Category Archives: Virgil Vasquez

Do trade rumors make you nervous? Trade rumors make ME nervous.


photo by Samara Pearlstein

So many trade rumors are flying around right now, you’re lucky if you can make it through the day without getting at least one or two smacking right into the side of your head, all claws out and wings flappin’, giving you a major headache. Or does that only happen in the RotT Headquarters? I’m never quite sure.

The bulk of the rumors thus far seem to be flying around Magglio, getting their pointy rumor bits tangled up in his hair and all that. Why Maggs? Well, he’s going to be 35 in January, and that’s the wrong side of 34 for an outfielder with a history of nagging and spasmy injuries. He can still hit, but it’s unlikely that he’ll put up 2007 numbers ever again, and he’s rapidly approaching DH Land, or at the very least Outfielder But Not In A Cavernous Outfield Like Comerica Land.

Those facts, combined with his big shiny name and his big shiny hair, make him a relatively rare commodity in the Tigers organization: a player who is old enough to make trading palatable for the Tigers, but still viable enough to make trading palatable for other teams. He, uh, also still has $48 million left on his contract, which probably works against moving him, but we’ll cross that river when we stagger up to it, and the fact that he has three years left might make him attractive to someone… I mean, they’d have him under control for a good solid while… as he aged precipitously…

Look, there are stupid teams out there, right? We can’t rule this sort of thing out just because there seem to be logical points against it.

What do the Tigers hope to get from a potential Maggs deal (or from any other deal)? Now that Brandon Inge has been declared the third baseman of Christmases Past, Present, AND Future, we’re probably going to need a catcher. Dusty Ryan is all well and good, but he’s just a kitten and we don’t really know whether he’ll be able to consistently hit major league pitching or not.

I don’t know what catcher we’d pick up– we’ve talked about this before– but I’m gonna say right now that Jason Varitek is not the answer, and anyone who seriously talks about Varitek as the answer to the Tigers’ problems behind the plate is stuffing their face with pure sugary crazysauce. I know that he’s a Leader and a Captain and a Clubhouse Studmuffin and a Pitcher Whisperer, but the Sox were leaving Kevin Cash in games to take at-bats even after the knuckleballer had been pulled by the end of the season. KEVIN CASH. I love Tek, as a Red Sox fan I am contractually obliged to love Tek, but really, no.

There’s also the question of shortstop. The Edgar Renteria Experiment didn’t work out (surprise!!) and even if he’s re-signed to a smaller restructured contract, it will not magically start working. Edgah doesn’t do the AL. It’s been tried twice now and it didn’t work either time. Let it go. As much as I don’t want to see Ramon Santiago starting the season at short, I want to see Edgah back even less, so hey: Ramon 4 eva, unless someone better can be picked up. Ramon 4 eva conditional.

But then there is the position we need filled most desperately: PITCHER. Relief pitcher, for sure, but we should at least be sending out feelers on starters as well, especially since Nate Robertson underwent a collapse of astronomical, black-hole-style proportions. If a bad, fleecy deal of Pudge was able to get us a single maddeningly inconsistent relief pitcher, Maggs should be able to bring in a good bit more.

In other news, Kenny Rogers is thinking about pitching in 2009. If he wants to pitch for another team, whatever, but I don’t particularly want to watch him slowly mouldering on the Tigers anymore. The staff was depressing enough without that piled on top.

Pay your last respects to Virgil Vasquez, by the by, as he was plucked off waivers by the Red Sox. He wasn’t doing much with us (how down on a guy d’you reckon the team had to be to NOT call him up during the disaster that was the 2008 Season in Pitching? PRETTY DOWN, I would guess), but by golly, he had a fabulously alliterative name, and we’ll miss that.

The fact that he was on waivers at all, thus freeing up a spot on the 40-man roster, would seem to point to the possibility of a trade coming up soon. Thus the rumor flocks. Hopefully we shall soon see what there is to be seen, and hopefully it will be good for us. I don’t want to wake up some day soon to a repeat of the Pudge deal, where I spend the entire day after gaping in mute horror, because Pudge Rodriguez straight up for Kyle Farnsworth, really?!?!?!?!??!?!.

