April 2nd, 2009
Look for Jeff Larish to officially be announced for the final bench spot on Detroit’s 25-man roster on Friday, when the Tigers will have a roster move to announce on outfielder Brent Clevlen. He’s out of Minor League options, so the Tigers have to try to pass him through waivers in order to outright his contract to Triple-A Toledo.
The decision had been expected once the Tigers traded for center fielder Josh Anderson and released Gary Sheffield in favor of Marcus Thames earlier this week.
James Skelton didn’t make the Diamondbacks roster as a Rule 5 Draft pick, and the Diamondbacks wanted to keep him. So they worked out a trade with the Tigers to keep him, sending right-hander Brooks Brown to Detroit.
Brown was a sandwich pick in the 2006 Draft. He went 6-15 with a 4.18 ERA in 26 starts for Double-A Mobile last year before starting seven games in the Arizona Fall League.
The Tigers exposed Skelton to the Rule 5 last fall by leaving him off the 40-man roster. He was a small but effective catcher in the organization, but the Tigers felt good enough about their catching depth to leave him off. Arizona made him into a superutility player this Spring Training, trying him at second base and in the outfield, but they decided Wednesday night that he wouldn’t make the team. By making the trade, the Diamondbacks can send Skelton to the Minor Leagues.
Brown, meanwhile, will report to Double-A Erie.
Just had a long conversation this morning with Nate Robertson, who made no secret of his desire to be a starting pitcher somewhere else rather than a relief pitcher here.
“I think the cycle of a player’s time in certain places, it comes and it goes,” Robertson said. “This is my seventh year in the organization, and maybe my time here is nearing its end. And I’m fine with that. I’ll tell you what, this is a first-class organization, and I appreciate everything that’s been done for me.
I don’t go home and say, ‘Man, I feel like these guys are really sticking it to me.’ But at the same time, I’m 31 years old and I’ve got to think about my career. I can be very productive as a starting pitcher. That’s what I believe. I think I can go out there and be durable, take the ball every fifth day, give you a chance to win as a starting pitcher in the big leagues. There’s no doubt in my mind.”
The Tigers obviously feel differently. And Jim Leyland’s response seemed to make it perfectly clear that he probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
“I don’t want to start on a negative note here,” Leyland said. “I think Nate Robertson has an excellent opportunity to be a huge part of our ballclub. You don’t always finish how you start. But at the same time, the best way to get yourself in the position that you want to be is prove you that you’re supposed to be in that position.”
Robertson also made it pretty clear that he was unwilling to accept a Minor League option, even for short-term stint to stretch out as a starter.
“I don’t think I can learn anything there,” Robertson said. “Honestly, that’s my opinion. I don’t think you can go down there and learn anything in my position and where I’m at in my career. What am I going to learn? How to get so-and-so out in the three hole for Richmond?”