Saving Detroit: Upton There

Today is the last day MLB teams can trade players the receiving team would like to use in the postseason. In what I am regarding as a surprise move, the Tigers have sent another outfielder to the Angels, who now are acquiring Justin Upton in exchange for Grayson Long. (Last fall, Detroit sent Cameron Maybin to Anaheim, and, probably not coincidentally, Maybin now is on his way to Houston.) Neil Weinberg has the early report on Long:

The Tigers got 23-year-old Grayson Long, a starter currently having a strong year in AA. He only threw 65 innings across three levels last year due to injury, but he does have the appearance of an innings eater if you buy into the archetype scouting. Based on the public scouting views and one source I spoke with this afternoon, Long’s fastball is solid in the low 90s but his secondary stuff is a bit questionable with opinions ranging from fringe to flashes of above average. He has a change and slider but it’s not clear they will play at the major league level to the point at which he could be a successful starter. That might lead him to a bullpen role, but he has pitched well so far in the minors and I’m a big believer in letting a player keep going until the performance tells you to stop. There’s definitely potential for something really exciting but even the floor seems perfectly fine given the cost.

Upton’s contract had a player opt-out provision effective as of the end of this season. I’ve expressed skepticism about the idea that Upton would exercise that option. Weinberg, on the other hand, called the “odds that Upton opts out . . . quite high.”

It appears the Tigers came to the same conclusion, because the only way this trade makes sense is if Detroit was treating Upton as if he was on an expiring contract just like J.D. Martinez and Alex Avila and needed to get something for him now before he leaves in the offseason.

After watching Upton play here in Atlanta with his older brother as members of the Braves, I have been tracking his time– a bad dip with a fierce, late recovery in 2016, followed by a very solid 2017– in Detroit on this site with some care, and I will watch how the market responds to what I now agree will be his likely free agency this offseason. While he may not get a raise, he’s likely to wind up with a team with greater playoff odds than those of the Tigers or Angels, who, against many of those same odds, remain in the American League wild card hunt. Most of all, I’m happy to see Upton have such a strong rebound. Detroit’s fans didn’t deserve him anyway.

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Previously
A bad time for a bad season – 8/29
Jordan Zimmermann takes tennis lessons – 8/20
Tigers Notes, 8/8/17
– 8/8
Decoding the Upton Myth
– 8/2
Even the umpires just wanna go home
– 7/21

Yo, a J.D. Martinez trade comp – 7/19
Martinez trade triggers premature referendum on Avila – 7/19
Michael Fulmer has righted the ship
 – 6/27

Tigers in Retrograde – 6/19
Fixing Justin Upton
 – 5/31

Soft in the Middle Now – 5/30
Reliever Relief, Part 2 – 5/11
Reliever Relief – 5/8

Related
Catching Fire: It Don’t Come Easy
Catching Fire: Checking in on Justin Upton
Catching Fire: Night of a thousand feet of home runs
Catching Fire: Heading for the exit velocity

ALDLAND’s full Justin Upton archive

Detroit Memorial Jam

Bob Seger is back with his first new song release in over two years. Seger, who hasn’t toured since 2015, just published “Glenn Song,” a tribute to Eagles co-founder and fellow Michigander Glenn Frey, on the first anniversary of Frey’s death. The two had a history of collaboration, with Frey backing Seger on the latter’s first national hit, “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man,” and Seger pitching in on the Eagles hit “Heartache Tonight” a decade later. Seger, now seventy-one, is in strong voice on “Glenn Song,” which is available for free streaming and download on his website.

Analyzing college football coaches’ favorite musical artists

bruce-springsteen-slide-super-bowl-halftime-show

ESPN conducted a survey of all 128 Division I college football coaches, asking them to name their favorite musical artist. The full list of responses is here. My cursory analysis is here:   Continue reading

2016 Detroit Tigers Season Preview: They’re Not Dead Yet

Spring training is underway, which means Opening Day is rapidly approaching. My latest post at Banished to the Pen, another collaboration with a fellow BttP contributor and Tigers fan, previews the essential information you’ll need to be prepared for the 2016 Detroit baseball season and includes our bold predictions for the year to come.

