Who Will The Tigers Protect?

Other Candidates: These are other legit secondary roster candidates, but they’re on the outside looking in

OF Jeff McVaney: McVaney is nearing the big leagues and had a huge breakout season in High-A Lakeland in 2014, and was decent for Erie in 2015, but when he was in Triple-A Toledo, he struggled. He was also a bit old for the Florida State League in 2014 and has struggled a little more with more advanced pitching, so that’s why he’s on the outside. If he were to realize his potential I could see him being a helpful fourth outfielder, and I could also see a team that is still rebuilding to give him a chance to become that if he isn’t protected.

RP Montreal Robertson: Robertson has potential to be a late innings guy, but he’s still not there yet, and he was a bit old for Lakeland and showed some flaws this past season. His stock has gone up, though, as he went to the Arizona Fall League and posted a low ERA and probably has learned a lot and worked on things to improve his game. With the Tigers bullpen in the condition that it’s in, it’s not unrealistic to think that Robertson could find a way on to the 40-man roster, but there’s also a lot working against him. He’s in the same boat as McVaney, as he has role player potential, but he’s too far removed to put him on for now and if the Tigers sign a few players, he could be one of the first guys waived, which would make it easier for teams to grab him.

SP Warwick Saupold: Saupold can get guys out in a relief role, but he was transitioned to a starter in 2013. He has had some struggles, but he had a decent year last year. He was an Australian League star before the Tigers signed him, and I could still see him being bullpen help, but I really don’t think he’ll be selected in the draft coming off an average year, so leaving him unprotected probably won’t hurt the Tigers.

Other Guys (Won’t be added unless a total surprise but might draw Rule 5 interest): 2B Harold Castro, RP Will Clinard, RP Joe Rogers, RP Slade Smith, SS Steven Fuentes

So as it stands I think Fulmer, Labourt, and Turley will be added and that Feliz is safe — for now. I really can’t argue with these choices, although maybe I’d give a second thought to adding Belisario since he was so impressive the last season.

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