Mailbag: Tigers on MLB Network, Clevlen, Jackson, Thomas, Gomez
Some of you might know this already, but we’ve moved away from the mailbag as a published article on the site every week. Quite a few of you seem to like the format, though, so I’m going to try to move it over to the blog in a smaller format and crank out some answers every so often, hopefully once a week. I think it makes more sense on the blog, anyway. It’s more conducive for feedback, and since it’s not actually an article, hopefully there will be less hassle on why I selected certain questions or didn’t answer others.
As a Tiger fan outside of Michigan, I am excited about the MLB Network. Should I be? Are the Tigers going to be featured on it ever or will it be the same Red Sox/Yankees/Cubs/Dodgers games that have been on Fox and ESPN?
- Jeremy H., Hartford, Wisc.
Actually, you’re in luck. The network will be re-airing some 2006 postseason games this weekend, starting with Game 4 of the ALCS Saturday at noon ET and continuing with the first two games of the World Series that night at 6 and 9 p.m. ET. They’ll show Games 3-5 on Sunday starting at 1 p.m. ET, if you wanted to relieve those games, too. Another neat item will be highlights of the 1945 World Series between the Tigers and Cubs on Wednesday, Jan. 28 at 11:30 p.m. ET.
You can go here for the TV listings.
Okay, say Brent Clevlen does clear waivers and the Tigers outright him to Toledo. What happens with his “options” then, or does he have to clear waivers every time he gets sent down?
- Nick R., Mayville, NY
Clevlen would have to be outrighted and clear waivers each time. Once the options are done, they’re done.
I was sad to see Matt Joyce go, but if Tampa had Andy Sonnastine open for trade talks why not go after him instead of getting Edwin Jackson? He had a better record.
- Ryan C., Greenville
First, Jackson is eligible for arbitration, while Sonnanstine is not. The Rays had more motivation for dealing Jackson and clearing up payroll to add another outfielder. Second, Jackson is arguably more of a stuff pitcher than Sonnanstine. He throws harder and has more in his repertoire. That doesn’t make him more successful, of course, but he fits the profile of the pitcher the Tigers like. And while plenty of people have said this about Jackson over the years, you can still make the case that he has a ton of upside if/when he puts everything together. Pitching coach Rick Knapp’s resume of building strike-throwers fits Jackson very well.
With the signing of minor league free agent Alexis Gomez, do you think that he has a shot of making the team since Matt Joyce is gone?
- Gareth R., Okemos
Probably not at the start of the season, unless the roster picture changes with injuries or other moves. I think moving Joyce means Jeff Larish is the Tigers’ best option for a left-handed bat off the bench, if he wasn’t already, and even he could be in a roster squeeze. Gomez gives the Tigers some depth if they need help during the season, but I think that depends on Clete Thomas (another left-handed hitting outfielder) and how quickly he returns.
Clete Thomas was a nice surprise for the organization last year. He proved that he could hit consistently, and field very well at the Major League level. What do you think will become of Clete this year? Will he earn a roster spot?
- Alan F., Grosse Pointe Woods
If he’s healthy after Tommy John surgery last fall — and keep in mind that position players return from that procedure quicker than pitchers — Thomas is in a very good spot in the organization. He can play all three outfield spots, bats left-handed, has some speed and plays solid defense. Does that mean he can make the team out of Spring Training? It would be tough. Marcus Thames and Ryan Raburn would seemingly have the edge on the reserve outfield spots, especially since Raburn can fill in on the infield as well.
Braden Looper is still unsigned as a free agent picther. Looper had some good years in Florida as a closer and might be a great option for Detroit’s closer. What are the chances of that happening?
- Frank A., Livonia
Not much, by all accounts. Enough teams are looking at Looper as a starter that he’ll probably sign as such. It’s his better route financially, and he has enjoyed starting for the last two years.
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