Results tagged ‘ Omir Santos ’
The list of non-roster invites to spring training is out, both for minor-league free agents and for Tigers prospects. Most of the names have already been announced, or at least strongly hinted it. Some haven’t. That includes third-base prospect Nick Castellanos.
Castellanos was an extra player at a few games last spring, but he’ll be in camp every day this time around, at least for the first few weeks. So will last year’s
first-round top pick, James McCann, who will serve as one of the extra catchers to catch some of the many pitchers in camp. Drew Smyly, reigning Tigers minor-league pitcher of the year, was also announced as a non-roster invite.
Here’s the full list, which actually isn’t a very long list compared with past years:
- RHP: Chris Bootcheck
- LHPs: Darin Downs, Drew Smyly
- Catchers: Rob Brantly, Curt Casali, Bryan Holaday, Patrick Leyland, James McCann, Omir Santos
- Infielders: Nick Castellanos, Audy Ciriaco, Argenis Diaz, Ryan Strieby
- Infielders/outfielders: Justin Henry, Eric Patterson
- Outfielders: Quintin Berry, Jerad Head, Matt Young
The Tigers also made their reporting dates official. Pitchers and catchers report to camp on February 19, with the first workout the next day. Most pitchers, however, will be in camp before that. The first full-squad workout is February 24.
The Tigers cleared space on their 40-man roster and added to their free-agent list on Monday by outrighting the contracts of catcher Omir Santos and reliever Brad Thomas to Triple-A Toledo.
The procedural move essentially makes Toledo a stopover for them. They’ll become minor-league free agents later in the week, free to talk with any Major League team. While the Tigers could re-sign either of them, notably Santos, they’ll likely search for better opportunities elsewhere.
Santos essentially served his purpose as an insurance catcher, spending nearly the entire season at Toledo until he became Alex Avila’s backup down the stretch with Victor Martinez limited by a sprained knee. Santos appeared in 11 games as a Tiger, including single-game appearances in April and August, going 5-for-22 at the plate while throwing out one out of six would-be basestealers. He hit .245 with two homers and 16 RBIs in 49 games for the Mud Hens.
The Tigers are still expected to pursue a catcher to back up Avila and limit the wear and tear on Martinez’s knees to his duties as Detroit’s designated hitter. Though Santos could be that guy, Detroit might also look to somebody more established.
While Santos was a minor-league signing last winter, Thomas was a holdover from 2010, when the native Aussie came back to the big leagues to become the second lefty in Detroit’s bullpen as well as a two-time spot starter. He had none of that success this year, due mainly to injuries in his forearm and elbow that left him on the disabled list all summer.
Thomas, who turned 34 earlier this month, gave up 11 earned runs on 17 hits over 11 innings before forearm pain warming up in the bullpen in mid-May led to a DL stint. He spent close to a month on a rehab assignment in Toledo, giving up four runs on 10 hits over 10 1/3 innings with the Hens, when the Tigers tried to activate him and designate him for assignment.
Thomas complained of elbow trouble and requested a second opinion. Once the diagnosis came back, the roster move was rescinded, and Thomas spent the rest of the year on the disabled list.
Thomas would have been eligible for arbitration had the Tigers held onto him. Instead, he’ll likely look for another Minor League deal in the U.S. or head back to the Far East for another stint in Japan or Korea, where he spent time near the end of the last decade before the Tigers signed him after the 2009 season.
Jim Leyland isn’t close to determining his postseason roster or rotation, he said Tuesday. But he laid a few hints towards the formation of it.
- Jacob Turner will start Thursday’s series opener against Baltimore. Doug Fister will be pushed up tomorrow night to piggyback Max Scherzer’s start here in Kansas City. Leyland didn’t explain it, but he didn’t have to: Five days from Wednesday is next Monday, and five days from that is Saturday, the date for Game 2 of the AL Division Series. By moving up Fister, Leyland gives himself the option of starting Fister in Game 2 on regular rest.
- Leyland said he’s “95 percent sure we will have an extra player, because we will have 11 pitchers.” The Tigers need just four starters for the postseason, not five. That spot that would normally go to a starter can go to either a reliever or a position player. Leyland all but confirmed it’s a position player.
- Leyland said he doesn’t think Victor Martinez will catch a game again this regular season. Combine this bullet point with the one above, and Omir Santos’ chances of making the postseason roster as a backup catcher look better than they did last week.
- No idea yet whether Carlos Guillen will be ready for the postseason. Guillen said today he’s feeling a little better, but it’s still very sore, and he still can’t so much as hit. He’s believed to be another candidate for that final spot, but Leyland confirmed that if Guillen can’t play in a regular season game the rest of the way, he won’t be on the Division Series roster.
- Al Alburquerque is slated to pitch in relief tonight. If that goes all right, he should be good to go for the playoffs.
- Leyland confirmed what he had already strongly suggested: Justin Verlander will be set up to pitch Game 1 and Game 5 in the Division Series.
The last the Tigers called up Omir Santos, he flew from Detroit to Tampa, started against the Rays, and was back the next day. This time, he’ll get to stick around a while after making the trip east on the Ohio Turnpike from Toledo. He’ll serve as the backup catcher to Alex Avila the rest of the way out.
No word yet if there’s another call-up coming. Since Danny Worth was up a week ago while Don Kelly was on paternity leave, he isn’t eligible to be recalled until the Mud Hens season ends later today.
What Dane Sardinha was to the Tigers in 2008 and 2009, and what Robinzon Diaz was meant to be last year, Omir Santos is expected to be next season. The Tigers signed the 29-year-old catcher to a minor-league contract to serve as insurance for Alex Avila and Victor Martinez.
Santos is best known for a good stint of playing time behind the plate for the Mets in 2009. He batted .260 in 96 games that season with 14 doubles, seven home runs and 40 RBIs. He played just 27 games this past season between Triple-A Buffalo and Double-A Binghamton, batting a combined .160 with a home run and 10 RBIs in 94 at-bats.
Again, it’s insurance. Avila and Martinez were the only catchers on Detroit’s roster, unless you count emergency backstops Ryan Raburn and Brandon Inge. Once rosters expanded in September, the Tigers’ third catcher was Max St. Pierre, who earned his first Major League stint after 14 minor league seasons. They’re starting to develop some more young catchers in the system, and team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski says it’s probably the best catching development they’ve had since he took over, but that young talent is currently in the lower levels.