Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on October 3, 1993 · Page 54
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 54

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SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3, 1993 THE DETKOIT NEWS 13E GM: Tigers rot far away Decisions: Team needs pitching, and to sign Davis, but Walker's optimistic. Tigers General Manager Jerry Walker's conversation with Tom Gage of The Detroit News: Gage: Everybody generally agrees it was a strange year, Jerry. How do you assess the season? Walker: I see some good things, and I see some things that have not been too good. Overall, I've been reasonably happy. Gage: Especially with . . .? Walker: Some of the progress with the good year Travis (Fryman) had, the progress of a Chris Gomez to the big leagues, the fact that Alan Trammell stayed healthy, our catching situation the way (Chad) Kreuter improved the way he did to give us the depth we have right now. All of it together has given us something to work from. Gage: Not to mention finding a new center fielder? Walker: We have a decision to make there. Whether or not Eric Davis fits into our picture is going to depend on him and whether we can satisfy him. Gage: Have you already taken the first step of that decision? That you like what you see? Walker: Yes, we are happy with what we have seen. Beyond that, we haven't made any offers. I've talked with Eric some, I've talked with his agent a little. Gage: But this is a priority item, isn't it? Walker: I would think it is, yes. Gage: You're not usually even thinking about offers this time of the year. Walker: Right, but he's in a different situation. He can be a free agent. I think he likes the city; he likes the ballclub, but it's a situation where we have to see what he has in mind. Gage: Does the same go for the two veterans in the bullpen? Walker: Obviously you're talking about Joe Boever and Storm Davis. They came in and gave us something we've been looking for, consistency in that middle role, so we have to make decisions about them, too. Gage: But, again, has the first step of that decision been taken, that you'd like to keep them? Walker: I think so. We've been pleased by the job they've done. Gage: When this club was 43-25 in June, did you think it was going to win the division? Walker: I thought we had a very good chance, I really did. I thought we had enough pitching to keep us from going into a prolonged slump. But it didn't turn out that way. I can't blame all of it on the pitching during that stretch, because we went into a fielding slump, and we went into a hitting slump in some ballgames, so it was a combination of things. I can't just say the pitchers fell apart. Although when you lose 29 of 39, or whatever it was, you have to say the pitching wasn't very good. I'd be the first to admit that. But it shouldn't take the total blame. Gage: Most of it, though? Walker: Whenever you get 12, 13, 14 wins from guys you're putting out there every day, you can't be terribly disappointed. If we had caught a couple of balls, and had better relief pitching, those totals could have been turned into 16-18 wins. You can't expect more than that from your top starters. Look at all of baseball, and there aren't many teams with better pitching than that. Gage: There was some pressure on you at the time to make a big deal. You didn't do it, but was there ever a trigger to such a deal that you could have pulled? Walker: I'll put it this way, had I given in to the pressure of making a trade during that time, I probably would have traded the wrong guy. You have to have a game plan. You have to see what your club shapes up to be. Had it been one guy in our rotation who couldn't get anybody out, then it's easy to make a trade and take that one guy out but we went through a period of six weeks in which we didn't get back-to-back performances from anybody. So who were you going to take out, and how much help was a trade going to be, when everybody was pitching so bad? To me, we had the right people on MM I ,X tfr A-vto ; j -m ;, , I si V, ! , , ,M 1 DALE G. YOUNG The Detroit News Tigers General Manager Jerry Walker: 'We have some people we can trade, but I don't know that we would want to.' the club, but something happened with our defense and our pitchers during that time, and with our hitters to a certain extent. Gage: Do you foresee going into next season with the same rotation? Walker: We will look at some of our kids in winter ball. Who knows when guys come back the next spring what they're going to do. Gage: You've been handcuffed by your own roster in the past, but do you find that you can go into this offseason with more to deal than in the other off-seasons since you've been general manager? Walker: We have some people we can trade, but I don't know that we would want to. It will have to be a situation in which we strengthen the club. But, yes, I think we have some people we can trade. Gage: Do you feel vindicated, in light of the pressure, that you found some usable pitchers without making a deal? Walker: I'm