Musings on Music: Best Albums of 2015

While this is primarily a baseball-oriented blog, we here at Musings also have other interests because we are well-rounded humans. One of those interests is music. In our many years of friendship, Travis and I have probably talked more about music than any other topic. So, since we have the space to do it, we thought we’d share with you some of our favorite albums of 2015. This is far from a comprehensive ranking of ALL THE ALBUMS, but they are albums we like and that we think you should check out for yourselves.

Hidden Hospitals – Surface Tension

Pusha T – King Push: Darkest Before the Dawn — The Prelude

Third Eye Blind – Dopamine

Doomtree –  All Hands

Haste the Day – Coward

Frank Leone – EnterWILD

mewithoutYou – Pale Horses

In Hearts Wake – Skydancer

Nights Like These – Old Youth Culture

Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly

No Devotion – Permanence

Suis La Lune – Distance/Closure

Vince Staples – Summertime ’06

Blacklisted – When People Grow, People Go

Loma Prieta – Self Portrait

City and Colour – If I Should Go Before You

Drake – If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late

Of Monsters and Men – Beneath the Skin

Mumford and Sons – Wilder Mind


What were your favorite albums released in 2015? Let us know in the comments section below, unless your favorite album was the new Zac Brown Band album, in which case please delete all your music from your iPod and throw it in the nearest river. Happy New Year!

The Tigers Should Trade for Yasiel Puig

Today on Twitter, I saw something that really caught my eye. Apparently a well-paid, unnamed player (whose name rhymes with Schmlayton Schmershaw) has had some words with the Dodgers front office about dumping Yasiel Puig.

Puig has had some problems since he burst on the MLB scene. Critics have questioned his hustle and maturity more than once over the past couple seasons. But the guy has an unbelievably high ceiling and as much raw athleticism as any player in the league.



I have a theory. A quick look at the Dodgers’ lineup reveals a rather surprising detail: Los Angeles has a crazy-low number of Latino players on its roster. And of those Latino players, the only one that offers a veteran presence is the American-born Adrian Gonzalez.

If ever there has been a young, talented player who would benefit from some veteran mentorship, it’s Puig. For this reason, Detroit could be an excellent fit for the talented Cuban outfielder. Detroit has two proven Latino leaders on its team in Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, and a young, Cuban-born talent in Jose Iglesias. Is it possible that under the guidance of some respected Latino veterans, and alongside a fellow countryman, Yasiel Puig could develop into the type of devastating baseball player MLB fans want him to be?

The Tigers clearly have a hole to fill in the outfield. If Kershaw wants him gone so badly, there’s a chance the Dodgers could let Puig go for only a moderate return. And if he can be had at a reasonable cost, I would think that Puig is certainly worth the risk.


Detroit Tigers Offseason Wishlist: Bullpen

If the Tigers plan to get out of the basement of the AL Central next year, there are some definite issues that need to be addressed. This is the third in a series of installments that will examine what the Tigers ought to do about their roster this offseason as they prepare to make a return to the playoffs in 2016.

Listen. There may be no bigger need for the Tigers this offseason than the need to upgrade the bullpen. The relief corps in Detroit has been bad for a while now, and last year it was just, oh man, I don’t even know, a collection of body parts? Yeah, that about sums it up. There were smashed together body parts that ostensibly resembled human people in the bullpen, and sometimes they came out of the bullpen, and mostly they were terrible and left the rest of us wishing we had never seen their faces, never even heard their names before, because, my god, life was just so much better before THIS FUCKING GUY came into our lives.

Things only got worse out there in The Land of Pitchers Not Good Enough to Be Starters when Joakim Soria, competent reliever, was traded away at the deadline.

