Oct 7, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers right fielder Don Kelly (32) hits a game winning sacrifice fly in the ninth inning of game two of the 2012 ALDS at Comerica Park. Detroit won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Don’t worry; the signing of Don Kelly is nothing to get excited about. The Detroit Tigers have agreed to bring back the veteran utility man on a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
Kelly would certainly have an opportunity to crack the 25-man roster, but he’d have to beat out the also left handed hitting Brennan Boesch and Quintin Berry (and any number of the preferred right-handed hitting options) in order to do so as an outfielder, and beat out Ramon Santiago, Danny Worth, and Jeff Kobernus in order to serve as an infielder. Kelly’s past value to the team came in the form of his versatility, but that appears to be less of a factor with the current roster. The chances of him making it out of camp are slim.
He’s not going to out-hit Boesch, he’s not going to out-run (or out-clap) Berry, and he’s not going to out-glove Worth in the infield. With Torii Hunter and Andy Dirks slated as the everyday outfielders (or most days outfielders), there’s little need for defensive replacements anymore.
"Right-handed pitchers: Trevor Bell, Shawn Hill, Michael Morrison.Left-handed pitchers: Jose Alvarez, Kenny Faulk, Ryan Robowski.Catchers: Curt Casali, Brad Davis, James McCann.Infielders: Argenis Diaz, Eugenio Suarez.Infielders/outfielders: Nick Castellanos, Kevin Russo, Matt Tuiasosopo.Outfielders: Tyler Collins, Daniel Fields."
Players on the 40-man roster are all automatically invited to major league camp, but teams typically also invite several prospects and fringy type players that could potentially make the team or help the club down the road. The point is to get a look at some of these guys, but a big part of it is also to serve as depth for minor league games.