Monday’s are meant for off days. After a weekend watching what felt like the majority of players in the league hit home runs for brand new teams, and an unsatisfying, but acceptable series split with the Baltimore Orioles, we settle into the first off day the Tigers have had since the All Star break. Rest up, ladies and gentlemen. Boston awaits.
Deal of the day
On what turned out to be one of the crazier trade deadlines in recent memory, the Tigers did something, but not much. Daniel Norris packed his surfboard and camera, tossed them in his van, and headed to Milwaukee. It was hard for Norris. He’s been here for some pretty bad baseball, and being part of the upward swing while watching people get excited again is an understandably tough thing to walk away from. Norris was always one of those guys where the elusive ability to harness of all of his talents would emerge briefly for stints and you could see what he was capable of. I hope he gets that all figured out in Milwaukee, and I’m now officially rooting for the Brewers to make some noise in the post season.
As a result of this trade the Tigers welcome pitcher Reese Olson to the fold. He’s not a standout prospect, but he has some fans. There seems to be some projection of Olson being a breakout prospect this year. Hopefully, those who are a bit more bullish on the young hurler are correct.
Akil Baddoo Buzz
The Akil Baddoo bandwagon may be getting a little bit more crowded. As we move further into the season, Akil Baddoo is finally getting the recognition many think he has deserved for awhile in the rookie of the year conversation. Coming off a series where he abused his former team in Minnesota, what has helped is a steady improvement across the board. Perhaps most notable is Baddoo’s improvement against left-handed pitching. Hinch says things have “smoothed out” for the young outfielder. It’s fun to watch.
Eric Haase embraced high tech
As much as Baddoo has earned the excitement over his incredible season, Tigers catcher Eric Haase isn’t far behind. With 18 home runs in just 58 games, the club hasn’t had a power eruption from an unexpected source like this since J.D. Martinez’s 2014 breakout season.
The side less explored is his development as a catcher, and his time with a front row seat to Cleveland’s pitcher development machine. David Laurila talked to Haase about what he’s learned during his long path through the minor leagues for FanGraphs.
Rough decisions ahead?
The future holds some questions with uncertain answers for the organization. In the not-to-distant future they team expects to see Isaac Paredes and Niko Goodrum come off the IL. That means there will need to be some shuffling done. The first, and likely easiest, decision would be to send Victor Reyes back down. Aside from that, things could be a little more difficult, but difficult is where AJ Hinch likes things like this.
”That means we’re in a really good place. A manager should never complain about having too many available good players.”
Having too many good players—good being used just a bit loosely here—is a weird spot to be in, but this is an improved team, and it’s good to have decisions like this be a little more difficult.
The Tigers are good?
If you hop on over to Fangraphs.com you’ll see an article from someone you might be somewhat familiar with, our own Ashley MacLennan. Everybody knows the Tigers are a bad team. What her article presupposes is, maybe they aren’t? There’s a lot of good stuff in there. A look at the offensive surge that is helping the turnaround, a little fella named Akil, and a nod to the improvement in the fellas behind the dish sit on the positive side. It’s not all puppy dogs and rainbows though, as there is an acknowledgement of how dicey the pitching situation is at any given moment. What we do see here, though is a team that is managing to win ballgames.
Harold and Kumar don’t sign major league deals
One of the biggest pieces of news from the weekend is the failure of the New York Mets to sign the tenth overall pick from this year’s draft, Kumar Rocker, to a deal. From my understanding it boils down to the Mets seeing a medical issue that numerous other doctors have verified does not exist and then not being able to come to terms on an agreement. Rocker will sit out the year and re-enter the draft next year. The Mets get the 11th overall pick next year. It would be nice to see the player in this situation not get completely hung out to dry while the team still gains some kind of benefit our of their failure to come to an agreement, but that seems to be the status quo when it comes to MLB and it’s younger talent.
Around the horn
Pistons number one draft pick, Cade Cunningham throws out first pitch. Chris Sale is getting close to his 2021 debut. Eric Haase caught on to tech in Cleveland. Season ending surgery for Fernando Tatis Jr. is on the table if shoulder issues don’t improve.