Out of Bounds Detroit Episode 144- Wandercats

Dan, Dave, and Mike bring in TVChips, Kenny Franzel to discuss his upcoming project that features our very own Dan Griffin! We discuss the death of Adam West, and how many “Burt Wards / Young Kids From Jumanji” that Kenny has lost in his amazing weight loss adventure. We go over Roger’s article on SportsRadioDetroit.com regarding how the Tigers could be buyers to compete for a division title. And other nonsense.

Tigers SRD-Reaching for the Big Tool

Brandon Day from Bless You Boys joins Roger & Chris as they talk MLB Draft and a bit of K-Rod.

A Walk Through Of Little Caesars Arena

By Pete Spivak (@sonofUSFLdad)
District Detroit is embarking on a project worth $650 million dollars. And from what I saw up close and personal on a private tour with my fellow members of the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association, every penny has been accounted with idea of bringing Detroit to Little Caesars Arena.  Surrounded by 50 blocks of living space, shops, entertainment venues, and parks, District Detroit’s new center piece is going to set the tone for “state of the art” in our growing modern times.
So let’s start where our tour group started, heading North on Woodward Avenue from Comerica Park (our rendezvous area) we crossed over I-75 into the outskirts of the Cass Corridor area which was once desolate aside from condos on the east side of the avenue. Nowadays, it’s a little bit more active because to our left was a huge construction site with steel girder skeletons all in place for the arena facade.  We turned left onto Sproat St. and made our way trough the construction area to the Northwest corner of the arena.  From there our tour group entered the arena, received some safety instructions and some basic facts from tour guide, and Senior Project Manager, Sean Hollister, and then on our way!
When we entered off the northwest corner, we took elevators to the 8th floor, exited and made a few turns, and there was the overview of the arena, just so awe inspiring.  Hollister started rambling facts, but I heard nothing, I missed that part, because my eyes were taking in a marvel of achievements.

We proceeded around to the east of the 8th floor to the media area. Joe Louis Arena blueprints seemed to have “skipped” the press box area, so it’s been since 1979 that the NHL media has had a professional area.  At Little Caesars Arena, not only do the writers have a huge box on the 8th floor, the broadcast teams will be on the 7th floor in their respective booths.  Plus in the southeast corner of the basement, the media will have a gathering area with full service kitchen, plus, Hollister also said they plan to install recording areas for broadcasters so they can edit and so on.  Some media members may wonder if being so high up will be a disadvantage, well, the media gondola is just above the first couple rows of the second deck, so you’re right above the action, and just high enough not to obstruct the view of fans behind in seats.
Fans don’t have to worry anyway because there will be over 1200 HD TV’s spread throughout the building.
We eventually made our way to main concourse level and thought we were entering outside again.  We look up, and see some sort of clear plastic ceiling with “lines” running through it.  I said to Hollister, “Wow, what the heck?!  It’s as bright as day in here, how is this all possible?”
Hollister went on to explain that the roof is an “ET FE plastic membrane,” which was invented in Germany.  The “lines” running through are actually air hoses which pump in air to relieve pressure on the roof with snow, rain, etc.  Plus the constant air flow helps keeps the plastic clean so that the illumination effect is not diminished.
We eventually made our way to the basement areas where the team’s locker rooms are located.  Red Wings have the center locker room, with plenty of space for dressing, and connected to that are their treatment rooms and lounge area.  Along side the treatment area is the Red Wings practice facility which looks like it seats about 1000 people on one side only (opposite the benches), and equivalent to most city arenas you see around town.  Out of all the features of the LCA, the practice arena is the most complete and ice is already forming on the playing surface.

Ah the Pistons, the late edition to the construction plans.  They haven’t been forgotten but since their area is newly under construction, we weren’t able to get a good idea.  They do have their own locker room which is about half the size of the Red Wings.  They will also have their own treatment area, with their practice facility being built, off-site, in the New Center area.
LCA also has a locker room for the Little Caesars team, and any other teams playing tournaments or games there.  No skimping either.  This locker room is complete with the same type lockers the Red Wings are using, plus they have their own shower and bathroom area.
All these locker rooms have to lead somewhere!  Well they do, they lead out on to the ice/court which was covered to protect from dust and debris.  As we looked up, we saw the area for the Jumbotron.  Hollister and the Red Wings said they weren’t allow to reveal the details, other than it would “fit in the space above us.”  That space to me, appeared to be about 35 feet in length on all four sides, so highlights won’t be a problem folks.
Concession stands will wind around the entire 20,000 square feet of arena, food options of virtually every kind, bathrooms galore, and oh yes, I believe Hollister said over 20 giant keg refrigerators. $650 million has been well spent as we saw some of the HD TV boxes being thrown away at the loading docks, which are under ground, and large enough for an 18 wheeler to do a full U-turn without having to back up.

The District Detroit is buzzing like bees right now.  Work is hard, days are long, deadlines are coming up, and bills need to start being paid. Hollister says there are approximately over 1400 workers on site per day, the keys are scheduled to be handed over on September 1st, and Kid Rock is set to open the arena with his concert on September 12th.
So the countdown clock has more than started…it’s about at zero folks!
Welcome to Detroit, and welcome to Little Caesars Arena.

To Trade or Not To Trade

by @rogcast81

Well, most Tigers fans want to sell, sell, sell to trim payroll and rebuild for the future. But what if I told you, the Tigers could grab a centerfielder to help them solidify a run towards the AL Central title and beyond? What if I told you he was on the cheap and under club control for two years?  And, what if I told you he was an All-Star?

