With Mud Hens infielder, Kevin Hooper, signing a minor league contract with the Houston Astros, an opportunity has risen for Michael Hollimon to continue his quick rise through the Tiger farm system. Hooper, who was a minor league free agent, saw an opportunity to make a big league roster and took it:
Hooperâ€™s agent, Steve Canter, said Tuesday evening that a major factor in the decision was the prospect of making the Astrosâ€™ Opening Day roster as a utility infielder…
â€œHeâ€™s got a legitimate opportunity to break camp with the (Astros) as a utility infielder, but this was a very, very tough decision. Kevin really respects the people in Detroit and Toledo.â€
It probably wasn’t that tough of a decision with Carlos Guillen moving to first base and Edgar Renteria brought in to fill shortstop, the Tigers have the infield locked up for the next couple years at least. Kevin Hooper is 30 (few days away from 31.)
This further opens up an opportunity for Hollimon to play in Toledo this year at shortstop regarless of his move to second base last year. Hollimon played in Erie last year where he had a .849 OPS (.371 OBP) but saw a few games in Toledo where he was shortstop. Michael turned some heads at the Arizona Fall League this past fall and a solid year at Toledo could lead to a tough decision on Renteria’s $12M club option for 2009.
But first he has to show some continued hitting prowess in Toledo.