It was part of the “Yzer-plan.” That is what is lovingly referred to by Detroit Red Wings fans describing the teams rebuild under general manager Steve Yzerman. The part in question is when Yzerman signed aging defensive veteran Marc Staal and forward Bobby Ryan to one year deals. The hope was that they would play well enough for Yzerman to cash them in for draft picks. They have played well and that is good news.
News broke Thursday that Steve Yzerman has been fielding calls on both Marc Staal and Bobby Ryan, along with longtime Detroit Red Wings forward Luke Glendening.
Luke Glendening is attractive to teams for a simple reason and a reason many team covet, he leads the league in faceoff percentage. For a team in playoff position looking to help a line out due to a weak faceoff issue, Glendening holds high value. Glendening who has been a Detroit Red Wings since the 2013-14 NHL season has been a fixture in the organization. But in a rebuild there is no room to be sentimental. Not when it come to returning the Red Wings to the playoffs.
Bobby Ryan has found his scoring touch again. This is great news for the rebuilding Red Wings. Scorers generally bring in nice returns. With 5 goals and 11 assists on the season, teams will line up for his services.
That brings us to defenseman Marc Staal, who is playing very well and providing leadership for a young Red Wings team trying to find their footing. He will be a hot commodity at the deadline.
Steve Yzerman has taken calls on these three players and perhaps others. The process should be interesting to watch. In my opinion, Detroit should get good draft capital with picks as well as possibly a young prospect.
One thing is for sure, Steve Yzerman will not be short changed. He understands the league and the value his players have. Bobby Ryan and Marc Staal were never going to be Red Wings for long. Their play has now increased the odds both will be dealt.
The trade deadline is coming. The Detroit Red Wings are open for business .
Detroit Tigers pitching prospect Tarik Skubal made some starts last season in Detroit. As with many rookie pitchers, Skubal was up and down. Yet after some rough starts, Skubal started to figure things out and showed that he is close to being a very good starting pitcher. As one of the Detroit Tigers top pitching prospects Skubal seemed to have separated himself from the others. Now heading into the 2021 season, Tarik Skubal is adding a pitch to go with his other plus pitches.
This offseason, Tarik Skubal starting off trying to add a changeup to his pitching repertoire. Unsatisfied with the results he was getting, Skubal changed gears and went in another direction. Like Detroit Tigers other top ranked pitching prospect Casey Mize, Skubal is working on adding a splitfinger fastball.
Tarik Skubal struck out 27.2% of the hitters he faced in the 2020 MLB season, 4.3 above league average for a starting pitcher. However there was a clear vulnerability to right handed hitters. They hit nine of the home runs he allowed in 2020.
Skubal has a fastball early and often approach to pitching in general. A pitcher can get away with that in the minor leagues. In the major leagues it is totally different. A steady diet of fastballs first translates into a lot of baseball ending up in the stands. As Skubal witnessed last season.
When thrown correctly the splitfinger fastball can be a devastating out pitch. Much like the one Casey Mize throws and former Detroit Tigers pitching legend and Hall of Fame member Jack Morris threw.
While Tarik Skubal is still learning the pitch there are signs that he has it down. If a lefthanded pitcher like Skubal can master the splitter then suddenly the sky becomes the limit for what he will be able to do. It will also push his development forward quiet a bit.
Tarik Skubal has all of spring training and more than likely a few starts at Triple-A to hone the pitch. No matter how you slice it this can help both Skubal the the Detroit Tigers.
With new Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes brings a new direction for the organization. Also now in the mix is former Detroit Lions player and Lions legend Chris Spielman who is sitting in with Brad Holmes and Shelia For Hamp and others on draft and free agent plans. So here is a look at what Lions will probably do to improve the team.
The Detroit Lions have never been a franchise that has made big splashes in free agency. That trend looks like it will continue. In fact Lions fans should expect that the team will not sign any big name free agents. Look for Holmes to fill roster moves like Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila as well as Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman. Sign cheap players on a short 1-2 year deals.
