The Detroit Tigers announced their first round of roster cuts of the spring on Friday morning. Righthander Beau Burrows, who is currently on the 40-man roster, was optioned to Triple-A Toledo. Outfielder Jake Robson was also reassigned to minor league camp. Both players are expected to open the season with the Mud Hens.
Burrows, 23, was not expected to make the Tigers’ Opening Day roster after struggling through an injury-riddled 2019 season. Burrows only logged 74 1⁄3 innings in all after totaling 134 frames at Double-A Erie the year prior, and allowed a 4.84 ERA. He gave up a 5.51 ERA and 1.53 WHIP in 65 1⁄3 innings at Toledo, with declines in his strikeout, walk, and home run rates compared to 2018. He missed nearly two months of action early in the year due to biceps tendonitis, then was shut down for the season in mid-August after suffering an oblique injury.
To make matters worse, Burrows was struck by a line drive while pitching against the Philadelphia Phillies on February 22, an outing in which he allowed five runs on four hits while recording just two outs. He has not appeared in game action for the Tigers since then.
Robson was also victimized by a line drive, and in the same game, no less. Robson was diagnosed with a concussion after being struck with a foul ball, and also has not appeared in a game since then. He did not log a single plate appearance during Grapefruit League play, but drew two walks in the Tigers’ exhibition victory over Southeastern University on February 21.
Robson was also an unlikely candidate to crack the Tigers’ Opening Day roster. He put up a solid .267 average and .352 on-base percentage for Triple-A Toledo last season, but struggled to hit for power, producing just nine home runs in a hitter-friendly Triple-A environment. He stole 25 bases in 35 attempts, however, and still offers upside as a fourth outfielder. He will have to jump a few others on the depth chart, however; the Tigers left Robson unprotected in last year’s Rule 5 draft, and have added a couple more outfielders (Cameron Maybin, Troy Stokes Jr.) since the end of the 2019 season.
The Tigers still have 67 players remaining in major league camp. With Opening Day now just 20 days away, expect more roster cuts to come in bunches in the coming days.