Results tagged ‘ Ryan Raburn ’

Ryan Raburn tops four Tigers for AL Player of the Week

The Tigers had quite a few candidates for American League Player of the Week, from Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder to Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. In the end, though, they couldn’t top their old teammate, Ryan Raburn, whose back-to-back two-homer games and 11-for-12 stretch earned him his first weekly honor and the first for a Cleveland Indians player since Asdrubal Cabrera two years ago.

Raburn became just the fourth Major League player since 1939 to register 11 hits and four home runs over a three-game stretch, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Hall of Famers Duke Snider and Kirby Puckett were among the other three, along with Shawn Green, who was the most recent to do it in 2002.

Verlander and Scherzer both went 2-0 last week, recording 17 and 18 strikeouts over 14 and 15 1/3 innings, respectively. Cabrera and Fielder both had three home runs and 10 RBIs, with Cabrera batting .423 for the week. All of them were listed in the MLB press release as noteworthy performances along with Mike Trout.

Ryan Raburn signs minor-league deal with Cleveland

Ryan Raburn robs Michael Young of a home run. (AP)By now, you’ve probably heard this, but it became official on Monday: Ryan Raburn is going to try to stay in the American League Central, signing with the Indians on a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to Spring Training with the big league club. My MLB.com counterpart in Cleveland, Jordan Bastian, has the details in his story.

From the Tigers standpoint, it really doesn’t make an impact. Detroit parted ways with the decision to not tender him a contract at the end of November. The Tigers weren’t going to bring him back on a minor-league deal, even though they’re looking for a right-handed bat to provide a presence against left-handed pitchers. The opportunities pretty well ran out last summer.

It would be nonetheless interesting if Raburn makes the Tribe roster and gets to face his old team, even if it’s a reserve role like the Indians are seeking at second and third base. When you look at some of the other names in camp that Bastian mentions, it’s a very winnable competition for Raburn if he hits like he did last Spring Training (six home runs by St. Patrick’s Day). From the story:

Cleveland’s projected infield includes first baseman Mark Reynolds, second baseman Jason Kipnis, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall. Utility man Mike Aviles is in line to fill the primary backup job for second, short and third.

Gomes and McGuiness will also be in Spring Training vying for utility roles, along with Cord Phelps and Mike McDade. Like Raburn, infielders Nate Spears and Luis Hernandez will also be in camp as non-roster invitees.

Regardless of how you feel about Raburn’s tenure in Detroit (Remember when everybody dogged Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008 for calling Raburn a scrub?), it would be nice to see Raburn get another shot in the big leagues before it’s too late. He turns 32 in April, and while his shortcomings are obvious, there’s more talent there than he has shown. When he heats up at the plate, the confidence makes him a complete different players. When he’s struggling, well, that carries over too.

For what it’s worth, Cleveland has been a good place for him. In fact, he has more hits at Progressive Field (28) than at any Major League ballpark besides Comerica Park (174) and U.S. Cellular Field (46). Actually, when you look at his splits, he has been an amazingly efficient hitter on the road in the AL Central compared with everywhere else (including at home).

It’s official: Raburn released, Rondon’s contract purchased

The Tigers didn’t wait until next week’s non-tender deadline, knowing it would eventually come to this. They released Ryan Raburn on Tuesday, parting ways with the enigmatic right-handed hitter after more than a decade in the organization.

The release was one of a handful of moves to set up the 40-man roster ahead of next month’s Rule 5 Draft. Detroit also outrighted Tyler Stohr to Triple-A Toledo and purchased the contracts of prospects Bruce Rondon, Melvin Mercedes and Dixon Machado.

Of those, Rondon is the one with a real chance (likelihood) to spend time in the big leagues next year. As a talented, hard-throwing reliever playing at a level below his age, however, Mercedes had a chance to get snagged in the Rule 5 had Detroit not protected him.

Decision time on Raburn has arrived

The Tigers have spent the last few weeks without an answer for Ryan Raburn’s situation. When team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski was asked about Raburn during his season-ending press conference a few weeks ago, he said he hadn’t talked with Raburn yet. Nor was there an answer during Friday’s Torii Hunter press conference, though Dombrowski’s remarks about potentially adding a right-handed hitting outfielder as at least a platoon option alongside Andy Dirks seemed to hint Raburn was a player without a role.

Well, Raburn’s fate as a Tiger is about to be answered. It could come as soon as Tuesday, when the team has to set its 40-man roster. If not Tuesday, it could be answered Nov. 30, the deadline for teams to offer contracts to arbitration-eligible players. (Given Dombrowski’s track record, I’d expect the answer to come Tuesday. Remember, he released Marcus Thames a few years ago soon after the offseason began, rather than wait for the non-tender date.)

