Series Preview: Tigers Roundtable Discussion

For whatever reason, I’ve come to know several Tigers bloggers over the years, so rather than do a Q&A with just one of them, I’ve decided to put together a little roundtable discussion. My guests today are Bill Ferris (Detroit Tigers Weblog, Baseblogging, Lee Panas (Tiger Tales), and Brian Borawski (TigerBlog). I’ve known all three gentlemen for a long time.

Bill and I are among the very few who were blogging about baseball in 2001 that still are today, while Lee and I go back to the old AOL STATS message boards from the late-’90s, if anyone remembers those. Brian, of course, is a colleague of mine at the Hardball Times.

I’ve always had a certain fondness for the Tigers. Maybe it’s because the first big-league game I attended outside of California was at old Tiger Stadium in 1984, or maybe it’s because Alan Trammell was one of the keys to my first ever fantasy baseball team (fourth place, 10% of the pool) that season. Either way, it’s time for me to shut my trap and let Bill, Lee, and Brian talk about their team…

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Ducksnorts: The Tigers, like the Padres, won nearly 90 games last year and entered 2008 with high expectations. Both teams have struggled so far this year. What has gone wrong for the Tigers, and is there still time to right the proverbial ship?

Ferris: In the case of the Tigers it is a case of under-performance. There have been some injuries, like [Curtis] Granderson missing a few weeks, and [Gary] Sheffield playing injured, and [Jeremy] Bonderman and [Dontrelle] Willis missing from the rotation. But the bigger issue is guys like a healthy Granderson and [Miguel] Cabrera not hitting like you’d expect/hope. The starting pitching was horrific the first 6-7 weeks and the offense has been wildly inconsistent, with the ability to drop double-digit runs on a team, but also likely to be held under 2 runs.

Panas: Just about everything was wrong with the Tigers the first couple of months. Justin Verlander, Kenny Rogers and Nate Robertson were awful in April. Dontrelle Willis was hurt and couldn’t get the ball over the plate when healthy. Their corner infield defense was so bad that they had to switch Miguel Cabrera and Carlos Guillen after two weeks. The highly touted “1,000 run” offense was shut out nine times and most of the lineup was scuffling. Miguel Cabrera took the brunt of the criticism from fans but Gary Sheffield, Edgar Renteria, Placido Polanco and Pudge Rodriguez were all slumping along with him, and Jacque Jones was a disaster. Curtis Granderson missed the first few weeks with a broken finger and still hasn’t found his stroke.

Not only were they not pitching and hitting but they were making inexcusable baserunning and fielding blunders, and looked totally listless. They were the most disappointing team in my 41 years as a fan and it was getting really tough to watch. Then, when it was announced that Jeremy Bonderman would probably miss the rest of the season due to circulation problems in his shoulder, many Tigers fans gave up on the season and started talking about deadline deals that would help them get younger.

Lately, though, there has been a turnaround and renewed optimism for the season. They have won 10 of their last 12, including a sweep of the first place White Sox, and have cut an 11-game deficit down to six. Their starting pithing has actually been pretty good for a month now and their offense has become much more consistent — they haven’t been shut out this month. I’m cautiously optimistic for the rest of the season. They have left themselves little margin for error and their pitching is a little thin (although the activation of Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya this week should help). Much of the hope comes from the facts that they play in a weak division this year and that their upcoming schedule looks relatively easy. There is hope, though, and that’s not something Tigers fans had much of two weeks ago.

Borawski: The Tigers are finally playing well and they’ve won seven of their last nine games. They even had a good showing against the first place White Sox not too long ago and while you can hardly say they’re back in it, they’ve at least stopped the bleeding. The Tigers’ biggest problem seems to be simple timing. Their expected win/loss has them right at .500 (they’ve scored two fewer runs then they’ve given up) but they’re 2-34 when they scored four runs or fewer, so while their pitching has improved, their hurlers haven’t been there to bail out the team when the hitters falter. When they win, they win big. When they lose, everything goes wrong.

Ducksnorts: Two off-season acquisitions, Miguel Cabrera and Edgar Renteria, were expected to help improve an already-potent offense, but both have hit below their career norms. What’s going on with them?

