Detroit Tigers Option Matt Boyd, Re-Sign Bobby Parnell
The Detroit Tigers continued to make roster moves ahead of Opening Day.
On the surface, the pair of transactions the Detroit Tigers made on Wednesday don’t seem too significant. According the team’s public relations Twitter account, the Tigers optioned pitcher Matt Boyd to Triple-A Toledo, and signed the recently-cut Bobby Parnell to a minor league deal.
However, the two deals say a lot about Detroit moving forward.
The move to send Boyd to Triple-A Toledo effectively hands the fifth starting job to Shane Greene. Greene, who had been battling with Boyd and the now-injured Daniel Norris for the spot, will slot in behind Justin Verlander, Jordan Zimmermann, Anibal Sanchez and Mike Pelfrey in the rotation. If his Spring Training numbers (a 2.63 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 13.2 innings pitched) are any indication, the former Yankee may be finding the form that saw him succeed with New York.
Boyd himself didn’t pitch poorly in the spring, just not up to the standard that Greene did. One of the key pieces in the David Price deal, Boyd posted a 2-0 record and a respectable 4.24 ERA. He looked particularly strong in starts against the Pirates, Marlins and Cardinals, allowing a total of one run. Despite that, he allowed 12 hits and eight earned combined in his other two starts.
With Greene in the Detroit rotation, Toledo’s pitching staff will likely provide an exciting look at the future. Boyd will join Michael Fulmer (and potentially) Daniel Norris in headlining the Triple-A rotation.
Parnell’s signing is also significant because of the depth he provides. The former New York Mets reliever got off to a strong start, pitching to a 2.45 ERA in his first seven appearances. Like Boyd though, the reliever went through a rough patch. He was tagged for seven runs on six hits and two walks in a pair of outings against the Toronto Blue Jays.
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The former closer’s velocity has been encouraging this spring after a recovery from Tommy John surgery. Given the injuries and unknowns in the Detroit bullpen, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Parnell pitch for Detroit sometime soon.
As it stands, the Tigers will rely on some combination of Drew VerHagen, Kyle Ryan, Logan Kensing, Lendy Castillo and Buck Farmer to not only stand in for Blaine Hardy and Alex Wilson, but also to fill out the rest of the bullpen.
After that, the only real depth in Triple-A comes in the form of the inexperienced Jose Valdez and the developing Bruce Rondon. Having Parnell waiting in the wings at Toledo will certainly help give the team more options as the season progresses.
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If last season taught us anything, it is that depth—and quality depth at that—is key. With Parnell back in the fold, the Detroit Tigers have some quality depth.
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