More players trimmed from the organization as they try and get things down to a group that will adequately stock the minor league clubs and also leave a substantial number of players at the back fields in Lakeland for extended spring training.
The only noteworthy name in this round of releases was Rockett, a reliable player that continues to possess a few good tools, especially defensively, but was simply part of the numbers crunch.
Posted by Wez, 03/27/13
Release Greg Ross (RHP), Charlie Neil (OF), Dan Bennett (RHP), Carlos de los Santos (IF), Ramon Lebron (RHP), Shawn Teufel (LHP), Tyler White (RHP), Ryan Woolley (RHP), Tim Kelley (RHP), Eric Heckaman (RHP), Cory Jensen (UT), Jordan Guida (C ), Gregorio Solano (RHP), Juaner Aguasvivas (1B), Jared Wesson (LHP), Brian Stroud (RHP), Matt Little (RHP), Cesar Carrillo (RHP), Dan Killian (UT), Jonathon Roof (UT)
Rawley Bishop (UT) retired
Place Avisail Garcia (OF) on 15-day disabled list (heel)
Optioned Luke Putkonen (RHP) to Toledo
With a very crowded camp, a number of moves needed to happen to start to clear some space, so this roster trimming of 20 is just the first of the cuts in all likelihood. None on the list that were let go were incredibly surprising, and with so many players in camp, heavier cuts were to be expected this March. Lebron did have good velocity that he could never harness, while a couple of others did make appearances on the top 50 at one point in their careers.
On the big league side, Garcia's move to the DL isn't a surprise either after his injury, while all of the other moves were mostly expected. The move of Putkonen and Alvarez out does make it more likely that the Tigers will be keeping Drew Smyly in Detroit, likely as a reliever, as opposed to starting in Toledo.
Posted by Wez, 03/26/13
Agreed to trade for Rule 5 draft pick Kyle Lobstein (LHP) in exchange for Curt Casali (C ). Assigned Lobstein to Erie
While Lobstein wasn't overly impressive in his spring showing with the Tigers, he clearly has at least a few fans in the organization as the team made an effort to keep him, based on largely on the hope that a breaking ball that wasn't on display this spring will re-emerge. With more development time in a minor league setting, that's certainly possible.
Casali is a solid prospect, however, given the Tigers depth at the upper levels of the farm system in Bryan Holaday, James McCann and Ramon Cabrera, the organization had a surplus there which made Casali expendable.
Posted by Wez, 03/26/13
Returned Jeff Kobernus (OF/IF) to Nationals
A bit of a surprise to many, as it appeared that Kobernus was the leader in the clubhouse to get first crack at the right-handed outfield bat on the bench. Clearly the Tigers felt he just wasn't going to hit enough right now, and regardless of his potential future, they weren't going to risk that spot on an unproven rookie.
With the team still in need of a right-handed hitting outfielder, the Tigers will likely explore the trade market for the next week, with the fall back of option of going with Matt Tuiasosopo to begin the year and see if he can stick.
Posted by Wez, 03/23/13
Optioned Hernan Perez (IF) to Erie
While this announcement will garner headlines, none of the moves are a surprise. Nick Castellanos was never a serious contender for a roster spot in Detroit, given his inexperience, especially defensively, and the need to play every day. Castellanos will end up in Toledo (most likely) where he'll play everyday in left field and continue to gain valuable experience.
Among the others, Holaday was only a candidate for a roster spot if an injury happened or Brayan Pena proved to be an ineffective option as the team's backup catcher. Ortega and Below each had an outside shot at winning a spot in the bullpen, but the numbers were against them and their performance in spring camp sealed their fate. None of the others were serious options for a spot in Detroit, and were in big league camp to provide either additional depth during the WBC or simply around to get some time against big league caliber talent.
Posted by Wez, 03/19/13
Optioned Casey Crosby (LHP) to Toledo
Another move that comes as no surprise, but for those that are still optimistic about Crosby's future, this spring comes as a disappointment. Yes, he posted a 1.29 ERA in four games, but walked six batters in seven innings while striking out just three. After the "core six," Crosby may well be the Tigers next best starter. But that gap is wide at this point in time, as Casey doesn't appear ready to compete with big league competition yet.
Posted by Wez, 03/15/13
Released Brennan Boesch (OF)
The move to release Boesch is one driven by a combination of strong competition for the backup outfield spots and the opportunity for the Tigers to save a substantial amount of money by making the decision now. Boesch needs to hit a lot to justify a roster spot, and he simply wasn't doing that this spring. The versatility offered by guys like Don Kelly and Jeff Kobernus is likely to prove more valuable from a bench standpoint, and at this point there was no reason to believe he'd be a dramatic upgrade at the plate.
