Lions, Tigers, & Wings, Oh My!
By Motor City Sports Swami
The Lions have surprised us all with their recent movement in the free-agent market. Five signings on March 14th alone, plus the confirmation that kicker Jason Hanson wants to return for at least one more season. Are they building a winner, or is this a year where it is All-or-Nothing for the Lions?
The biggest running back on the free agent market signed with us. Reggie Bush, the 8th year back out of USC, who looked to be a bust in the Big Easy, then broke out in Miami over the last two seasons, signed a four year deal in the D on Wednesday just before noon worth reportedly $16 million. Bush fills a hole that has been in the Lions backfield since the retirement of Barry Sanders, a runner who can rush for 1,000 yards and have 30 or more receptions in a season. Look for him to fit right into the offense that has been designed around QB Stafford and WR Johnson.
Also, the Lions signed DE Jason Jones for 3 years, CB Chris Houston, and S Glover Quin to boost our defense. We also retained Long Snapper Don Muhlbach.
The Tigers released OF Brennan Boesch this week. Was anyone surprised? Boesch performed poorly most of last season. Besides, with players like Quintin Berry, Andy Dirks, Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter, and Avasail Garcia, along with Nick Castellanos waiting in the wings, there is no room for Boesch. He had promise, but it never panned out. If you are a Boesch fan, expect to see him land somewhere that is rebuilding that can give him full-time playing to develop his skills, maybe Miami.
The rest of the team looks solid. We won’t know the official 25 man roster until Opening Day, or just prior, but I am pretty sure it will look something like this:
Pitchers: Alburquerque, Benoit, Coke, Dotel, Fister, Porcello, Rondon, Sanchez, Scherzer, Smyly, Verlander
Catchers: Avila, Pena
Infielders: Cabrera, Fielder, Infante, Peralta, Santiago, Worth
Outfielders: Berry, Dirks, Garcia, Hunter, Jackson
You can quote me on that. It looks like a winning roster to me. It’s no 35-5 team, but it’s a good team. Repeating AL Central and ALCS champs.
The Red Wings. 7th in the Western Conference. Playoff-bound? Possibly, though there is a big pile up right there in the standings, with 13 of the 15 teams in the Western Conference only separated by 6 points. The big news from the NHL this week, though, is the realignment of the league starting next season, with Columbus and Detroit moving to the Eastern Conference. We lose our rivalry with the Blackhawks, but we share a division with three other Original Six teams: the Bruins, the Maple Leafs, and the Canadiens, with the Rangers also in our conference.
Next year, the NHL will have 4 divisions, designed to be more in line with each teams time zones, so Red Wings fans can look forward to more 7 and 8 pm starts and less late-night starts on the West Coast. Here are the new divisions:
Western Conference, Division A*: Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver.
Western Conference, Division B*: Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis, Winnipeg.
Eastern Conference, Division C*: Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Toronto.
Eastern Conference, Division D*: Carolina, Columus, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington.
*: Division names have not been chosen yet, though I wouldn’t mind seeing the old division names (Patrick, Adams, Norris, and Smythe), though the feel of these names may be gone, like in the Norris, Detroit would no longer be with Minnesota and Chicago. Might have to make that other Swami guy change his schtick about the NFC Norris.
I didn’t mention the Pistons…
I’m sorry, the who?
The Pistons, our NBA team.
We have one of those?
Yeah, they suck THAT bad. 11 games out of the playoffs. 23-44 record. There is no hope for them this year. Wait for the off-season, maybe next year. The guys on the court now could get trounced by Detroit Country Day. Hell, Boyne City High School could beat them, and they are Class C. Jose Valverde pitched better in the playoffs last fall than they shoot from the field now. These aren’t Bad Boys, these are REALLY Bad Boys.
Til next time!