Detroit Tigers Links: Flat Coke, Austin Jackson poised for big season, and Andy Dirks


Feb 14, 2014; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher

Phil Coke

(40) throws during the Detroit Tiger

Detroit Tigers’ Brad Ausmus on Phil Coke’s shaky appearance: Don’t read into what happened – James Schmehl

"…The St. Louis Cardinals rocked Coke for three runs and six hits in just one inning of work Monday. And Ausmus’ response?“I don’t think you, or myself, should read too much into what happened,” he said. “The big picture is he’s ahead of schedule from where he was a year ago at the same time.”"

We all know that we shouldn’t sweat bad performances in Spring Training just like we know we shouldn’t shine up the MVP award for a player having a great spring (SEE BELOW, RE: AUSTIN JACKSON), but with all due respect to Brad Ausmus, he hasn’t seen Phil Coke‘s frustrating short comings the last few years. While he pitched pretty good in his first appearance in the spring, more outings like this could cost him a spot on the Major League roster come March 31.

Mike Matheny blazed a trail for Detroit Tigers’ Brad Ausmus – John Lowe, Detroit Free Press

"Two seasons ago, Mike Matheny became the manager of an elite team — the St. Louis Cardinals — even though he didn’t have any managerial or coaching experience in pro ball. To make it more interesting, Matheny succeeded a legendary manager who’d had rampant success as the franchise regained its glory.With that same total lack of managing and coaching experience, Brad Ausmus now steps in to manage the Detroit Tigers as the successor for Jim Leyland, just as Matheny succeeded Tony La Russa.Ausmus believes Matheny’s success helped him get the Tigers’ job despite his lack of experience. In their two seasons under Matheny, the Cardinals have come within a game of the World Series and then made the World Series."

Interesting item to note about Matheny’s rookie managerial season–his Cardinals were one win from returning to the World Series in 2012, but couldn’t seal the deal and the San Francisco Giants came back from a 3-1 deficit to take the NL Pennant and the World Series from our beloved Tigers.

If Ausmus did that, took the Tigers to the ALCS but failed to advance to the World Series, would fans think he had a successful rookie managerial season? I doubt it because fans are used to the team going to the ALCS, and this year is definitely World Series victory or bust scenario. That may not be fair to Brad, but it is what it is.

Detroit Tigers’ Austin Jackson Poised for Breakout Season – Nolan Silbernagel

"…Jackson [has] seven RBI’s in only five games, which ties him for first in the Majors with teammate Nick Castellanos. His five runs so far this Spring Training is also tied for the league lead with Roger Bernadina of the Cincinnati Reds and Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates. And to cap it all off, he leads the league in hits with a total of eight in only 13 at-bats."

It’s a good sign that Jackson is swinging the bat well, but let’s remember we’re barely into March. I am not sure if it’s that the pressure is off in Spring Training, he’s further down in the lineup which suits him better, a combination of the two, or just a fluke. One thing is sure, Tigers’ fans are hoping the hot streak lasts the entire season. After all, there is no MVP for Spring Training–and if there was, it would be called the Ryan Raburn Award.

Three Tigers that will produce in 2014 – and three that won’t – MCB special to the Free Press

"It’s probably premature to write off a guy so early in his career, but the Tigers bringing in Rajai Davis to platoon with Dirks in leftfield signals that they’re a little worried about the position. Dirks had a decent year in 2012 when healthy, but had a poor year at the plate in 2013. Additionally, Dirks doesn’t field his position or run very well. Perhaps the platoon could help Dirks get it in gear; however that could be wishful thinking."

I wrote this before the news came out that Andy Dirks would miss 12 weeks due to back surgery. This is not great news for the Tigers and it’s not good for Dirks’ future with the club. He is one of the more frustrating players on the Tigers in that he has shown flashes, but injuries have hampered him and inconsistency has reigned supreme.

Despite all this, the Tigers are a better team with Dirks, if nothing else but to have better depth. It will remain to be seen if a move will be made to increase that depth.