The situation is fucking dire, my friends. Even with yesterday’s news that the Tigers have acquired K-Rod to close out their games (and assault people) – they still have a lot of work to do. Look. Aside from K-Rod, here is the bullpen depth chart for the Tigers, followed by actual true things about them all:

Angel Nesbitt (Toy Story character), Jeff Ferrell (only here for one day as a publicity stunt for an HBO special), Jose Valdez (oil spiller), Buck Farmer (his name is Buck, FFS), Kyle Ryan (recently fired by the New Orleans Saints, I think), Ian Krol (still, after this many years of being bad?), Blaine Hardy (magician/boy detective), Al Alburquerque (slider more devastating than White Castle’s are to your bowels), Drew VerHagen (capital letters belong at the beginning of names, DUMMY), Bruce Rondon (sent home for being lazy and fat), Neftali Feliz (wouldn’t have minded him a few years back), and Alex Wilson (good, but looks like Andy Dwyer).

The way I figure it, there are maybe three respectable arms in this bullpen (Wilson, Alburquerque, Hardy) and two more usable arms (Ryan and, I don’t know… VerHagen?). IRREGARDLESS, the Tigers are going to have to load up, and there are lots of options available in free agency. Here are some options we wouldn’t loathe.

  • Darren O’Day (R) – The most impressive free agent reliever out there with 11.3 K/9 and only 0.69 HR/9 last season.
  • Antonio Bastardo (L) – Has turned in a K rate lower than 10 only once since 2010. Yes please.
  • Shawn Kelley (R) – Had a dynamite year with San Diego with an 11.0 K/9 rate.
  • Joba Chamberlain (R) – Was an integral part of the 2014 ‘pen, but struggled in 2015. If signed, would need to grow his beard again.
  • Tyler Clippard (R) – Durability, playoff experience, and a yucky change piece make Clippard a viable option.
  • Ernesto Frieri (R) – Saw limited action last year and would be a reclamation project, but the Tigers would love to see a glimpse of the 2012 version of Frieri who struck out 12.84 batters per nine.
  • Tommy Hunter (R) – Lost his closing job with the Orioles after a complete meltdown, but his 3.83 FIP suggests he is better than last year’s results suggest.
  • Franklin Morales (L) – With nearly a 50% GB rate and some experience as a starter, he could be prove to be a valuable long-reliever.
  • Tony Sipp (L) – Mixes a fastball, slider, and changeup well enough to produce a career 9.72 K/9 rate and a 1.99 ERA in 2015.
*All numbers from 2015 regular season unless otherwise noted

As we saw yesterday, we can never rule out the possibility of a trade. The Reds are reportedly looking to deal Aroldis Chapman, and there are few teams out there who wouldn’t want the flame-throwing Cuban in their bullpen. Only time will tell what sort of wheeling and dealing Al Avila is prepared to do, but he needs to get busy pretty soon.


Next time we’ll talk a bit about some players Detroit could pursue to add a bit of bench depth. Until then, we’d love to talk about your bullpen suggestions in the comments section below.

Go Tigers!

Detroit Tigers Offseason Wishlist: Outfield

If the Tigers plan to get out of the basement of the AL Central next year, there are some definite issues that need to be addressed. This is the second in a series of installments that will examine what the Tigers ought to do about their roster this offseason as they prepare to make a return to the playoffs in 2016.

At the end of the 2014 season, there were questions surrounding the Tiger outfield. Austin Jackson was shipped away at the deadline, for one, leaving some uncertainty in center field. In addition, JD Martinez was having a breakout season, but nobody seemed sure if his emergence was the real deal. 2015 put some of that uncertainty to rest–Martinez is undoubtedly a baseball-mashing behemoth to whom the Tigers should extend a very tasty contract sooner rather than later.

With offseason additions of Yoenis Cespedes and Anthony Gose heading into 2015, the Tiger outfield was looking pretty darn good: there was power at the corners and decent enough defense, speed, and arm strength across the board to keep most fans happy. But when yet another deadline deal sent Cespedes to New York (where he devoured the NL East, by the way), Detroit once again found itself in a less-than-ideal position.

JD Martinez is, as I mentioned, good at hitting baseballs. Anthony Gose is pretty good at tracking them down, and is getting better at swatting them with his stick when they’re thrown in his general direction. But what the Tigers need is a third outfielder. If they wish to be competitive, that third outfielder cannot be, in my opinion, Tyler Fucking Collins. Collins is a nice outfielder, but he is not an impact player. Detroit needs to acquire an everyday outfielder who can contribute offensively in a substantial way.

