Optioned Duane Below (LHP) to Toledo
Optioned Brayan Villarreal (RHP) to Toledo
The moves above have the biggest imapct on the guys not named, as it means Drew Smyly has won the job as the team’s fifth starter, and Luis Marte will be the final man out of the bullpen. Smyly will first make one start in Toledo before being called up to make his big league debut on April 12th. It also means that the Tigers will carry an extra position player for the first week of the season, potentially trying to hope to sneak someone through waivers after Opening Day rosters are set.
The battle between Marte and Villarreal was close, but Marte got the edge. It’s likely that both pitchers will see big league action this season though.
Posted by Wez, 4/1/12
Optioned Andy Oliver (LHP) to Toledo
Released Eric Roof ( C)
Released Shawn Roof (IF)
Released Pedro Perez (RHP)
Released Zach Maxfield (IF)
Released Jeff Rowland (OF)
Released Fernando Celis (RHP)
Released Chretien Matz (OF)
The news of Oliver officially eliminates one more candidate for the fifth starter spot in Detroit, bringing the competition down to Below and Smyly. While Oliver made an impression early, and might have actually led the battle at one point, control problems returned as spring wore on and the Tigers just simply won’t hand the job over to someone they can’t trust to throw strikes consistently.
The rest of the minor league releases were not surprises. Both Roof brothers being let go on the same day was a slight surprise, however, both were likely looking at reserve roles at best within the organization. The roster trimming does help get the Tigers near what will likely be the final rosters for the minor league clubs when camp breaks.
Posted by Wez, 3/29/12
Released Kevan Hess (RHP)
Released Jeff Barfield (RHP)
Released Dan Kickham (RHP)
Released Josh Ashenbrenner (3B)
Released P.J. Polk (OF)
Released L.J. Gagnier (RHP)
Released Rayni Guichardo (LHP)
Released Trevor Feeney (RHP)
Released Les Smith (OF)
Released Nate Newman (RHP)
Released Derick Hudgins (INF)
Analysis: Guicardo's release happened a while back but was never logged in the Transaction Blog.
The decision to cut ties with LJ Gagnier is only mildly surprising. He was a durable right arm that could fill multiple roles at the upper levels of the system. The Tigers are flush with guys that can start in Erie this year and Gagnier just didn't fit into that mix at this time. Trevor Feeney's fate was similar to Gagnier.
Kickham, Hess, Ashenbrenner and Barfield just hadn't come along as the organization would have liked over the last year or so, resulting in their release to clear room for more promising prospects that needed playing time.
PJ Polk has been dogged by injuries since signing and they have sapped some of the raw tools that made him an intriguing sleeper prospect.
Posted by Mark, 3/27/12
Optioned Jose Ortega (RHP) and Matt Hoffman (LHP) to Triple-A Toledo
Analysis: The roster trimming continues, as two pitchers that were on the outside looking in at the bullpen battle were officially removed from the race when they were sent to Toledo. Neither move is especially surprising, but both had strong showings in spring camp that will make them viewed favorably for when the time comes when the Tigers need to call up a reliever during the season.
Posted by Wez, 3/19/12
Optioned Tyler Stohr (RHP) to Double-A Erie
Assigned Darin Downs (LHP) to minor league camp
Analysis: The roster battles are slowly being trimmed, with this just the latest move to clear space and narrow down the field. Stohr was thought to have an outside shot at making a run for a bullpen job, but with so few spots available and not having the same experience as some others, the decision wasn't shocking and was likely inevitable.
Posted by Wez, 3/17/12
Released David Pauley (RHP)
Optioned Avisail Garcia (OF) to Double-A Erie (effective 3/15)
Optioned Hernan Perez (2B) to High-A Lakeland (effective 3/14)
Re-assigned Rob Brantly (C), Curt Casali (C), Patrick Leyland (C), James McCann (C), Nick Castellanos (3B) and Justin Henry (UT) to minor league camp.
Analysis: Pauley has been largely ineffective since arriving in Detroit as part of the trade that brought Doug Fister over from the Mariners last year. While he had an inside track on a bullpen job this season, his poor performance early made the Tigers decision easy and they opted to cut him loose early in camp.
The players heading back to minor league camp are not a surprise at this juncture. The host of catchers were around to keep up with all of the early-camp bullpen sessions and with those dwindling as pitchers get on a more consistent schedule, the younger catchers were no longer needed. Castellanos will head to the back fields as the club decides whether he will be assigned to Lakeland or Erie out of the gate.
The impending optional assignments of Garcia and Perez hint strongly that the Tigers will have both players start at those respective levels in April.
Posted by Mark, 3/13/12
Jordan Pratt (RHP) has retired (head injury)
Signed Zach Segovia (RHP)
Analysis: Last spring, Jordan Pratt had a serious scare when he took a line drive off his skull. He was on the ground for more than 30 minutes at the time, and spent months receiving treatment. After meeting with Tigers doctors, and due to the increased risk of repeat injury causing irreparable damage, Pratt has chosen not to return to the field. The door has been left open that he could try in the future, but as of now, his baseball career is over.
Posted by Wez, 2/16/12
Released Cody Satterwhite (RHP)
Signed Brent Dlugach (SS)
Signed Warwick Saupold (RHP)
Signed Tim Kelley (RHP)
Signed Juan Alcantara (RHP)
Signed Sandy Baez (RHP)
Signed Carlos Lara (RHP
Signed Arvincent Perez (C)
Signed Franklin Navarro (C)
Signed Joseph Manuel (SS)
Agreed to terms with Ignacio Valdez (OF)
Analysis: Satterwhite's release isn't all that shocking at this point in time, simply because his stuff never came back after major shoulder surgery. He was sitting in the upper-80s last summer while still battling discomfort in his shoulder, and that didn't bode well for his baseball future.
Saupold has drawn some recent hype after signing out of Australia, largely because of the unknown and the sparkling numbers he put in the Australian Baseball League this year. He's a project of sorts and is likely to start out in the lower minor leagues barring a truly impressive spring.
Kelley is an NDFA out of Wichita State. The Tigers have been intimately familiar with him over the years and he should help eat some innings during camp and possibly hold down a rotation or long relief slot in A-ball to start the year. With below-average to fringe-average stuff and good command, he lacks significant Major League projection.
The host of Latin American kids signed will be detailed in an upcoming Scouting MLN that should be live on the site later this week.
Posted by Mark A., 2/8/12