Results tagged ‘ 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.
The Tigers announced two moves after the game — one of them expected, one less so. Duane Below is being recalled from Triple-A Toledo in advance of his Major League debut as Wednesday’s starting pitcher. But in addition, Charlie Furbush — who was the Tigers’ other option to start Wednesday — is coming up to handle long relief, which would suggest he’s no longer a starting option for the Tigers, at least not in the near futures.
Heading back to Toledo are left-hander Adam Wilk and outfielder Casper Wells. The latter comes about because the Tigers had an extra position player on their roster while they didn’t have a fifth starter.
“It’s a shame, because he didn’t really deserve to go down,” Leyland said. “He’s played well. He’s done a good job. I just felt like — we felt like — if we rest Magglio against the righty, then we’d have Dirks in the outfield. And right now, he just got the short end of the stick, and it’s a crying shame, because he does not deserve to go down.”
Wilk will start for the Mud Hens Wednesday night in what had been Below’s rotation spot. Fu-Te Ni started in place of Furbush and pitched seven innings of one-run ball with no walks and four strikeouts.
It’s the second home game of the season, the day when the Tigers start to really settle into a routine at Comerica Park. For Casper Wells, however, it’s Opening Day. The last Tigers position player to get a start is in the lineup today, getting the start against lefty Bruce Chen.
Look for some more creativity if the Tigers take a lead into the seventh inning. Leyland is looking for six innings or so out of Phil Coke, and both Brayan Villarreal and Daniel Schlereth are off today since they pitched teh last couple days. Could be a spot for Robbie Weinhardt to get his first appearance, or it could be a day for Leyland to mix and match Brad Thomas and Enrique Gonzalez again. We’ll see.
- Austin Jackson, CF
- Will Rhymes, 2B
- Magglio Ordonez, DH
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B
- Victor Martinez, C
- Ryan Raburn, LF
- Jhonny Peralta, SS
- Brandon Inge, 3B
- Casper Wells, RF
P: Phil Coke
- Chris Getz, 2B
- Melky Cabrera, CF
- Alex Gordon, LF
- Billy Butler, DH
- Kila Ka’aihue, 1B
- Jeff Francoeur, RF
- Wilson Betemit, 3B
- Brayan Pena, C
- Alcides Escobar, SS
P: Bruce Chen
The Tigers haven’t had a ton of bright spots in winter ball and the Arizona Fall League, but they’ve generally managed to keep everyone healthy. Now that Casper Wells is headed home from the Dominican Republic, we’re going to have to wait and see about that and see what sort of damage he has in his knee.
Ironically (or maybe not ironic at all), the one Tiger with more than five at-bats against Jon Lester is Johnny Damon, the one Tigers regular who’s sitting tonight. He’s 7-for-24 off Lester. However, I’d expect he was giving some Tigers rookies (there are four of them in the lineup tonight) some pregame ideas on how to approach Lester.
One of those rookies is Casper Wells, who will get his first Major League at-bat in the first inning against Lester. He’s batting second and playing left field in Damon’s place. And yes, he’s still wearing number 57.
- Jackson, CF
- Wells, LF
- Ordonez, RF
- Cabrera, 1B
- Boesch, DH
- Inge, 3B
- Laird, C
- Sizemore, 2B
- Everett, SS
P: Dontrelle Willis
- Marco Scutaro, SS
- Dustin Pedroia, 2B
- Victor Martinez, C
- Kevin Youkilis, 1B
- David Ortiz, DH
- Adrian Beltre, 3B
- J.D. Drew, RF
- Bill Hall, LF
- Darnell McDonald, CF
P: Jon Lester
The move is official: Casper Wells has been recalled from Triple-A Toledo, and Alfredo Figaro is headed back to the Hens. But Leyland also announced his next move coming Sunday: Wells will be optioned back to Toledo, and Armando Galarraga will be called up to start Sunday against the Red Sox. So unless there’s an injury that changes plans, Wells’ first big-league stint will be a short one.
Leyland did not get into what happens with Galarraga after Sunday. However, the Tigers won’t need an extra starter after that, since their five starters will be on short rest. Given that, plus the fact that Leyland doesn’t really want 13 pitchers on the staff unless the bullpen is really worn down, seemingly makes this a one-time outing for Galarraga.
Who comes back in his place? Interesting question.
After double-checking on the rules, it appears the Tigers do NOT have to wait 10 days to recall Ryan Raburn, regardless of whether he’s replacing somebody on the disabled list. That seemingly could lead to Raburn’s return next week. After double-checking again, it appears the 10-day rule is still in effect, so the Tigers can’t recall Raburn until next Saturday. So we’re back to guessing who comes up again.
Casper Wells won’t soon forget his first encounter with baseball uberprospect Stephen Strasburg. It came last October in the Arizona Fall League.
“He threw a fastball 98 [mph] on the black, first pitch, actually shattered my bat,” Wells recalled Monday morning. “First pitch I ever saw from him. So I was like, ‘All right, maybe I’ll see a pitch next at-bat, just to gauge the timing a little bit.’ Someone throws an easy 98 in on your hands, you know, it gets there quickly. Maybe I’ll see the ball over the plate.”
Next time up, he somehow saw a hanging curveball and pummeled it for a grand slam, part of a three-homer drubbing the Peoria Javelinas handed Strasburg. He could be in for a rematch on Tuesday, depending on how the matchups turn out.
