Wilkin Ramirez recalled

The Tigers have called up Wilkin Ramirez. Ramirez is hitting .316 with 6 extra base hits and 5 walks in his last 10 games…with 13 strike outs. Casey Fien was optioned out. Fien had an impressive debut coming in with the bases loaded against the White Sox, but he struggled in Cleveland this weekend.

Those are the facts, but this move doesn’t make sense to me. Carlos Guillen is close to returning to the outfield and joining Marcus Thames, Ryan Raburn, Clete Thomas, and Magglio Ordonez in the corners. If there were an injury you’d think somebody would get DL’d. I can’t help but think there is another move on the near horizon.

UPDATE: Steve Kornacki reports that Ramirez will lead off and play left field.

Fien, Dolsi cut

A couple of bullpen candidates have been trimmed from the big league camp. Freddy Dolsi was optioned to Toledo and Casey Fien was assigned to minor league camp. Fu Te Ni was also assinged to minor league camp.

The Fien move is a little surprising because he has pitched so well this spring, but as a young player not on the 40 man roster the Tigers may choose give a veteran like Juan Rincon a shot first. Of course Perry is in the same boat, young player not on the 40 man roster, but he’s also a first round draft pick.  Still I think Fien’s assignment means Rincon in particular is in a good position.

With Venezuela eliminated from the WBC, I’d expect some of the surplus outfielders to be cut very soon as well. Wilkin Ramirez is likely in the next round of cuts. After that it gets interesting between Clete Thomas, Ryan Raburn, Brent Clevlen, and Jeff Larish.

Bad news for one reliever, good news for another?

The Tigers announced that they have outrighted the contract of Macay McBride to Toledo. McBride is still trying to get health after Tommy John surgery last year and doesn’t really figure in the immediate plans. The outrighting does open up a spot on the 40 man roster though. There are three relievers not on the 40 man roster who look to be in contention for a spot on the 25 man roster. Ryan Perry, Casey Fien, and Juan Rincon are all making a favorable impression this spring and would require a 40 man spot. Is this good news for one of the trio? Is it a sign that the Tigers are about to make a trade for a starter to flush out the rotation? Or is it just a clerical move?

Pondering Pen Possibilities

While the performances of the Tigers starters have been fairly unremarkable this spring, things are better at the back end of games. It looks like there are actual battles taking place, and in the favorable sense.

Brandon Lyon, Fernando Rodney, and Bobby Seay are locks for the pen leaving four spots open. Zach Miner is also a pretty solid bet, enough to pencil in at least. That leaves three spots open.

Continue reading Pondering Pen Possibilities

Tigers have nice fall debut

The Arizona Fall League kicked off and the Tigers representatives represented the Tigers well (how’s that for a sentence?). Wil Rhymes, Casper Wells,and Jeff Larish hit 2-3-4 and each picked up a hit. Wells was the only homer of the game and he knocked in 2. On the pitching side, Rudy Darrow pitched a perfect inning with 2 K’s and Casey Fien allowed 2 hits with 4 K’s in 2 innings of work.

Things are off to a decent start for the Tigers Hawaiian contingent. Andrew Hess has made 3 outings in relief has fanned 8 with only 1 walk in 8 innings with only one walk allowed. James Skelton is posting his customary high OBP at .500 in his first 6 games. Kyle Peter has struggled somewhat posting just a .579 OPS while still looking for his first extra base hit.

Alex Avila - cr Roger DeWitt
Alex Avila - cr Roger DeWitt

Things are also busy in Tigertown. Mark Anderson of Tigstown.com was on hand to take in some of the Instructional League action and filed daily reports. It’s premium content, but today he looked at the catchers and first baseman and the report on Alex Avila was glowing.

The good news is the daily reports don’t appear to be premium content, so you can read some of it for yourself. And if you want to see for yourself, our friend Roger DeWitt has captured quite a few images of the action.

The Call-Ups

It’s September 1st, so it’s the annual rite of infusing of rosters with up and comers and AAA fill-ins. The Tigers announced their round of call-ups. They include: Dusty Ryan, Mike Hessman, Dontrelle Willis, Chris Lambert, Clay Rapada, and Freddy Dolsi.

Dolsi had some nice moments this season, is already on the 40 man roster, and could be a piece of the bullpen puzzle next year. He gets more evaluation time and can pitch some innings as the starters continue to falter. Ditto for Rapada.

Lambert is also a slam dunk, seeing as the Tigers will need to keep him on the 40 man roster if they are inclined to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. Plus they need a 5th starter and they get a closer look at him.

Dusty Ryan has a legit shot at being the back-up next year, and like Lambert will be on the 40 man roster anyways. He’ll probably get a start or two before heading to the AFL.

Hessman hit a lot of homers and struck out a lot (139 times in 396 ABs). But he also plays a solid third base and the Tigers don’t have their regular third baseman. Chances are Hessman will be removed from the 40 at the end of the season.

As for Willis, who knows what will happen. He’ll pitch a simulated game tomorrow. But given his forearm issues, I don’t know if he’ll contribute anything.

