How can Detroit Tigers salvage this miserable season? These nine moves would be a start

Detroit Free Press

What’s baseball version of insanity?

How the Detroit Tigers have done the same thing over and over this season, while expecting different results.

Obviously, it’s been a miserable season. The Tigers have suffered a ridiculous number of injuries, struggled offensively and lost far more than expected.

These are drastic times for the Tigers, and changes must be made. They should put almost everybody on their roster up for trades, and we’ll see how that plays out over the next few days.

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Beyond that, here are nine moves the Tigers can make to salvage something the rest of the way:

1. Cut Robbie Grossman

Grossman is a heck of a guy. A leader in the clubhouse. A true pro. But right now, Grossman is eating up space on this Tigers roster with a batting average hovering around .200 and no power. If the Tigers can’t trade him (I can’t imagine another team wanting somebody who has been so unproductive), they should designate him for assignment.

Giving Grossman any playing time the rest of the season doesn’t make sense in the big picture.

And there is a huge benefit to cutting him. It would open up a spot on the 40-man roster and even more playing time in the outfield for the youngsters.

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2. Bring up Kerry Carpenter — soon

Carpenter has been a shooting star this season. He started out at Double-A Erie, smashing 22 homers in 62 games, while hitting .304 with a ridiculous 1.005 OPS.

That earned him a promotion to Triple-A Toledo, where he has continued to rake. In his first 24 games in Toledo, Carpenter has hit .317 with an even more impressive 1.008 OPS.

He has 27 freakin’ home runs this year.

Give him a chance! What could it hurt?

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I realize he would have to be put onto the 40-man roster, which means you are committing to him, but wouldn’t you rather see Carpenter bat, compared to Grossman?

The other issue is his defense, which is his biggest weakness. His long-term position is probably designated hitter but I saw Carpenter make a fine play in Toledo, running a long way and making a sliding catch.

It was enough to make me think: Give him a chance.

3. Bring up Ryan Kreidler

He would have been pushing for time in Detroit already, if he hadn’t been hurt.

Kreidler is an old-school baseball player, somebody who does everything right, and you feel comfortable when he’s on the field.

Getting him at-bats now — and a taste of the big leagues — can only help in the long run.

Maybe, in the future, he’s a utility guy.

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Or maybe, if he hits, he could be this team’s third baseman next season.

In an ideal world, the Tigers will trade Jeimer Candelario — perhaps, tossing him into a deal with one of the relievers — opening up a spot for Kreidler.

4. Sit the veterans as much as possible

Play the youngsters as much as you can and see who stands out. Because the Tigers have to find out about several players.

What do the Tigers really have in Akil Baddoo?

What about Kody Clemens? Can he hit enough to stick around? Can Willi Castro continue to improve in the outfield?

Now is the time to find out about all of them.

The Tigers sent Spencer Torkelson down to Toledo to get him right. But it was also to give more at-bats to Clemens.

5. Start shuffling the prospects up a level

Move Reese Olson and Wilmer Flores to Toledo. Both of them could be playing in Detroit next season.

And if they move up to Detroit when rosters are expanded to 28 in September, just getting them a taste of the big leagues could prove beneficial, teaching them what they have to work on over the winter.

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6. Get Jake Rogers back to Detroit as soon as possible

Rogers is recovering from Tommy John surgery and is expected to be back at some point this season.

Getting him at-bats this year can only help prepare him for next season.

7. Bring up Daz Cameron

Cameron will turn 26 in January and he has reached the sink-or-swim stage of his career.

The Tigers should bring him up and give him one last shot. I know this is complicated, and easier said than done, because there are only so many outfield spots. Cameron has played 70 MLB games with a .204 average. But he has hit .232 in 18 games this season. He’s holding a spot on the 40-man roster and the Tigers have to decide if they want to keep him for next season.

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8. Keep riding the youngsters, even if they struggle

This team already has a horrible record, entering Saturday sixth-worst in MLB. What does it matter if they lose a few more games? Shoot, they might end up with a better draft position. (Though MLB has added a draft lottery to determine the top six spots in the draft, with the three worst records having a 16.5% shot at No. 1.)

I’m not saying they should tank. But the season was lost a long time ago.

And if they end up with an even higher draft pick, all the better.

9. Give fans a reason to watch the rest of this season

Can you imagine a game that doesn’t mean squat (none of them do at this point, right?) but you get to watch Riley Greene, Carpenter, Kreidler and Rogers (assuming he gets healthy), instead of Grossman, Jonathan Schoop and Tucker Barnhart?

That would be far more interesting, not to mention hold the potential to benefit this team long term.

Will some players struggle? Of course.

But maybe, just maybe, one of them will show you something.

Somebody is going to surprise you. And that could shape what the Tigers do during the offseason.

What’s the alternative?

Running the same struggling veterans out there, hoping for a different result?

We’ve  already seen that movie.

Contact Jeff Seidel: jseidel@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @seideljeff.

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