That’s attributed to Jim Leyland – and you know what? He might be right. Things today are looking more like March than June for the Tigers. Moves occurring, more moves rumored, a team potentially in flux. And we’ve even got a reason for optimism: they came back from 4 down in the 6th yesterday to beat the Cubs 8-4 and have Justin Verlander on the mound for a chance to win consecutive series. That’s not as good as an old-fashioned streak, but it’s a heck of a lot better than our old win-one, lose-two run. The White Sox and Indians also both lost, so the win gained us a game in the standings.
So… lets list those things going on:
1. Doug Fister is coming off the DL to make a start against Colorado (in Detroit) on Saturday. Count me among those who were concerned that Fister wasn’t going to make a quick recovery. I’m still concerned that he’ll be bouncing back and forth between mound and DL, but it’s definitely good news that he’s feeling little enough pain to head back (to where he’s desperately needed).
2. Drew Smyly is going on the DL, due to that massive blood blister that shortened his last start. Not, I would have to say, a desirable outcome or bit of news for Tigers fans – though Smyly has looked a lot more hittable over the past month or so. Still – this doesn’t look like the kind of injury that threatens seasons much less careers. He’ll miss a couple of starts, and probably Casey Crosby will get a couple more than he has really earned.
3. Ryan Raburn is – for some reason – returning to Detroit (and starting today against the Cubs). Consider me confused. Raburn was down there to figure things out, and if he “figured anything out” in Toledo it wasn’t reflected in his numbers. Perhaps he was taking better swings without anything to show – I don’t know. Today is Thursday… Fister comes back Saturday – which will necessitate a roster subtraction. Is Raburn back for two games? Are they dangling him for trades? Who would want him? Is Worth getting sent down on Saturday? Is Berry?
4. The Tigers are interested in Carlos Quentin (according to MLBTR). It’s no secret that the Tigers team was built to compensate for bad D by packing a punch at the plate or that the punch they’ve shown hasn’t been quite enough. Consider righty Carlos Quentin a perfect fit for that strategy: a power bat that plays bad D at the corners – to the extent that he wound up with 0.0 WAR despite an .839 OPS last year. We’ve got 2 of those – they just haven’t been hitting the way they’re supposed to hit. At the plate Quentin would represent an upgrade over any but the rosiest predictions for Delmon Young or Brennan Boesch, and it’s possible that a deal would coincide with a Boesch option – though Boesch has looked better at the plate of late. If Quentin DHs, I’m happy. If he plays in the field, this is not enough of a step in the right direction. He’s getting paid $7 million, but is not under contract for 2013. The Padres are both impoverished and out of contention, so they may be motivated sellers.
5. And kicking the tires on Vlad Guerrero, according to John Paul Morosi. Vlad was set free recently by the Toronto Blue Jays and is currently seeking a home with no real interest in retirement. The Tigers would be unlikely to show real interest before the end of interleague play in a guy who is probably not going to do anything but DH. His skills are weaker, obviously, than they once were but he could still help a team that has struggled to hit left-handed pitching. That old “veteran presence” might do some good too for a team that needs and lacks Victor Martinez leadership and sometimes seems to be wilting under the pressure of preseason expectations.
This probably isn’t a move on the same level, but it’s worth noting that the Tigers did agree to terms (at slot) with second-round pick Jake Thompson.