Joyce down, Clete up

The Tigers have optioned Matt Joyce back to Toledo and have called up Clete Thomas.

I suppose this is because they have the left handed option with Jeff Larish on the roster now to provide some power. And as Jason Beck noted, they want Joyce to play everyday and with Thames getting left field duties, that opportunity wouldn’t be there. But it makes you wonder why they wouldn’t want Thomas to play everyday?

Joyce’s swing appeared to get a little long the last few games. He fanned 4 times on Tuesday night. He swung through fastballs early in the count and then was finished off with breaking balls on the inner half he couldn’t deal with. So it appears that even if there wasn’t a book on him before this series, there certainly is now.

Still, he provided some nice pop on a team that was popless while playing some solid defense.


  1. Kathy

    May 29, 2008 at 8:10 am

    Good idea! The pitchers figured him out and that’s something he’ll have to work on…adjustments in Toledo. Still, he was a great start-jumper on the team and what a wonderful attitude. I don’t care how clete is doing in Toledo now, when these guys come up here, most of them do well, at least for a while. Even Timo Perez, and that was for more that a few weeks. Brent Cleven was another hot one.

  2. Michael M.

    May 29, 2008 at 8:53 am

    The book on him was out before he came to the majors. His big flaw at the plate was chasing change ups down and away. Hopefully he has realized the issue and can make the adjustments. I did notice he was only hitting fastballs, so if he is trying to speed up his bat for them, he will then always be easy pray to good change ups.

    I like the move, even if I am not sure about Thames everyday. Clete does give us an option of speed off the bench. We can just rotate Outfielders through LF the rest of the year.

  3. tiff

    May 29, 2008 at 8:53 am

    I don’t mind the rotating of the minor leaguers every few weeks. Fresh blood, keeps opposing pitchers on their toes. Now when/how does Larish get into a game??

  4. Kyle J

    May 29, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Maybe the thought is that Inge is now basically the full-time third baseman. Raburn becomes the back-up there. They need Thomas as a potential back-up centerfielder?

  5. Blake

    May 29, 2008 at 9:07 am

    I agree, his swing has gotten longer (slower) over the past 10 days. When he had a shorter swing he was hitting those HR. Then I can only guess he felt some pressure and tried to swing for power which almost never works. All in all I like the shuffling of the youngsters. Keep them fresh and wanting to make it back.

  6. Chris

    May 29, 2008 at 10:28 am

    I think Raburn needs a little more time in Toledo, as well. It seems that not playing everyday has made him not very sharp. Maybe bring up Hessman.

  7. Matt in Toledo

    May 29, 2008 at 11:23 am

    I don’t think Raburn has anything to learn in Toledo and blasting the crap out of 88 mph fastballs isn’t going to help him learn how to come off the bench every three days to hit 95 mph fastballs.

    He’s probably never going to be an every day guy with the Tigers, and if it’s possible he needs to adjust to that role. He’s a better hitter than Hessman so rolling the dice on who’s going to be better in their 5-7 at bats a week probably isn’t the best approach.

  8. Scott

    May 29, 2008 at 11:34 am

    As I’ve watched the Tigers this season, a question has been nagging me … namely, would the Tigers have been better off, and have a better record if they hadn’t made the big trades in the off season?

    I suppose it’s hard to fault DD for going after Cabrerra, given his production thus far in the Major Leagues. But I didn’t like the Renteria deal from the start, and I like it even less now. It’s early, I know. But Jurgens sure looks like he will be a solid No. 2 or 3 starter for years, something the Tigers now sorely need. Renteria has been just OK at the plate, and defensively, he is less than ok. What I don’t understand is why DD felt he had to pay such a high price to get Renteria when everyone knew the Braves wanted to dump him to make room for Escobar?

    It is what it is, I guess. But I think DD will have some tough choices to make this winter. I think he will have to decide between Guillen or Shef. You can’t go into next season having to play one of those guys in the field. My vote, of course, would be to eat Shef’s contract. I don’t see him staying healthy or being consistently productive. Guillen has more value as a hitter at this point, period.

  9. Pingback: The Spot Starters » Blog Archive » Clete is Back

  10. Chris

    May 29, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Yes Scott,

    The idea that the trade of Jurrgens/Hernandez for Rentarea was a bad move is not an opinion. It is a fact.

