So, uh, I wasn’t exactly expecting that one. Possibly because I’m way out of the loop on Tigers trade rumors (which is in part intentional… I hate trade rumors. All they do, 98% of the time, is drive you bonkers and come to naught), but still. Sean Casey, as you can see in the image, makes a relatively jolly tiger, and I would like to see him bat in the upper parts of the order, which is the only place his on-base abilities would make sense and where, hopefully, with less men on base, his love of hitting into the double play will be somewhat neutralized.
Chris Shelton, in Part 154335 of his own personal drama, The Pirates Are Ruining My Life (critically acclaimed! starring: Dave Littlefield!), gets sent down to Toledo, where he can moulder with
Nook Tata either until he gets his bat back, or until Casey gets another concussion or blows out a knee.
Overall I’m pleased with this trade. Dombrowski got us the left-handed bat we had been jonesing for (but not Todd Jonesing for). All we gave up was Brian Rogers, who had, last I heard, been pitching pretty well down in Erie. If I recall correctly, he went to the Eastern League All-Star Game earlier this season and had a 2.something ERA. But he’s a AA middle reliever, and Sean Casey is a career .305 hitter. Rawk.
It’s not a power lefty bat, not the way Casey’s been hitting this season, but the fact that his average is still hovering just below .300 is pretty appealing. I would like to see his OBP a little higher, if he’s gonna have this complete lack of boom, but even now it’s higher than Shelton’s (.377 vs. .343), and Shelton’s high homer total is skewed by the obscene start to the season he had. It’s slowed down a lot since then, and in a sense the Tigs have gotten used to playing without much in the way of offensive fireworks from first base.
Shelton’s development at the Major League level has been fragmented and delayed (Part 2346 of The Pirates Are Ruining My Life). He doesn’t really seem to have gotten his feet under him yet. The hot start to the season was a pendulum swing far to one side, and his recent slump just looks to me like the pendulum swinging all the way back. He needs to rock back and forth between the two for a while until he reaches a sort of dynamic equilibrium with a consistent stroke and an ability to consistently adjust to the pitchers.
I don’t think what he showed earlier this year was just a flash in the pan– his swing is too good for that. He’s just still looking for that middle ground where he can thrive. You might think he should be there already, but he’s only really had about a year and a half or so of playing time up in the big leagues. He should get there. Hopefully the Mudhens will let him take it easy for a bit and get his head screwed on straight.
He’s 6 years younger than Casey and without the history of balky knees. For the first time in a long, long time we want to win now, because something might actually come of it. But that only excludes Shelton from immediate use. There’s plenty of room for him in the Tigers’ future.