Tigers solve crowded outfield by trading for outfielder

Aside from trying to handicap the Tigers starting rotation battle, the other story of interest was figuring out the last 2 spots on the bench. That picture is a little clearer today with the news the Tigers have traded for Josh Anderson. In exchange they send Rudy Darrow to the Braves.

Anderson (who when I first heard of the trade I got confused with Brian Anderson AND Josh Fields), hits left handed and runs pretty fast (42 steals last year on 49 attempts), and he has hit a little at the minor league level. He’s kind of like this year’s version of Freddy Guzman except that Dave Dombrowski has said he’s made the team (Anderson is out of options). At 26 Anderson isn’t a prospect but could prove useful coming off the bench.

However, the Tigers still have a plethora of outfielders in the mix. Ryan Raburn is likely traded or using his last option. Brent Clevlen? He’s out of options and it looks like he’ll be removed from the 40 man roster. Marcus Thames? His future is also a little cloudy. Jeff Larish? Not sure where he’ll end up either. Clete Thomas, who offers the most similar skill set, gets to develop a little more in the minors.

As for Darrow, he was set to begin this year pitching out of the bullpen for Erie (8.2 K/9,2.5 K/BB between Erie and Lakeland in 2008) . Darrow has an unusual delivery and could prove to be a useful bullpen arm at some point, but it’s a fair price and one I don’t envision the Tigers regretting greatly in the future.

This isn’t a move I really dislike at the moment, but one I really don’t understand a lot either. Man, I’m ready for the roster to just be set and be done with spring training.

32 thoughts on “Tigers solve crowded outfield by trading for outfielder”

  1. While the speed is nice, I’m not impressed with the OBP. Don’t see him being any better than Clete, and his name is definitely inferior.

  2. Color me puzzled.

    OTOH, I trust Dombrowski, and I imagine that there are other irons in the fire. For example, he may know that Thames and/or Raburn going to be traded, but just has not finalized the deal. Let’s hope that any other deals bring us arms.

  3. Agreed, head-scratcher for sure.

    I agree with Joel, where’s the upgrade over Clete et al.?

  4. Sounds about what I feel, Billfer. I’m not bothered by the move. I’ve read a few places that are elevating Darrow way too high up in esteem. I like the flexibility it gives Leyland. But I’m kinda confused overall and wondering what (if anything) is next.

  5. Like the move a lot. I was championing for Guzman last year, because we flat out need a burner. I also wanted them to get a great fielding SS which they might have done (assuming health). And also I wanted great SP which they didn’t get.

    Oh yea and dump sheff…

    This move will be huge because 1) We can pinch run late 2) Gives us quality defensive depth behind Guillen, Ordonez and Granderson 3) He might be able to hit a little- he is entering his prime

    Bill you forgot to mention this might be the end of Timo in the D 🙂

  6. I sure hope the Braves aren’t snookering us again, but if you consider we traded Joyce and Darrow for Jackson and Anderson, I can live with that for sure.

  7. They needed a pinch runner and late inning defensive outfielder. I’m not sure how good he is in the field, but let’s be optimistic and assume he’s pretty good. Darrow seems like a small price to pay for that.

    He might even be able to pinch hit for someone like Everett or Inge against righties. He’s not bad against righties, but he should pretty much never face a lefty. Seems like a useful piece.

  8. Whenever the Braves try to trade for a young pitcher, beware!

    Darrow has some pretty nifty stats in the minors.

    The Braves usually do not miss with young pitchers (i.e. – Jurrjens).

    Why do I see Darrow becoming the Atlanta Closer in 2010?


  9. Actually, I don’t know about this. Darrow, to me that’s no big deal. The big deal was Clete Thomas is basically this guy but better at the plate and a bit less speedy. Clete has a lot to offer to this team, and generally I think that OBP is more useful than stolen bases. Clete offers good outfield defense, too. Why did he get shafted?

  10. My take is this, granted this maybe a bit conspiracy theory here but it’s the only logical reason I can see for making this move. I don’t think they are sold on Clete yet and had decided to get rid of Thames, but liked the idea of some left handed speed that could play all OF positions and pinch run late in games, so they made this deal. I personally don’t think that this affects Larish at all. I think he’s on the team, I think Thames is the one who is gone. The only way Thames worked on the bench before this deal is to keep Raburn up, but that makes the bench all RH and that would leave no Larish with Thames and Raburn on the sqaud. Since Raburn has an option left (I think I read that today), he can go to Toledo and get called up in a pinch.

    My best guess, as of now, is that the bench ends up being Anderson (back up all OF spots, PR), Larish (1B, 3B and PH), Santiago (2B, SS) and Treanor (C). Thames either gets traded or released and Clevlen has to go thru waivers and hopefully ends up in Toledo as well, but if not no big loss IMHO.

  11. It sounds like a great deal for the Tigers. We get a good defensive outfielder that can hit around .300 and steal 50+ bases. All we gave up was a prospect relief pitcher.

    Man, this is great. We have a chance to move some of our scrubs now.

  12. Eric I think the only major difference between Clete and Josh, just based on stats, is speed. One is fast. The other is very very fast.

    Darrow to me could be a deal if he develops. Just like Gorkys/Jair.

    The one good thing about speed is along with D it doesn’t change much, unless you get old and/or injured and/or eat too many hot dogs 🙂 . He therefore can’t pull a Rentaria. Plus he is right about to enter his prime (26). He is a very nice complement to Ordonez and Guillen and should take a lot of pressure off of Granderson (like that guy feels pressure 😉 ).

