Recently DFA’d Players the Detroit Tigers Should Take Fliers On

With the Tigers opening up a number of roster spots thanks to the trades of David Price, Joakim Soria and Yoenis Cespedes, the team will be auditioning players for next year to see who fits on the team moving forward. Granted all three roster spots have been filled, but other roster spots aren’t set in stone.

Their rare a number of bullpen pieces struggling that could be demoted if not cut out-right, while Buck Farmer could be optioned if Detroit feels another one of its young arms is better suited for the current rotation.

If anything, the second half of this season is a chance for Detroit to examine players with an eye towards next year. The new additions could also propel the Tigers towards the playoffs. The American League wild card is wide open, and Miguel Cabrera returns from the disabled list in only a few short weeks.

  • Vance Worley

2015 Stats: 4-5, 3.78 ERA, 3.76 FIP, 20 games (8 starts)

Worley was solid/effective during his time in Pittsburgh. He posted a 3.21 ERA and a 3.56 FIP as Pirate, working in the rotation and out of the bullpen. Worley’s ERA as a starter was 4.81, but he posted a much more acceptable 2.08 ERA when entering games as a reliever. Never a big strikeout pitcher, the former Minnesota Twin has had a fairly successful career and is only 27.

If the Tigers acquire him, he can be a controllable and reliable swing-man. Worley could also serve as a rotation place-holder for some of the young arms acquired at the deadline. At the same time, he would also provide the Tigers opportunity to win some games down the stretch.

  • Danny Valencia

2015 Stats: .296 batting average, 7 home runs, 29 RBI, 20 XBH (extra-base hits), .838 OPS

A surprising DFA victim by the Blue Jays after Toronto’s trade deadline-dealing bonanza, Valencia hits the waiver system with plenty of upside. At 29, the versatile player can fill in at first base, third base and left field while providing an above-average bat. Valencia is hitting .316 against left-handed pitching this season while posting a .279 clip against righties. Not only would the former Twin provide another option in left field, he would also give Brad Ausmus another option at first base while the Tigers wait for Cabrera to return.

  • Brandon Beachy

2015 Stats: 0-1, 7.88 ERA, 10 hits and seven runs allowed, 2 starts, 10 innings pitched.

Brandon Beachy’s numbers this year are bad, real bad. But if you consider he’s just returned from an injury and that he hasn’t pitched in two years, the numbers aren’t so awful. While the right-hander’s showing this year isn’t that appealing, his track record is. The 28-year-old posted a 3.23 ERA and a 3.34 FIP in 267.2 innings for the Braves. Beachy is still young and could still regain the effectiveness he displayed in Atlanta. Like Worley, he could be a place-holder or long-term piece at the back end of the Tigers rotation. Once he works things out, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him post 10-12 wins on a contending team with strong run support.

  • Roberto Hernandez

2015 Stats: 20 appearances, 11 starts, 4.36 ERA, 4.43 FIP, 4.5 strikeouts-per-nine-innings

Roberto Hernandez is not a long-term piece, not even close. His ERA is passable (not to mention the definition of a back-of-the-rotation arm) and his strikeouts-per-nine numbers aren’t pretty. However, as low-risk a placeholder this year for a Tigers team looking to win some games? Well, in that case he just might work. Hernandez isn’t the world-beater that he was as a member of the Indians, but he could give the Tigers some innings down the stretch. Think of the Tigers signing him similar to the team’s signing of Freddy Garcia. It would be in no way anything long-term, but it would be a mutually beneficial move. Hernandez would serve as a placeholder for pitchers like Luis Cessa and Michael Fulmer.

  • Bud Norris

2015 Stats: 2-9, 7.06 ERA, 5.58 FIP, 18 games, 11 starts

Somewhere in between Worley/Beachy and Hernandez is Bud Norris. Norris won 15 (!) games for the Orioles last season, posting a 3.65 ERA in 165.1 innings pitched. At 30, he doesn’t have the youth of Worley or Beachy, but he’s proven that he can win games. Like Worley and Beachy, he’s a solid bet for double-digit wins and a solid-but-not spectacular ERA on a winning team that comes with good run support. If the Tigers think they can get 2014-like stats from Norris, then the team should sign him. At worst he’s a meh signing that can be discarded at any time (or in the offseason). In other words, he’s worth a shot.

