Signed J.D. Martinez (OF)
In yesterday's WezBlog, we broke down how it might seem like with the need to carry two shortstops, there might not be room for Lombardozzi. The Tigers acknowledged as much on Monday, along with acknowledging there was a greater need at shortstop beyond Andrew Romine, who they added a couple of days ago.
Gonzalez in his prime was a very good defensive infielder who could hit for a solid average with some pop in his bat. The 37-year old is no longer that player however, and hit just .177 in limited at-bats with Milwaukee in the first two months of last season before being released. He had signed a minor league deal with the Orioles. From a need standpoint, the move obviously makes sense, but it's questionable if Gonzalez can give the Tigers much more than what the players in camp could already provide.
On a minor league note, the Tigers added an outfielder for additional depth for their farm system. J.D. Martinez spent parts of the last three years with Houston, hitting .251 with a .687 OPS. This could be an indication that team is close to keeping Tyler Collins on the big league roster, and a need a corner outfielder fill-in for Toledo.
For the latest transactions and to discuss them further, make sure to check out the minor league movement thread on the TigsTown Premium Forum: 2014 Signings/Movement Thread
Posted by Wez, 03/24/14
With just over a week before Opening Day, things are getting close to sorting themselves out, and while this move doesn't answer many questions, it does start to thin the herd of players in big league camp, with just 32 players competing for the remaining 25 spots.
Suarez was given consideration for the big league shortstop job with the Iglesias injury, but showed he wasn't as ready as Hernan Perez or Danny Worth, and with the addition of Andrew Romine, it was no longer necessary to force him to try and play above his level. Lobstein had a rough outing on Saturday, but will need to buckle down as he's likely the next man up should the Tigers need a starting pitcher, given the trade of Jose Alvarez. Jose Ortega remains a player with a big arm that can't quite find success in the big leagues.
The non-roster reassignments were all expected, especially the catchers, who were primarily just in big league camp to help support the many pitchers needing to get work in. Both Carrera and Crowe were given a look for a spot in the outfield with the injury to Andy Dirks, but neither offered anything they didn't already have on the big league club.
Posted by Wez, 03/23/14
Traded Jose Alvarez (LHP) to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for Andrew Romine (SS)
The hole Jose Iglesias left was obvious, and the Tigers made a move to fill it by acquiring switch-hitting shortstop Andrew Romine. The 28-year old made his big league debut in 2010, and has been up for part of each of the last four seasons, but has compiled only 174 big league plate appearances, hitting .250 with a .573 OPS for his career. Last year in Triple-A he hit .287 with a .758 OPS. His defense, while not considered elite, has frequently been considered very good, and worthy of a big league roster spot. The most likely solution will be the Tigers to platoon two players at shortstop, with Romine hitting left-handed against righties, and one of the other three (all of whom hit right-handed) to face lefties.
In giving up Alvarez, the Tigers do lose their default sixth starter, in the event someone is hurt. They also obviously lose a key part of their Toledo rotation. Alvarez posted a 5.82 ERA over 14 games last year in Detroit, including making six starts. Kyle Lobstein is now most likely to inherit that job, as he has the best combination of talent and experience to fill the role.
Posted by Wez, 03/21/14
Optioned Steven Moya (OF) to Erie
Signed Wynton Bernard (OF)
While he was impressive for his two week cameo with the big league club, there was never any serious consideration to keeping Moya on the team. He only got in part of a High-A season in 2013 due to injuries, and needs a lot more seasoning and at-bats. But despite that inexperience, Moya certainly made strides in showing that his impressive tools can translate to baseball production.
Bernard was actually signed two weeks ago, earning a contract offer in the open tryout where 120 players showed up, but only Bernard got an offer. In short order, he's looked like a player to watch and a name to remember.
Posted by Wez, 03/16/14
Optioned Daniel Fields (OF), Jordan Lennerton (1B), and Justin Miller (RHP) to Toledo
Optioned Francisco Martinez (3B) to Erie
Reassigned Devon Travis (2B) to minor league camp
More cuts came down, with five more players heading across the street to the back fields, leaving 41 players in big league camp, with just over two weeks until Opening Day.
The only mild surprise of the moves was the decision to send Fields to Toledo this early in camp, despite an opening on the big league roster with the injury to Andy Dirks. It was always believed that Fields needed more minor league seasoning, but many thought he would have been given an outside shot. At minimum, it's a surprise that he wasn't able to outlast Tyler Collins or Steven Moya.
Lennerton, Miller and Martinez were all destined to begin the season in the minors from the first day of camp, but given their place on the 40-man roster, were able to get a couple weeks of exposure to the big league environment, which can only help in their development. The same can be said for Travis, who obviously wasn't a candidate for a job in Detroit having not played above A-ball yet, but still hit .278 in 18 at-bats, showing off the bat that have the Tigers so optimistic about his future.
Posted by Wez, 03/14/14
Released Luis Marte (RHP)
The first cuts of big league camp have come, and none are terribly surprising. While there might have been some hope that Crosby could have challenged for a spot in the Tigers bullpen, it was always more likely that he would start the season in Toledo working on his new role. Meanwhile, starters like VerHagen and Ray got valuable experience, but were always known to need more seasoning.
The lone pure release of the group is Marte, who struggled over four games of spring action. He had been previously removed from the 40-man roster back in December, after missing most of 2013 due to shoulder issues.
Posted by Wez, 03/12/14