Ferris: Cabrera was playing with a bad leg early in the season, plus I think he was carrying around some pretty lofty expectations. Renteria has been much like the offense in general. He has a handful of 4-5 RBI games but then can’t hit anything for a week.

Panas: A little while ago I analyzed Cabrera’s season through the plate discipline and batted ball data at Fan Graphs. I learned that Cabrera is not taking a different approach this year. The pitches per plate appearance are the same. He is not swinging at bad pitches or looking at good pitches any more than he has in the past. He is even making contact at the same rate. What has happened is he not hitting as many line drives. In the past couple of weeks he has been hitting the ball harder, though, and is slowly coming out of his slump. I think it has mostly been a matter of learning a new league. I’m not worried about him. He should be an elite hitter again soon enough.

Renteria’s problems may also be related to a switch in leagues. He didn’t do well the last time he was in the American League with the Red Sox either. Some of it could be age, too, as he looks heavier and seems to have slowed down some.

Borawski: With Renteria, he has an odd track record the previous four seasons. He had two bad seasons at the plate in 2004 and 2005, and he followed that up with an average season in 2006. Then he had a career year in 2007. If you take out Renteria’s two really good years in 2003 and 2007, his career batting average drops from .291 to .283, which is a lot closer to his current .269 batting average. And even with an 84 OPS+, Renteria isn’t even having the worst season of his career at the plate, although it’s definitely close. Of his 13 seasons, this would be his seventh season under a 90 OPS+ so it’s hardly an anomaly.

With Cabrera, it makes a little less sense. Cabrera has been very consistent against both righties (.904) and lefties (.978) over his career, and for whatever reason, he seems to be struggling against left-handed pitching. Despite a .333 batting average on balls in play, he has just a .729 OPS against lefties and he has just one home run. He also seems to be a lot less patient with a left-hander on the mound (is he forcing because he’s struggling) and he’s drawn just four walks in 59 plate appearances.

Ducksnorts: Speaking of off-season acquisitions, Dontrelle Willis is 26 years old, but his numbers this year have been dreadful. What does he need to do to turn his season/career around, or is he beyond hope?

Ferris: A reader of mine sat next to some scouts for Willis’s start against the A’s and said that the scouts thought Willis looked okay when he was letting it go. That the arm is still live is encouraging. The Tigers think it’s mechanical. I think it’s mental. I also think he’ll be back this year.

Panas: Willis couldn’t get the ball over the plate in spring training or in his first start of the season. Then he hurt his knee in the second game of the season. He’s healthy now but still can’t get the ball over. His final start before his demotion to Lakeland was almost Ankielesque. He is signed through 2010 for a lot of money so you can be sure he’ll get every opportunity to figure things out. I haven’t given up hope but I’m not counting on him turning things around.

Borawski: My guess is, Willis needs to spend at least a month in the minors, where he can just aim for the strike zone and get back his location. He’ll be throwing down in High-A Lakeland, so he’ll also be throwing in a warmer weather state like he’s used to. While I’m not giving up hope yet, if he’s in his fifth or sixth minor league start and his ERA is in the four to five range, it might be a stretch that we’ll see him in a Tigers uniform the rest of the year.

Ducksnorts: Justin Verlander has gotten Cy Young consideration in each of his first two full big-league seasons, but his numbers are off through the first 2 1/2 months of 2008. From an outsider’s perspective, one thing that baffles me about his game is the low strikeout rate. Is his velocity down this year, or is something else going on here?

Ferris: The velocity was down earlier in the year. This appeared to be in part due to mechanics, and in part due to preparation. The Tigers tried to go easy on the starters during the spring so that they wouldn’t tire later in the year. That seemed to backfire across the board, but the rotation has gotten itself righted since about mid-May.

Panas: Verlander’s velocity was down quite a bit at the beginning of the season but he has regained most of it the last few weeks. There are lots of theories as to what happened but there is no evidence of an injury and I think the drop in velocity was largely by design. He has slumped the last couple of summers and I believe he is pacing himself so he won’t tire in August. I don’t know if pitching lousy in April to prepare for August is a great idea but he has been better over the past month. His strikeouts are down but they were down in his rookie year, too. I’m not too concerned. He’s still young and learning how to pitch.

