Chad Smith promoted to Toledo, Tigers bullpen likely set for now

The wild weekend for the Tigers pitching staff at Minnesota — first calling up Jose Ortega for Justin Miller, then recalling Miller to fill Anibal Sanchez’s old spot — had left the pitching staff at Triple-A Toledo one reliever short, and left speculation running that the Tigers could have another move coming to help out the Major League bullpen. That void at Toledo was filled Monday with the promotion of right-hander Chad Smith from Double-A Erie. That restored the Hens roster to full strength and likely means the Tigers is bullpen — with both Miller and Ortega — is set, at least for the upcoming two-game series against the White Sox.

One reliever will have to be sent down next week to make room for a fifth starter, which the Tigers will need no later than May 6.

While the presence of Tigers assistant GM Al Avila and special assistant Jim Leyland in Erie over the weekend led to a watch on SeaWolves closer Corey Knebel for a potential promotion to Detroit, no move appears to be imminent.

The 24-year-old Smith recovered from a rough opening outing to toss 10 1/3 innings of one-run ball, allowing four walks and six hits with nine strikeouts. Opponents are batting just under .200 (9-for-46) against him, though four of those hits have come with runners in scoring position.

The Tigers drafted Smith out of USC in the 17th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.


Appears as though the only help for the bullpen is from the system. Any ML reliever worth looking at is tied to another team at this point in the season. I have to agree that DD did not approve this situation in the offseason when good relievers may have been available. I have asked before> Why was Benoit allowed to leave? How long do you wait for Coke to be the real thing? I’m not convinced Rondon is the future answer. We can only hope that Nathan can do the job for 2 years.

Quotes from Dombrowski re Benoit: “We absolutely loved Joaquin — he did a tremendous job for us the whole time he was here,” Dombrowski said Saturday. “When it came down to it, we had Joe Nathan over Joaquin as a closer, and that’s the direction we decided to pursue.

“We kept a pulse of his free-agent situation all winter long. But it just looked like he was going to (cost) a little more than we wanted to pay for a set-up guy.

“It never made much sense to make an offer based on where he was. But we always knew where he was, in case something changed. He liked it here, and we loved him. It was just a decision to go with Nathan.”
Basically they wanted Nathan as closer and Benoit would be a setup man able to draw closer’s salary from another club.

Waiting on Rondon just like we waited on Zumaya to not be hurt. A familiar scenario

Totally agree about Rondon. I wasn’t so sure about him before the injury and obviously, even more so now. It is a little puzzling how a team is built to win yet an important department like the bullpen was left to a trial and error approach. DD seems like a fairly astute GM but he has missed the mark two years in a row with his assessment of his bullpen.

I thought Rondon was an injury waiting to happen from the first time I saw him pitch, however……..if I’m the GM rather than a fan I’m not sure I can spend money based on a suspicion like that.
Bullpens are constantly a work in progress, especially in April.

Gk, you are right. This is like a hockey schedule. I wish we could have made up some of those rainouts on the off days we’ve already had. If the team comes up short in the end, we should remember how this month has gone.

April rainouts bring summertime sellouts. At least that is what the teams hope.

By reading the article Rich provided, I’m not afraid to say Benoit might have been willing to stay in Detroit for something between what he got in 2013 and what he now has in SD. It appears DD didn’t even try after Nathan. Well, between the high pitch counts the starters seem to be infected with, and Nathan’s 9th inning, there is a vast wasteland for 2-3 innings that only a lot of offense can protect. Good luck with that.

Probably a payroll move. While they weren’t cutting payroll, they did have the Scherzer and Cabrera extensions to think about. There’s a lot to this stuff that goes far beyond the current team needs. I really don’t even try to understand it, but fantasy league players love it. I think of myself as more the field manager type. 🙂

For what it’s worth, Benoit said at one point last season that his last contract was more about the length of the deal than the average money. So I’m guessing the second year on his new deal was crucial.

Today , both teams had the day-off

Thats what I thought . So just how many games can you make up ?? Gotta pray the club stays healthy in the dog days of summer . I would have assumed they get it in while still in Minnesota .

Re: Benoit. I did not expect him to perform after the HR. Not in Detroit at least. He is a mature man, but he would not be the first unable to get over a bad pitch

It was a game-changer, for sure. The Tigers never recovered.

Good point. Benoit closed in Washington this weekend and gave up a homer to McLouth before closing it out. Yep, I immediately thought of Ortiz and that postseason dinger he gave up to Oakland two years ago.

If you were the GM and you HAD to trade for a bullpen arm…who would you trade off the team?

It’s what the other team is asking, for their own needs. Wild speculation on that one.

then, who is and who isn’t expendable (for trade in getting a bullpen piece, if you had to)

who isn’t expendable? the starters or those with a future starting. Since , the Tigers prospect s are of little value, probably most position players. Those with highest value being the three IF. And they are blocked at SS and 3B

The only player we could be showcasing right now is JD Martinez. Any team out there with a bad injury to an OF?? Do they have a veterean reliever???

The Nats. They have something we used to have

So do we have a good weather report from Chicago?? We are scheduled to play there tonight. Rienzo pitched for the Sox last night. Good news for us as he whipped us last week. We have Verlander and Scherzer going again in April. That should give us some kind of an advantage in the next two games. We have eight men ready to go in the bullpen. Based on the pitches they threw on Saturday, Coke and Ortega should probably get tonight off. But we need to see all eight guys in these next six games. We still have five straight road games against division foes. Always important to win some of these games. Go Tigers!!!!

don’t worry doc, the game will get in tonight. i’d say 30% chance of some sort of delay/stoppage, albeit.

Lineup :Davis lf, Kinsler 2b, Cabrera 1b, VMart dh, Hunter rf, Jackson cf, Castellanos 3b, Avila c, Worth ss. Verlander p

Holaday C

Alex Avila ,lower back spasms, again

We will say James McCann this year–pretty sure of that.

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