  • Caleb Thielbar

2015 Stats: 5.40 ERA, 6 appearances, 5 Strikeouts, 1.08 FIP

Finally, a potential long-term piece. Thielbar has struggled in a small sample-size this season, but has a strong track record over the past two seasons. The former Brewers farmhand entered 2015 with a career 2.59 ERA in 93.2 innings pitched accumulated over two seasons. His FIP over that span spits out to a slightly-less favorable 3.48, but when a player like Thielbar hits the open market, they generally tend not to last long. Thielbar is only 27-years-old, is controllable/cheap and has shown that he can be a productive reliever. Detroit should take a flier on him to see if he’s a potential piece for next year. The team’s tried just about everything, and Thielbar might be a solution.

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Detroit Tigers Remaining Schedule Without Miguel Cabrera

With Miguel Cabrera missing what will amount to six weeks, here’s a look at the Tigers upcoming schedule over those six weeks.

(RELATED: Miguel Cabrera Replacements).

After taking two of three against the Blue Jays, the Tigers travel to Seattle to face the Mariners. Here’s the rest of the schedule.

3 games at Seattle (the M’s are six games below .500 and nine games out of first place in the American League West).

3 games at Minnesota (Detroit is 7-2 versus their American League Central rivals this season).

4 home games against Baltimore (Entering Monday, the O’s are 44-39 and a game back of the Yankees for first in the American League East).

4 home games against Seattle.

3 games at Boston (Boston is last in the AL East and only one win better than the M’s).

3 games at Tampa Bay (the Rays are two games above .500, but also field one of the worst offenses in baseball).

4 games at Baltimore.

3 home games against Kansas City (Detroit is only 3-4 against the Royals this year, but given the rivalry between the two, you can expect the Tigers to come out swinging).

3 home games against Boston.

3 games at Kansas City.

3 games at Houston (the Tigers are 2-2 against Houston this season, and will look to claim the series against the young Astros).

Verdict: The Tigers certainly have a manageable schedule without Miggy. They’ve been afforded a few breaks with series against teams the Tigers excel against, teams with poor records, and teams with equally poor offenses.

It won’t be easy. This is, after all, Major League Baseball, but the Tigers have the chance to put up a winning record without their star player.

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Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera Replacements

The Detroit Tigers earned a vital win on Friday to break out of a slump, but they may have sustained a potentially crippling injury. The key word here is “crippling,” because while Miguel Cabrera’s likely six-week absence might be detrimental to the Tigers hopes this year, it also might rally the team together until Cabrera returns.

The unlucky part of the situation is the severity of the injury. It will keep Miggy out longer than a quick trip to the disabled list, meaning the Tigers can’t just can cobble together internal replacements to bridge the gap. The injury is short enough  from a time standpoint that it prohibits the team from moving for a replacement that brings a similar skillset— like when Prince Fielder was signed to make up for the loss of Victor Martinez.

Detroit can’t acquire a player of Cabrera’s ilk who plays first base, because they won’t have anywhere to put him when Miggy returns. A bench/platoon power hitter would be ideal. That way the player can shift to the bench as pinch-hitting option number one.

Finding that player is the tricky bit. Internal options are scarce and the trade market isn’t exactly swimming with loads of options either.

Jefry Marte was called up from Triple-A as the corresponding move when Cabrera hit the DL. Marte hit .277 with Toledo this season. He isn’t necessarily a prolific power hitter, with 13 being his career high. Those 13 bombs have come this year, in only 77 games. Still, Marte is a third baseman and doesn’t play first. You get the feeling he’d be the first one heading back to the minors once another addition is made.

So who would that addition be? It remains to be seen.

Mike Hessman is a phone call away in Toledo. However, while he has plenty of power, he’s a career .233 hitter in the minors and is 37.

