March 22, 2013; Viera, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Drew Smyly (33) delivers a pitch against the Washington Nationals during the spring training game at Space Coast Stadium. Detroit defeated Washington 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Porcello Wins Fifth Starter Spot, Drew Smyly to Pitch in Relief For Tigers

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According to Matthew B. Mowery of the Oakland Press (and many others), the Detroit Tigers have answered a few of their remaining roster questions.

Rick Porcello in the rotation seemed like a no-brainer to me all along, but I was completely unsure with what they’d do with Drew Smyly. Keeping him in the bullpen is probably the best move for bullpen quality and stability, but I don’t think it’s the best move for his future development and starting pitching depth.

If he can stay stretched out well enough to make a spot start or move into the rotation as an injury replacement, then half of that equation is no big deal, but I would have liked to see him pitch a season’s worth of innings as a starter in the minor leagues (he’s never thrown as many as 130 innings in a season) and learn what that feels like. But this entire offseason the goal has been to win a World Series, and it’s tough for me to argue that Smyly in the bullpen (as opposed to the minor leagues) isn’t the team’s best option in that respect.

The other announcement, that Matt Tuiasosopo has made the club in a “for now” sense, isn’t a surprise based on what’s happened in the last two weeks. It looks like he’ll get a shot to platoon in left field with Andy Dirks.

I only see two questions remaining: will Bruce Rondon make the team, and who will be the final bench player?

It looks to me like Rondon will make the team – though I haven’t seen that announced anywhere – but if he’s deemed to be not ready, then the door will be open for either Luis Marte or Darin Downs to slide into the bullpen mix.

Don Kelly appears to be the leading candidate for the final bench spot.

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Tags: Detroit Tigers Drew Smyly Matt Tuiasosopo Rick Porcello Spring Training

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