The Tigers cut ties with two minor league pitchers today, lefty Felix Sanchez and right-hander Adam Peterson. Sanchez came to the Tigers in the Jon Connolly trade a couple of years ago, and has battled inconsistency and arm injuries since joining the organization. Much of his famed velocity has evaporated, and he's nowhere near the pitcher the Tigers thought they were getting from the Cubs at the time. The Tigers claimed Peterson off waivers from Arizona last season, and he just never put it together while at Erie. Another hard thrower that Dombrowski took a flyer on, Peterson flamed out before he became an effective flame-thrower.
In addition to the release of Sanchez and Peterson, the Tigers also released the following players: Brooks Colvin, Jason de la Cruz, Leo Grullon, Brian Rios, Steve Young, Chris Torres, Josh Lee, Matt Parrish, and Chris Colabello.
The departure of Matt Parrish and Brian Rios is not surprising, as Parrish had been on the verge of such a fate for several months, and Rios only joined the organization late in the off-season. Both players will likely get chances elsewhere; Rios because of his track record, and Parrish because of his bloodlines. These two releases should not dramatically effect any of the minor league rosters.
Colvin, Grullon, Young, and Lee were all 2004 draft choices that haven't quite performed as expected. Colvin has been an all-field, no-hit alternative at shortstop and second base, and his lack of offensive development led to his demise. The same problem cost Steve Young his chance to remain in the organization, and both players will be hard-pressed to catch on elsewhere. Grullon was a late round flyer by the Tigers, particularly considering he never actually made his collegiate roster. Leo has speed to spare, but hasn't quite mastered the rest of the game. Josh Lee showed tremendous power at D-III McMurry University, but that power never translated to the pros. There is a chance he could sign a contract elsewhere, particularly if a team decides his promise on the mound exceeds his promise at the plate.
Jason de la Cruz has long been an intriguing prospect for the Tigers, but injuries have never allowed him to become the player the Tigers envisioned. After finally getting a chance in the states last year, Jason struggled and the Tigers decided it better to move on. During the off-season, Detroit brought aboard Chris Colabello from Worcester of the independent CanAm League, hoping the big first baseman might be able to show enough to warrant a roster spot. Unfortunately, Chris struggled to adjust to the competition this spring and will likely be destined for Independent ball again this summer.
Lastly, and possibly the most surprising early cut was catcher Chris Torres. The Tigers took Chris in the 36th round of last year's draft, and he hit the ball reasonably well for Oneonta in his professional debut. However, the Tigers have a plethora of young catchers roaming around the lower levels of the minor leagues and with the apparent health of Cody Collet this spring, they'll need to get at-bats to their more promising backstops. Torres appears to be more a victim of the numbers game. Look for him to catch on elsewhere before the minor league season gets underway.
Overall the Tigers trimmed their minor league rosters of several players who didn't appear to have much of a place within the system, and this should free up at-bats for several more impressive prospects. The Tigers are likely to make several more cuts in the coming days as rosters begin to be finalized next week.