Other than Marte and Hessman, the internal options include playing other hitters out of position at first. Alex Avila and his sudden defensive wizardry could receive more starts, especially if James McCann continues to play well behind the dish. Another player that could be shoehorned into the slot is Andrew Romine, who is quietly hitting .314 in 53 games.

Outside of those underwhelming (compared to Cabrera of course), options, there’s always the trade market.

There aren’t that many enticing options on the market, but the upside to that is the team won’t have to sacrifice too much to bring in a replacement.

Adam Lind may be the most expensive in terms of what it would cost to acquire. The former Blue Jay and current Brewer is hitting .295 this season, mainly against right handed pitching. Lind destroys/mashes/obliterates (you get the point) righties to the tune of a .308 batting average and a .927 OPS. If the Brewers were in the American League, they’d have the league’s worst record. Only the Rockies, Marlins and Phillies have fewer wins in the National League. To put it plainly, the Brew Crew are putrid this year. Dealing a 31-year-old who belongs at designated hitter in the AL may be the best move for Milwaukee.

For as much flack as the Tigers’ minor league system takes, they have a number of catching prospects and relief pitching prospects who could be moved. A rebuilding team like Milwaukee can use all the young pieces it can get. They’ve already reaped the benefits of bringing in former Tiger Hernan Perez, who’s hitting .362 in 26 games. Perhaps they’d be open to acquiring more Tigers players.

Coincidentally, the other first baseman on the market come from the NL’s other cellar dwellers. The Phillies’ Ryan Howard and the Rockies’ Justin Morneau could both be moved. However, Howard is a .220 hitter this year and led the league in strikeouts in 2014. Did I mention he also has a monstrous contract? The Phills would probably eat a considerable amount of Howard’s salary, but Detroit can likely find better production elsewhere—minus the salary commitment.

If healthy, Morneau would provide a solid addition. He’s experienced a career renaissance in Colorado, hitting .319 last season and .290 this year. Morneau isn’t the MVP candidate he once was, but he’ll more than likely give you a high batting average, 20 home runs and 80 RBI over the course of a full season. Adding Morneau would continue the Tigers’ recent trend of bringing in former Minnesota All-Stars to bolster their team. Morneau would join Torii Hunter and Joe Nathan as recent former Twins to suit up for the Tigers.

There’s also the wild card factor to consider with general manager Dave Dombrowski and the Tigers. No one really tabbed Detroit as front runners, or even contenders to trade for Cabrera or David Price. Going purely on that, Dombrowski might pull the unexpected.

Regardless of what route the Tigers take in attempting to replace Miguel Cabrera, it won’t be easy. The team isn’t stocked with trade chips, thus making the task tougher.

There are few positives to be had. Victor Martinez is beginning to regain his hitting stroke while J.D. Martinez continues to mash home runs. Victor and J.D. aren’t alone. Anthony Gose, Romine and Josh Wilson are all providing above-average production for hitters generally confined to the bottom of the lineup.

Still, Cabrera is the league’s best hitter and one of the best hitters of the century. He’s impossible to replace. The Tigers will certainly be tested with their best player out, but they have enough talent to stay in contention and make a run.

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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10 Stats from the #Detroit #Tigers 13-1 Win vs the #Minnesota #Twins

Because I missed the last game, here are twice the stats from the Detroit Tigers blowout win over the Minnesota Twins.

  • Five

The number of runs driven in by Miguel Cabrera. Miggy went yard twice and scored three runs on three hits. He went 3-for-5.

  • Zero

The number of runs allowed by the Tigers bullpen. The ‘pen accounted for only one inning, but Al Alburquerque threw a scoreless ninth, striking out one in the process.

  • Eight

The number of innings pitched by Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez. The former Marlin was superb in a start that suggests his troubles could be behind him. Sanchez allowed five hits, a walk and a run (it was earned) to go along with nine strikeouts. He’s back.

  • Four

The number of Tigers with three or more hits. Forget multiple hits in general, Rajai Davis, Bryan Holaday, Cabrera and Ian Kinsler all had at least three base hits. Gose led the way with four.

