Friday, January 15, 2010

Valverde Signing Simply Can't Mark End of Tigers' Off-season Moves

There must be some more moves coming.

There must be some offense headed to Tigertown. Tell me it's so.

If not, the Tigers have just signed the Maytag Repairman.


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Do today's whippersnappers remember the Maytag Repairman? The guy who stood by, waiting for the phone to ring, so that he may fix a washer, or dryer, or dishwasher, or fridge? But the call never came, Maytag proudly said, because their products never broke down.

The Tigers may have a Maytag situation, in a skewed, twisted way, developing.

The team has signed closer Jose Valverde. Another JV pitcher, to go with starter Justin Verlander. Valverde has been trained in the art of slamming the door shut on opposing rallies. They called them "firemen" in my day. Then they became "stoppers." Now they're "closers."

Call them what you like. But maybe add Maytag Repairman to Valverde's title.

Valverde is a terrific closer, one of the best in the game. Now, if only the Tigers can get him something to close.

The lineup is still a bunch of limp noodles. The Tigers offense is still Miguel Cabrera and the Eight Stooges. The batting order is crawling with .230 hitters who strike out too much. You could intentionally walk Cabrera every time he comes up to the plate and not do too badly with such a strategy.

So what is Valverde going to close, besides his wallet every time he leaves the bank?

Not that the bullpen didn't need some work after the fleeing of 2009 closer Fernando Rodney and his sidekick, Brandon Lyon. Not that Valverde's signing shouldn't be met with some enthusiasm.

But after that dies down, and you really look at the Tigers roster, how many save opportunities is the new JV likely to get?

Let's hope the reports that the Tigers are interested in free agent left fielder Johnny Damon are true. Through a spokesman, GM Dave Dombrowski says there has been no interest shown by the Tigers in the 36-year-old, lefty-swinging Damon.

So where are all the runs going to come from?

The Tigers lost their No. 1 and No. 2 hitters, Curtis Granderson and Placido Polanco respectively, through trades and free agency. Those two regulars will supposedly be replaced by two rookies---CF Austin Jackson and 2B Scott Sizemore. Good luck with that.

3B Brandon Inge is the most beloved .230 hitter the Tigers have had---ever. He's the Ben Wallace of the Tigers: gutsy, tough, and offensively challenged.

Carlos Guillen, whose body is held together with zip ties and bailing wire, is set to be the starting left fielder. Magglio Ordonez will play right---not very well, but he'll play it. But at least Maggs might have some pop left in his stick. We'll see.

Cabrera is Gulliver, and his teammates are the Lilliputians. Spring training hasn't even begun, and I already have a milk carton ready for the Tigers' offense to reside.

But they have a closer.

This can't be the end of the Tigers' Hot Stove activity. It just can't.


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