Nerd of Batman, sports, logic, objectivity, Star Trek, personal enlightenment, Lincoln, the Rays, psychology, mic dropping. Kind've in that order.
It's inevitable that Max will win the American League Cy Young tonight, right? Inevitable to most but the evangelical Brian Kenny.
The Tigers are going to listen on just about any player anyone would call about.
That includes Scherzer. The return must be at least an immediate contributor + one premium prospect. That's the foundation. The conversation must still continue.
Here's what I wrote a week ago.
If the Nationals offer a deal resembling former top prospect INF Anthony Rendon (Tigers would have a Ron & Ren-dohn), a choice of inexpensive RPs - Fernando Abad or Tanner Roark - and probably two of the Nats top prospects, beginning with a guy who had the best stuff of any pitcher in the 2012 draft, Lucas Golito, then I'm all ears.
From MLBTraderumors today, for David Price. Price is a year younger and further away from free agency, but the proposed trade is similar.
The most telling stat from the Pistons game last night wasn't the misleading final score of 113 to 95. It was never that close.
Remember the talk last year of Kevin Durant joining a club of some of the game's most efficient shooters? Nash, Bird, Miller, Price Dirk, and then Durant as part of the 50-40-90 club. FGs-3s-FTs.
Golden State had a cotton piercing 60-50-80 last night of their own against the Pistons and even THAT wasn't the most impressive performance of the night for me.
If you thought he'd been long gone from the league, you are wrong. The ancient Jermaine O'Neal, still hanging on for scrub minutes on a good team, notched 17 points on 7 of 8 shooting, and 6 rebounds in only 23 minutes last night. We all remember vintage O'Neal from his Pacers' day, and it was back bludgeoning Detroit last night. It was embarassing.
It was the second night of a back to back, out West, and their third game in five nights. If this was February, the dog days of the NBA season, I could swallow the reasoning of a team being tired, but we're 7 games into the season, so exhaustion hindering effort is not acceptable to me.
Common sense said the Warriors were going hit 3s like unguarded layups last night because of the Pistons non-existent perimeter defense.
Uh, common-er sense actually stated that there was no reason to bomb away on 3s, when the Warriors could conduct a passing and scoring clinic slicing up the interior of the Pistons defense.
Yes, the Pistons have better scorers this year, but the Warriors showcased a diversely skilled offense last night that carved up the Pistons. The Warriors have seen stingier defense in pregame layup drills than what the Pistons could pose last night.
The Pistons interior defense looked so lost by Golden State's artful interior passing - yes, against a poor defensive team - their jerseys might have well as read GENERALS.
Josh Smith, who from the end of the 1st quarter in Portland through last night had scored 2 points, was benched.
Benching your splashy free agent acquisition?
This is troublesome in two ways.
Just NOW, 6+ games into the season Mo Cheeks is recognizing Smith HAS to make smarter decisions with the ball!? This was his reputation before he even arrived.
And Cheeks let a known weakness of Smith get so out of hand that he felt the need to bench him!? That's quite a severe penalty for something Cheeks SHOULD'VE been managing before the season, during and in between games.
Brandon Jennings and his captivating 39 FG percentage - 27 on 3s - ways should be on notice now.
Chauncey Billups is about finished. The game's too quick for him now, and he doesn't have a good enough distributor (Jennings, again) to get him the ball in a position to quickly hoist up open shots.
Playing Villanueva on Monday was laughable. Cheeks has been around the league for decades. There was no changing, or improving, what CV is, and enough already with Rodney Stuckey and his 41% from the field. Those stripes aren't changing.
They were junk minutes because of the blowout, but in 41 of them combined, #freegigi and KCP had 19 points and 3 threes.
Drummond had a monster stat game with 16 and 14, 8 offensive, and only had two missed shots. He somehow managed a +1 for the night. I need him out of the starting lineup now. He was part of the circus show bad defense that plagued the Pistons interior, that allowed Golden State to finish this game by the Pistons first timeout. THE 9 MINUTE MARK OF THE FIRST PERIOD. 11-2 Warriors.
