Willis to DL, Figaro to rotation

The Tigers have once again placed Dontrelle Willis on the DL due to anxiety disorder. Alfredo Figaro will be called up from Erie to start on Saturday.

I’ll have more on this in an hour or so. It’s been a little more than an hour now.

Alfredo Figaro - cr. Roger DeWitt

Alfredo Figaro - cr. Roger DeWitt

Alfredo Figaro got a little bit of a late start as a prospect. He dominated West Michigan last year, but at age 23 that wasn’t particularly exciting. He spent the later part of last year with Lakeland and was pushed to Erie this season where he has a 59/17 K/BB ratio in 68 innnings. In his last 2 starts he pitched 14.1 innings with 18 K’s. He’s also Fernando Rodney’s cousin.

As for the Willis DL stint, this will raise eyebrows. There were doubts with the initial anxiety disorder diagnosis for Willis and this will surely cause more questioning. Willis himself even said he was fine. The questions will continue because the Tigers were faced with a tough roster decision with Willis were it not for the DL stint. With it being more than 5 years since his debut he has the right to refuse a minor league assignment and he would need to pass through waivers.

I’m curious about the timing or the announcement, like why did the move not occur until today if he was hitting the DL? Couldn’t this move have been made earlier in the week and the Tigers could have had an extra player until Figaro’s start on Saturday? Then again I don’t know what is involved in diagnosing anxiety disorder and it may have been a several day process.

I still wish Willis the best, but at what point does the saga end? The team has supported him, the fans supported him, he’s been given many chances. It looks like he’ll get one more.

11 Comments

  1. RPS

    June 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Comes as a surprise to me. High ERA, but the WHIP looks nice and I seem to recall Erie’s defense being pretty bad. Any reason to think he’s more ready to succeed than French, or is he simply the guy who was on the right rest?

  2. tigersfan182

    June 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    I wonder, if Gallaraga can’t pull it together Friday might French might get his spot?

  3. Brenden

    June 18, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Finally! Change I can believe in! What about the Miner move to the Rotation, I thought that had already happened. Galarraga shouldn’t even pitch Friday, if you ask me.

    Next move, Sardinha down, Ryan up.

    And, Robertson out, French in.

  4. tigersfan182

    June 18, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    The freep is now reporting Magglio is being removed from the lineup for an indefinite period of time. Major shakeups coming??

  5. Matt

    June 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Wow, Magglio benched.

    I’m shocked but happy that they’re making changes.

    @Brenden: I would agree with you about Gallarraga but considering he is always hot when JV is cold and vice-versa, I’m expecting a great start from him on Friday.

  6. David

    June 18, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Good move, hope Alfredo is as good as Alfred, or at least as good as advertised. And I hope he doesn’t get shelled by the Brew Crew while making his MLB debut – which I will be seeing live! :D

  7. Steve In D-Town

    June 18, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Brenden I agree and disagree with your statement.

    You are totally right in that we should take AG to the DL or put him down to the minors. He isn’t pitching well, and needs to adjust to hitters as they have adjusted to his pitching this year finally. Miner should be brought into the rotation and Fien, or Dolsi to the bullpen.

    But however, I must disagree with your notion about the backup catcher. Ryan is going to be our everyday catcher next year or the year after that. We cant rush him to fulfill a backup 1 day outta 5 days catching if he is to be our everyday catcher in a year. He needs seasoning and thus we need to keep him in AAA. Sardinia is awesome defense and his offense is horrible. IDK what to do wit him but bringing up Dusty is not a good idea.

    • scotsw

      June 19, 2009 at 8:57 am

      Steve,

      I’m behind the Dusty call-up as well. The offensive upgrade is HUGE over Sardinha (.250 points of OPS) and he’s very good defensively. It will happen at some point this year. He’s 25 and would probably start 1 game in 3, not 1 game in 5 as the Pineapple does. It’s pretty clear that the workload right now is more than Laird can handle. He’s a solid starter, but plays much better with a bit of extra rest.

      EDIT: There’s probably also a lot of value to the club having Sardinha working with the pitchers at AAA.

  8. Greg in Tampa

    June 19, 2009 at 3:04 am

    I’m surprised that they didn’t go with Sammy Spanish. I had a feeling that it wouldnt be Miner. Leland has been giving him more important tasks in the pen. He even had Miner ready to try to sweep up Rodney’s mess. French has the
    ML and AAA experience. So I just figured he was the best option.

  9. Coleman

    June 19, 2009 at 4:46 am

    If my name is Sammy Spanish I’ve already taken some crash course pitching lessons and I’m on a bus to Toledo because, hey, you never know…

  10. Jerry the Tiger Fan

    June 19, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Why are the Tigers so reluctant to put Miner in the starting rotation? He is serviceable as a fifth starter and has proven that over the last couple of years when he gets the chance to start. We’re talking about a fifth starter here, not a top of the rotation spot. I don’t understand the reluctance on Leyland’s part. Why rush up Figuro (sp?) when you’ve already got somebody who has proven he can start? Leyland really baffles me at times (I’m assuming that he is advising DD to keep Miner in the bullpen). They could’ve told Miner after Willis’ latest meltdown on Sunday that he was getting the nod, put Willis on the DL Monday morning on the of day, and then called up French to take take Miner’s bullpen spot.