  13. I totally agree with Chris, as soon as I heard about the trade my gut instinct was that Thames is out. Unfortunately, the ship has sailed as far as a possible trade. They should’ve made a move last year when he had his big homer run. Thames one tool no defense game isn’t as attractive to teams as it used to be, and he’s not going to get any better. I’d like to see Wil Rhymes up as a utility man for the same reason, Santiago is he what he is, below replacement level.

    All in all a good deal for the Tigs, even if we have to cut Marcus. With Larish and Anderson we have 2 players on the bench and 2 bodies in Treanor and Santiago. Anderson can fill in for Guillen late in games or pinch run for Sheffield. A solid offense is our only shot this year so I’m all for adding the speed ingredient to the Tigs attack.

  14. Bench? It looks more like this guys should be given every chance at a starting position. He has a history of being a .300 hitter consistently. That stat of 42/49 steals last year was minors only, he was also 10/11 for the Braves, making 52/60 total in ’08. I agree with Joel that he doesn’t draw walks (boy does he K though). This is consistent with Jimmuh and D’s track record…they just don’t seem to care about OBP.

    I see Josh being the new leadoff hitter. Granderson drops to 3rd or 5th. This probably doesn’t affect Thames, it probably means goodbye to Maggs, Guillen, or Sheffield. The good news is, that probably means a new starting pitcher if we move Ordonez or Guillen. Sheffield can just be released.

    1. Guillen and Ordonez are virtually untradeable because of their contracts, and they certainly wouldn’t fetch a pitcher of note.

      As for not caring about OBP, I think DD has sunk quite a bit of money into Sheffield/Ordonez/Cabrera/Guillen/Granderson (all of whom have above average OBPs) so OBP is probably somewhat important to him

  15. I dig all the man-love for Clete Thomas, and it’s hard not to like a guy named after Clete Boyer. He’s a hustler, he fights hard in there, and he’ll play more games in the majors before it’s all done. But let’s be realistic: Clete came up last year and made a nice, unexpected contribution. He got hot in camp, came out of nowhere, then tailed off and needed arm surgery, and can hardly throw at this point. In 40 games in The Show, he had 2 steals and an OPS of .771, with one dinger. He’ll remain with the organization as he rehabs, and could possibly work up to being a nice .300 hitter, but don’t look for great power.

    Josh Anderson has 11 swipes in 61 MLB games, an OPS of .783. and 3 HRs. But his career average is 30 points higher than Clete’s, and with his speed and the power alleys in Comerica, he stands to raise that OPS a bit … He’s not coming off arm surgery… He had a bunt single against Verlander on March 27th… He’s out of options. He strikes out far more than he walks (39 SO vs. 13 BB), a stat I’m sure the Tigers hope to improve on. Moving him allowed Atlanta to promote their star prospect Jordan Schafer to start in center.

    Sounds like a Clete upgrade who fills the Tigers needs for the position, and a fair swap of useful pieces.

  16. By the way, I want to make a comment about the Flavor-of-the-month-club mentality you see from a lot of fans. Leyland and Dombrowski both know they need to win games. And neither Clete Thomas or Josh Anderson is a suitable bat to replace Magglio Ordonez or Carlos Guillen. They’ve been playing at a high level for a long time — they’re simply much, much better players. End of story. And if Sheff is healthy and can even hit .250 (which is a modest benchmark for a .294 career hitter), he’s still a dangerous bat with a world-class eye for the strike zone. I would be flabberghasted if they released him. Leyland and Dombrowski put a lot of stock in track records — perhaps to a fault — but they’ve both been around the game long enough not to be fooled by a player with one good year or one bad year.

  17. This is a good first step, now please move Guillen to DH and find a platoon situation for LF.

  18. He’ll be put on waivers and would like to go to Tampa Bay near his home (Sheff that is). Someone will probably pick him up on the cheap unless their rosters are already filled. But he’ll be a cheap risk since he’s already getting his 14 million.

  19. I am shocked at the release of Sheffield. I would dare say that the only smart move now is to put Guillen at DH, considering that is most of what he did during the WBC. I’m not a big fan of a platoon in left though, because that is what happened last year and we saw how that worked out. I feel like we are going back to position roulette that we had to deal with all last year that screwed us up. Guillen at DH, Clevlen/Andreson/ or maybe even Timo or Ramirez in LF. Sheff is a big piece that I thought would be a important to the potency of our line up. Apparently I was wrong…

  20. So…this is all speculation, and who knows if this is the end of all the moves, but as of now I would think Guillen is the DH, Anderson/Thames split time in LF? I think this saves Thames spot on the team, which I can’t say I’m sad about. You know what you are going to get with Thames and he can carry a team at times when he’s hot. Man, this threw me for a loop today. Didn’t see this coming.

  21. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I don’t see Thames benefiting much from this as Leyland has always been allergic to giving him more than the occasional start. Best case for him is the short end of a platoon with Anderson in left and Guillen moving to fulltime DH.

  22. Either Larish steps into the fulltime DH or Anderson starts in LF and Guillen is DH.

    Glad Sheffield is finally gone. We gave the guy enough chances. Time for him to retire.

  23. Sheff says he’s “not even close” to retiring. Also, he wants to play for the Rays. Gary, we all want to play for the Rays.

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