Jennings, Stuckey, Singler, Smith, Monroe
Bynum, KCP, Datome, Drummond.
It's 2-5, and of the Pistons four major summers moves - Cheeks, KCP, Smith, Jennings - I liked one of them, KCP. Time for this siht show to get its act together before this season turns into the ones we've become so familiar with, and that have emptied out the Palace over the years.
Good luck to the guy who wasn't that impressive as a coach in his prior two stops. Be prepared to have a sword plunged into your chest if this continues.
A single final thought before the last of the steam evaporates. If the Pistons had an inkling they could acquire Brandon Jennings when they did, or if they'd targeted him for sometime, then Andre Iguodala probably would've been the sharper signing over Smith and having two ball chuckers.
Jennings, someone, Iguodala, Monroe, Drummond.
If that'd been the structure of the summer, then there'd be just one poor decision maker- Jennings - and a savvy, experienced, unselfish All Star as opposed to two players with a list of weaknesses, and mostly out of position anyway (Jennings not a PG, Smith not a SF).
What a mess.
First the Tigers were interested in Joe Nathan. Exceptional closer...that will cost far too much for where they shouldn't be focusing financial resources. I understand the Tigers want absolutely certainly at the back of their bullpen, but at the cost of what else? Possibly enough to cost them Infante and be forced into an unwise trade of Porcello as an asset. How often do I need to repeat the final four closers of the postseason, none of whom began the year in their role: Benoit, Rosenthal, Uehara, Jansen.
I like Nathan. Not his price tag.
Now they're also interested in Brian Wilson. As they should be!
You can tell I want the Tigers, or any team for that matter, looking to buy low on closers. You should've seen how irate I was when the Phillies signed Jonathan Papelbon to the richest closer contract in history.
Vaulting Bruce Rondon into the closer role before the end of 2012 was buying low, but it was also driving drunk, while blindfolded down the busiest street you could find with equally drunk and blindfolded pedestrians. THAT decision by Dave Dombrowski may have cost Mike Ilitch his elusive World Series.
Bargain hunting through injured relievers last year, I'll admit it would've been a mistake to sign Ryan Madson. He didn't pitch all year. Joakim Soria may have worked out just fine though, and certainly better than giving laughably going down Valverde Street once more. Bringing him back wasn't a two grand slam death blow to the bullpen in the postseason. That happened much earlier.
What about Brian Wilson in November of 2012?
Wilson didn't pitch until August this year when he signed on with the Dodgers, but even if the Tigers had to hold on until they could rush him back, it too would've been more optimal than Valverde, and with Wilson, they MAY have won the World Series. Maybe.
Wilson's 2013. 18 games, 13.2 innings, 13 K's, 4 walks, 8 hits, WHIP of .87, and an ERA of .66.
Wilson will probably be less expensive than Nathan. Though not by much. And both pitchers will probably have fine 2014s, but if the Tigers sign Wilson, I'll wonder how '13 would have turned out if he'd been hired a year ago.
This is a follow up to today's earlier post on the Pistons early struggles.
For my money - and it's none since it's free - no one dissects the NBA quite as sharply as Grantland's Zach Lowe does.
Two Pistons tidbits:
Um, so, opponents have outscored the Pistons by 22 points in the 135 minutes that Josh Smith, Andre Drummond, and Greg Monroe have been on the floor together. Everyone expected scoring to be a chore as the Pistons sorted out their spacing issues, and Detroit indeed has shot fewer 3s and turned the ball over at a ghastly rate when all three play together — indicative of all the passing through small creases required for a single good shot. There's more in the link
Exactly what I noticed last week, and suggested earlier today. Drummond's minutes last year = #freegigi in '13-'14.
...Villanueva served as the power forward in those lineups, and it looks as if Cheeks has Datome pegged for that role this season. Watch how the Pistons have Datome lift up toward midcourt on this Will Bynum/Drummond pick-and-roll, taking a help defender with him:
Datome has started 0-of-6 from long range, and the Pistons benched him last night in Portland in favor of Villanueva. But the dude can shoot! He's not the quickest guy, but he's smart and he battles on defense. Free Gigi!
