Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tigers Roster Moves Put Team In Risky Position

Following Tuesday night's game against the Oakland Athletics the Detroit Tigers made several roster moves, sending down Andy Wilk and Casper Wells to Toledo and recalling Charlie Furbush and Duane Below.

Below will be making his major league debut on Wednesday, in the place of Justin Verlander. He has a 9-4 record with a 3.13 ERA this season in Toledo. With the Tigers looking to find a fifth starter, if Below impresses enough people he could be that man.

Optioning Wilk to the MudHens for Below isn't the problem; Wilk needed to be able to pitch, he hadn't pitched in nine games with the Tigers and Detroit needed to explore more young pitching talent. The problem lies with the demotion of Casper Wells to AAA.

Charlie Furbush is a good pitcher, no one is knocking him, in fact the Tigers are a better team with him on the ball club. But with Wells being sent down, Detroit is now put in a position late in games that could cost them games.

Instead of sending down Ryan Raburn, who according to reports still has an option left on his contract, the Tigers cut short a rising outfielder. Detroit has plenty of infield help; with Carlos Guillen being handed the starting second base role and Ramon Santiago being more than able to handle the utility role.

Late in games several defensive changes frequently take place; Don Kelly comes into the game to play third base, Andy Dirks replaces Magglio Ordonez in right field and Wells replaces Brennan Boesch in left field. These replacements boost the Tigers defensive abilities and ultimately help the Tigers save runs and games.

Now that Wells has been sent to Toledo, Detroit finds itself in a position late in games that isn't the best. Finding themselves down an outfielder the Tigers will now have to place Kelly in left field late in games to replace Boesch, keeping Brandon Inge at third base. While Kelly isn't a terrible outfielder, he has proved this season that he is a good infielder and should be utilized as such.

With the trade for Wilson Betemit from the Kansas City Royals, the Tigers may have found a solution to this problem. Detroit traded two Class-A prospects for Betemit, neither of which were ranked in Baseball America's Top 30 Prospects for the Tigers at the beginning of the season.

Adding Betemit should buoy Detroit defensively, allowing them to jettison Bradon Inge from the team. In an interview with Bob Wojnowski, Dombrowski was asked, "Will Inge be on the roster?" 

Dombrowski replied, "I am not talking about the roster."

The Betemit trade is a set in the right direction, but unless Below stuns the A's tonight the Tigers next roster move should be to recall Wells from Toledo and keep him on the roster for good. He deserves it.

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