1. Tigers fans grumbled about third base coach Gene Lamont sending runners into outs last year.
2. The Tigers make Gene Lamont bench coach and name Tom Brookens third base coach.
3. At the Winter Meetings last week, Jim Leyland said it was because Lamont has leg trouble.
4. In a radio interview yesterday, Brookens said that, in addition to the leg issues, Lamont had an eye problem last year.
5. Yes, you read that correctly, the third base coach had trouble with his eyes. Kinda concerning?
6. When asked, Brookens said of his third base coaching style in the minors: “I like to send guys if I think they got a chance and if they get thrown out, so be it.”
There you are, Tigers fans. I know the holiday season is busy, so there are your talking points in the event you want to get angry about something today.
(Thanks to Allison, who probably shouldn’t be up this early but is anyway, for the heads up)
A few weeks back the Washington Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment the morning after he threw his glove into the ground and glared at the Nats dugout in frustration after giving up a homer in a blowout win against the Mets. He was later traded to the Athletics. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said at that time that he thought Kelley was trying to show up his manager and that there was no room for that sort of thing on the team, offering an “either you’re with us or you’re working against us” sentiment in the process.
Today the Washington Post talks about all of the Nationals’ bullpen woes of late, and touches on the departure of Kelley as being part of the problem. In so doing, we learn that, on the night of Kelley’s mound tantrum, he and Rizzo almost got into a physical confrontation:
Rizzo headed down to the clubhouse and confronted Kelley, according to people familiar with the situation. The argument became heated, including raised voices, and eventually it almost became physical, according to people familiar with the exchange. Adam Eaton got between the two of them and separated them before things could advance further . . .
Might I point out that, the fact of this emerging now helps to vindicate Brandon Kintzler who, the day before, was traded away, some say, for being the source for negative reports from inside the Nats’ clubhouse?
That aside, the article does not make anyone look good, really. Rizzo had the backing of his team with the Kelley incident, but the overall story — how did the Nats’ bullpen, which was once a strength — get so bad? — does no favors for Rizzo. Mostly because he seems to have thought that they had so much extra bullpen depth that they could afford to deal away Kintzler, which he says was a financial move, not a punitive trade for being a media source.
Question: when was the last time you heard a baseball man say he had too much relief pitching? Especially today, in which the bullpen has assumed such a prominent role? Seems rather unreasonable to cut relievers when you’re trying mightily to come back from a sizable deficit in the standings, yes?