Would Tigers make a move for Casper Wells?
The Seattle Mariners finalized their Opening Day roster on Sunday by keeping Jason Bay as their extra outfielder and designating Casper Wells for assignment. The Tigers were rumored to have interest in trading for Wells over the final days of Spring Training before naming Matt Tuiasosopo as their right-handed hitting outfielder of choice to share starts in left field.
So now that Wells is out there for the taking, would the Tigers add him now? If it’s going to happen, they’re probably going to have to give something up before he hits the waiver wire. They probably had a better chance of working out a trade for him last week if they wanted him badly enough.
Players who are designated for assignment hit the trade market. If they aren’t traded in the first few days, they eventually the waiver wire, which at the start of the season run in reverse order of last season’s standings. So the Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Royals and White Sox will all have their chance to claim him before the Tigers’ waiver spot comes up. In other words, all of the Tigers’ competitors in the AL Central will have their chance, plus the Red Sox. Most of those teams already have their outfield mix set. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t make a claim to keep a division/playoff favorite from addressing a position of need.
The Tigers have a decision to make. They like Tuiasosopo in part for his versatility, which includes the ability to play the corner infield spots as well as second base in a pinch. However, they have Don Kelly capable of doing the same thing. Wells, meanwhile, brings center-field capability, which they have in Kelly but only limited experience in Tuiasosopo. Wells is a stronger defender, not that the Tigers really need to worry about defensive substitutions in the outfield at this point). He did not hit particularly well in Seattle over the last year and a half, but he firmly established himself as a lefty killer, with a .267 average, .891 OPS and nearly half of his 35 hits for extra bases off southpaws.
Could it happen? Again, if it does, it’ll probably have to be trade a trade.