Bless You Boys today. Kurt is polling his readers and askin..."/> Bless You Boys today. Kurt is polling his readers and askin..."/> Bless You Boys today. Kurt is polling his readers and askin..."/>

Perspective, Patience Needed with Tigers Rookies


There is an interesting discussion taking place over at Bless You Boys today. Kurt is polling his readers and asking who should be the odd man out once Carlos Guillen returns from the disabled list.

To be fair, this discussion is happening roughly a week early, as Guillen will not be activated this weekend when eligible. The Tigers want him to complete a rehab assignment first. If nothing else, it gives the team a few extra days to evaluate the candidates for dismissal, and maybe a gets Brennan Boesch a few more games in the show, where the Tigers can attempt to ride his hot bat.

The obvious choice to be sent off of the active roster is Boesch. The Tigers are set at all three OF spots plus DH. There are no at bats available for a young player who needs consistent AB’s at this point in his progression. It’s better to send him down so he can play everyday in Toledo.

After all, who among us thinks Guillen won’t be back on the shelf soon enough? Boesch will get another shot when that happens.

The BYB discussion sort of morphed into a debate on the relative merits of keeping Ryan Raburn or Don Kelly, though I think at this point both players are safe. Sure, neither guy has hit very well, but they aren’t ever playing on consecutive days either. It’s hard to get into a rhythm that way.

There was one commenter who brought up another name, and it’s one I find intriguing; Scott Sizemore.

Now, I don’t think Sizemore is in any danger of being sent down right away. It’s not as if Guillen can play the infield anymore, at least not in Jim Leyland’s mind. Moving Sizemore out also would not get Boesch any additional big league at bats. Sizemore is certainly staying put in this particular transaction. The question becomes, how long do the Tigers wait on a player to turn it around?

If they wanted to, they could option Sizemore and use some combination of Raburn and Santiago, maybe even Kelly at second base. They would likely call up Brent Dlugach to take the roster spot, so throw him into that mix as well. Collectively, the Tigers wouldn’t be hurt at all defensively by doing this and Sizemore might find a bit of confidence with a short trip to Toledo.

I just wonder if they would make that move.

I know people are going to point to Dustin Pedroia, who had a terrible start to his big league career with Boston a few years ago, much worse than the way Sizemore has played so far. The Sox stuck with Pedroia and he wound up as the Rookie of the Year and became an MVP two seasons later. Sizemore probably won’t follow a similar path, but the Tigers thought he was ready when they allowed Placido Polanco to walk, I doubt they have changed their minds already.

It would be one thing if he was just helpless out there, but he hasn’t been. Sure, he’s not hitting the way anyone expected him to, and his defense has been as shaky as advertised, but the Tigers knew they would endure some growing pains when they decided to start two (and sometimes three) rookies.

For better or worse, I think the Tigers have locked themselves into this decision for at least the first half of the year. Unless Sizemore just completely falls apart, that is.

I think it’s easy to be seduced by the success that Austin Jackson has had and expect Sizemore to has the same smooth transition to the big leagues. The thing is, Jackson is the exception, not the rule.

Sizemore is struggling, but that should have been expected. He has shown throughout his minor league career that he is a good hitter. It might take some time for him to adjust to the major leagues, but he will adjust, at least that’s what the Tigers are banking on right now.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the season, it’s easy to get so close that you can no longer see the big picture. I think during the offseason that most of us had mentally prepared ourselves for the idea that this year’s club might not be as succesful as last year’s, but that they were doing the right thing in transitioning to a younger club. We knew the pot holes that come with such a transition, we understood patience would be neccesary.

Then the season began and the Twins are threatening to run away and hide in the Central. The competition gets the better of our patience. We can’t afford to wait if this team is going to play in October. Moves must be made to win now.

For the Tigers front office, the ideas they had during the winter have not changed, nor should they.

The proper thing to do is to ride out the struggles of Sizemore, and when they happen, and they will, ride out the struggles of Jackson as well. If both guys have good seasons, the Tigers have enough talent to be in the race all year.

If they don’t, it may be that this Tigers team is not good enough to win the division, but the experience these two youngsters will get this year will go a long, long way towards next year, and years to come.