Tigers option Moya, Machado to Toledo

Steven Moya’s standout Spring Training with the Tigers has come to an end. The slugging outfielder, who made an early spring statement with four home runs in the first couple weeks, was optioned to Triple-A Toledo on Saturday morning along with shortstop prospect Dixon Machado.

The moves reduce the Tigers’ Spring Training roster to 41 players with a week to go in camp.

Though Moya didn’t come to camp with a roster spot to win thanks to Justin Upton’s arrival, the towering 24-year-old had something to prove after a learning experience of a 2015 season at Triple-A Toledo. More than pure numbers, Moya wanted to show the improved pitch recognition and deliberate plate approach that led to an impressive winter ball season in the Dominican Republic.

“I just want to go up every single at-bat, don’t miss in any one, be focused on each one, keep working hard,” Moya said after his fourth home run of the spring March 13.

The results brought back memories of his breakout 2014 Spring Training, but also showed more maturity as a hitter. Moya hit .367 (11-for-30) with four homers and eight RBIs, yet struck out just five times. His damage included a line-drive home run off Pirates lefty specialist Tony Watson, an opposite-field homer off Astros closer Ken Giles and a two-hit game off Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on Thursday.

It was never going to win him a job on the Opening Day roster, barring injuries well beyond the nagging left hamstring strain that has slowed Victor Martinez. The Tigers have been steadfast on wanting him to carry forward his approach and play every day in Toledo, where he batted .240 (120-for-500) last year with 30 doubles, 20 homers, 74 RBIs and 162 strikeouts.

Still, this spring gives Tigers officials something to think about if and when they need to call up an outfielder to fill in during the season.

“He looks a lot more comfortable, a lot more confident,” manager Brad Ausmus said of Moya earlier this month. “He’s had good at-bats. He really has.”

Like Moya, Machado’s Spring Training was more about making an impression than winning a job, since Jose Iglesias blocks his path to the big leagues. While he struggled at the plate this spring, batting 6-for-28 with no extra-base hits, no walks and four strikeouts, he put on a defensive display with several ranging stops and grabs. In that sense, he showed confidence from his September stint filling in for Iglesias in Detroit.

The Tigers have planned all along on Machado starting at shortstop in Toledo rather than serving in a utility role in Detroit. He’ll likely return to the big leagues if Iglesias has an injury that forces him to miss time.

14 Comments

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I sure hope JV learns how to keep his fastball down this year. For years now he has been able to get away with the high heat many times resulting in a foul back to the screen. Losing 4 MPH and giving MLB hitters eye level fastballs is not going to help him. JV does not have a lot of wiggle on his fastball and would really benefit from keeping down around the knees at this stage in his career. I hope Dube feels the same.

Collins has earned a spot on the OD roster. He actually may end up beating Gose out of a job eventually.

Holy cow! J-Up is suddenly mashing.

Alex Avila is listed as the starting catcher for the Chisox on their depth chart. He has 16 ABs with ONE hit and ELEVEN Ks.
Ouch.
He was such a promising talent when he came up.

Getting a chance to see the highly touted (and thus far, unimpressive) Justin Wilson.
He is critical to the bullpen’s success or falure this year.

Wilson again unimpressive against the LHB (at least in my opinion). Lowe not much better.
These guys were a major part of AA’s off season strategy that looked very solid.

All these pen moves that he made that were supposed to save this team look pretty bad. Getting too late in spring training to look this bad

Upton is pretty much demonstrating this ST how his season will iikely look. He will probably be a roller coaster ride as I have noted several times before. I’ve braced myself for it.

Speaking of relief pitching, Age 27 Feliz, the seemingly recovered star who got away from the Tigers, is having an outstanding ST. Feliz has a 1.29 ERA and 0.57 WHIP in 6 appearances.

No good arm left behind: Verlander, Zimmermann, Aníbal, Pelfrey, Boyd ( a LH starter is a plus )
KRod, Wilson, Lowe, VerHagen, Ryan, Greene, Castillo or Rondón

I think it will be Boyd out of the rotation (Greene in). As to the bullpen, Rondon and Farmer. (If Buck throws well next outing)

Hardy and Wilson are locks once they get healthy. Castillo and Rondon (Toledo) will be shown the door. Greene is in the rotation. Boyd becomes starter inventory at Toledo. McGhee should be released so he can find a real job. Nick is cheap and should be ready to hold his own. Parnell intrigues me. He is the wild card in my estimation.

Actually I think you may be right on. Rondon flew the white flag of surrender once again today. 3 strikes you’re out applies to pitchers too. Parnell entered the serious conversation today. Granted some of that was by attrition but the guy at least can be counted on for maximum effort.

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