Borawski: If you count Verlander’s innings in the 2006 playoffs, he logged in with 200+ innings the past two seasons. There has to be some wear and tear on that arm, and his velocity is down a touch. He does seem to be throwing better, though. In six of his last seven starts, he’s given up three runs or less, and in three of those, he’s struck out at least seven.

Ducksnorts: One pleasant surprise has been right-hander Armando Galarraga. Where did the Tigers find this guy, and can he sustain his early success?

Ferris: Galarraga was acquired in the off-season for a low level minor leaguer by the name of Mike Hernandez. He has a ridiculously low BABIP, which makes me think sustaining his performance will be tough. But for the time being he’s entered the ROY discussion.

Panas: The Tigers acquired The Big Cat from the Texas organization for nondescript outfield prospect Michael Hernandez. Since Hernandez may never even reach the majors, I think they’ve already won this trade. Galarraga has been good but also lucky with a .212 BABIP. That combined with his relatively high walk rate tells me he likely won’t sustain all of his early season success. I think he’ll end up as a fifth starter or swing man.

Borawski: If it were start five or six, I’d be hesitant but he just had his eleventh start and he’s still going strong. One thing to be concerned about is he has just a .212 batting average against on balls in play so there’s been a little bit of luck there. If that turns, you could see a slide, but he’s been able to completely shut down right-handed hitting (.127/.236/.222).

Galarraga has been all over the place. He went from the Nationals to the Rangers when Texas traded Alfonso Soriano. The Tigers then traded minor leaguer Michael Hernandez (who’s hurt and has only played in 16 minor league games at the A level as a 24year old).

Ducksnorts: I have a soft spot for players I’ve seen in the minors. Former Padres farmhand, knuckleballer Eddie Bonine, recently made his big-league debut for Detroit. How did Bonine look, and does he fit into the Tigers future plans or is he strictly a stopgap solution?

Ferris: Bonine threw strikes, which for a team that leads the league in walks allowed was nice. He got knocked around a little, but he had a few tough luck doubles in his last start. I don’t know that he’ll be a fixture in the rotation, but do think he could do okay as a swing man/sixth starter type.

Panas: Bonine is probably just a stopgap solution but he does have excellent control which is something that the Tigers have lacked this year. I would guess that he’ll end up as a middle reliever. His repertoire includes a knuckleball, which is always intriguing.

Borawski: Bonine got some run support to pick up the win in a rough start in his debut, and I thought Chris Lambert would have made a better option. He’ll get his second chance in the opener against the Padres so hopefully he’ll improve. Bonine is one of those pitch-to-contact guys that worries me at the major league level, though.

Ducksnorts: Finally, Johnny Grubb or Ruppert Jones?

Ferris: Gotta go Ruppert for the roof shots at Tiger Stadium.

Panas: I’ll go with Grubb because I like his name and he was with the team longer. I’ll never forget Johnny Grubb.

Borawski: Ruppert Jones. Gotta love the Lumber Trance.

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There you have it: Two Rupperts beats one Grubb. Thanks again to Bill, Lee, and Brian for joining us today. Best of luck to the Tigers, with the obligatory “once they leave San Diego” thrown in at the end. Here’s to a most excellent series…

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70 Responses »

  1. Does anyone know our career Interleague record? We seem to get just absolutely stomped in Interleague play. Horrible time for us to play the AL.

    And yeah, our road record is fairly miserable this year.

  2. CBS thinks we’re trading Kouz:

    How close is Huffman ready to being called up?

  3. Baseball Prospectus mid-season stock reports on the Padres Top 100 Prospects (eligible next year means if they think they’ll still be on the list next season, i.e. they don’t get called up this season):

    23. Chase Headley, 3B, Padres
    Eligible Next Year? Unlikely
    Production: .305/.383/.556 at Triple-A (65 G); .375/.375/.750 at MLB (2 G)
    Stock Report: Unchanged. He slugged .642 in the final six weeks at Triple-A before finally getting long-deserved promotion to help the sagging Padre offense.

