New coach, but next step is critical

The only thing left is to cross the T’s and dot the I’s. It’s clear the Detroit Lions have found their next head coach in New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

That is a first. The Lions have actually identified the new coach. I’ve seen other teams bring in new coaches over the years with ease. All the while watching through the green eyes of envy hoping and wishing the Lions would do the same.

Patricia comes to the Lions highly esteemed. For very good reason. Simply put he’s the best defensive minds in the game.

Now it gets interesting. Whenever the Patriots season ends. Patricia will have to assemble a coaching staff. He is rumored to be keeping offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan holdovers from the fired Jim Caldwell’s old staff and both favorites of Lions QB Matthew Stafford. Not that it matters who a player likes. The coach gets the final say on his staff.

If those two coaches are indeed brought back the focus will shift to the defense. For good reason. Four, count them four, Pro Bowl players on that unit that had trouble stopping the run and was killed by short passes over the middle of the field.

Patricia a defensive wiz will in all likelihood oversee this unit. What is critical is who He tab’s as the coach to run the defensive squad. From linebacker coach, secondary coach, and others. It may be safe to say he will bring a coach he’s worked with in New England. Coaches tend to run in tight groups.

Whoever is the new face of the defense he will walk into a job with some talent on that side of the ball. That has to be somewhat enticing for a coach.

For me this is a big a hire as the head coach itself.

The next Detroit champion

While the Red Wings and Tigers are in full rebuild mode. The Pistons struggling to find consistency and the Lions searching for a new head coach let’s take a look at who can possibly raise a championship banner.

The Pistons: the verdict is still out wether this core group of players can find cohesiveness and achieve the level of consistency needed to make a deep playoff run. In fact the first goal should be to get to the playoffs.

The Red Wings: well documented rebuild (even if Ken Holland hates the word) the Wings are every bit of 3-5 years away from being a serious Stanley Cup contender. There are some good young players to keep an eye on.

The Tigers: yikes it’s going to be a mess at Comerica Park for the next few seasons. But there are solid arms and a few bats. But the immediate future is bleak.

The Lions: could it be the Lions of all Detroit teams have the best shot at a title?
Yes. Bob Quinn has masterfully reshuffled the roster and he is expected to focus on the defense this offseason.

If the team lands Matt Patricia (as expected) this team will be a serious contender. Following the Lions starting in 1980 I’ve never even dreamed of them in position to win the Super Bowl. But they are incredibly close.

Championships not withstanding I will continue my loyalty to all of the Detroit teams documenting all of it. The good, the bad, the putrid.

With the first pick in the 2018 MLB draft

It’s an unusual position for the Detroit Tigers to be in. For much of the past decade they were adding trying to win a World Series.

Now the rebuild is in full swing and thanks to the worst record the Tigers own the first pick in the 2018 MLB draft.

An organization that loves big strong power arms one guy stands out. University of Florida RHP Brady Singer. He fits the criteria (Singer is 6′ 5″) the Tigers covet he had 129 strikeout in 126 innings pitched. Viewed as a pitcher who will not be in the minor leagues long may help the Tigers front office make the pick a no brainer.

Drafted in the second round by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015 Singer opted to go to college. As it turns out it was the correct call. He polished up his mechanics and brushed up his slider that has scouts drooling.

He was part of a Gators rotation that was downright nasty. Paired with last years Tigers first round pick (Also from Florida)  Alex Faedo. If reunited with the Tigers the Detroit rebuild would speed up considerably.

A future rotation of


May be too much for the Tigers to pass up. As they would be staring at 5 potential top of the rotation starters.

Be patient Tigers fans. They are building something that could very well end up being special.

Roll of the dice

The Detroit Lions are reportedly going to name New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia head coach. After the Patriots finish their season either in the AFC title game or Super Bowl.

Given his success with next to no Pro Bowl players Patricia may look attractive to the Lions who have had a handful of Pro Bowl players not to mention his defense is consistently in the top 5 in the NFL.

He’s been with the Patriots for 12 seasons 6 of them as the leader of the defense. Lions GM Bob Quinn who was with the Patriots organization for 12 years is familiar with Patricia so I’m sure he feels like this is a safe solid hire.

Yet, no matter a coaches background and success it’s a crap shoot if that actually translates when sliding into the role of head coach.
While being regarded as a good/great defensive coordinator and being in the much looked up to Patriots organization are definitely pluses. There is the unknown element.
So with that the Lions will roll the dice and hope they strike it big.

A role model or an athlete?

