Tigers set 40 man roster

Today is the deadline for the Tigers to announce who would and wouldn’t be protected from the Rule 5 draft on the 40 man roster. Below is the roster, and highlighted are the 5 players who the Tigers just added: Alfredo Figaro, Casper Wells, Zach Simons, Guillermo Moscoso, and Wilkin Ramirez. That brings the total to 38.

R Porcello
J Bonderman
N Robertson
D Willis
J Verlander
A Galarraga
J Zumaya
B Seay
Z Miner
F Dolsi
C Rapada
F Rodney
M McBride
A Lopez
C Lambert
E Bonine
G Moscoso
Z Simons
A Figaro
M Cabrera
P Polanco
B Inge
J Larish
D Ryan
M Hollimon
R Santiago
R Raburn
M Hessman
C Granderson
M Ordonez
C Guillen
G Sheffield
M Joyce
C Thomas
M Thames
B Clevlen
C Wells
W Ramirez
James Skelton - cr Roger DeWitt
James Skelton - cr Roger DeWitt

There are two very surprising omissions from this list, James Skelton and Luis Marte (explanation). Both are eligible to be drafted and both would seem to be attractive picks. Skelton is a left handed catcher, that while small and lacking power, has ridiculous OBP skills (416 in his minor league career) and reached AA as a 22 year old. Marte was having a wonderful season, even overshadowing Rick Porcello at Lakeland, before an elbow injury slowed him. However he has been very effective in the AFL (22/6 K/BB ratio in 17.1 innings) but he has been battling shoulder pain. (The full list of eligibility is here)

Not surprisingly the Tigers secured Wilkin Ramirez who finally seemed to have the season in which the results caught up to the tools with a 303/371/522 line at the age of 22 in AA.

Casper Wells exploded late in the second half at Erie and has been on a tear in the AFL with 7 homers and a .316 average in 21 games.

Figaro saw action with both Single A West Michigan and Single A Lakeland during the 2008 season, but he was 23 and didn’t exactly excel when moved to Lakeland. I’m quite surprised he was kept over Marte.

Moscoso split the season between Single A Lakeland and Double A Erie at age 24 and had a 122/21 K/BB ratio for the year. And he had that perfect game for the O-Tigs in 2007.

Simons came over in the Jason Grilli trade and fanned 61 in 53 innings with a 1.11 WHIP for Lakeland. But in the AFL he was 7 walks and only 6 strikeouts in 13 innings of work.

Now the Tigers still realistically need room for a shortstop, a catcher, and more pitching (both starters and relievers). So they need space under the limit. I’m not sure how all those players are going to fit and am surprised to see Mike Hessman, Eddie Bonine, and Macay McBride remaining on the roster. I don’t really understand some of the guys that were protected and realistically I’d rather have the earlier jettisoned Virgil Vasquez than Bonine, Lopez, Lambert…

31 thoughts on “Tigers set 40 man roster”

  1. The fact that Skelton is NOT on the roster is both suprising and scary…

    Any reason he may have been left off? I actually saw a possible Skelton/Ryan platoon after about July of 09.

  2. Yeah it’s curious that Skelton would not be on the list. Perhaps he hasn’t garnered enough service time to be eligible for the Rule 5 draft? I dunno the specifics of that. I’m also completely flabbergasted with the infatuation with White Marcus Thames (Hessman). He just needs to go to Japan already.

  3. It seems (to my untrained eye) that we are taking some career minor leaguers over the upside of Marte and Skelton.

    We made the same mistake last year with Randor Beird (who was pretty good away from Camden Yards).

    EDIT: Billfer, I think at least one of the spots you mentioned in your post will be filled via trade, thus swapping out 40 man spots.

  4. My guess is they figured nobody would be able to keep Skelton on the 25-man roster all season. My guess is that it’s easier to do that for pitchers. And with Marte, I’d have to guess the front office factors in injuries more than most when it comes to young pitchers. See Sanchez, H and Jurrjens, J.

    But yeah, I’m really surprised Figaro is on the list. I just don’t see it.

  5. I don’t understand why the Tigers are looking a shortstop when they have Santiago. He’s never really been given a chance to be an everyday shortstop.
    He’s certainly better at fielding and hitting than some of the characters I’ve been reading about on the rumor mill.

  6. linbus: See the abortion that was the 2003 Detroit Tigers. Santiago played 141 games and put up a sub-600 OPS. Ouch.