    39. Matt Antonelli, 2B, Padres
    Eligible Next Year? Yes
    Production: .191/.316/.282
    Stock Report: Way down. Nobody has a good explanation for his plummeting production, but it’s so bad that any mitigating factors can’t prevent a serious stock drop. If there’s any room for optimism, he has ten hits in his last six games.

    61. Matt Latos, RHP, Padres
    Eligible Next Year? Yes
    Production: 3.28 ERA at Low-A (24.2-24-8-23)
    Stock Report: Down somewhat. Latos hasn’t pitched much due to some minor yet nagging injuries, and his stuff has not been near the level it was in his pro debut.

  4. I didn’t see yesterday’s game … but I do know that Adrian was thrown out at the plate 2 times … any other base runners put out on the bases?

    I link from the sidebar led me to this …

    Padres aggressive on basepaths
    Emphasis in Spring Training carrying over to regular season

    … in general, this is a concept you’ve gotta like … but it doesn’t seem like it’s gotten good results yet this season. Would the Padres have a few more Ws (and have played a few fewer innings) with a less aggressive policy? Perhaps …

  5. What does everyone think should be our priority this off-season? In my mind, we have got to get a catcher that can hit and throw. I know that the SBs are largely a function of our team as a whole, but man has our catching been miserable.

    On straight OPS, we have the worst offensive catchers in the league. Our catchers, as a team, are hitting .182/.264/.250. The next worst catchers in the league, Houston, are hitting .194/.270/.304

  6. #6@Phantom: Below the Ausmus line? That’s bad.

    I had to laugh (well, mostly cringe) listening to Philly Billy on the way home yesterday. He was going on and on about strikeouts. Well, yeah, they strike out too much but it’s about the runs, Billy. Complain about that.

  7. #7@Stephen: The .250 SLG is particularly harrowing.

    Is Hundley a legit MLB backstop? Do we have anything in the system that could give us even a modicum of hope (Canham is likely not to be seen until 2010 at the earliest).

  8. #6@Phantom: Man, you are getting a major headstart. :-)

    I’d like to see how Bard does when/if he comes back. If he can return to his offensive production of the past two season, I don’t think there’s any need to make catcher a priority. The throwing doesn’t bother me, especially when Peavy, CY and Maddux are your top three pitchers.

    CF still strikes me as the priority. I don’t think Gerut is a legit answer, even platooned with Hairston. We also have some SP spots to fill, I believe. Aren’t Wolf and Maddux gone? Then there’s always the 5th starter spot to fill.

  9. #8@Phantom: Hundley doesn’t look like the guy you might want based on his offensive numbers so far, but I don’t know anything about his D. Maybe Rain Delay or LM can chime in.

  10. Hundley is legit…as a back-up. He strikes out more than you would like and doesn’t hit for a high average (sound familiar?)… I think we need to trade for/sign another backstop this year. I think Bard is bit over-exposed as a starter (he excelled behind Piazza).

  11. #7@Stephen: I don’t know Philly Billy … but he doesn’t seem to get much respect here (nor on other sites whose commenters I also respect) … but in this case, it seems like he could be interpretted to be trying to explain a root cause contributor to the problem of runs. I think it’s clear to all, even the Philly Billy’s of the world, that runs are problem … the key is to search for the cause. The Padre-mantra is OBP and SLG … which makes sense to me. In other words, you can strike out a bit more than you’d like as long as you make up for it in other ways which net result in good OBP and/or SLG. It’s not as simple as that, of course, and no one (hopefully not even Philly Billy) thinks it’s as simple as “don’t strike out” … the cost of KG’s defense is swallowing his low OBP … the price of Adrian’s high SLG is his lack of speed on the bases …

  12. Hundley was described as one of the two best defensive cathers in the draft when we took him.

  13. BA lists Jose Lobaton as our best defensive catching prospect. But he doesn’t look like he gets much playing time with Colt Morton also in San Antonio. And he definitely doesn’t look like an offensive prospect, so he seems like he would be pretty similar to Luke Carlin.

