It’s been quite the Autumn of upheaval in the Tigers farm system already and that trend continued with the announcement last night that Lakeland manager Andy Barkett is leaving the organization for a Double-A gig in the Florida Marlins organization.
Barkett had been the skipper of the Advanced-A Flying Tigers since 2008 and lead Lakeland to a 71-67 record in 2010. He will be assigned to the Jacksonville Suns of the Southern League.
The moves leaves now two openings for managers in the Tigers minor leagues, with Lakeland now joining the vacant Erie job, of the Double-A Eastern League. The rest of the minor league coaching staffs can be found here. It is expected that the Tigers will go outside of the organization to fill both vacancies.
Dontrelle Lands in Cincy
Former Tigers left hander Dontrelle Willis wasn’t out of work for long. Willis, whom the Tigers designated for assignment last season before trading him to Arizona, inked a minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds yesterday. As R.J. Anderson of Fangraphs points out, Willis doesn’t figure to crack the Reds rotation in 2011, even with a Spring Training invite, and his best bet to make it back to the Show might come as a situational left handed reliever.
When Willis was released by the Diamondbacks, where he had pitched as a starter, he caught on with San Francisco’s Triple-A club where he worked exclusively in relief. Over the past three seasons, Willis has posted a 3-9 record in the major leagues, with a 6.86 ERA and 119 walks against just 82 strikeouts in 123.1 innings. In 101 minor league innings during that time, Willis has fared slightly better; walking 50 batters against 58 strikeouts. He earned $29 million from the Tigers in those three seasons.
Tigers outfielder Casper Wells is celebrating a birthday today. The Grand Rapids native was the 14th round pick of the Tigers in 2005 and made his major league debut in 2010. In 99 plate appearances for the Tigers, Wells posted four home runs and 17 RBI to go with a .323 average and .901 OPS.
Wells may have gotten an early birthday present when an MRI on a knee injury suffered in winter ball showed no structural damage last week, but as far as actual gifts he would like on the day he turns 26, Wells tweeted the following:
"Birthdays aren’t a time to be selfish. All I want for my birthday is Miggy (Miguel Cabrera) to win MVP. He’s a straight up beast and deserves it."
You’ll get no argument from me.