year, which is pretty high for what he did, but there are worse things in life than effective-but-overpaid middle relievers, right? Right.

Fernando made $2.7 million in ’09. I won’t comment on his performance. You all know my feelings there. He may decide to decline arb and feel out free agency anyways. This does raise the question of what in the hell the Tigers are planning to do for a closer if they don’t go with Fernando again. Paws knows I don’t recommend holding your breath and hoping Zumaya stays healthy or sane, and the FA market is not exactly brimming over with scintillatingly brilliant closers at the moment. I guess we’ll see. Mr. Dombrowski’s got a plan, that is what I will keep telling myself.

Everett, Huff, and Washburn are all Type Nothing free agents, so nobody cares about them.

OK, mild lie. Everett’s presumed (although, I guess, not totally guaranteed) departure raises the question, as with Fernando, of what the Tigers are planning there for 2010. Right now the idea for second base seems to involve bringing up Scott Sizemore, whom we can all only hope is as willing to pose nude as Grady Sizemore, but there isn’t any clear plan for shortstop that I’ve seen. WORRISOME.

I just keep thinking back to how badly I freaked out about the lack of catching options after the Tigers jettisoned Pudge, and how tidily the Tigers patched up that problem. That was an example of the Tigers having a serious need at a hard-to-fill position, and it all worked out just fine (if not as offensively glorious as we might have wished, SHUT UP OK GERALD LAIRD IS AWESOME AND GOOD). Just fine. Everything will be fine. Finety fine fine.

*twitch*

Don’t forget to work on your entries for the contest!! December 10 is the deadline!

tiger-striped Thanksgiving, 2009

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Things for which we can be thankful:

–Despite his very best efforts, Fernando Rodney did not actually manage to kill any of us this year.

–Justin Verlander.

–Tiny fluffy kittens.

–Having an inconsistent, frustrating, disappointing season from the majority of the players on the team, and STILL coming thisclose to winning the division.

–Best lookin’ home unis in the league for the millionth year.

–Comerica seat prices as compared to the prices in Yankee Stadium.

–Gerald Laird’s defense.

–The fact that Gerald Laird’s defense allowed Brandon Inge to play at third base.

–Frederick Alfred Porcello the Third is NOT a figment of our collective imagination.

–Ernie Harwell is one of us.

This right here.

–TWO WHOLE LIONS WINS!!

–We’re not Racist Logos fans.

–Mr. Dombrowski’s willingness to bail his players out of jail at unholy hours of the morning.

–Rod Allenisms.

–Photoshop.

–All of you cats, readers and commenters and lurkers and fellow bloggers, makin’ the blogosphere what it is today.

Yet another year of turkeycats! We must savor them while Polanco is still on the team and we can.

Don’t forget to work on your entries for the photo contest! A few folks have gotten their images in early, and it’s gooooood stuff. You’ve got ’til December 10, get crackin’.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving, kids and kittens! May it, as ever, be filled with delicious NOMs and only the most minor of familial stress. Go Lions, Go Not Trading Tigers I Love, Go Turkeycats!

say hello to your 2009 gold glove winning second baseman

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Is there anything fiercer than Placido Polanco? Anything more stylish, more elegant, doing more with such a large head? At second base in the American League, the answer is NO. There is Placido Polanco, and then there are the pedestrians.

Placido Polanco is an amazing defensive second baseman. He’s been great in the past and he was great again. The man was 33 years old this season (his birthday’s in October, so he’s 34 now), playing at an infield position that demands quick reflexes and good flexibility. Do you know how many games he played in this season? I will give you the answer: almost all of them.

I don’t even care about your ~*~defensive statistics~*~ and whatnot, although I know he had good ones (the Mothership sez so). Just watch this fierce cat play. He’s short and a little chunky and very balding and sometimes his little ears get cold so he wears a snood/spandex hoodie under his hat, ok, and he fields screaming line drives like a freakin’ ballerina in cleats. HATERS TO THE LEFT, YO.

He’s a free agent this offseason, so I guess this will only help his/his agent’s pleas for cash’n’years, but let me just say

WE LOVE YOU, PLACIDO, WE ARE THE ONES WHO LOVE YOU BEST, COME BACK TO USSSSSSSSS

welcome back Nate! and other bits from the weekend

photo by Samara Pearlstein

This past Saturday, Nate Robertson returned from the dead, looking more like a reasonably well-preserved human being than a mothily decaying corpse. So I have been told, anyways. This was supposed to be the FOX afternoon game but instead FOX was showing the Kennedy funeral, or wake, or memorial service, or whatever the hell it was. Did that happen in Detroit also, or was it just in Massachusetts because Massachusetts is insane when it comes to Kennedys?

Nate gave up two runs in four innings, but only one of those runs was earned. He gave up four hits, none of which went for extra bases. He threw 70 pitches, which is not great, but he only walked one dude and he struck out four, so I feel OK about it.

When was the last time I was able to say that about a Nate Robertson start without all sorts of sarcastic nudges and winks? Honestly can’t remember.

The Tigers lost the game, but it wasn’t actually Nate’s fault; the bats were just shut the hell down by David Price. Actually they were shut the hell down on Sunday too, by Jeff Niemann this time. Lots of bat-shutting-down this weekend.

All that came to an end in the eighth inning, though, when Placido Polanco, of all cats, hit a three-run homer to put the Tigers in the lead. I always imagine him doing this when he hits one out, and then I imagine the pitcher lying prone on the mound because he has been struck down by his own shame over the fact that he has given up a home run to Placido Polanco, whose slugging percentage, after all, is a majestic .385. Miggy’s SLG is .565, just to give you a point of comparison.

The homer meant that the Tigers and Justin Verlander would get the win. Number 69 on the year for the Tigers, number 15 on the year for Verlander. Did he throw 100+ pitches? You don’t need me to type the answer to that question. You know the answer in your hearts.

Rosters expand on Tuesday! Get psyched, get psyched, we gonna see us some kittens.

Monday’s game is at 1:05 pm for some reason. I mean really, mid-day on a Monday? What is that, a makeup game or something? I keep opening up the schedule and looking at it because I think it’s a typo, but every time it is still there. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome is a sign of madness, isn’t it? Damn.