    Even if Jurrgens wasn’t having as good of a season as he is, to trade two good young prospects for an aging player was questionable. But what was worse is that it was a move that they did not have to make. If DD truly wanted to get another shortstop, he should have waited for a better deal to come along with the possibility that we just use Santago at SS. That mindset would have put him in a better negotiation position. And surely after the Cabrera trade, the need for extra offensive production from a SS would have been diminished. Dombrowski failed to prioritize his to-do list and rushed into the Atlanta trade as if it were a pressing need, which is was not.

    No doubt in my mind that Dave Dombrowski would agree with that assessment today.

  11. Karl

    May 29, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    today, i don’t think he makes the trade. but with sheff and a jacque jones that played anywhere near where he was supposed to, the ceiling was so high for this year’s team that going totally balls-out made sense. santiago has no business starting, and i didn’t see another SS trade in the offing.

    with sheff and kenny healthy for ’08 and ’09 and placido, renteria, and granderson under bargain contracts for those two years, that was the ultimate window to make a BIG run at the series. now it looks like DD and illitch should have spread out the potential (and the dollars) a bit over the next five-seven years.

    but in terms of excitement for two years (granderson, polanco, sheff, maggs, cabrera at 3B, guillen at 1B, renteria, jones and pudge)… theoretically the only weak link in the lineup is pudge. there’s not a high-probability sub-.800 OPS in the lineup besides pudge with the kind of protection surrounding everyone. plus you’ve got staggered lefties at the bottom… murder. having a ceiling like that is more than worth an unproven starter.


    of course, the worst happened everywhere: cabrera and guillen couldn’t play third making poor brandon necessary, renteria got fat as hell, sheff fell apart, jones didn’t get a chance for some reason (can anyone explain that without foaming at the mouth?), and jurrjens is doing a modest roy hallady impression. so it goes.

    another question i have is why aren’t they batting cabrera third? please don’t tell me i’m going to have to watch thames strand granderson/polanco for the rest of the season… ah i don’t mean that, marcus markey… ‘get down with your bad self.’ and keep hitting to all fields. please?

  12. Karl

    May 29, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    oops doubled up

  13. Mark in Chicago

    May 29, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Couple points to make regarding the Renteria trade:

    Guillen said he would only move to first for a top-notch shortstop. We can all agree this is a fairly selfish statement by Guillen, but I think it played a role in who DD had in mind, as you don’t want to upset one of your most valuable players. Thus, Craig Wilson and Ramon Santiago were never really in the picture as everyday options. Whether or not DD should make decisions based on this is a fair question, and I have a hard time thinking of other quality SS that would have been available.

    The entire league knew that the Tigers were planning to move Guillen to first, creating a void at short. The White Sox were also in the market for a SS, and were also said to be interested in Renteria, clearly the best available. I have no idea if DD knew that Orlando Cabrera was available, but I assume he did. Note that the White Sox gave up 200 innings in John Garland to get a defensive shortstop coming off a career year with the bat. It was pretty clearly a seller’s market for teams looking to move a SS. So I think DD had to pony up some good (not great) prospects to ensure not only that he lands the best SS available, but that Renteria doesn’t go to a division opponent as well.

    Also, DD had originally no intentions of trading for Cabrera, and in fact, did not know he was available until the winter meetings, some 2 months AFTER acquiring Renteria. Thus, when the Renteria trade was made, Inge was the everyday 3b, meaning the additional offense of Renteria was needed, even if you have to give up some range.

    Finally, according to what I’ve read, Jurrjens projects as a middle-of-the-rotation starter who throws strikes but has no real out pitch. He also had some injury history which may have spooked the Tigers. Hernandez projects as a speed leadoff hitter who doesn’t hit for much power and is very raw. He’s also 19 years old, and blocked by Granderson (and at the time of the trade, Maybin). Both good prospects, but hardly irreplaceable. Basically DD was able to add an everyday SS without sacrificing anything off his 25-man roster. The White Sox added a lesser player by trading an established starting pitcher.

    All this said, I find it hard to fault DD for the trade. He knew he had to make it and didn’t know what else would transpire down the road. Perhaps knowing that Miggy Cabrera would be available would cause him to re-think the trade, but we’ll probably never know.

