Winter Meetings – Heading to Day 4

Could James Skelton be looking at a new team - cr Roger Dewitt

Could James Skelton be looking at a new team - cr Roger Dewitt

On the last day of the Winter Meetings things shift a little bit to the Rule 5 draft. Okay, not everything shifts to that, but it will be the focus in this here blog post.

A quick rule 5 primer is that teams can’t bury players in the minors forever. Eventually they have to add them to the 40 man roster or risk losing them to other teams. The time limit for this varies based on the player’s age when they signed. Teams with open space on their 40 man roster can select from this pool of players, but the catch is said player has to stay on the 25 man roster all season, or the player has to be offered back to the original team.

The Tigers have two spots open on their roster at the moment. Sort of. Adam Everett should be the 39th guy, but he hasn’t formally been added to the roster. I’ll speculate the delay is to keep a second spot open for today’s draft? I really don’t know.

Now the Tigers have some players who they are at risk of losing. Leading that list is James Skelton. Skelton has huge OBP skills, but with little power and there is a theme he’s too small to play catcher. (evidence of too small is nebulous at best) I still find it curious that Skelton was unprotected, especially by a team that currently has Dane Sardinha as the back-up. Skelton while not ready by any means, would most likely outperform Sardinha.

Other Tigers who may be snatched up are second baseman Wil Rhymes and pitcher Jay Sborz, although the lobby buzz isn’t high on any Tigers being selected. The Tigers could target Eduardo Morlan, a reliever was traded to the Rays as part of the Garza/Young deal. Rick Knapp certainly has familiarity.

You can watch the draft on if you’re a subscriber.

Other Stuff

John Smoltz is still out there. But I don’t know if the interest has dropped since the Jackson trade.

Other than that things are quiet on the Tigers front at the moment. Matt Treanor, who the Tigers were reported to have mild interest in was released and the Tigers need a back-up catcher.

Also, I took part in the TigsTown weekly roundtable this week. (Tomorrow I’ll have a guest piece on their site). I’d like to thank TigsTown for the opportunity to contribute this week and invite you to check it out.


  1. Brenden

    December 11, 2008 at 8:58 am

    If this team doesn’t pick up a closer, I am not sure if I am even going to bother watching this season. Watching the Tigers attempting to win without a solid closer last year was just too painful for me. And what was the point of trading Joyce for yet another average pitcher? Don’t you think we already have a stockpile of them?

  2. Blake

    December 11, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    If they lose Skelton today that would be pretty tough to swallow. He’s exactly the sort guy the Tigers should hold onto.

  3. Mark P

    December 11, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    If we lose Skelton today, would started to look like a pretty good off-season will turn into a pretty bad one. The Joyce trade hurts.

  4. walter55

    December 11, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Tigers take Kyle Bloom
    D’Backs take James Skelton

    They still have to keep him all year though. I still think we get him back but they might keep him as their #2 catcher. Bloom threw well in winter ball but I don’t see us keeping him all year.

  5. Anson

    December 11, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    Crap we lost Skelton and it looks like DD picked another starter from the pirates who hasn’t exactly lighted up Single A. Something tells me the Pirates are not the team to be poaching pitchers from.

  6. billfer

    December 11, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Bloom’s numbers are pretty good. He’s a lefty and could pitch out of the pen.

  7. Anson

    December 11, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    I suppose Bloom could. Hopefully that means we wont waste any money on a questionable LOOGY.

  8. Zappatista

    December 11, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Didn’t the D’backs come out yesterday and say that they were keeping both of their catchers that they already have? Me thinks they probably picked him for someone else…….

  9. Dave BW

    December 11, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    I’m beginning to think that the Tigers don’t really understand how the Rule 5 draft works. Two useful players lost in as many years.

  10. Deryl G

    December 11, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    After this and the Joyce trade, I kind of hate the Tigers right now. Someone please help me feel better about this team.

  11. Dave T.

    December 11, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    Who did we lose last year?

  12. Eric Jackson

    December 11, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    We lost randor bierd. I hope I spelled that right. He did pitch in the MLB, but didn’t post good stats.

  13. Mark A.

    December 11, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Somebody that was out-righted to Triple-A after the season and we (or any other team) didn’t bother to try and claim in the process…..aka Randor Bierd.

  14. Chris Y.

    December 11, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    MacBride, Lambert, Simons, Bonine, and Rapada are all on my radar.

    For Skelton’s sake, I hope at least one of these table scraps works out. Holding 40-man spots for these guys and for below-average former prospects outfielders like Clevlen makes me wonder. Is DD secretly trying Randy Smith this club?