Florida Marlin Marcell Ozuna is on the block as well as his teammates according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Ozuna makes just $3.5 million this year and has two years left in arbitration. His numbers are respectable: .329/.392/.569 this season with 15 home runs on the season and a WAR of 2.6. If you look at the Tigers centerfielders this season, here’s how they stack up:

Tyler Collins: .200/.288/.338 WAR 0.0 (DFA, resigned by the Tigers and headed back in Toledo)

JaCoby Jones: .137/.228/.255 WAR 0.2 (Sent back to Toledo)

Alex Presley: .261/.346/.435 WAR 0.00

So, you are asking, okay, who are the Tigers going to give up?

Well, the Marlins have a talented infield of Gordon, Prado, (currently on the DL), Justin Bour and Realmuto behind the plate but, the Marlins could deal anyone for the right price as their farm system is ranked No. 29 in the league according to Keith Law.

Here are some names in the Tigers system that could help the Marlins strengthen their farm system and the Tigers to get bolster its roster.

Bryan Garcia-Lakeland Flying Tigers

Garcia has been tearing thru A-ball and the former University of Miami closer could fetch some value in the market. With A.J Ramos getting older and the Marlins lacking some bullpen depth, Garcia would fit.

Buck Farmer

With Marlins starters hitting the DL, Farmer could fill in and be an effective starter in the NL. He has proven so far, this season at least, to be able to pitch. The Marlins do not have any go to starters in their system that are ready.

Beau Burrows-Erie SeaWolves

Ok, he just made it to Erie and I will probably get a lot of crap for this, but, if the Tigers are serious about contention, you must give up a top arm. Burrows has a makeup to be a No. 1 or 2 starter, something the Marlins do not have.

Mike Gerber-Erie Seawolves

Currently batting .303, Gerber has hit in all levels and is not too far away from the majors. It gives a OF to replace Ozuna and if the Marlins are going to just sell the team anyways, might as well give him some at-bats in the major-league level.

I have gone back and forth about this because the Tigers may not have pieces to trade for Ozuna. But if they are going to stick around in the AL Central race and be cost-effective about it, this could be an option to consider. It does not subtract any payroll off the current roster however, if the Tigers with Marcell Ozuna in the line-up and do not trade JD Martinez, it would be tough to pitch around.

Now about that bullpen…

The Promise In West Michigan

While much of the focus on Al Avila’s tenure as general manager has been on the performance of the Tigers, he has also been busy trying to implement the organization-wide “Tigers Way” philosophy in order to improve the way the franchise develops talent at the minor-league level.

Over the weekend, I had a chance to speak to some of the young arms for the class Low-A West Michigan Whitecaps, whose 20-8 record in May was one the best in franchise history, and who as a pitching staff lead the Midwest League in strikeouts, shutouts, and overall team WHIP. We talked about life in the minor leagues, and about how much this particular group enjoys playing together.

Anthony Castro:
Following Tommy John surgery in which he missed all of 2015, Castro is coming into his own. Castro spoke about the importance of throwing his secondary pitches early in the count and attacking the hitters. He was named the Midwest League pitcher of the week for the week of May 25th, and in his last two starts has allowed just six hits and one run while walking three and striking out 24 over 13 innings pitched. On the year, batters are just hitting .198 against him. He said wants to continue to build his arm strength as the season goes on.

Gregory Soto:
I spoke to him briefly and how he wanted to develop better command of his change up. This past Friday, he threw seven shutout innings against the Lansing Lugnuts, who boast the best offense in the Midwest League. Soto did not allow a run in his first five starts of the season. He continues to work on cutting down his walks, and has 52 strikeouts in 48 innings.

Austin Sodders:
Another lefty in the rotation, Sodders was drafted in the 7th round in the 2016 draft, and he has been mowing down hitters in the Midwest League. He hasn’t given up more than two runs in any start, and hitters are batting just .203 against him.

Alfred Gutierrez:

Another product from Venezuela, the 21-year-old right-hander has been solid in his first year in West Michigan, where he began the year in the bullpen before being moved to the rotation. He is striking out 9.95 batters per 9 innings, but the number that stands out most is he has surrendered just three walks in over 44 innings pitched.

 

Bullpen:
The Whitecaps have a history of great bullpen arms, including Jason Frasor, Fernando Rodney, Charlie Furbush, and Burke Badenhop, and this year’s club has continued that trend.

Bryan Garcia, who was called up to Lakeland last month, overpowered Midwest League hitters with 27 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched and picked up nine saves, and the club has had a few promising arms step up in his absence.

Jason Foley:
Picking up where Garcia left off, Foley is the team’s primary closer with starter’s stuff. He is hitting triple digits with his fastball. He also employs secondary pitches in a slider and a splitter.

“I feel more comfortable out of the bullpen than as a starter,” Foley said on Saturday. Standing at 6-foot-4, he has a commanding presence for the Whitecaps, and fits the mold of the overpowering closer well. He has issued just five walks and struck out 32 in 26 innings, and he has been showing promising command.

Zac Houston:

 

Teammate of the “Maple Hammer”, Jake Robson at Mississippi State, Houston continues to focus on pounding the strike zone.

“Just getting to the bottom of the zone and filling it up. If I can do that, I’ll have success,” he said.  He has recorded 29 strikeouts in 22 innings pitched, and he is is working on cutting his walks.

 

What is clear is that this pitching staff was a team that loved playing together. A few of players I spoke with admitted this season has been the best experience they’ve had in baseball. The Whitecaps have the best record in the minors, and one of the best in all of baseball, and that’s largely because of this tight-knit pitching staff, some of whom have the talent to make it to Detroit in the near future.