Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ring Around the Roster

I don’t know if the Sympathy Pains/Human Voodoo Doll phenomenon has returned or not, but man, have I been sore the past few days, especially on the right side of my back.

I meant to post yesterday, but I didn’t, and this morning’s news would seem to indicate that I am now being punished for my procrastination, cuz really, I do NOT want to have to analyze this. In fact, just the thought of having to analyze it is rather overwhelming. However, I will let you know one thing upfront: It takes a LOT for me to get ramped up emotionally to the point where I let it show on the blog. And this Sheffield situation…well, it ain’t enough to do that. So if I sound nonchalant, well, there you go. I suppose I should start with yesterday’s acquisition of Josh Anderson. It seemed a little odd that Dave Dombrowski’s solution for the problem of too many outfielders was to get another outfielder, but I suppose that with Matt Joyce having been traded away, it brings the Tigers back to the number that they started the offseason with. By evening, the discussion centered around Thames/Larish, and judging by Jason Beck’s tone on his blog post last night, he seemed to be expecting Thames to be released today. Meanwhile, I know the whole thing about the Tigers being too right-handed, but I still prefer Thames over Larish at this point (despite the massive Jeff Larish lovefest that seems to be going on down in Florida). It was quite a dilemma. However, I had forgotten one of the cardinal rules of being a GM: There’s always a third option. From my standpoint, well, I don’t condemn the move, nor do I celebrate it. It’s unfortunate that the Tigers only really got about 3 good months out of Sheffield, largely due to circumstances out of their control. I had the greed factor playing in there too. No one has hit their 500th home run as a Tiger, and now it looks as though we’re stuck hoping that Miguel Cabrera stays around in Detroit long enough to get there. The stolen bases were a nice contribution, too, though I suppose Josh Anderson’ll help that number stay right around where it was. There’s one more thing that bothers me. If the Tigers had gotten to the point where they were obviously willing to eat the entire $14 million contract, you’d think they’d be able to work out a trade with somebody. I know the Rangers were interested earlier in the offseason, but at the time, the Tigers wanted them to take on his salary, and that’s why no trade happened (I also know that the Rangers are not interested anymore, but that’s beside the point). And right now, Sheffield’s being pretty diplomatic about it, but I know there’ll come a time when he’ll start badmouthing the Tigers just as he did the Yankees. I don’t hold that against him, cuz that just seems to be what he does. But at the same time, I know that when it DOES happen, it’s not gonna be much fun either. At any rate, the Tigers are planning on keeping the DH spot open, which is actually what I thought they should do in 2010 once Sheffield became a free agent (though Marcus Thames will probably get the majority of at-bats in that spot, unless Guillen really doesn’t take to the outfield).

And now, for injuries. Joel Zumaya going on the DL shouldn’t come as a surprise at all, and really, neither should Jeremy Bonderman. But I suppose I need to talk about Dontrelle Willis. There’s a lot of conspiracy theories spinning (which you might expect) about how blood tests don’t diagnose anxiety disorders. And they don’t. But a blood test could detect a hormonal or chemical imbalance that may lead to a diagnosis of anxiety disorder upon further psychological testing (in the case of anxiety disorder, the main chemicals involved are usually norepinephrine, serotonin, or dopamine). I would think that faking something like that would get the Tigers in trouble with either the players’ union or the Commissioner’s office. Besides, if they were gonna make something up, they probably wouldn’t get that creative. They’d probably say he had a dead arm or something. As a pharmacy student, my classes touched on diagnostics a little bit, but our main focus was on treatment. Without digging up my notes, I can tell you that anxiety disorder is usually treated with benzodiazepines like Xanax or Valium, although occasionally they will use an SSRI like Prozac (which is mainly used as an antidepressant). I do not know that much about individual dosing regimens, and even if I did, I probably wouldn’t be able to elaborate much more than that, since the Tigers aren’t giving out a whole lot of information due to HIPAA concerns.

I will soon be hard at work on the “official” season preview, but I’m hoping that the fifth starter situation gets resolved before I have to post it. I was really hoping that Nate Robertson could continue the good work of his previous outings, but he had trouble keeping the ball in the ballpark today. I don’t know how that’s going to impact everything, but I was kinda hoping he’d be able to win the fifth starter role. I’m not particularly enamored of him, but A) He’s a much-needed lefty, and B) At this point, the best case scenario regarding Rick Porcello would be that of insurance policy. Assuming Zach Miner has taken over Bonderman’s spot for now, if Nate Robertson begins the season in the rotation and either he or someone else falters or gets injured, Porcello will be right there in Double A waiting to come in. If it’s Porcello in the fifth spot and someone falters or gets injured, then what? There are some guys in the minor leagues who could probably be serviceable, but you’ve already used your ace in the hole, so to speak. It’s kind of like how in the National League, you save your best pinch-hitter for just the right time. Of course, in a rare instance of hypocrisy, I’ll admit that if Porcello were left-handed, I’d be clamoring for him to be in the rotation now, all other things being equal.

And now I think I shall go, before any more comes along that I have to deal with. Also, with it being April Fool’s Day tomorrow, I think I’ll avoid the blogs, cuz someone’s bound to write some stupid “joke” post that’s not funny.

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