The Sports Pages: Pauley Struggles Again, Minor League Notes, and Avila as MVP


“I always turn to the sports pages first, which records man’s accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man’s failures.” – Earl Warren

The Detroit Tigers saw a half game shaved off their division lead, which stands at six games over the now second-place White Sox, after Detroit’s 11-4 loss at the hands of the Minnesota Twins yesterday.  While Brad Penny wasn’t great, the score became lopsided once David Pauley brought his gas can to the mound.

Pauley did nothing to extricate himself from Jim Leyland’s doghouse and the little-used reliever figures to see less action going forward if his manager can’t trust him to slam the door on the opposing bats. Yesterday, Pauley allowed an inherited runner to score, then fanned the flame by allowing four more Twins to cross in the next inning.

Pauley was supposed to be an important piece of the trade that brought Doug Fister to Detroit, but instead this deal is looking like just another failed trade for a middle reliever. Still, if the trade winds up being Fister as the only usable part for four young pieces, it’s not ideal, but it’s not a disaster.

Speaking of the Fister deal, it is one of a handful of trades the Tigers have made this year to fill holes on the major league roster. In adding pieces like Fister, Delmon Young, and Wilson Betemit, the Tigers have dipped into their shallow pool of minor league talent. For a franchise that has ranked near the bottom of the league in terms of prospect rankings, dealing away so many young players can only serve to decimate an already barren system.

I asked Nathaniel Stoltz and Wally Fish of Seedlings to Stars about the deals and what the losses of guys like Charlie Furbush, Francisco Martinez, and Lester Oliveros (to name a few) means for the Tigers farm system going forward. Their answers may surprise you.

While we are spending some time down on the farm, Paul Swaney and his staff at Stadium Journey has now visited (and reviewd) the home stadiums of each of the top four affiliates of the Tigers. They recently wrote up their thoughts on Jerry Uht Park, home of the Double-A Erie SeaWolves.

The debate about whether or not a pitcher can (or should) win the MVP award wages forward after Justin Verlander collected his 20th win of the season on Saturday, become to fastest Tiger to reach the milestone since Mickey Lolich in 1971. Most will tell you that a position player should win the award based on all they bring to the table on a daily basis.

While the hitters at the “power positions” tend to get the most press, it’s the everyday catchers that are truly involved in the most plays each year. No one in baseball fits the term “everyday catcher” better than Detroit’s own Alex Avila who has spent most of the season as the Tigers only true, viable option behind the plate. Coupling his durability with his outstanding offensive numbers should generate more MVP discussion than it has around the league, but so far the national press has been mum on the Avila-for-MVP chatter. That’s okay, Rogo at DesigNate Robertson makes the case for Al’s boy as the Tigers’ MVP in a way only he can.

While Avila continues his rise to national prominence, the end of the line appears to be quickly approaching for former MVP runner-up Magglio Ordonez. When the Tigers pulled the trigger on the Delmon Young deal, Maggs’ days as an everyday player were over. It all likelihood, we are witnessing the final five weeks of Magglio’s illustrious career as a major leaguer, and almost certainly his final chapter as a Tiger. With a changing of the guard in mind, Mickey Brignall of the Detroit Baseball Page takes a look into the future to determine who may be manning the corner outfield spots for Detroit in the coming years.

That’s all I got this week, kiddies. Enjoy the links.

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