Tigers Option Andy Oliver to Toledo, Cost Blogger Cheap Pun

The Tigers optioned fifth starter candidate Andy Oliver to Toledo this morning, narrowing the current field down to Drew Smyly and Duane Below and, unfortunately, costing this blogger a cheap pun at Oliver’s expense (had Oliver not been sent down, I would surely have titled a blog post “Oliver to Dombrowski: Please Sir, May I Have Some More”).

What this means about the race for the final spot in the rotation: who the hell even knows? The Tigers won’t need a fifth starter for a little while, and may even option Smyly and/or Below to Toledo as well, so that they can go with an 11-man pitching staff.

There has also been a little talk on Twitter of the Tigers possibly making a trade, but this appears to be nothing more than speculation from Detroit News writer Tom Gage, who spotted Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland talking animatedly and decided to write about it, which then sent the unwashed masses into a frenzy.

It does not appear that a Brandon Inge/Andy Oliver for Joe Blanton deal is on the horizon, Tigers fans. Sorry.

Agent P takes his talents to the nation’s capital.

As you may have heard, Ryan Perry was traded to the Washington Nationals for Collin Balester last night.

This move doesn’t really improve the team, although Balester has some starting experience and can probably fill the long relief role Perry struggled in at times. Also, Perry has options left, while Balester doesn’t.

I admit I’m a little torn on this one. Obviously, the addition of Octavio Dotel made Perry the odd man out but part of me thought maybe the Tigers would hang on to him. I do kinda think they gave up on Perry a little too soon. He, as was mentioned before, still has options left, will turn 25 in February, and has shown potential. He’s never lived up to the tag that was placed on him when they drafted him—closer of the future—but he’s been very good at times. Though his overall numbers don’t show it, he was one of the Tigers’ best relievers down the stretch in 2010. Yes, they were, for the most part, out of it by then, but someone needed to pitch those innings. He did, and he was very effective.

That being said, there’s no denying Perry took a major step back last season. I do think some of it was due to inconsistent playing time (late in the season, even as Perry was racking up scoreless outings, Leyland used him sparingly; the longest Perry went without pitching seems to be a week). He also missed some time due to illness/”injury” (an infected eye and, later, a scratched cornea from rubbing the eye) and also had a couple stints in Toledo. Nothing seemed to go right for him this season, and one of the Tigers beat writers noted that Dombrowski spoke with Perry’s agent on Monday, and the agent expressed Perry’s frustration at how the season went for him.

As for Balester, it seems that he’s a failed starter who was finally converted to long-relief when he was unable to crack the Nationals’ deep rotation. He was drafted out of high school, when the organization was the Montréal Expos, and has been working up the ranks ever since. It’s worth noting that Balester was much better in relief than he was as a starter. I’ve seen comparisons to ex-Tiger Zach Miner thrown out in re. Balester, and his potential role on the team.

So, one chapter ends and another one begins. Best wishes to Ryan (and Vanessa) in Washington. And welcome to Detroit, Collin Balester. You’ll fit right in with that wacky mustache.

Collin Balester has a Twitter. Find him at BallyStar40. His mustache also has a Twitter of its own at StacheOBally.

Links roundup for 8/5/2011:

In lieu of actual content here is a links roundup of things I thought were interesting:

  • I posted my game photos from the 3rd here (and will be adding more later). Check ’em out and drop me a line if you’d like to use them for anything.
  • Phil Coke isn’t missing bats, hasn’t been the same since ankle injury. Great analysis of Phil Coke’s season thus far from Kurt of BlessYouBoys.
  • Where in the Midwest is Ugueth Urbina?
  • Brain Farts from @PhilCokesBrain, Vol 1. If you don’t follow @PhilCokesBrain on twitter you haven’t been living.
  • Homestand Mashup. Take a look at the Homestand MashUp for what you may have missed during the last homestand.

  • Justin Verlander is a god amongst mere mortals, Tip a Tiger, and OLIVEROSWTFBBQ

    Justin Verlander ~*~*labored*~*~ through seven innings– and still managed to nab a quality start and a victory. He’s now 11-3, with a stellar 2.32 ERA and a miniscule 0.86 WHIP. What’s left to say about Verlander that hasn’t already been said? I’d say he’s a god amongst mere mortals, but I said that about him after his last start.

    The Tigers took part in the Tip a Tiger event at CJ Mahoney’s Sports Grille in Troy tonight. Alex Avila, Kristina Avila, Phil Coke, Bobbie Brough (Coke’s fiancée), and Brennan Boesch were all celebrity waitstaff, apparently.

    I am ANGAR I didn’t find out about this until 10:30 pm. Until next year, Tip a Tiger. Until next year.

    OLIVEROSWTFBBQ! Lester Oliveros is being recalled from Toledo and Chance Ruffin is being recalled from Erie to take his place on the AAA team. No word on the Tigers’ corresponding move, but there’s speculation that someone will be going on the DL. It’s possible a trade is in the works or someone is being swapped out for Oliveros, but that doesn’t seem very likely at this point. Spit it out, Internets! Check out Tigers Amateur Analysis and Bless You Boys for up-to-date news.


    Looks like Al Alburquerque is indeed going on the DL with elbow inflammation. (h/t Jon Morosi)


    I have some more to say about the Phil Coke in the Starting Rotation Experiment, but I’ll save that for later.