Tigers to waive Bobby Wilson Tuesday, clearing the way for Jake Rogers' debut
Anaheim, Calif. — As pregame clubhouses go, they don’t get much more awkward than this one before Monday's game.
There was catcher Bobby Wilson, in uniform and on the lineup card, getting ready for the game against the Los Angeles Angels. Even though earlier it had been reported that he had been put on waivers.
“No idea,” Wilson said. “I know about as much as you do. I saw something today, but I don’t know what it means. I’m here. I’m on the lineup card. I don’t know how it all works, to be honest.”
Wilson, as Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire confirmed, was placed on outright waivers by the Tigers Saturday. There is a 72-hour period in which teams can claim him. If he’s not claimed by 1 p.m. Tuesday, Wilson can choose to be re-assigned to Triple-A Toledo or become a free agent.
Until he clears, though, he was still on the Tigers’ active roster and available to play Monday.
The move will clear the way for the Tigers’ top catching prospect Jake Rogers to make his big-league debut. Rogers, acquired along with outfielder Daz Cameron and pitcher Franklin Perez for Justin Verlander in 2017, is hitting .223/.321/.455 in 48 games at Toledo.
The No. 7-rated prospect in the Tigers organization has thrown out 15 of 32 (47 percent) base stealers.
Rogers was notified that he was promoted Monday night and is expected to be in Anaheim on Tuesday.
Wilson, who said goodbye to his teammates after the game, has been in professional baseball since 2003 and has been with six organizations, three of them twice, including the Tigers. So, he’s been through this ringer more than once.
“I’m 36 years old,” he said. “I’m pretty lucky to have played this long.”
Gordon Beckham, sitting a few locker stalls over, said, “You’re not done. It’s a stepping stone.”
“We’ll see,” Wilson said.
Nick Castellanos, who might also be an ex-Tiger in a couple of days, was listening to the entire exchange with Wilson.
“Can you pinch-hit?” he asked.
“Yeah,” Wilson said. “I’m still a ballplayer.”
"Maybe you can come up in the eighth inning and hit a pinch-hit homer and they will change their mind,” Castellanos said.
Wilson just smiled.
Reyes on board
Just as that conversation was wrapping up, Toledo Mud Hens outfielder Victor Reyes walked through the clubhouse. Double-takes all around. Castellanos shrugged, as if to say, what next?
The first thought, of course, was that Reyes was here in case Castellanos was traded. That was not the case. No trade was imminent before Monday's game.
Reyes had been summoned from Toledo on Sunday after Castellanos was scratched with abdominal tightness. The Tigers wanted to make sure they were covered in case he couldn’t play. But Castellanos was fine.
Major League Baseball allows teams to carry a player on a taxi squad for 24 hours in cases like this. So, Reyes was scheduled to spend the night in Anaheim, then fly back to Detroit on Tuesday.
That plan may have changed when left fielder Christin Stewart crashed into the fence chasing a home run hit by Kole Calhoun in the fifth inning. Stewart was diagnosed with a concussion and was placed on the seven-day concussion injured list.
Reyes will likely be activated on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, general manager Al Avila and most of his staff is back in Detroit trying to work out suitable trades for Castellanos and closer Shane Greene. Starting pitcher Matthew Boyd has been drawing a lot of interest, as well, but the offers have been, to this point, far below what the Tigers are seeking.
“I haven’t heard from anybody all day,” Gardenhire said. “I’m sure they’re working and talking. We’re just here to play baseball. We’ll see what happens.”
Around the horn
For the first time since May 10, 2017, Jeimer Candelario started at first base in a major league game. At the request of general manager Al Avila, he started working at first base during the Seattle series. With a dearth of first basemen in the system and several prospects coming that either project or could transition to third base, the Tigers want to create some position flexibility with Candelario.
Tigers at Angels
First pitch: 10:10 p.m. Tuesday
TV/radio: FSD, 97.1
RHP Drew VerHagen (1-1, 14.40), Tigers: The results were gnarly in his first start back after spending a couple of months in Triple-A (six runs, six hits, three walks in four innings), but he came away encouraged with the way the hitters were reacting to his pitches – he got 10 swing and misses and 15 called strikes.
RHP Griffin Canning (3-6, 5-5), Angels: The rookie defeated the Tigers at Comerica Park in his second start of the year, allowing two runs with seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. It hasn’t been nearly as rosy lately. In three July starts he’s allowed 11 runs and 10 walks in 9 2/3 innings. His last outing was in relief, in the 15th inning, and he gave up five runs.