Former Tigers Still Chasing the Dream

While I was pouring over MLB Trade Rumors this morning, I found a link to a blog called Monozygotic, which is written by twin brothers, obviously. They put together a comprehensive list of all non-roster invitees for the 2010 Spring Training camps of each team. It is impressive work.

Non-roster invitees are always an interesting group. There are young players that are getting their first looks from the major league staff, journeymen still trying to establish themselves as big league talents, and always a few veterans trying to catch on with yet another team, looking for one last season in the sun.

Upon scouring Monozygotic‘s  post, I found the list was littered with former Tigers. I always find it fun to catch up on the guys that used to wear the Old English D, after all once a Tiger, always a Tiger.

In addition to those listed after the jump, I found a few former Tiger farm hands, including Dewayne Wise and Scott Moore. But I decided to keep this list to big league Tigers only.

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Jason Grilli- RP, Cleveland- 8-8 record in four seasons (2005-08) as a reliever with the Tigers before being traded to Colorado in 2008. Grilli has been released twice since then.

Vance Wilson- C, KC- Wilson caught two years (2005-06) for the Tigers but hasn’t played in a big league game since. He is still recovering from two Tommy John surgeries on his right arm. He played in 59 games at AA last season for the Royals.

Mike Maroth- P, Min- Maroth lost 21 games for the Tigers in 2003, but was one of the pleasant surprises of the 2006 staff before injuries cut short his season. He was traded to St. Louis in 2007, and that was the last he’s seen a big league mound. He has been released twice since then. Over his six years in Detroit (2002-2007), he had a record of 50-62.

Jacque Jones- OF, Min- Jones was acquired by the Tigers in advance of the 2008 season, but was released after just 24 games that year. During his time in Detroit, Jones hit all of one home run and had a line of .165/.244/.253/.498. He caught on with Florida, but was actually significantly worse with them. He has been released twice since leaving Detroit.

Mike Rivera- C, NYY- Rivera caught 43 games over two years in Detroit (2001-02), and has been a four-A catcher ever since. He saw time with San Diego and was even re-signed by the Tigers in 2005 before being released at the end of Spring Training in 2005. He’s played the past several years with Milwaukee.

Marcus Thames- OF, NYY- Thames hit 99 of his 101 career homers as a Tiger from 2004-09. He was released in October of 2009 and recently signed with the Yankees, which is where his career began.

Clay Rapada- RP, Tex- Another member of the ’09 Tigers, Rapada was traded to the Rangers after the season. In parts of the past three years in Detroit, Rapada was 3-0 and held left handed batters to a .235 average.

Brent Clevlen- OF, Atl- A former second round pick of the Tigers, Clevlen was picked up by the Braves as a minor league free agent this winter. He has just 80 big league at bats, but has shown good power and a great arm. He’s still just 26 years old.

Josh Anderson- OF, Cin- Anderson played just half of the ’09 season in Detroit before being shipped to Kansas City. Even the Royals didn’t think he could play, despite their affection for low-OBP outfielders. He has played for four clubs in the last three years.

Shane Loux- P, Hou- If you don’t recall Loux being a Tiger, you’ve probably just blocked out the memories. Loux made seven starts during the 2002 and 2003 seasons in Detroit, carrying a 7.71 ERA. He disappeared from the big leagues until 2008 when he came up with the Angels. He returned to a starting role with LA of A last season, as well.

Chris Shelton- 1B/3B, Hou- No one needs a reminder of the scorching month of April Shelton put up in 2006, but since then he has bounced around quite a bit. He has made appearances with Texas and Seattle over the past two years and he’s trying to re-invent himself as a third baseman these days.

Jeff Weaver- R, LAD- The former Tiger ace was traded away in the Jeremy Bonderman deal of 2002. Since then he has been a part of six different organizations, including the Dodgers twice. Somewhere between Detroit and New York, Weaver seems to have lost his effectiveness, couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

Matt Treanor- C, Mil- Treanor will always hold the Tigers team record for lowest career batting average after going hitless in his 13 at bats last season before injuries ended his year. On the plus side, Treanor’s loss was the Tigers gain as they got a chance to look at Alex Avila last year. Misty May will be missed, her husband, not so much.

Mike Hessman- 1B/3B, NYM- Hessman has over 300 career minor league home runs, and all of 13 in the big leagues, nine of those coming with the Tigers. He doesn’t make a lot of contact, but when he does, he has tremendous power. At 31, Hessman is probably the closest we will ever see to a real-life Crash Davis, but the Mets don’t have a clear-cut choice at first base this year, so he may get a look.

Dane Sardinha- C, Phi- Sardinha may be the worst hitter in organized baseball. In two years with the Tigers, the defensive specialist was 10 for 75 for a -14 OPS+ and a paltry .133 average. Defensively, he wasn’t all that special, either, throwing out just 18% of base stealer. But hey, he calls a good game from what I hear.

Wilfredo Ledezma- P, Pit- Ledezma was another member of the 2003 Tigers team, and under the circumstances, he wasn’t all that bad. In parts of five years in Detroit, Ledezma had a 15-18 record with an ERA of 5.15. Since being traded to Atlanta in 2007, Ledezma has been with six different organizations.

Virgil Vasquez- P, Pit- Vasquez made three starts for the 2007 Tigers, posting an ERA over eight. Since then he has been waived three times. Vasquez appeared in 14 games (7 starts) for last years Pirates, going 0-2.

Denny Bautista- RP, SF- Bautista made 16 appearances for the 2008 Tigers. He had no record and a solid 3.32 ERA before being traded to Pittsburgh. The hard-throwing right hander has always struggled with command, but he’s till just 29 and has a lot of life on his fastball. Maybe someday he’ll put it all together.

Matt Stairs- OF/1B, SD- Stairs began his major league career back in 1992, and he’s still playing at age 42. The Tigers are one of 11 different teams he’s played with over his 17 years. He played in 14 games after being acquired as a late season waiver claim in 2006, hitting two home runs for Detroit.

Also of note, Stairs is the only player on this list to be tortured by Fire Joe Morgan. He was FJM’d following his NLCS heroics for the Phillies in 2008. The video is about halfway down the post, make sure you’re not drinking anything while enjoying the wonder that was FJM, else it will burn coming out of your nose.

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Tags: Brent Clevlen Chris Shelton Clay Rapada Dane Sardinha Denny Bautista Jacque Jones Jason Grilli Jeff Weaver Josh Anderson Many Former Tigers Marcus Thames Matt Stairs Matt Treanor Mike Hessman Mike Maroth Mike Rivera Shane Loux Vance Wilson Virgil Vasquez Wilfredo Ledezma

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