In addition, by making the move now, the Tigers will only owe Boesch around $350,000 of the original $2.3 million he was signed for, saving nearly $2 million in salary. This could be an indication that the Tigers are gearing up to keep Rick Porcello and the $5 million salary he will carry for 2013.
Posted by Wez, 03/13/13
Optioned Ramon Cabrera ( C) and Dixon Machado (SS) to Double-A Erie
Optioned Melvin Mercedes (RHP) to High-A Lakeland
No surprises here, as Machado was expected to head to Erie based on numerous reports, while none of the others were expected to seriously compete for a job on the big league club.
Posted by Wez, 03/11/13
Signed Rick Porcello (RHP) to one-year deal worth $5.1 million
Signed Austin Jackson (OF) to one-year deal worth $3.5 million
Signed Alex Avila (C) to one-year deal worth $2.95 million
Signed Brennan Boesch (OF) to one-year deal worth $2.3 million
Signed Doug Fister (RHP) to one-year deal worth $4 million
Signed Phil Coke (LHP) to one-year deal worth $1.85 million
The Tigers have consistently tried to avoid arbitration with players, and the news of signing six of the team's seven arbitration eligible players is certainly good news to that end. The six players will combine to make nearly $20 million, most notable among them Porcello, who has been rumored to be on the trading block, and Brennan Boesch, who had a disastrous 2012 year but the Tigers still elected to tender a contract.
The lone hold out from signing is Max Scherzer, who exchanged numbers with the Tigers on Thursday, as the two sides are approximately $1.4 million apart.
Reports from Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Jason Beck of MLB.com and the Detroit Free Press contributed to the above information
Posted by Wez, 01/20/13
Signed Michael Hernandez (LF) to minor league contract
Signed Michael Dubee (RHP) to minor league contract
Signed Pat Misch (LHP) to minor league contract
Posted by Wez, 01/10/13
Signed Luke Summer (LHP) to minor league contract
Gustavo Nunez (SS) returned to Tigers from Diamondbacks
Posted by Wez, 12/21/12
Released Adam Wilk (LHP), sell contract team in Korean Baseball League
Out-right Matt Hoffman (LHP) to Toledo
With the additions of Pena and Sanchez, the Tigers needed to clear roster spots, and Hoffman and Wilk were among the easiest to let go. Hoffman still has potential as a left-hander out of the bullpen, but wasn't in high demand, while Wilk had likely fallen out of the Tigers plans as he continued to be successful in Triple-A, but couldn't translate that to big league success.
The 40-man roster now sits at exactly 40 members, so any other moves the Tigers make to the roster will require a corresponding move as well.
Posted by Wez, 12/19/12
Tigers re-sign Anibal Sanchez (RHSP) to five-year deal worth $80 million
The Tigers seemed interested in bringing back Sanchez, but seemed unwilling to go beyond a four-year deal in the neighborhood of $50 million. That is, up until the Chicago Cubs made a five-year, $75 million offer, forcing the Tigers hand. Whether you consider it the Tigers blinking or just only willing to pay what the market would give him is up to debate, but either way, the Tigers came to the table and gave Sanchez the big money deal, solidifying another spot in the rotation for the foreseeable future.
With the move, it's likely that the Tigers will move one of their other starting pitchers, most assume it will be Rick Porcello, who hasn't quite lived up to expectations since debuting in 2009, but has also been hampered by a porous infield defense.
Posted by Wez, 12/14/12
Tigers sign Brayan Pena (C ) to one-year deal
The Tigers maintained that they were content with Bryan Holaday as the team's backup catcher, but Pena gives them a more reliable option as an experienced backup. Holaday could still compete for the position, but will more likely be the everyday catcher in Toledo, and be the man called upon should someone get hurt.
Posted by Wez, 12/10/12
Tigers acquired Boston Red Sox Rule 5 selection Jeff Kobernus (2B) (selected from Washington Nationals) in exchange for Justin Henry (UT)
Tigers acquired New York Mets Rule 5 selection Kyle Lobstein (LHP) (selected from Tampa Bay Rays) in exchange for cash considerations
Tigers lose Jay Voss (LHP) to St. Louis Cardinals in Triple-A Rule 5 draft
Tigers lose Efrain Nieves (LHP) to Toronto Blue Jays in Triple-A Rule 5 draft
Tigers select Eliezer Mesa (OF) from Oakland Athletics in Triple-A Rule 5 draft
After years of remaining mostly quiet in the Rule 5 draft while making big splashes at the Winter Meetings with trades and free agent signings, the Tigers reversed their tune this year, adding two players to the 40-man roster via trades from the Rule 5 Draft.
