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Detroit Tigers News: Ronny Rodriguez called up to majors

Rodriguez will replace Grayson Greiner on the 25-man roster.

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MLB: Spring Training-Detroit Tigers at Atlanta Braves Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Following Wednesday’s win over the Los Angeles Angels, the Detroit Tigers announced that they have purchased the contract of infielder Ronny Rodriguez from Triple-A Toledo. To make room for Rodriguez on the 25-man roster, the Tigers optioned catcher Grayson Greiner prior to Thursday’s series finale against the Angels. Rodriguez hit for the cycle in the minors on Wednesday, and is batting .318/.341/.540 with eight home runs and 25 extra-base hits in 48 games this year.

However, the impetus for Rodriguez’s call-up wasn’t just his performance. Rodriguez had an opt-out clause in his contract that would allow him to become a free agent if he was not on the 25-man roster by a certain date (likely June 1). These clauses are commonly given to minor league free agents; the Tigers have frequently tried to maneuver around them in the past, and Rodriguez appears to be no exception.

How much playing time Rodriguez gets remains to be seen. He should be able to fill in around the infield, especially at first base with John Hicks moving into a backup catcher role now that Greiner is back in the minors. Miguel Cabrera is “days away” from returning from the disabled list, but likely will not be activated until the weekend. Pete Kozma seems like the likely casualty for when Cabrera needs a 25-man roster spot, but the Tigers are now free to option Rodriguez now that he is on the 40-man roster (they would have to expose Kozma to waivers).

So long (for now), Gerson

Rodriguez now has that spot on the 40-man roster because the Tigers released pitching prospect Gerson Moreno earlier on Wednesday. We were puzzled by the move at first, because no reason for his release was given. However, we later learned that Moreno will undergo Tommy John surgery, and will likely miss the requisite 12-14 months to rehab from the operation.

So, why release Moreno? Here’s our best guess.

  • If the Tigers try to put Moreno on the 60-day disabled list, he would have to be called up to the majors first, and thus accumulate MLB service time. He would also need to remain on the 40-man roster during the offseason before being moved back to the 60-day DL next year.
  • If the Tigers tried to designate Moreno for assignment, he would have been exposed to waivers. Any team that claimed him would also have to keep him on their 40-man roster, but there are plenty of teams that would try to push him through waivers to stash him in their system.
  • Moreno would also be exposed to waivers by being released, but according to our friends at Lone Star Ball, players put on release waivers can refuse a waiver claim and opt for free agency. This would leave Moreno free to sign with any team, and the Tigers may have a handshake deal of sorts with him.

Told ya

What’s your unpopular baseball opinion?

Here’s mine: I’m fine with the pitch clock.

A few words on the Phil Hughes trade

The Minnesota Twins traded Phil Hughes and some cash to the San Diego Padres for a low-level prospect last week. This alone wasn’t noteworthy, but the rest of the trade was; the Padres also received the No. 74 overall pick in the upcoming, a competitive balance pick the Twins were free to trade.

It’s possible the Tigers inquired about pulling off a similar deal, but unfortunate that they weren’t able to do so. San Diego essentially bought a draft pick, and might be able to squeeze a few useful innings out of Hughes in the process.

Around the horn

More possible options for the Tigers’ second round pick. Jeff Sullivan on Justin Verlander. Grant Brisbee on Vlad Guerrero Jr., who the Tigers won’t see this weekend because the Blue Jays are cheap. Rob Manfred admits robot umps would be better at calling strikes. #RallyGoose takes the world by storm. The Pistons might hire basketball’s version of Harold Reynolds as their new head coach.

Baseball is awesome

But playoff hockey is pretty great too.