Raburn avoided arbitration the last couple years with a two-year, $3.4 million contract he signed after the 2010 season. That contract is now up, but Raburn has a year to go before free agency.

If the Tigers designate him for assignment Tuesday, Detroit can try to trade him, or it can wait to see if another team claims him on waivers. Neither seems likely. The Tigers have had a few weeks to try to work out a trade, and Raburn’s arbitration eligibility would carry over to any team that claimed him.

Technically, Raburn still has an option left, but it’s a moot point. The Tigers seemingly used it up when they sent him to Triple-A Toledo at the end of May, but since he was called up less than 20 days later, so it wasn’t. With more than five years of service time, however, Raburn has the right to decline a minor-league assignment.

Cross out those options, and the other choice is releasing him, parting ways with a versatile player who showed promise for years but has never put a full productive season together. It would be a tough choice for the Tigers to make. If Raburn doesn’t have a role, however, Detroit might not have another choice.

Dombrowski’s end-of-season remarks (with notes)

There are few things faster in baseball these days than a Bruce Rondon fastball. It has been clocked as high as 102 mph, including during the Futures Game in July at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium.

The only thing faster in the Tigers organization than Rondon’s fastball might be the track he’s on.

Dave Dombrowski’s end-of-season remarks are an annual tradition now, painting the roadmap for the Tigers offseason, both for what they might look to do and what their plans are with pending players. It also seems there’s usually a prospect or two that gets some lift out of it.

Three years ago, it was Scott Sizemore. Last year, Drew Smyly got a mention. Today might well go down as the day Dombrowski set the path for Rondon.

Everybody figured him to be a closer of the future with these guys. Tuesday was the day we found just how near that future might be.

“I would not discount Bruce Rondon in the competition for our closer role for next year,” Dombrowski said. “I’m not saying he’s going to be our closer, but I do not discount him in that role.

“He is a guy that throws — and people don’t sometimes believe this, but it is true — he averages 100 miles an hour and topped off at 103, and throws his breaking stuff for consistent strikes.”

Dombrowski confirmed what others had speculated, that Rondon was a serious consideration for a call-up leading into September this year, which would’ve made him eligible for the postseason roster. Had they known that Valverde was going to struggle the way they did, they would’ve done it, which would’ve put a whole different look on Detroit’s closer by committee.

“This guy is a special potential closer with the makeup of a closer,” Dombrowski continued, “and normally you’re not going to thrust that in a young guy’s hands and say automatically, ‘It’s your job.’ But it would not surprise me if he earned that job. With the number of good arms that are out there, there are not many arms like this, and he cherishes that type of role.”

Dombrowski wasn’t the only one touting Rondon. When Leyland was asked about the difference between going with a closer by committee in a postseason and doing that for a full season, he hesitated.

“I’ve handled those situations before, but who’s to say we won’t have a closer,” Leyland countered. “I think we will have a closer. I think it might be a surprise closer, but I think we might have one. And I’m not talking about Phil Coke, by the way. Not that I don’t like Phil Coke.”

Someone then mentioned Rondon.

“Rondon’s a good name. Here’s a kid, who knows? Believe me, I’m not putting my blessing on Rondon as a closer for next year, but I’m just mentioning that name as a possibility. When you’ve got an arm like that, that’s a possibility. Now, could he handle it mentally, could he handle it in a three-tier stadium with the bright lights? I don’t have a clue.”

It’s an interesting contrast. The last Tigers reliever who threw as hard as Bruce Rondon does was Joel Zumaya, who crashed the roster to become a force in a setup relief role in 2006. At no point did Zumaya ever earn the closer’s job, partly because of injuries but not entirely.

The last rookie to have any sort of closing job in Detroit was Franklyn German, who shared the job in 2003. However, a closer’s role on a 43-119 team isn’t exactly like a regular job. German shared the team lead in saves — with five.

If you count Fernando Rodney’s time down the stretch in 2005, the Tigers have had experienced closers in the role every year since 2006.

“You see [Aroldis] Chapman close and there’s been other young guys close for clubs,” Dombrowski said. “I know it hasn’t been our normal situation. People know how good an arm Zumaya had, this guy has every bit and it comes out easier with less effort in his delivery.”

Dombrowski is aware of their track record. He’s also well-aware he has a team that’s expected to win next year, a team that opened as a World Series favorite this week.

“I think you also have to be open-minded and flexible,” Dombrowski said. “It’s just like a couple years ago when in 2006, Verlander and Zumaya jumped up pretty good for us at that point. This guy [Rondon] is a talented guy. He’s a rare talent. You would not believe the number of clubs that called me about Bruce Rondon to trade him. If I had a choice of any young closer in baseball to give an opportunity to in any organization, it would be him. Now would be ready? I don’t know that. But he is that good.”

