Fair or Foul: In wake of blockbuster, Tigers now lack a true center fielder

Tom Gage and Lynn Henning
The Detroit News

Hey, Lynn Henning, Tom Gage here. Remember me?

Tom: I still read your stories. I also see you on Twitter, so when I begin to wonder if you actually exist anymore, there is substantial proof that you do. And that’s probably how you feel about me — because it sure seems a long time since we’ve been in the same press box.

I cover the games you don’t, and you cover the games I don’t — and that’s often how it goes on a traveling beat, but I’ll be sure to come over and say hello next time I see you at home.

This week is typical of what I’m talking about. You were in Florida for the first half of the trip, I will be in Minneapolis for the last half, including (ugh) the day-night doubleheader Saturday.

Here’s a pertinent question for you, though. In St. Pete, how much did you see a Tigers team in need of a center fielder?

Lynn: Completely in need. It’s why they took a serious blow Friday when they lost Rusney Castillo to the Red Sox. Boston knew what it was doing. Castillo has the speed, power and defense you don’t always find in a center fielder.

The Tigers knew this. Boston got the final, winning bid. Really bad break for Detroit.

Tom: Here’s another question that you’re in a better position to answer than I am — because it was a development that took place in Florida this week.

Does Justin Verlander sound convincing about being ready to start Saturday?

Lynn: He should be right where he’s been at any other point this season. Physically, he’s fine. Does that lead to a quality start? We’ll see. But no issues, physically.

Tom: Now that he’s thrown a one-hitter, can you envision David Price throwing a no-hitter for the Tigers? I have to say that I can — some time probably next year, in fact. Would it be a reach to think that Price will be the next Tigers’ pitcher to throw a no-hitter? If you say it would be, I’d be surprised.

Lynn: Yes, agree. There have been perfect games thrown with less command than Price featured during that Thursday virtuoso. He has so many pitches — all of them plus-pitches.

And, obviously, he throws precise strikes. That will normally get you a couple of serious no-hit bids. Agree that he’s now the guy to bet on.

Tom: You know, we’ve talked a lot this year about whether Max Scherzer will be back next season.

But how many more years will Rick Porcello be a Tiger?

Lynn: Definitely believe the Tigers will get him into a long-term deal. With his age and durability being so extraordinary, Porcello is a guy worth a long-term investment.

Hard to imagine he won’t stick with Detroit by way of a heavy extension.

Tom: OK, it’s nearing the end of August and kids in Michigan will soon be returning to school. Were you a kid who looked forward to going back to school? I bet 14-year-old Lynn was the hit of history class with a memorized Gettysburg Address. Maybe even with top hat and beard.


Lynn: I was probably closer to Andrew Johnson — Abe’s successor who got impeached. I did indeed like history, as well as English, but my favorite class was journalism. Our high school newspaper was The Torch (smart alecks suggested that’s what it should be used for).

I was a sports writer my junior year, and Torch editor as a senior. So, you can blame it all on that experience.