Transaction Blog: Knebel to Toledo

Stay current with all the roster movement and personnel decisions with the TigsTown Transaction Blog. The Tigers bumped Corey Knebel one step closer to the big leagues, while Edgar de la Rosa hits the DL.


Transferred Corey Knebel (RHP) to Toledo from Erie

Placed Edgar de la Rosa (RHP) on Lakeland's 7-day disabled list with blister on right middle finger

Assigned Chris Taladay (C ) to Lakeland from extended spring training


The news about Edgar de la Rosa's blister just came out Friday via TigsTown's James Chipman, after he was placed on Lakeland's disabled list earlier this week. Luckily, the blister is not expected to be a long-term issue, and he should return to action soon.

The big news of the day is that late after Friday's game, the SeaWolves announced that Knebel was heading to Toledo, after posting a 1.20 ERA in 11 games. Knebel continues to work as a devastating late-inning reliever, with 23 strikeouts in 15 innings, and is just at a point of needing to refine his offering before he's ready for the big league challenge.

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, 05/10/14


Purchased contract of Robbie Ray (LHP) and placed on Tigers 25-man roster

Optioned Jose Ortega (RHP) to Toledo

Posted by Wez, 05/06/14


Placed Casey Crosby (LHP) on Toledo's 7-day disabled list

Transferred Pat McCoy (LHP) to Toledo from Erie

Transferred Brennan Smith (RHP) to Erie from Lakeland

Assigned Johnnie Kirkland (RHP) to Lakeland from extended spring training

Placed Jeff Thompson (RHP) on West Michigan's 7-day disabled list with right shoulder tendonitis

Activated Zac Reininger (RHP) from West Michigan's disabled list


Two top 50 prospects hitting the disabled list on the same day is never an encouraging development, especially when one of them is a reliever in Triple-A that throws left-handed and was presumably on the short list for a call up to Detroit if a left-hander was needed. Crosby hadn't been off to a great start, with a 5.06 ERA over ten appearances as he continues to adjust to life in the bullpen, as he has more walks than strikeouts.

Thompson hitting the DL with issues with his shoulder is concerning for an entirely different reason as shoulder trouble for a pitcher is never good. It might help to explain his slow start though, as he posted just a 6.75 ERA in three starts and in addition was not impressing the onlookers that saw him in action.

Posted by Wez, 05/05/14


Signed Joel Hanrahan (RHP) to a one-year deal and placed him on the 15-day disabled list for right elbow surgery recovery

Outrighted Mike Belfiore (LHP) to Toledo

Posted by Wez, 05/02/14


Transferred Chad Smith (RHP) to Toledo from Erie

Transferred Slade Smith (RHP) to Erie from Lakeland

Assigned Tanner Bailey (RHP) to Lakeland from extended spring training


On Saturday, it looked like Jose Ortega was heading back to Toledo after a tough outing in relief for the Tigers. But then Anibal Sanchez hit the DL, the Tigers got rained out on Sunday, creating a two-day break, and with a need for a starter next week, urgency to make a move for the big league club became less important.

So to fill the open slot in Toledo, Chad Smith gets the call up from Erie. Smith had a 2.08 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 13 innings of work and ranked 37th on the TigsTown Top 50 (Chad Smith Scouting Report).

Smith opens up a gap in the Erie bullpen, which Slade Smith will try and fill from Lakeland. Meanwhile, Tanner Bailey gets the call to stroll across the street to join Lakeland from the back fields.

Posted by Wez, 04/29/14


Placed Anibal Sanchez (RHP) on Detroit's 15-day disabled list with right middle finger laceration

Recalled Jose Ortega (RHP) from Toledo

Optioned to and recalled Justin Miller (RHP) from Toledo


Miller's stay in Toledo will officially last one day, but it's for a rather unfortunate reason, as Sanchez developed a blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand, forcing him to leave his start on Saturday early, and meaning he'll be spending at least the next two weeks on the disabled list.

Ortega and Miller will both be in the bullpen for now, but they will need at least a couple of spot starts in short order. With an off day on Monday, the Tigers will be able to have everyone go on normal rest (including Drew Smyly back in the rotation) up until May 6, ten days from now. At that point, the Tigers will have to make the call down to Toledo for a starter.

The top prospect, and the current top performer in Toledo is LHP Robbie Ray, the centerpiece of the trade for Doug Fister. Ray has a 1.93 ERA over four starts, with 16 strikeouts and five walks. Drew VerHagen, Kyle Lobstein and Duane Below would also be other possibilities among the rotation, but each has had their share of struggles to start the year.

Posted by Wez, 04/26/14


Activated Cal Drummond (RHP) from Lakeland's 7-day disabled list

Transferred Brett Huber (RHP) to extended spring training from Lakeland


Drummond's stay on the disabled list was short-lived, as was Huber's presence on the Lakeland roster - making it just two days before being sent back to the back fields.