You hear me, Mr. Dombrowski? NEVER DO THAT TO US AGAIN.

taters for Virgil Vasquez


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Of Jack Cust’s home run, Rod Allen said, “SICK home run, SICK.” I wholeheartedly agree with these sentiments, mainly because the home run did indeed make me feel sick. The one immediately following it did not much help matters.

I understand that all the other kinds of hits and runs that victimized VV are also bad, but those big flying taters were probably the most demoralizing for him. There’s something about seeing a ball soar up and smack into a home run territory wall… something likely to traumatize a young pitcher if he’s not careful (or even an old pitcher. See Lidge, Brad).

How is it that Marco Scutaro can two-hop a “throw” to first and still get Magglio out? Ugliest damn throw I’ve seen in ages, and it’s an out. Who does that?

When Huston Street’s pitch deflected off of Carlos’ bat and smacked into his Surgically Repaired Knee, I got panicky. Must protect players! With hugs!

Knowing the whole time that the Racist Logos had come from behind and blasted up some points and won right before this game did not help my mental state while watching it.

They made it squeaky-close in the end, but that just wasn’t enough. Not enough… I feel like I’m saying that rather a lot these days, and I don’t like it.

Then, you know, stuff happened, the game went on, and on, and I’m really frazzled and tired from move-in, and I need to get up early tomorrow for FOOTBALL, and a walk-off Athletics win was just… not what I wanted to see. You know?

Anyways. Be sure to take note of Billfer’s post here about Tigers bloggers night at the ballpark. I will be there and Matt will be there, so MVN will be gloriously represented. Billfer has some extra tickets, and if you would like to join us, contact him! Sit with Tigers bloggers! Rejoice with me as I cheerfully skip class only two weeks in!

so much for double-headed tigers


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Well, that wasn’t the way to handle the double-header. When I said “go get ’em, tigers”, I meant “go get some wins”, not “go get tantalizingly close but ultimately fail. uh, twice.”

The first game was an example of the offense just not quite getting it done. Curtis Granderson continued to prove that he loves playing in front of his family and old friends by BEING most of the offense all by himself, and Pudge had a nice little home run, but, excepting those guys, most everyone else was shut down and shut up by Javier Vasquez. I mean, the dude had EIGHT strikeouts and ONE walk over 8 innings. Cat bats, where were you?

Because baseball is perverse and makes no logical sense, the second game saw a much better Tigers offense, even though a bunch of cats were benched and most of the Tiger-bat noise came from the tiger cubs: Mike Hessman (enormous blast of a homer), Ryan Rayburn (2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI), and Mike Rabelo (3-for-5 with a double).

Maybe the cubs were inspired to glorious new baseball heights by the presence of a pitching tiger cub, Virgil Vasquez. I think we all remember what happened the last time VV made a start up here, but tonight was (mercifully) not like that. The kid actually looked like a major league pitcher. He was victimized by two single-shot home runs, but that happens to the best of pitchers, you know? It was heartening to see him come back from his penguin-worthy start and show us all how he’s not afraid of the big bad bats anymore.

Virgil’s outing, combined with the big and early Tigers lead, made Game 2 seem much more win-able than Game 1 ever really had. Most unfortunately, Virgil is still a wee kitten, and Leyland wasn’t comfortable leaving him in after that second home run. I say “most unfortunately” because this was when the bullpen came in and decided that since they were in Chicago, they should do an imitation of the Wrong Sox bullpen. Macay McBride, Chad Durbin and Zach Miner all came in, and they came out of that game with the slightly stunned expression of men who had just been hit in the face, hard, by an oversized pair of smelly white socks.

Sigh.

I’d tell them to take Wednesday’s game, but they didn’t listen to me about the double-header. So much for that particular exercise in futility.

