Detroit Tigers Face Roster Decisions After All-Star Break


Once the All-Star festivities subside, the Tigers front office will find itself in need of making a series of roster decisions in order to get the team set up for the second half.

The first order of business will likely be the activation of Carlos Guillen. Guillen, who had microfracture surgery on his knee, has been on minor league rehab assignment since June 27. Saturday will mark the 20th day of the assignment (that’s the maximum allowable time), so, barring a setback, Guillen will be back with the Tigers by Sunday.

Of course, that means a corresponding move will have to be made to make room for Guillen on the roster. In all likelihood, infielder Danny Worth will be optioned back to Toledo, but that’s only a short-term solution. The Tigers sent Charlie Furbush down to Toledo after his last start because they won’t need a fifth starter until at least next Wednesday. Worth was brought up to take his place on the roster, so they’re one position player up.

Depending on how they set up the pitching rotation, they will need a fifth starter sometime between July 20 and July 23. A strict five man rotation would mean that another starter would need to pitch on July 20. Using Monday’s off-day as a day of rest for their first three starters would mean that they wouldn’t need a fifth guy until July 23. My hope is that they give Justin Verlander the ball every fifth day and that they won’t use the fifth starter until at least July 21, but who knows exactly how it will play out?

At any rate, the Tigers will need to move a position player off the roster to make room for a starting pitcher some time next week. I think there are four possible scenarios as to how this move will play out.

Brandon Inge gets designated for assignment. I don’t think this scenario is very likely at all, but it is a move that they could possibly make. Inge has been awful with the bat, and not as good with the glove as we’re used to seeing, but removing him from the team means that some combination of Don Kelly, Ryan Raburn, and Carlos Guillen would man the hot corner. That doesn’t necessarily make me feel very good either.

Ryan Raburn gets optioned to AAA Toledo. As I said in the paragraph above, the Tigers could look to get Raburn some playing time at third base in the hope that his bat heats up again in the second half, but if they decide that that isn’t an option then Raburn doesn’t bring much value to the team. Casper Wells and Andy Dirks have both hit better than Raburn thus far, and they both play as good, or better, defense in the outfield. Raburn hasn’t hit well enough to warrant being kept on as a pinch hitter, and he’s no better than the third best defensive option in at any of the infield or outfield positions. He does have a history of hot second-half hitting (and he has been hitting a little better lately), but it may not be a bad idea to let him work out the rest of the kinks in the minor leagues.

Andy Dirks or Casper Wells gets optioned to AAA Toledo. The organization may feel that Raburn’s track record of second-half hitting, and his ability to play either infield or outfield is worth keeping around. If this is the case, then either Dirks or Wells may get shifted back to the minor leagues. Casper has bested Dirks (albeit by relatively small amounts) in both the slugging and on-base departments this year, but I view them mostly as left handed and right handed hitting versions of each other. If one of these players is to be sent down, then it may come down to whether the team wants a lefty or a righty the bench.

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