  7. I understand what they’ve done. It just hasn’t worked out. It happens. 2009 will be a bounceback season, though.

  8. Chris,

    ditto. one of the thoughts that keeps me warm at night is that DD and the Tigers had done a good job addressing most of the Tigers needs in the last off season, by which i mean that almost all of the moves made sense at the time and seemed to address the major needs. i have faith that they’ll tackle this off season just as well, if slightly more conservatively, having learned not to assume too much about the health of certain individuals. i may or may not have rose-colored glasses on.

  9. Dre

    The Rentaria deal made sense? It covered a possible need (assuming at the time that Guillen was jettisoned from the shortstop role)… But who would realistically trade a young up and coming pitcher, plus another extremely young prospect putting up the same numbers as the highly touted Maybin?

    In 2007 he went 3-1 with a so-so ERA but looked good and ATM was only 21

    Plus checking out Edgars mediocre fielding and him coming off a career year and the fact that he somewhat flailed with the BoSox…

    At the time I thought it was nuts and a horrible trade

  10. Rings

    I agree, a lot of their moves post 2006 were

    Trade prospects away , sign players to large AND long contracts

    but then again if you had your way you’d get rid of one of the best infielders in the majors

  11. Also am I the only one disgusted at the AL MVP pick?

    I mean why give out gold gloves and MVPs if the Award is an empty honor

    Better/more valuable players continually get passed over

  12. Dave,

    i’m far from the first to express the opinion that the moves made last offseason seemed to improve the team on the whole at the time. JJ(#1) had been put on the DL with shoulder issues and from what i had heard at the time, seemed somewhat injury prone. he ended up having a decent year with Atlanta and Renteria had what was a sub-standard year by his standards/our expectations, although who realistically considers 100 runs and 70 rbi from the SS position a failure? (if you’re confused, those were Renteria’s Boston #s)

    had JJ’s arm fallen off (like myself and some others feared) and Renteria lived up to the “expectations” of many, we’d obviously not be having this exchange. also, try to remember the number of injuries creeping up in the staff that year.

    besides that, JJ was hardly overpowering; he went 3-1 that season, with the Tigers averaging 4.7 runs scored in his appearances (which coincidentally is the same as his ERA)…take from that what you will, I’ve heard people discount each method of evaluation. He didn’t seem terrible as a new call up, but with a possible history of injuries, i didn’t sweat his inclusion in the trade. i also tend not to worry about dealing prospects, sports is filled with failed “highly touted” prospects. they’re nice to have around, but when you can trade them for proven quantities, i’m don’t mind.

    well as for the other JJ(#2), we gave up Infante and got Jacques and cash in return. i think this was more than fair considering we didn’t tell them how bad Craig Monroe was…then again maybe we still got screwed when you consider Neifi. up until ’07 JJ was ok, maybe not $6 million ok, but he was a lefty that had shown power earlier in his career. to be honest i hadn’t remembered that JJ was on the team when mentioning last year’s offseason, and even remembering now it doesn’t change my view on the whole.

    but back to my inciting comment, Dave, i rarely speak in absolutes. i didn’t say they had the perfect offseason as seen in my choice of terms. on the whole DD has shown himself to be a savvy cat in transfers and i feel that everything that can realistically be done to improve the team was done then and probably will be now. as always, reasonable people may (and do) differ.

  13. I don’t know…
    I guess if you thought that Rentaria at the time was a solid hitter and a good fielder, then it would have addressed the need, however he wasn’t even looking at his stats and the tangotiger fielding by the fans

    Jair’s arm fell off? I had no idea, wow makes me wonder why the Braves would have done that deal… I guess it was for Hernandez 😉

    Plus if we had “injuries creeping up in the staff” WHY WOULD YOU TRADE A YOUNG STARTER??? Seems acting opposite to what you should

    His minor league stats as a youin’ seemed pretty good to me AT THE TIME, to keep him around…

    Rentaria = proven?????? So does that mean that Eckstein is a “proven quantity” since he has played in teh Biggs so we should sign him?