    These last couple years are going to keep on giving. I really think we’ll look back and see how 07/08 turned the promise of ’06 into the return of the 90s.

  15. Chris Y.

    December 11, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    I am sorry if that brings anyone down. I just can’t get behind the moves being made right now….or in recent memory.

    Wait — my bad, I was solidly behind trading Grilli for Mr. Nothing (aka Simons).

    Tim Dierkes had this to say about Mr. Nothing after the Gas Can was traded: “Simons appears to be a long shot to reach the bigs; he wasn’t among the Rockies’ top 30 prospects.”

    But here we are, and Mr. Nothing’s turned into a 40-man spot that lost the Tigers a reasonable catching prospect. So, I guess I’m indifferent. At least I could channel my anger when Grilli was around. Honestly, I’ve never seen Zach Simons pitch. And, truthfully, I probably don’t want to see him pitch, but I bet he throws REAL hard. And, I bet if he pitches at A Ball for a couple more years, he’ll be old enough to school all those kids, and his numbers will look real good….if he were ten years younger.


  16. Barry

    December 11, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    I thought Tigers were setting themselves up good with Ryan at AAA, Skelton at AA and Aliva at High A. But I think the Tigers have high hopes for Kunkel. The DBack picking a catcher is a head scratcher when they have two left handing catcher knocking at the MLB door with Currerri and Castillo. Maybe we can nab him when the Dbacks send him down. Dave also screw up not offering Renteria arb, because even if he accepted we could have traded him to the Giants for a prospect. Giant would be a lot happier with one year deal with Renteria than two.

  17. Mark P

    December 11, 2008 at 3:10 pm


    I agree about the Renteria arbitration. With SS being a hot commodity this winter, we would not have had much difficulty moving him.

  18. Deryl G

    December 11, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Barry and Mark P,

    If Renteria accepted arbitration, wouldn’t keeping him be better than signing Everett?

  19. Tim D

    December 11, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    This is a head scratcher. I can’t figure out why you would want Bloom on the 40 man rather than Skelton. They have Seay and Rapada and MacBride. I don’t see Bloom passing any of them. He’s a big guy who throws hard. DD likes those guys but I don’t see how they keep him. Skelton may not turn out to be a FT catcher but he projects as an excellent backup at least and I would guess he could play a corner position. Maybe even 2B. His OBP and LH bat would make him a terrific guy to have at 8 or 9 in the order. AZ is going young, not spending any $$$ and I expect they will find a way to keep him. Detroit has multiple guys on the 40 man that could have been left unprotected (Hessman, Raburn, Willis (who would take that salary?), the g*d awful Robertson, Bonine, Lambert, Clevelen, etc, etc.) Not good. Maybe they don’t think Skelton’s bat will play at higher levels because he doesn’t have any power. I tend to think he will be a pretty regular .800 OPS guy who can catch, play other positions and hit lefty. An Inge who can actually hit. Now there’s a concept.

  20. Mike R

    December 11, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    And we lost James Skelton. Well done, Dave Dombrowski. Well done. Two very shrewd moves in the first day or two, undone in the last couple of days.

  21. Chris in Dallas

    December 11, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    I’m starting to think that moving the left field fence in at CoPa was a retarded idea. The Tigers seem to have no more use for left handed bats (Curtis Granderson excepted).

  22. Barry

    December 11, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Deryl G, Tiger pitching is terrible, they needed defense just to help out. Yes I like N Punto and C Izturis over A Everrett.

  23. Joel in Seattle

    December 11, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    I’m closing my eyes until Spring Training. This last 24 hours sucks for Tiger fans.

  24. Andre in Chicago

    December 11, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Chris in Dallas,

    sorry, but aren’t righties the ones that benefit the most from moving the left-field fence in?

  25. Dave BW

    December 11, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    The White Sox tried this same thing (i.e., stockpiling hard throwing cast-offs) a couple years ago. Now they’re stuck with guys like Andy Sisco and Mike MacDougal eating league minimum paychecks in AAA.

    Dombrowski is probably a great poker player (he’s certainly not afraid to go all-in), but I’m a little uncertain as to whether he is capable of the thoughtful finesse necessary to make a long-term mid-market team work.

  26. Dave BW

    December 11, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    btw did you guys see the contract Farnsworth got from KC? Two years, 9 million. First the Jacobs trade, then Coco Crisp, and now this. The Kansas City Royals: Canceling out any minimal success with baffling front office ineptitude since 2003.

