Category Archives: Omar Infante

Fish to Cats, Cat to Fish


photos by Samara Pearlstein

Word on the Internet Street: Jacob Turner has been traded to the Marlins for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante. I think there were some other minor league Cats involved too but whatever.

Initial reaction: SECOND BASE LIVES

Here is a super old photo I had of Omar Infante picking his nose.

Relevant.

I’m ok with this, more or less. Convince me otherwise, doomsayers.

Signing Joneses (Jacque and Todd)


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

The Omar Infante era has ended. Celebrate or weep as you see fit.

The Tigers made two big(ish) moves yesterday: resigning themselves to another year of Rollercoaster Jones, and trading Omar Infante to the Cubs for Jacque Jones and some cash.

The Todd Jones deal was kind of inevitable. With Joel Zumaya in pieces on the floor, we knew we needed a closer of some sort. Jonesy likes Detroit (he had a chance to test free agency this offseason and ultimately chose not to do so). Leyland seems to like Jonesy. Barring injury, we pretty much know what to expect from him: not a lot of strikeouts, a ton of guys put on base, a lot of heart-attack style 9th innings. Obviously the Tigers decided that they were prepared to deal with all that again.

Despite his messy, messy pitching style, Jones and his walrus mustache did manage to scrape out 38 saves on the year. The save statistic is a heinously flawed one, but it’s heinously flawed across the board, and I reckon it’s at least a little telling that guys like Jonathan Papelbon and JJ Putz had 37 and 40 saves respectively. Jonesy’s ERA is LOADS worse, but in the end he did manage to actually close out a respectable number of games. He has a much smaller margin for error than some of those big K guys do, but it seems that he knows that about himself and, at least some of the time, knows how to handle it.

And hey, it’s a one-year deal. That’s OK. If it had been a multi-year deal it would NOT have been OK, but we don’t even have to contemplate that sorry thought because the Tigers front office isn’t completely bonkers. One more year of rollercoastering… if you have a pre-existing heart condition, make sure you stock up on your meds come April, ’cause you’re going to need them.

The Jacque Jones deal doesn’t seem like a bad one. As much as I secretly suspect that Omar could pull a Carlos Pena and rake with his bat as soon as he leaves, unlike Carlos he just wasn’t ever going to get that chance here. The fact that Neifi!!! was given preferential playing time says volumes… not necessarily about Omar’s actual talent level, but about Leyland’s willingness to play him, for whatever reason. So if we weren’t using him anyways…

…we gave up basically nothing to get Jacque Jones. He’s a left-handed bat, which we needed. He can play left field, which we needed, and he won’t have to play every day since he’ll probably platoon a lot with The River Thames and maybe Raburn, which will cut his injury risk down. He had a weirdly unbalanced 2007 (terrible first half, great second half) with poor power, but the power outage at least was an anomaly for him. He usually hits around 20 home runs a year and slugs around .450, while last season he hit 5 home runs (urgh) and slugged .400. He did also cut down his strikeouts significantly last year, so it just looks like a very un-Jacque-Jones-ish season overall.

I do have to admit that when I initially heard about this trade, my very first thought, before anything else, was, “Oooo, that’ll be our third JJ in 3 seasons!” Jason Johnson, Jair Jurrjens, Jacque Jones. Seriously, the first thing to enter my mind. I have no excuse.

I’m relatively happy with both these moves. The Tigs didn’t have to give up anything objectionable to get them both done, and while neither is going to rocket us into AL Central Domination territory, they should both have at least a small positive effect. Thumbs up, Dave Dombrowski.

a taste of a Tiger-striped future, today!


photo by Emily Smith

Things are afoot!

Cameron Maybin has been called up, which will give us all our very first look at the much-ballyhooed tiger cub here at the big league level. He had just been bumped up to Erie last week, so talk about whiplash: the kid barely had a chance to get all excited about being promoted to AA ball, and now he’s going to be in a Tigers uniform in Yankee Stadium.

In order to make room for him, Craig Monroe has been designated for assignment. This makes sense. It had seemed more and more obvious, as the weeks wore on, that the Craig Monroe era was drawing to a close. There’s only so long that the Tigers could stick with his .637 OPS… for comparison, Maggs has a 1.025 OPS. Pudge has a .724 OPS, despite the fact that he walks basically NEVER, and even Brandon Inge has a .708 OPS. Mike Rabelo, the EMERGENCY BACKUP CATCHER, pressed into action only because the regular backup catcher is dead, has a .677 OPS. A .637 OPS is essentially unacceptable for a starting Tiger.

It was especially unacceptable because Cameron Maybin existed. Maybe, maaaaaaybe if the Tigers had had nothing of note in the minors, Monroe would’ve stuck around. But it made no sense to keep him with something a lot better in the wings. I mean, if nothing else, just think about how fast our outfield looks right now. Hot stuff.

It’s a LITTLE weird that this happens now. Why not wait ’til September?