    Yea some highly touted guys flail (see much of who Randy Smith drafted)

    But nearly all guys who are “highly touted” end up becoming major league players, quite a few become all stars and a several become HOF

    His (Jones) career wasn’t too impressive… We were better off at the time with Marcus Thames in left… How can you forget that deal? Maybe because it was another unforgetable bad deal… But in all seriousness he was part of the SUPER DUPER lineup they(radio/tv/papers) always would name…

    I guess I agree with Rings on this, much of what Dave has done(since after 2006 WS) has been puzzling

    And still HOW did that(all those moves) improve the team????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    They finished in DEAD LAST

    DD should have been on the ropes

    and Leyland should have been(and SHOULD BE) fired

    ADD another cukoo – Sheffield – to the list

    It seemed to me like he was smart and then got dumb

    Sign/trade for former highly touted/all-stars/possible HOF who you can get on teh cheap due to injuries (Pudge/Guillen/Ordonez/Polanco)

    Sign the best guys in the draft (usually go after pitchers or fill a pressing need), be willing to pay them more (see much of our drafting as of late)

    Thereby stocking your farm club with highly touted prospects and watch them develop – then plug them in

    Two main things he’s done lately

    Trade away your young stock for old/not good guys
    Sign guys on the team (usually after career years) to long expensive deals – thereby creating roster inflexibility


    Again I don’t get it, he seemed like he knew something, now no

    Hopefully he is learning

    Considering he worked for the Expos and the Marlins – two teams with tiny budgets he probably had decent practice in doing the first part – otherwise they never would have gotten decent teams

    Still he thinks he has to follow the Yanks or Red Sox to compete

    When in reality his first methods were quite nice

  14. I didn’t like the Renteria deal for the fact that they gave up way too much for him. I did expect him to be reasonably productive, though. I was wrong (duh). I was actually happy about Jacque Jones. He was a lefty bat, and had a history of being able to knock the ball out of the park. The second half of his last season with Chicago he was actually very good (.332/.374/.458), so it looked like the Tigers were making a nice (and fairly cheap) addition. Again, that totally backfired but I thought the logic behind the move was sound. The tomfoolery with Guillen/Cabrera in the field was ill-advised. Anyone with a working pair of eyes knew that Cabera was a total butcher at 3B (and I mean that with no disrespect to butchers). I’m guessing that massaging his ego/enticing him to sign a long term deal had a lot to do with that.

  15. Dave,

    looks like we’ll just have to disagree, but you really should try to read what i write.

    “Jair’s arm fell off? I had no idea” – you
    “had JJ’s arm fallen off” – me

    maybe you have trouble with verb tenses. my point had been that some people regarded JJ as injury prone. given the issues with injuries the staff had been having that year, it would seem to me that trading away a possible injury liability was worth it considering Renteria’s apparent value at the time. taking his numbers (as a “failure”) in Boston as a low point he would have ranked #5 @ SS in both runs scored and batted in this year.

    you mention that “It seemed to [you] like [DD] was smart and then got dumb” and list Ordonez to illustrate his former brilliance. Maggs was a huge gamble…you can tell, because its in his contract. now, to their credit the Tigers were smart enough to protect themselves with the contract, but he was coming off experimental knee surgery at the time and there was no guarantee that he would return to old form let alone win a batting title. it does help to distinguish between what we know now and what we knew then.

    i do hope that science figures this cloning business out though, being able to bring your boy Cobb back from the dead would go a long way to easing your distress over MVP picks.

  16. I forgot to add that I’m inclined to give Dombrowski the benefit of the doubt. You point out the crap moves he’s made but ignore the fact that he’s drafted extremely well and also landed one of the top 5 hitters in the game at age 25. When it’s all said and done, Cabrera will look like a steal. Miller will be a bust and Maybin is all tools and no performance at this point – he sold high on those two. The rest of it was just spare parts. I’ll defend the Sheffield deal on the same front – none of the guys given up for him are going to amount to much of anything in all likelyhood, and at least Sheffield gave us all 3 months of apesh*t performance. And he made grown men wear chef hats to the ballpark. So there’s that. Don’t forget he got Polanco for a guy currently incarcerated in Venezuela, not to mention Carlos Guillen for nothing.

  17. @david

    I like Tango’s survey, but it shouldn’t be treated as gospel and should be used in conjunction with other metrics. Renteria should have been a defensive upgrade over Guillen. Not a gold glove level defender, but there was every reason to expect he’d been average or near average which would have been a 10-15 run upgrade. Nobody liked the price that the Tigers had to pay to get Renteria, and the move failed, but it is easy to see why the move was made. The Tigers were trying to maximize their chances to win in 08 and 09.