Oh, and Extra Innings saw fit to give me FSN Detroit for the night game, which was MUCH appreciated. But that meant that I didn’t get to hear Hawk et. al. when Rob Mackowiak hit that vital late-inning double by lining a ball off of Sean Casey’s glove. Did they start talking about ducksnorts and lucky bounces and chance? Or did they act like Mackowiak was the best hitter on the field all of a sudden? Because I know that they’re homers, but if that “hit” didn’t send them off into paroxysms of ducksnorttery, as they were in the throes of the night before, they’re even worse than I thought.

Virgil Vasquez learns a valuable lesson about suffering in baseball


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

So, you know what happened. Virgil Vasquez made his major league debut. Virgil Vasquez already had to suffer the indignity of making his debut in a nationally televised ESPN game, which means that everyone’s first major league impression of him will be tainted by the inane ramblings of Joe Morgan and Jon Miller.

He then had the rest of his dignity torn from his body, shredded into tiny strips, ground into the dirt, peed upon, and handed back to him on the business ends of a bunch of Twinkie bats.

But he learned something very important! Something that he can carry back with him to the minor leagues, and that he will hopefully remember for the rest of his baseball playing days.

The best way to get away with terrible baseball is to play it in a crowd.

That way, not as much of the blame lands squarely on your shoulders. I mean, look at last night. When Vasquez left the game, we were throwing our hands into the air and bemoaning our fate. Then Grilli came in and got roughed up, and we started rending our hair and clothes. Then Wilfredo came in and got roughed up, and we began vomiting up blood. Then Jose Mesa came in and laid the final crowning rotten egg of shame on the evening, and by this time we were so horrified and shocked that we were just sitting there, stunned, as our eyeballs exploded and the eyeball goo ran down our ravaged cheeks.

By that point, we barely even remembered the offenses of Virgil Vasquez! Isn’t baseball a marvelous thing? Vasquez’s performance alone would stand out horribly in our minds, but with other performances just like it, it melts into a background of woe. Like penguins! One penguin alone is a funny, portly little chap, but a whole bunch of penguins together is just a seething mass of collective penguinflesh.

All kidding aside and in all fairness, we weren’t expecting much of anything out of Vasquez here. He was just up for the one start, and he was only ever supposed to be a place-holder. But even without EXPECTATIONS, I think it’s fair to say that we all had HOPES. We didn’t exactly dare to hope that he’d mow down a major league lineup, but I personally at least was hoping for some serious inning-eating, even if it was mediocre-to-bad in quality.

As we all know, this failed to happen.

One of the reasons why Vasquez’s bad (awful) start shouldn’t be held too much against him is that, once he left the game, our HOPE remained the same: someone needed to come in and eat some catdamned innings. That’s it. The game could be a writeoff. It’s gonna happen a few times over the course of a season. The remaining innings didn’t have to pitched spectacularly. They just had to be pitched. Preferably by mostly one dude.

Vasquez lasted 2.2 innings. Grilli lasted 2.1. Ledezma lasted 1.1, and Mesa lasted 1.2.

That’s a team effort of FAIL. If just ONE of those guys could’ve gone 5 innings, we would be in much better shape right now. And don’t think Leyland wasn’t trying to coax them through it, because he was. But there’s only so long a manager can leave a guy in there when he’s getting the oxygen beaten out of his blood cells.

‘Cause now we’re heading into Boston, and our bullpen is going to be all huddled up against the back of the Green Monster, sobbing quietly. And you don’t win ballgames when your bullpen is acting like a bunch of exhausted 12 year old girls.

SPEAKING OF THE BOSTON SERIES.

As you are all aware, I am a Massachusettian by birth and thus equal parts Red Sox and Tigers fan. I spend the summers in MA. More to the point, I AM GOING TO THREE OUT OF THE FOUR GAMES OF THIS SERIES AND I AM SO EXCITED I MAY HAVE A HEART ATTACK OF GLEE ON THE SUBWAY.

I leave in about an hour for tonight’s game, I’m definitely gonna be there Wednesday, and either Tuesday or Thursday (I’ll go to one, and my brother will go to the other). So posting may be sporadic and psychotic during this series, and I will take many photos, which will be entirely uploaded and organized probably not until the end of it. Just so you know.

If you’re going to be in Fenway, well, you know what I look like, and I’ll have the neon orange hat on. Come say hi!