Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Transaction Blog: Shane Greene Returns, to Bullpen?

The Tigers finally get Shane Greene back from his blister injury, but might he be destined for a new role in Detroit?

06/04/2016: GREENE RETURNS

  • Activated Shane Greene (RHP) from Detroit's 15-day disabled list
  • Optioned Buck Farmer (RHP) to Toledo
  • Recalled Blaine Hardy (LHP) from Toledo
  • Optioned Kyle Ryan (LHP) to Toledo
  • Transferred Cal Drummond (RHP) to Erie from Lakeland
  • Placed Austin Green (C) on Erie's 7-day disabled list, retroactive to 5/31
  • Transferred Grayson Grieiner (C) to Erie from Lakeland
  • Assigned Tim Remes (C) to Lakeland from extended spring training
  • Assigned Ismael Salgado (OF) to Lakeland from extended spring training
  • Transferred Keaton Jones (SS) to extended spring training from Lakeland
  • Activated Fernando Perez (RHP) from West Michigan's 7-day disabled list
  • Transferred Jordan Smith (RHP) to extended spring training from West Michigan

Analysis:

After nearly a month on the disabled list, the Tigers get Greene back from the blister that sidelined him, however, it's not clear in what role he will pitch. Manager Brad Ausmus said the organization is currently split on whether or not he can be effective (and stay healthy) as a starter, and with the Tigers back end of the bullpen lacking, it's possible the Tigers slide Greene into a setup role and see how he does. With the move of Anibal Sanchez to the bullpen as well, that could help bolster a group that despite reinforcements has still been inconsistent this year. It also means that after two strong starts, Matt Boyd will remain in the rotation as the fifth starter, at least for now.

Of note on the prospect front, injuries and releases created a need for a catcher in Erie, and the Tigers elected to fill that void by promoting Greiner from Lakeland. Greiner struggled mightily at the plate in 2015, but was hitting .312 in Lakeland through the first two months, with a .385 on-base percentage. He hasn't hit for much power (six doubles, no homers), but the improved average was an encouraging sign from the big catcher after he hit .183 last season.


06/01/2016: SAUPOLD TO DL, PARNELL UP

  • Purchased contract of Bobby Parnell (RHP) from Toledo
  • Placed Warwick Saupold (RHP) on Detroit's 15-day disabled list with a right groin strain
  • Designated Jose Valdez (RHP) for assignment
  • Transferred Garrett Mattlage (SS) to Erie from Lakeland, after assigning to Lakeland from extended spring training
  • Placed Gustavo Nunez (SS) on Erie's 7-day disabled list with a facial fracture
  • Released Slade Smith (RHP) from Lakeland
  • Assigned Taylor Hicks (RHP) to Lakeland from extended spring training
  • Assigned Ryan Milton (RHP) to West Michigan from extended spring training
  • Placed Jake Shull (RHP) on West Michigan's 7-day disabled list


05/27/2016: BOYD GETS CALL, JIMENEZ TO ERIE

  • Recalled Matt Boyd (LHP) from Toledo
  • Optioned Steven Moya (OF) to Toledo
  • Recalled Buck Farmer (RHP) from Toledo
  • Optioned Drew VerHagen (RHP) to Toledo and placed him on Toledo's 7-day disabled list
  • Transferred Matt Crouse (LHP) to Toledo from Erie
  • Released Alberto Gonzalez (SS) from Toledo
  • Released Nate Schierholtz (OF) from Toledo
  • Transferred Tyler Bortnick (IF) to Toledo from Erie after activating from Erie's 7-day disabled list
  • Transferred Jason Krizan (OF) to Toledo from Erie
  • Transferred Casey Frawley (IF) to Erie from Lakeland
  • Transferred Joe Jimenez (RHP) to Erie from Lakeland
  • Activated Tyler Ford (LHP) from Lakeland's 7-day disabled list
  • Assigned Joe Rogers (LHP) to Lakeland from extended spring training
  • Placed Kevin Ziomek (LHP) on Lakeland's 7-day disabled list, after transferring him to Lakeland from Erie
  • Transferred Josh Lester (3B) to extended spring training from West Michigan
  • Assigned Jose Zambrano (3B) to West Michigan from extended spring training


