After Tuesday’s victory over the New York Yankees, the Detroit Tigers were scheduled to meet up with the Baltimore Orioles for the Grapefruit League finale on Wednesday. Instead, the two clubs decided to just call the whole thing off. The reason? A lack of available pitchers.
That lack of available pitchers could plague the Tigers in the early going. Michael Pineda was slated to throw two simulated innings on Wednesday, but otherwise has yet to make an appearance for the Tigers after the lockout delayed players signing and starting the work visa process. Minor league free agent addition Wily Peralta is just getting started as well.
The plan was for new Tigers’ outfielder Austin Meadows to take a couple of those Pineda at-bats just to get him some swings and a little familiarity in his new surroundings. No word yet on whether that’s still in the cards, or whether the Tigers will pack up early to head north.
Either way, our final memory of 2022 spring camp is going to be this long Miguel Cabrera homer in Tuesday’s action.
After discussions between the Tigers and Orioles, the two teams have decided to cancel tomorrow’s scheduled Spring Training game in Lakeland due to lack of available pitching as each team finishes spring camp. pic.twitter.com/dq2Wc2938Y— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) April 5, 2022
Speaking of Austin Meadows, he arrived in Lakeland on Tuesday morning. It’s not a long journey from Port Charlotte, where the Rays hold spring camp. However it must have felt longer after the late night whirlwind deal was concluded between the two clubs. Meadows met with the media and got to spend time with his new teammates. However, no acclimatization in Lakeland will be required now that spring camp has come to an abrupt end.
We await Truck Day content.
Adam Berry, writing for MLB.com broke down the Rays’ reasons for the trade. Mostly they had a surplus of outfielders, with number two prospect Josh Lowe waiting in the wings. Randy Arozarena, Manuel Margot, Kevin Kiermaier, and Brett Phillips are all still in place. But there are a few other interesting tidbits there. That always seems to be the case with the Rays. They weren’t slow to follow it up with related moves either calling up Lowe and inning Margot to an extension.
The Rays have signed Manuel Margot to a 2 year, $19M contract extension.— Tricia Whitaker (@TriciaWhitaker) April 5, 2022
• $7M in 2023
• $10M in 2024
• $12M mutual option in 2025 or $2M buyout
Polling on Tigers fans from Motor City Bengals indicates extremely high approval ratings for the trade.
Do you like the Austin Meadow trade?— Motor City Bengals (@MCB_Tigers) April 5, 2022
Would you like to see the 10 longest home runs of Austin Meadows’ career? pic.twitter.com/186YgQbmUY— Chris Brown (@ChrisBrown0914) April 5, 2022
In other news, Spencer Torkelson told the story of how he found out he’d made the Opening Day roster. These are fun. The Seattle Mariners also resisted the urge to game top prospect, Julio Rodriguez’s service time, and had cameras on hand when they told him. These are really cool moments for a young player, the emotion leavened with teasing and mock criticism, as is traditional.
This is great: Spencer Torkelson shared how he found out he made the #Tigers Opening Day roster.— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) April 2, 2022
AJ Hinch called him into his office to talk about the infield play where he ran into Javier Baez... then told him he made the team. Torkelson said Miguel Cabrera gave him a big hug. pic.twitter.com/u8VqdjGbNH
Toledo Mud Hens win home opener
Once things get underway, you’ll see the regular minor league recaps here return during the week. For now, we have the Mud Hens giving the home fans a happy home opener, taking down the Rochester Red Wings by a score of 5-0 on Tuesday night at Fifth Third Field.
Nivaldo Rodriguez got the start and he blanked the Red Wings over 4 1⁄3 innings of work, racking up seven strikeouts to five hits and a walk against. The bullpen cruised the rest of the way, with Drew Carlton picking up the win after punching out four of the five batters he faced in relief.
Kody Clemens, Daz Cameron, and Jacob Robson led an eight-hit attack. Robson got things started with a solo shot in the second inning. A two-run double from Daz Cameron in the third sparked a three-run frame, opening some daylight, and the Hens tacked on one more when Clemens led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a triple and eventually rode home on a Ryan Kreidler double.
