Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
I think the move will ultimately come down to what manager Jim Leyland is looking to have in his bullpen. If he wants to make sure he has two long relievers coming out of his 'pen, then Zach Miner will move to the bullpen, and Juan Rincon will be put out into limbo land given his veteran status. However, if Leyland is comfortable with Nate Robertson being the only true long reliever, and the organization doesn't want to risk losing Rincon, Miner could end up once again being the odd man out. However, given Miner's overall effectiveness, and the concern that Dontrelle could still have a poor outing, suddenly leaving the 'pen in need of help, I think Miner stays, and Rincon will be sent out of Detroit. From there, where he ends up we'll have to wait and see, but given that Jeremy Bonderman looks to be returning within the next few weeks anyway, there was likely going to be a squeeze on roster pitching spots so whether the move happens now or in a few weeks, Rincon's place on the team is shaky.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
The time is almost here for the Dontrelle Willis experiment in Detroit, and that means someone has to leave the roster. There are quite a few names that can be eliminated right off the bat for various reasons. Joel Zumaya, Fernando Rodney, and Bobby Seay have all been solid to good this year. Brandon Lyon, despite some calls for his head, has been a solid pitcher and his off-season contract/status make him quite safe on the roster. Nate Robertson has been okay thus far, and his veteran status makes him an unlikely subject to move to the minors. Four of the five starters -- excluding Zach Miner -- have been pitching well. Saying all that leaves only a few guys that are likely to even be considered. Swingman Zach Miner, and bullpen righties Juan Rincon and Ryan Perry should all be looking over their respective shoulders as Willis prepares to come off the disabled list. Ryan Perry has been exactly what was expected, a hard thrower -- emphasis on the word thrower, not pitcher -- with some control issues but undeniable stuff. His walks have gotten him in trouble, but he's generally been a good reliever for the club and his ceiling is impossible to ignore. Miner has been unspectacular, but that's not surprsing, and while he's been only modestly successful in the rotation this year, his versatility and ability to work multiple innings may keep him on the roster with Willis' abilities at the MLB level still highly uncertain. Juan Rincon, simply put, has been not only one of the Tigers worst relievers, but one of the poorer relievers in baseball this year. He's in the bottom third of the league in expected wins added according to BaseballProspectus.com, and his performance has relegated him to a mop-up role. Given his performance to date and status as a spring training non-roster invitee that managed to pitch his way on the team, and I think he should be headed out the door as we give Willis another shot in Detroit.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
With Dontrelle Willis set to come up, I think Ryan Perry may be the one to go. Although his numbers aren't bad, walks have been a problem, so it's possible the Tigers could send Perry down to work on honing his command. The Tigers could then use Zach Miner in a long relief type role to soak up innings should Willis struggle. It's also possible the Tigers could send Rick Porcello down if they want to keep Miner in the rotation, but Porcello has done a good job thus far, so I really can't see the Tigers sending him down. The Tigers could also make a move with a veteran (Juan Rincon perhaps). With Carlos Guillen on the disabled list, I don't think the Tigers would send down a position player, but we'll see what happens.
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