  14. Chris

    May 30, 2008 at 2:27 am

    “Guillen said he would only move to first for a top-notch shortstop.”

    Wow! So all roster and position decisions have to be approved by Guillen? Oh great. This guy is a hack in the infield yet he somehow commands so much clout that the manager & general manager have to make sure not to upset him.

    If I were the GM, I’d tell Guillen that he is going to play 1st (or better yet DH), that somebody else is going to be SS, and thats that.

  15. Mark in Chicago

    May 30, 2008 at 9:50 am

    like I said, Chris, we can debate all day whether DD makes decisions to keep his players happy, and whether he should. For all I know, DD may have targeted a top shortstop simply to upgrade the offense, and Guillen’s comment is superfluous.

  16. Dave BW

    May 30, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Sometimes management is actually concerned about the feelings of its employees, Chris. I know, it’s silly.

  17. ron

    May 30, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Leyland is at fault here. He said he was and he his. It’s probably too late to get a new manager, but that is what the Tigers need. He “protects” his players. Why?

  18. T Smith

    May 30, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Mark in Chi:

    On the surface I have no problem with the trade, all things considered. You also raise excellent points about the actual circumstances — and I agree with your assessment. I also agree with what you said in the other thread that GMs should take risks. DD’s gambles were calculated and generally risks a good GM should take.

    My feeling on the Renteria deal is that anything said one way or another, regardless how it plays out, will simply be a Monday-morning quarterback discussion. Personally, after seeing Renteria up close for a good 50+ games, I don’t think we’re gonna get what we had hoped defensively and even offensively, but that doesn’t mean to say I fault DD for making the deal. I’m just disappointed in Renteria thus far.

    Let me provide an example. In the 3-2 loss against the Angels (one of the most heartbreaking for me this year), Renteria botched (in my mind) the third out in the ninth. He charged the ball and hesitated with the release, which allowed the runner (can’t remember who) to barely beat out the play. This was the start of a two out rally — which — (I don’t think it’s really necessary to the discussion to re-live how it ended, is it? Ouch. It still hurts….)


    You can’t fault a player for not making the play — it certainly wasn’t an error — but the fact remains, a stellar play there, al la Brandon Inge — would have ended the inning and thwarted the walk off. That’s the kind of play I expect from Renteria, and that’s the kind of play I’m gonna expect (as a fan) from a player the organization traded for 2 years service for a budding JJ and Gorky Hernandez.

    There have also been numerous (meaning more than one or two) other Renteria plays so far I have noted that have adversely effected the outcome of a game — and to be fair — I can’t say I’ve noted the same frequency of plays in the other direction.

    And of course this kind of analysis of one of the better defensive players on the team will always get lost amid the fray of a more general examination of the horrific defense of the entire team.

  19. Mark in Chicago

    May 30, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    I know what you’re saying, T. Renteria is a slug defensively, and I think Tiger fans were expecting more, especially in terms of range. Frankly, he’s probably about even with Guillen in terms of range, but I think Edgar gets the nod in catching what he gets to and arm accuracy (which accounted for the bulk of Guillen’s errors, I would speculate). Offensively, I think Renteria has been about what we expected. Hits for average, takes a few (but not a ton of) walks, occassional power, tough to strike out, generally an intelligent player.

    You’re right, it would be nice to see him make some sparkling plays, but I’d settle for the making the routine stuff that always seemed to trip up Guillen. So far, in that regard, I personally can’t complain.

    I can understand your disppointment with Renteria, and you rather tacitly admit there really isn’t anyone to blame for that. It’s tough, I don’t know what to tell you, other than there’s always the hope that DD won’t pick up the option and we get a new SS next year. Any guesses who that could be? I really have no idea.

  20. Chris in Dallas

    May 30, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    I wasn’t expecting anything more than what we’ve seen defensively from Renteria. If you go and look at the range numbers from the past couple years, Guillen actually scores better than Edgar. And from the scouting reports I read on Renteria, they say his arm strength has significantly diminished. Actually seeing him play every day, I have to agree with that assessment. For him to be valuable, he’s got to hit .330 and I really don’t see that happening. That trade almost made me throw up the day it happened, and I still get a little nauseous when I see that closed batting stance step into the box.