In order to make room for Fernando Rodney's return from the disabled list, the Detroit Tigers parted ways with veteran reliever Jose Mesa. Mesa, who was signed to a 1-year, $2.5 million contract this past off-season had struggled to get outs throughout the spring and start of the season.
Mesa's arrival in Detroit was met with some skepticism, but there was a general feeling that he may be able to provide that bridge between the starters and the dominating end of the Tigers' bullpen. Spring training brought an end to the hopes that he might be a valuable cog in the ‘pen, as he posted an uninspiring 5.11 ERA in 12.1 innings of spring ball. Mesa's struggles continued as he was routinely shelled in Detroit, notching a horrendous 12.34 ERA in 16 appearances for the Tigers.
Mesa's release comes at a time when the Tigers are in desperate need of relief help, and his departure opens the door for Fernando Rodney's return. Rodney hasn't been the dominant pitcher he was in 2006, but the organization hopes the time on the disabled list will help him round back into form. He returns to the back end of the bullpen, sporting a 4.71 ERA and 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio.
Jose Mesa will look to latch on with another team in need of relief help, but as his fastball velocity has disappeared, so has his effectiveness. If this is the end of a long career for Mesa, he'll head to retirement with a 79-107 career mark, and 320 saves in 982 appearances. The 41-year old Mesa spent parts of 20 Major League seasons with eight different teams, including the most dominant stretch of his career with the powerhouse Indians teams of the mid-90s.
Notes – In other news, the Tigers released 24-year old outfield speedster Vincent Blue; replacing him on the Toledo roster with infielder Jack Hannahan. Blue was hitting .167 in 11 games for the Mud Hens....Backup catcher Vance Wilson is set to begin his rehab at the Tigers complex in Lakeland, Florida....The Lakeland Flying Tigers had four players named to the 2007 Florida State League All-Star Team. Starter Luke French, first baseman Ryan Roberson, and outfielders Cameron Maybin and Mike Hernandez will represent the Flying Tigers in the summer classic....Lastly, the Flying Tigers added Rafael Mendez to the roster as Dusty Ryan was moved to the disabled list following surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.