January 9, 2009

Friday Fungoes: New Year’s Style

imageswoodbats.jpgIt’s not often I go a full week without posting something here at the The Daily Fungo but there were circumstances beyond my control, namely my computer. It went kaput in December and only after the most drastic of all measures — erasing the hard drive and starting over — was I able to resuscitate it…until Monday. I knew that a grinding sound coming from a car was bad, but from a MacBook Pro? That’s even worse.

So, here I am working on a — gasp! — PC trying to get some stuff done. (There’s more on my Windows Vista experience here.) I offer this not as a self-handicapping thing, but as a legit reason. Honest.

On with the Fungoes:

  • There’s been much to talk about in recent weeks and it centers on an infuriating lack of activity by the Tigers. Kerry Wood? Gone — to the Indians. Carl Pavano? Gone…to the Indians. Jason Giambi? Gone. Brian Fuentes? John Smoltz? Trevor Hoffman? Gone. Gone. Gone. What’s worse is that these guys, for the most part, were considered low-cost, low-risk investments for the teams they joined. Are the Tigers suddenly so cash poor/talent rich that they can’t take a flyer on the likes of Giambi — a solid lefty bat — or Pavano who could actually be an upgrade over Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis? I would love to know what the master plan is down on Witherell.
  • The Padres pick Virgil Vasquez off waivers today from the Red Sox. Let’s hope Double-V gets some appearances in San Diego who will definitely need help when Jake Peavy gets dealt.
  • There’s nothing like some distance from the past baseball season to provide some perspective on how good or bad a player was. Two examples in each category from the 2008 Tigers:
    • The Good: Magglio Ordonez – .317, 21 HR, 103 RBI for the season but he hit .330 in the second half.
    • The Bad: Gary Sheffield – .225, 19 HR, 57 RBI. He hit a meager .217 in the first half and .232 in the second. Yeah, I know, he wasn’t completely healthy but still, if it weren’t for his 500th homer chase, Sheff would’ve been persona non grata at Comerica Park in 2008.
  • Perhaps you heard that former Tigers pitcher Dave Roberts passed away today at 64. He was acquired by the Tigers on Dec. 6, 1975 when the Astros traded him along with Jim Crawford and Milt May to Detroit for Leon Roberts, Terry Humphrey, Gene Pentz, and Mark Lemongello. Roberts appeared in 48 games for the Tigers in 1976 and ’77 — all of them starts. In 1976, he posted a record of 16-17 and a 4.00 ERA with 18 complete games. The following year he made 22 starts for the Tigers going 4-10, 5.15, before his contract was purchased by the Cubs on July 30. According to the MLB.com story, Roberts died from lung cancer.

    Roberts’ death came after a struggle with lung cancer that had developed from exposure to asbestos — a mineral with toxic fibers — earlier in his life, according to a report by the Associated Press. He had worked as a boilermaker years ago, which likely exposed him to the toxic substance.

    How things have changed. You certainly don’t hear of any journeyman lefty relievers working as boilermakers in the off season anymore just to make ends meet. Today Roberts would be making $4 million a year.

Finally, Happy Birthday today to Freddy Dolsi, 26; Ivan DeJesus – what? You didn’t know he played for the Tigers? He did: 1988 – and Phil Mankowski, both 56.

3 Comment(s)

  1. Doug | Jan 10, 2009 | Reply

    I’m really steamed the Tigers didn’t at least take a cursory look at Trevor Hoffman. Where’s the risk in an incentive-laden contract with him? Similarly, Jason Giambi fits the CoPa much better than Sheff would … wouldn’t he?

    Finally, Ivan DeJesus and Phil Mankowski are the same age!?! DeJesus looked 45 when he was in his prime. As for Manko he looked about 16 in his. Perhaps more than anything this was the most shocking Fungo.

  2. tom mcclary sr. | Jan 11, 2009 | Reply

    Welcome back, I missed you.

  3. Tommy | Jan 11, 2009 | Reply

    Mikey,

    I remember Dave Roberts. His death bums me out.

    Happy Birthday Phil Mankowski. I wonder if Phil’s “The Natural” royalties are sustaining him in his retirement?

    Have a good Sunday.

    Giants and Chargers win today.

    Tommy

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