Hey, why not steal the good idea of a guy stealing a good idea? Big Al likes to answer Lynn Henning’s (and other News’ writers) Burning Questions. So why can’t I answer some of Jason Beck’s mailbag? I’ll leave Jason Beck’s answers to be read at the link, but here are my takes on actual questions. Names are redacted to protect the innocent. The first two are related.
1. Is it just me, or does Cameron Maybin need at least one more full season in the Minors? He seems to have all the tools, but not the understanding of how to use them. Any more problems at the Major League level could hurt his confidence.
2. Barring an out-of-this-world performance in Spring Training, it seems Maybin will return to the Minor Leagues to start next season. Do you think the Tigers will send Maybin back to Double-A, where he only played one week, or will he begin the year in Triple-A Toledo? Where you would put him, and why?
My take: I noticed right off the bat that Maybin was overmatched. He was just plain overwhelmed at the plate, and maybe he took that to the field. The Tigers must make up their mind if Curtis Granderson will keep his center field job. I think he should, personally. I think they should start Maybin in left or right field to make his transition in the majors easier, as one outfield position is not as interchangable with others as one may expect.
I’m not sure I buy the confidence thing fully. But I do believe he needs to spend at least half of 2008 in AA or AAA, working on his weaknesses at the plate and working on his eye.
3. I’m both aware and excited that Ivan Rodriguez will be back. However, my concern revolves around who his backup will be. How is Vance Wilson doing medically? If Wilson isn’t physically ready, will the Tigers go with Mike Rabelo again, or will they be looking for a guy with more experience?
Beck reports it’s too early to tell how Wilson will be at Spring Training. He’s got better info than me, so I bow to him there.
The interrogator is right to ask who should be Pudge’s backup, as he’s getting up and age and absolutely must be rested. I like Rabelo to do a fine job. I also like Vance to do a fine job, I guess. His 2005 was good. His 2004 was not. But maybe Rabelo would benefit from being an everyday catcher in the minors rather than an occasional catcher in the majors. I don’t know. I like Rabelo.
4. If Todd Jones decides to sign with another team in the offseason, what will be the answer at closer? Move Joel Zumaya or Fernando Rodney in, or look elsewhere?
I kinda like to look elsewhere. Zumaya has had essentially a season before injury, and a month and a half of postinjury play. Let’s let that one play out a bit more before naming him the closer.
Rodney, I don’t know. He makes me feel uneasy. Todd Jones make me feel uneasy, but he seems harmless despite it. He has a high save percentage. Rodney, I don’t know, he doesn’t strike me as a guy to trust. If the Tigers trade for Edgar Renteria, yeah, they’ll need to watch the salary bumps. But if they don’t spend money on shortstop, I’m all for looking into Mo Rivera. 2008 has to be the year. 2009 makes me way too nervous, they’ll be too aged I fear. 2010, however, is full of potential with so many high-cost contracts gone. But that’s off track…
5. Everything that I’ve read about Michael Hollimon reminds me of Curtis Granderson. Great character and someone not viewed as a super prospect, but just steadily kept improving and never leveling off. Would he be good enough defensively to be considered for the Tigers’ open shortstop position?
I’d hope not. As stated, it’s not time to play games and hope prospects can fill the holes. It’s time to play the game for real and make the moves that have to be made.
6. Do you think the Tigers could get Carlos Pena back now that he seems finally to have turned the corner? He’s a left-handed hitter who plays solid defense, and those 46 homers sure would have done the Tigers some good.
The Tigers have Carlos Guillen as first baseman. I’m glad it worked out for Pena somewhere. He was always a good guy I wanted to see succeed. But do I miss him as a Tiger? No. And now there’s no place for him.