Jul 8, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Rajai Davis (20) dives back to first safe in the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Rajai Davis is playing so well the Detroit Tigers might have to trade him – Joe Lapointe, MLive
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If left fielder Rajai Davis isn’t careful, he might play himself right off the team. With Davis performing so well in his first season with the Detroit Tigers, that probably sounds counter-intuitive. But what makes him valuable to the Tigers – first in the American League Central — also could make him attractive to other teams at the July 31 trade deadline if the Detroit seeks to tweak its roster for the postseason playoff push.
Yikes, I do NOT like this option. The Tigers have a tough decision to make. Don Kelly will likely be the 25-man roster casualty when Andy Dirks is ready to go, but that wouldn’t solve the outfield logjam of Dirks-Davis-Jackson-Hunter-J.D. Martinez. Two things I would rather see over Davis traded–Jackson traded or benched or Dirks benched, traded, or sent to the minors. It’s ridiculous that Dirks, someone who has caused Tigers’ fans so much frustration over the last few years, is guaranteed a spot upon his return during the stretch run. Another choice could be benching Hunter, who has gotten hot recently. There is no easy answer for this.
Joe Nathan Looking Sharper, But Detroit Tigers Still Need Joaquin Benoit – Brad Faber, Rant Sports
Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The Tigers are trying to win their first World Series in 30 years, and they should ask themselves if they really feel comfortable heading into October — if they are fortunate enough to get there — with Nathan as their closer. Nathan has had a great career, racking up 359 saves and recording a 2.87 lifetime ERA, but he has been very inconsistent in 2014. Having a fallback option would be a good idea to say the very least.
The Tigers have long discounted Benoit’s viability at closing, though he was successful at doing just that in his breakout year of 2010 in Tampa. They even bypassed him twice last year–once at the start for closer by committee and then a second time when that failed and they brought back Jose Valverde. Benoit did a serviceable job in the closer role last year once it was finally given to him, but even if the Tigers do bring him back, I don’t see him supplanting Nathan, who the Tigers have stuck with rightfully or wrongfully, or Joba Chamberlain, who has more than earned that 8th inning job. Should Joaquin return, he’ll likely be a 7th inning guy, but no matter his role–he’d make the Tigers’ bullpen that much better, particularly considering Joel Hanrahan’s slow progress…
Detroit Tigers’ Joel Hanrahan: Slow recovery is ‘frustrating’ – Vince Ellis and John Lowe, Detroit Free Press
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
But the progress isn’t coming fast enough for Hanrahan, who admitted Tuesday that he is growing a bit frustrated about the pace of his recovery from last year’s Tommy John surgery. He signed with the Tigers in early May in a move that was expected to bolster the team’s bullpen. It was suggested that Hanrahan, 32, could have been able to face minor league batters within a week of signing. But two months later, he still hasn’t reached that goal. “Obviously, it’s frustrating that I’ve been out for over a year now. So it’s kind of missing that competitive edge, and I want to get out there and help as much as I can,” Hanrahan told the Free Press. “Fortunately, we’ve been playing well, but it’s a situation where I want to get there and feel what it’s like to play in Detroit.”
Interestingly enough, because of the tough outfield/roster decisions that loom when Dirks is healthy, the Tigers want Dirks to take his time and experience several weeks of “Spring Training” before coming to the big league club. The opposite seems to be the case. The Tigers need Joel Hanrahan yesterday.
2 draft picks choose college over Detroit Tigers; team might be done signing – George Sipple, Freep
Two of the three unsigned players in the top 30 apparently have chosen to continue playing college baseball rather than sign with the Tigers. Right-handed pitcher Parker French, a 19th-round pick, recently tweeted that he planned to return to the Texas Longhorns for his senior year. Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College third baseman Chase Rader, drafted in the 16th round, announced Wednesday that he plans to play at Wichita State next season. Rader had committed to the Shockers a year ago.
College kids, who needs ’em, right? The Tigers have signed 27 of their 30 picks. The only other unsigned pick, catcher Will Allen, a 13th round pick out of Ole Miss, is injured and the team is figuring out the scope of the ailment.