Avila and Lambert up

It’s almost like the Tigers got a bulk discount on a shuttle between Toledo and Detroit. Wilkin Ramirez’s stay in the Detroit was very brief and expressly for the purpose of facing Brian Matusz. Chris Lambert will replace him on the roster. But that’s not all my friends. We also have a lefty catcher in our midst with Alex Avila replacing Dusty Ryan on the roster. Let’s think this through now because there are some implications worth considering before we debate the merits of the moves.

  • Ramirez will not be bumping Magglio Ordonez from the roster for at least 10 days. Barring a DL stay Ramirez cannot be recalled.
  • Alex Avila will likely not burn an option year this year. If even the Tigers decide to change their minds and send him down, as long as he spends less than 20 days off the big league roster it won’t count as an option. So if he’s up for another 8 days that won’t be an issue with the roster expanding on September 1st. He will accrue service time, but probably not enough to move his free agent clock up a year. It does mean he will need to remain on the 40 man roster in an offseason where he otherwise wouldn’t need to.
  • I have a hard time seeing how Dusty Ryan has a future in the franchise. Laird has been struggling mightily at the plate and Ryan still could supplant him more than once a week. Now he’s being exchanged for a catcher who has one year of professional catching experience.

As for the new guys, Avila is one of the two guys I consider to be nearly untouchable largely due to the fact i envisioned him filling a critical role in the near future. I wasn’t thinking this month though. Avila’s overall numbers are very impressive…for a guy one year removed from the draft playing in AA. But his 262/360/446 line is far from overwhelming and he’s only hitting 191/280/393 in the last 28 days (thank you minorleaguesplits.com.

Lambert has been pitching very well for the Mud Hens as a starter. In his last 10 starts he has a 2.07 ERA with 52 K’s and only 11 walks. He’ll presumably pitch out of the bullpen until the team decides to recall either Casey Fien (at least 10 days from now) or Jeremy Bonderman gets healthy.

The Lambert move is fine by me. He’s earned a spot. The Avila move is a mystery. I understand wanting to get some offense from the catcher spot and with Avila being a lefty it makes for a more natural time split for Laird who is scuffling. But I can’t see how this helps Avila in the long term and it’s not that clear to me how it helps the team in the short term. There is a big enough learning curve for typical players, let alone catchers. This is a rush move and can only be considered a move of desperation. Then again if you feel the need to call up a player from the minors just to face a guy making his big league debut because nobody else on the roster can hit…then maybe you’re past the point of desperation.