What should be noted is that Chris Spielman and Brad Holmes and new Lions Head coach Dan Campbell all share similar philosophies. That it is better to build a team through the draft. Once a core group of players has been established then add to the core via free agency.
The Detroit Lions are in my opinion on the right track with the build your team through the draft thought process. So it is more of a, draft, develop process that leads to a younger team that is hopefully more athletic than the current roster able to grow together. There will be lumps along the way to be sure.
The fact that the Detroit Lions actually have an offseason plan is refreshing, on many levels. In years past it felt like they were throwing darts at a dartboard hoping to hit the board. They rarely did.
This is not an overnight fix. It took the Detroit Lions years to put a slow team filled with holes on the field. It will take time to reshape the roster. I have total confidence in Brad Holmes who helped to put a Super Bowl team on the field in Los Angeles with the Rams to build the Lions roster in much the same way.
It is a good sign that owner Ford Hamp , Chris Spielman, Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes are all on the same page. It will do nothing but help the Lions moving forward.
The Detroit Red Wings are 5-12-3, and sitting 29th out of 31 teams in the NHL. That is not a great record. That said Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said that he is “generally pleased with the effort, competitiveness” of his hockey team. That may sound crazy, stupid or far fetched. But it really is not.
The Detroit Red Wings pushed through games in which players were out due to COVID-19. The Red Wings lost all of those games. Yet with the players on the roster the Red Wings were competitive in those losses. “It’s difficult to win with a healthy squad, and it’s a challenge when you’re not healthy,” Yzerman said.
Since players have been returning to the lineup the Red Wings have improved play. It is not showing in the wins and losses. It does not have to. More on that in a moment. In a lot of situations during games, The Red Wings have seen a significant step in the right direction.
From better passes to better play from the blueline (defense) to young players such as Filip Zadina showing growth in his game, the young Red Wings are actually beginning to look the part of an NHL team. This is why wins do not matter.
Much like a baby needs to learn to crawl before it can walk, hockey players need to learn what it takes to play at the highest level. This is where the Detroit Red Wings rebuild is.
Steve Yzerman is also aware that the organization’s top prospects are having very good seasons as well Yzerman is very pleased with the growth he has seen from Moritz Seider.
While the Red Wings record is not good. Throw that away. This season was never going to be about wins and losses. This season was getting young players to take the next step in development in order to push the rebuild forward.
That seems to be the case and Steve Yzerman is pleased.
The Michigan Wolverine football team had a 2020 season to forget. The Wolverines finished 2-4 with one the worst defenses in the schools history allowing 34.5 points and 434.3 yards per game. On offense it was not much better for the Maize and Blue. As spring football practice is going to be getting under way soon, the Wolverines have much work to do.
Last seasons opening week starter Joe Milton announced he was going to transfer from Michigan. This has been an issue during head coach Jim Harbaugh’s time at Michigan. They need a consistent quarterback who will be there more than one or two seasons. Sophomore Cade McNamara, freshman Dan Villari look to be in a battle for the starter job.
Mike Macdonald who takes over as defensive coordinator, Macdonald comes over from the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. He will be tasked to improving a unit that was very bad. Last season. The Wolverines need much better play from the back end of the defense. The secondary.
Given his time coaching linebackers with the Ravens, it seems likely that Macdonald will begin to move the Wolverines closer to a 3-4 scheme that he is accustom to. Given the fact Michigan may not have the exact players to run the 3-4 it could be that year one under Macdonald will be a mix of what works best to improve the defense.
In my opinion, the unit that needs the most attention is the Wolverines secondary. Michigan’s secondary allowed more than 250 passing yards per game which ranked 90th in the country. This is a unit with talent. It is possible that the talent did not match last season scheme. The Michigan secondary should improve this coming season.
Offensively, the Michigan Wolverines need more playmakers. Running back Hassan Haskins is solid as are wide receivers Cornelius Johnson and Ronnie Bell but while they along with tight end Erik All are solid, none of those players are gamebreakers.
Until Michigan begins to bring in players that move the needle, they will not sniff the Big Ten title game or better.
