Tigers' 40-man roster: Detroit protect 7 players

USA TODAY Sports

Ahead of the Rule 5 draft, the Tigers protected several minor-league players by adding them to the roster.

The Detroit Tigers announced seven minor-league players were added to the 40-man roster, protecting them from being lost to the Rule 5 draft in December. Those players:  LHP Kyle Lobstein, RHP Justin Miller, RHP Jose Valdez, first baseman Jordan Lennerton, shortstop Eugenio Suarez, center fielder Daniel Fields and right fielder Steven Moya.

Tigers Prospect Report:: Minor league profiles

Lobstein, Miller and Lennerton spend 2013 with the Triple-A Mud Hens, Suarez and Fields the Double-A SeaWolves, Valdez and Moya the High-A Flying Tigers.

In previewing possible additions earlier this week, Jordan Gorosh wrote that Suarez, Lobstein and Fields were virtual locks to be added to the roster and that Moya and Valdez were likely to be added a well.

This leaves, among others, pitchers Matt Hoffman and Kenny Faulk both eligible to be taken in the draft, which will be held at the end of the Winter Meetings, Dec. 12. Both are left-handed relief pitchers, with Faulk being tabbed as having MLB LOOGY potential by Gorosh. (Read more about them here.) Another of Gorosh's favorite "projects," right-handed starter Endrys Briceno of the Single-A Whitecaps, will also be exposed to the draft.

That the Tigers chose to protect Jordan Lennerton is at least partially interesting. They did not add him to the roster last year when he was eligible but chose to this year, and the Mud Hens' minor-league Gold Glove first baseman appears to have no clear path to the Tigers. He hit .278/.382/.430 with 43 extra-base hits and represented the Tigers in the Futures Game during the All-Star break. However, at 27 years old, he is hardly a prospect at this point. It's possible the Tigers see him as insurance or feel that a team may trade ... well, something ... for him, which would be better than losing him in the Rule 5 draft.

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