Porcello, Perry make team, Robertson in relief

Rick Porcello and Ryan Perry have a combined 38 games of professional baseball experience, none of it above Class A ball. But they’ll have two spots on the Tigers’ 12-man pitching staff.

In the end, talent won out over the experience. The Tigers made the moves to finalize their pitching staff on Wednesday, optioning left-hander Clay Rapada to Triple-A Toledo and assigning right-hander Scott Williamson to Minor League camp.

The rest were informed they’ll make the team. That includes the 20-year-old Porcello, who will take a spot in Detroit’s rotation, and the 22-year-old Perry, who will pitch out of the bullpen. Other pitchers who made it include non-roster candidates Juan Rincon and Eddie Bonine.

Zach Miner was also informed he’ll be a Tigers starter, taking the spot of injured Jeremy Bonderman. He and Porcello will join Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson and Armando Galarraga in the rotation. Nate Robertson, who was fighting for a starting job, will pitch out of the bullpen.

On the positional side, three more moves brought the Tigers within one move of finalizing the bench. Utilityman Ryan Raburn, who has been the subject of trade rumors, was instead optioned to Triple-A Toledo along with catcher Dane Sardinha. Corner infielder Mike Hessman, meanwhile, was placed on waivers and informed he will not make the team.

That leaves left-handed hitter Jeff Larish and outfielders Brent Clevlen in camp and one roster spot to announce. Larish is believed to have the upper hand for the job, with the Tigers waiting until the end of camp to make a move on Clevlen, who’s out of options and would have to clear waivers to be outrighted to Triple-A Toledo.

7 Comments

A breath of fresh air has blown into the Detroit metopolitan area.
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Management has suddenly indulged in some progressive thinking and recognizing the futility of “Hope & Dream”.
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It does appear they will give Nate one more kick at the cat. His left arm seems to have something left in it but his relegation to the bullpen will attest to that very quickly. I’m sure he can look down at Sheff’s locker for some motivation.
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I didn’t expect Big Mike to make the team and secretly hope he passes on waivers so that we see him again if Inge can’t elevate his game offensively. Unlikely scenario though.
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Clevlen is a serious concern for the club. They like him. They like him alot. But he has made slower than hoped for progress toward being a 4 and half tool player they projected. Now they are very likely to lose him. With all the talk of trade for Thames and Raburn, you can bet a lot of clubs would much prefer Clevlen. I suspect he will be in a big league uni in April.
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In the oft-used words of Jim Leyland, “To be honest with you”–I think Rapada should be the 2nd lefty in the pen and the Tigers wanting to salvage Nate’s embarassing contract (especially in lieu of the Sheffield drama), precluded that. I hope Nate can find himself a sparkling new career in the bullpen. He can be dominating at times and maybe short doses is what he needs. But this is experimental territory to be sure.
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Other than that I am pretty happy with the roster selection. They did the right thing with Raburn, Rhymes, Thomas, Willis, Zumaya, Bonderman, and most importantly, Sheffield. The team has a new energy and a new aura of possibility.
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I presume they are committing to Marus as more or less the primary DH but somehow, I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if somehow he ended up somewhere else. Not that I want to see that because we should all be very curious as to how he handles this opportunity. 40 HRs from him is a real possibility if he can mentally make the transition to playing more.
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BTW, Marcus has a reputation of being a poor fielder and he may be no Mickey Stanley out there (or even Jim Northrup!), but the guy gives his all on every ball, unlike his counterpart in right field.

I’m wondering what the thinking is for the eventual (possible) returns of Bonderman and Zumaya. Obviously, if Porcello or Perry struggle, they would just go back down to Erie or Toledo. If they don’t struggle, though (and barring injuries), who is in line?
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When/If Bonderman comes back, I assume that either Miner or Nate get traded, depending on performance. When/If Zumaya comes back? I don’t know. He won’t be able to take a long relief spot. Do they trade Rodney?
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For some reason, anything seems possible all of a sudden.
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matt

Very very unlike JL … I like JL as a manager .. but at times, his decisions frustrated me. I love the way DD made trades, although he did have some backfire lately. But that will happen to almost everybody who plays the free agent market and executes some bold trades.
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But this year gives me a lot of hope … and like others here mentioned … it is a breath of fresh air. Contracts are not dictating our team. Inge is still here cuz of his defense, Nate did pitch well enough to warrant a bullpen slot. Willis on DL and Sheff released. We acquired an outfielder who fit the mould we wanted, even though we had a glut of them.
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It’s definitely true, anything seems possible. We didn’t spend much, saved what we paid pudge last year(I loved pudge).. and chose the best available players.
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The management probably feels Larrish deserves a spot or else he would have been sent down by now cuz he has options. So if Clevelen is waived, and I would hate to lose him, the Tigers again are trying to choose the best player. I think they r just trying to get a prospect for clevelen insted of losing him for nothing.
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I think we will see a team that cares more about the team as a whole … as opposed to individual achievements. We might have team chemistry … that JL doesn’t believe in .. :)

As someone mentioned, I too worry about the future development of Porcello … and I hope he is handled accordingly.

I think this is the first time that the organization has made big moves that the majority of us have agreed with. It’s kind of stunning, actually. Now what will we have to complain about? :-) We may or may not win anything this year but I like the direction this is taking.
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There’s been talk of Porcello being ruined, ala Jeremy Bonderman. I think there are some big differences between Porcello and Bondo. Rick has much more maturity than Jeremy did but more importantly, he’s already got his arsenal pretty much set to go. Four pitches, all useable. He in fact showed up with this full complement of pitches last spring, as I witnessed him throwing good secondary pitches in fastball counts against Cleveland in Winter Haven. The biggest obstacle will be total innings pitched. You can’t jack him up to 200 innings, so this will take some clever management. Skipping some turns, perhaps, being shut down early, or even being sent back down at some point. If the kid is going good, they’ll have to resist the urge to ride him like a horse. I’m sure everyone realizes what’s at stake here.
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–Rich

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they sent Porcello down upon Bonderman’s return, even if he was going good.
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Greg, I’ll be at the Baltimore games on May 30 and 31, so we have the Saturday night game in common. I’ll be in about the same seat I was last year, a few rows behind the Tiger dugout.
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–Rich

The only thing that concerns me is that our starting rotation is all righty”s. I think it would be nice to have a lefty in there.

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