October 6, 2017

Episode 72: Exit Stage Left

Well this is it, friends, it's our final episode of The Voice of the Turtle. All good things must come to an end eventually, so after three fun-filled years of Detroit Tigers podcasting, HookSlide and Rob are hanging up their cleats. A huge thank-you to all of our listeners, especially the ones who were there from the start and provided us with so much feedback and interaction. You truly were "the other half of the conversation!"

Before we go, however, here's one last episode: HookSlide and Rob talk about the 2017 Tigers and whether this season can be considered a success in any way (spoiler: it can, if you squint). The team was long overdue to start a true rebuild, and 2017 pushed them -- finally and fully -- down that path. As a bonus, the team will get the first overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft, and we talk about why that's a really good thing, above and beyond the obvious "we'd like to have that first overall pick."

We also talk about the end of the Ausmus Regime and what comes next, who the Tigers could and should hire, and whether that even matters for the immediate future. And of course, we tackle questions from our listeners, including "Why do you hate us?"

Topics in this week's episode include:
- Was 2017 a good year for the Tigers?
- It's never too early to think about the 2018 MLB draft
- Favorite memories from recent years of Tigers' dominance
- Why Rob really, really needs the Houston Astros to win the World Series
- Brad Ausmus is out, and probably all of his coaches with him -- now what?
- Just how brutal is 2018 going to be?

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Have you tuned out on the 2017 Detroit Tigers? We here at The Voice of the Turtle don't blame you. The Tigers have fallen well behind the pack in the AL playoff race, and are now playing for 2018 and beyond. Victor Martinez is on the disabled list again, Joe Jimenez is all out of whack, and Miguel Cabrera is a below replacement level player. Things suck.

But baseball is still happening, and we're still going to watch.

On this week's episode, Rob and HookSlide delve into everything that is going wrong with the Tigers right now. They explore what the injuries mean for this Tigers roster, speculate on Justin Upton's future in Detroit, and re-live the Brawl of the Century with the New York Yankees from last week. And since we can only take so much negativity, we also look at Mikie Mahtook's breakout and fawn over some of the Tigers' new prospects.

Topics in this week's episode include:
- Are you rooting for wins or losses?
- Victor Martinez has a bad heart
- Justin Upton: Tiger in 2018?
- Justin Verlander is good again!
- Miguel Cabrera is not
- Is Mikie Mahtook for real?
- Prospectzzzzz (and the Arizona Fall League rosters)
- Listener questions!
- Which new prospect are you most excited about?

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With the excitement of the trade deadline fading this week, it's time to turn our attentions to ... anything but actual Tigers baseball. This is a time for looking forward to the future, reflecting on the past, and drinking as much Two-Hearted Ale as it takes to survive the present. Ok, that may be a bit dramatic, but seriously, let's keep our eyes on the horizon.

To help with all of that, HookSlide is joined by two special guests in this episode. "Skitch" is the most under-the-radar Tigers-based Twitter follow on the planet (follow him @SkitchP), and he brings a wealth of smart, rational, historically-rooted information to the show as we discuss the results of the trade deadline, assess the short tenure of Al Avila so far, recall a lot of players you've probably forgotten about, and try to avoid a massive rain storm.

In the 7th Inning Kvetch, we chat with Tom Reisenweber, local sportswriter for the Tigers AA affiliate, the Erie SeaWolves. Tom catches us up on the latest influx of new talent, the progress of guys like Michael Gerber, Christin Stewart, Beau Burrows, and yes, Steven Moya, and evaluates the growing value of better coaching at the Tigers' minor league levels.

Topics in this week's episode include:
-Remember Melvin Nieves? Andy Van Hekken? Tim Belcher? Humberto Sánchez?
-Playing a Fantasy Sports simulator doesn't make you smarter than a real GM
-Justin Verlander's contract is a win-win
-Why salary-dumping is a bad idea for the Tigers
-"Let the kids play" may not be a great strategy
-These are not your 2003 Tigers
-Twitter made the Alex Avila trade happen
-Two teams that need to be "disbanded and possibly executed"
-It's ok to root for the Cubs now
-The Tigers' minor league coaching is indeed getting better
-Lance Parrish: X-Factor
-Don't give up on Steven Moya just yet
-When is Michael Gerber coming back???

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The 2017 Major League Baseball trade deadline concluded just hours ago, and the Detroit Tigers and Al Avila did not fail to make another move, completing a trade with the Chicago Cubs that sent Justin Wilson and Alex Avila to the Windy City in exchange for Triple A prospect Jaimer Candelario, Low A prospect Isaac Paredes, and a Player To Be Named Later (unless it's just cash, which is just fine, thank you).