happy with what happened but that doesn't mean the guys we picked up will be great pitchers next year. You make an evaluation about who can help your club, and often it's not someone who's a star. Gage: You have a decision to make about other players as well. Such as Kirk Gibson. Walker: Gibson, Davis, the relief pitchers, Dan Gladden we have a lot of decisions to make. There are some guys who can be free agents, so we have to evaluate who's going to be available. Gage: Sparky sometimes talks about changing the emphasis of this club from power to speed. Is that one of the ways you could go? Walker: Yes, that's a possibility. We effectively replaced Rob Deer with Eric Davis, so we have more speed just with that. It helps to change the look of our club although Eric can be a free agent. Gage: Do you like the thought of three-divisional play next year? Walker: I think it will be good for baseball. The format as it's presented right now leaves room for the quality second-place team to make the playoffs. Obviously, for one of those National League West teams this year, it would have been a big boost. It's going to create some excitement. Gage: Despite all our talk about the decisions you have to make, the club is set at most positions, wouldn't you say? Walker: I think we've pretty well established that with Fryman at third, and Trammell playing as well as he has, and Gomez contributing as much as he has, we're more set than we were a year ago at this time. Gage: But you can't say that a player such as Gibson will or will not be back? Walker: I can't say. Decisions have not been made on any of our people. We have discussed some of these things, but we'll have to look at it and see if there's a fit for next year's club. We felt there was not a fit the year before when we considered Gibson, then over the winter, we looked at our club, made another decision, and Kirk has given us a good year. Gage: Do you foresee, with the commitment Mike Hitch has made toward strengthening this team, that you'll become one of the higher-spending clubs on free agents? Walker: His idea and my idea about making it more fun to come to the ballpark is to win more ball-games. Gage: And the way to do that? Walker: I'm not convinced free agency is the total way to do it. But I don't think that it's ruled out in my mind or his mind. If this is the way we have to do it, maybe we'll look at it. Gage: But have you received any indication that a player, any player, would be beyond your reach? Walker: No. Gage: That has to be a good feel ing .. . Walker: It probably puts a lot of pressure on me. But that's what the job is about. Gage: Does the pressure come from those who'll expect you to spend the money once you have it? The media, for instance. Walker: Well, yeah. That's the biggest pressure. For instance, when we talked this summer about the pressure to make a trade, media and fans alike wanted us to trade for people who weren't available. And yet, I'm not knocking anyone for reporting what would be a good trade. I agreed, some of them would have been good trades if they were possible. Gage: What's the biggest need on this team? Walker: (Laughing) I told the Free Press a different number so I'll tell you 100 wins. Gage: What did you tell them 95 wins? Walker: Around there. Gage: So let's just say you need 10 to 15 more victories next year. Where do they come from? Walker: That's what we have to find out. Whether it's consistency from the people we already have, whether it's big years from a couple of those people, whether it's some of our kids, whether it's a free agent, a couple of free agents, I just don't know right now. Gage: With the nucleus of players you can put on the field, though, I imagine you can still envision yourself winning the division. Walker: We stack ourselves up against the teams that are winning, and obviously we don't compare well with an Atlanta pitching staff, starter-wise. And if you look in our league, at the White Sox and their young starting pitchers, people might say we don't stack up well against them, either. But when you add the wins up, we're not that far behind them. And when you go around positions by position and compare the depth and versatility of some of our people, again we may not be that far behind them. We just have to find a couple of the missing pieces, and I feel we'll have a chance to win with the nucleus that we have. Gage: You haven't been a general manager all that long. Is it getting easier or tougher? Walker: I don't know. Both. Some days you're comfortable with how things are going, other days they look more impossible. Gage: Do you take the job home with you? Walker: Not too much. I put in some long days, and I'm not saying I don't think of it when I leave the park, but I can get away from it. Gage: Can I ask about your own future? Walker: You can ask, but I'm not going to comment. I don't control my future. Gage: OK, so who's going to win the American League pennant? Walker: I'd say the White Sox. Gage: And what was the happiest moment of the year for you? Walker: I don't get real up; I