As for the guys left out, Mike Hollimon, Brent Clevlen, Casey Fien, and Francisco Cruceta would seem to have been candidates. Hollimon struggled mightily once being sent back to AAA seeing his average drop to the low .200s. Fien and Cruceta were probably victims of roster machinations. Fien wouldn’t need to be added to protect him from the Rule 5, so it makes sense to defer his possible promotion to next spring. Clevlen is probably the biggest surprise. He will be out of options next year, and while he slumped late (.645 OPS in August) it wasn’t to the extent that Hollimon suffered.

Tigers heading to Arizona

The Tigers announced the bulk of their Arizona Fall League representatives. They are sending Luis Marte, Rudy Darrow, Casey Fien, Zach Simons, Jeff Larish, and Clete Thomas.

Luis Marte is a nice selection. He emerged earlier this year as a rising prospect, but lost a chunk of the year to injury. This gives him some additional innings to build a full season’s workload. Also, he and Zach Simons are eligible for the Rule 5 draft if they aren’t protected on the 40 man roster. This gives the team a little more time to evaluate.

The Tigers will be sending one more position player who has yet to be determined. Teams are only allowed to send one player below AA, and Simons fills that quota meaning the player will be someone from Erie or Toledo. And that player would need to have been to Erie or Toledo no later than August 1st meaning James Skelton wouldn’t be eligible.

Jeff Larish, Clete Thomas among prospects headed for Arizona Fall League | Freep.com | Detroit Free Press

UPDATE: The freep updated their story and catcher Dusty Ryan will be the 7th guy sent.

Todd Jones back to the DL

Todd Jones is back on the disabled list. After 1 outing. Makes you wonder why he was brought off the DL in the first place doesn’t it? Of course it did take him a half hour to get out of that inning so that may explain it. Or perhaps Todd is toast and he’ll just finish the year on the DL instead of being outright released.

Oddly, Gary Glover had his contract purchased by the Tigers to fill Todd’s spot in the bullpen. Glover wasn’t even in the organization until last week when he was added to Toledo. Glover appeared in 29 games for the Rays this year with 18 walks and 22 strike outs in 34 innings. I don’t get this at all. Why not give Casey Fien a shot? Or bring back Francisco Cruceta who is striking out everybody in Toledo (or at least everybody he doesn’t walk) with 52 K’s and 20 walks in 36 innings? Or bring back Clay Rapada who is already using an option year and move Bobby Seay from lefty specialist to 7th inning guy.

I guess it’s better to give a handful of innings to a 31 year old journeyman pitcher who has wowed coaches in his 3 innings at Toledo. I’m sorry, there may be very valid roster management/option/service time issues at play here. I don’t get it though.

Junkballing: Cuts like a knife

With spring training winding down, things are getting ironed out throughout the organization. For some players their dreams may be coming true, while others receive a sobering wake-up call.

Minor issues

My blogging brethren has done the heavy lifting on this, but there are a number of cuts and roster machinations taking place. (As an aside it’s amazing to me the number of sources to turn to for information on the Tigers minor leagues. And all of these blogs are well informed and authored by logical, thoughtful folks. Tremendous resources one and all) The Lakeland Flying Tigers blog I believe was the first to report that Jeff Frazier, the player the Tigers sent to Seattle for Yorman Bazardo, is now back in the organization. Detroit Tigers Thoughts and Take 75 North both examine the Erie and Toledo roster implications of the signing, as well as the additional cuts that came down today (Jason Perry, Colin Mahoney, Eleazar Aponte, Chris Homer, Chris Maples among others).

DTT also notes that Randor Bierd, the reliever the Tigers lost in the Rule 5 Draft, has made the Orioles roster.

Also of note, Mike Hessman was outrighted to Toledo today. By my count, the Tigers only have 35 players on their 40 man roster meaning they have quite a bit of flexibility going into the season – and few high level prospects ready to contribute.

What a Fien

LFT Blog is also hearing that Casey Fien has made the roster. While Fien has made an impression on Leyland, this one would really surprise me. I’m not saying LFT is wrong, but it’s just surprising news. If he has made it, I’d assume it is at the expense of Aquilino Lopez. Lopez is only a minor league contract, so there are no implications for him not making the team. The other strong bullpen candidate is Yorman Bazardo who stands a high likelihood of being claimed when the club would have to place him through waivers to remove him from the 40 man roster.

In case Fien makes the team, Detroit Tiger Tales has a profile already put together.

UPDATE: Moments after publishing this post, the Tigers announced that the last two bullpen spots would go to Lopez and Bazardo.

More links

  • View from the other side: Ian was interviewed by Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star. It’s a great read and actually part of a 2-way interview as Ian interviewed Sam as well. Check out both interviews.
  • Changes coming to MLB Gameday: I love the Gameday app and it appears to be getting even better. The one piece missing from the pitch f/x element was pitch identification. The new version has it. Tonight’s Tigers game was played in Houston, and it used the new system. It looks like they’ve done a nice job, and there are still more changes to come.
  • Consolo passes: Long time Sparky Anderson assistant coach Billy Consolo passed away due to an apparent heart attack.