News has been flying out of the Tigers camp fast and furious lately. Today the main topics of discussion are Dontrelle Willis, Clete Thomas, and Tim Byrdak.
Willis is struggling. He’s having a heck of a time finding the plate. His problem last year was control, and that had to do with missing his spots. But right now he’s missing the strike zone with 4 more walks, a HBP, and a wild pitch in a miserable 3 inning outing.
I don’t put a lot of stock in spring training numbers, but something is wrong here. It’s at the point in the spring where pitchers have moved beyond “working on things” to a large extent. It is time to be concerned because Willis’s last two starts have been bad.
Ian speculated about an injury following Dontrelle’s last start. I sincerely hope he’s not trying to pitch through an injury all of 0 games into a 3 year contract. If it’s not an injury, it’s on Chuck Hernandez to figure out the problem.
It sounds as if Thomas may have played himself on to the roster, well the injury to Granderson was the catalyst of course. Jon Paul Morosi reports that Thomas has a shot at coming North. The 24 year old out of Auburn was the Tigers 6th round pick in 2005. Last year he posted a solid 280/359/405 line for Erie.
If he does make the roster it would be over Freddy Guzman which would be surprising. Guzman has had a good spring, is on the 40 man roster, and is out of options (though he’s not really a threat to be plucked off of waivers). Timo Perez who was in the mix was cut, along with Mike Hessman yesterday.
We’ve already discussed the Byrdak release, but the beats have some more info. Danny Knobler has some quotes from Jim Leyland, including the fact that he’d like it a lot of if there was a second lefty.
My guess is that a trade happens in the next two days. I’m not sure for who, but I think that the Tigers would be parting ways with Ryan Raburn. It’s not a scenario I’m particularly fond of, but that’s my idle speculation.
Also, my initial speculation that something happened behind the scenes was probably too ominous. It could simply be that the Tigers gave him his outright release so that he’d be free to sign with any other team, in essence doing him a favor.