Category Archives: Billy Buckner but not that Billy Buckner

the D-train is a D-back

D-train by Samara Pearlstein

I completely failed to say anything about the Dontrelle trade. That’s what I get for trying to toss up a blog post when I’m falling asleep at the keyboard. I probably need to stop doing that.

Anyways, as the title suggests, the Tigers have managed to trade Dontrelle to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Tigers will pay most of Dontrelle’s remaining (considerable) salary. In return they get Billy Buckner.

This Buckner kid will hang out in Toledo and SHOULD be a non-factor at the big league level, unless a number of disastrous shenanigans occur. I don’t know much about him, except for the fact that he has been maddeningly inconsistent as a pitcher. I also know that he makes me nervous because his name is Billy Buckner. There is allegedly no relation, but it still just doesn’t sit well with me. Sorry, buddy. It’s reflexive, I can’t really help it.

As for Dontrelle, I wish him nothing but the best. Maybe that is easier to say because he’s going to a National League team, but hey, we’ll be playing them in a few weeks, so it’s not like he’ll never have a chance to pitch against us. But I always wanted to see Dontrelle put it back together. When he’s pitching well, he’s dead good fun to watch: on the mound, in the dugout, in the clubhouse, anywhere. When Dontrelle is visibly happy, it is almost impossible to be an unhappy fan, unless you’re some sort of unbelievably churlish Yankee fan or something.

There are some players who stink it up for your team, and then when they go elsewhere and get their pitching act together, it just annoys you to no end. Or there are guys who stink it up for your team, and you fervently hope that they keep stinking it up when they go elsewhere because if you had to suffer through their stench, everyone else should have to suffer through it too. This is not going to be the case with Dontrelle. He may not be on my team anymore, but I would still LOVE to see Dontrelle happy and healthy and pitching like it’s 2005 again. If you disagree then I can only assume that you’re the type of person who kicks kittens, or smashes a moth and tells a small child that you just squished the Tooth Fairy. GET OUT OF THIS BLOG, WE HAVE NO TRUCK WITH YOUR SORT HERE.

Arizona is planning to put Dontrelle into the rotation right away, so he truly is going to a team where he will have a chance to turn things around, not some place where he’ll languish awkwardly as an ill-advised long reliever or something. And, as he’s going to the NL, he’ll have a chance to hit again, something he had always enjoyed– in 2005, the only season he had 100+ at-bats, he hit .261/.289/.337, which I hardly need to point out is better than the current numbers of Gerald Laird, Alex Avila, and Adam Everett. It’s also better than the numbers of both Scott Sizemore and Ryan Raburn when they were up.

Dontrelle will be in a smaller media market. He’ll get to hit. He’ll be in a much hotter and drier climate for his home games, although I don’t know if that makes a difference to him or not. He’ll be in a totally different league with a totally different set of opposing batters. He’ll have to contend with that stupid Baxter thing instead of the wonder, joy, and privilege of having Paws around, but he can overcome that difficulty.

The Tigers tried every-which-way to make the Dontrelle experiment work. There were flashes of brilliance, and even flashes of simple competence, which would have been enough, but in the end the experiment failed. That’s kind of hard to take, and especially given Dontrelle’s salary I think they would have liked to hang onto him a little longer, but baseball circumstances got in the way. This trade was a roster necessity for the Tigers, but it could be a truly good thing for Dontrelle. I really hope it is.