Please check out the whole story for early season trends and rest of the content on the Pistons.
-- I wish it were easier to scour through tweets of days gone by. But I found what I was looking for.
My back and forth with Vince Ellis from the Free Press.
It began with this.
@Vincent_Ellis56 lack of it, and being able to defend it.— Eric Chase (@Eric_Chase) November 2, 2013
I *thought* I learned IT after just one night, and it appears I was eerily clairvoyant.
- As strange as this sounds, the Pistons may need to outgun teams this year. The interior defense was as expected, allowing just 28 points in the paint (Pistons had 56!), but Detroit may not have a single defender capable of guarding the 3 point line, or any wing scorer who can hit mid range jumpers.
That's from the blog post the night after game 1 vs. Washington.
Through 5 1/2 half games...
The #Pistons will go as far as their offense can take them. The defense is horrid. Teams can avoid Drummond by bombing away.— Eric Chase (@Eric_Chase) November 12, 2013
With willing and able riflers like Damian Lillard (swoooooooooon) and newly added Dorell Wright, putting up 23 threes a game, and hitting a good portion of them, is no problem for the Blazers. That played out last night in swamping the Pistons last night in Portland.
Entering the Pistons game, Portland was hitting 42% of their 23 threes a game.
Last night, because of this...
@DetroitKoolAid they don't have a single good defensive player. None.— Eric Chase (@Eric_Chase) November 12, 2013
...the Blazers hit nearly half of their triples.
Overall, they shot 42 of 82 on the night.
Even with my skepticism about the summer additions of Jennings and Smith, I'll admit that the Pistons had accrued the most talent they've had since before the final pieces of the '04 title team were stripped off the roster.
That talent has translated to an improved offensive team.
The Pistons scored about 95 points a game last year. After 6 games, they're up to 102.
In '12-'13 the Pistons allowed 98 a game, this year, it's at 103.
If you haven't watched a moment of Pistons basketball this year, here's the summary: better offense, worse defense.
I'm not suggesting they're going to have to mold Kyle Singler (he's the best ex. I can find because at least he tries so hard) into the next Tony Allen, so that they have some viable individual presence on defense. But at this point the only defensive facets Detroit can show off are Smith's ability to come from Nowheresville to get blocks and Andre Drummond's size and athleticism in the paint. For all Drummond's oh-my-gosh (good) moments, there are still lapses. Even his presence can be avoided, by opponents aiming, and usually hitting, from the mid-range and beyond.
PHOTO CREDIT - GETTY IMAGES
I can bombard you with sexy advanced stats to prove my point, but that'll come later in the year. For now, you can see 38% on 3s and an absurd 53% on total FGs and know that that's hideous defense.
OK, I couldn't help myself, here's one nerdy stat; The Pistons defense is the least efficient in the league. They're allowing 1.32 points per shot. Worst in the NBA.
With their mammoth front line, the Pistons defense should have improved, right?
As mentioned above, if you don't ever have to battle inside against the athleticism of Smith and Drummond, and Greg Monroe's size, then no, defense did not improve. Opponents are running layup drills on the Pistons from 15 feet and beyond.
Barring the unthinkable of an individual perimeter stopper emerging, the Pistons guards and wings are going to have to push their efforts outward, puts hands in faces and shots, and do their best to funnel drives into their shot blocking strength in the interior.
Tonight in Golden State should be interesting for the Pistons. Will Cheeks adjust? He has to, or else the Warriors - with Thompson + Curry - will give some individual game three point records a formidable challenge.
- One more thing. I know we all wanted Drummond starting or at least getting more minutes. But I'm curious again to see a lineup that played last week. One without Drummond starting.
Oh, calm down.
Jennings, don't care, Singler, Smith, Monroe.
Drummond back in a VERY athletic, small ball second unit.
Bynum, KCP, don't care, Datome, Drummond. I mentioned this in the summer. Some combination of shooters surrounding Drummond.