Saturday: Did Matt Tuiasosopo just win a big league job?

Officially, the Tigers didn’t name Matt Tuiasosopo to the Opening Day roster. It’s a little early for that. In fact, neither Dave Dombrowski nor Jim Leyland mentioned Tuiasosopo’s name when talking about the decision to send Rule 5 pick Jeff Kobernus back to the Nationals for $25,000. Still, you had to try to block out the background to avoid the sense that Tuiasosopo has an inside track on making the team.

Here’s what we know:

  • Kobernus is out of the picture. And when Dombrowski and Leyland were asked to explain the reasoning for the move, the answer from both of them was that it became clear Kobernus wasn’t going to make the 25-man roster.
  • Here’s what else Dombrowski said in regards to Kobernus: “We just think somebody else was ahead of him at this point.”
  • Avisail Garcia is all but out of the picture. He isn’t expected to play in either of the next two days, and if the soonest he plays again is Tuesday, then it’s very possible the Tigers make their final decision before then. Leyland said he doesn’t have any meeting planned with Dombrowski yet, but that they could do it after they get back from Jupiter Monday night.
  • Moreover, Leyland made it sound like Garcia’s running out of time. “It would be fair to say the timing of the injury probably put a little bit of a damper on him as far as breaking with the club,” Leyland said. “I think that’s just a common-sense thing. Now, could a miracle happen? I’d prefer not to see the headlines: ‘Garcia doesn’t make the team.’ That’s not the case. It’s just that his injury came at a time where it wasn’t the best of timing. I don’t want to make it sound like we don’t like Garcia or we sent him down. It’s just he’s probably not going to get enough time to break camp. Again, don’t etch that in stone, but I think that’s kind of common sense.”
  • There are no other right-handed hitting outfield candidates left, unless you count infielder Danny Worth. Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter already have starting spots.
  • Dombrowski said he feels confident they can fill the right-handed hitting outfield role internally, though he didn’t say they would.

This is what we don’t know:

  • Who is going to be out there on the market next week for the Tigers to acquire? Maybe Casper Wells doesn’t make the Mariners roster. Maybe the Tigers can parlay their depth in another spot, maybe an extra reliever, into an extra outfielder.
  • How far away is Nick Castellanos? If a hot opening month in Toledo can get him to Detroit, how long will the Tigers need an extra right-handed hitting outfielder? Is he the in-case-of-fire-break-glass move if the Tigers struggle through April?
  • What happens to the Tigers’ hope of having a good baserunner on their bench to run for Victor Martinez late in games? Kobernus was supposed to be able to fill both spots, though he didn’t steal a base all spring.

That last point is particularly big for the other open spot on the bench. If the Tigers still want a baserunner, Quintin Berry’s chances of making the team just got better. It’s not that Don Kelly and Danny Worth can’t run; they just can’t run like Berry.

Personally, I think there’s a real chance the Tigers add somebody at the end of Spring Training, like they did with Josh Anderson as a speedy outfielder at the end of camp in 2009 (no, it didn’t work out, but that’s not the point). Otherwise, they would have at least mentioned somebody by name. I also don’t think you cut Kobernus loose unless you actually do feel confident you can fill the spot with Tuiasosopo if you don’t get somebody else.

So, to answer the question that started all this: Did Tuiasosopo just win a big league job? Maybe.

55 Comments

But for Damon, the veterans availble are LH

The Casper Wells numbers are not good but the Mariners´ Park is the most pitcher friendly in the AL.
With Dirks with his second injury in ST, Jl could be right about him

CASPER, CASPER!!!

I watched casper wells today and he looked in between.. Couldnt adjust to the breaking ball and was late on the fastball.. I thought Casper was goin to be a good player for the mariners but he needs a change of scenery.

Every now and then the Skipper and I agree on things I consider to be important concerns:
“What I really like more than anything about today’s game was the bottom of the order,” Leyland said. “Alex Avila stung the ball well. Jhonny Peralta stung the ball well. That’s what I was happiest about today, to be honest with you.”
To tell you the truth, there is not a more important issue to address (and correct) this coming season IMO.