In this "emergency" edition of the podcast, HookSlide is joined once again by Brian Sakowski, National Scouting Coordinator for Perfect Game USA, to talk about the new prospects the Tigers received in the deal and what this means for the future. Brian breaks down Candelario's tools from an offensive and defensive perspective, and looks at Paredes' very impressive offensive output at Single A, made all the more impressive by the fact that Paredes is "not even 18-and-a-half yet."

Oh, and then there's the little matter of Lynn Henning saying recently that next year's Tigers bullpen could easily include three rookies: Joe Jimenez (recalled to Detroit in the wake of the Justin Wilson trade), Bryan Garcia, and Jairo Labourt. HookSlide and Brian go over the stats and scouting profiles of these three power arms and see how well Henning's prediction holds up (spoiler: pretty well, actually).

And then just for fun, there's a quick overview of some of the other prospects who are making a buzz in the Tigers' system, including Zac Reininger and Derek Hill.

Topics in this week's episode include:
- It's "JAY-mer," not "HIGH-mer"
- The Tigers just over-stocked on middle infielders, and that's 100% ok
- Turns out Al Avila was right about a lot of things
- Jaimer Candelario is your Third Baseman of the Future
- Wait, Omar Infante is still in the organization?
- Isaac Paredes is not only good, he's very, very 18 years old
- Bryan Garcia's ridiculously rapid ascent
- Jairo Labourt has a fabulously big arm
- Derek Hill is an "absolute f*****g impact defender"

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As the legendary poets of Twisted Sister once said, "We're not gonna take it anymore!" That's the theme on this week's episode of The Voice of the Turtle. With the team mired in mediocrity and worse days on the horizon, Tigers fans are searching for answers. What will the team do at the trade deadline? Will Brad Ausmus be around in 2018? When will the Tigers be competitive again?

In order to answer these questions, we asked for help. Chris Castellani, host of the Baseball Casanova podcast and curator of some epic post-game Twitter rants, joins us to yell, kick, scream, and pout over how bad things have gotten in Tigertown. We discuss whether the past decade of Tigers baseball has been a success, what the team needs to do in order to turn things around, and if Al Avila is the right man for that job.

Specifically, we dive into a few deep questions. Is Brad Ausmus to blame for the team's current struggles? How much faith should we have in Al Avila? What in the world was Mikie Mahtook doing on the bases on Tuesday night? Want the answers? Check out this week's episode to hear them.

Topics in this week's episode include:
- "Oh, we're saying **** now"
- Mikie Mahtook's Family Circus-esque baserunning
- Brad Ausmus' long, long, long four-year tenure in Detroit
- What do we think of the Dave Dombrowski era?
- The upcoming trade deadline and all the doom it brings
- Justin Wilson's trade value
- If Justin Verlander can actually be traded
- Listener questions!
- Bandwagon jumping

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The Detroit Tigers are officially in "sell mode" now, and we don't have to wonder about the approach they'll be taking at the trade deadline. The news broke Tuesday night that J.D. Martinez had been traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for three infield prospects, Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara, and Jose King -- none of whom are on anyone's Top 100 Prospects list.

Needless to say, Tigers fans are furious.

But we're only just getting started! There's still Justin Wilson and maybe even Alex Avila to be traded!

Chris Brown of TigsTown.com and Brian Sakowski of Perfect Game USA join The Voice of the Turtle for this episode to break down the Martinez trade and evaluate exactly what the Tigers got. (Spoiler: they're most excited about Jose King.) What are some foreseeable outcomes for these prospects? Will they ever make it to Detroit? Will they be any good? Did Al Avila get completely fleeced?

The guys also take a look at the farm systems of the Astros, Nationals, and Cubs (all teams that have been linked to either Justin Wilson or Alex Avila) and discuss what type of prospect return would be reasonable to expect from those clubs the trade chips we have left.

Topics in this week's episode include:
- Why do the Tigers like Jose King?
- How long is this rebuild going to take?
- You should know about these Astros prospects
- You should also know about these Nationals prospects
- We're probably not getting much for Alex Avila
- Why is the Tigers farm system still ranked so low?
- Listener questions

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The Detroit Tigers' 2017 season is, sad to say, already done. As we enter the All Star Break, the team is only a game out of last place, try to somehow stay ahead of the rebuilding Chicago White Sox for the annual title of Basement Dwellers of the AL Central. This isn't where we expected to be, but here we are, and that can only mean one thing: it's time to talk about how to trade the most valuable players and inject some new, young, prospect-y talent into the organization.

And that's pretty much all that HookSlide and Rob talk about in this episode. Well, that and some of the worst hot takes we've seen on the Internet in the past week.

What can the Tigers realistically expect to get in exchange for J.D. Martinez? What about Justin Wilson? Can they get even more if they bundle those two guys together? How favorable is the seller's market this season anyway? We talk about all of that, plus listener questions, as well as our favorite Tigers-related All Star Game memories and some Home Run Derby talk as well.

