Duane Below may find the Miami Marlins organization easier to move up in than his previous home. (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

Tigers Lose Duane Below

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.

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  • John Verburg

    This didn’t make sense at all with the extremely redundant Evan Reed on the roster. Below, while behind Drew Smyly still has spot starter potential, and that is something the Tigers lack is starting pitching depth beyond the top six.

    • Tim OConnor

      Exactly, John. While I do think Dave Dombrowski is an excellent GM (not perfect, of course, but pretty damn good, all in all), this one makes no sense. There was no chance he was going to clear waivers. So we just gave him away???? Just doesn’t seem to to gibe with DD’s usual M.O.

      • John Verburg

        I think the Tigers are really struggling from the top down with a lot of things right now. They are immensely talented, because they paid for it, and DD made some good trades. But he has seriously miscalculated some things recently. And Jim Leyland has mismanaged quite a bit of things this year. I’m not sure those two are on the same page as the bullpen situation is a clusterfock, partly because each of them had their own ideas as to who should be doing the job. In the end, I think their talent wins out, but man, the Tigers are a frustrating thing to watch right now

        • Tim OConnor

          Agreed. the similarities with last year’s team are evident. Bullpen issues, leaving men on base, and not the best defense in the bigs, by any stretch. Like you, I think the cream will rise to the top by season’s end; but like last year, it could be a long frustrating year. Fortunately, I’m old now, so I have a lot more perspective than I used to, when I used to go “Mt. Vesuvius” over every little thing. Heh.