Paul Wezner, Senior Editor
I'm never a fan of rushing prospects to the big leagues to fill unimportant roles, and I don't see how this is not exactly that. Jordan Tata is a very good prospect, one of the top pitchers in the organization; but he has yet to pitch competitively above A-ball, and has been old for every league he's pitched at. Had the Tigers promoted Tata to Erie midseason of last year and he performed well there also, I'd be much more in favor of this move. But now, we're left with a top prospect sitting as the last man out of the bullpen without a set timetable for when he can return to his normal routine in Erie. Is it really that important to have him there as a long reliever in the event that a game is a blowout and we need someone to eat some innings? I don't think so. And what happens if Jones's hamstring takes a lot longer to heal, what if instead of two weeks, its two months? Should Tata sit around in Detroit that whole time, never getting regular work in? Doesn't sound like an ideal situation to me, which is why I would have favored the promotion of someone else.
Mark Anderson, Associate Editor, Minor Leagues
It's easy to make a case for both sides of the Tata issue. There is value in consistent innings at the AA level, and remaining a starter, but there is also a fair bit of value in gaining experience against big league hitters. It's a bit surprising that the Tigers didn't opt to go with Roman Colon, but I think they still envision him as a starter down the line, while I think Tata profiles very well in a bullpen role. He's got a solid fastball and a nasty cutter, but two mediocre off-speed offerings backing up those two pitches. That type of arsenal typically profiles very well in a relief role, and I think that is a role he could excel in at the Major League level. It's unlikely he'll remain in Detroit upon Jones' return, but the experience and seeing how he handles the bullpen after 2+ years of starting will be good for him and the organization. He'll get plenty of innings back down at Erie and Toledo later this year, but don't be surprised if he's joinnig Zumaya in the pen by the end of the year on a permanent basis.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I'm glad to see Tata get his shot, but his callup still tells me that this team has no quality depth at Toledo to cover emergencies. I understand he is slated to be in the majors for only two weeks, but you have an aging pitcher trying to nurse a hamstring, which could be much longer than 15 days, so the question then becomes, does Tata stay longer if need be? I'm not crazy about that, because he does need to work in Erie as a starter, especially since he hasn't pitched above Lakeland, and you can only throw on the side so many times. He needs consistent innings. I also remember Tony Giarratano struggling mightily in Detroit last year after his callup and he never recovered last year. At the same time, Tata earned the callup, but honestly, it's almost by default. Mark Woodyard wasn't even considered, Roman Colon is hurt, and Wil Ledezma was awful this spring, so if the Tigers wanted more of a veteran presence, they would've either needed to make a quick trade, or scour the waiver wire and sift through the scrap heap, which isn't worth burning a 40-man roster spot over. To me, this isn't anything against Tata, he is a fine prospect, but it speaks to a larger problem when the Tigers still don't have the depth at Toledo to cover this injury and need to go with someone who has yet to pitch in AA.
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