“I’m not paid to be a role model” that was the phrase Charles Barkley famously spoke in 1993.
With that said is that accurate? Someone who makes their living on t.v. and in the public eye are they not role models?
For centuries athletes of all sports have been put on pedestals and admired. There are even “who would be on the Mount Rushmore of this or that team” blogs and polls.
Athletes are by and large entertainers. Making millions while generating billions for franchise owners and cities.
But in truth they are self serving beings who are out for their next big payday.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some genuinely good people. But selfishness and self seeking is not admirable in any fashion.
There have been athletes I have admired about how they approach their sport. Or how they lead their team. That’s where it ends.
Athletes are not role models. At the end of the day they could care less if you like them or not or collect their trading cards or own their jersey.
With that said focus instead on the team as a whole. Enjoy what a player brings to the field, rink, or court.
You may find you enjoy the game a little more. I know I have. At the end of the day players come and go. Lions GM Bob Quinn said just last week each season has a 30% roster changeover. That’s a high rate. Don’t get attached to an athlete. Get attached to the team that represents your city, state, or some other reason.

To trade or to keep?

That is the question facing the Detroit Tigers and young star pitch Michael Fulmer. Coming off ulnar nerve transposition surgery

Ulnar Nerve Transposition at the Elbow

it has not deterred teams from calling to check on trade possibilities. Because he is entering his prime years with a team that is going nowhere during his best years.
As a young pitcher with his talent he would  bring in a tremendous haul of prospects. For the rebuilding Tigers this would speed things up considerably.
The Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees have shown the most interest . This is fantastic news as both teams have outstanding minor league talent.
It could benefit the Tigers to let Fulmer throw a few spring training games and showcase that he’s healthy. Then they could cash in their biggest trade asset.
For a team looking at least 100 losses the next two seasons. This could get them right back to competitive baseball in 3 years when they will unleash the pitching they are currently developing in the minors. I have to think the Tigers front office is evaluating just how quickly they can contend again. If it’s 1-2 years they may keep him. If it’s 3-5 years they would be wise to cash him in and speed up the process.
It’s one of the storylines to follow as spring training nears and gets started.

Let’s go Wings!

Proud Red Wings fan here. Man what a run and show they put on in the good old days just two years ago. I don’t want to sound like a broken record or beat a dead horse but this team is in shambles.
Well documented bad contracts and an aging roster have put the team behind the proverbial eight ball.
Let’s take a look and see if anything can bring improment in the imitated future.
Dylan Larkin has taken a huge step in his second full season at center as is widely seen as the next Red Wings captain.
Anthony Mantha also having a very good sophomore season he should be on the top line with Larkin for some time.
Tyler Bertuzzi I like this guys game. Tough player solid with his passes. Adds a lot of grit to the team.
The best defensive player the Wings have drafted lately is a guy who I’m pretty excited about. Dennis Cholowski. Drafted two years ago his game has improved greatly. He was seen as a second line defenseman but his play now has him on target for the top line.
That’s not many but it is enough of a building block with some shrewd moves at the trade deadline and yes a new GM next season for the Red Wings to feel comfortable moving forward.
Until then I’m going to enjoying watching these four guys improve their game. Until the Wings are ready for take off again.
One of the biggest issues I have with Ken Holland is that he insists all young players spend 3 years in the AHL (minor league.) No matter if that player is ready and many have been (see Cholowski.)

Larkin is a very rare exception he spent very little time in Grand Rapids with the Griffons.

A new GM and direction is badly needed. I believe it’s coming as there has been no movement on Hollands expiring contract.

That is a good reason to keep an eye on the team. Well Little Caesars arena isn’t bad either.

What makes a good baseball prospect?

The question was asked to me after I posted my personal Detroit Tigers top prospects list. Let me be clear I am not a scout but I play one behind the comfort of my device. To be honest I have no ideal what a person who’s been trained as a scout likes in a player.

As for me my list is short. For hitters and position players I look for:

  1. Plate discipline- can the hitter recognize pitches?
  2. Bat control- is the hitter following through on swings?
  3. Contact- is the hitter making consistent contact with the ball?
  4. Speed- to the bag or in the gap when playing in the field.
  5. Glove work- self explanatory
  6. Footwork- how does the fielder set up to make his throw?


As for pitchers:

  1. Arm strength- self explanatory
  2. Mechanics- can the pitcher consistently repeat them?
  3. Location- is he consistently around the strike zone?
  4. What does his change up look like? Anyone can throw a fastball. Without a change up a pitcher simply won’t last long.

