AL Central Links: Tigers, Pena, Buehrle, Acta

The Tigers' magic number for clinching the AL Central is nine after Brandon Inge's walkoff blast against the Twins this afternoon.  Red-hot Detroit has won eight games in a row and the team looks like a sure bet to reach the postseason for the first time since 2006.

Let's round up the latest from the division…

  • Intra-divisional trades made been a big part of the Tigers' success, writes Lynn Henning for the Detroit NewsJhonny Peralta, Delmon Young and Wilson Betemit have all come to Detroit from AL Central rivals over the last two seasons.
  • Brayan Pena wants to keep playing for the Royals and is happy to remain a backup catcher, reports Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
  • Following last night's game, Mark Buehrle told reporters that he plans to work out this offseason as if he'll be pitching next season, but he doesn't know if a contract will get worked out with the White Sox. You can watch the video on Buehrle will be a free agent for the first time in his career after the season, and he's hinted at retirement in the past.
  • Ozzie Guillen, for his part, thinks Buehrle will pitch in 2012.  "Oh, he's staying," Guillen tells ESPN Chicago.  "I talk to him every day and he never mentions [to] me anything about retirement. I think this kid's got a lot left to give [to] baseball. I think this kid can help a lot of big league ballclubs. Believe me, I don't think he's retiring."
  • In that same piece, Guillen also reiterated his commitment to the White Sox, saying he wishes to manage the club in 2012 and for "the next 20 years."
  • Joe Mauer talks to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (video link) about his season, his future behind the plate and the Twins' struggles.  Two days ago, more than 3,000 MLBTR voters said the Twins have been baseball's most disappointing team this season. 
  • "That's a good question for the off-season," said Indians GM Chris Antonetti when asked about manager Manny Acta's club option for 2013 by Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Acta will be in the final year of his three-year contract next season, and Antonetti made it clear that he's pleased with the job his manager has done.
  • Tigers manager Jim Leyland told Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press that they're "thrilled" about the Delmon Young acquisition. "It's worked out pretty good so far, and when he steps in that batter's box he's a man," said Leyland. "He's going to get his rips and has a pretty good idea how to hit and what pitchers do."

MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post

23 Responses to AL Central Links: Tigers, Pena, Buehrle, Acta Leave a Reply

  1. Pawsdeep 4 years ago

    Batting in front of Cabrera is exactly what (d)Elmon needed. He never was a high walk guy and now teams are forced to pitch to him with that murderers row behind him. Pair in the fact that Boesch is out and the Delmon acquisition is looking beyond brilliant right now.

    • SplitFingeredPujol 4 years ago

      You’ll hate him eventually. Ten cent head.

      • Pawsdeep 4 years ago

        Maybe. Maybe not. We will see.

        He was insanely cheap: low risk, high reward and if he does anything to help the tigers in a playoff run he will be worth double what they gave for him. He’s already paid for himself and will be a quick one year fix next year in a incredibly thin FA market. He may be a bit expensive at 6 mil a year, which is what he is predicted to demand in arb, but I guarantee some team will pay even more for a worse player in free agency.

        Seems like everyone WANTS delmon to fail and it’s really skewing what people think he’s capable of and/or how he has greatly helped the tigers in a playoff push.

        • SplitFingeredPujol 4 years ago

          If he keeps a hot streak going, then yes good deal for the Tigers. I don’t wish him failure, but I don’t need to. He’s below average in just about every facet of the game. You’d think the Tigers would have a better in-house option.

          • Pawsdeep 4 years ago

            He batted .300 last year and drove in 112 runs last year with a much weaker lineup than he is in now. I don’t think too many teams have a guy waiting in the wings who will ever do that in their respective careers, let alone at the age of 24. His upside is pretty high at the plate. His defense is awful but he has a decent arm and my fellow tigers fans and I are more than pleased with what we’ve gotten so far and he seems to really enjoy Detroit. Their clubhouse is very strong so he has great leadership and maybe getting out of minnesota is exactly what he needed.

            Time will tell on Delmon, but he has already been worth more than the tigers gave up for him and he seems to be well worth whatever risk was involved in acquiring him.

          • Matt Moore 4 years ago

            I dont understand. He was a #1 overall pick, and last year he finally kinda lived up to the hype and people act like he is the worst player ever…

          • Pawsdeep 4 years ago

            That what I don’t understand. Everyone is just ready to cast this guy off as a sunk investment and hes only 26. He has underperformed, by most accounts, save last year, but there isn’t any reason for me to believe he’s not going to be a quality hitter and could really flourish batting directly in front of TheWonderBus and Vmart.

