Pondering Larish's chances

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I wrote a story today on the site about Jeff Larish and how he has developed from a stereotypical slugging first baseman into a valued left-handed bat and potential utility player, essentially putting himself in the thick of consideration for a roster spot. You may remember that Jim Leyland said during the winter caravan that Larish is in a battle for the 25th roster spot — essentially the last spot on the bench. I also wrote that it could take some creativity for the Tigers to get him the at-bats to put him on the roster. But I also wanted to get into how that roster looks for now.

Leyland again plans on having a 12-man pitching staff, leaving 13 roster spots for position players. Take the starting nine, and that leaves four roster spots for the bench. Catcher Matt Treanor takes one automatically. Utility infielder Ramon Santiago gets another. One will go to a fourth outfielder, presumably Marcus Thames unless some sort of trade happens. That leaves the spot held last year by Ryan Raburn, who backed up at second base, third base and center field. Though Larish has been mentioned as potentially being able to play the corner outfield spots in a pinch, he clearly can’t play center, so backing up Curtis Granderson would be tricky. Not including Brent Clevlen and Clete Thomas, the only other player on the roster who has recent experience in center field is Brandon Inge. Santiago has never played the outfield in the majors or minors. Could Larish add outfield duties and take the fourth outfield spot, keeping Raburn? Considering the Royals are trying to make Mark Teahen into a second baseman, it’s hard to rule out that kind of move. Still, that would take some work on short notice, and it would take away a valuable right-handed power bat in Thames.

Can the Tigers pull it off? Hard to tell. If they do, they would have a left-handed power bat on their bench. But it would take some creativity. We’ll see how things develop once workouts begin.

4 Comments

Johnny Grubb Reborn?

Larish will end up playing behind Guillen, the Guillen project in left hopefully will be successful, ultimately this is hope.
Larish can back up third while Brandon can play in center, either way we will lose defensively, but lets cross those bridges and pray that it never will happen!

DD has some negotiating talent, we have revamped the troubled pen and JV will get a multiyear deal before the year is done. If DD doesn’t do this, let’s say goodbye to DD…

We are in the verge of the Tigers coming back to the surprise success of 07, DD is doing a great job managing the team, some over paying but that was done in hope as well.

JV is the center of the Tigers, he should get some deal for four years with better than average pay. If JV doesn’t get off to a good start and the Tigers struggle again, we will see yet again another future star play for another team and the Tigers will be holding the bag.

Look for JV to regain the spark, in my opinion it was Brandon combined with Shef and Leyland that tore at the heart strings of last year. No one played to their A-game.

Okay, this is the kind of thing that usually warrants a very fun discussion. :-)
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While I don’t have as high an opinion of Larish as some do, I don’t have a low opinion of him either. My fear is that they’ll give Thames away for little return, then watch him start and hit about 40 homers for another team. So…….what about this? You trade both Thames and Raburn to an NL club, get some real value in return, then add Clete Thomas to the roster. That covers all three outfield spots, the corner infield spots, and Santiago the middle infield spots. And you get yet another LH bat. And a useful relief pitcher in the trade for Thames/Raburn. I’d have to think an NL team would love to have those two.
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I think that if we’re going to be 2009’s version of the Rays, we’ll need a Clete Thomas type player.
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Agree? Disagree?
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–Rich

Good to see JV has avoided arbitration – no matter how well advised ghe may have been by his father in the exercise, negative matters that have to arise through the process can only grow and fester in the mind over time.
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It is hard to imagine that Carlos and Maggs can go the season without some significant period off with injuries. Curtis’s intensity is also likely to result in some injury time as he puts in his 110% effort out on the field.
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I don’t know if Raburn, 28 will consistently achieve the production required – last years .236 avg, .368 slugging, 20 RBI’s from 182 bats with 27% strikeouts was a huge drop on his good 2007 figures of .304 avg, .507 slugging, 27 RBI’s from 138 bats, with 24% SO’s. He deserves another chance with his versatilty.
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Larish, 26 had a .26 avg, .375 slugging, 16 RBI’s from 104 bats with 33% SO’s. Importantly, he only got regular playing time in September and despite the team fade, he had a .33 avg with .436 slugging with a still too high 38% SO rate. Given his age and being his first year, he shows clear potential.
They wont repeat the 2008 problems of moving people around to cover gap issues. He doesn’t deserve to be messed up by trying to turn him into an outfielder. He is a good infielder covering 1st & 3rd.
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I have always liked the idea of Sheff getting playing time enabling the DH role to be platooned to give players a rest and preserve some fragile old bodies. This provides backup to Raburn if he is the only support OF chosen.
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I have always liked Ramon and have my doubts about Everett’s production. Despite management doubting his durability, he is likely (should) to stay in the 25.
Thames can cover LF and RF but centre field?? Thames has never been given a long enough continuous stint to make a go of it with the Tigers, a sure sign that management has never been convinced about his abilities. My feeling is Thames may be the one to miss out.
All very hypothetical who misses out as we are sure to have a defensive player out injured right through the season.

Larish is very talented and deserves a nice spot on the Tigers. He has lot’s of power
Nik

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