Once in a while during a slow off-season, as a writer you have to look around for some inspiration. I was doing so one day last week, when I came across a top 10 bum list from one of Fansided’s other baseball sites, Lasorda’s Lair. I thought, that is a pretty good idea, and at least could be some fun for me anyway. So a big nod to them for the idea, and please check out their list as well.
My list of Tigers bums doesn’t go back too far in history. Approximately the past 30 years or so, and while I am sure that there is going to be some dispute about the list (hint: Jason Grilli is not on it), I wanted to let you know what I was thinking before I start this list. Essentially, it’s about performance, or lack of it, coupled with the expectation that the player would perform. A player’s draft status, and/or who they were traded for played a role in deciding who was on this list. As well as what they have/had done the rest of their careers.
For a look at the 5th biggest disappointment on my list, you know what to do……..
The Tigers for a period of time when enjoying their newfound success in 2006, began a search for offense. They felt they had the pitching with a young Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, and Joel Zumaya, but needed as some offense to help out their young staff. It led them to trading for Gary Sheffield, Miguel Cabrera, and also Edgar Renteria. Tigers fans and the media were touting their 2008 offense as potentially being able to score 1000 runs. We all know that didn’t happen, and the Tigers finished last in the A.L. Central in 2008, capping off a disappointing season in so many ways.
A big part of the lack of success in 2008 was the poor season put up by Edgar Renteria, who is forever going to be remembered in a less than fond manner by Detroit Tigers fans. Why?
Simple. The Tigers gave up one of their more promising young pitchers in Jair Jurrjens to the Atlanta Braves, along with OF prospect Gorkys Hernandez, to acquire Renteria. Soon after his career in Detroit started, Renteria became to affectionately be known as Rentawreck by some in drunken Tigers fans discussions around Detroit. Jurrjens has gone on to pitch really well for the Atlanta Braves, and Renteria has gone on to continue stinking up the joint on other clubs. But it’s not like we can put this all on GM David Dombrowski. Sure, it turned out to be one of his few bad trades as Tigers GM, but Renteria was just down right awful in Detroit.
While Renteria did post a respectable batting average in Detroit in 2008 at .270. His batting average was well below his career norm at .286, and it wasn’t like he was providing anything else for the Tigers. He didn’t hit for power, and he didn’t get on base. His .699 OPS is indicative of the lack of production we all saw during the 2008 season, and of course is well below his career average of .741. In fact, Renteria just came off of one of his best seasons in 2007, in which he hit .332 for the Braves with an OPS of .860. So, there was some excitement around Tiger nation when he came over in the deal.
That excitement was short lived when we actually started watching him play. How in the heck can a guy like Renteria who has finished in the top 20 in MVP voting, been to multiple All Star games, and hit over .300 several times, just drop off like that? It wasn’t like he was old. Renteria was 31 when he played for the Tigers, which is in the prime of most people’s career. Renteria made 31 look like 81 out there on the field. It seemed like every time Renteria came to the plate he was hitting into double plays. He had 19 for the season. He did hit well with runners in scoring position at .302, however, in games defined as late and close, he hit just .190.
One of the main reasons Renteria was traded for was Dombrowski and the Tigers were looking for a guy who could handle the SS duties defensively as well. Carlos Guillen, despite his quality bat at the time was deteriorating quicker defensively than that Simpson (Ashley?) girls’ career after her Sugar Bowl performance. I still remember Jim Rome playing that horrible voice over and over to the amusement of sports fans everywhere. Anyway, Carlos who wasn’t happy about being told he wasn’t a good SS anymore, but decided he would move if the Tigers acquired a quality SS like Renteria. I guess we shouldn’t hire Guillen to scout anytime soon.
Watching Renteria’s defense wasn’t much better than watching his offense, or listening to that girl sing. It was as if someone replaced Renteria’s limbs with wood, like that character on “Family Guy” Shamus. His range looked like someone that was 30 years older, and made Tigers fans long for the days of the deteriorating Guillen to be back at shortstop. If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought that the Tigers had snuck in Deivi Cruz at SS without us looking. Renteria’s negative UZR rating defensively, along with his poor offense, helped propel his WAR all the way up to 1.3 for the 2008 season for the Tigers. The previous year? 4.4 WAR.
Tigers fans still to this day lament the loss of Jair Jurrjens for this guy. I’m not sure Jurrjens would be producing at the level he is in the National League in the American League, but I do know this. Edgar Renteria was less than amazing in a Tigers uniform, and a major disappointment to Tigers fans.
For reasons of poor performance, and the quality of player you were traded for, Edgar Renteria, you are the 5th biggest disappointment on my list.