Before today's game, the Detroit Tigers announced which players they'll be adding from the minors once major league rosters can expand tomorrow. However, the names not being added might draw as much attention as those joining the team.
First, who's up: Catcher Dusty Ryan, infielder Mike Hessman, and pitchers Freddy Dolsi, Clay Rapada, Chris Lambert will be added to Detroit's roster on Tuesday. Dontrelle Willis will be called up from Toledo tomorrow, though it's not certain whether he'll be pitching in any games for the Tigers. Another veteran pitcher coming up from the Mud Hens will be Freddy Garcia, but as of now, Detroit won't put him on the active roster. That could change, however.
And that's it. No Clete Thomas, no Brent Clevlen, no Michael Hollimon. And perhaps more interestingly, no Francis Beltran or Francisco Cruceta added to the bullpen. (Never mind a top prospect like Casey Fien.)
So what is to be made of this? Jim Leyland said last week that he doesn't like overloading the roster in September, believing that his team should remain competitive (stop snickering!), rather than hold a "tryout camp." But not calling up players who could presumably help the Tigers, not to mention provide a head start for off-season planning, is rather baffling.
In Clete's case, one reason he might not have gotten the call is because he was put on the disabled list yesterday with a strained elbow. But with Matt Joyce making a solid case to be next season's left fielder, along with Marcus Thames and Ryan Raburn needing playing time, maybe the Tigers just didn't think there was a spot for him (or Clevlen). The Cult of Clete, of course, refuses to abide by this development.
In terms of veteran experience, perhaps the Tigers are a better team with Aquilino Lopez and Gary Glover in their bullpen. But I sure don't see it. Why not give a live arm like Cruceta (60 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings with Toledo) another shot? Or see how Fien (59 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings) can handle major league hitters for the first time? (The organization could be worried about his innings.) Maybe the Tigers feel Dolsi and Rapada will take up whatever innings are available for the minor league call-ups. I hate playing devil's advocate.
On the bright side, seeing Ryan get a chance to play in the majors should be exciting, as he could very well be Brandon Inge's back-up at catcher next season. Between Erie and Toledo this year, Ryan is batting .260/.350/.496 with 17 home runs and 62 RBIs. The soon-to-be 24-year-old also has good size at 6'4", 220 lbs.
To make room for Ryan and Hessman on the 40-man roster, Jeremy Bonderman and Vance Wilson were moved to the 60-day disabled list.