  14. #10@Pat: I haven’t seen Hundley play very much … only managed to get to 1 Beaver game this year … Rain Delay is the guy that goes to a lot of Beaver games (and he pays attention also, as he’s scoring the games he goes to for some stat service). I’ll shoot him an email to tickle him on this request …

    Hundley has not met my expectations since he was drafted, but they were pretty high … Canham is exceeding my expectations, but they were pretty low (based on seeing him many times at Oregon State and comparing him to Jeff Clement, for example) …

    I think C is an overall weakness in the Padre organization … certainly in absolute terms … not sure about relative terms (ie. perhaps many other MLB orgs are overall weak at C) …

  15. The Josh Bard of last year was miles better than any possible acquisition at catcher. Catchers in general suck at hitting, and the ones that don’t like Brian McCann or Russell Martin are never going to be available for us. The best option will almost definitely be to hope Bard rebounds back to his hitting level of last year, which was excellent for a catcher.

    The only trade targets I can even think of would be some of the blocked prospects for Texas. They have Saltalamacchia, who’s been solid in the majors and at AAA this year, Max Ramirez, who is tearing up AA, and Taylor Teagarden, who’s been ok split between AA and AAA. I think two of them are question marks to stick at catcher, and one of them is supposed to be very good defensively, but I don’t remember which is which. Texas doesn’t seem like a great fit for a trade, though, and it’s not like we have all that much to offer.

  16. #12@LynchMob:

    Do you ever hear PB criticize the team’s poor OBP? He comes off as so simplistic. But maybe that’s just talk radio.

  17. I don’t know if Bard had lingering issues this year, but he was awful before he got hurt. In 130 ABs, Bard was batting .200/.278/.262 with an OPS+ of 50. What particularly concerns me is the low OBP. His OBP the prior two years as a Padre were .406 and .364.

    I actually think Gerut is a fairly credible CF solution. He Ks a bit more than I’d like, but I think he’d be a good 5 hitter if we can find a good guy for the leadoff spot.

  18. #11@Peter Friberg: I agree that Hundley projects as a legitimate back-up in the majors. I hear he’s solid defensively and he has some power (30 HR’s over the last season and a half). However, he would be a huge upgrade right now over what they’ve been throwing out there. If they promoted him now and let him start 4-5 days per week, I think he’d hit .220 with 8-12 HR’s by season’s end. Not great but much better than what we’re getting.

    I can’t believe how bad of a player Michael Barrett has become since the Padres acquired him. No power or average, and his defense stinks.

  19. #20@JMAR: at this point I would like to see Carlin every day over Barrett…

  20. #6@Phantom: I’m up in the air with the catcher spot. . .I’d like to see Bard back there full time, but he was SO bad this year before he got hurt. CF is probably a priority, I like Gerut but I think he probably fits better as a 4th OF who can play right, left or center. Honestly, one of my biggest concerns would be getting some depth at SS in AAA (or someone who was major league ready, if we were to trade Khalil).

  21. #19@Phantom: I believe Bard had a cortisone shot in his wrist a few days before Pujols put him out of commission. If I remember correctly, I read that he had offseason wrist surgery and it might’ve been bothering him this season. I did a story on my site titled “SO THAT’S WHY BARD HAS BEEN SO BAD” or something like that. I’m guessing pain in his wrist had to be the reason he was playing so bad this season. He was one of the best hitters on the team down the stretch last season.

  22. found this to be interesting from CBS Sportsline –

    The Padres don’t believe Headley, who has worked hard in left field this spring and early summer, can adequately cover the large outfield in Petco Park, a source with knowledge of the Padres’ thinking says. He couldn’t be much worse than Paul McAnulty, whose latest failures helped cost Jake Peavy in Yankee Stadium on Wednesday.

  23. #20@JMAR: Yeah, what the heck happened to Barrett? Just three years ago he was the starting catcher for Team USA at the World Baseball Classic, now he’s nearly useless and the fans want a no-hit rookie to start ahead of him. That’s quite a fall.

