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>>caption: K-ROD PITCHED HIMSELF
OFF THE TIGERS & ONTO THE
Gds.com ALL-STIFF TEAM<<
Continuing a tradition dating
back to our Sports Phone days of
1981, we end the MLB All-Star
break by presenting our 2017 first
half All-Stiff team.
Not surprisingly, a number of current and former Tigers dot the list:
CA.....DEREK NORRIS.....FA.....Cut by the Washington Nationals in spring
training, Norris latched on with Tampa Bay and managed 9-HR in 53 games
with the Rays but hit just .201. He committed six errors and six passed
balls and threw out only eight of 41 base-stealers. T-Bay released him
1B.....CHRIS CARTER.....FA.....Tied for the National League lead in homers
last year with 41 while with the Milwaukee Brewers, Carter found few free
agent takers during the off-season. Finally signed as a back-up by the New
York Yankees he failed miserably. After hitting .201 with 8-HR and 76-K in
184-AB for the Yanks, Carter was DFAed twice, sent to the minors once and
finally released by the Pinstripers during the AS break.
2B.....BRAD MILLER.....TB.....Miller slugged career-highs of 30-HR & 81-RBI
last year. With multiple DL stints disrupting his timing this season he has
just 3-HR & 17-RBI plus a career-low .209-BA in 45 games.
SS.....ALEDMYS DIAZ.....StL.....He had a promising rookie year in 2016 with
17-HR and an even .300-BA. However, batting a not horrible .260 with 7-HR
in 71 games this year, Diaz was abruptly farmed out to 3A Memphis by the
slumping Cardinals on June 28TH after he said he was "lost at the plate."
3B.....NICK CASTELLANOS.....DET.....He's been "My Tiger" since coming up
from Toledo in 2013 because I followed his Florida high school career, but
I'm about ready to divorce this relationship. Yes, he leads the majors with
a half dozen triples, but he also leads all hot corner defenders with 14 errors,
one less than his career-worst 15 over a full 2014 season. The Tigers insist
he's making good contact and hitting in bad luck. Maybe so, but at the AS
break his batting average is 37 points below last year's career-high .285
and he has 90 strikeouts vs his career-low 111 for the full 2016 season.
LF.....KYLE SCHWARBER.....CHC.....Last fall's post-season surprise hitting
hero for the World Series Champion Cubs, the 24-year old has regressed
badly. A below average defender at best, he recently spent two weeks in
the minors because of his .178-BA with the Cubbies. His power has
managed 13-HR in 68 games, but he's already struck-out a career-most
CF.....JaCOBY JONES.....TOLEDO.....Virtually handed the vacant Detroit
CField job out of spring training, Jones hit just .137 in two Tiger stints
with 26-K in 51-AB. He's not exactly tearing it up for Toledo either with
a .242-BA in 54 games while swinging in the top third of the Mud Hens
RF.....JORGE SOLER.....KC.....Traded to the Royals by the Cubs for closer
Wade Davis last winter, Soler has been a HUGE disappointment. He spent
almost a month in June with 3A Omaha and was only recalled because
Cheslor Cuthbert was placed on the DL. Unable to grab a starting job as
expected, his Royals stats show 2-HR, 6-RBI, a .159-BA and 33-K in 28 games.
DH.....VICTOR MARTINEZ.....DET.....He has the least homers (6), XBH (17)
and runs (26) and second fewest RBI (33) among the 13 players listed as
full-time designated hitters. With a .253-BA his bat speed is slowing and
he can't run, grounding into over-shift outs sometimes three times a game.
SP.....MASAHIRO TANAKA.....NYY.....He still strikes people out (103 in 102-IP),
but Tanaka-san has been otherwise horrid as the Yanks' #1 rotation starter.
The Japanese import is 7-8 with a 5.47-ERA and 23-HR allowed (tied for
third most in the majors). Is he near done at only age 28?
RP.....FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ.....FA.....Like too many recently before
him (Jose Valverde, Joe Nathan, Joakim Soria), K-Rod burned out before his
Tiger contract did. The active and fourth all-time saves leader with 437,
Rodriguez had a respectable 44-SV in 49 chances in 2016. This year he was
only 7-of-13 in save situations, posted a 2-5 record with a .7.82-ERA (more
than double his career-worst) and served up 9-HR in just 25.1-IP. He
publicly complained after losing his closer's role and finally was released
June 23RD. Inked to a minor league deal by the closer-desperate Washington
Nationals, K-Rod tossed limited innings for two Nats farm clubs before being
assigned to extended spring training July 12TH. OOPS, he was released
MGR.....JOHN GIBBONS.....TOR.....Expected to be a wild card contender,
the Blue Jays have under-performed in almost all areas. The fact ex-
Tiger OF Ezequiel Carrera is their second best batter at .285 kinda sez it
all. At 41-47 and five games out of a wildcard spot, unless the Jays make
a move in the next 10 days Gibbons could be fired by Toronto for a second
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