How the Tigers will go about doing that is an enigma wrapped inside of a mystery with a question-mark bow on top. But as far as we over here are concerned, Detroit needs to go ahead and sign one of these three guys to lock down the third outfield position.

Yoenis Cespedes

We at Musings are firmly in camp let’s-make-this-former-Tiger-a-Tiger-again. Back in the spring, we projected that Cespedes would have a solid year for the Tigers. He did just that. But when the Tigers traded Cespedes to the Mets at the deadline, he went absolutely bonkers. He mashed 17 taters in only 57 games with New York and put together a .604 SLG in that time. Cespedes will be due a lucrative contract after his 2015 outburst, and rightly so: to go along with his powerful bat, he also has a military grade weapon for an arm. Cespedes is on record as having enjoyed his time in Detroit, and before the Dave Dombrowski’s firing there were mutterings that Cespedes would be back in The D in 2016. The situation has changed just a bit since then, but I would certainly take Cespedes back in a heartbeat. Will he hit 35 HR again? No. But he will run into around 25 of them and continue to rake with RISP, solidifying the heart of the Tigers’ order.

Jason Heyward

Sometimes it seems like Jason Heyward has been in the league forever, and I’ve heard many-a-baseball-fan refer to him as a veteran player. As such, I often have to remind myself that Heyward is only 26 years old. Despite his age, he does have six big league seasons under his belt, making Heyward is a unique blend of experience and youth. Add to the mix the fact that he’s coming off a really solid year with the Cardinals (.293/.359/.439 with 13 HR and 23 SB), and Heyward becomes a pretty enticing option in the outfield. While Heyward doesn’t pack the power-punch of some other guys on the market, he’s a far better option on the defensive end, evidenced by his solid career numbers and, most recentlyl, 24 DRS and 22.6 UZR in 2015.

Justin Upton

Outside of Chris Davis who – despite Scott Boras’ claims – would not help fill the Tigers’ void in Left, Justin Upton might just be the biggest bat on the market. He hit 26 HR last season while calling Petco, where fly balls go to die, home. He’s averaged more than 25 HR a year while posting a slugging percentage of .473 and an OPS+ of 121. Put simply: dude can mash. And we here at Musings love DINGERS. Plus, being merely two years older than Heyward, he’s still well within his prime and would slot nicely in a line-up where he isn’t expected to be the premier power threat. Advanced defensive metrics haven’t necessarily been kind to him, and he’s definitely a below-average fielder. That shouldn’t be much cause for concern, however, since he’s lightyears ahead of some of the so-called Left Fielders the Tigers have employed in recent years.


Next time we’ll talk about what the Tigers should do about their bullpen situation, so be sure to check that out. In the meantime, if you want to tell us why there are better OF options out there than the ones we mentioned, do it in the comments section below.

Detroit Tigers Offseason Wishlist: Starting Pitching

If the Tigers plan to get out of the basement of the AL Central next year, there are some definite issues that need to be addressed. This is the first in a series of installments that will examine what the Tigers ought to do about their roster this offseason as they prepare to make a return to the playoffs in 2016.

It’s no secret that the Tigers struggled mightily in the starting pitching department in 2015. After several years in which the five-man rotation had been a point of pride in Detroit, last season was a disgrace. The departures of Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello didn’t do much good, and I’m not convinced anyone ever truly believed Shane Greene or Alfredo Simon were the answer.

Heading into 2015, the Tigers’ rotation featured David Price, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, and the aforementioned Greene and Simon. Greene turned out three exceptional starts before completely falling to pieces, and Simon was inconsistent at best. Verlander was hurt for a good chunk of the first half of the season, and Sanchez was hurt for a good chunk of the second half. The only real consistent force the Tigers boasted in 2015 was David Price, who was dealt away at the deadline.