Shortly after the transaction, Huber announced via Twitter that he had made the decision to retire. While not official yet, it should be in the coming days once the paperwork is filed. Huber was a 31st round draft pick out of Ole Miss last summer by the Tigers, who did well in the GCL, but struggled in a brief appearance for Connecticut. Not making a full-season roster out of spring as a college-experienced player the writing was likely on the wall.

Posted by Wez, 04/24/14


Assigned Brett Huber (RHP) to Lakeland from extended spring training

Posted by Wez, 04/22/14


Purchased contract of J.D. Martinez (OF) from Toledo

Placed Luke Putkonen (RHP) on Detroit's 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation

Transferred Andy Dirks (OF) from Detroit's 15-day disabled list to 60-day disabled list, opening up a spot on Detroit's 40-man roster

Activated Trevor Crowe (OF) from Toledo's 7-day disabled list

Transferred Marcus Lemon to Toledo from Erie

Transferred Corey Jones (IF) to Erie from Lakeland

Assigned David Gonzalez (IF) to Lakeland from extended spring training


The Toledo Mud Hens jumped the gun on Monday, announcing that Martinez is heading up to Detroit, shortly after being named International League Player of the Week. The Martinez signing was made late in spring after he was released by the Astros. Martinez has ten home runs for Toledo, including belting four on Saturday alone.

The move goes with Putkonen hitting the disabled list, who was roughed up in Friday night's game, being tagged for seven runs after having curiously not pitched much to start the season. To open up a spot on the 40-man roster for Martinez, Dirks was transferred to the longer disabled list, ensuring he won't be active until June.

Posted by Wez, 04/21/14


Unconditionally released Alex Gonzalez (SS)

Purchased contract of Danny Worth (SS) from Toledo


Prior to Sunday's game, the Tigers pulled the trigger on releasing Gonzalez, who hit .167 in nine games for the club. He had a nice start on Opening Day when he had a triple and later drove in the game winning run, but did little else since then, and also showed his age in the field, committing three errors.

Having seemingly done enough to make the club out of spring training, Worth finally gets his shot. He was hitting .308 in Toledo with five doubles while playing mostly at second base, allowing Hernan Perez to get more time at shortstop.

After the announcement, manager Brad Ausmus informed the pool of reporters that he expects Worth to share time with Andrew Romine, and while it won't be a strict left/right platoon, expect it to shake out that way more often than not.

The move concludes a bizarre sequence, in which the Tigers traded away a useful utility man in Steve Lombardozzi to acquire a player that was clearly on the decline. Likely viewed as a limited risk trade with some potential upside if Gonzalez could hit, it clearly didn't pan out.

The move will likely have some impact on minor league rosters, but as the organization is short on middle infielders at the moment (especially with injuries to Devon Travis Jared Reaves), the possibility remains they might sign someone from outside the organization to provide depth.

Posted by Wez, 04/20/14


Transferred Marcus Lemon (IF) to Erie from Toledo

Transferred Corey Jones (IF) to Lakeland from Erie

Assigned David Gonzalez (IF) to extended spring training from Lakeland

Placed Jordan John (LHP) on Lakeland's temporary inactive list

Placed Endrys Briceno (RHP) on Lakeland's 7-day disabled list

Assigned Alex Burgos (LHP) to Lakeland from extended spring training

Assigned Logan Ehlers (LHP) to Lakeland from extended spring training

Posted by Wez, 04/20/14


Called up Justin Miller (RHP) to Detroit from Toledo

Optioned Tyler Collins (OF) to Toledo

Transferred Kevin Whelan (RHP) to Toledo from Erie

Transferred Will Startup (LHP) to Erie from Lakeland


After heavy use the past two days, and another short start expected from Drew Smyly on Friday, the Tigers were in need of some immediate bullpen assistance, and Miller has been off to a good start in Toledo (zero earned runs over 4 2/3 innings).

No corresponding move was announced when the Miller news came out, but it was confirmed on Friday that the Tigers will option Tyler Collins down. He had been receiving minimal playing time, and has just two hits in 15 big league plate appearances.

The Tigers signed Miller this past off-season to a major league deal (hence his place on the 40-man roster, making him an easy call-up option) after he was released by the Rangers. He missed the 2012 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and had struggled to regain his form in 2013.

Posted by Wez, 04/17/14


Placed Bryan Augenstein (RHP) on Erie's 7-day disabled list

Assigned Kevin Whelan (RHP) to Erie from extended spring training

Placed Calvin Drummond (RHP) on Lakeland's 7-day disabled list retroactive to 4/15

Assigned Tyler Clark (RHP) to Lakeland from extended spring training

Posted by Wez, 04/17/14


Placed Matt Crouse (LHP) on Erie's 7-day disabled list with a left forearm strain

Activated Bryan Augenstein from Erie's 7-day disabled list

Assigned David Gonzalez (IF) to Lakeland from extended spring training

Posted by Wez, 04/17/14


Placed Devon Travis on Erie's 7-day disabled list with a right oblique strain

Transferred Brandon Loy (IF) from Lakeland to Erie

Assigned David Gonzalez (IF) to Lakeland from extended spring training


More roster juggling as another middle infielder goes down, with highly regarded prospect Devon Travis hitting the DL with an oblique strain. It's not thought to be serious, but nevertheless required some shuffling after having already lost Jared Reaves to the disabled list as well.

