February 25, 2013; Clearwater, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Crosby (45) throws a pitch in the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Networks Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Crosby probably heads list of players who are currently on the outside but could find their way onto the roster come March 31. His inability to command his pitches has forced him away from starting and into a relief role this offseason. The hope here is that Crosby, another power lefty with a fastball that can reach back to hit 95 mph, might be better able to harness his excellent stuff in briefer stints. Even if he doesn’t make the team this spring, it’s likely that we see Crosby in the Detroit bullpen at some point in the year.
Miller was signed by the Tigers in the fall after he was released by the Texas Rangers organization. Miller, who will turn 27 this summer, has a high-strikeout pedigree in the minor leagues, but has been plagued by high walk totals much of the way. He has yet to make his big-league debut, but he could find his way into the bullpen mix if he can harness his stuff a bit more.
Reed made 16 appearances with the big club a season ago as sort of a replacement level arm. He didn’t have an impressive ERA (4.24), xFIP (3.92), or strikeout rate (6.6 per nine innings), but neither was he completely terrible either. All of his rate stats were much better in AAA, but his stuff has appeared to be rather hittable in the big leagues. Reed is out of options, so he’ll either have to make the team or be designated for assignment with the active roster is trimmed to 25 players.
Ortega hasn’t had much of a shot in the big leagues yet (14 innings combined between 2012 and 2013), but he put up impressive numbers in AAA last year (1.86 ERA and 10.4 K/9), and pitched relatively well in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason. Like many others on this list, he can throw 95+ mph, has a history of high strikeout totals in the minors, but has also struggled with walking too many batters (gee, does it seem like there’s a certain type of reliever that Dave Dombrowski likes?).