Al Avila made some changes to the Detroit Tigers roster over the long weekend. The GM didn’t add or subtract any big names or make any big financial trades, but the moves might help create a spark for the team.
The Detroit Tigers roster is still a work in progress and it is far from perfect.
Did the roster moves address any of the real problems that continue to plague the Tigers?
Let’s take a look
The big move that took a few people by surprise was the sudden departure of Tyler Collins. The left-handed outfielder had not been providing much in the way of offense and his defensive work had been less-than-stellar lately. In 40 games, he had a .200 batting average with a .626 OPS. He had 46 strikeouts, which is less than Justin Upton‘s 59 and Nick Castellanos’s 57, but he also did not have the walks to balance them out. He had a few hitting streaks, but the time in between was just too long.
So, now Tyler Collins simply has to wait. If another MLB team wants him, he is fair game. If no one wants him, he’s back to Toledo to play with the Triple-A Mud Hens.
More center field experiments
To replace Collins and his speed in the outfield, Avila brought up Alex Presley. He had a notably strong spring training with 33 at-bats where he had a .455 batting average with a slugging percentage of .818. Over his eight-year career, his batting stats are .253/.296/.383 with an OPS of .679. This isn’t much different than Collins’ numbers, but sometimes a change of scenery can make a difference.
It’s still a bit early to see what Presley can do for the Tigers; but in his first game, he had one hit – a double. He earned a RBI and also had a strikeout. It’s a bit too soon to determine whether or not this move was wise, but it seems like Avila and Brad Ausmus regularly forget that they have Mikie Mahtook sitting on the bench. Yes, his stats are pathetic, but the poor guy never gets much of a chance to swing the bat on any type of regular basis.
Looking at the roster in Toledo, Presley was the only choice.
Moving pitchers around
A handful of pitchers were moved up over the weekend. Buck Farmer was given a start against the Chicago White Sox. Warwick Saupold pitched some long relief. Arcenio Leon got to pitch an inning, too. Farmer pitched 6.1 innings and did not give up any runs. Saupold has pitched in the three games since he returned to the team on May 23. He gave up one run against the tough Houston Astros, but that’s it. Then, there is Leon, who faced three batters and got them all out – with one strikeout, too.
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With James McCann and Ian Kinsler on the DL, John Hicks and JaCoby Jones have both returned to the team. Hicks has filled in at first and behind the dish. In his three games, his stats haven’t been as good as they were in April, but he has two RBIs, when runs were at a premium in Chicago. Jones didn’t do much of anything against the White Sox, but neither did the rest of the team.
The problems are still there
Overall, there is a still a weakness in center field without any real Big League player manning this all-important spot. The starting pitching is still rough – as Jordan Zimmermann is still punishing the team with his awful starts. So, for now, these small changes haven’t done much to address the big problems. Nicholas Castellanos is still making gaffs at third and don’t forget that Francisco Rodriguez is still sitting in the bullpen…
The Tigers need some kind of a spark. It doesn’t appear to be coming from the veterans, so getting these younger guys into the dugout and the bullpen could be just what the Tigers need. Only time will tell.