Leyland: More than two guys for last roster spot

Jim Leyland is referring to the open positional spot on the Opening Day roster as the 25th man, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t placing some importance on it. It’s a tough decision, and to hear Leyland discuss it, it’s not than either-or decision with Clete Thomas and Andy Dirks, either.

“Most people are talking about two guys,” Leyland said Sunday morning before the Tigers’ split-squad tilt with the Yankees. “There’s definitely more than two guys, I can promise you this.”

Considering the guys still in camp, they aren’t all outfielders, either. Quintin Berry remains in camp and has made an impression on Tigers people as a non-roster invite; the math suggests he’s the one extra outfielder in the mix. There are guys beyond that, Leyland suggested.

That would seemingly include infielder Danny Worth. Audy Ciriaco remains in camp, as does Argenis Diaz. Ryan Strieby has drawn raves from Leyland, but his playing time has been extremely limited.

“I could go with four or five guys for that 25th man and be very comfortable,” Leyland said.

If Worth is one of those four or five, then it backs up the idea that Brandon Inge is on the team.

About the only thing Leyland guaranteed is that the last positional guy won’t be a catcher.

“I’ve got four catchers — two emergency, and two catchers,” Leyland said.

The two emergency catchers, Leyland said, are Don Kelly and Inge.

27 Comments

JL pretty much saying Inge is on his team. That is one area I will always disagree with Leyland on.
Worth should make this team over Brandon IMO. His wheels alone add to a dimension that is lacking in our offense.
Another funny thing is I hear rhetoric about Inge and Raburn at 2nd base like it’s forgone conclusion. Ramon has again (quietly) shown he is more than capable at that position. There is no need for a Worth, Inge and Santiago bench. Too much redudancy and not enough power.
I’m pulling for Smyly to win out. I don’t trust Oliver’s demeanor yet (or his control) and Below to me is a servicable guy, not unlike Nate Robertson. Smyly has more upside I think.

If Worth is one of those four or five… then Raburn would be on LF and 2B will be shared by Inge and Santiago with Worth as infield utility? Anyone would think that having Worth in the roster makes Inge the man out.BTW:Sheffield was owed more money than Inge and was cut ( I read somewhere that he is still being paid for his tenure in Detroit due to delayed payments in his contract)
It also means that Dirks and Thomas
Five OF: AJ, BB, DY, RR, DK
Six IF:PF, BI,RS,JP, MC,DW.
2 C: AA, GL

We need a peaceful protest on opening day against this turd Inge, this must be brought to the spotlight for the team and media to cover. This is a joke, turd is hitting .175 now. Where is the accountability? I don’t care what Ilitch wants, if I am Dombrowski and Leyland, I say you want a World Series title old man? Then shut up and let us do our jobs. Danny Worth is much more valuable then Inge, one he can hit his weight, two he can play third, short and second better then anyone on the team, so talk about a great defensive replacement, that is Danny Worth.

I despise this favoritism to Inge so much that I have never rooted against a player on the Tigers, but they have left me no choice. This is the Major Leagues, and we have Ilitch, Dombrowski and Leyland running things like they are fan boys. What a joke.

I am having trouble drawing the line between Leyland’s quote and Inge making the team. Maybe Jason, you can clear it up for me. I think the dark horses would be Berry (speed kills and if you have someone on the bench, might as well have somone with speed) and Strieby (he would be a perfect DH with his power. That is assuming DY is full time LF).

the biggest decision at the end of the hitter bench is what to do with clete thomas. if he’s cut, he can leave the organization.
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next is how patient will they be with Inge and how much does he have to hit to stay on the roster. prior to today, Inge was hitting .250 (4-16, 1 HR) vs LHP. would management be OK with that production in a platoon role?

Port—-JL said he had 2 catchers and 2 “emergency” catchers, so they wouldn’t add another catcher to the squad. To me that means he is thinking Inge makes the cut.

Thanks Slowbyrne. Although Santos has hit better than inge.. Funny, we needed a second catcher last summer and they wouldn’t bring anyone up, but now we are talking about FOUR catchers…

Anyo0ne else puzzled by the lack of innings for Benoit?

He pitched yesterday.He has 5 IP, 34 pitches . Two less than Valverde ( 53 pitches).One more than Coke ( 26 pitches). 1 pitch less than Pauley.But for Scherzer most pitchers look like having pitched little. The fith spot contest has been costly in term of working for regular pitchers

Worth? Has he done anything at the major league level that impresses. No. Last year he was humdrum at best. I dont recall any blazing speed you all keep ranting about. That whole bunch of players didnt pan out. Sizemore blah. Worth blah. I believe clete thomas has shown more desire and drive at the major league level although im not to sure about what to expect post surgery. He is the kind of player if we let another team take him he will burn us in the playoffs.

Shark – I agree with you on Worth’s speed. He is not a burner by any means. But Worth is a plus defender, much like Inge USED to be. Also, he can play 3B, 2B and SS. Both Worth and Inge are squeezed out by the utility of both Santiago and Donny Kelly. Worth can be sent down to AAA and that probably will happen.
About Clete…. I don’t see another team cutting someone for him. Pesonally I think Dirks has more potential. But with the numbers game it might be best to have Thomas as the last man on the bench and Dirks playing every day in Toledo.

