Tigers Prospects Dry Up After Arizona Fall League

Note: This article first appeared on ESPN.com’s SweetSpot blog today.

When the Tigers traded Scott Sizemore to the A’s over Memorial Day Weekend, it brought an abrupt and mildly startling end to his tenure as Detroit’s second baseman of the future. The Tigers, after all, anointed him as the heir apparent to Placido Polanco almost immediately after they lost Game 163 to the Twins in 2009.

Polanco was eligible for arbitration, which coincided with the Tigers’ momentary spending freeze, and soon he was back with the Phillies doing everything fans in Detroit had come accustomed to: steadiness in the field, reliability at the plate.

But back to Sizemore. The Tigers sent him to the Arizona Fall League – “a graduate school” for top prospects, according to the AFL Media Guide – in 2007 and again in ‘09 in what they undoubtedly expected to be a final tuneup before handing over the keys to second base to him for the foreseeable future.

Within days of the 2009 AFL season, Sizemore’s ankle was broken as he attempted to turn a double play and his fall league experience went kaput. It didn’t stop the Tigers from hoping that he could recover in time for spring training.

Fast forward to May 27 when he was dealt to Oakland for David Purcey (himself an AFL graduate) and the book was closed on Sizemore’s career in Detroit: 65 games, a .223 average, .605 OPS and a mere three home runs. Not legendary stuff and certainly nowhere close to Polanco’s track record.

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Tigers Today: October 2, 2010

Orioles.gifTigers’ Record:

80-80, 3rd Place; 13.5 GB

Today’s Game

Tigers @ Orioles | 7:05 p.m. ET – Oriole Park at Camden Yards | On the air: FSD/AM 1270 and 97.1 FM

Pitching Matchup

Armando Galarraga (4-8, 4.58 ERA) vs. Brian Matusz (9-12, 4.30 ERA)

Yesterday’s Results

Game 1: Orioles 10 – Tigers 6

Game 2: Orioles 2 – Tigers 1

Continue reading “Tigers Today: October 2, 2010”

Season Series Recap: Tigers vs. White Sox

WhiteSoxLogo.jpgThis is the first in a series of Season Recaps in which we’ll look at how the Tigers fared against division opponents in 2010.

Since the 2000 season, the Tigers are 40 games under .500 against the White Sox. That’s beyond ugly. That’s hideous.

Since Ozzie Guillen arrived in 2004, the Tigers are 19 games under .500. But somehow the Tigers, in this season of uneven play and disappointment, Tigers fans (or, at least this Tigers fan) can rejoice in their winning the season series against the White Sox in 2010, 11 wins and 8 losses.

Detroit eked out a 10-8 record against the Sox — up from 9-9 last season — and were able to play the role of spoiler in the series at Chicago Sept. 17-19, essentially knocking Ozzie’s band of jolly outlaws from playoff contention. Huzzah!

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Max is Back; Who’s Going?

ScherzerHead.jpgTwo weeks ago I wrote that the Tigers had few options for the struggling Max Scherzer.

Given their inconsistent rotation, I couldn’t see them sending him to the minors.

Then again, who knew he’d be as abysmally bad as he was in his final start on May 14: five IP, six hits, six earned runs, three homers against the Red Sox. After that performance the club had no choice but to send him to Triple-A.

Scherzer has been lights out in two Toledo starts: 15 innings, one run, four hits, 17 strikeouts and a 0.60 ERA. It certainly will be interesting to see how he fares on Sunday agains the A’s.

Now, the question without an answer at this point is, of course, who gets moved out to make room for Scherzer. There are a few candidates, none of them surprising:

  • Armando Galarraga — He’s been anything but stellar since being recalled and has a minor-league option.

  • Brad Thomas — He’ll likely stick around because he’s a wrong-hander but he’s survived this far, so who knows?

  • Ryan Perry — The kid’s had a miserable week but has been reliable for most of the year. Will his two bad outings this week convince the Tigers he needs a visit to the Glass City?

  • Don Kelly — Jim Leyland loves the guy so that works in Kelly’s favor. He has no remaining options which means he’d have to clear waivers, and that ain’t happening.

Under different circumstances, you could see them sending Alex Avila but there’s no viable option in the minors.

So, I’m guessing that it’s Perry … maybe. Or Galarraga. I’ll be stunned if it’s Kelly.

In less than a few hours we’ll know for sure.

Who do you think gets demoted?

Of Course: Guillen to the DL

BallTherapy.jpgThe cynical view, of course, is that we all knew Carlos Guillen would make at least one appearance on the disabled list this season.

But come on, who had him on the shelf in the third week of the season?

Certainly not Jim Leyland. But that’s the sitch as the Tigers’s number-five hitter lands on the shelf for the next 15 days.

The silver lining to this cloud is that the Tigers (and Tigers fans) get to see left-handed slugger Brennan Boesch, who was promoted this morning to take Guillen’s place on the roster. (He’ll wear number 26.)

The 25-year-old Boesch won the Double-A Eastern League home-run title last year and is batting .379 and leading the Triple-A International League in RBIs this season for Toledo.

What does it mean for the Tigers lineup as they head to Arlington for a four-game wrap-around series against the Rangers? For starters, it likely means we’ll see more of Ryan Raburn and Don Kelly.

In terms of the batting order, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez flipped (something that Fox Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi believes too).

The next 15 days will be interesting for sure. And on that 15th day (assuming Guillen returns on schedule) you have to wonder if it’s Boesch that gets sent back down or someone like Brad Thomas that’s shown the door.

Tigers Today: April 2, 2010

BehindHomePlate.jpg

Tigers’ Spring Training Record: 18-10-2

Today’s Game

Tigers @ Brewers | 8:10 p.m. ET – Miller Park, Milwaukee | On the air: WXYT 1270-AM

Pitching Matchup

Max Scherzer, 1-1, 7.15 vs. Doug Davis, 1-1, 5.40 ERA

Continue reading “Tigers Today: April 2, 2010”