Were all in for 2013 – we gotta win it this year! – and that is why I believe you are going to see Nick C (or AG, to be fair). in that backup OF position by the ASB (or as early as Tulip Time, google it). Their development be damned – in particular, NC’s bat is the final piece to a great OF (his defense is likely as good as the alternatives). But it makes sense to go one of them for a while (until the league figures them out) and then switch it up with the other one (who is probably tearing up AAA pitching).
.
Who goes north right now will be more-or-less a stopgap — an inexpensive option to buy time for NC/AG’s development. MT, CW, or someone else who is cut from another team.

and the RHB backup OF ‘stopgap’ could even be russo. i’m not counting him out yet

russo hitting that HR off the bench, and QB hitting Cedeno (lefty) last night probably help their causes.
.
but onto bigger things: Doug Fister’s 2nd to last start of the spring is today in port st lucie. And Al ALBQ has some impressing to do.

when it comes to the young outfielders, the best case situation is they ‘force’ their way to MLB by playing so well at AAA…instead of being ‘pushed’ there because other options have failed.

absolutely

current opening day forecast: cold as hell – right now I am guessing 39-41F at gametime, scattered clouds with a 10% chance of mix precipitation during or before gametime, with light winds coming from the north northeast.
.
not joking. hopefully things don’t turn out the way it looks right now.

Well, it’s cold as heck here in MI and the forecast is cold all week.

Thanks, Evan, At least you did not have it cold as the North Pole!!!

2E, Worth, Peña, Russo. That is the best available bench.
2E could be a ST wonder but I guess he deserves a chance
2MM? They ate 5 MM with Inge

Jason, a couple of weeks ago, you explained that Rondon was expected to pitch 11 more inning including back to back outings. He has pitched four times with 2 days and twice with 3 days for 5 innings since them but no back to back. It is not late to test him?

Opening day lineup today.

According to Nowak, Rondon’s next two outings will be back-to-back.

Thanks

I am used to Fister being scary good, not just scary. His 4 hit, 4 walk and 2 WP performance today makes me think he has yet to “figure it out.” Moreover, Fister sat only in the 87-88 mph range with his fastball, with some touches a notch up. Fister is neither showing elite stuff nor command, as he has in the past. I hope it’s just a matter of adjustments and not underlying issues.

2011 he was 3-12 when we picked him up at the end of July. 2012 he was 1-6 on the First of July. Not a faster starter. Right now I would settle for him being 5-5 at the AS break.

DOK, you are excellent and balanced with the info, as always. I just hope your positive perspective plays out. I tend to hit panic-mode when studs turn to slugs.

good outing by al albq today. glad to hear it! peralta still swinging a good bat too. berry had a good swing too!

infante good day also

do your thing donny kelly!!

José Alvárez is a starter. He could be the surprise as long reliever

got ambushed today tho

Yes, I talk too early. He had more grounders against than fly-balls until today. He needed them

talked

Gage before the game:”could be joke of a game today – wind blowing out, gusting close to 40 miles an hour right now”. The Tigers pitchers have been able to cope while the hitters profited on the wind. All the outs but two have been with grounders.

Boesch could end in AAA. With Vernon Wells , the Yankees dont need him

I think Boesch hurt himself or aggravated previous injury didn’t he?
2E has most certainly made the team. We all hope he can continue to hit well when the season starts. Though it may not be an exciting placement for the Tigers, Don Kelly has once again shown he belongs.

BB looks destined for the minors. The Yanks are reportedly in trade talks with the Angels for Vernon Wells, who was not very good the last few years. He is now the reserve OF for the Angels.. However, Wells does have 3 Gold Gloves to his name and this ST has hit .361 with 4 HRs and 11 RBIs.

I would guess the Angels would have to pay a ton of Wells’ salary in this deal. I’m just curious what they would get in return to make it a viable transaction. I haven’t heard any names yet.

