Tigers fans should calm down about the Granderson rumors

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So says Detroit Free Press columnist Michael Rosenberg, who reminds us that Tigers owner Mike Ilitch is an emotional guy:

Ilitch surely is furious now, and for good reason. He gave Dombrowski one of the biggest payroll advantages in baseball — the Tigers had the fifth-highest payroll in the league — and they could not even win a weak division.

Ilitch might stay mad and demand that Dombrowski cut payroll. But he also might calm down. And if it comes time to actually trade a prime player, especially a popular one, Ilitch’s emotions might swing in the other direction, and he might decide he can’t accept losing one of his stars.

I can’t help but think that all of these stories about the Tigers allegedly imminent fire sale are borne of one overheard temper tantrum by Ilitch.  In light of the team’s ugly late season collapse, I’d have one too if I were him.

But like Rosenberg says, Ilitch is no idiot, and more to the point, he’s no cheapskate.  He’s worth over a billion bucks. His wife Marian owns the closest thing to a license to print money for cryin’ out loud.  They can cover the money guys like Curtis Granderson and Miguel Cabrera are owed, and they have shown time and time again with the Red Wings and more recently the Tigers that they’re willing to spend money on their sports teams.

Upshot: I’d be shocked if Curtis Granderson is traded this offseason.

Bartolo Colon ain’t doing so hot this year

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If he wasn’t 44 years-old we’d just call it a slump, but the way Bartolo Colon is pitching right now makes you wonder if the end is nigh.

Colon was shelled this afternoon, giving up seven runs on ten hits and walking three in five innings of work to take the loss against the Pirates. That brings his ERA up to 6.96 on the year. He’s allowed five or more runs in five of his ten starts and opposing batters are hitting .320 against him. One of the big reasons he had been so effective into his 40s had been his low walk rate — he led the NL in this category for the past two seasons — but he’s walking more guys this year than last.

The Braves picked up Colon for the reasons a lot of rebuilding teams pick up veteran starters: to provide innings and stability until the younger arms of the future can mature. Colon, however, has been the weakest link of the Braves rotation.

At some point, every baseball player reaches the end. Almost all of them do it before the age of 44. One hopes, given his history and popularity that Colon is just experiencing a rough patch and that, by mid season, he’ll be reliably pumping strikes into the zone the way he has the past few seasons. But with each bad start he registers this year, that’s seeming like more and more of a stretch.

Braves designate Josh Collmenter for assignment

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Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.

Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.

Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.

Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.