November 20th, 2008

Postscript on Hernandez

One thing that I didn’t mention about the Indians hiring Chuck Hernandez as bullpen coach but should have is the emphasis he places on preparing for an opponent. That was a major thing Tigers pitchers mentioned about the difference he made in 2006, how he put together the game plan for opposing hitters.

As a pitching staff, the Indians accrued a 5.29 ERA against the Tigers last year, including 5.09 from Cy Young award winner Cliff Lee. Only the White Sox hit more home runs off Cleveland pitchers (29) than the 27 that Detroit hitters did. Granted, there were some brilliant performances from Indians hurlers mixed in there, but that was the sum total. Hernandez was obviously brought over for his coaching ability and his work with some of Detroit’s young pitchers, but after three seasons of watching Tigers hitters, he can certainly help the Tribe on one game plan.

40-man roster set at 38

The Tigers set their 40-man roster ahead of next month’s Rule 5 Draft by adding five prospects.

Outfielders Wilkin Ramirez and Casper Wells were added to the roster, as were right-handed pitchers Alfredo Figaro, Guillermo Moscoso and Casper Wells Zach Simons. Those moves bring the roster to 38 players.

Interestingly, second baseman Will Rhymes was not added. That makes him eligible for the Rule 5.

UPDATE @ 1pm: Thanks to Billfer and his Detroit Tigers Weblog for pointing out another prospect who didn’t make the list — Luis Marte and (correction: Marte wasn’t eligible for Rule 5) James Skelton. Skelton was interesting from the standpoint of how badly the Tigers need good, young catching. Take away the questions about his size (listed at 5-foot-11, 165) and he’s a pretty good prospect. In the Tigers’ defense on this case, given the makeup of big-league rosters these days, it would be tough for a team to take him in the Rule 5 Draft and keep him as a third catcher all year. If they weren’t going to subtract from the 40-man roster, this might be the risk they were willing to take.

ANOTHER UPDATE @ 1:20pm: On a side note, the Cardinals signed former Tigers farmhand Ian Ostlund to a Minor League contract with a Spring Training invite, so he’ll get his shot to impress the big club. St. Louis has been looking for left-handed relief and will reportedly sign former Tiger Trever Miller.