don't get real down. Some of the days when we had better games, there were other pressing matters that kept me on an even keel and some of the days we played the worst, there were bright spots. Gage: That first loss in Baltimore wasn't the worst? Walker: I wasn't there so that might have been my best night of the season. Because I wasn't there. Gage: One more question. This club has been a pretty good club this year, and you found a couple of pitchers who can help. You also have a shot to keep Eric Davis so let me , ask you this: Do you feel you get enough credit? Walker: (Long pause). I don't do this for the credit. I don't think about that. I'm trying to improve this club, that's all. A review and preview Who'll be back? Who won't be? Tom Gage lakes a look back and a look ahead at the Tigers. Players Skeeter Barnes: Sweating out a job for next year but shouldn't be, as long as he doesn't get outrageous on the dotted line. Good season, Skeeter. Danny Bautista: After learning a tough lesson with Scott Aldred, Sparky Anderson once said he'd never again base a decision on a player's performance in September. But it looks as if he's made up his mind to keep Bautista next year based on what he's done the last three weeks. Lots of potential here. Milt Cuyler: If he's healthy, he'll probably become next year's Gary Thurman. , Eric Davis: I believe we're all in agreement. Sign him. Cecil Fielder: Anybody concerned that his home-run total has gone down three consecutive years? Not if he drives in 120 runs every year, which he does. Travis Fryman: How good can he get? Every season gets better. Kirk Gibson: Should be back, but why isn't anyone saying so? Better season than many expected. Dan Gladden: Has lost his speed but still a tough player who can help the right team next year. The Tigers probably won't be that team, though. Chris Gomez: Doesn't have to worry about a return trip to the minors. More than enough skills to stay. Chad Kreuter: Started the season as a backup, ended it with Sparky calling him one of the best five catchers in the majors. Not only his best season! but also better than anyone thought he could have. Scott Livingstone: Saw his position and his playing time disappear. Needs a new team. Wants a new team. Will probably get a new team. Tony Phillips: Just remember, Tony, when you return to Detroit in January for your Tiger of the Year Award, bring your skates. Rich Rowland: Still no assurance he'll be a Tiger next year. If not, they will trade you, Rich. Really, they will. Someday. Mickey Tettleton: If the Tigers hope to land what Sparky calls a top-dog pitcher, it will come by way of a trade. And this is the guy who would bring one in. Betcha we hear a lot of Tettleton trade rumors this winter. Gary Thurman: Came in handy at times but it's difficult to see the Tigers re-signing him. Alan Trammell: Not the best season of his career, but one of the most significant. Proved to everyone that he's still a heckuva player. Lou Whitaker: Typical good year. First time in a full season, though, that he won't bat 400 times. Pitchers Joe Boever: Can't pitch every day, but it looks judging from this past week that he'll be asked to. Tom Bolton: Had his moments, probably enough of them to come back if he doesn't get too expensive. The Tigers won't be interested in going to arbitration with their middle men. Storm Davis: Won't be a starter, won't be a stopper. The Tigers like him for whatever's in between, though. He'll come back happily. John Doherty: What a pitcher he'd be with a better off-speed pitch. Not a bad one, anyway what with a team-leading 14 victories, tio starter under the age of 30 has led the Tigers in victories since Jack Morris in 1984. Mike Gardiner: His future probably depends on the number of kids the Tigers need to put on the 40-man roster. Spring training as an invitee is a possibility. Greg Gohr: Hard to define his role or if he'll have one. Too young, and still too much potential to give up on, though. Buddy Groom: Hasn't won yet as a Tiger, and time is running out. In fact, it might have run out. Bill Gullickson: Ugly numbers, except for 13 victories. Had a great August, though and will be back for one more season. David Haas: Season cut short by arm trouble. Could be on the roster bubble. Mike Henneman: Struggled at times, always does at times, but his earned-run average was his lowest since 1988. Dave Johnson: Nice guy, but soon to be a former Tiger. Kurt Knudsen: Occasionally looks outstanding, but not often enough. Hopes to be pitching elsewhere next year, and probably will be. Bill Krueger: One more year on his contract. Missed two months because of his elbow but had a presentable season otherwise. Mark Leiter: Never mentioned in plans anymore, maybe because of his shoulder surgery, but probably because the plans don't include him. Bob MacDonald: Because of the scarcity of southpaw relievers, he could be back. Lefties have nine lives in the majors, you know. Mike Moore: Pitched three great games and a ton of bad ones. Takes pride in his job, but shows no emotion whatsoever. Including