Suddenly, the Tigers have a new second baseman, Niko Goodrum.
And just as suddenly, they have no roster room for Dixon Machado.
The Tigers made a pair of late roster moves Wednesday, which included sending Warwick Saupold to Triple A Toledo and bringing aboard right-handed reliever Victor Alcantara, who has been pitching commendably for the Mud Hens.
The moves came a few hours after the Tigers had lost to the Cubs, 5-2, at Wrigley Field, their 13th defeat in their past 15 games.
Machado had started the year as the Tigers' regular second baseman but failed to hit at a position semi-dependent on offense. He had a .206 batting average, a .263 on-base average, and a lamentable OPS of .553.He had been replaced in recent days by Goodrum, whose power and speed have impressed the Tigers after he was signed last autumn as a minor-league free agent.
Machado is out of minor-league options. The Tigers have 10 days to trade him or lose him on waivers, after which he could be outrighted to the minors.
Machado's spot on the 25-man roster will be assumed by Rodriguez, 26, who had an earlier spring stint with the Tigers after they signed him during the offseason as a minor-league free agent. Rodriguez, who liek Goodrum can play a variety of positions, was batting .338 with a robust .923 OPS at Toledo.
Saupold had a 4-1 record for the Tigers in 2018, but he has been hit hard in too many games and carries an ugly 1.57 WHIP, due to too many hits and walks, and too few strikeouts in 67 games with the Tigers.
Saupold gives way to Alcantara, 25, a right-handed reliever who in his last 10 games at Toledo has an 0.68 ERA. On the year, Alcantara has a 4-1 record in 27 games, with a 2.68 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. He has struck out 44 batters in 47 innings and, significantly, has only six walks.
Alcantara came to the Tigers at the end of the 2016 season in a trade that sent Cameron Maybin to the Angels. He was briefly with the Tigers in 2017.
The Tigers are continuing to shuffle their rosters during a rebuilding campaign that could include deals ahead of the July 31 deadline.Trades can be made after July 31, but require that players clear waivers, which can make transactions difficult.
The Tigers are auditioning players at various spots, which is how Goodrum came to overtake Machado at second base.
Goodrum is batting .242, with seven home runs and a .762 OPS. Once a super-sub who was used flexibly in the infield and outfield, he has now become the team's regular second baseman.