As expected, the Detroit Tigers announced a slew of roster cuts this morning, trimming the number of players in camp down to 27, just two over the Opening Day limit. In total, five players were re-assigned.
The only real surprise in today’s announcement was that there are still two remaining cuts to be made, we have originally heard the roster would be cut down to 26 this morning. One would have to wonder if the delay involves a pending trade, as is frequently the case at the end of camp.
INF Brent Dlugach was optioned to AAA Toledo, and the other four, C Robinzon Diaz, Ps Robbie Weinhardt and Josh Rainwater, and INF Jeff Larish were re-assigned to minor league camp. What this means is that two of the three major decisions have yet to be announced. Still no word on the Don Kelly/Clete Thomas battle for the final roster spot, nor on the fate of Brad Thomas, Fu-Te Ni, and the final starting rotation. Manager Jim Leyland had said he would announce all but one player by this morning.
What it does tell us is that Alex Avila has made the team as the backup catcher. Instead of catching five games a week in Toledo, Avila will work about twice a week in Detroit and continue his development there. To me, this is a good move for the Tigers as far as improving their chances to win this year. Avila can help with his bat right now, and having him working with the major league pitching staff will only improve his familiarity with them as he transitions to full-time duty next year.
It also means that not one of the non-roster invitees to this year’s camp were able to crack the roster. Every player remaining is on the 40-man.
So now we wait and see. The 27 player roster will be down to 25 within the next 48 hours or so. Until then, Eddie Bonine, Brad Thomas, Fu-Te Ni, Nate Robertson, Jeremy Bonderman, Dontrelle Willis, Don Kelly, and Clete Thomas get to make one last impression. And get to stay with the big club for at least one more day.
****UPDATE: According to a tweet from Tom Gage, the final positional player will be announced later today between Don Kelly and Clete Thomas.