Scary side-thought: Monroe will probably clear waivers. Jack Wilson, I think, just cleared waivers. I thought those trade talks had finally died, but if they haven’t… urgh. DO NOT WANT. Especially not since Wilson was only yesterday wheezing on the field.

The other move made was a call-up of Ramon Santiago and a corresponding demotion of Omar Infante to AAA. This makes less sense to me. Yeah, Omar’s not exactly tearing up the world with fire and vigor right now, but he’s not doing terribly for a bench guy, and I can’t see that Santiago is going to make much more of an impact. I would hope that the Tigers aren’t making moves just for the sake of making moves, and I doubt that they are, but the reasoning behind this one is not immediately clear to me.

edit: If you put some stock in the Monroe/Wilson rumor, I guess you have to consider the chance that Omar’s demotion was part of some machinations to send him to the Pirates along with Craig. If that is in fact the case, I hate it. Monroe for Wilson isn’t SO bad… I still don’t like Wilson for the money, but at least we wanted to get rid of Craig anyhow. But I do NOT like the idea of giving the Pirates anything useful for a player that we should not at all be trying hard to get. And I consider Omar to be quite useful. Also: young. So if THAT is what the plan is, yeah, I’m going to be fairly unhappy about it.

double the games, double the losing


photo by Samara Pearlstein

I want to point out that this is a photo of Wally the Green Monster sitting in the stands, gesturing in the general direction of Omar Infante, who is in the visiting dugout, looking back at Wally skeptically. Wally had been doing his rounds of the ballpark and spotted this empty seat up near the field, so he went to sit down and harass/amuse the fans near him. Omar, who was leaning on the rail, started watching him. I’m not sure whether or not Wally was gesturing TO Omar, but Omar seemed to be intrigued by his antics regardless. It was a completely bizarre and glorious interaction and so I share it with you.

So. I should mention that due to a last-minute decision on the part of my brother, I ended up going to BOTH games yesterday, meaning that I was at every game of this series. I’d also never been to a Major League double header before (I’ve been to college DHs, but those are only 7 innings per game), so that was new. You can see how I might be a little frazzled by all that baseball (and all the time wasted getting downtown and back for the game that wasn’t on Wednesday).

The last two games were frustrating. The first game of the series was a solid loss and was hard to be upset about, because sometimes you’re just gonna run into Daisuke Matsuzaka and there’s not a thing you can do about it. The second game was, of course, glorious. These games were slow, grinding, and filled with the kind of “unclutchness” that makes you tear your hair out. I mean, in the first game of the DH, there were NO EXTRA BASE HITS. None. At all. On either side. Agonizing.

The second game saw a ton of doubles for the Tigers, and a ton of walks, and a ton of not bringing those guys home. Twice on the day (over the course of both games) the Tigers ended an inning with the bases loaded, and a couple more times they had two or three guys on, one of which was eliminated by inning-ending fielder’s choices, which is kind of like leaving the bases loaded to end an inning, and is certainly deeply annoying to watch.

It’s hard to be mad at our starters. Miner did better than his line shows, and he certainly kept the Tigers in a close game (against Julian… freakin’…. Tavarez). Durbin wasn’t QUITE pimptacular, but he also didn’t really do any worse than Curt Schilling. They both struggled with the temperature and the wind and threw a ton of pitches early, so, eh.

It’s even hard to be mad at the ‘pen, for once. Tim Byrdak was AWESOME, pitching two perfect innings’ worth of ball in the first game, with 5 (!!!) strikeouts. This of course just makes his removal for Bobby Seay in the first game even more galling, but if he’d gone longer then he probably wouldn’t have been able to go as long this time around. Still. He struck out Wily Mo Pena, Doug Mirabelli, Julio Lugo, Coco Crisp, and David Ortiz (!!!!!!). That’s bloody impressive, that is. You can tell by my use of startled parenthetic exclamation points.

Mesa and Jonesy also did what we asked of them, getting out every guy they had to face. Hard to get much better than that.

Wilfredo Ledezma, however, made stinky excrement smears all over the second game. Why Ledezma was left in to face Hinske despite his rather ugly numbers against lefties this year, is beyond me. You know it’s bad when you’re clamoring for a guy to come out when it’s obvious the manager intends to leave him in, thus inciting your fan-ly rage, and the batter goes and hits a two-run homer to bust open the game, thus vindicating and rather exponentially increasing your fan-ly rage. Hideous.

Oh well. Onwards, upwards. I have a billion photos to process for you kids, and Andrew Miller goes tonight, weather permitting, so be sure to tune into that so we can all judge for ourselves the color of the FUTURE. ‘Tho please do recall that when Verlander first came up, he didn’t have his offspeed stuff working at all and consequently got knocked around a bit…. and I think he’s working out in the big leagues OK.