Playing to the Tigers’ advantage going forward is the resurgence of Justin Verlander who, over the last couple months of the season, was outstanding. He boasted an ERA and WHIP of 2.80 and 1.00, respectively, through the second half of the season, while racking up 8.3 K/9 over 15 starts. If the Verlander we saw from July to October is indicative of what we’ll see next season (and I think it is) then the Tigers have a proven ace at the front of the rotation. After that, however, are some question marks.

Anibal Sanchez is under contract for two more years, with a club option for a third. He has been largely effective when healthy, but has spent time on the DL in each of the last few seasons. On top of that, his once-fantastically-low HR rate (0.3 HR/9 and 0.4 HR/9 in 2013 and 2014) ballooned to 1.7 HR/9 in 2015, making him a rather unappealing option at a 4.73 FIP.

Daniel Norris was acquired at the deadline in the deal that sent David Price to Toronto. Most scouts agree he is big-league ready, and he showed some quality stuff in his short time with the Tigers. He is also young, talented, and under team control until 2022. Oh, and he is handsome.

But three pitchers do not a rotation make, which means that the Tigers have some shopping to do. President and GM Al Avila is on record as saying that the Tigers will be in the market for two starting pitchers this offseason, which is right and good. But who should the Tigers be targeting if they want to get back to the top?

First, let’s be clear about one thing. Dopeness levels would obviously be at an all time high if the Tigers were to go out and grab one (or two) of the aces on the market. David Price, Zach Greinke, and Johnny Cueto all come to mind. But that just isn’t going to happen. I mean… it might, considering Mike Ilitch’s current appearance and decision making ability both resemble that of a raisin that got lost in the bottom of your grandmother’s purse, but it probably won’t. So as much as I would like to see Price back in a Tigers uniform, that’s not what we’re going to be talking about here.

The types of pitchers likely to be pursued this offseason are mid-tier guys who can bolster the rotation at a reasonable cost. And lucky for the Tigs, there are lots of good options out there. Here are the three we like the best, presented in no particular order.

Wei-Yin Chen

While not the sexiest of 2016’s free agent class, Baltimore’s Chen has arguably been one of the most reliable arms in the AL over the last two seasons. He started 31 games in each of those seasons and pitched to the tune of a 3.54 and 3.34 ERA in 2014 and 2015, respectively, all while pitching in one of the least pitcher friendly parks in all of baseball: only Miller Park in Milwaukee yielded more dingers in 2015 than Oriole Park, according to ESPN’s Park Factors. Chen, a lefty, would certainly benefit from pitching in spacious Comerica Park, and would be a legitimate third or fourth starter in Detroit’s rotation.

Scott Kazmir

Kazmir was pretty gross in 2015, and as a result is drawing a considerable amount of interest from GMs around the league. His success boils down to a few pretty simple things: he keeps hitters on the ground (42.9% GB rate in 2015) and he keeps them in the park (career 0.98 HR/9). Kazmir did benefit from the lowest BABIP of his career last season (.273), which is certainly not to be ignored. However, with a repertoire that includes a solid change-up and slider that complement his 91 MPH fastball, Kazmir has the ability to keep opposing hitters off balance consistently. Injuries were a concern earlier in his career, but Kazmir has been relatively healthy in each of the last three seasons. If he stays that way, he would be a forced to be reckoned with in the AL Central.

Jordan Zimmermann

Widely regarded as the best of the second tier of free agent starters (that is to say, not David Price, Zack Greinke, or Johnny Cueto), Zimmermann has been a favorite of Tiger fans and bloggers alike. With good reason: He’s a top-of-the-rotation arm that’s put up ace-level production while being overshadowed in a stacked Nationals rotation. He is coming off a down year, but since 2011 he’s been a workhorse — averaging roughly 200 innings a year while amassing a 3.13 ERA and an FIP of 3.32. Make no mistake, David Price he isn’t–but he should come at a lower price than his top-tier counterparts, and entering his age-30 season should have plenty of productive seasons ahead of him.


Next time we’ll talk about what the Tigers should do about their outfield situation, so be sure to check that out. In the meantime, if you want to tell us why there are better SP options out there than the ones we mentioned, do it in the comments section below.

Back in the Mitten: On Living in Michigan, and Being Displaced, and Then Returning to Michigan, and What it All Means, You Guys.