To illustrate my point I’m going to highlight two of my favorite Tiger prospects. Pitcher Beau Burrows and SS/3B Isaac Paredes.

Burrows- 6′ 2″ right hander who has been and is flying through the Tigers system. Great arm strength his fastball touches on 99 mph and he follows it with a mid 70’s change up and a above average slider. His mechanics are spot on as demonstarated last August when he struck out 8 batters and then 10 in two consecutive starts.

He is consistently around the strike zone. But he uses his slider to get hitters to chase out of the strike zone. When your around the plate consistently batters will chase a pitch off the plate.

He projects as a top end of the rotation starter. Because of two other pitchers (Matt Manning and Franklin Perez) in the organization he’ll most likely end up being a #3 starter. That’s a great glimpse into the future of the Tigers starting rotation.

Paredes- 5′ 11″ right handed hitter and throws right handed. His first season in American baseball saw a kid (18 yrs old) give and eye raising glimpse of what he can do with a bat.

His pitch recognition is very good coupled with his discipline at the dish should have Tigers fans excited. He gave a good look into his future last September in Grand Rapids with a 3 home performance.

Well above average bat control should see him in double A (Erie Seawolves) at some point this coming season.Tigers scouts were wise to insist he be included in the trade that send Alex Avila and Justin Wilson to the Chicago Cubs for Paredes and Jeimer Candelario. Candelario was widely seen as the centerpiece of the trade. I respectfully disagree. I’ll go with Paredes. Candelario is a 3B/1B. As the Tigers advance in their rebuild I can make a strong argument Paredes will troll 3B and Candelario will move permanently to 1B giving the Tigers infielders a much needed athletic boost.

The phrase I can’t stand

“Go for it.” “It’s all good.” How about “time will tell?”
There are plenty of phrases out there. Some better than other. Some impactful and some lip service.
Starting in late 2017 a phrase entered the picture (or at least gained momentum) and sent a shiver of distain throughout my entire body. That phrase……. “trust the process.” What?! Exactly what does it mean to “trust the process?”
Everyone from players, GM’s, owners, members of the media say it. It seems to amp up when a team is in a slump or if just a bad team or entering a rebuild.
It use to be “it’s going to take some time.” But in our microwave society no one wants to hear anything about something taking time.
Both Ken Holland and Al Avila GM’s of the Detroit Red Wings and Tigers respectfully have used “trust the process” every time a microphone is in front of them as both franchises are beginning rebuilds.
“Trust the process” because no one wants to hear “we are going to be bad for a number of years so it’s going to take time.”
Call me olf fashion but I prefer blunt honesty.

It’s dark now, but it will lift

The Detroit Tigers are facing a rebuild. A big top to bottom rebuild. 100 loss seasons will be the norm for 2-3 years. That’s the the bleak depending your point of view.
The minor leagues depleted from years of trades to keep the parent team competitive. It worked. Now the aftermath comes.
Thanks to trades of players like Justin Verlander and Ian Kinsler they have brought fresh new prospects into a system desperate for them. They can in time lead the Tigers back to competitive baseball again.

1. Franklin Perez- he came in the Verlander deal. Nasty stuff 92-94 mph fastball and three above average pitches not to mention he’s electric on the mound.

2. Matt Manning- he’s big 6′ 6″ with a big time arm. Needs to develop his curve when he does he has ace stuff.

3. Beau Burrows- very good fastball 95 mph excellent command of the strike zone. With Perez and Manning it will push him to #3 starter. That is excellent pitching depth!!

4. Daz Cameron- above average hitter he’ll be around 15-20 home runs. He has great speed and glove CF problems for the Tigers will end when he’s called up.

5. Isaac Paredes- SS but given his thick fram and lack of speed seems better suited for 3B. But the kid can hit and not bad with a glove.

6. Alex Faedo- another big (6′ 5″) pitcher. Excellent command of the strike zone and throws a part curve part slider pitch that baffles hitters. A starter at the univerity of Florida he could be used in the bullpen or at closer.

7. Christian Stewart- power hitter not much for average though. Limited by below average speed and glove may push him to DH.

8. Kyle Funkhouser- solid backend of the rotation pitcher with three solid pitches. Needs to brush up on his control.

9. Jake Rogers- outstanding defensive catcher. Above average throwing arm. But can he hit? That’s not his strong suite.

The Tigers have some of the best young arms they’ve ever had at one time in the system. But they must be patient and develop them. It is critical to the future of the team. But I believe the Tigers will be back to competitive baseball in 3-5 years.