05/20/2016: MAYBIN READY, JONES, HILL BACK

  • Activated Cameron Maybin (OF) from Detroit's 15-day disabled list
  • Optioned Anthony Gose (OF) to Toledo
  • Released Humberto Quintero (C) from Toledo
  • Transferred John Hicks (C) to Toledo from Erie
  • Transferred Corey Jones to Erie from Toledo, after transferring to Toledo from Erie
  • Transferred Josh Turley (LHP) to Erie from Toledo
  • Transferred Gabe Hemmer (RHP) to Lakeland from Erie
  • Activated Anthony Fernandez (LHP) from Erie's 7-day disabled list
  • Assigned Drew Longley (C) to Erie from extended spring training
  • Activated JaCoby Jones (IF) from Erie's restricted list
  • Released Lucas Harrell (RHP) from Erie
  • Placed Edgar de la Rosa (RHP) on Lakeland's restricted list
  • Placed Johan Belisario (RHP) on Lakeland's 7-day disabled list
  • Released Gage Smith (RHP) from Lakeland
  • Activated Slade Smith (RHP) from Lakeland's 7-day disabled list
  • Activated Derek Hill (OF) from West Michigan's 7-day disabled list
  • Transferred Ismael Salgado (OF) to extended spring training from West Michigan
  • Activated Drew Smith (RHP) from West Michigan's 7-day disabled list
  • Placed Eudis Idrogo (LHP) on West Michigan's 7-day disabled list, retroactive to 5/11


05/13/2016: SAUPOLD GETS BIG LEAGUE CALL

  • Purchased contract of Warwick Saupold (RHP) from Toledo
  • Optioned Daniel Norris (LHP) to Toledo
  • Recalled Steven Moya (OF) from Toledo
  • Optioned Blaine Hardy (LHP) to Toledo
  • Transferred Angel Nesbitt to Toledo from Lakeland
  • Transferred Brett Pirtle (2B) to Lakeland from West Michigan
  • Assigned Leonardo Laffita (IF) to West Michigan from extended spring training

Analysis:

The Tigers made a surprise move on Friday when they purchased the contract of Warwick Saupold from Toledo. Saupold, who has been working as both a starter and reliever as the Mud Hens have been in flux, has been very effective this season, with a 2.37 ERA over 30 1/3 innings, including 14 strikeouts. However, at 26 and not on the 40-man roster, was never considered to be a high-ceiling prospect. Saupold, an Australian native, likely made a case based on his flexibility in use as well as his limiting hits, with a .181 average against and 0.89 WHIP. Saupold's fastball isn't dominating, usually sitting around 89-90 and topping out in the very low-90's - which he mixes with a good 12-6 curveball, and occasionally mixes in a slider and changeup, especially in longer outings.


05/11/2016: NORRIS RECALLED

  • Recalled Daniel Norris (LHP) from Toledo
  • Optioned Tyler Collins (OF) to Toledo

Analysis:

The latest in the revolving door of players in and out of the Tigers bullpen and bench, Collins returns to Toledo just a couple days after being recalled, and Daniel Norris is the latest addition to the bullpen. Norris, who was originally expected to be the Tigers fifth starter entering the season, suffered a back injury that kept him from competing and led to him starting the year on the disabled list. It's been a tough go of it in Toledo for Norris, as he's been hit hard with an 8.44 ERA across six games, spanning 21 1/3 innings. His last outing on May 6 was his worst one yet, giving up seven runs on eight hits in 2 1/3 innings, including four walks and five strikeouts. 


