Since then, one former Tiger has had an absolutely gangbusters camp and will head north for Opening Day with his new team. Another has not had a good spring, but still slated to start in his new environs. While another will start the season on the disabled list, but is expected (or is it just wishful thinking?) to contribute by playing a new position before summer begins.
The others? They've confirmed why the Tigers allowed them to move on to what they hoped were greener pastures.
Ryan Raburn: The former favorite whipping boy of BYB has slugged his way into hearts of Tribe fans and a bench job with the Cleveland Indians. Invited to spring training as a minor league free agent, Raburn has swung the bat like it's September 2009 (.359/.479/.795), forcing the Indians to take him north as platoon left fielder. You know, I hear the Tigers are looking to trade for a versatile, right-hand hitting, platoon...nah, never gonna happen.
Gerald Laird: G-Money was one of the few players the Tigers let walk in free agency who had an honest to God major league market for his services. Needing a stand-in for injured starting catcher Brian McCann , the Braves inked Laird to a two year deal. Unfortunately, Laird has had a pair of problems this spring - he's been slowed by an injured calf and has hit like Brandon Inge (.100/.217/.150). Regardless of his struggles, Laird is on track to start for the Braves while McCann continues to recover from off season surgery.
Delmon Young: The Tigers' Mr. October has had quite the off season after being given his walking papers, then signing with the Philadelphia Phillies for one year at $750K. Young managed to collect an additional $600K by meeting weight incentives in his contract. He also completed 10 days of community service for the hate crime incident in New York City. But rehabbing from November ankle surgery means Young will start the 2013 season on the DL. Young's first appearance as a right fielder since 2007 will be delayed until May. We can be assured outfield hijinks will ensue.
Brennan Boesch: The latest Tiger to join the reject pile, the young right fielder was released by the team on March 13th. Boesch quickly signed a one year, $1.5M major league contract with a battered by age and injuries New York Yankees. He didn't make a good impression with manager Joe Girardi, hiding a rib injury on a long bus trip, forcing Boesch to miss a few games. Boesch is still thought to be in the mix for for an outfield job in New York, but if he doesn't start hitting (.167/.154/.167 in four games), hiding a rib injury will be the least of his problems with the jackals in the New York media.
Brandon Inge: The much loved or much hated (depending upon who you ask) former 3rd baseman is in camp with the Pittsburgh Pirates, currently residing on the roster bubble as a Don Kelly style utility man (Inge is even playing 1st base). The perennial FSD Player of the Game has the same type of deal Kelly signed with the Tigers; he can opt out of his minor league contract if he doesn't make the 25 man roster. If he elects to remain with the Pirates and report to the minor leagues, he'll receive a bonus of $100K. Inge is not helping his case by hitting an Inge-esque .162/.205/.162 in 37 spring at bats. His fate will be determined one way or the other on Tuesday morning.
INGE UPDATE: The Pirates announced late Tuesday morning Inge made the 25 man roster, much to the consternation of Bucs Dugout. The first comment: "do not like Inge…it isn’t 2006 anymore"
Daniel Schlereth: The mercurial lefty reliever and son of an ESPN talking head failed to impress the Baltimore Orioles. Signed as a minor league free agent, a 12.00 ERA and 2.17 WHIP in six spring games led to Schlereth's assignment to Orioles minor league camp. A year ago Schlereth was the Tigers' great lefty hope. Today he's just another guy in Triple-A Norfolk's bullpen.
Jose Valverde: Super annoying super agent Scott Boras is busy talking up Papa Grande to the national media, desperately trying to find a bullpen gig for the still unsigned free agent. The usual suspects report the Big Potato is that much closer to becoming a Small Tuber, having lost 19 pounds but (reportedly) still throwing in the mid-90's. In fact, Boras claims his root vegetable shaped client should find a job soon! I'm sure there's a bullpen somewhere which needs a twice nicknamed dancing reliever with a no longer dancing fastball who is repped by the most despised agent in sports.