joy. David Wells: Considering that he'll want more than a one-year contract, this is one of the Tigers' bigger decisions. Says he prefers to stay but will be open to offers as a free agent. Fryman's move the biggest 'plus Next on Sparky's list of season highlights: It's the development, improvement of Kreuter By Tom Gage THE DETROIT NEWS NEW YORK - Now that it's almost over, what was the biggest plus of the Tigers' season? "Travis Fryman's move from short to third," Manager Sparky Anderson said Saturday, before the Tigers downed the Yankees, 4-1, behind Bill Krueger's best start of the season and Alan Trammell's two-run home run. Jim Abbott (11-14) was the starter and loser. "The way Chad Kreuter played was the second most important thing that happened this season," Anderson said, "but I'd have to put Fryman's move at the top because he's now at the position where he totally belongs. "It would have been a travesty if we'd waited another year or two to do it. He'll dominate the position both offensively and defensively at third. At short, he might never have dominated defensively." Kreuter's development made him "the most improved player on the team," Anderson said, "and one of the best catchers in the majors." Concerning the future, Anderson said he'll be able to fill all other vacancies next spring "from within the organization" if the Tigers go outside to find two outfielders and a front-line pitcher a "top-dog" pitcher, he called it, "someone you know will win at least 15 games even if he gets a bunch of bad breaks." Sparky said he's already filled two spots in his plans because, "I'm considering (Danny) Bautista and (Chris) Gomez as being here. "We have to go with our kids," he said, "because we can't go forward any other way." The Tigers have intended to build from within on other occasions, however, only to back off from their plans and settle on veterans instead. "We'll be competitive next year," Anderson said. "Going home, I already know that. We'll be more competitive than this year, but nothing gets easier. "Toronto will get stronger, not weaker, unless they just get tired of winning, which I don't think will happen. Detroit 4, New York 1 Detroit Phillips rf Gladden II Fryman 3b Fielder lb Barnes lb EDavisdh Trammell ss Teltlelnnc Rowlandc Baulislacf CGomez2b Al I H II Aid 4 0 2 0 .313 5 0 4 1 .267 5 0 0 0 300 4 0 1 0 .267 0 0 0 0 .266 3 1 0 0 2S8 4 1 3 2 .332 0 0 0 0 .246 3 0 0 0.217 4 0 0 0.311 4 2 2 0 .250 Unrtiri AB H H SI 4 0 3 0 .302 Gafiego ss Velarde ss-3b Leyritz 1b Tarlatall dh Stanley c l-Kellypr 1 0 0 0.286 4 1 1 0.301 4 0 4 0 1 1 .313 1 0 .251 0 0 .305 0 0 270 0 0.249 3 0 0 0 Nokesc 0 BWilliamscf 4 Humphreys If 3 a-James pb 1 G Williams rf 3 b-0'Neillpb 1 StankiewiC22b 2 0 1 0 266 0 0 0 .162 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 332 0 0 156 0 0.311 0 0 000 C-Maaspti 1 1 0.205 Tllill 36 4 12 I Tllill 35 1 I 1 000 200 101-4 It 0 000 000 010-1 I t IwVirt a-popped out lor Humphreys in the 9th. b-struck out for G.Williams in the 9in c-doucled lor Stankiewicz in Ihe 9th. 1-ran for Stanley in the 6th. LOB Detroit 6, New York 9. 2B-Maas (4. HR-Trammell (12) off JAbbott. RBIs Gladden (56). Trammell 2 (60), Leyritz (53). GIDP Fryman. Bautista. Runners left in scoring position-Detroit 3 (Fryman, Bautista 2); New York 4 (Gallego, Velarde. BWilliams 2). DP-New Vork 2 (Velarde, Stankiewicz and Leyritz), (Boggs, Stankiewicz and Leyrii .). htmt Krueger W. 6-4 If N I FJ II SO HP EM 11, 6 1 1 1 8 120 3 40 West: Braves, Giants even , going into season's last day ; From page 1E Bidding for his second straight Cy Young Award, Maddux leads the league in innings (267) and complete games (eight). He was flawless through the first three innings, retiring nine in a row as the Braves built a 4-0 lead. Terry Pendleton drove in three runs, after knocking in five Friday, as Atlanta won for the 21st time in 28 games. After a run-scoring single by Dave Justice, Pendleton also singled home a run in a two-run first off ex-Brave Armando Reynoso (12-11). Pendleton and Mark Lemke drove in runs with grounders in the third. The Braves made it 6-1 in the fifth when Justice reached on an error, Pendleton tripled and Damon Berryhill followed with a sacrifice fly. Atlanta added a run in the sixth on a walk to Jeff Blauser and Fred McGriff s double, and made it 10-1 in the seventh on a single by Maddux and Blauser's two-run double. The Dodgers gave the Giants one last scare in the eighth, closing to 5-3 on Mike Jackson's bases-loaded walk to Tim Wallach with two outs. That brought in Rod Beck to face pinch-hitter Dave Hansen, who set the Dodgers record for pinch hits this season. Hansen pulled a long fly to right field, but Martinez retreated to the warning track and caught the ball right in front of the low fence. Beck, pitching for the eighth time "(Yankees Manager) Buck Shoiv alter said the other day, and it made sense, that this was the year to beat them if we were going to beat them.r With only third place at stake, Saturday's victory over the Yankees still had its highlights. Krueger's eight strikeouts