The Detroit Tigers had been planning on recalling highly touted prospect Avisail Garcia on Saturday when the rosters expand. In order to maintain some flexibility with the playoff roster (should they make it, of course), they instead decided to recall Garcia today. In order to make room on the roster, the club announced Friday that they have designated the contract of utilityman Jeff Baker for assignment.
Baker was acquired by the Tigers from the Chicago Cubs on August 5 for two players to be named later. After building a reputation as a weapon versus left handed pitching in the National League, where he spent parts of eight seasons, Baker’s first foray into the Junior Circuit didn’t go so well.
Playing almost exclusively against southpaws, Baker posted a line of just .200/.243/.257 in 37 plate appearances.
Evidently, the Tigers either really don’t buy the idea of small sample sizes or they really, really want Garcia on the playoff roster. Of course, that would have been easily accomplished anyway as Garcia could have been used as an injury replacement for someone like Victor Martinez, who is on the 60-day DL. By Including Garcia on the roster today, the Tigers leave open the possibility of adding a different player to the post-season roster if need be (using VMart’s spot).
The 21-year-old Garcia figures to assume Baker’s role of the right handed half of a right field platoon in Detroit. At 6’4″ and 240 lbs, Garcia reminds many of his now teammate Miguel Cabrera, both in stature and at the plate. Though he is still raw, Garcia is a potential dynamic offensive player.
For his part, Tigers manager Jim Leyland is fired up about adding the talented Garcia.
“It wasn’t Baker’s fault, because I know Baker’s a better hitter than he showed here. The track record shows that. But, for whatever reason, it wasn’t working, and we’ve got this kid that is a multi-purpose player, really — not as far as versatility position-wise, but he can run, he can throw, he’s supposed to be a terrific outfielder, he’s got power — so we’re going to try him. Why not?
“I like stuff like that. I’m kind of excited.”
For more on the Tigers, visit Motor City Bengals.