Topics in this week's episode include:
- Justin Verlander is not as untradable as you think
- Why aren't more teams inquiring about JD Martinez?
- The Yankees got top-shelf prospects for Aroldis Chapman last year, but Justin Wilson isn't Aroldis Chapman
- Why you should stop listening to sports radio for the rest of the season
- Trade Michael Fulmer? Are you nuts?
- Keith Law isn't impressed with our top prospects, but he's wrong
- Favorite Tigers-related All Star Game memories
- Home Run Derby picks
- The hottest of hot takes on the Internet
- Brad Ausmus won't be back in 2018, unless he somehow is

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It can be difficult to find positive things to talk about when the Detroit Tigers are playing so poorly, but rest assured, The Voice of the Turtle found some! Unfortunately, they're mostly related to the MLB draft, which just wrapped up last week. Rob and HookSlide welcome Perfect Game's Brian Sakowski back to the show to discuss the Tigers' draft, including how top pick Alex Faedo projects in the pros, and whether surprising second round pick Reynaldo Rivera was a reach. Brian also dives deeper on some of the other picks, including why sixth rounder Dane Myers is a player to watch!

Alas, the big league club is also on our minds, and things aren't going well. The Tigers are under .500 in June, a month that was supposed to be among their easiest in 2017. They have a losing record for the season, and are just a half game out of last place. Things have gotten so bad that the team's approach at the trade deadline doesn't seem to be a mystery anymore; the argument isn't #TeamBuy or #TeamSell this year, but rather #TeamSellAFewGuys or #TeamBurnItAll.

Fun times, right?

Topics in this week's episode include:
- Lighting couches and money on fire
- Tigers trivia!
- The best Tigers infielders of all-time
- Who gets sold at the deadline?
- When will the Tigers be legitimate contenders again?
- Does Alex Avila have trade value?
- Listener questions
- The MLB draft!
- Everything you need to know about Reynaldo Rivera
- The underrated pick(s) to watch

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For some, the MLB draft is the busiest and most exciting time of the year. We aren't prospect experts here at The Voice of the Turtle, but we know some! After chatting with West Michigan Whitecaps announcer Dan Hasty and Emily Waldon of 2080 Baseball about the Tigers farm system earlier this week, we're back with another fan favorite in Part 2 of our Draftapalooza preview series!

In our second episode of the week, Brian Sakowski of Perfect Game USA joins us to talk about the MLB draft, which starts on Monday, June 12. Brian helps profile a number of different draft prospects, including who the Tigers are interested in, as well as some of the top prospects in this year's class. Will the Tigers take another college arm? Have they actually changed their draft strategy? Will they shoot for a high upside prospect? Brian, Rob, and HookSlide try to make sense of this year's draft, and where the dominos will fall on Monday.

That's not all, though! Brian helps break down the 20-80 prospect scale and how it is used by scouts, Rob gets HookSlide drunk (again), and the crew discusses a few current Tigers prospects towards the end of the show. It's another jam-packed episode, and a great preview for next week's draft!

Topics in this week's episode include:
- Steven Moya is still bad
- How to make sense of the 20-80 scale
- Is Nick Castellanos a plus hitter?
- Vodka shots roulette
- Who will the Tigers take in this year's draft?
- The Bubba Thompson Fan Club
- Alex Faedo, Tanner Houck, and typical Tigers draft picks
- Hunter Greene is a unicorn
- The Mike Gerber beer bet continues

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The Detroit Tigers are, as far as anyone knows, still playing baseball. They've won some games, they've lost some games, yada yada yada, let's talk about the MLB Draft instead. Actually, let's back up a bit and take a look at the minor league farm system as it currently stands.

To help HookSlide and Rob survey the current situation, The Voice of the Turtle welcomes Dan Hasty and Emily Waldon to the show this week. Dan is the play-by-play announcer for the Tigers' Single A affiliate, the West Michigan Whitecaps, and Emily is a prospect writer for 2080 Baseball. Both of them have a pretty good bead on how things are going at all levels of the Tigers' farm system, from West Michigan all the way to Toledo.

What do the Tigers need in the 2017 MLB Draft? Should they keep going after hard-throwing pitchers from Texas? Should they focus on bat-first position players? Should they roll the dice with another high school prospect who plays CF? Dan and Emily share their insights on all of this and more.

Topics in this week's episode include:
- Who's hot and who's not in the minor league system
- How's it going with that whole draft-a-lot-of-pitchers strategy?
- The Tigers might actually be really good at going after young, unsigned free agents
- Has the player development process changed since Al Avila took over?
- What's the new draft-and-build philosophy under Al Avila, and is it working?
- Safe drafting versus risky drafting
- Matt Manning, Kyle Funkhouser, Jairo Labourt, Jason Foley, and other names you should know
- Why the overall makeup of the Triple A team is about to change

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