Archive for August 4th, 2006

Friday: 08.4.2006

Andrew Miller Signed

First round pick, Andrew Miller, has been signed to a four-year deal with the Detroit Tigers. Miller, a star at North Carolina, had 13-2 record with a 2.48 earned run average in his final collegiate season. He won the Roger Clemens Award given to the NCAA’s best pitcher and set a school-best mark in strikeouts with 325 in his career.

Though the terms haven’t been announced, Jon Paul Morosi of the Free Press cites a source: “The Tigers did not announce terms; however, one source with knowledge of the negotiations said it included a $3.55 million signing bonus with a guaranteed value near $5.5 million. Incentives could bring the total value above $7 million.” He will be placed on the 40-man roster making him eligible for a September call-up. I don’t know if there is a precedent for a college pick getting much action in the thick of a pennant race in the year he was drafted, but we’ll see as he will almost certainly be part of the team in September.

Friday: 08.4.2006

Alas, An Update!

Welcome to the team Sean Casey. After being brought in from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday, he did something he hadn’t done since May 31st. His fifth inning home run was his first in 169 at-bats, it was also his fourth of the season. Casey’s arrival signaled the departure of Chris Shelton to AAA Toledo. When thinking back to the April he had, it is tough to figure that Shelton was a candidate for demotion, but a quick check of his painfully bad numbers justifies the move. After a 1.186 April OPS, he has posted months of .703, .642 and .730. None of those even top his April slugging percentage let alone touch the OPS figure. I pegged Dan Johnson and Shelton to have similar seasons, but I didn’t mean they would both be demoted to AAA.

This year, it seems that when the Tigers bring someone in either from their farm or via trade, they immediately perform. Rookie hurler Justin Verlander notched his 14th win on Tuesday evening powered by Casey’s bomb and rookie Brent Clevlen‘s two home runs. Another rookie, Zach Miner, has filled in brilliantly for Mike Maroth (who is scheduled to make his first rehab start on August 9th) with a 6-2 record and 3.95 earned run average. Backup catcher Vance Wilson has hit .291 while giving Ivan Rodriguez a break in 37 games and more recently filling in for him while Pudge nurses a bruised right thumb.

Dmitri Young has continued his succesful return to the lineup with 16 hits in 37 at-bats (.432) including five home runs, 11 runs batted in and four walks against seven strikeouts. His resurgent partner in crime, Craig Monroe, is hitting .340 with six home runs in his last 100 at-bats. The two have squeezed Marcus Thames‘ playing time and it will continue if both keep hitting like this. Thames is one of my favorite players on the team, but he is just 14 for his last 70 (.200) in his first downslide of an otherwise great season.

So the 10-game road trip ended at 6-4 after a 2-2 split with the Devil Rays. Home for six against Cleveland and Minnesota before a socky road trip against Boston and Chicago. I have no idea what “socky” means, but it’s very early and I’m very tired. Though it goes without saying considering it’s August of a hotly contested pennant race, this month is very important for the team because they don’t get a break from here out. Cleveland has underperformed severely, but they will come to play and they represent the “worst” team they face all month. Seven against Chicago, four against Texas, three against Minnesota and New York fit in with the six against Cleveland.

As the season moves on and the Tigers continue to assert their will on opponents, talk has shifted to assessing their post-season ability. I am in no way going to discuss that at any length right now because there is far too much season left for it, but let’s just say that I’m saving every penny I can to make sure that should they find themselves playing in October, I will be there.

While I love my job, I hate that it has taken away from my ability to update daily, however as I get settled into the new schedule starting tomorrow, that should be less of a problem.