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When Carlos Guillen returns, who makes an exit?

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I don't know about you, but I think I'm feeling a bit fatigued from all the emotion of the the past few days and I'm ready to get back to a little baseball talk.

Carlos Guillen will not be coming off the disabled list Saturday, the Tigers report. He's not quite ready and will need a rehab assignment first, Steve Kornacki of MLive reports. But it's worth asking the question anyway: Who gets the boot when Guillen returns to his spot on the 25-man roster? And that question is different than another one: Who should be the one to give up a spot on the roster?

I ask those questions separately because I'm about 80 percent certain Brennan Boesch will be returning to Triple-A Toledo when Guillen returns. And the logic behind that is exactly the same as the logic in choosing Boesch to come up when Guillen was injured: they're both left-handed outfielders. So the Tigers roster would seem a bit redundant and possibly create a hole by making any other move.

Some might question whether sending Boesch back down is the best move. In 10 games, he's had 38 plate appearances and put together a .324 average / .342 on-base percentage / .622 slugging average line. Hes got two home runs, 10 RBI and a .412 wOBA per Fangraphs.com. In other words, the Tigers are scoring runs and Boesch's production is a big reason why.

Meanwhile a struggling Ryan Raburn has just a .217 average and not a lot of power. His last 10 at-bats have resulted in Raburn getting to a base just twice. He's got 17 strikeouts and four walks.

Don Kelly is actually worse. His line: .172 / .200 / .276. Youch. For whatever reason, he just hits like a AAAA-player. That is, his number in Triple-A always look good. And yet he can never duplicate the efforts in the major leagues.

The only thing is, both of those guys can play in the infield. I feel like that gives them a slight advantage over Boesch in keeping their jobs, from the Tigers' perspective.

However, Kelly is definitely the weakest link of the three. He's only played in the infield four games this year. As Brandon Inge shows his knees are feeling fine, there's less and less reason to keep Kelly around. Raburn still has utility in spelling Scott Sizemore at second base.

And Raburn has at least had a successful period at the plate and a better chance at doing it again. Kelly has no options remaining, but I really don't feel like the organization would be giving up too much if he ended up playing elsewhere.

But maybe they're not ready to make a final decision. And anyway, they don't have to yet.

What's your best guess right now?

Links:

  • Nice column by Lynn Henning. And it truly was a very classy thing by Tigers CEO/GM Dave Dombrowski and the front office. I'm a bit surprised that Dombrowski was out there of course. But one thing you can always say about him: he has always been a very upstanding individual. He proved it yet again.
  • ESPN wrote a bit about the Mud Hens.