Good Freep article on the Dmitri release
The word of the day was "performance."
Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said that's why Dmitri Young was released Wednesday: "strictly performance."
In other news from the Ilitch empire, Little Caesars Pizza is healthy and Joe Louis Arena is state-of-the-art. Sure they are.
"I've said five times that we were not satisfied with Dmitri's performance and he was released," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland, and he could have said it 105 times and I still wouldn't have believed it.
Leyland was so unsatisfied with Dmitri's performance that he made him his No. 3 hitter Wednesday. That is traditionally the most important spot in the lineup.
In other words, at 1 p.m. Wednesday, the Tigers were counting on Dmitri Young more than any other hitter on the 40-man roster.
And by sundown, they decided they'd seen enough.
Sure, Young had struggled lately. He only had three hits in his last 19 at-bats. But Young has hit .292 with a .504 slugging percentage since his return from alcohol rehab in July. If he is such a hopeless case, why did Leyland put him in the three-hole Wednesday?
"I was hoping he would get a hit, obviously," Leyland said.
There are two possibilities here. One is that the Tigers really think Young's performance was so bad that they are better off without him. But if that's the case, Dombrowski hasn't been watching the rest of his team flail away at pitches for the last month.
The other possibility is that Young did something terribly wrong. Dombrowski said this was not a relapse. Three teammates said they had seen no signs that Young had fallen off the wagon -- no strange behavior, no showing up late, nothing.
If Young did have a relapse, the Tigers could say they were releasing him and leave it at that. None of this "strictly performance-related" stuff.
Maybe Young flipped out when he was pulled for Kevin Hooper on Wednesday. But if that's the case, none of the other Tigers seemed to know about it -- and they would have had a three-hour rain delay to find out.
Performance-based, huh? The Tigers owe a better explanation than that. They owe their fans, who have supported the team rabidly this season after a dozen years of incompetence. And more important, they owe their players, who were as stunned as anybody.
"I heard it was performance-based," centerfielder Curtis Granderson said. "At the same time, he did play well when he came back. Recently not as great. But he could finish up great. For him to be let go like that, it's going to be a tough loss for us."
Speaking of tough losses, the Tigers suffered yet another one Wednesday. They scored three runs to tie the Mariners in the eighth inning, waited through a 3:09 rain delay, then lost in the 10th inning.
The Tigers have now lost 18 of 27 games, for those scoring at home, which the Tigers are not. I have written that the Tigers are likely to make the playoffs, and I still believe that, but I would believe it more if they didn't try to win so many games by the score of zero to negative-one. Lindsay Lohan touches her plate more often.
In other words, they need a professional hitter in the worst way.
I guess that's why they happily trudge along to Minnesota with Hooper (one career hit) and Alexis Gomez (one home run in 143 career at-bats) on the roster.
And why Dmitri Young, who has hit at least .270 for eight straight seasons, is of no use to them.
To be fair, Hooper and Gomez aren't taking Young's spot. But do you know who is?
That's right. The Tigers have released Dmitri Young and replaced him with an empty locker.
Maybe they'll call up a minor leaguer to replace Young, but how would that help?
Did we mention that the Tigers are short on left-handed bats and Young hits better as a lefty than a righty?
Surely the Tigers have a plan. Who will replace Young as the primary designated hitter?
"I don't know," Leyland said. "I've got Marcus (Thames), I guess. I might DH (Carlos) Guillen."
Dombrowski and Leyland are obviously hungry to make the playoffs. I doubt they would release Dmitri Young on a whim. But Leyland must have had a reason to bat Young third, too. What if he had hit a home run Wednesday? Would one swing have saved his Tigers career?
The Tigers still have the best record in the American League. They still have an excellent chance at the playoffs, especially if they play well in Minnesota this weekend. They just need better hitting, especially in the middle of the order.
I don't know who will bat third tonight, but I assume it's the guy they are most likely to release.
http://freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article? ... 050/SPORTS