          • Josh Gedert 4 years ago

            Twins fans are so bitter…

          • 0vercast 4 years ago

            You would be too if your GM were systematically ruining a proud franchise in front of your eyes.

          • JacksTigers 4 years ago

            The guy is a great hitter. He struggled batting 8th. Now he’s batting in front of an elite hitter and doing great. Saying that “he’s below average in just about every facet of the game” seem pretty foolish. What about his 2010 season? Was he terrible then?

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            at everything except hitting, yup. in terms of hitting, he was about average for a corner outfielder. actually 8th out of 18, so just a tick above. it’s the only time in 5 years he’s come close to being average with the bat, but still

            put that spectacular package of meh together and you get a 1.8 WAR player in 2010. which is just below average, funny enough, given that the average WAR for a major league regular is 2

            but hey fellas, if batting average and RBI are your only concern, you should be very happy with him hitting 3rd in your lineup. the rest of the league will be too

          • Pawsdeep 4 years ago

            His defense hasn’t been awful since reaching Detroit…who’d have ever thunk that maybe if you throw a kid on a good team with great clubhouse guys in the middle of a pennant race he may start to turn some upside.

            Small sample size, flukey, can’t keep it up, rzr and uzr yada yada yada…Hes looked GREAT for us when Detroit needed him to come through immediately; so come up with an obscure stat that tries to validate your point of how awful he is for Detroit right now as basically a totally free rental. He has well passed the good ol’ eyeball test and is greatly contributing now. I’m not worried about next year or any other BS about ‘youll learn to hate him': that dude is helping Detroit run away with a division and look like a legitimate post season contender: which is what I care about right now.

            Hope your BoSox have fun in detroit in a short series. Can’t wait to watch DY crush a ball or five and watch that overpriced fister put up a <1 whip in the DS.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            His defense hasn’t been awful since reaching Detroit

            5 seasons versus .14 seasons. 700 games versus 20. is it even possible that you could be serious right now

            remember when tigers fans heads were spinning with excitement after delmon’s first few games as a tiger? vindication! he’s so good! woo-hoo!

            then the sample increased beyond, what, a week-long hot streak. and prior to the last few games, young had posted an OPS of about .700 in 18 games with detroit. right back to normal, who’d have guessed. (but look! another week-long hot streak since then! he’s so good! woo-hoo!)

            you can huff and puff all day long at me or anyone else who tries to talk some sense into you, but reversion to the mean happens whether or not you’re ever able to learn what it is

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            oh, almost forgot to match wits with that brilliant line at the end of your comment there

            let’s go wiiiith…my dad can beat up your dad. that oughta do it

          • i dont give a rats behind if young does this that the other…….as long as boston or the yanks get their rear ends beat, then i dont care….bo sox and yanks pitching blow anyway and if the angels somehow get in they are going to the series….if anybody wants to debate me on that bring it

  2. I’m still shocked that people could be disappointed in a team like the Twins. It seems like most of the pre-season articles that I read were picking Detroit or Chicago to win the Central with a “don’t count out Minnesota” disclaimer. Minnesota doesn’t have a consistent star position player. Sure, Mauer is a great catcher, but his power came out of no where and left just as quickly, and Morneau? The guy’s been worth 5 WAR once and is a walking injury.

    Compare that and their lazy off season to Detroit and it was no contest. Cincinnati, Chicago White Sox, Colorado, Saint Louis were all much more heavily favored by the ‘experts’ and have done poorly, or, in StL’s case, out played.

    • twins33 4 years ago

      True, others were favored but to go from a top five team in the standings in 2010 to a bottom five team in the standings (league-wide for both) is DRAMATIC.  It’s huge.  No one saw this coming.  The Twins were the first team to clinch a division title last year.  Were they expected to win the division this year?  No, too many question marks, but the Twins definitely should be the #1 choice for biggest surprise/disappointment.  History showed that the Twins usually overcame question marks every year, this year they didn’t. 

      The fact that the only players to not go on the DL from the opening day lineup were Cuddyer and Valencia…that’s huge.  And Cuddyer’s been injured, just not DL’d.  So only Valencia basically.  You can’t win with one healthy player.  That compounded with the fact that almost the entire team is having a down adds up quickly.  Span and Kubel were having good years pre-injury.  As was Scott Baker, our only good starter this year.  Cuddyer is probably team MVP this year, he’s been the most consistent, though is also now injured.  Perkins is the only stable guy in the bullpen, though he’s had his moments which might be due to overuse since he is the only stable guy.  So one healthy player (Valencia), four good players pre-injury (Span, Kubel, Baker and Cuddyer).  And then Perkins in the BP.

