Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
When it comes to the bench, we all know manager Jim Leyland is stubborn - he likes his guys, and that's just the way it's going to be. And when it comes the make up of the bench, Leyland likes his defense, which is why you'll continue to see Don Kelly on the club, even if he won't hit his (or maybe even Dixon Machado's) body weight. The problem with carrying Kelly, and having a full-time designated hitter in Victor Martinez, is that it limits your options. You need a backup catcher, and you need a utility infielder. That essentially leaves one spot on the bench, currently occupied by Matt Tuiasosopo, who is also the only one that happens to be hitting, with a .318/.423/.500 slash line in limited at-bats. We can all campaign for Kelly to go, but it's likely futile, and swapping utility infielders won't do much for you at the plate (and Santiago is still solid defensively). In a perfect world, we could send Kelly packing and use that spot to add another bat for the bench, but there's no one demanding that roster spot right now in Toledo, and until that's the case, you might as well keep running with the horses you've got.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
Most fans are clamoring for the departure of Don Kelly. It's not happening folks. The Tigers -- and more specifically Jim Leyland -- love Don Kelly and he's on the roster because they genuinely want him there. The second answer is always to part ways with Ramon Santiago. That's all well and good but removing Santiago to call up Danny Worth isn't am option at this point with Worth on the disabled list in Toledo, and even when healthy, the upgrade provided by the change-out of utility infielders is nominal, at best. What I would like to see is for the Tigers to recall Avisail Garcia when he completes his rehab assignment and then designate Matt Tuiasosopo for assignment. The Tigers were determined to add a right-handed bat to platoon with Andy Dirks in left field and as a result a career minor leaguer like Tuiasosopo ends up with a job at the end of spring training. The Tigers need to dump Tuiasosopo, calling up Avisail Garcia and hand the left field reigns over to him on an everyday basis. This allows Andy Dirks to slide into the foruth outfielder role that he has been destined for since draft day and it gives the Tigers a player in that left field slot that at least has the potential to significantly impact the game. Garcia is not ready for the big leagues; I fully acknowledge that, but just because he isn't truly ready doesn't mean he won't actually be better for the team right now.
Matt Buck, Staff Writer
Left field is a position that has been a bit of a weakness for Detroit this season. Detroit Tigers left fielders are hitting for a .172 average, far below where it needs to be for the position. Andy Dirks has taken the bulk of the starts at the position, hitting for a .167 average while driving in four runs. Matt Tuiasosopo has been the best hitting left fielder so far for the team and even he has been sub-par. A call-up could be the best option even though no player is really sticking out. Avisail Garcia is just now getting his season started on a rehab assignment in Lakeland, and Quintin Berry has been okay at best. Nick Castellanos has been heating up the past week though, and is the guy to call up right now as he leads the team in RBI and could be a spark for the offense. Giving him a few starts while keeping the typical platoon style of play at the position could be rewarding for Detroit.
James Chipman, Lakeland Correspondent
At this point I believe it's a little premature to make any roster moves. After all, we're only twenty-one games into the season, leaving the players (especially the guys on the bench) with just a small sample size of data. When you think about making moves, the only argument I could entertain, is one regarding an underperforming bench player; and even that seems like a stretch this early. Ramon Santiago and his .105 on-base percentage aren't exactly lighting the world on fire. I suppose you could also easily scoff at Don Kelly's .095 batting average and .265 OPS. As pathetic as Kelly and Santiago's numbers are, there's really nobody on their 40-man roster that's worth calling up just yet. Hernan Perez is batting .347 with nine extra-base hits in AA-Erie. As spectacular as the 22-year-old middle infielder has been this season, Perez would greatly benefit from more regular playing time down on the farm. Despite being seven for eight in stolen bases, Quintin Berry and his .213 batting average don't exactly warrant a call-up either. The only logical replacement for Santiago, Infielder Danny Worth, is on the disabled list in Triple-A Toledo, so scratch that idea. Aside from Santiago and Kelly's early struggles, the Tigers bench is performing about as well as we expected them to. Guys like Tuiasosopo (.964 OPS) and Brayan Pena (.263 average) are more than holding their own. If it's me making the call, I'm standing pat for awhile.
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