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Sunday, October 22, 2006

World Series note

I am not a big Tiger fan by any means, but I typically root for the AL team in every World Series.

This kind of mediocy drives me crazy. From the AP:
The Tigers got [Sean] Casey from Pittsburgh on July 31, the trading deadline, for Brian Rogers, a fringe prospect. Casey gave Detroit the left-handed bat it desperately needed and muchneeded help at first base, where Chris Shelton fizzled after a strong start.
For the season, Casey hit .272, with a .336 OBP and .388 slugging average. That latter figure is pathetic for a first basemen.

Casey was acquired by Detroit at the July 31 trade deadline and had a .715 OPS in August and .611 in September. Those would be bad totals for a middle infielder or weak-hitting catcher. First base is a prime slugging position.

Chris Shelton was the young first baseman sent down to the minors when Casey was acquired. Shelton's weak May was basically the equivalent of Casey's August (.703 OPS) and his weaker June (.642 OPS) was better than Casey's September. Shelton had a tremendous April (1.186 OPS) and a July (.730 OPS) that was better than his own May/June, and better than Casey's August/September. On the season, Shelton's OPS was .806. In 2005, in a comparable amount of playing time, it was .870.

It was bad enough that the Tigers traded for a mediocre old talent like Casey, but it is unfathomable that they did not activate Shelton for the World Series. Casey is hurt and cannot even play first defensively:
With Sean Casey still hurting with a left calf injury, Detroit considered activating backup first baseman Chris Shelton for the World Series. But under the Byzantine system regulating postseason roster changes, they would have had to drop infielder Ramon Santiago to promote Shelton, a change manager Jim Leyland wasn't willing to make.
On the season, Santiago hit .225 with a .244 OBA and .263 slugging average. He had 80 at bats, while Shelton was a starter for four months.

The Tigers are also carrying utility infielders Neifi Perez and Omar Infante, so it is not as if Santiago is vital to backup a middle infield spot.

I hope the Tigers don't find themselves short a bat in one of these games.

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