As mentioned in the intro, the Tigers have quite a few issues going on with the pitching staff as the season opener looms. Michael Pineda nor Wily Peralta are going to be ready for a week or two. And a bullpen that had pretty good depth has already lost Kyle Funkhouser, Andrew Chafin, and Jose Cisnero, all for undetermined amounts of time.
AJ Hinch confirms "we are concerned about Jose Cisnero." Had some arm issues after his last outing. Doesn't look as if he'll be leaving with the team. Which is why Jason Foley has made it, and why (gulp) Rony Garcia, who had a tough time today, has also gotten a reprieve.— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) April 5, 2022
Of course, pitchers are dropping like flies like time of year anyway. The White Sox have already lost Lance Lynn for two months. The New York Mets are in danger of losing Jacob deGrom for the whole season. And Chris Sale has a broken rib and will be out until June for the Boston Red Sox. At least so far, the Tigers rotation is intact, and Gregory Soto and Michael Fulmer are healthy, though Fulmer is still building velocity toward the season and was again in the 93 mph range on Tuesday, should you need more to worry about.
Two players who were initially cut from major league camp, right-handers Jacob Barnes and long-time prospect Elvin Rodriguez now look like they’ll come north all the way to Detroit. Rodriguez is still on the cusp, but Barnes appears to be a lock now. Fortunately Joe Jimeñez and Alex Lange have looked good for the most part. Beyond them, Jason Foley, Will Vest, and Drew Hutchison all look set to start in the bullpen.
Sure this seems grim, but if the Tigers could get off to a strong start anyway, there is reason to believe most of these injuries aren’t too serious. Reinforcements should be on the way pretty soon.
Here are the 8 "safe" bullpen guys that we have deduced to this point, minus Cisnero:— Evan Woodbery (@evanwoodbery) April 5, 2022
Soto, Fulmer, Lange, Jimenez, Foley, Vest, Hutchison, Barnes.
The only other *rostered* pitchers left in camp are Rony Garcia and Elvin Rodriguez. https://t.co/uImbioyEHe
While Elvin Rodriguez and Rony Garcia are on the 40 man roster, at least four non-roster invitees will be part of the Tigers’ expanded 28 man roster. Spencer Torkelson, Jacob Barnes, Drew Hutchison, and Will Vest have all been informed that they have made the opening day roster. Two spots on the 40 man roster will open up when Jake Rogers and Spencer Turnbull are moved to the 60 day injured list, so that leaves two more spots that will require another player being cut from the 40 man roster.
Projections and analysis
The University of Michigan SABR club put out their full 2022 season preview on the Detroit Tigers. We like those guys, so please give Daniel Pardi’s preview a read. Meanwhile, Michael Baumann has the 2022 power rankings up for The Ringer.
Ben Clemens broke down the Austin Meadows-Isaac Paredes trade for FanGraphs. Alex Chamberlain enters the Bold Predictions dojo with five of his own. Michael Simione upps the ante, with 10, you heard that right, 10 bold predictions over at Rotographs.
Meanwhile, the San Diego Padres continue in their quest to acquire all the starting pitchers by trading for the Oakland A’s Sean Manaea. Now if they could just keep some of them healthy. Meanwhile the Guardians never seem to need to trade for any pitchers at all. They locked up another homegrown arm on Monday, inking closer Emmanuel Clase to a deal to buy out his remaining years of team control, avoiding what could be some expensive arbitration hearings down the road.
In other news, former Tigers’ infielder Jordy Mercer announced his retirement after a nice major league career. We wish him all the best in the next chapter.
Thank You baseball! Thank you for the opportunity and love you have given me. I hope I loved you back just as much. Thank you to the ones that have supported me, especially my family every step of way. It’s Time!!Excited for the next chapter.✌️ 69-10-7-9-22-27— Jordy Mercer (@jordy_mercer) April 5, 2022