If anyone out there was listening carefully enough this afternoon around 3 o'clock, they may have heard something like this coming from Michigan....
If you haven't heard, the Detroit Tigers have lost Victor Martinez to a torn ACL before spring training even starts. It's likely he's out for the year and even if you're an optimist, he misses the bulk of the season. What that means for us is that we lost a 300 level hitter who is generally good for around 100 RBIs. Martinez didn't put up the same HR numbers (12), but then again he played in Comerica all year, which probably took a decent number of homers away.
Now, this doesn't hurt us behind the plate. Odds are Martinez wouldn't play behind the plate too often. We have a great first option in Alex Avila, who is a beast and started 141 games, the bulk of those at catcher. While I'm not too confident in our back-up, Gerald Laird, I think he's serviceable enough on defense that he might be able to help so long as he can stay healthy.
It hurts like hell at DH. The only other guy we have on the depth chart is Delmon Young and he'll likely start in left. There isn't a lot of help in free agency either. The guys will more than likely be too old (Johnny Damon), too highly price (Prince Fielder) or too highly price and too old (Vlad and Derek Lee). Besides, Prince isn't going to want to be hampered into a DH role yet. He's got some decent leather and stands to do much better as a first baseman. That is only a hypothetical option and one that is pretty close to impossible. Also, Craig Council is out as he retired this week. (Kidding of course, but I genuinely liked Council. That guy played with genuine hustle and was a scrappy little bastard).
That leaves us with one option I have seen that intrigues me: Ryan Ludwick. Last season wasn't his best: .237 with 13 HR and 75 RBIs. He's put up big numbers in the past, however, most notably in St. Louis in 08. Ludwick got plenty of playing time that season (152 games) and hit .299 with 37 HR and 113 RBI. Those numbers are similar to Martinez's and Ludwick will also benefit from not being the main focus of the opposing pitchers. Like the Cards had Pujols in 08, Detroit has a premier bat in Miguel Cabrera which should afford a guy like Ludwick enough protection to produce.
So, If the Tigers are listening, they should consider Ludwick. If nothing else, he'd free up Delmon Young to DH. It's worth a shot since he comes at a nearly $7 mil, which is about as much as we pay for Inge, Benoit, and Young.
Eslewhere in baseball, I guess Pujols and Tony LaRussa both missed out on the trip to the White House. They've both been before, but you figure they'd make one last show of it...
Speaking of Michigan sports: UofM finally beat MSU on the court. It's been sometime since I've seen that and I just watched it go down. I can't help but wonder if Izzo has lost some of his touch. The guy's had a solid career and a lot of people mention that he's done it all without any huge name NBA players among his former players. He's definately one of the greats, but I hope this is just a lull and not the end.
In a rare instance of not minding one's manners in tennis, Rafel Nadal called out Rodger Federer this past week for not doing enough to speak out against the treatment of players. Apparently, tennis players are at odds with the folks running the Grand Slam events over the length of the season and the fact that tournament prize money hasn't grown in proportion with profits. Much like other sports, the players believe the owners are getting too much from the player's labor. Soem players say that their travel costs and taxes often leave them with little.
I tend to believe them. Guys like Nadal and Federer should be expected to speak out. Both have made plenty and are now reaping the rewards of endorsements, but a lot of guys are scraping by on what they might be able to win. I agree with Nadal that the stars of a sport should be on the front lines, yet I can see that calling Federer out in the media was out of line and not in keeping with the culture of tennis.
Nadal has recently apologized and patched things up with Rodger. Try to keep it on the court guys.
Well, that's it for me this week. Despite Felber's threats, I'd like to say I'm pulling for the 9ers. I think it'd be a strange twist to the season to see the AFC get the Lombardi. Whenever someone seemed to step up there, they'd get it taken to them from a weaker AFC team or a so-so NFC team. Either way, I'm looking forward to this weekend's slate of games.
Take it easy Gabbers. I leave you with your weekly vocab.
hugh wear, noun
A name for a person's extensive wardrobe of bath robes.
Duder 1: "Hey man nice closet. What's with all the robes?"
Duder 2: "You know I like to be comfortable AND stylin' 24/7."
Duder 1: "Wow you have a complete line of hugh wear up in here. Now all you need are some skeezy blondes."