matched a career high which he hadn't equaled since 1983. ,,;.; He allowed a run in the eighth, but Mike Henneman retired Bernie Williams on a grounder to first with the bases loaded to end the Yankees' final threat with the Tigers leading by two at the time. Trammell's home run, his 12th, was one of three hits he had in the game. He's hitting .332, his best average since 1987. Dan Gladden had four singles and an RBI, raising his average from .259 to .267, and Tony Phillips reached base three times, two singles and a walk, raising the number of times he's been on base this season to 311, the most for any Tiger since Norm Cash in 1961. Notable Today is Ernie Harwell's final Tigers broadcast, ending a 33-year career. "I'll say a few words of goodbye," Harwell said, "but nothing like I did.twe years ago. Those were different circumstances. I'll say something, though " because it wouldn't be fitting not to." It would be like leaving someone's house without saying thank you." i It won't be the last time you'll hear Harwell on the air, however, His immediate plans include the American Leslie Championship Series for CBS Radio: . . . Mickey Tettleton had to leave the game in the second inning when he was struck on the back of the right hand by a foul tip. X-rays were negative, but it probable that his season is over. Since there is no day-to-day status on the fifial day of the season, Dan Ewald, tire Tigers' public-relat ions director, said only that, "Tettleton will be ready for the next series." . . . Saturday's victory was the Tigers' first in five games at Yankee Stadium this season. . . . Fryman's average dropped from .303 to .300 with an 0-for-5 day. He'll maintain a .300 average with only one more hitless at-bat. . . . Henneman's 24th save matched a career high. . . . With two hits, and an eighth-inning exit (which means he won't play today, either), Wade Boggs ended up with a .300 average (.302) for the 11th time in thelast 12 seasons. Henneman S, 24 1V 2 0 0 0 1 10 2.4 Kn reft IP I I 1 II SO Nf ERA JAbbott L, 11-14 7 9 3 3 2 3 100 4J7 Monteleone 2 3 1 1 1 1 34 , 4 J4 Inherited runners-scored Henneman 1-0, , HBP-by Henneman (Stanley). WP-Krueger. . , Umpires-Home, Kaiser; First, Johnson; Second, McKean; jlihd. Voltaggio. T-2;56. A 33.249. I How they scored -; : ! Tigers Fourth: Fielder struck out E Davis walked. Trammell homered E Davis and Trammell scored Rowkind grounded out Bautisia grounded out ' ' 2 runt, 1 nil 0 errors, 0 left on. Tigers 2, Yankee 0. Tiger Seventh: Rowland grounded out Sautista eirucfc out Gomez smgted Phillips singled. Gomez to third Gladden singled. Gomez scored Phillips to second Fryman struck qui 1 run, 3 hits, 0 errors, 2 left on. Tigers 3, Yankees 0. Yankees Eighth Barnes to first base Stankiewicz out bunting to catcher Rowland Boggs singled Velarde grounded into fielder's choice, first baseman Barnes to shortstop Trammell, Boggs forced at second On Krueger's wild pitch. Velarde to second Leyritz singled, Velarde scored Henneman relieved Krueger Tarlabull singled. Leyritz to third Stanley hit by pitch, Tartabull lo second Kelly ran lor Stanley B Williams grounded out 1 run, 3 hits, 0 errors, 3 left on. Tigers 3, Yankees 1. Tigers Ninth: Baulista flied out Gomez singled Phiiitrr, walked, Gomez to second Gladdeo singled. Gomez to third Phillips to second, and Phillips out al third center tielcW B Williams to shortstop Gallego. Gomez scored. Fryman grounded into fielder s choice shortstop Gallego to secow baseman Stankiewicz Gladden forced al second : 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on. Tigers 4, Yankees. in nine days, got his 48th save. He has saved all three victories in the series against Los Angeles. The Giants, who have won 14 of their last 16, will be trying today to sweep a four-game series from the Dodgers as the visiting team for the first time since 1923. Martinez, substituting for the injured Willie McGee (rib cage), drove in three runs. His double in the seventh off Orel Hershiser (12-14) came after Barry Bonds drew his second intentional walk of the game. Will Clark had his second straight four-hit game for San Francisco. His single started the seventh inning. The Giants broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth after shortstop Jose Offerman failed to turn a double play on Martinez's one-out grounder to the mound with runners at first and third. Clark started the inning with a double and went to third on- an infield hit by Matt Williams. After Bonds popped out, Martinez hit what appeared to be an inning-ending one-hopper to Hershiser, ' but Offerman was slow on the pivot and Martinez beat the throw to first. ' Jeff Brantley (5-6) won with four innings of shutout relief. He replaced starter Bryan Hickerson. The Giants took a 2-0 lead in the second despite hitting only one ball out of the infield. Bonds walked on four pitches and Martinez singled. Jeff Reed walked with one out and Hickerson had an RBI grounder. Another run scored when Darren Lewis beat out a grounder wide of first. i

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