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Is it time for Ryan Raburn to exit stage left?


Friday is going to be an interesting day for the Detroit Tigers. That is the day Austin Jackson will likely return to the lineup, and will of course necessitate another roster move. The plan was for QuintinBerryto come up and fill in and then return to the minors, but he has played well enough to warrant a position on the big team. Not to mention he brings speed to a lineup that has none, and a outfield with him, Jackson, and whoever else looks a lot better than the daily lineup the Tigers were trotting out there before he was called up.

There are a few candidates for demotion, and/or outright release. Danny Worth, Don Kelly and Ryan Raburn top that list. Before we get to on the field performance we have to understand some quirks in the roster rules of Major League Baseball. Raburn is just about to reach his fifth year of major league service which would render sending him down to the minor after June 8th (as reported) problematic. He has an option left and the Tigers should strongly consider demoting him to Toledo to find his groove leaving him eligible to return later in the season when he usually heats up anyways.

Turning our attention to on the field performance and we see that Raburn is hitting last amongALbatters with at least 125 plate appearances. He is batting just .146 with a on base % of .209. It seems logical to use the remaining minor league option Raburn has to get him somewhere where he can rebuild his confidence at the plate. Manager Jim Leyland has done about all that he can to build said confidence at the major league level, and before this season truly gets out of control this move needs to be made.

While it is true Kelly or Worth could just as easily be sent down, and really for many of the same reasons. Worth is used as a pinch runner and late inning defensive replacement mostly and it seems ifBerrywere not to start that he would be better suited to that role. Of course we could argue that this makes Worth completely expendable but he dose not have the production to be thought of as great trade bait.

While Kelly has value for his ability to play multiple positions he is hitting just .164 and does not have a single extra base hit. That is the real crux of the issue here the Tigers came north from Florida without a viable option at second base. We could say much the same thing about last season and it seems General Manager Dave Dombrowski has failed to address this need ever since he let Placido Polanco leave town with so much as a contract offer (and yes DJC reserves the right to keep bringing that up until a suitable second baseman is on this roster).

No matter who winds up going down (and the DJC staff firmly believe the right decision here is to demote Raburn) more moves need to be made. The sooner the better. This is a team floundering on the edge of a huge disaster. More than a few of us reading this remember 2008 or the entire 1990’s. We simply expect more out of this team now, and so far they have failed to deliver.

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