It’s Opening Day!!!!! (Well almost):

http://danbern.bandcamp.com/track/opening-day

Hey, nice tune. He’s got an interesting name, doesn’t he Dan?

Yankees continue to honor the game’s past by holding Old Timers Day 81 times this year. (Vernon Wells)

Least his sense of humor hasn’t dropped.

I didn’t mean to imply that Wells said that. I put his name at the end in reference to the signing.

Vernon Wells will be a youngster on the Yanks!!!

[shakes head in disgust] yankees!

Wells is nearly 4 years younger than Torii. The Yanks are not stupid and are not historically afraid to spend. And this might be a deal financially, but need to know more.

MLB indicated spring numbers mattered to the Yanks for Wells and think they saw bat speed for $5M/year. Bargain? Angels are on the hook for the rest.

BB seems doomed.

he needs to buck up – go to AAA and perfect that “shortened swing”. He’ll be fine, especially with that porch in RF.

We have just six more games in Florida to find out more about our team and get ready for the Twins. A few fast facts about the Twins. Their lead off hitter s/b Aaron Hicks who carries a .350 ST average with 4 homers and is MN’s sixth best prospect. Scott Diamond is on the DL so the odds are we will face three RH pitchers in the opening series. They will carry at least two lefties in the bullpen.

Our manager always likes to have a surprise or two on the opening day roster. Would Matt Tuiasosopo qualify as one?? Don Kelly, if on the roster, will not be a surprise for me. Santiago and Kelly are just a perfect fit for our team’s bench. We have had only one situation where we would have had the option to use our closer in back to back games during our spring training. Here’s hoping April is like ST. We know it won’t be, however.

Rich, not much gets past you man!
Have met him, his musical influences are obvious if you listen to more of his music.
One of my favourite songs (and favourite of his for sure) is a song called, God Said No.
(Sorry to other about cluttering the BLOG with personal stuff.)

sad to hear about Virgil Trucks. A cool story I heard through the freep I wanted to share:
On may 15 1952 Virgil Trucks threw a no hitter at Briggs. Then on Aug. 25. He no-hit the Yankees of Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Billy Martin. Interestingly enough, in the third inning on a bang-bang play, Phil Rizzuto was ruled safe at first after a one-hopper to shortstop Johnny Pesky, who had trouble getting the ball out of his glove. Official scorer John Drebinger of the immediately ruled it an error, then changed his mind and called it a hit. Other writers in the press box pestered Drebinger and told him it should have remained an error. Drebinger finally CALLED PESKY IN THE DUGOUT, and Pesky told him he had juggled the ball and should have made the play.

For the second time, Drebinger changed his mind, and when it was announced to the crowd in the seventh inning that the play was ruled an error, fans roared their approval. “The thing that really bothered me about that play is that Rizzuto was really out at first,” Trucks said in 2002. “We were all arguing with the first-base umpire, and I nearly got tossed from the game.”

Great story.

Vernon Wells was not despised in SoCal for his ineffectiveness, like Raburn was in Detroit. But no tears have been shed at his departure. I haven’t heard any details on who they got back and it’s hard to beleive they just gave Wells away.Talk is the Angels will use the money they saved to pursue Lohse. Truth is, the Angels pitching staff is suspect and needs an upgrade.

Just read the Angels will pay Wells $29M and the Yanks will pay him $13M over the next 2 years. BB will have a problem trumping that contract to get playing time.

interesting piece about what role Smyly could play in the bullpen by Rogacki on BYB. Essentially you give Smyly the ball for ~3-4 innings after the starter, every few days (read: when max and porcello can’t pitch past the 6th) and give the bullpen (at least the middle relievers) a rest. http://www.blessyouboys.com/tigers-spring-training-2013/2013/3/25/4138740/alright-im-sold-put-drew-smyly-in-the-bullpen

Yeah, also found it interesting that Smyly is projected to get only 120-150 innings as a starter. So how many starts does that actually translate to for him?

yea that is interesting Smyly had like 99 innings in DET and 18 in Toledo….so i expect him to get over 150 this season, easy.

Between 20 and 25 GS.

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