05/09/2016: DEREK HILL CRASHES INTO DL

  • Optioned Buck Farmer (RHP) to Toledo
  • Recalled Tyler Collins (OF) from Toledo
  • Activated Angel Nesbitt (RHP) from Detroit's 15-day disabled list and optioned to Toledo, then transferred to Lakeland
  • Transferred Ruben Alaniz (RHP) to Erie from Toledo
  • Released Tommy Field (2B)
  • Released Michael Crotta (RHP)
  • Transferred Confesor Lara (RHP) to Lakeland from Erie
  • Activated Connor Harrell (OF) from Erie's 7-day disabled list
  • Transferred Adenson Verastegui (RHP) to West Michigan from Lakeland
  • Released Willy Paredes (RHP)
  • Assigned Cal Drummond (RHP) to Lakeland from extended spring training
  • Placed Derek Hill (OF) on West Michigan's 7-day disabled list
  • Activated Ismael Salgado (OF) from West Michigan's 7-day disabled list
  • Placed Drew Smith (RHP) on West Michigan's 7-day disabled list

Analysis:

Outside of the revolving door among long relief and the last role on the bench between Detroit and Toledo, the big news on Monday was the move to place Derek Hill on the disabled list, after he crashed into the outfield wall making an over-the-shoulder grab. After Hill crashed into the wall, he attempted to throw the ball to fellow outfielder Cam Gibson, which the umpires incorrectly interpreted to be a bouncing uncaught ball. This marks the fourth time Hill has hit the disabled list, an unfortunate turn of events for the former first rounder, who has yet to be able to stay on the field. No word yet on how long the club expects Hill out for.


05/04/2016: MCCANN ACTIVATED, WILSON TRADED

  • Activated James McCann (C) from Detroit's 15-day disabled list
  • Traded Bobby Wilson (C) to Texas for Chad Bell (LHP) and assigned him to Toledo
  • Activated Miguel Gonzalez (C) from Toledo's 7-day disabled list
  • Transferred Jose Valdez (RHP) to Erie from Toledo
  • Transferred Michael Crotta (RHP) to Erie from Toledo
  • Activated Bruce Rondon (RHP) from Toledo's 7-day disabled list
  • Placed Tyler Bortnick (2B) on Erie's 7-day disabled list with left oblique strain, retroactive to 5/2
  • Placed Brennan Smith (RHP) on Erie's 7-day disabled list, retroactive to 5/1
  • Released Willy Parades (RHP)
  • Assigned Calvin Drummond (RHP) to Lakeland from extended spring training

Analysis:

Besides the news that McCann was coming off the DL, the Tigers got Chad Bell in the return of Wilson to the Rangers. Had they tried to designate Wilson, he likely would have been claimed off waivers, and so with no options remaining, rather than lose him, they traded him back to Texas and got a decent left-hander in return. Bell was reaching the mid-90's toward the end of last season. He posted a 1.50 ERA in 5 games (2 starts) with the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate, with 19 strikeouts to 5 walks.

Elsewhere, Rondon came off the disabled list in Toledo, as did Calvin Drummond, both relievers to watch.


04/30/2016: MORE MOVES

  • Recalled Michael Fulmer (RHP) from Toledo
  • Optioned Tyler Collins (OF) to Toledo
  • Transferred Michael Crotta (RHP) to Toledo from Erie
  • Transferred Corey Jones (3B) to Erie from Toledo
  • Transferred Drew Longley (C) to extended spring training from Erie
  • Placed Fernando Perez (RHP) on West Michigan's 7-day disabled list
  • Activated Drew Smith (RHP) from West Michigan's 7-day disabled list


04/26/2016: FARMER BACK UP

  • Activated Daniel Norris (LHP) from Detroit's 15-day disabled list and optioned to Toledo
  • Activated Jeff Ferrell (RHP) from Detroit's 15-day disabled list and optioned to Toledo
  • Optioned Jose Valdez (RHP) to Toledo after recalling him the prior day
  • Recalled Buck Farmer from Toledo
  • Placed Miguel Gonzalez (C) on Toledo's 7-day disabled list
  • Transferred Michael Crotta (RHP) to Erie from Toledo
  • Transferred Ruben Alaniz (RHP) to Toledo from Erie
  • Assigned Santiago Garrido (RHP) to Erie from extended spring training

Analysis:

Just days after sending Farmer down, he's back in Detroit as the big league club tries to settle its bullpen that's been overworked too often over the first few weeks of the season. Farmer started two games for the Hens, allowing one run in five innings as he started getting his arm stretched back out to start. The alternative to bringing Farmer back up would have been to keep Norris after activating him. Norris had a 5.40 ERA over two starts, spanning ten innings. His second start was much stronger than his first, giving up a run on four hits in six innings. But clearly the Tigers felt he still needed more work and seasoning after losing much of his spring.

