Ah, reinforcements. Every commanding officer appreciates help from headquarters.
Lance Parrish got it late last month: A new starting pitcher who can throw shutouts in Michael Fulmer. A talented up-the-middle athlete in JaCoby Jones.
Added to a mix that already included a left-handed batter, Dean Green, who has had the kind of season that could put him on a path to Detroit, and life has brightened for a Double A Erie team that is 8-6 in August.
The billboard name is Michael Fulmer, 22, a right-hander whom Dave Dombrowski wrested from the Mets in a waning-minutes deadline trade that was one of his final acts as Tigers front-office chief.
Fulmer had his worst outing Sunday since joining Erie, giving up three earned runs while taking the loss in the SeaWolves' 8-3 setback to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. He is 2-1 with a 1.62 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in three starts with Erie.
Also included in Dombrowski's final-days shopping was shortstop JaCoby Jones, 23, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound right-handed hitter who has clubbed five home runs since joining Parrish's troops and whose all-around skills could by next season be handy at Comerica Park.
And then there is the holdover: Green, 26, who is 6-4, 255, and whose 2015 season has been steady: .316, .898 OPS, with 15 home runs in 85 games.
Fulmer arrived as one of the top-prospect pitchers in all of baseball's farmlands. Parrish can appreciate why.
"He's got an upper-90s fastball that has topped out at 98," said Parrish, the one-time Tigers catcher and coach who is in his second season at Erie. "And the slider he throws has good velocity, with good, sharp break. It's a legitimate pitch. And his change-up offsets all of that. He can throw the ball by you or get you to swing over the top of the slider."
Fulmer is 6-3, 200, and was an early (44th overall) pick by the Mets in 2011. The Tigers don't dispute that he could, at some point in 2016, become part of a team's plans. But there's a reason Fulmer is pitching at Erie and not being rushed to Triple A Toledo.
"He came here from Double A (Binghamton) and to us it was in his best interests to pitch here," Parrish said. "He still needs development time. He looks great, but there can be a detriment to rushing people sometimes.
"And if I were making an objective opinion, that change-up is still the one pitch he's working on. He's throwing it pretty well, but it could use some time.
"He's a bulldog. He attacks the zone, with very good velocity and pretty good command. And his breaking ball (slider) is hard. He's got people jumping in the box."
The SeaWolves nabbed a starter during last month's trade mart when Dombrowski got Jones from the Pirates in a swap for Joakim Soria.
Jones, a third-round pick out of Louisiana State in 2013, has been playing shortstop for Erie. But he has the tools to play "just about anywhere," in Parrish's view, which meshes with the Tigers' thoughts.
"He's big and strong and a very athletic young man," Parrish said. "He's got a lot of range at shortstop and he runs very well. He's also got big power. He hit a ball (Friday) that was out of here in about two seconds. When he gets into it, it goes.
"He's one of those guys who can do just about everything. I don't know if he'll end up at short, but he's certainly got the athleticism and the intuition. He gets to the ball quick, he gets rid of it quick, and he has very good instincts.
"If there's a knock against him, and I wouldn't call it a knock, he doesn't have a cannon (arm) from shortstop. But he does everything else very well. Right now, he might swing and miss a little more than you'd like (16 strikeouts in 14 games), but he's still learning, and when he squares it up, it goes.
"Judging from what I've seen, he could be a full-time anything," Parrish said, speaking of a possible future position. "He's got that kind of ability."
Green is a different player altogether. He is a hitter, purely. Parrish can play him at first base, but defense is not Green's specialty. Swinging a bat is his ticket to the big leagues, if it evolves, which is why he is more of a natural designated hitter.
The Tigers nabbed him in the 11th round of the 2011 draft as he was leaving Barry University in Miami, Fla.
"Here's a guy who's been hitting .300 all year, and last night (Friday) hit his 15th homer," Parrish said. "He's not as mobile of a guy as I've got at first base (James Robbins), and he probably could benefit from losing a few pounds to move better. But he's a good athlete for his size.
"The one thing he can do is hit. He puts the bat on the ball and gets his hits.
"Last year, there was some concern that he wasn't hitting enough home runs, and now he's got 15 and might end up with 20, all while hitting over .300.
"I'm hoping he gets a chance to play Triple A the whole season next year, and maybe get some more regular work at first base," Parrish said. "He's fourth in the league in hitting, and he's starting to show more power.
"We wanted to see more power, and he has turned on quite a few more pitches this season. And he's hit 'em a long way. We've always tried to tell guys: Hit well and the homers will come.
"And he's bought into that philosophy."