Projecting the Tigers 40-man roster

I wrote a piece on the site tonight about the decisions looming tomorrow for the Tigers 40-man roster. Any minor-leaguers who are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft have to be added to the roster by tomorrow night (midnight ET) to be protected. And as I wrote on the site, while there aren’t highly-touted prospects to add, there are some key decisions to make:

  1. How good are the prospects they have left at the upper levels who aren’t yet on the 40-man roster?
  2. Just how much do they value their insurance options at the upper levels?

On the first question, the Tigers value what they have, more for potential than what they’ve done in the minors already. While Daniel Fields just started putting up strong offensive numbers this year, batting .284 with a .791 OPS at Double-A Erie, he’s still relatively young with room for growth and enough potential that I’d expect the Tigers to protect him rather than risk losing them. He’s coming off a wrist injury that cut short any plans for fall or winter ball, but should be ready for the start of Spring Training. Potential rules, too, for raw but talented Steven Moya and A-ball level pitcher Endrys Briceno, and probably shortstop Eugenio Suarez.

On the second question, the problem for the Tigers is that it hasn’t been easy for them to fill gaps with minor-league free agents the past couple years. Four-A players tend to want to go someplace where they can compete for a big league job, not sit at Triple-A and wait for an injury. The Tigers have gotten some value out of minor-league free agents, Matt Tuiasosopo and Jose Alvarez being good examples, but they’ve also missed on others.

That’s where the question gets complicated for guys like Kyle Lobstein, Jordan Lennerton and Blaine Hardy. None are top 20 prospects, but all have a path to Detroit next season if there’s an injury at the big league level.

I would be very surprised if Kyle Lobstein isn’t protected after the Tigers traded Curt Casali to get his full rights last spring, especially at age 24. I think there’s a case to be made for Lennerton and Hardy, both of them older but both of them potential Rule 5 Draft bait for a team looking for cheap talent. That doesn’t mean either will be protected, but there are points for it.

The Tigers don’t have a similar type prospect to Lennerton ready for the upper levels. Maybe Aaron Westlake gets there, but it won’t be immediate. That said, the Tigers tried to market Lennerton as a prospect in trade talks with teams this year and didn’t find much interest. The interest might, however, be different as a Rule 5 pick.

As for the fate of the current roster, it would be a surprise if the Tigers sent off any arbitration-eligible players at this point. When the Tigers released Ryan Raburn at the deadline last offseason, it opened a spot for them. Unless the Tigers protect a few more guys than expected, they won’t need the space. That would push those decisions to the non-tender deadline just before the winter meetings in a few weeks.

15 Comments

The Coke has fizzled. Downs is Dones. Alvarez will stick and Lobstein is on the horizon. DD really needs to scour the FA market for a guy like Boone Logan. It is very important that he land a Lefty for the pen. A dependable and proven lefty, I might add. No appointments necessary for this job. It is imperative that it be addressed and resolved. Don’t count on Smyly for the pen—he is not a reliever and should not be force to be one either.

Lopez will soon be a giant IMO.

Watch what Javier Lopez gets from the Giants, who are supposedly putting together a deal to keep him. It’s not often you see the market set early from the top, but he might do it. The Tigers haven’t spent much on lefty relief for as long as I’ve covered the team, but this might be the year they have to do it.

Suarez, Fields, and Lobstein are locks to be protected.
Moya and Valdez are possible, if not probable.
Lennerton looks like the next Jack Hannahan, never going to get a real shot with Detroit.
Briceno would not have value on another team’s 25 man major league roster, yet they don’t want to risk losing him. I’d bet he’s not protected, but wouldn’t be surprised.
There are plenty of vacancies this year, so they can go ahead and protect half a dozen or so players. It’s not wise, though to protect them for the draft, thinking that they can just put them through waivers later on if they need the space. It’s much easier to get through the rule 5 draft than waivers, because of the roster requirement.

Coke could get Boesch’d. i.e.- signed to a contract and released for 1/6th of the cost by March 15 if he’s not making it.

per usual, in that regard we’re winning the AL Central and heading to the playoffs.

“It seems possible [Josh] Johnson and agent Matt Sosnick could have gotten close to that $10MM mark had they focused on the highest bidder, but the pitcher preferred San Diego for personal reasons. The Padres got a discount approaching 20%, just for being the Padres. ”
.
So lets see something like that with Max and Cabby! Nathan loves the Tigers huh? Give us a discount and lets get a ring buddy. If these guys want rings so very badly – i’d suggest loving the money less. “It starts with you”

Agree!

First – Josh Johnson has had two horrific seasons, if a team would have given him $10M that would have been laughable. The discount is not going to happen, and not sure it should. 3 million people didn’t buy tickets to pad Illitch’s wallet, they paid to watch talented ballplayers. I highly doubt you would turn down the money free agents get, it is simple economics.
As for the 40 man roster, I think you MUST protect Lobstein. We are very thin on starters after the 6 on the roster. Lobstein, Alvarez are about it at the upper levels. Lennerton, meh, Futures game selection really doesn’t mean that much (see: Ramerez, Wilkin) so if someone wants to pluck Lennerton and keep him on their 40, more power to them.

I guess the question is: would you rather get paid 20 million and lose or 18 million and win because there was more money left for bullpen arms?

Detroit Tigers announced seven minor-league players were added to the 40-man roster, protecting them from being lost to the Rule 5 draft in December. Those players: LHP Kyle Lobstein, RHP Justin Miller, RHP Jose Valdez, first baseman Jordan Lennerton, shortstop Eugenio Suarez, center fielder Daniel Fields and right fielder Steven Moya.

^^ credit to Bless You Boys site.
and to answer your question, I would take the money. Players careers are short, get what you can. My question: do you think the Tigers are in trouble financially? I don’t.

well they didn’t pick up enough bullpen arms to avoid a playoff collapse in 2013…..why didn’t they pick them up? money!

I think that DD over valued the relievers they had, and knows that paying big bucks for relief pitchers very often back fires. It’s not money when it boils down to a micro issue like that, IMO

Boston made a big trade for a closer last year and they won the world series, only problem with this is that, the closer was hurt all year (Hannahan). The BoSox closer that killed us could have been had for a song and a dance last year (NOT a money issue). Tigers thought Dotel/Coke/Benoit/Rondon could do it….

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