Here’s a roundup of the other remarks he had:

  • Dombrowski was on the fence on whether Dirks has a full-time starting role for next year: “Dirks is a good player. Is he an every-day player at this point? I don’t know. He might be. I know he’s a real good player. Can he combine with somebody? So I think we’ll just kind of look at that.”
  • Dombrowski poo-poohed the idea that they could non-tender Brennan Boesch. “We’ll tender him a contract,” Dombrowski said. “He’s not where we would like him to be at this point, because if we did he’d have been on our roster for the postseason, so that’s a pretty obvious summation. But I think it’s the case that he still has ability, he can still hit the ball out of the ballpark. We still see some untapped potential, and he has struggled some.”
  • When asked what went wrong in the World Series, Dombrowski cited the offense, and pointed to an article that said they went 1-for-17 when putting pitches in play that were over the middle of the plate (not sure which article, otherwise I’d provide a link). “They pitched well,” Dombrowski said, “but we also didn’t hit the pitches we could handle. Why didn’t they do that? Was the timing a little bit off? Maybe. Did they keep off timing with the layover, did they keep them off-balance with the stuff that they threw, changing speeds? I’m sure that, too. Did they start pressing a little bit, try to do too much? Maybe a combination of all that. But it’s almost hard to believe when you say they went 1-for-17 on balls down the middle of the plate.”
  • Quintin Berry will go into camp with a chance to compete for a spot on the roster. Coincidentally, Leyland said that with Victor Martinez back, they’ll have a use for a pinch-runner on their bench.
  • The Tigers will designate Don Kelly for assignment later on this week, Dombrowski said, to open a spot on the 40-man roster. From there, clubs will have a chance to claim him, just as they did when the Tigers designated him in August. If he isn’t claimed, however, the Tigers would like to bring him back on a minor-league contract to compete for a roster spot. “He knows how well thought of he is here,” Dombrowski said. “But I also know that other people are in a position where somebody may offer him a better opportunity. That’s what guys look for when they’re free agents.”
  • No comment on the status of Ryan Raburn, because Dombrowski hasn’t had a chance to talk with him yet. They still have him under team control for a year, so technically they don’t have to do anything if they want to keep him. If they want to use his roster spot for someone else, well, that’s another matter, and one they would probably want to talk with him about.
  • Dombrowski did not want to get into the possibility of contract talks with Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, both two years away from free agency. That’s a matter he still has to discuss with ownership. However, he said they’d like to have both for a long time.
  • Avisail Garcia, Dombrowski said, is a “tough call” on whether he makes the roster next year. “He has star potential,” Dombrowski said. “He’s a five-tool player. I’m not sure that he’s ready as a corner outfielder to give us the contributions that we need on an overall basis at this time, but I’m not sure that he’s not. He is going to play everyday in winter ball for Magglio’s team in Venezuela. I think he’s a guy that we’ll keep a real close eye on in how he develops over the wintertime.”
  • If the Tigers can’t re-sign Sanchez, Dombrowski didn’t sound particularly strong about getting another starter to fill his spot, saying it would have to be a substantial improvement over what they have.
  • Smyly would not be viewed as a full-time reliever.
  • Dombrowski is not concerned about Scherzer going into the offseason. “What happened,” Dombrowski said, “was [his shoulder] got tired like a lot of your muscles get tired, and it’s just more a mater of it needing some rest and then building it back up. So he got some rest and built it back up, but at that time period you don’t have a chance to go out there every five days and build it up. So the feeling is with Scherzer that he’ll be absolutely fine.”
  • A second lefty reliever isn’t a high priority for the Tigers to acquire this winter. Dombrowski believes they can fill the spot in-house, though he didn’t rule out adding an arm.

Raburn heading for rehab assignment with Toledo

For those who thought you might have seen the last of Ryan Raburn when he went on the disabled list August 1, it might be time to think again. The Tigers announced they are sending him out on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo, beginning Wednesday. He went on the DL with a sprained right thumb.

Jim Leyland said later Tuesday he sent word to Toledo to have Raburn playing primarily in left field, with a game at second and first base now and then.

By rule, Raburn can stay on rehab for as long as 20 days, but the Mud Hens season ends on Labor Day in less than two weeks. Two days before that, Major League rosters expand for September call-ups, giving the Tigers an option to activate him from the DL without having to send down anyone. At this point, as long as he’s healthy, it would be a surprise if he isn’t on the roster in September, either at the start of the month or after Labor Day.

