Trans Blog: Putkonen One of Seven MiLB Cuts

The first wave of minor league cuts from the back fields came on Saturday, with seven players receiving their release, including right-hander Luke Putkonen, who spent parts of three years with the big league club, and an outfielder that has kept himself in the back part of the TigsTown Top 50 the past few years due to still untapped potential.

March 28 5:00 PM

Released Luke Putkonen (RHP), Tanner Bailey (RHP), Jacob Butler (RHP), Tyler Gibson (OF), Charlie Gillies (RHP), Alex Lakatos (RHP), and Daryl Norris (RHP)


About a week after the minor league games begin do we get the first wave of releases, and this year is no different, as the Tigers announced seven cuts this morning. The list was highlighted by Putkonen, who pitched in parts of three seasons with the big league club. He had a successful 2013 season with a 3.03 ERA and an 8.5 K/9 rate in nearly 30 innings, but was derailed last year due to a bone spur in his elbow that required surgery. Observers said that Putkonen clearly wasn’t the same this spring.

Most of the others were not surprises, draft picks mostly from either last year or two years ago. The one player that did draw some surprise was Gibson, an athletic outfielder that has struggled to produce much and show consistent growth on the field, but still flashed the ability that enticed the Tigers to give him the bonus that they did out of the draft in 2011. His 2014 season didn’t get off to a bad start, as he hit .272 for West Michigan, but broke his hand, sidelining him for a couple months, and derailing the season.

March 26 10:00 AM

Optioned Buck Farmer (RHP) to Toledo

Assigned Rafael Dolis (RHP) to minor league camp


Two more cuts from big league camp, again, neither a surprise. While the Tigers wanted to give Farmer a look in relief this spring, most scouts still feel his future is in the rotation, and with only one full year of pro ball under his belt, he needs more time. Dolis has a live arm and turned some heads in camp, but wasn’t near the top of the pecking order for a roster spot. Big league camp is now down to 37 players.

March 24 3:00 PM

Optioned Kyle Lobstein (LHP), Alex Wilson (RHP) and Josh Zeid (RHP) to Toledo

Assigned Alberto Cabrera (RHP) to minor league camp


More cuts from big league camp happened on Tuesday, as the Tigers sent out four pitchers, to bring the total number of players still in camp down to 39.

Neither Cabrera nor Lobstein were considered serious threats to make the team out of spring training, that despite Lobstein’s success down the stretch last summer, giving the Tigers six strong starts at a time when they were in desperate need for anyone to start a game and give them a chance to win a game. While Lobstein wasn’t in serious competition for a rotation spot with the five guys set prior to spring training beginning, he’s likely to be on the very short list should a need arise for a starter.

Wilson and Zeid were both added this off-season with the hope of being able to compete for a bullpen spot, however, with the return of Bruce Rondon and the resigning of Joba Chamberlain, right-handed relief roles were not plentiful. To add to it, both relievers struggled in their spring training appearances, with both posting an ERA over seven and walking more than they struck out. They will nevertheless be at the top of the list for when a bullpen need arises.

March 22 4:00 PM

Optioned Steven Moya (OF) to Toledo

March 20 10:00 AM

Assigned Omar Duran (LHP), Miguel Gonzalez (C ), Austin Green (C ), Joe Mantiply (LHP), Tim Melville (RHP) and Luke Putkonen (RHP), to minor league camp

Optioned Daniel Fields (OF), Dixon Machado (SS), Jose Valdez (RHP) and Drew VerHagen (RHP) to Triple-A Toledo

Optioned Wynton Bernard (OF) to Double-A Erie


The first round of cuts from big league camp are in, and there are no surprises yet, as is to be expected. Guys like VerHagen or Fields might have had a very outside shot at competing for a roster spot, but probably would have needed an injury or something along those lines to make it happen. The rest of the guys were destined for the minor leagues anyway, and just were getting the opportunity in big league camp.

Major League camp still has 44 players in it, so there will still be a number of additional cuts to get down to the final 25-man roster between now and when camp breaks just before Opening Day. Those decisions will likely involve quite a bit more competition and debate for the final roster spots.

As TigsTown has mentioned, there are only roughly five roster spots open at this point in time, with the other 20 spoken for. That means there are more or less 24 guys left in big league camp competing for one of five spots to start the year in Detroit.

March 18 12:00 PM

Signed Jiwan Jones (OF) to minor league deal

Signed Ryan Perry (RHP) to minor league deal

Signed Lance Durham (1B/DH) to minor league deal

Jamie Johnson (OF) retired

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