2016-preview-det

Also contained therein: loosely informative graphs; me struggling to optimize the Tigers’ batting order; and a semi-in-depth look at the team’s biggest offensive weakness.

The full post is available here.

Detroit Tigers 2015 Season Preview

My own Detroit Tigers series for the upcoming season– name to be revealed in due course, but let’s just say I wish Wallside Windows would sponsor it– will be underway at this site soon. In the meantime, I have collaborated with Mark Sands to produce an extensive preview of the 2015 Detroit Tigers for Banished to the Pen, which is available today.

The full post is available here.

Flying Tigers: Closing the Book on 2013

Rock and Roll never forgets, and neither does ALDLAND. Last season, I took a look at whether the Tigers struggled to score later in games, a trend that, if shown and in combination with the team’s bullpen woes, would make comeback wins less likely. While the preliminary numbers suggested I was onto something, the trend appeared even more pronounced with one-hundred games’ worth of data. The purpose of this post is to make good on the promise implicit in that last one by completing the full season’s worth of data.

First, an aside on data collection. I previously gathered and organized these inning-by-inning run totals by hand because I didn’t realize Baseball Reference actually tracks that information. In order to maintain the same error potential, and because B-R doesn’t separate the runs/inning between wins and losses, I’ve updated (a simplified version of) my chart as I did before.

r-in 2013

Continue reading

Holmes’ Lament

The AP reports:

A person familiar with the situation says New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes has a Lisfranc injury to his left foot, meaning the team’s struggling offense probably will be without its top playmaker for the rest of the season.

Holmes went down on the first play of the fourth quarter of the Jets’ 34-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday after catching a pass. X-rays on the foot were negative, but subsequent MRI exam results were sent to a foot specialist in North Carolina. The Jets’ fears were then confirmed, according to the person who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday night because the team had not announced the severity of the injury.

Holmes was the best player left on a team that had already lost its best player, Derrelle Revis. That leaves only Mark Sanchez, Antonio Cromartie, and Timothy Richard Tebow as active Jets anyone’s possibly heard of, and they haven’t necessarily heard of those guys for the best reasons.

There’s little argument that Holmes’ departure seals the fate of a team already showing signs of being dead in the water. With their current 2-2 record, the Jets can’t be historically bad, but there’s absolutely nothing keeping them from being epically bad, and they’ve taken more than a few bounding steps down that path. The problem is that the pump arguably was primed for that destiny before the season began, before Revis and Holmes got injured, before Sanchez and Tebow gave us evidence of their stunted development as professionals, before Cromartie donned 2011 Holmes’ locker-room-killing mantle. Now we’ll never know for sure whether this Jets team, fully healthy, still would have been capable of the type of losing they’re in for. Not only does Holmes’ season-ending injury leave us irretrievably in this alternate-1985 reality, though. The real lament is that history will note the injury as an explanation, a rationalization, even a partial justification of what is sure to be a disastrous Jets season when these Jets were capable of such beautiful losing all along.

Hollywood Nights: Z-Bo and Bishop Don The Magic Juan

Apparently we’re just posting pictures now. This one’s a little less self-evident than the last one, so here’s the accompanying explanation from Chris Ryan, writing about Sunday night’s Grizzlies-Lakers game in L.A.:

Staples Center celeb sightings were pretty fun, if random, last night, with Ashton Kutcher, John McEnroe, David Beckham, and Gerard Butler (gone blond) lighting up courtside with their wattage. But the best appearance of the evening went to a man who seemed to be cheering for the Grizz: Snoop Dogg compatriot Don Magic Juan. Don’t know if there’s ever been a better union of team and fan. Oh, and he seemed to have a preexisting relationship with Zach Randolph, because of course he did.