It all starts soon with spring practice about to ramp up.
By trading former Detroit Lions starting quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for two first round draft picks (2022 and 2023) and a third round draft pick (2021) along with Rams starting quarterback Jared Goff it has garnered the Lions draft capital. Should the organization draft a quarterback in 2021? That is the question we will dive into.
Heading into the 2021-22 NFL season there is little doubt Jared Goff will be the Detroit Lions starting quarterback. In fact Goff could be the starter for two seasons. Which is fine. At 26 years old Jared Goff has already played in a Super Bowl and been selected to two Pro-Bowls. At the very least Goff is a serviceable quarterback.
The Detroit Lions currently hold the #7 pick in the first round of this years draft. It seems inevitable that up to three quarterbacks will be selected before the Lions have their turn.
Another fact is that the Lions simply do not have many draft picks this year due in part to poor choices former general manager Bob Quinn made. Current Lions GM, Brad Holmes would be ill advised to take a quarterback from rounds 3 and later due to the fact that unless your name is Tom Brady the likelihood a quarterback taken this late would even see the playing field is next to zero.
The Lions could sign a cheap free agent to fill the role of backup quarterback. That said because drafting a quarterback is like throwing a darts at a dartboard the risk this year seems far to great.
The Detroit Lions are in for a total (much needed) rebuild that is going to take some time. The roster is filled with holes that need to be filled and the team as a whole lacks speed.
This years draft focus should be in my opinion, on areas that can impact the roster this coming season. Be it wide receiver, offensive line, linebacker, defensive backs or edge rusher.
So in should the Detroit Lions draft a quarterback in 2021? My answer is no.
When current Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch took over as manager of a young Houston Astros team who was starting to come out of a long rebuild (sound familiar?) he did so by unleashing the young Astros pitching staff. He did not limit pitches or put inning limits on the staff. Now on the first day of spring training, Hinch said he is going to do the same with young Tigers pitchers.
Just yesterday, Detroit Tigers General Manager, Al Avila said this will be the season that Matt Manning will be pitching in Detroit. Be it out of spring training or at some point early in the season. Manning will join top organization prospects Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal giving the Tigers and the fan base a true look at the future.
Back to A.J. Hinch. This would appear on the surface to be a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Meaning, If “taking the kid gloves off” young Tigers pitching prospects worked in Houston then Hinch is hedging a bet it will work again in Detroit.
New Tigers pitching coach Chris Fetter will be charged with overseeing the talented group of young arms. Yet, Fetter will be getting instructions from Hinch. The age old question in baseball is how do you handle young pitchers?
Both Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal, spent time with the Tigers last summer. Both top pitching prospects took the typical rookie pitching lumps. With time under their belts the two enter spring training with a spot in the Tigers starting rotation.
Like the Detroit Tigers veteran pitchers, Mize and Skubal will not be limited. A.J. Hinch feels that the way young pitchers get better is by innings pitched and allowing the pitcher to fall flat on their face when they have a bad outing. That is how pitchers learn.
This is one storyline to keep an eye on during spring training and into the 2021 Detroit Tigers season.
The Detroit Lions, Red Wings, Tigers and Pistons are all in full- blown rebuilds. The Tigers and Red Wings are pretty much unwatchable at this time. The Lions will be pretty bad this coming season. While the Detroit Pistons who are also under construction and are far from being a .500 team, are at least fun to watch.
For many rebuilding teams, beating teams that are equally as bad or even alright is common place. The Detroit Pistons are the exception to the rule. For whatever reason the Pistons beat good teams. Seriously.
It could be that the teams the Pistons have beaten have approached the game as an automatic win and do not play with the same focus they do other nights. In fact that seems probable. It could be that the Pistons rise up to meet the challenge of playing a playoff caliber team.
The truth would seem to be somewhere in the middle. While I do believe teams take their foot off the gas when they play the Pistons, I also think the Pistons reach down for a little more.
As of right now, the Detroit Pistons are three and a half games out of a playoff spot. Let that thought go. Detroit is not going to the playoffs this season or next. They are in a rebuild. What is being laid is the foundation of success for the future.