Strasburg’s first Spring Training start will come against the Tigers, turning an otherwise routine Tigers trip to Space Coast Stadium into a national event. Most likely, he’ll be facing a starting lineup comprised primarily of Tigers regulars, such as Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen, Scott Sizemore and Austin Jackson. Every pitch will be judged somehow towards his ability to pitch in the big leagues right now.
Wells came to a pretty positive judgment when he saw him last October, despite the damage he gave up.
“He was pretty poised out there on the mound,” Wells said. “That’s one thing I remember. After he gave up home runs, I want to see how he reacted, because our team hit him pretty well. We went out there like, ‘Let’s see what this guy’s all about,’ and our team hit him pretty well. He gave up I think back-to-back home runs, and I wanted to see how he reacted on the mound.
“He was still calm, like he never even gave up a home run, which is good. That shows a lot for his character, especially coming right out, starting your professional career and acting like that. That speaks highly of how you can handle yourself out there, just able to brush it off and his quotes that he made a couple of mistakes, which he did and we were able to capitalize. He’s a good pitcher, from what I saw. I’m sure he’ll be very successful in the big leagues very shortly.”
Wells wasn’t the only Tiger in that game. So was Scott Sizemore, but he wasn’t in there long. He was due up to face Strasburg in the opening inning, but he was injured on a double-play slide that broke his left ankle.
“I’m looking forward to facing him,” Sizemore said. “I can’t wait to see what everybody’s talking about.”
What began as a drizzly morning here in Lakeland ended up a sun-soaked and warm afternoon, probably the first real sunscreen type of day since spring training began. Very good day for the Tigers to have their first full-squad workout, and manager Jim Leyland’s mood reflected it.
After one full-squad workout — and probably more important, one day of batting practice — Leyland was raving about the prospects the Tigers have coming up in the system.
“I can tell, we’ve got a lot of talent in this camp, down low [in the system] and up high. I mean, it was an eye-opener out there today.”
- “There’s a lot of prospects, probably the most prospects I’ve ever had in a camp.”
- “I can assure you that these guys will be in Detroit someday, a lot of them. I don’t know where I’ll be [at that time], but they will be.”
- “There’s guys hitting balls over trees, way over trees. … When you have veterans doing double-takes to watch a kid hit, that’s usually a pretty good measuring stick.”
Leyland didn’t want to mention prospects by name when he was talking about this, but one can surmise that he was talking about, Ryan Strieby, Brennan Boesch and Casper Wells, among others. Wells reported to camp in noticeably strong shape after spending most of the winter working out with Strieby in Arizona at the API training facility. He almost looks like he’s got a linebacker’s build playing outfield.
What does this mean for Detroit? For now, probably nothing. Unless Wells makes a run and takes the CF job from Austin Jackson in camp, most of the hitting talent will be opening in Toledo, which has the chance for a really nice offense if you add in a healthy Jeff Larish and maybe Alex Avila. But keep it in mind as the summer unwinds and the Tigers get closer to next offseason, when Dombrowski suggested the Tigers will make more “adjustments.”
Anyway, on to some notes …
- Speaking of youngsters, Scott Sizemore did everything that every other infielder did on the first formal workout for position players. He’s still coming along with the ankle, but it isn’t limiting what he can do. No definitive word yet over whether he’ll be able to start at second when games begin in a week, but it’s looking upbeat. “He needs to get at-bats,” Leyland said. “He needs to play second base this spring a lot.”
- The Tigers designated Casey Fien for assignment to make room for Johnny Damon on the 40-man roster, but Fien isn’t leaving camp just yet. He’s just going across the street. Though he’s technically in limbo until he’s either claimed on waivers, traded or outrighted, he can work out at the Tigers’ minor league facility across the street. The team has invited and encouraged him to do so.
- In addition to talking with Carlos Guillen about his role, Leyland said he talked with Johnny Damon about his situation and whether he feels more comfortable batting leadoff or hitting second. Damon said he’s fine either way, but that they involve two different approaches. He doesn’t hit for as high of an average or reach base to the same percentage hitting second compared to leadoff, but he can do some other things in his game.
- Leyland didn’t really want to talk about Ryan Raburn’s situation this morning after just discussing Guillen, but he said in the afternoon that Raburn will work out in the infield as well as the outfield now that full-squad workouts are underway. That’s a change from the offseason, when Leyland said he wanted Raburn to focus on being an outfielder. Raburn and Don Kelly are probably going to see work at basically every position but shortstop, catcher and pitcher this spring.
- Strieby, by the way, is going to see time at both 1B and OF this spring. He’ll most likely be an outfielder in Toledo as he tries to make the transition away from Miguel Cabrera’s position and into a spot where he could actually see some playing time in Detroit.
It’s a familiar refrain over the last couple years since the Miguel Cabrera trade, but given the coming need for prospects, it’s worth a mention. Baseball America’s John Manuel wrote a piece for SI.com ranking the best and worst farm systems, and while he didn’t assign a specific number to the Tigers, he ranked them in the 16-25 range. It wasn’t among the five worst — that belongs to the Astros, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks and Nationals — but it wasn’t in the top half, either.
“Top arms are green, and organization overall lacks athleticism.”
Ouch, moreso about the latter than the former. Given the Tigers’ well-known struggles developing position prospects, however, it isn’t necessarily a surprise, Wilkin Ramirez and Casper Wells aside.
Look for more tomorrow on tigers.com on how the Tigers farm system factors into their dealings.