Leyland hinted at the possibility when he continued talking about the plan on Raburn. On the positional work, he said, “That’s all irrelevant as far as I’m concerned. The fact of the matter is he has to swing the bat.”

Whether he would get any starts as an extra right-handed hitting outfielder is questionable. The way the Tigers roster looks right now, they have to start at least one left-handed hitter in the outfield unless they put Delmon Young in left and start an infielder at DH. That’s not going to happen, with Young pretty much entrenched at DH for the stretch run. Andy Dirks is 8-for-35 with two home runs against left-handers this year, but those numbers are better than what Raburn was doing off lefties (14-for-85, eight doubles, no homers, 17 strikeouts).

Raburn to bereavement list, Worth called up

The Tigers have placed second baseman Ryan Raburn on Major League Baseball’s bereavement list, the team announced on Tuesday.

No further details were given on the situation with Raburn and his family. By rule, he will miss the next three days before he’s eligible to rejoin the team, and can miss up to seven games while on the bereavement list. Thus, the earliest Raburn can return is Friday’s series opener at Minnesota.

To take Raburn’s place on the roster, the Tigers recalled infielder Danny Worth, who was optioned to Triple-A Toledo last Wednesday to make room for an extra reliever while Jose Valverde was sidelined over the weekend with a lower back strain. Under normal circumstances, the Tigers would’ve had to wait 10 days to recall Worth, who has played in 12 games during two different stints on the club. He’s 3-for-17 at the plate so far this season.

The Tigers weren’t in a position to leave Raburn on the active roster and go a position player short. Between Worth’s subtraction for an extra reliever and Austin Jackson’s abdominal strain that sidelined him last weekend, the Tigers have spent the last four games with just two position players available on their bench, one of them being backup catcher Gerald Laird.

Jackson remains listed as day-to-day, though there’s hope that the rest over Monday’s off-day might make the difference to get him back on the field for tonight’s series opener against the Indians at Progressive Field.

Tigers re-sign Ramon Santiago to two-year deal

Ramon Santiago tested the market for a long-term deal and a potential starting role, but in the end, he always had an interest in returning to Detroit. So did the Tigers, though not quite in the everyday role he might have wanted. There was enough in common for a deal, and that got done on Wednesday with a new two-year contract.

This doesn’t end the Tigers’ search for infield help. Both manager Jim Leyland and team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski conditioned their statements with the possbility of more moves to come. Right now, though, it looks like Santiago would get at least a timeshare at second base, as well as starts backing up Jhonny Peralta at shortstop.

“Santiago and Ryan Raburn will be playing second base as the club stands today,” Leyland said. “He will probably [also] get time at short.”

Dombrowski’s answer was much the same.

“We are set to open with Santiago and Raburn,” Dombrowski said. “However, we will see what happens.”

Click here to check out the full story on Santiago posted on the site.

Tuesday: Tigers at White Sox

Pick and choose your Tigers second baseman with good numbers off Gavin Floyd. Ryan Raburn (12-for-32), Ramon Santiago (4-for-15, 2 HRs) and Will Rhymes (3-for-4) all have them. But keep in mind two factors: Lefties are batting .276 off Floyd this season compared to .220 from righties, and Jim Leyland wants to start Ramon Santiago on Wednesday with Brad Penny on the mound. Add in the fact that Leyland was looking for a spot to get Rhymes a start, and today was the day. He’ll bat second, where he began the season.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Will Rhymes, 2B
  3. Delmon Young, LF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Victor Martinez, DH
  6. Alex Avila, C
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Wilson Betemit, 3B
  9. Andy Dirks, RF

P: Justin Verlander

WHITE SOX

  1. Juan Pierre, LF
  2. Alexei Ramirez, SS
  3. A.J. Pierzynski, DH
  4. Dayan Viciedo, 1B
  5. Alex Rios, CF
  6. Alejandro De Aza, RF
  7. Tyler Flowers, C
  8. Brent Morel, 3B
  9. Gordon Beckham, 2B

P: Gavin Floyd

Thursday: Tigers at Indians

Brennan Boesch said last night he was holding out hope the swelling in his right thumb would go down enough that he could play Thursday, but manager Jim Leyland sounded like he was in no mood to take that chance. No word yet from the MRI exam or anything else, but the lineup is out and Boesch isn’t in there. Ryan Raburn starts in left field, batting second.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Ryan Raburn, LF
  3. Magglio Ordonez, RF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Victor Martinez, DH
  6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  7. Carlos Guillen, 2B
  8. Alex Avila, C
  9. Wilson Betemit, 3B

P: Justin Verlander

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25,537 other followers