Jim Leyland told the media Monday he would announce all but one spot of his 25-man roster today.
While we've talked about the battle for the fifth starter in the rotation -- and its implications -- and we've talked about the 13th position player, what we haven't done is discuss the backup catcher.
There's a reason for that.
While several good arguments can be made for Robinzon Diaz starting the season with the Tigers, I've never really felt like that was going to happen.
The best thing for Avila might be spending more time in Triple-A Toledo, starting four or five days a week and getting more in-game experience as a backstop. There doesn't seem to be any gaping holes in his game, but there's plenty of across-the-board improvement to be done. After all, he's only entering his third year of professional baseball after changing his position to catcher while at Alabama. So he's only logged 149 professional games at the position.
Actually, sometimes you forget his meteoric rise. He made his MLB debut during his first full professional season.
You know we give very little credence to spring training numbers around these parts. But Avila did hit .394 this spring with a .475 on-base percentage and .636 slugging average. Yeah, it probably means nothing. But it's substantially better than Diaz's .292 avg/slg, as could be expected.
Then we have the added bonus of having Avila bat left-handed, which complements starter Gerald Laird nicely and gives Leyland that pinch hit power threat off the bench (not that he always chooses to use it, with the desire to avoid using an emergency catcher.)
Add it all up and Avila makes the most sense and it isn't even close.
The final depth chart at Tigers.com?
I don't expect to go to the Tigers.com depth chart and find giant spoilers like some sort of Lost fansite.
But, well, you never know. In any case, posted for posterity's sake are the "winners" as of Monday night.
Bullpen: Brad Thomas and Eddie Bonine are included in the final seven, along with the usual suspects
Starting pitcher: Jeremy Bonderman is listed as No. 4 and Nate Robertson is listed as No .5. Alli points out this could simply be alphabetical order. But like i said, I don't take this stuff too seriously.
Backup catcher: Avila is listed No. 2.
13th position player: Who knows! Don Kelly is listed No. 2 at third base, and Clete Thomas is No. 2 at center field. We do know the ability to play CF is important to Leyland ...
In other news:
DesigNate Robertson: A Strange Visitor From the East
Rogo is back to blogging and he's already
ripping off Johnny Carsonback to his old style of humor that he's best at. Check it out.
- I don't know much about Passover. Fortunately, Samara does and shares her knowledge in a very Tiger-y way at Roar of the Tigers.
- MLive: Tigers outfielder Clete Thomas talks about roster spot, shoulder injury
- Baseball Prospectus looks at the AL Central rotations.
- Speaking of MLive, did you know Steve Kornacki is on Twitter too? He's @SKORNACKI.
- In case you don't follow BYB's list of Tigers Tweeters, the other media guys you need to follow are MLB.com's Jason Beck (@BeckJason), who is like the Godfather of Tigers media tweeters, the Detroit News' Tom Gage (@Tom_Gage), and Freep's John Lowe and company (@Tigerslive). And oh yes, @blessyouboys, obviously. (Or even me.)
- I ought to just do a complete post of Twitter info, hey?