TigsTown Roundtable: McClendon's Fault?

Ready to talk Tigers? Want to hear the opinion of the TigsTown staff? Welcome to the TigsTown Roundtable! This week's question: Should Tigers' hitting coach Lloyd McClendon be held mostly responsible for the offensive struggles this season?

Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
Should Lloyd McClendon be held mostly responsible for the Tigers' struggles at the plate this year? Absolutely not. That responsibility falls on the man that put the team together (Dave Dombrowski, with a small assist to Jim Leyland). You can't change a zebra's stripes, and likewise, you can't completely change a hitter's approach at the plate. Hitters that have never worked counts aren't suddenly going to learn how to do it. Hitters that are career .250-.260 hitters are never going to hit .300 (barring a very lucky year). There have been a few hitters that have had some struggles tihs year, but at the same time, there have been just as many successes. As is often the case, if you want to blame the hitting coach for Curtis Granderson's struggles, then you also probably have to give McClendon credit for the great season Ryan Raburn has had this year. So, I don't leave the blame to McClendon. But, that doesn't mean come the end of the season, McClendon won't lose his job for it.

Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
Lloyd McClendon may end up being the scape goat for the Tigers offensive struggles in 2009, but it won't be fair. The offensive struggles of this season are not his fault. The roster is flawed from an offensive standpoint, and there is nothing he can do to change that. Granderson's problems aren't something created by McClendon. Polanco and Ordonez's first half struggles are more likely the result of aging players getting past their prime, and not something Lloyd did. Miguel Cabrera has been fantastic, and Carlos Guillen once reasonably healthy, has been solid at the plate. The rest of the position players are amazingly flawed in their offensive games, and expecting McClendon to work miracles with the likes of Inge, Everett, Santiago, Thomas, Thames, and Laird is entirely unrealistic. Lloyd McClendon hasn't been a problem on this team in 2009; what he has had to work with and develop, has been.

Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
While it is easy to point the finger at the hitting coach for a team's offensive woes, keep in mind that several players are known much more for their defense than in swinging the bat. Certainly, Curtis Granderson has taken a step back this year, but in the case of Placido Polanco and Magglio Ordonez (at least in the first half of the season), you could make the argument that Father Time had started to catch up with them, but they have been better in the second half, and Miguel Cabrera is having his typical year. There is no question that the offense has been painful to watch, and although McClendon is an easy target, a hitting coach can only do so much tinkering. Sooner or later, the responsibility has to fall on the players to make adjustments and get the job done. I wouldn't be surprised if Lloyd McClendon was let go, but if you're expecting a new coach to come in and the Tigers suddenly became an offensive juggernaut, I wouldn't expect it.

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