Tigers add seven to 40-man roster
The Tigers used their open roster to add seven minor leaguers and protect them from next month’s Rule 5 draft. Futures Game rep and Triple-A all-star Jordan Lennerton is on the list, as is right-hander pitcher September signing Justin Miller. So are Toledo left-hander Kyle Lobstein (a Rule 5 Draft pick last year), Double-A Erie outfielder Daniel Fields and shortstop Eugenio Suarez, Class A Lakeland outfielder Steven Moya and Lakeland closer Jose Valdez.
No moves were made to take anybody off the 40-man roster, so it stands at 39 players. They left a spot open to add another player if something comes together in the coming days (an addition of a closer, perhaps?), but they’ll have to designate or release somebody if they add any more than that. The question over arbitration-eligible players, meanwhile, now shifts to the non-tender date two weeks from now.
Lennerton and Miller were kind of mysteries going in. Though Lennerton is an older player (he’ll turn 28 in February), he’s coming off an all-star season that drew notice. Because he’s a first baseman, he doesn’t have a role in Detroit unless somebody gets hurt, but he also isn’t easy to replace if another team were to take him in the Rule 5. And by the sounds of it, that was a strong possibility. The Tigers had talked about him enough in potential trade discussions that the chance to snag him for $50,000 might have been too tempting.
“I think they candidly gauged enough legitimate interest to put him on,” one AL talent evaluator said of Lennerton.
Miller is an interesting case. The Tigers signed him in September after the Rangers had released him coming off a season shortened by recovery from 2012 Tommy John surgery. His last full, healthy season was 2011, but it was outstanding, with a 9-1 record, 1.81 ERA and 13 saves at Double-A Frisco.
It would seem that the odds of a team using a Rule 5 pick on a pitcher who has pitched just 27 innings the past two years would be long. But teams are interested to take a chance on pitchers in that type of situation. The Tigers got Wil Ledezma a decade ago coming off an injury history in the minors.