The Detroit Tigers needed to clear a spot on their 40-man roster for a potential addition this week. The team is expected to add a player through trade or free agency, but may also anticipate selecting a player in the Rule 5 draft on Thursday.
First baseman Ryan Strieby drew the short straw on Monday, as the Tigers outrighted him to Class AAA Toledo. Strieby cleared waivers and since he’s longer protected on Detroit’s 40-man roster, he’s eligible to be selected by another team in the Rule 5 draft.
Strieby, a fourth-round pick in 2006, hit .255/.341/.429 with 19 home runs and 76 RBIs in 557 plate appearances for Toledo this past season. He played exclusively at first base in 2011 after the Tigers experimented with playing him in left field last year. With Miguel Cabrera entrenched at first base in Detroit, Strieby’s path to the majors was blocked and the hope was that his power bat could be utilized in left field. But that obviously didn’t work out.
Injuries to his left wrist stunted Strieby’s development considerably, sapping his bat speed and power. His standout season was a 28-homer, 94-RBI campaign for Class A Lakeland in 2008. But this year, he struck out 171 times. If that was happening at the Triple-A level, how would Strieby fare against major league pitching?
If Strieby gets picked up by the right team, he could benefit from the proverbial change of scenery. But will his bat speed and power return and put him back on a major league track? That remains to be seen.