As the Detroit Tigers go into their first full week of spring training, the team has agreed to one-year contracts with six players for the 2011 season.
Of the six, second baseman Will Rhymes is the one who saw the most action with the Tigers last year. He hit .304/.350/.414 with one home run and 19 RBIs in 213 plate appearances after being called up from Triple-A Toledo in late July. Rhymes also provided solid defense in the field.
Pitcher Robbie Weinhardt also joined the major league club in July before being sent back down to Toledo in mid-August. He was called back up in September and stuck around for the rest of the season. In 28 appearances, Weinhardt compiled a 2-2 record and 6.14 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings.
Left-handed relievers Daniel Schlereth and Brad Thomas also agreed to terms with the Tigers, along with starting pitcher Andy Oliver and infielder Cale Iorg.
Schlereth and Thomas are expected to win jobs in Detroit’s bullpen to begin the season, as the team needs lefty relievers with Phil Coke moving to the starting rotation. Oliver could be a midseason call-up, depending on his performance in the minors and what the Tigers need.
Iorg was once considered a top shortstop prospect, but poor hitting (.215/.251/.347 between Double-A Erie and Toledo last year) has stunted his development. However, the Tigers must think enough of his future (and their thin depth among infield prospects) to keep him on the 40-man roster.