      The Twins used a record amount of callups and the team still isn’t fully healthy and it’s September.  There’s one thing to be healthy and sucking, this team had no chance because they were never healthy.  We have no idea where they’d be in the standings, but I’m guessing with a healthier team they wouldn’t be in the bottom five in all of baseball. 

      You can’t win with that and no one saw all of this coming…I mean, I guess it’s not surprising if a fan hates the Twins, but otherwise it is definitely surprising.

      • Then my next question (which I posed in the poll thread) is why aren’t the Indians on here?

        The Twins typically play over their heads. It seems almost as if they are more than the sum of their parts, much like SF last year. I’m not at all surprised that the Giants aren’t leading the division at this point and I’m not at all surprised that the Twins are near the bottom.

        • twins33 4 years ago

          I’d call the Indians more “surprising” than “disappointing.”  I didn’t see them being that good, the fact that they are falling now is not surprising…but the fact that they were good for a long period of time was.

          Yes, the Twins do play over there heads at times (not as much as you think I’m guessing and Pythagorean W-L, if you believe in that, agrees with me), but still you can’t say that you look at the Twins before this year started and say “this team is worse than the Royals and the Pirates.”  And they are this year.  They’re worse than those teams.  I can see it being no surprising that they aren’t at the top of the division, but I cannot see anyone saying “The Twins are the 2nd or 3rd worst team in baseball.”  I call BS on that.

          • Worse, no, similar upside potential? Not even the same ball park. I’m not surprised that the Pirates had a flash of brilliance (that they competed for so long, was amazing) as they seem to have a ton of talent still coming into it’s own. Saying that KC is doing ‘better’ is really rather relative though as they’re only a half game up on them. 

            I’m really not at all surprised that the Twins are in the bottom 10 teams in the majors. What is disappointing is that even after today’s win, the Rockies are 9 games under .500, the Cardinals are 7 games back behind the Brewers (they’re much improved, but I thought it would have been a tight three team race), the Reds posting a sub .500 record is a shock.
            I expected the Twins to be where the Rockies are right now, so about 9 more wins but still leave them near the bottom 10 teams in the majors and bottom 5 in the AL. But seriously, if the Twins were picked as a possible dark horse, but the Rockies were a favorite of many of the ‘experts’, who has been more disappointing?

  3. tycobb 4 years ago

    Love him or hate him David Dombrowski made some great moves, Fister, Young and Betemit. All at the same time keeping the Tigers top three prospects. As for Young if he sees good pitches he will hit, batting infront of Cabrera .

     I seen an interesting stat on last nights broadcast, Cabrera was intentionally walked 32 times in 2010 and currently only 18 times in 2011. You can thank Martinez for that and his hot bat. This can only help Young hitting infront of Cabrera.

  4. mmwatkin 4 years ago

    Sounds like the Twins and their fans are having trouble adapting to their new status as a $100M+ baseball team. They no longer can boast about how they are a small market scrappy club that plays the game the right way. 

    All I heard from Twins fans was now that they had Target Field to boost their payroll, they would take the AL Central by storm. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. Some GM’s excel at building short-window winners in small markets. Others are better at evaluating talent for big signings. Crazy how More $$$ doesn’t automatically equal more wins. The Twins have to figure out an identity and stick with it. Maybe they should install astroturf at Target Field and cut their payroll in half, because I hardly saw the 2011 Twins playing the game the right way.  

  5. CrisE 4 years ago

    This isn’t about payroll or adapting to anything or figuring out an identity.  (What does that mean anyway? You just want a simple cliche? That doesn’t work either.)  No, this is a lot of injuries and a lot of bad baseball regardless of what the GM did, and a lot of it is from guys that have track records of being significantly better than this. A few guys had some good months, but most of them went through some significant crap play independent of injuries. Even the average guys are below average.

    There were a lot of things wrong with last winter’s effort in MN, but even more went wrong once the season began. Once you sign the contract then the rest of your focus should be on baseball. Once the roster is set you start playing games and quit farting around with excuses.  Sometimes the players gotta play, and a lot of Twins guys are not playing. This isn’t very complicated.

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