Not only did the Detroit Tigers fall to the Kansas City Royals in their game on Thursday, but they also lost some organizational depth to the Miami Marlins. The Florida club claimed left-handed pitcher Duane Below off waivers and sent him to Triple-A New Orleans.
The Tigers had dropped Below from their 40-man roster on Wednesday to make room for zombie closer Jose Valverde, surprisingly back from the unrestricted free agent list to assume his former role in the Detroit bullpen.
Below, 27, logged 75.1 innings for the Tigers over the last two years as both a starter and a reliever, and has a 4.06 ERA and a 43/19 K/BB ratio to show for it. After a poor spring training, he has not appeared in the major leagues this year, but went 1-2 with a 2.10 ERA in four starts this season at Triple-A Toledo.
The 19th-round Detroit draft pick of 2006 may have been a candidate for a spot start this year if the club eventually needs one. But three left-handers in the bullpen—Phil Coke, Drew Smyly, and Darin Downs—made his existence in the Tiger system less important. Further, left-handed prospect Casey Crosby is said to have a higher ceiling than Below and could also start for the Tigers this season if the need arises.
Having been born and raised in Britton, Mich., Below’s departure leaves the Tigers with only one Michigan-born player, Downs, of Southfield, on their 40-man roster.