All my life, I’ve followed the Tigers. Even though they were terrible for most of my life, I have fond memories of the Tigers from my childhood. I’d watch them on TV whenever I could; I’d imitate the batting stances of familiar players; I’d listen on AM radio whenever I visited my grandparents. As a kid, I never made a conscious decision to be a Tigers fan. I was from Michigan, and the Tigers were the home team, and that was that. I’ve followed them ever since.

For the first 25 years of my life I was surrounded by people who cared about (or at least knew about) the Detroit Tigers. Being a fan was required almost no effort on my part, and talking about the latest game, trade, or rumor was just as easy. All of that changed a few years ago.

I became a displaced fan in August, 2011. In the infinite cornfield of central Illinois, one does not simply switch on the television and watch the Tigers. Hell, it’s not even clear in that particular geography who the home team is: the area’s allegiance is divided amongst the Cardinals, Cubs, and White Sox. There were two things, though, that were clear. First, if I was going to be a casual baseball fan, I was going to have to either watch teams I hated (Cardinals, White Sox) or a team that sucked* (Cubs). Second, keeping up on the Tigers in any sort of active way was going to take effort.

*Until this season, obviously.

The last few months of the 2011 season were tough. I mostly listened to games on the radio, with the occasional trip to Buffalo Wild Wings sprinkled in for a nationally televised game. Still, I felt disconnected from the team I had always kept tabs on so easily. The season ended as Detroit fell to the Rangers in the ALDS that year, and I distinctly remember listening sadly with my then-five-year-old son and trying to console him.

“It was a good year. They had a good season. Next year they can try again,” I told him. But next year seemed so far away.

Making matters worse was the fact that the goddamn Cardinals went on to win the World Series in 2011, and I got my first real taste of just how fucking irritating Cardinals fans are. What an entitled bunch. Every year it seems they expect that the Cardinals will make a push for the World Series. They expect to win. That is the Cardinal way. I hope that everything that’s bad in the world happens to them and nobody else but them. If you’re a Cardinals fan and you’re reading this, may decades of losing seasons befall your team, and may a hailstorm fuck up your red Chevy Silverado beyond repair.

Going into the 2012 season, I had a plan: I ponied up for an subscription (and it even worked sometimes!) so I could watch the Tigers at home. But watching the Tigers wasn’t the only thing that was missing from my life away from the Mitten. I needed to talk about the Tigers. Sure, I had my wife (who loves baseball season so much, you guys) and my young son, but neither of them has the conversational endurance necessary to talk about the Tigers with me. I needed the be able to talk about last night’s game at work or strike up a conversation with some rando on the bar stool next to me, and I didn’t have that. Long-distance relationships are hard.

This blog was created to fill the void that was created when I left Michigan for Illinois. Here, I’ve been able to spout of my opinions, reactions, theories, memories, and random bullshit to anyone who cared to read. No blog can ever be a substitute for the real thing, but with a computer, a Twitter account, and the help of some friends, I’ve been able to turn this little thing into a place that felt like home. Musings of a Displaced Tigers Fan did exactly what I hoped it would do for me over the last few years, and, it’s been a lot of fun.

But hey, gettaloada this shit.


As of a few months ago, I am no longer a Displaced Tigers Fan. I am a Tigers Fan Who Lives in Michigan Again. Being back in the Great Lakes State has been pretty decent so far. Little things I used to take for granted, like walking into literally any store and finding Tigers merchandise for sale, suddenly seemed like gifts from the baseball gods. I fought the urge more than once to drop buckets of cash on needless Tigers apparel and knick-knacks. WHAT IF I NEVER SEE A MOUSEPAD LIKE THIS AGAIN?! I would ask myself, before remembering that I no longer live in a God-forsaken prairieland and also that there is almost no item in the world more useless than a mousepad.

It’s cool to live in a state where I know that other people around me value the same things that I do, namely, the Tigers. It’s cool to walk into my local Buffalo Wild Wings and know that the game would be on the big screen. It’s cool to have the Tigers’ Single-A squad only a short drive from home. But as great as all that has been, I can’t say it’s been all puppies and rainbows since I moved back to Michigan.