I also want to point out that I have now been to 5 Tigers game in person this season, and Brandon Inge has homered in 3 of them. All the guy needs is love, guys. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again. This is proof positive of it.

pug marks, Jan. 17


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

From now on, when I have an odds and ends post that I can’t think of a better name for, it’s getting called “pug marks”. The zoologically-inclined among you will recognize the term, and for those of you who are not familiar with it, pug marks are pawprints left behind by tigers and their awesome tiger toe-pads. Pawprints, and post titles for lazy bloggers who don’t want to write “odds and ends” and see it glaring back at them from the top of the page.

pug mark 1
Dave Dombrowski is the anti-arb.

Signed to one-year contracts are Craig Monroe, Nate Robertson, Omar Infante and Fernando Rodney. This means that none of them go to arbitration, and Mr. Dombrowski doesn’t have to sully his hands with the base squabbles of commoners. You might think that, in this whacktarded market, Nate or Fernando could have gotten a bit more if they’d really pushed the issue, but nowadays the cool kids all WANT to come to Detroit, and don’t consider it quite the desolate punishment it once was (i.e. what it still is for pro football).

We have way too many Omar-equivalents on the roster right now. Ramon Santiago is basically a less interesting Omar, and Neifi Perez is basically a more loathsome Omar. This may not bode well for the actual Omar. Billfer thinks the amount of money Omar got may indicate a willingness on the part of the Tigs to stick with him, but Rotoworld seems to be under the impression that they don’t favor him.

The official RotT position on this is “yay Omar”, “boo hiss Neifi”, “eh Ramon”.

pug mark 2
Dear Gary Sheffield: I am still trying to come to terms with the fact that you are on a team that I root for and that I now, by extension, have to root for you. This is not an easy thing for me, because I hate your Yankee tenure, your bat wiggle, and your guts. But I am TRYING, because you are a Tiger now and I have to.

Why do you have to make it harder for me?

“I’m able to lift weights that I never lifted before,” he said. “My wrist had been bothering me since Atlanta, and finally it kind of gave way. Now I’m back and I’m putting up weights like I never have. I haven’t done the things I’m able to do now in a long time.”

MLB Tigers article

WOW THAT DOESN’T SOUND LIKE YOU’RE ON STEROIDS AT ALL. I MEAN IT’S NOT AS THOUGH YOU’VE BEEN UNDER SUSPICION OF THAT, SO THERE’S REALLY NO REASON FOR ANYONE TO EVEN GO THERE IN THEIR MINDS. THIRTY-EIGHT YEAR OLD BALLPLAYERS WITH DECAYING BODIES OFTEN SUDDENLY GAIN THE ABILITY TO LIFT WEIGHTS THAT THEY HAVE “NEVER LIFTED BEFORE”.

I’m not necessarily saying he’s ‘roiding, because holy freakin’ cats would that be stupid of him right now, but WHY DID HE HAVE TO SAY THAT? Why did he have to be SO BLOODY FREAKIN’ DUMB to say something as BATGUANO INSANELY INCRIMINATING/DODGY-SOUNDING AS THAT?

“But speak out intelligently. I think that’s the key. When you’re talking about stuff that doesn’t make sense, then it becomes a problem. But when you’re making sense, then it’s valid.

“I know I don’t always make sense. It’s just knowing yourself…. Because I speak on subjects that you might not get today, but you’ll get it tomorrow.”

Oh. Alright then. I suppose this will sound loads better tomorrow.

pug mark 3
Please turn your attention to this Free Press article, and more particularly to the photo at the head of it.

Apparently the Team of the Year trophy is a small green granite tombstone. Curious design choice.

And speaking of curious design choices… I don’t know if anyone has told Brandon Inge this lately, but he’s really, REALLY pale. I mean, blonde as all get-out, and wicked pasty white on top of that. So WHY would he go about wearing the kind of pumpkin orange shirt/orange and yellow 1974 tie/gleaming brown pinstriped suit combo that even Deion Sanders might scoff at?

(Note that this is complete hyperbole to make the point; Deion would wear that outfit in a second, with several pounds of diamonds distributed carefully over it, and possibly a matching orange fedora. Also, it would look better on Deion, because he’s not WHITER THAN NASCAR.)

pug mark 4
TigerFest is this Saturday. It’s sold out (!!!), so I will not be in attendance. If you’re going, have oodles of fun and rest assured that somewhere, in the dark cold depths of Ann Arbor, there’s a student cultivating a deeply jealous sulk because you are there and she is not. I’m probably not going to make it out to any of the caravan events either (sulk sulk SULK)… they’re in Ann Arbor at some point, but I think it’s the sort of thing you have to pay through the teeth to get into, and the art school is happily making sure I don’t even have any teeth left to pay through by the end of the semester.

pug mark 5
You may have noticed some difficulty reaching this site/getting it to load properly/etc., of late. The web dude is aware of the problem, and since I have bothered him at work I can assure you that he is trying very hard to resolve it. Basically the issue is that the entire server is dependent on a team of highly trained chinchillas, and the chinchillas are in revolt. It’s a pretty touchy situation. No one wants to oppress the rights of the chinchillas, but their sudden and unexpected demands are really putting a cramp in our web service style. Hopefully they’ll see reason soon, and things (and their frail yet finely furred little legs) will run smoothly again.