With the last week of April serving as post–spring training tryouts for the Tigers, one has to wonder who the next member of the 25+ man roster will be. With the continued offensive and defensive struggles at certain positions, it was not all that difficult to for me to pinpoint a few Mud Hens who could be searching for housing a bit farther north in the near future.
Granted, the Tigers would need to make a few 40 man adjustments to accommodate the influx. With the corner outfield spots being manned by players who seem to have developed and allergy to fielding AND hitting, along with the 2B drama we are all aware of, three Mudhens could be the benefactors.
Given that Brennan Boesch, a player who normally performs well in the first half, is struggling at the plate and in the field we know Andy Dirks will be getting some more playing time. Now, with the news of Delmon Young not being able to handle his temper/alcohol/apparent Anti-Semitism, the position of 4th outfielder for the Tigers may be the very first opening that needs to be addressed. While Don Kelly will likely see increased playing time as well, the Tigers could look to Toledo to add a spark.
Outfielders Matt Young and Quintin Berry are both performing well over the first few weeks of the season. For a team that is struggling to hit, or even get on base, the addition of Young or Berry could give the Tigers some additional base runners. Both are at least average fielders, which in comparison to how the corners have been playing, would make Berry and Young seem like Gold Glove caliber options at either position.
Matt Young is currently sporting a .340/.471/.472 line at Toledo in 52 at bats over 18 games. He has stolen 7 bases in 9 attempts and struck out 17 times while walking 7. Quintin Berry has put up a .267/.389/.373 line in Toledo, swiping 8 bags in 9 attempts, and striking out 24 times with 8 walks. Berry has also played in 18 games, but has accumulated 75 Abs over that period. You may remember that Berry was also quite impressive during Spring Training, sporting a .333/.400/.556 line in 27 abs over 17 games.
Neither Young or Berry are on the 40 man roster, so someone would have to be moved off of it to allow their addition. With Delmon’s antics last night (this morning?) in New York City, that could prove to be a non-issue.
With Brandon Inge now departed and Ryan Raburn doing a great Ryan Raburn impression, the Tigers may have to look for an intermediate solution at 2B as well in the near future. Danny Worth, who came north after Spring Training due to Inge’s stint on the DL, could fill that gap. Through 12 games and 52 at-bats in Toledo, Worth has a .308/.379/.596 slash line, hitting 3 homeruns and going 2 for 4 in stolen bases. Worth has a reputation as being a slap hitter with a solid glove. He can provide more extra punch than Ramon Santiago while also (to my untrained eye) being a bit faster and better in the field.
While this may seem a bit like rearranging deck chairs on the titanic (probably), or over-reacting to some poor starts (certainly, the question is – to what magnitude?), these are options the Tigers can explore inside their organization. While many would like to see the Tigers hit the phones and start working trades, I would prefer that we see just what the internal options can provide before the Tigers deplete an already thin farm system.
Perhaps Berry, Worth or Young could provide the spark the #2 hole is lacking or they give the bottom of the order something more than a sub-Mendoza Line performance. Maybe their play in the field could limit the damage that has been inflicted on many of the Tigers starting pitchers so far this season.
Regardless, I would the Tigers take the relatively risk-free move of employing the I-75 Merry-Go Round before so they know just exactly what their needs are prior to the July 31st trade deadline.