For one thing, it seems to me that when it’s too easy to be a Tigers fan, everyone is a Tigers fan. And when everyone is a Tigers fan, what you end up with is a lot of people who only half-way know what they’re talking about. (Editor’s Note: Some may consider me to be part of this half-way-knowing group, and are entitled to that opinion, but can also go suck an egg). There are lots of entitled fans, lots of mLive-commenter types, lots of DOOM and FIAR LEYLAND AUSMUS and IT’S ABOUT TIME WE GOT RID OF DUMBROWSKI. I have very little tolerance for that. One thing Illinois offered me that Michigan does not was the ability to maintain some safe distance between myself and those folks–or at least as much distance as the internet will allow. In Illinois, I was thrilled if I ran into another Tigers fan. In Michigan… well, I’m gonna have to talk to you for a few minutes before I decide if I’m thrilled about it or not. Maybe that makes me a dick, but I think it makes me selective. And also probably a dick.

Another thing that was hard about my life for the last few months of the season was that it was actually more difficult to watch the Tigers at home than it was in Illinois. I was still riding out the last part of my subscription, and my streaming device of choice is the X-Box. I do not have cable. Since is a little bitch, and only streams out-of-market games, I didn’t get to watch much Detroit baseball from the comfort of my very-much-drawn-all-over-by-a-toddler sofa. This is the epitome of a first world problem, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real. I hope to alleviate this problem next season. Also, to my wife: honey, if you’re reading this, can we please get cable next season? Love youuuuuu.

All told, though, it’s good to be back. I’m excited about the offseason and anxious to see what sort of moves Al Avila will make in the coming months, and I’m excited to be able to talk to people around me about those moves almost immediately. I’m excited at the prospect of being able to make a drive over to CoPa for a matinee. I’m excited to sit in the lawn at lots and lots of Whitecaps games. If there’s one word that sums up how I feel about being in Michigan for all of the 2016 season, it would be “excited.”

We’ll be around here on the blog on and off throughout the offseason, so don’t forget to stop by and see what we’re up to.

Go Tigers!

Misplaced Tigers Fan

God damn. It’s been a minute since I’ve logged in to the site. I mean, the Tigers were still winning games with semi-regularity the last time I wrote anything. You wouldn’t believe the number of notifications and emails I got in my absence wondering where I’ve been. Maybe you would. The number was zero. But still, I feel like I owe the people who might remotely give a shit and haven’t forgotten that this blog exists an explanation for my absence.

First, there was a logistical issue–I had no computer. My personal laptop took a nosedive in the spring, and I had been using my work-issued laptop to do all of my writing. I left that job in June, and as a result I was computer-less for most of the summer. Sadly, this also forced me to give up my position on the team of fantasy baseball editors for RotoBaller. I tried to figure out ways to stay on with them, but editing other people’s work with only a smartphone was not a task I was willing to undertake. The same is true with this blog: I was not about to write any long-winded posts with anything less than a laptop. No blog, not even this one, is worth carpal tunnel surgery.

On top of the fact that I had no way of writing for most of the summer was the fact that I didn’t really have time to write anyway. After leaving one job and securing another, the months of June, July, and August were spent packing, moving, unpacking, and trying to familiarize myself with a new area. I’ll talk more about that in a later post (probably).

With all the commotion, it was hard to follow the Tigers this summer. That makes me sad. Sure, the Tigers are shitty, but a fair weather fan I am not. I didn’t get to watch nearly as many games as I would have liked to, even if watching those games would have likely put me in a bad mood time and time again. With the season winding down, I feel like I missed a lot of the intricacies of what made this season so bad. I kept up on the team through highlights and articles, but nothing totally works as a stand-in for seeing the games unfold. I hope I can get back into form next season.

Anyway, all this is to say that while Musings has been awfully quiet for the last few months, it is by no means dead. We’re already thinking of ways to start putting out semi-regular content again, and hope that you will be around to read it.

Go Tigers.