Tuesday, January 08, 2008

More Minor League Signings

Making the first news in a while, the Tigers announced the signings of 11 players yesterday, four of which have already been known. While such news would enable us to get away from the mainstream media revealing their collective ignorance of the performance enhancing drug or Hall of Fame debates, it's not likely that these players will contribute much to the Detroit Tigers as a whole.

We'll start with the guys who we've already known about I've already covered pitchers Francis Beltran, Marcelo Perez, and Jon Connolly. Dane Sardinha was announced several weeks ago, and he projects to be the team's third catcher as things stand right now. Sardinha was drafted by the Reds in 2000 as a player with great defensive polish. They banked on his bat developing, but it never happened. Throughout his professional career, Sardinha's offensive results have been putrid at best. Luckily, he will only be counted on if Vance Wilson's recovery from Tommy John Surgery requires a short term fix in April.

Pitchers Anastacio Martinez, Jeremy Johnson, and Ian Ostlund were all in the Tigers' system last year, before becoming six-year free agents. Martinez was picked up from Washington's system and has bounced around. He was a reliever and spot starter for Toledo towards the end of the season. I would expect him to do much of the same this year. Ostlund was originally drafted by the Tigers in 2001, and has served as a lefty reliever, bouncing between Erie and Toledo last season. Jeremy Johnson was hot stuff a few years ago before undergoing major shoulder surgery. He became a valuable part of Toledo's bullpen this past season. Scouts still aren't impressed with his repertoire and doubt he'll be a force with the big club.

Utility men Henry Mateo and Caonabo Cosme will offer much needed flexibility to Toledo and Erie, which are restricted to 23 and 24-man roster limits. Unfortunately, they are unlikely to offer anything to the Tigers. Jackson Melian will probably return in his Kirk Airoso role as Erie's DH and provide a stable bat to Erie's lineup. The history of Jackson Melian's prospect-hood is pretty interesting and might be worth an entry during these January doldrums.

Finally, Max St. Pierre returns after a one-year retreat from the organization that included a conversion to pitcher. I haven't heard for sure if the Tigers plan to use him at catcher, but I have to imagine St. Pierre will be donning the tools of ignorance given the team's lack of depth at the position.

Overall, these signings provide little in the way of potential for the Tigers' roster. The next news will likely deal with the arbitration cases of unsigned Tigers. Bobby Seay, Nate Robertson, and Miguel Cabrera all still need contracts. Players and teams will file for arbitration from January 5-15, exchanging figures on the 18th before hearings occur the early part of February. No player has gone to arbitration in Dave Dombrowski's time here, and I don't expect that to change.

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