Leyland said that Inge “has to hit”. When? He can’t hit right handed pitching to save his life. He hit down the stretch last year after being called back up, but he only played against left handed pitchers.

Clete has a hole in his swing the size of Alaska. He can play three outfield positions and has a strong arm, but we don’t want him in the lineup.

Raburn is not an infielder, period. Worst defensive 2B in the league each of the past two years. He’s a plus defender in left field.

These things aren’t hard to see. Cut Inge and Thomas, play Raburn in the outfield or DH, Santiago at 2B, give Worth and Dirks a spot on the roster.

Raburn is NOT a plus outfielder, he’s no better out there than he is at 2nd.

Wrong. Raburn has been THE worst defensive 2B in the league each of the past two seasons with a UZR/ 150 of negative 20. In left field, he was a plus 20.3 in 2010.

I have a very hard time believing that statement. he is unfit for 2B – he is just as good as Maggs in the OF. I would let Inge and Thomas go for Dirks and Worth…if in at the end of ST, then probably sometime in April.

There’s going to be some lively discussion when these decisions are finally made.
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I haven’t spent the last ten years hatin’ on Inge, but the fact is that, right now, Worth is the more valuable player. I think anyone with eyes can see that. Unless there are injuries somewhere, it appears to me that they’ll need to cut Brandon. Whether they actually do that? Who knows.
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Clete Thomas is in a situation where he could be included in a package for a 5th starter. If that doesn’t happen, I think the club keeps both him and Dirks, meaning that Clete goes north and Andy comes up later. However, if Quintin Berry is as good as he’s looked in the outfield, he’s a dark horse for sure. It all depends on what role that final outfielder is expected to fill.
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It’s true that the 5th starter competion has eaten a lot of innings this spring. How else to explain that I attended eight games and never saw Fister or Porcello. My position is that I don’t like rushing guys to the bigs. We did it with Porcello in 2009 out of necessity. Perry didn’t pan out after being rushed up. By taking that position, I rule out Smyly and Turner, leaving Below and Oliver. Between the two, I choose Below. He got the ball up today in the early innings and gave up some hard hit balls. Over the final two frames, he kept it down and was very effective. He doesn’t have control problems while Oliver certainly does.

Since we don’t really need a 5th starter for a few weeks into the season – does anyone think the 5th starter will be going to toledo anyways? That would also allow Clete and/or Inge to go north for a billionth chance to show they belong on the 25-man roster….

It’s my opinion that far too much time is wasted complaining about Brandon Inge. It is what it is and will be what it will. I think he will be on the team because of the money he is owed, but that’s just my opinion!

I agree, Gk, that there has always been a ridiculous amount of chatter about a guy who is, at best, a marginal big league player. However, any discussion about who makes the team will include him, so there’s much more to come. At the least 10 days worth. He will be gone someday…………I think……

It will be this year.

Who are the longest tenured Tigers. Inge and Santiago? They are fan favorites and I certainly hope they can both make the team. Having said that younger legs, arms and better bats come with other names attatched to them but sometimes not all in a neat package. I think I would be shopping Below or Smyly for younger pitchers because to me it’s not right to keep too many guys in the system who are ready and the pen seems to have enough talent available right now. I would also be shopping out Rayburn and Thomas or Delmon so that younger more consistent players can prove themselves. The Tigers have enough depth to move people up and restock the minors at the lower levels if they have done all the
scouting they should be doing.

Yes, I’m playing a General Manager on TV sort of, but hey…I like second guessing DD I guess.

Inge. Santiago was traded to Seattle for Guillen. He was two years in the bench at Seattle then came back

I have to disagree on the comment about Raburn as good as Maggs in the outfield. Maggs might not have had the best speed and range, but he did have the smarts and knew where to throw with a good arm – Raburn you never know – one minute he throws a great laser for an out, next time he is all over the place. It is his inconsistency that bothers me – spectacular plays and then horrible plays.

Just saw Bootcheck and Berry leave the Tigers facility this morning, shortly after they got in. Good chance that they just were told that they didn’t make the team…

Berry has made an impression. I bet we a bit of him this year maybe. Not sure what they will do with Clete. Dirks will run through a wall for you and I think Clete may be a little more injury prone. That option is hanging over Dirk’s head though. I would rather see Dirks on this team than Clete.
I had mentioned that Worth should be kept around and partly for his speed. I didn’t mean he was a burner by any means but he is faster around the bases than Brandon Inge. You also could use him off the bench to pinch run.
Personally, I’d like to see the club trade Brandon. I know, “no trade clause” but if he had the chance to play everyday for someone, I bet he would take it.

If Illitch wants Inge to be Leyland’s lapdog, so be it. I just hope Leyland has enough brains not to start him against RHP. I also wish the Detroit media had big enough rocks to make Leyland spell out exactly what he means when he says, “Inge has to hit.” .159? .200? 220? what exactly.

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