Detroit Tigers News

Johnny Damon Claimed, Enrique Gonzalez DFA’d

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New is coming in fast and furious from Motown today. The Tigers have indeed promoted OF Casper Wells from Toledo as expected and in order to clear a roster spot, they have designated for assignment the contract of RHP Enrique Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was mentioned in my previous post as a possibility to be moved out and in my opinion, this was a natural choice. Gonzalez was working as a starter in Toledo before being recalled earlier this year to serve as a long reliever for the Tigers. He’s been good at times, but has had trouble with command. He’s also nothing more than organizational depth as far as the Tigers are concerned.

With the big club no longer contending for the post-season, Gonzalez was simply blocking other younger arms from getting much-needed big league innings. I expect he’ll go unclaimed and with the end of Toledo’s season near, the Tigers will likely just release him.

The bigger news is that an unknown team has claimed DH Johnny Damon, who was put on waivers last week by the Tigers. Detroit has 48 hours to work out a trade with the claiming team. If no deal is reached, Detroit can opt to pull Damon back and retain his services for the remainder of the year, or they could simply let him go and allow the claiming team to take Damon, along with the balance of his contract.

Jon Heyman, for one, believes the Tigers will let Damon go if they cannot work out a trade. Out of habit, I generally disagree with Heyman but this time is different. The Tigers have nothing left to play for and Wells, for one, could use the at bats. That said, the Tigers also have a responsibility to their fans to put a quality product on the field.

Wells can get his at bats simply by taking up the ones that have been given to Don Kelly lately. I know Kelly has been hot, but again, he’s not a long-term solution for the Tigers. If Damon is retained, the Tigers have a better lineup, no question about that. But with or without Damon, the Tigers are going to finish in third place.

Let’s just hope Detroit can pull a prospect or two in exchange for Damon. Salary dumps aren’t very much fun to write about.

***UPDATE: According to multiple reports, the Boston Red Sox are the team awarded the claim of Damon. Boston has a need in the outfield that Damon could certainly fill, but there’s a complication. Damon has a no-trade clause in his contract that includes the Red Sox, so he has the power to nix a deal to them.

In fact, not only does Damon have veto power over a trade to the Red Sox, he can also block a straight waiver claim to them, so if Damon elects not to go to Boston, the Tigers will have to keep him. This still doesn’t seem like a terrible idea to me anyway. If nothing else, the next 48 hours should be interesting. Stay tuned…

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