  27. Steve in Kzoo

    December 11, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    I agree that Skelton being off the 40 man roster was a head scratcher. Why in the world would we let a decent catching prospect go after really being in the hole with that position at the MLB level. DD has made some major mistakes last 24 hours(Jackson excluded, i know you guys don’t like him but Joyce isn’t going to be an all star- just a regular average corner fielder, which we have plenty of) why did we not pull the trigger in a three way deal for a dominant (when healthy) closer? Why did we leave off Skelton on the 40 man roster when these guys, MacBride, Lambert, Simons, Bonine are on it. (MacBride isn’t even available to play due to surgery)? Well I’ll take comfort we are just preparing for a ’10 run. ’09 is going to be a step back, but the CWS, MIN, KC are all going to be weakened as well, Cleveland will but our divisions powerhouse this year I think.

  28. jud

    December 11, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    has Farnsworth been dumped by every team in the AL yet…..his next team should be the Budweiser Slowpitch Bombers

  29. Steve in Kzoo

    December 11, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    I think the Farnz should pitch in the NL since the AL seems to hard for the poor fellow. I mean seriously what happened to that guy. He used to be so good now he sux like IDK a AAAA player lol.

  30. Tbone

    December 11, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    So far – little evidence to give us any hope that we can pull ourselves out of the cellar in ’09. Sigh.

  31. Chris in Dallas

    December 11, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Dr. Dre: That’s what I was getting at – since the LF porch is now shorter, they’ve given up on having any left handed hitters. All righties all the time, baby.

  32. Rick G

    December 11, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    Eddie Frickin’ Bonine? They had to keep him on the 40 man roster instead of a guy with a career OBP of .416? Who catches? And bats left handed? And they wouldn’t even have lost Bonine by not protecting him!

    So far, all of the Tigers’ offseason moves fall into two categories:
    1. Remain minimally competitive for 2009
    2. Boneheaded roster management

    On the plus side, I’ve got a really sweet avatar!

  33. Andre in Chicago

    December 11, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    Chris in D,

    i gotcha, now i seem like a retarded idea…

  34. Dave BW

    December 11, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    MLBtraderumors now says “Tigers unlikely to add closer.” Yikes.

  35. Smoking Loon

    December 11, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    “Tigers unlikely to add closer.”

    Wow. They could at least consider H-… that one guy.

    Oh well, it’s all on Casey Fien’s shoulders now. That simplifies things.

  36. Brenden

    December 11, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    Seriously….Not going after a closer…..I’m not even going to bother watching next season…..It is absolutely stupid of them to not go for a closer, who the frick is going to do the closing next year? Rodney? Zumaya? Robertson? Yeah…those are all great options….This team isn’t serious about winning next year. It appears it will be a rebuilding year….

  37. Andre in Chicago

    December 11, 2008 at 8:22 pm


    just so you know, on a day where our real-life counter parts seem to be dropping the ball, i’ve done my best to make up for your lack of posting today!

  38. walter55

    December 11, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    One guy on CBS thinks they are not going to add a closer and he also refers to Ryan Perry as “Rick” Perry so who knows how much he knows. He also says if Dontrelle doesn’t have a good ST that he might get released.

  39. Steve in Kzoo

    December 11, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Agreed Brenden and Andre. I just cannot believe that the Tigers would choose to remain with Fernando ‘cant hit a glove’ Rodney for closing. I just, I wont believe it until Spring Training. There has got to be something in progress to offset this horrible winter meetings. Besides Laird, and the good, IMHO, but very controversial Jackson trades, this has got to be the worst winter meetings for DD since he took over. Bullpen!! DD Wheres that bullpen help you said we would get. What we needed. Agh that is sooo disappointing!!! Cannot even try for Smoltz, or even for goodness sakes Hoffman!! WE NEED SOMEONE WHO CAN END BALLGAMES…..RODNEY CANT AND NEVER COULD!!! I don’t care if DD thinks hes going to be great this year because of it being his contract year, that helped a lot for Pudge and others. Pudge’s contract year was a joke, and see where it got him, not being signed as of today. God! DD you are really trying my patience, others say its the Jackson trade, I say its not building up a good bullpen.

    You cannot leave it in the hands of rookies, no matter how ‘good’ they seem. Man if they don’t recover and get someone at the end of the bullpen, next season will be even harder to watch than this season, and I and a lot of people will be calling for the heads of Leyland. As for DD he may not get that second chance, as his head will also be called for. AGH how disappointing!!

  40. billfer

    December 11, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    With regard to the bullpen, there are a few months left until spring training. Hoffman is still available, Fuentes is still available. Cruz and Lyon are still available. It’s not like every bullpen arm has been snapped up. At this point it may be better to wait it out and see if prices drop. I’m less worried about that at the moment than the Jackson trade and leaving Skelton unprotected which can’t be undone.