  • One

The number of Tigers starters who didn’t score a run. That starter would be Jose Iglesias, who went 1-for-5. While he didn’t score a run, he did drive one in.

  • 20

The number of hits by the Tigers as a team, four times more than the Twins hit total.

  • 1/1

J.D. Martinez’ strikeout-to-walk ratio for the game. The slugger struck out 126 times last season compared to only 30 walks. He’s already earned 13 base-on-balls this season in only 34 games. He had 30 walks in 123 games last season. His batting average may be down, but his walk total certainly looks to be on the rise.

  • .348

Anthony Gose’s batting average on the season. Gose isn’t starting every day, but is making the most of limited playing time. The centerfielder has 16 runs scored, ten extra-base hits, and six stolen bases in only 92 at-bats.

  • 4/5

The Tigers’ strikeout-to-walk ratio on the day. By comparison, the Twins strikeout-to-walk ratio was 10/1 in favor of strikeouts.

  • .240

Nick Castellanos’ batting average after the game. Castellanos stuffed the stat sheet with two hits, two runs scored, an RBI and two walks.

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5 Stats from the Detroit #Tigers’ 2-1 Win over the Minnesota Twins

  • One

Reliever Angel Nesbitt’s win total after the game. It was the reliever’s first big-league win. Ironically, he picked up the loss in the previous game.

  • Three

The number of players subbed into the game after Nick Castellanos was removed. Andrew Romine came in as a defensive replacement before making way for pinch-hitter Rajai Davis. Hernan Perez later entered to play third base.

  • Zero

The number of runs allowed by the Tigers bullpen after another strong showing from Alfredo Simon. Joba Chamberlain, Joakim Soria and Nesbitt combined to throw 2.1 scoreless innings with four strikeouts. They collectively allowed only one hit.

  • Six

The number of hits allowed by Alfredo Simon in 7.2 innings pitched. Simon allowed a run and a walk while striking out six.

  • Five

The number of Tigers regulars with a batting average above .280 following the game. Yoenis Cespedes is the low man on the totem pole with a .281 average, but Ian Kinsler, Anthony Gose, Miguel Cabrera and Jose Iglesias are all hitting over .300. Iglesias leads the way with a stellar .349 mark.

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5 Stats to Know from the Detroit Tigers 10-7 Win vs the Minnesota Twins

The Tigers have won yet another series, taking two-out-of-three in Minnesota. Here are five stats to know from the 10-7 triumph.

  • Four

The number of runs driven in by Miguel Cabrera. Miggy went 3-for-5 with the four RBI and two runs scored.

  • 17

The number of hits by the Tigers offense just a day after managing three against Mike Pelfrey and friends.

  • One

The number of home runs by rookie James McCann. It was the catcher’s first career, big-league homer. It also happened to be an inside-the-parker. J.D. Martinez also went yard, though the pitch that he hit actually left the yard, while Cabrera continue to show his ridiculous skill at the plate with two home runs.

  • Seven

The number of runs surrendered by Shane Greene in just 4.1 innings pitched. He’s now given up 15 runs on 18 hits in his past 8.1 innings after allowing two runs in his first 23 innings pitched as a Tiger. To Greene’s credit he struck out a season-high eight batters and didn’t walk anyone.

  • Six

The number of Tigers players to post multi-hit games. Andrew Romine, making a start at shortstop, had a hit in all four of his at-bats. Cabrera and McCann weren’t far behind with three hits apiece while Ian Kinsler, Yoenis Cespedes and Nick Castellanos all had two hits each.

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5 Stats from the Detroit Tigers 3-2 Loss to the Minnesota Twins

  • Three

The number of hits the Tigers accumulated. Anthony Gose, J.D. Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes were the only Detroit players to notch a hit. The Tigers only added two walks, both coming from Alex Avila. Twins leadoff hitter Danny Santana had the same number of hits as the entire Detroit lineup.

  • Zero

The number of runs allowed by Blaine Hardy and Al Alburquerque in an inning of work. Both lowered their ERAs which sat at 7.36 and 11.37 respectively entering the game.

