Results tagged ‘ Chance Ruffin ’
With Chance Ruffin now one year past his signing, he’s officially eligible to be traded, and he’s off to Seattle. He was the player to be named in the Doug Fister trade. The Mariners immediately called him up and designated Aaron Laffey for assignment to make room for him. He’ll join Casper Wells and Charlie Furbush in Seattle.
Ruffin is the second relief prospect to be moved in as many days, though technically he was dealt long before the Delmon Young trade Monday that sent Lester Oliveros to Minnesota yesterday. Ruffin is the bigger loss; at worst, he was seen as a quality middle relief candidate with a chance for setup work.
Five days after the Tigers called up Chance Ruffin for his first shot with the big club, they sent him back down.
Meanwhile, a month after manager Jim Leyland said four left-handed relievers was really too many for his bullpen, he’s back to four for now.
By optioning Ruffin back to Triple-A Toledo, the Tigers made room for left-hander Daniel Schlereth, who was called back up to Detroit. With the Mud Hens at home this week, Schlereth had just a short drive to get to Comerica Park in time for Friday’s game against the Angels.
It might well be a case for the Tigers bringing up a fresh arm for the bullpen for this weekend after burning through their relief corps Thursday and having Al Alburquerque’s elbow checked out Thursday. Or, it could be a matter of the Tigers needing a left-hander they can count on while David Purcey works out his command issues. The fact that the Angels don’t have a lot of dangerous left-handed hitters would strongly suggest the fresh-arm scenario.
By sacrificing Ruffin’s spot for Schlereth, the Tigers put themselves in an interesting situation with their bullpen. Until Alburquerque is available again, the only right-handers available in Detroit’s bullpen will be setup man Joaquin Benoit and closer Jose Valverde. Granted, Phil Coke has a track record of retiring lefties and righties alike, and Purcey’s numbers are actually stronger against right-handed batters, but the Angels bat six points higher against lefties for the season than they do overall.
Ruffin had an ill-fated major league debut, entering with the bases-loaded in a tie game Monday against the White Sox and ending up with two runs on three hits over 1 2/3 innings. But his two scoreless innings Thursday kept the Tigers close against the Angels until Purcey came in.
Schlereth, meanwhile, fared quite well in Toledo, allowing a run on six hits over 11 2/3 innings with five walks and 18 strikeouts.
The Tigers medical staff checked out Al Alburquerque this morning at Comerica Park, but no information was available as of game time. He was at the ballpark this morning, but disappeared into the training room area of the Tigers clubhouse. So at this point, we’re hoping for an update after the game.
Two interesting factors to consider:
- The immediate concern is how long, if at all, he’ll be out, and how long the Tigers can go without him before they have to consider calling up somebody. From a numbers and workload standpoint, the Tigers bullpen is fine. But take away Alburquerque even for a day or two, and as Wednesday showed, it leaves first-year pro Chance Ruffin as the only right-hander available before the eighth inning.
- If Alburquerque’s elbow has resurfaced as a concern, do the Tigers have to look into more relief help before Sunday’s non-waiver trade deadline? Even if it’s a short-term absence, the off and on issues make the elbow a longer-term concern. The Tigers popped up in rumors about Orioles reliever Koji Uehara the other day, and that was before this issue. Detroit wouldn’t necessarily need a setup man as insurance, but simply a middle reliever might end up being something to consider. That said, the Tigers have seen Phil Coke as an effective reliever against left- and right-handed hitters alike. The two options for right-handed help from the farm would be Ryan Perry and Lester Oliveros, but Detroit essentially said Ruffin was a better option than Oliveros when making Sunday’s move.
Jim Leyland admittedly didn’t know much about Chance Ruffin when the Tigers made the decision Sunday to give him a shot at the big leagues. He knew enough to have a chance.
“I think this boils down to one simple thing: It appears to me that our people in the organization felt that he was better for us at this point than [Lester] Oliveros was. Period,” Leyland said Monday afternoon. “That’s what it sounds like to me.”
He knew enough to give him a shot in the tightest of situations Monday night once left-handed starter Duane Below lost left-handed slugger Adam Dunn to a two-out walk. Carlos Quentin stepped to the plate. Ruffin was already warming up, preparing for a right-handed hitter.
It wasn’t the situation Leyland would’ve liked to use to debut Ruffin, but it was where he needed a right-handed reliever. And the way Al Alburquerque has been used for the past several weeks, it was too early to use him.
Yes, Leyland didn’t know much about Ruffin. But he also knew the White Sox didn’t know much about Ruffin.
“That’s an awfully tough spot for him,” Leyland said. “They hadn’t seen him. I was just hoping they could get that guy out, maybe get him out and then we’ll go from there.”
Welcome to the big leagues, Chance Ruffin.
“Major League debut in middle of a pennant race, bases loaded and [Carlos] Quentin’s up,” Alex Avila said with a smile. “Good luck.”
It was a rare, for sure. According to Elias Sports Bureau, no Major League pitcher had debuted with the bases loaded in a tie game since Brian Lawrence did it in the sixth inning against the Dodgers on April 15, 2001.
Lawrence allowed one run to score on a sacrifice fly, but that was it. Ruffin started off Quentin with back-to-back 94 mph fastballs before putting a slider where he probably didn’t want it. Quentin pulled it into the left-field corner for two runs.
“It’s a high-pressure situation,” Ruffin said. “It’s fun to be in. You just want to be that guy to come up with the big out. Just didn’t happen for me on that one.”
The Tigers continued their solid record of signing their top draft picks, but they had to go into the wee hours of Monday night to do it. They agreed to terms with their top three Draft picks — first-rounders Nick Castellanos and Chance Ruffin as well as second-rounder Drew Smyly.
Castellanos agreed to terms just a few minutes before the midnight ET deadline. It was close enough that Major League Baseball officials went into Tuesday morning to review the case and make sure he agreed on time. If it was ruled he hadn’t agreed by midnight, the Tigers would’ve lost his rights, and he would’ve had to decide to either go to school or to play independent ball. He had a scholarship offer to play at the University of Miami.
“It was stressful,” Castellanos said by phone early Tuesday morning. “It was exciting. It was exhausting, now that I think about it. … I had an idea it was going to come down to the last minute, but I didn’t know it would come down to the very last minute.”
Castellanos, a high school infielder from Archbishop McCarthy High School in south Florida selected with the 44th overall pick, agreed to a contract that includes a $3.45 million signing bonus. The Tigers are expected to put him into their farm system as a third baseman
Ruffin, a University of Texas reliever taken with the 48th overall pick, agreed to terms with the club on a contract that includes a $1.15 million signing bonus. His signing came down earlier in the evening.
“It was pretty tough, all the good memories and great teams,” Ruffin said. “It was tough to leave all that behind. But it was time for me to move on and pursue a professional career.”
Smyly, the University of Arkansas left-handed
The son of former Major League pitcher Bruce Ruffin, his negotiations took longer than some might’ve expected as he weighed whether to return to a talented Longhorns squad or start advancing towards the big leagues now.
His signing adds another talented relief arm to a Tigers farm system that already has quite a few. Ruffin has been projected by some as a pitcher who could progress quickly through the system, and has garnered comparisons to Major League closer Huston Street. He isn’t the prototypical power arm the Tigers usually go for, but he has a good arm and a solid track record with the Horns.
Smyly will receive a $1.1 million signing bonus, according to Baseball America. The University of Arkansas left-hander, who was eligible as a sophomore this year, helped his Draft stock with a breakout season for the Razorbacks. He could’ve gone back for his junior season and done the same thing in next year’s Draft, but opted to capitalize now.