The rest of the moves are mostly fallout and re-organizing players necessitated by the moves in Toledo.


04/24/2016: RODRIGUEZ TO EMERGENCY LEAVE LIST

  • Placed Francisco Rodriguez (RHP) on Detroit's family medical emergency leave list
  • Claimed John Hicks (C) off waivers from Minnesota Twins and optioned to Erie
  • Optioned Matt Boyd (LHP) to Toledo after recalling him the prior day
  • Transferred Lucas Harrell (RHP) to Erie from Toledo
  • Placed Connor Harrell (OF) on Erie's 7-day disabled list with left oblique strain, retroactive to 4/22
  • Transferred Austin Kubitza (RHP) to Lakeland from Erie
  • Placed Artie Lewicki (RHP) on Lakeland's 7-day disabled list


04/20/2016: HARDY READY

  • Designated Logan Kensing (RHP) for assignment and outrighted to Toledo
  • Activated Blaine Hardy (LHP) from Detroit's 15-day disabled list
  • Signed Humberto Quintero (C) and assigned him to Toledo
  • Transferred Drew Longley (C) to Erie from Toledo
  • Transferred Tim Remes (C) to extended spring training from Erie
  • Assigned Casey Frawley (SS) to Lakeland from extended spring training
  • Curt Powell (IF) retired
  • Placed Spenser Watkins (RHP) on West Michigan's restricted list for 50-game suspension due to a 2nd positive test for a drug of abuse
  • Assigned Kyle Dowdy (RHP) to West Michigan from extended spring training


04/16/2016: WILSON READY, FARMER DOWN

  • Activated Alex Wilson (RHP) from Detroit's 15-day disabled list
  • Optioned Buck Farmer (RHP) to Toledo
  • Placed Bruce Rondon (RHP) on Toledo's 7-day disabled list with strained hamstring, retroactive to 4/13 

Analysis:

With Wilson ready to come off the disabled list after pitching in back-to-back days, someone had to head out, and the odd man out was Farmer. The right-hander has consistently struggled to get big league hitters out, whether in the bullpen or the rotation, though he did have two scoreless appearances in last two outings. Farmer is likely to be stretched back out in Toledo, adding some flexibility for bullpen needs down the line. Wilson, who was arguably the only reliable member of the Tigers' 2015 bullpen, will return to the club in middle relief, ideally filling that middle relief role that the Tigers have already been missing at times this year, having to stretch their late inning trio at times to cover.

The club won't need to make any moves to open up a spot in Toledo, because the Mud Hens placed Rondon on the disabled list after he strained a hamstring in workouts. Rondon is expected to be out at least a couple of weeks while he recovers.


04/12/2016: MCCANN HURT, WILSON UP

  • Placed James McCann (C) on Detroit's 15-day disabled list with a right ankle sprain
  • Purchased contract of Bobby Wilson (C) from Toledo
  • Transferred Drew Longley (C) from Erie to Toledo
  • Assigned Tim Remes (C) to Erie from extended spring training
  • Released Sauris Mejia (OF) and Will Kengor (1B)

Analysis:

The timing of the McCann injury is obviously unfortunate, coming just days into the season, and shortly after the Tigers had traded Bryan Holaday. If it turns out that McCann is only out for a couple of weeks, Wilson will be an adequate fill-in on the roster, especially when you consider the Tigers added Jarrod Saltalamacchia to have a bench presence with some pop. But if the injury sidelines McCann for a month or more, the club will be without its leader behind the plate on the field, and could start to suffer offensively as well.



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