Detroit Tigers option Jake Rogers, Isaac Paredes to Triple-A
Lakeland, Florida – Both will almost certainly be with the Tigers at some point this season, but for now, infielder Isaac Paredes and catcher Jake Rogers will be finishing their spring training at the club’s minicamp.
Both were selected for Triple-A Toledo on Thursday and sent to the club’s minicamp. Additionally, veteran non-squad infielder Greg Garcia was informed that he did not make the team. He has until Saturday to exercise an opt-out clause or to report to the mini-camp.
“The message was that the competition hasn’t gone their way and they have work to do,” said manager AJ Hinch of his meeting with Rogers and Paredes. “We feel that both of them will play for us in the big leagues this season when we need them.”
“We just don’t think opening day is the right time. It’s difficult to get this news across because they care a lot. But we’ve been honest with them. They lost in the competition.”
Hinch also announced on Thursday that Grayson Greiner had won the backup catcher job.
“As much as we talk about Jake and what he did and what he didn’t do, the focus is really on the fact that Greiner won the backup job,” said Hinch. “He was the most consistent and surpassed everyone.
“That was more for Greiner than against the others.”
Hinch also spoke to Dustin Garneau and Eric Haase on Thursday morning. Although they will start the season at the alternative location in Toledo, both will remain in the big league camp until the team heads north.
“With Jake behind the plate, I love the adjustments he’s made this spring,” said Hinch. “I thought he cleaned up his catch and some of his habits back there. He blocked well, he received well and he adapted to our game plan.
“He did everything behind the plate that we asked.”
But the offensive is still a struggle. He went 3 for 22 with 10 spikes this spring.
“We have to find a way how he can contribute offensively, and that comes with his momentum,” said Hinch. “He knows the strike zone and generally swings on the right pitches. But his contact rate and one-dimensional style as a batsman – you either have to be really good at it and do damage or find a way to move the ball back into the field,”
Hinch said Rogers, great hit coaches Scott Coolbaugh and Jose Cruz Jr., and triple-A hit coach Mike Hessman will meet this weekend to work out an offensive plan.
The 22-year-old Paredes, who made his debut in the big league at third base last year, made an impressively smooth transition to second base this spring when Hinch wanted to offer him another path for the 26-man squad.
But his bat, which was so hot in Mexico this winter, got cold. He was only 4 to 32 that spring after cutting .379 / .480 / .579 in the Mexican Winter League.
“He really impressed us with how he adapted to the second base and we want him to continue there and on the third base,” said Hinch. “I wouldn’t even mind if he got a few reps on shortstop as a backup plan to eat innings the way I manipulate guys in the infield.
“He’s just fought the bat, with no real rhyme or reason. He has to go down and be a little more comfortable offensively. We’re looking for something with a little more consistency. We know he can hit, he’ll get hit.” every level. “
Hinch wouldn’t tip his hand over how the rest of the infield spots might fall. The assumption was that Paredes and Renato Nunez, who was not part of the squad, were fighting for a possible place in the squad, depending on how many pitchers and outfielders the club had.
That may not have been the case.
Utility man Harold Castro has started to warm up on the plate and he has played well in all four infield spots. He has positioned himself in case the Tigers decide to carry a second utility player with Niko Goodrum.
“He’s a valuable piece,” said Hinch of Castro. “He helps the squad to function properly. That’s one of the reasons he’s still in the mix. Because you can do a lot of things with him. And you can count on solid contact.
“He finds ways to get hits. You can talk about OPS and a lot of different things, but people who get hits are pretty valuable at that level.”