Troy Weaver, upon being named Detroit Pistons General Manager said the process was going to take some time. Yet, at the very least Weaver has put a team on court that competes and is fun to watch.
The Detroit Pistons are not getting blown out when they do lose. But when the team wins it is against teams like Boston, New Orleans and the Los Angeles Lakers. Teams that should blow the Pistons away are losing to the rebuilding franchise.
It is almost unprecedented that a rebuilding team is beating teams they really have no business beating. Detroit Pistons fans are loving every second of this team. A team with a losing record that is fighting and competing in every game.
With the cold bite of winter that February has brought, there is a ray of sunlight that is coming from Lakeland Florida. Detroit Tigers 2021 spring training is set to kick off this Wednesday. There is a lot to go over as the organization takes steps towards coming out of the long rebuild. That will not happen in 2021. But what will happen when all is said and done, is the Tigers will be closer to being a good baseball team.
B Photos via Getty Images)
For baseball junkies this is a great time of year. Yes, I said that the winter is a great time of year. MLB teams are set to open spring training this coming week. The Detroit Tigers are armed with new top prospects as well as a top five farm system. Here’s a list of the Detroit Tigers top 10 prospects:
1. Spencer Torkelson 3B/1B
2. Casey Mize RHP
3. Matt Manning RHP
4. Riley Greene OF
5. Tarik Skubal LHP
6. Isaac Paredes 3B
7. Daz Cameron OF
8. Dillon Dingler C
9. Joey Wentz LHP
10. Alex Faedo RHP
The Detroit Tigers are predicted to be one of the worst teams in baseball again this coming season. That is just fine. While that statement may shock some, it should not. The Tigers are still in a rebuild. Albeit, a rebuild that is closer to being done.
This is still a time when the organization can use top five draft picks. This year the Tigers will pick #3 in the 2021 MLB Draft. This will be another opportunity to add more hitters to the pitching rich Detroit minor league system.
As some top prospects will be getting a look this summer and some will be getting another look, this is not a wasted season by any stretch. This is a season where the Tigers front office, coaches, and players themselves will know just where they stand and how much work is needed to take the final steps in becoming a full-time Major League Baseball player.
This is also a season for fans of the Detroit Tigers to pay attention. To keep track of top prospects be it in the minor leagues or in Detroit. To pull and cheer for them while hoping the team plays bad enough to get another top five pick in next years draft.
Chris Spielman was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1988. He became a Lions legend in his eight seasons in Motown. Spielman was selected to four Pro-Bowls and was the Detroit Lions defensive MVP in 1993 and 1994. Since retiring from the NFL Spielman has spent time in the broadcast booth and now has a new job. Chris Spielman is the special assistant to chairman Sheila Ford Hamp and president Rod Wood.
When the Detroit Lions were looking for a new General Manager after the dismissal of former GM, Bob Quinn, Chris Spielman began to get to work. His goal was to help not only rebuild the Lions but change the culture.
Over the years many NFL team reached out to Spielman for job openings. Nothing tempted him enough to leave the announcers chair. That is until the team that drafted him came calling. When the Detroit Lions called Spielman’s loyalty answered. He was never going to work for another team. That would go against everything he believes in.
Chris Spielman had a meeting with owner Sheila Ford Hamp, and he knew. This is what he wanted. His team needed him and like the defensive captain he was and still is he agreed to return to the Lions full-time.
Spielman has a good reputation around the league he has a lot of connections. He used those connections to identify Brad Holmes. He would meet with Holmes and do his own interview with him before he reported to the owner and team president.
After the meeting Spielman knew Brad Holmes was the right guy to rebuild the Detroit Lions and help unify the team as well as change the culture. Next up was finding the right head coach. Those who remember what type of player (hard nosed, tough as nails) Spielman was, were not surprised when he recommended Dan Campbell for the head coaching job.
So the new look Detroit Lions that have begun to take shape are being made in the image of an old gritty linebacker. That is part of why fans are actually pleased with the direction of the franchise.