The Cutoff Man is a daily feature that brings you fresh Detroit Tigers content from around the internet each morning.
What is it about players who have left the team? “Out of sight, out of mind” is not a truism that rings true in the world of fandom. We like to gloat when guys fail and kick ourselves (or management) when guys do well.
But what about the guys who have done fairly well? Who would be on the team of the best former Tigers if they had to play a game right now? I propose the following All Former Tiger team.
“I love what I’m doing,” Leyland said. “I love the competition. I like the good pressure of it. I don’t like some of the stuff that goes with it. Nobody likes some of the stuff that goes with it, but you accept that. When you sit in this chair, you accept that. If you don’t, you’re crazy.”
Kelly has an opt-out clause in his contract that would allow him to leave the organization if he is not named to the Opening Day roster. But he said that he has no plans to use it. Kelly said he believes general manager Dave Dombrowski will try to find another team that wants him in the majors if he does not make the Opening Day roster for the Tigers.
And so now we have the answer to a saucy spring-camp mystery. Porcello sticks in manager Jim Leyland’s five-man rotation, while Smyly, a left-hander the Tigers ideally want to feature every fifth day, bides time as a long-relief and situational option.
On the plus side, the Tigers have their best pitchers aboard. There is no weak link in their rotation, even if Doug Fister — a touch-and-feel pitcher who generally needs extra time — has been ragged in his Florida stints.
They also can utilize Smyly as they did in last autumn’s playoffs. He can be their answer if a starter has a bad day and an early departure, or if rain (or snow) arrives once a starter has already begun a game, then must sit after a long break.
The Tigers got through a whole season — and to the World Series — without a key piece of their offense. Now, DH Victor Martinez is back and slots behind MVP Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder in the middle of the order. Perennial Cy Young Award candidate Justin Verlander leads a pitching staff that has 16-game winner Max Scherzer and a full season of 2012 acquisition Anibal Sanchez. It’s basically the same team that won a pennant — and then some.