  24. #18@Stephen: I’m not in San Diego, so I never hear Philly Billy say anything … which sounds like that’s OK … but I would support your suggestion that what’s he’s doing seems likely based on maximizing his abilities and generating high ratings to his radio show … too bad talking about OBP isn’t something that fits that description … my guess is that SA (et al) are doing what they can while on the air with him to change/improve that … but perhaps listening / learning are not his strengths either …

  25. #25@Schlom: I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about the same thing. Barrett looks so bad at the plate that you have to wonder if something happened to him physically or mentally. If this continues, what should the Padres do ? Should they release him or send him down to the minors ?

  26. #10@Pat: IMO his defense is major league ready. He’s second in the PCL when it comes to throwing out potential base stealer’s but his Bat is not ready.

    As I think its been mentioned, he strikes out more than you’d like. But in the last few weeks he’s raised his average 40 points, drove in the winning run the other night in the extra innings game.

    He just needs to improve at the plate, and IMO could be an everyday guy in the Majors.

  27. I’ve already sent an email to the folks at BP who let this gross disparagement slip thru their editing process … STAT OF THE DAY

    Bottom 5 2008 NL Third Basemen, by VORP

    Player, Team, EqA, VORP

    Bill Hall, MIL, .230, -5.7
    Geoff Blum, HOU, .210, -4.6
    Nomar Garciaparra, LAN, .233, -0.6
    Kory Casto, WAS, .267, 0.2
    Chase Headley, SDN, .376, 1.4

    He’s been up from the minors for all of 3 days … has a .376 EqA … and, bang, he shows up on the list of Bottom 5 2008 NL Third Basemen? … Seems kinda harsh and distorted … donchathink?

    Go get ‘em chase … keep rackin’ up a 1/2 a VORP per day, big fella!

  28. #26@LynchMob:

    Let’s just say he (and another personality or two on that station) would be frothing at the mouth if KT traded for Willie Taveras and Michael Bourn. WT’s .305 OBP wouldn’t even matter to him (should he notice), but all of that athleticism and speed would. (I’m not knocking WT’s defensive play, BTW.)

  29. #26@LynchMob: Definitely competing priorities. Any radio host’s primary job is to draw and retain listeners, the same way that a Padre execs job, when speaking in public, is to make more Padre fans and inspire existing fans to deepen their commitment.

    #29@LynchMob: Distorted, but I love that chart. In only 3 games Chase has outproduced Patented World Series Clutch Hero Geoff Blum for the year.

  30. #17@Ben B.: Absolutely agree on Bard. I hope he can bounce back, because he can be a really productive catcher for not much money.

    Teagarden is the TEX catcher with the great defense. You’re right about the price; it doesn’t seem like our expendable pieces get any of the three. They’ve been rumored to be considering a move with Laird, but Laird looks like a pretty generic catcher, not really a trade target.

  31. So with the rumor of trading Kouz, what should we target in return? A solid reliever? Could we do something like a Kouz and a Geer/Ramos for Saltalamachia?

    Texas actually seems like they’d be a viable trading partner given their current situation. However, Jon Daniels has probably had KT’s number permanently blocked.

  32. I would say that Bard is a hair better than Laird offensively and maybe even defensively and they are the same age but to say that Bard can be a “very productive” catcher while then classifying Laird as “generic” seems to be a stretch based on past results.

    Laird and Bard wouldn’t be a bad platoon combo but I would rather see Hundley get a look first. Laird really thinks he should be playing everyday but like Bard, he is probably not an everyday catcher.

  33. #33@Phantom: No way the Rangers are trading “Salty” –the Rangers are looking to the future and will not trade youth prospects unless the return is incredibly high. They are fine with Vazquez at third base for now and are waiting for Blalock who is due back in 10 days. They have no interest in Kouzmanoff.

  34. #35@JP: I thought that they were gonna transfer Blalock to first?

    I’m admittedly unfamiliar with the Rangers system, I just noticed that they apparently had a hole at third.

  35. #34@JP: Bard has a 97 OPS+ for his career. Laird = 80. That’s a pretty big gap. They’ve both had good and bad seasons, but Shakespeare has much stronger peripherals.

    Laird’s not necessarily a bad player to have, but there doesn’t seem to be much reason to go get him.

    #33@Phantom: Probably just look for the best player you can get back regardless of position. Geez, Texas can hit. Their only starter with an OPS+ under 100 is their first baseman. Salty seems way high for Kouz. But who wants a 3b right now? Wouldn’t seem to be much interest in him.

