Ah, the end of summer is upon us. Pennant races become more defined, contenders and pretenders are exposed, and the expansion of rosters to help with that postseason push (or for some, auditions for next season).
For the Tigers, their pennant push becomes important starting this weekend, where we’ll likely see if they are in fact, contending or pretending, but we shouldn’t expect much in the way of roster expansion… at least via my own personal expectations, it’s 1 vs the other.
The “1” that I speak of is Ryan Raburn. The “other”, well… let’s wait a minute on him.
Raburn, who’s been a thorn in the fans side for a majority of the season, is having himself a nice little “rehab” stint with the Toledo Mud Hens since he was placed on the disabled list by the Tigers. Small sample sizes here, and factoring in that he’s up against AAA talent, but in 7 games in his most recent stint with the Hens, he is batting .320 (8 for 25) with 3 home runs and 9 RBI’s. Only 1 of those 7 games did he fail to reach base (0 for 4 on Tuesday). And with the current disaster that is Jeff Baker (who was designated for assignment by the Tigers today), the club could use a boost from a right-handed bat in right field.
Yes, I said right field, which is prompting some of you who might be reading this to think: “he’s been brutal on offense, and his DEFENSE SUCKS TOO.”
Except that Raburn has been a defensive liability, but only when he’s been inserted to play…. second base. Raburn is much more useful in the outfield. And with Omar Infante in the mix since his trade to the Tigers, there’s no reason to even talk about him ever playing the infield again.
Now, about that “other” option…
That would be, according to many people who use Twitter, our lord and savior, Nick Castellanos.
Except no one should hold their breath on him being a September call-up… this season.
Castellanos was tearing up A-ball earlier this season, prompting some, including myself when he might be elevated through the ranks.
But, I wasn’t looking to fully elevate him, as many people were. He was promoted to AA Erie and was seemingly off to the same start he was in A-ball.
The bigger news about Castellanos, is, that the 3rd baseman that the Tigers had in their system is now learning to play… wait for it… right field!
Awesome news!!! Now he can be called up and SAVE US ALL FROM THE OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE TYRANNY OF Brennan Boesch, Jeff Baker, AND … EVERYONE ELSE!
Except, that’s not how it’s going to work here, folks.
See, the M.O. of one Jim Leyland is, he’s not going to run out the ultra-inexperienced unless he absolutely has to (re: Quintin Berry), and it’s not like Leyland to parade the organizations young stars because the team “needs a boost.” And frankly, since he was a bit of a defensive liability at 3rd, he wasn’t going to magically be better in right field just because he was moved there. He’s got plenty to learn about playing the position, and as of late, his offensive magic hasn’t been there either. Overall with the Seawolves, he’s batting .275, but his last 10 games he’s only batting .175 (7 for 40), no home runs and only 2 driven in. His under .300 OBP isn’t exactly catching on with this writer either. Frankly, as I’ve tried telling the masses on Twitterverse: no reason to rush Nick along… let the man develop.
And development is very necessary, as he is now the face of the Tigers minor league system.
So don’t be terribly surprised if Ryan Raburn comes back and gets a lot of time in the Tigers September lineup, and Nick Castellanos gets a lot more time to develop. Also remember that the current leadership running this ball club isn’t going to improperly exploit the youth/future of the club in favor of what some fans think will help turn the franchise around. If anyone is going to help this current Tigers team win now, it’s whatever Dave Dombrowski has put in front of us, right now. Like it or lump it, that is how it is.
Follow me on Twitter, at @DisplacedTgrFan.