That's two punching bags down now, Tigers fans. First, Jason Grilli was sent to Colorado last week. Today, Jacque Jones was told his services would no longer be required by the Detroit Tigers. Jim Leyland promised changes (though initially made it sound as if no one would be losing his job), and this is certainly one I think Tiger Town will support wholeheartedly.
Jones was designated for assignment this afternoon (approximately an hour ago, to be exact), and outfielder Matt Joyce was called up from Triple-A Toledo to fill that spot on the major league roster. As per MLB rules, the Tigers have 10 days in which to trade or outright release Jones. It's hard to imagine any other teams will be interested in making a deal, given how Jones has played in the first month of the season. But he could certainly catch on with another team under new contract terms.
The Tigers kept hoping that Jones would regain his batting stroke, but obviously felt they couldn't wait any longer. Not with viable replacements available elsewhere on the major league roster, and down in the minors. It's not like the Tigers were expecting All-Star caliber production from Jones. Especially when they only had to give up a player (Omar Infante) who probably wasn't going to make the 2008 squad anyway. His acquisition was decidedly low-key compared to the deals for Edgar Renteria, Dontrelle Willis, and Miguel Cabrera.
Unfortunately, Jones provided below average production at the plate and mediocre defense in left field. Batting .165/.244/.253 with one home run and five RBIs just isn't good enough, and the Tigers couldn't afford to see if Jones was capable of turning himself around. Too much is at stake with the team below .500 and three games out of first place in the AL Central.
The Tigers' new outfielder has been batting .299/.367/.536 (.389 in his last 10 games) with five home runs and 21 RBI in Toledo. And he provides a left-handed bat, which seemed to be the only reason Jones was getting the benefit of the doubt from Leyland and Dave Dombrowski. Of course, I was hoping this would mean the return of Clete Thomas, but he hasn't been playing very well since going back to the Mud Hens, batting just .190 with two RBIs in 42 at-bats. And Joyce has been playing well enough to deserve a shot at the show.
So that's the first change in the Tigers lineup today. More on the rest in the next post.
Who becomes the punching bag now? (In the lineup, that is. Zach Miner seems like he's ready to take that role for Grilli in the bullpen.)