After acquiring Kyle Farnsworth, I figured the next move for the Detroit Tigers would be to release Todd Jones. Maybe Jonesy had a role in set-up or mop-up duty, following his demotion from the closer's role, but with Farnsworth around to take on key late innings, there didn't appear to be a place for him.
A guy who pitches to contact and doesn't strike anyone out is an awful option in situations with runners on base. And Jones essentially confirmed last night how unsuitable he is in such scenarios, when he served up a two-run homer to Kelly Shoppach as the Tigers were trying to mount a comeback. After that, Jones' release seemed all but inevitable. If he can't help, what good is he on the roster?
As it turns out, Jones' health may be making such a decision easier for the Tigers. In his post-game interview, Jim Leyland mentioned that Jones was dealing with tendinitis in his pitching shoulder and would likely go on the disabled list so more immediate pitching help can be brought in.
Jones's shoulder pain didn't just pop up, either. According to him, he's been dealing with discomfort for the past six weeks, which goes to explain why he was struggling so badly. But it's also an infuriating revelation. Give Jones credit for "toughing it out" if you want to (though I can't imagine he has many defenders at this point), but by keeping this to himself, he ended up hurting the team. Did he learn nothing from Kenny Rogers and Jeremy Bonderman trying in vain to be heroes last year?
Even worse, Jones now admits that he couldn't get his shoulder loose last night while warming up, and couldn't fully extend his arm when throwing. No wonder he served up a meatball to Shoppach. And even if this is the last year he pitches, who knows what sort of long-term damage he could've caused his shoulder by trying to "pitch through it."
So Jones will get a MRI exam on his shoulder today or tomorrow, and the Tigers will make a roster move to fill his spot. Such a transaction will be even more necessary if Farnsworth can't join the Tigers until tomorrow, which is expected. (And there's another infuriating development. Who knew it took that long to get from New York to Cleveland? It's not like Farnsworth was pitching in Thailand yesterday.)
Now if they can just figure out what the deal is with Nate Robertson...