    As for Jones, it proved to be a pretty insignifcant move, but it was also one done to upgrade defense. Jones was a plus defender for the Cubs in center and it was a low cost move to find a platoon partner for Thames. As it turned out the Tigers cut bait early and so it didn’t really inhibit anything.

    And please, paragraphs aren’t evil. A whole thought can go in one block of text. 🙂

    On another note, let’s keep this related to the 40 man roster moves and prospects who should or shouldn’t be on there. I know discussions can evolve, but really we don’t need to discuss the Renteria trade or Inge in every other thread. Also, this is a blog and not a message board. As such I get some say in the topic at hand.

  18. billfer: In my defense, I haven’t used the I-word in days. Weeks even. It’s my pre-New Years resolution. As for the 40 man roster (or as I like to call it, the 38 man roster), do the two open slots indicate that the Tigers may be looking to shanghai someone in the Rule V draft? As someone pointed out earlier, C and SS guys could be acquired via trading someone off of the 38 man, thereby just flip-flopping roster spots. I’m hoping that Dombrowski would look to the Rule V – there’s gold in them thar hills (cf Victorino, Johan Santana etc.)

  19. At this point I am hoping that Skelton will be overlooked and he will remain gold in OUR hills.
    However, the thought did occur to me that he is being left off because he will be included in a trade for a higher level C (no idea who though).

  20. The Skelton omission seems kinda weird to me, too. Larish seems like he’s primed to take over the (tiny) Hessman role, making Hessman kind of unnecessary. I can’t see why this organization would let ANY mildly highly-thought-of P or C go while keeping the last man on the MLB team’s backup at 1B/3B/DH on the 40-man.

    On second thought, maybe the idea is that Skelton is still raw enough that no team would be willing to keep him on their 25-man roster for a full year. I’m not sure that a gamble on being able to keep Skelton is worth Hessman at this point, but it makes a whole lot more sense that way.

  21. @ryan

    I’m pretty sure that’s what they are hoping. Here’s hoping they are right, but it feels like he’s got Billy Beane written all over him.

    I’d imagine that the Tigers are going to be adding more than 2 players and so it is still likely that Hessman could be dropped from the 40 man if they need to make room. That’s something they couldn’t do with Skelton because if he were added then waived he’d have to pass through waivers – which wouldn’t happen – and not be subjected to the rule of having to stay on the roster.

  22. Dre

    1) It (being arm falling off)was a joke, didn’t know it offended you that much
    2) Ordonez flew past me, I would have never signed him either in the first place – when he signed him I was actually upset…I agree (I think) with what you saying on that
    3) LOL Cobb, I’m a fan of Inge (his play moreso than his words) Guillen and quite a few other Tigers… But I’m a fan of baseball in general and I think there were quite a few guys better than Dustin

    If it were me I would have maybe chosen Cliff Lee – I think he was THE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER on any team… there were also several hitters above Pedroia (if not more pitchers) in my opinion …. some being

    Josh Hamilton
    Carlos Quinten
    Alex Rodriguez
    Justin Morneau

    and others heck one could argue Aubrey Huff had a better offensive season than him….

  23. I’m not too terribly upset on the MVP vote. I’d probably have gone with Mauer for total value, given his offensive production from a position where any offense is a bonus. Excellent defensive catcher and baserunner too. If you look at the fancy pants egghead stuff, Pedroia is up there in Win Shares, VORP, EqA and the like. I’m just glad the voters didn’t have a brain fart and give K-Rod the Cy Young.

  24. On the 40 man roster:

    I’m just now starting to learn the less obvious strategies for and signs evident in the way the 40 man roster is manipulated. A recent link to Eddie’s site (Detroit Tigers Thoughts?) was very educational. I can’t say much about it myself, but I hope the discussion continues so that I can keep learning a thing or two.

  25. Chris

    Whats wrong with Lee? He won on average 3.67 games/month

    Best ERA for a starter
    Most Wins 22
    Best winning percentage 88%
    At one point won 11 games in a row
    4complete games

    He has the 3rd best winning% all time (since 1901) of a pitcher who won 20+ games


    With Lee the Indians finished at .500 – to me that screams MOST VALUABLE, he came in 12th =(

  26. “Whats wrong with Lee?”

    Biggest thing? He played every 5th game. For a pitcher to overcome the fact that they’re simply not on the field for most of a team’s games, they need to be positively dominant. Lee had a great season, but it was hardly something for the history books. And that’s what it takes for a pitcher.

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