The Detroit Tigers have four days to finalize their 25-man roster. On Thursday, the team will be boarding a plane out of Lakeland (on its way to Atlanta for two final exhibitions before the season begins next Monday, April 6), and the guys on the flight will presumably be the players taken into the season. Before getting on that plane, however, there's some outfield surplus that needs to be shed. And reportedly, the Tigers have been trying to jettison that cargo.
In Sunday's Freep, Jon Paul Morosi wrote that the Tigers almost had a deal with the New York Mets for pitcher Brian Stokes. And one of the players Detroit was to include in the swap was Ryan Raburn. (No word on who else would've been included.) The Mets decided, however, that Stokes is going to make their team, and thus wasn't expendable enough to trade.
The right-handed Stokes pitched in 24 games (each in relief) for the Mets toward the end of last season, posting 26 strikeouts in 33.3 innings, along with a 1-0 record and 3.51 ERA. But I guess none of that matters here, since he's staying with the Mets.
The other outfielder that the Tigers have tried to ship out is Marcus Thames. And if they aren't able to trade him, might they outright release him in order to save some money? Here are the details from Morosi in a separate article:
The Tigers have a decision to make about Thames by 2 p.m. Wednesday. If he's still on the team then, his one-year, $2.275-million contract will be guaranteed. (He would receive roughly $560,000 if he's cut by then.)
Saving that $1,715,000 might not be insignificant, when it comes to making money available for other possible deals down the line. Or, if you're among those who believe the Tigers are a month's worth of sparse crowds away from economic collapse, maybe they just need to hoard any savings they can generate.
So it probably wasn't a coincidence that Thames started at designated hitter against the Braves today, instead of playing in a minor league game as originally scheduled. He'll be the starting DH tomorrow against the Nats, too. Dave Dombrowski needs Thames to show other teams what he's got. At this point, the clock is ticking loudly.