In the midst of the draft reviews, I've been a bit behind on some of the news of the past week.
We went through two more starting left fielders. Marcus Thames did well in his time out there, but it looks like Carlos Guillen could get more time in left. I'm not sure that a move to the outfield will help a guy who has had problems with his knees and hamstrings, but putting Brandon Inge at third base will help the infield defense. It looks like this is just something to give Jim Leyland an option, and I have no complaints about this.
Fernando Rodney is off to Toledo with Joel Zumaya off to Lakeland to begin their rehabs. If all goes well, both will have to be up by the end of the month. It will be important to watch these guys carefully, as shoulder injuries are nothing to downplay. Zumaya has a reputation to getting ahead of himself in these situations, something that could lead to possible setbacks. Getting them back will be helpful, but only because Leyland won't have to be creative with the bullpen.
On the Joyce/Thomas swap, I felt this was a lateral move. The team was able to capture a hot streak out of Joyce before some of his free-swinging tendencies got exposed. He goes to Toledo for playing time, while Thomas comes up to the bench for a while. The creative use of this last roster spot has been cool to watch, as several younger guys have come up to get a shot.
The decision to try to bring Dontrelle Willis back into the rotation has been met with some resistance, mostly because of the effectiveness of Armando Galarraga. I won't disagree that Galarraga shouldn't be the victim here, but it's pretty clear that he is due to come crashing back to earth. The creative part about this decision is having them split the next start. The really cool part about this is that if Willis struggles with his control, Galarraga can step in before the game gets out of control. If Willis does well, he can go 4-5 innings and Galarraga can take over. It's a creative solution to a potential problem, and I actually like it.
I wouldn't put too much stock into draft projections that have the Tigers taking reliever Josh Fields with the 21st pick. I don't think they will be looking for a quick fix relief pitcher in the first round. It's just neither a high percentage nor a high potential move.