The Detroit Tigers have been surprisingly entertaining to follow thus far in the 2023 MLB campaign which nears the one-third mark of the season. The Motor City Kitties have far from what would typically be considered a competitive roster and also play in the worst division big leagues, but they still have been hovering near the .500 mark and have played in some white-knuckle affairs through 45 games played.
Nonetheless, despite the unexpected success — if you want to call it that — there are a few players on the current active roster who probably do not belong there. Unfortunately, the farm is not as jam-packed as one would hope following a string of highly unsuccessful seasons and there is a dearth of reliable free agents to help fill in the gaps. As such, AJ Hinch and Co. have been forced to make do with what they have on hand, which they have done rather well.
Still, there is no shortage of dead weight and skin waiting to be shed before the Tigers are able to reach a point of consistent competitiveness. There is one particular name who has been ringing throughout the comments section and social media, but that individual is not alone.
This week, I asked the Bless You Boys staff, “Who do you want to see removed from the Tigers’ current big league roster the soonest?” A large portion of the replies were rather predictable, but there were a few nuggets buried in the discussion as well. Take a look below at what we think.
Brady McAtamney: Did someone say Jonathan Schoop? Shoot, after Sunday, Joey Wentz probably shouldn’t be on an MLB roster either.
Zane Harding: Joey Wentz is a guaranteed loss right now, barring an offensive explosion. It’s clearly him. With that said, Faedo has a 6.11 FIP, so this isn’t going to end well, is it?
The worst player on this roster, however, is Miggy. But I don’t particularly care about replacing him unless somebody is ready to take every single at-bat away. Malloy seems like he should receive the opportunity, but he could probably take at-bats from somebody else.
…ugh, this roster sucks :|
Mr. Sunshine: If we’re choosing one, I’ll go a little different than most expected answers and pick Tyler Alexander.
In a bullpen full of mostly solid guys at the moment, he’s been pretty bad. His ERA is over 6.50 and he’s allowing a BA of nearly .300 to opposing hitters. His FIP is around 5.00, so he’s definitely unlucky, but his runs have come a few at a time in a number of outings, rather than one huge blowout. It may finally be time to put old Todd the Painter out to pasture.
Bring me Matt Wisler. Holton and Shreve are both lefties in case anyone’s worried about that matchup issue.
Peter Kwasniak: Okay I’ll tackle the obvious one, Schoop. We all know he’s just not an asset anymore. He’s not starting every day and his defense has come way down. With so many young infielders to churn through in Toledo, holding onto a veteran right-handed infielder that only plays against lefties isn’t very important.
I get the feeling the Tigers are holding onto him in the hopes he goes off soon and builds any kind of trade value before the deadline, but even if he did, given his contract and age, he wouldn’t bring back more than a complete shot-in-the-dark type prospect. And with Miggy taking up another roster spot that could be better used on a competitive roster, it's time to cut the cord on Schoop.
Brandon Day: I think they just believe that the chances that Jonathan Schoop figures it out and gets back to being Jonathan Schoop are at least as good as the chances that Andy Ibáñez or Tyler Nevin suddenly becomes a solid major league hitter. The money and tenure matter, but I think it’s more that they know they’ve got a couple of other blank spaces in the roster right now too. They can’t believe they’re getting anything back in trade, even if he starts to swing the bat better and plays more often. It’s just not in the cards. They’re just trying to hold on because there’s no one to really replace him with, and maybe he eventually figures it out and gives you a burst of production.
I guess the tougher question is who are you calling up? Ibáñez looks out of gas after boosting the Tigers with a little hot streak. Nevin or Lipcius doesn’t change the team equation much. Malloy has been good but he’s clearly having to make some adjustments to the way they’re pitching him now. Probably needs some more time.
I like the Tyler Alexander answer too, despite Schoop being the most obvious choice. Tyler isn’t a part of the future either and he’s been pretty bad. Just isn’t much to replace him with at the moment either. Garrett Hill and Zach Logue haven’t done anything with Toledo. Maton makes some sense too, since he has an option and you aren’t losing anything else, but they’re going to give him more time to try and get it going.
So, I’ve got to go with Schoop as well, but until Kerry Carpenter and Matt Manning go out on rehab assignments, hopefully within a week, there isn’t really a timetable for getting anyone particularly useful back.
Ashley MacLennan: Schoop, there it is.
Trevor Hooth: Honestly, just call up Colt Keith. He can play second!
::cue “Can he play second base?” discussion::
Frisbee Pilot: I’ll add to the Jonathan Schoop DFA bandwagon. I’ve seen it written that, if he’s only getting a handful of at-bats a week, he won’t be able to figure out what’s wrong — which means you either play him every single day in the hopes that what’s wrong gets fixed, or you eat the contract and cut him loose. Now that Zach McKinstry is on the team and making meaningful contributions, Schoop is redundant. Shoot, I was surprised back in the spring when McKinstry was signed that Schoop wasn’t released right away.
My ideal scenario is that the Tigers cut Schoop loose, McKinstry takes second base almost every day, Schoop goes somewhere else and plays every day and figures himself out. Obviously, that means some of the fan base would erupt and say “FIAR HARRIS, HE CUT SCHOOP LOOSE,” but people like that are just ridiculous and we should pay them no mind.
Brady: There are cases for Schoop, Wentz and Alexander. Maton and Vierling would probably be demoted by any team with any real depth, but…
David Rosenberg: I’m going to bring a totally new suggestion to the table… just kidding… get rid of Jonathan Schoop yesterday. This guy’s got a barrel percentage of 2.0 for crying out loud. There’s very little justification for keeping a bat that poor in the lineup.
What’s even worse is that this dude isn’t getting fooled by wicked breaking balls or succumbing to habit like Javy Baez whenever he sees a slider break off the plate. Schoop simply can’t catch up to fastballs. All the metrics paint an ugly, ugly picture for him, and Tigers fans shouldn’t have to watch him swing and miss another day.
I’ll give Joey Wentz some time since I went so hard on Schoop, but the clock is ticking on him.
Brady: Wait, Zack Short is on the roster? I’m voting him off the island too. Can we get rid of Matt Shepard while we’re at it too?
David: Seconding the Matt Shepard nomination.
Adam Dubbin: Nomination sustained!
Brady: I also take back what I said about Matt Vierling. In fact, extend him.
Peter: Dang, Shepherd is the one true correct answer in all of this.
Cameron Kaiser: Schoop. Even without an obvious replacement, this guy looks so overmatched that it’s clear he’s got very little left in the tank, and he absolutely should not be getting more playing time to try and work through this slump that has plagued him since he re-signed midway through 2021.
Keep turning the roster spot over, playing the hot hand and moving on when someone sours.
Basically, do the opposite of what Al Avila did.
Adam: There is not much to add here except for the fact that Shep is ostensibly a unanimous decision to boot from the team — active roster or not. He is the weakest link... goodbye.
Now that you have heard our collective take on who the Detroit Tigers need to jettison from this barely-buoyant ship, let the rest of us know how you feel in the comments below!
Who should the Tigers cut/DFA?
Other (explain in comments)