  36. #37@Tom Waits: True, and the team is not going to just trade him for a bag o’ baseballs. If they do trade him, it would probably be for a reliever, I would think. The Guevera/Hampson/Adams combo isn’t getting it done lately.

  37. DePo with a new blog entry …

    Over the past seven games Matt Antonelli, Nick Hundley, and Will Venable have been raking. Here is how it breaks out:

    Antonelli: .407 avg, .484 obp, .481 slg
    Hundley: .345 avg, .387 obp, .483 slg
    Venable: .375 avg, .423 obp, .625 slg

    Small sample size? Absolutely. Nonetheless, it’s encouraging to see all of these guys playing well at this point in the year.

  38. #37@Tom Waits: I agree there is no reason to get Laird.

    Arlington is obviously a joke of a hitters park. It’s also ridicuously hot here, which wears down a pitching staff…it’s tough being a SoCalif. guy in this oven.

  39. #29@LynchMob: Ha…ha…nice catch there, LM. I wonder if they’d acknowledge it. Let us know. We got a superstar on our hands if Headley keep that VORP rate/day.

    re: Barrett. I’m done with him too. At this point, he should be the backup to Carlin. He looks totally lost at the plate, and his fielding was never his big point.

  40. As far as the Rangers are concerned, the better question is could we get David Murphy to San Diego. The Rangers are loaded with prospects in the outfield.

  41. 40: So, the Rangers should come up with a humidor for their pitchers. ;)

  42. #36@Phantom: Based on the topics coming up on the blog today, I was also thinking of a Kouz trade to Texas for one of their catchers. The guy I would target would be Max Ramirez (.362-16-47 at AA), although I think they might regard him as their catcher of the future and Saltamacchia as a DH/1B type. Maybe with the emergence of 1B Chris Davis (#1 on BA’s Prospect Hot Sheet), Saltamacchia or Ramirez becomes expendable.

    I believe Blalock is moving to 1B, which would make Kouz valuable to them but I’m pretty sure their plan is to move Michael Young to 3B once their top SS prospect, Elvis Andrus, is ready. And he’s supposed to be pretty close.

    Kouz would be a monster playing in Texas, though.

  43. 42: The Padres already traded Adam Eaton to the Rangers, though. I’d think the Rangers would want some pitching but based on the talent they gave away the last 2 season in pitching, I don’t know what they want.

  44. 44: What would it take to get Elvis Andrus, instead. Why trade Kouz for a catcher in AA? I’d see how Hundley is going to do before that trade.

  45. The Rangers have said recently that Salty is done playing first base for them.

  46. #40@JP: It’s weird, but Arlington has regressed back to being more neutral the last two years. It was strongly pro-hitter before that, so you’d suspect there’s something going on in 07 and 08 to drive that down. The park didn’t get any bigger. Maybe a lot of pitchers had really good days in Texas the last year and a half.

    #44@JMAR: Ramirez should definitely be a target, but we’d need a bigger gun than Kouz. Hmight fit there playing 1b anyway. But I don’t think they’d trade a big piece for him.

  47. #40@JP: It’s weird, but Arlington has regressed back to being more neutral the last two years. It was strongly pro-hitter before that, so you’d suspect there’s something going on in 07 and 08 to drive that down. The park didn’t get any bigger. Maybe a lot of pitchers had really good days in Texas the last year and a half.

    #44@JMAR: Ramirez should definitely be a target, but we’d need a bigger gun than Kouz. He might fit there playing 1b anyway. But I don’t think they’d trade a big piece for him.

  48. #44@JMAR: #46@Didi:

    Andrus has had a horrible year so far. I have not looked at his numbers in about a weeks but I think he is having a worse year than Antonelli. With that said Andrus is like 20 so it’s not as though he can’t still be a superstar prospect.

    While we are on the topic of pipedreams (Salty and Andrus) I would like to talk to Tampa Bay about Reid Bignac. If we could somehow manage to talk them into giving us value for Khalil (who I think might be really good there) I would do back flips for Brignac.