(RELATED: Should the Tigers Sign Rafael Soriano?)

  • .355

Miguel Cabrera’s ridiculous average after the game despite going 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Best hitter in the league. Period.

  • Two

The aforementioned number of walks by Avila. The fact that the catcher can draw walks is a positive sign going forward if Avila can’t significantly raise his average above .171.

  • Seven

The number of strikeouts by Tigers hitters. In a close game with a dearth of offense, a 7/2 strikeout-to-walk ratio isn’t great, or even close to being called “good”.

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5 Stats to Know from the Tigers 2-0 Win vs the Pirates

  • 1

The minimum number of times ever Tigers starting position player reached base. Rajai Davis and Jose Iglesias contributed two hits and a walk each while every other starting position player, with the exception of Alex Avila, registered a hit. Avila drew a walk and scored a run in three plate appearances.

  • 8

The number of shutout innings thrown by new Tiger Shane Greene. The former Yankee went eight innings without allowing an earned run for the second straight start. He’s 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA on the season. His strikeout-to-walk ratio sits at 8/1.

  • 3

The number of hits allowed by Greene. He also struck out three. The game was also the third shutout pitched by the Tigers this season. David Price and Anibal Sanchez gained the wins in those games.

  • 10

The number of pitches needed by closer Joakim Soria to work a perfect ninth. Soria lowered his ERA to 2.45 after the outing while making a strong case to retain closer duties once Joe Nathan returns.

  • 2

The number of hits by Jose Iglesias. The slick-fielding shortstop continues to impress with the bat after scoring a run and drawing a walk in the 2-0 win. He overtook teammate Miguel Cabrera for the American League lead in batting average.

Next up: the Tigers face the Pirates in the rubber match of the three-game series as Alfredo Simon takes on former Twin/White Sox Francisco Liriano.

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6 Stats from the Detroit Tigers’ 7-1 Win over the Minnesota Twins

 

  • 1

The number of runs the Tigers allowed. Detroit surrendered a grand total of zero runs during the first two games. The only run the Twins scored was unearned.

  • 3

The number of hits by Anthony Gose. The center fielder collected three hits for the second straight game. He also scored three runs and stole a base. One of his three hits was a double.

(RELATED: Why You Shouldn’t Count the Tigers Out of the Playoffs)

  • 6

The number of walks drawn by the Tigers compared to just three strikeouts. The Twins struck out five times and only drew one walk.

  • 1

The number of innings threw by Tom Gorzelanny in relief. It was the former Pirate’s Detroit debut.

  • 8

The number of innings thrown by another Tiger making his Detroit debut, Shane Greene. Greene allowed four hits, an unearned run and a walk while striking out five.

  • 0.00

The Tigers pitchers’ collective ERA for the season following the game.

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5 Stats to Know from the Detroit Tigers’ 11-0 Win over the Minnesota Twins

 

  1. 4

The number of runs scored by catcher Alex Avila. Avila went 1-for-1 with three walks. His batting average on the season is .750. Shortstop Jose Iglesias had four hits for the Tigers. Avila and Iglesias, the team’s 8 and 9 hitters, combined to go 5-for-5 with four walks and seven runs scored. This is a good trend.

  1. 3

The number of hits by center fielder Anthony Gose in his Tigers debut. The former Blue Jay finished a home run short of the cycle. He also scored a run and drove in three runs while batting leadoff.

  1. .500

Ian Kinsler’s batting average over the first two games. The second baseman has multi-hit games in both contests this season while also contributing two runs scored, a double and four runs batted in—most of which came on Wednesday.

  1. 2

The number of runs driven in by Miguel Cabrera after going hitless in the first game. The future Hall of Famer drove in two runs on two hits, one of which was a double. He also registered a walk.

  1. 1

The number of hits allowed by four Detroit relievers after Anibal Sanchez threw 6.2 innings of 3-hit ball. Angel Nesbitt, Ian Krol,Al Alburquerque and Joakim Soria shut down the Twins in relief with Alburquerque allowing the only hit. Krol and two strikeouts in his inning of work while Alburquerque also struck out a batter.

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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