With the regular season winding down and the playoffs set to commence, probably next Friday in Oakland, the Tigers have a few last minute decisions to make about which players will be on the post season roster. Here are the players who are automatically eligible due to their status with the team as of August 31, 2013.
PLAYOFF ELIGIBLE PLAYERS
C- Alex Avila, Brayan Pena
1B/ DH- Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez
DL- Luis Marte, Octavio Dotel
That list gives the Tigers a total of 28 automatically eligible players for 25 roster spots. A massive loophole is opened by the fact that the team had two players on the DL as of August 31st, Marte and Dotel, who can be replaced by any player who was in the organization as of that date. They don't even need to have been on the 40 man roster at the time. Peralta is eligible, but if the club decides not to take him, he can not be replaced by another player unless he is injured.
Dave Dombrowski made a shrewd move at the trade deadline to create some roster flexibility. Marte, who had been injured while pitching in Toledo, was called up to Detroit and placed on the major league disabled list. The club has had to pay him major league salary from that point, but it bought them a mulligan to be used for the playoff roster.
Now, here are some more players who are currently in the Tiger dugout, who could potentially be added in place of Dotel or Marte. If any of these are added to the post season roster, another player who is automatically eligible has to be removed, since the club can only carry 25. Another player will have to be removed to make room for Peralta, as well.
C- Bryan Holaday
OF- Nick Castellanos
SELECTING THE PLAYERS
The Tigers will go with either 11 pitchers and 14 position players, or 12 pitchers and 13 position players, as they have done for almost the entire season. They'll have a four man rotation when Rick Porcello is moved to the bullpen. You can talk all you like about Verlander or Fister going to the pen, but that just ain't gonna happen.
Once Porcello is in the pen, the club will have eight relief pitchers, unless they remove one and add another position player instead. This is exactly what they did on August 31st, when they optioned Jeremy Bonderman and Jose Alvarez to the minors, and recalled Hernan Perez and Phil Coke to Detroit. That move would seem to indicate that, not only did they favor Coke over Alvarez, but that they wanted Perez to be eligible without using up a mulligan.
There are differing opinions on what the mix of players on the roster will be. Tony Paul of the Detroit news believes that the Tigers will opt to go with eight relief pitchers- including Coke and Luke Putkonen. Obviously, the health status of Coke may impact which way the Tigers go with this.
By my count, #Tigers have two playoff roster decisions to make: Coke or Alvarez, and Kelly or Tuiasosopo. I suspect it'll be Coke and Kelly.— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) September 23, 2013
@Tigerdog_1 I think they'll take the extra pitcher. Already have four position player reserves.— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) September 23, 2013
Hernan Perez is a good bet to be carried as a 14th position player because of his speed and versatility in the infield.
It is expected Peralta, if his progression continues, will beat out Tuiasosopo, as well as Castellanos, for the right-handed platoon job in left field.