Kobernus is a speedy infielder that has played almost exclusively at second base since being drafted out of Cal in 2009, but was being viewed as a potential #2 hitter in the Nationals organization, before they elected to leave him unprotected. He'll likely compete for a reserve infielder role with the team, in addition to Ramon Santiago and Danny Worth.
Lobstein has been mostly effective as a starter for the Rays, but will likely be looked at for one of the two left-hander relief spots in the bullpen for the Tigers this spring.
In the Triple-A portion of the draft, the Tigers lost a pair of left-handers in Efrain Nieves and Jay Voss, while adding speedy outfielder Eliezer Mesa. Voss is still rehabbing in Lakeland from midseason surgery, but had potential prior to going under the knife. Nieves had a very good year at Connecticut, but has never pitched above A-ball and is 23 years old.
Mesa hit .255 across three levels for the Athletics last season, posting a .641 OPS with 25 stolen bases.
Posted by Wez, 12/06/12
Traded Andrew Oliver (LHP) to Pittsburgh in exchange for minor league catcher Ramon Cabrera
The organization had clearly soured on Oliver after another disappointing season in which he struggled to maintain consistency, or see any development with his breaking pitch or the control of his power fastball. The move provides Oliver with the chance for a fresh start. On the flip side, the Tigers acquirinig Cabrera is a bit of an odd exchange as well. The Tigers have already invested heavily in the position in recent years in the draft, and their big league starter is just 26-years old. Cabrera is not a high ceiling player, but does appear to make the upper levels of the farm system more crowded at catcher. A bit odd, but a relatively low impact move in all likelihood.
Posted by Wez, 12/06/12
Signed the following players to minor league contracts for 2013:
RHP Trevor Bell
RHP Cesar Carrillo
RHP Shane Dyer
RHP Shawn Hill
RHP Micah Kellogg
RHP David Kopp
RHP Victor Larez
RHP Carlos Monasterios
RHP Jesse Todd
LHP Jose Alvarez
LHP Ramon Garcia
LHP Efrain Nieves
C Brad Davis
IF Argenis Diaz
IF John Lindsey
1B Lance Durham
UT Marcus Lemon
UT Kevin Russo
UT Matt Tuiasosopo
In adding their list of minor league free agents, Tigers fans familiar with the farm system will see a number of familiar names, including returning veterans like Lemon and Durham, as well as Argenis Diaz, who has been solid at short for Toledo the past two years. Shawn Hill is a veteran that pitched for the Blue Jays both in 2010 and 2012 and could add depth in Toledo. Carlos Monasterios is another arm to watch, as he was solid for the Dodgers in 2010, before undergoing surgeries in 2011 and 2012 for Tommy John surgery and to repair his ulnar nerve.
Posted by Wez, 11/26/12
Release Ryan Raburn (UT)
Outright contract of Tyler Stohr (RHP) to Toledo
Purchase contract of Bruce Rondon (RHP) from Toledo and place on 40-man roster
Purchase contract of Melvin Mercedes (RHP) from Lakeland and place on 40-man roster
Purchase contract of Dixon Machado (SS) from Lakeland and place on 40-man roster
Acknowledging that adding Rondon was a no-brainer, the Tigers also elected to protect Mercedes and Machado from the Rule 5 draft, clearing space by officially releasing Raburn after his dismal 2012 season and outrighting Stohr after be again battled injury issues. Mercedes remains a high potential guy that the Tigers wanted to protect, while Machado is a classic case of trying to protect a player susceptible to being snagged and stashed on a roster as a utility infielder for a year. The risk on losing either was low, but given that the roster space was easily made available, it's a good decision to play it safe and protect both.
Posted by Wez, 11/20/12
Signed Torii Hunter (OF) to two-year, $26 million deal
Hunter quickly became a top priority for the Tigers, and the Tigers a top priority for Hunter as he quickly narrowed down his options, sought out Detroit, and agreed to the two-year deal within a day of his visit. Hunter had an outstanding 2012 season with the Angels, and while he might struggle to duplicate that performance, he'll provide the Tigers with a steady presence in right field and in the middle of the Tigers lineup.
Posted by Wez, 11/16/12