The Tigers announced yesterday that they will not be making any further roster moves in anticipation for the Rule 5 draft during the Winter Meetings. What this ultimately means is that any player who isn’t currently on the Detroit 40-Man roster and eligible under the Rule 5 eligibility rules is available to be selected by another major league team. Additionally, with their 40-man roster full, the Tigers won’t be able to make any picks, though it is a down year and the team isn’t looking for players who cannot make an immediate impact.
So if Dave Dombrowski has taken a look at players that could be available in the Draft and decided to pass on them, it only makes sense that the team protect as many of their own players as possible. This is exactly what Dombrowski did though I was surprised that he decided to leave Tony Giarratano on the roster.
During last winter I wondered if Giarratano was a fit for Detroit at shortstop in the future while anticipating Carlos Guillen’s decline and eventual removal from the position. I concluded, due to his numerous injuries, that his future with the ball club would depend highly on a successful 2007 season. Shortly after that article was written Tony underwent surgery on his shoulder ending his 2007 before it even started making him even more of a long shot for Detroit.
So why was it that Dombrowski decided that it was more important to protect Tony than a number of other Tiger minor league players such as Preston Larrison or Eddie Bonine. Because any player snatched up in the Draft must be on that team’s 40-man roster for the entire season there is little chance of Tony being of any interest as this year will be rehab year with major questions on his viability in the future. And even if Tony were to be selected in the Draft, Detroit is sitting in an OK spot at shortstop. Having traded for Edgar Rentaria to start at the position and Ramon Santiago for backup there is no immediate need. In the minor leagues, Michael Hollimon has continued to turn some heads this past season in addition to during the Arizona Fall League.
All this will likely not have much impact but with the team trading away young arms, it would be nice to keep a few within the organization. There are larger targets available than some of the arms on Detroit but any loss could have been avoided.