As the most seasoned infielder available, Loy is the one that will take on the challenge of Double-A.

Posted by Wez, 04/14/14


Placed Jared Reaves (IF) on Lakeland's 7-day disabled list

Transferred Curt Powell (SS) from West Michigan to Lakeland

Assigned Willy Adames (IF) to West Michigan from extended spring training


The big news here is the assignment of Adames to a full-season club, after briefly spending some time in extended spring. Adames, who was ranked 33rd in TigsTown's Top 50, is just 18 years old, so the assignment to full-season ball after playing in the Dominican Summer League last year is very aggressive. He has impressive raw tools, but is very green, and could well struggle with the challenge of the Midwest League, as we've seen other talented but inexperienced kids struggle with in recent years. That shouldn't be indicative of his ability or future potential, however.

Posted by Wez, 04/12/14


Placed Bryan Augenstein (RHP) on Erie 7-day disabled list with intracostal muscle strain and transferred Kenny Faulk (LHP) from Toledo to Erie

Placed Austin Schotts (OF) on West Michigan 7-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain and assigned Harold Castro (2B) to West Michigan from extended spring training


A tough break for Schotts, as the start to his season gets derailed before it even gets going with the hamstring strain. It's a common injury though for players that utilize their speed, especially this time of the year, but after a tough 2013, he was likely hoping to get off to a good start.

The significance of losing Augenstein, on top of not having Will Clinard to start the season is apparent given that the Tigers were willing to move Faulk down a level to help out the ‘Wolves. Also makes it clear where Faulk stands on the call-up priority list, as someone that would be close to the big leagues in the event of an injury wouldn't be sent down to Erie.

Posted by Wez, 04/05/14


Claimed Mike Belfiore (RHP) off waivers from Baltimore and optioned him to Toledo

Released Nick Carmichael (RHP), Patrick Cooper (RHP), Joe Flattery (LHP), Drew Harrison (RHP), Preston Jamison (LHP), Michael Morrison (RHP), Hudson Randall (RHP), Hunter Scantling (RHP), Tyler Stohr (RHP)

Posted by Wez, 04/03/14


Released Jordan Allen (OF), Taylor Johnson (2B), Zach Kirksey (OF), Kevin Russo (UT), Luis Sanz (C ), Jake Stewart (OF)

Released Nick Carmichael (RHP), Patrick Cooper (RHP), Joe Flattery (LHP), Drew Harrison (RHP), Preston Jamison (LHP), Michael Morrison (RHP), Hudson Randall (RHP), Hunter Scantling (RHP), Tyler Stohr (RHP)


As camp approaches the end, tough decisions have to be made, and over the past few days, the Tigers have made several cuts on the farm, releasing 15 players in all; six position players and nine pitchers.

Some had been established players within the system, and a couple even former prospects, like Tyler Stohr.

Players like Stewart and Randall were among those selected in the first ten rounds of the draft two years ago, while a few were actually drafted last summer.

None however were members of the Top 50, and as can usually be the case, a number of the players are the result of a numbers game in which there are only so many spots in an organization and on a team, and tough decisions have to be made.

Posted by Wez, 03/27/14


Reassigned Jhan Marinez (RHP) and Blaine Hardy (LHP) to minor league camp

Signed Bryan Augenstein (RHP) to minor league contract


The final two cuts from big league camp come as no surprise, as both Marinez and Hardy were considered on the outside looking in at bullpen spots from the start of camp.

Hardy continues to impress after emerging last summer in Toledo, posting a 2.19 ERA over 11 games.

After being signed this off-season, Marinez was someone looked at as a potential middle reliever, and had an up-and-down spring, looking good at times, but posting an ERA of almost ten at 9.95 and walking more than he struck out.

Posted by Wez, 03/27/14


Optioned Hernan Perez (IF) to Toledo

Reassigned Danny Worth (IF) to minor league camp

Posted by Wez, 03/27/14


Traded Steve Lombardozzi (UT) to Orioles in exchange for Alex Gonzalez (SS)

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.

Posted by Wez, 03/24/14


Optioned Kyle Lobstein (LHP), Jose Ortega (RHP) and Eugenio Suarez (SS) to Toledo

Reassigned Craig Albernaz (C ), Ezequiel Carrera (OF), Trevor Crowe (OF), Luis Exposito (C ), and John Murrian (C ) to minor league camp


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)

Optioned Casey Crosby (LHP) and Melvin Mercedes (RHP) to Toledo

Optioned Ramon Cabrera (C ) and Jose Valdez (RHP) to Erie

Reassigned Duane Below (LHP), James McCann (C ), Robbie Ray (LHP) and Drew VerHagen (RHP) to minor league camp


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

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