Final Countdown: Three Detroit Tigers That Are Running out of Time

Jay Wierenga@@JayWierengaCorrespondent IMarch 24, 2012

Final Countdown: Three Detroit Tigers That Are Running out of Time

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    Each year we see it.

    The fringe players that we are rooting for, and are optimistic to see break out, start to become weeded out and dropped from team consideration.

    In the movie "Major League", this moment is captured by red tags that signify that the manager wants to see them, to tell them that they will not make the club.

    Sometimes this move is economics, sometimes it is luck, and sometimes it's just a numbers game.

    This year is no different.

    Here are the three Tigers that are in danger of not making this team.

Clete Thomas

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    There are only so many utility outfielders that will make this team.

    Sure, Thomas possesses some of the best speed on the team, a lefty bat, and a very good throwing arm.

    But he hasn't hit quite as well as one would hope, and after 40 at bats, he only has one walk to go with 13 strikeouts. 

    Also, he is hitting only .250 with a sad OBP of .256.

    At this point, he would need to absolutely crush the ball to have a shot, not to mention improve his walk numbers.

Brandon Inge

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    When Spring Training began, most assumed that Brandon Inge might have a hard time making the team.

    The Tigers had just brought in Prince Fielder, effectively giving Inge's third base gig to Miguel Cabrera.

    Inge decided to compete for second base with Ramon Santiago, Ryan Raburn and Danny Worth.

    To be fair, Inge's glove has been excellent, but that really isn't a surprise.

    The Tigers needed to see if Inge could hit, and thus far, he hasn't.

    Inge's batting average is right at the Mendoza line; he only has one homer and a sad one RBI.

    At the same time, Raburn has been tearing the cover off of the ball (.414 average with six home runs), Santiago has been excellent (.394 OBP), and Worth is showing quite a bit of promise (.370 OBP).

    Each of these guys has multiple advantages over Inge.

    Besides the fact that each appears to be a better hitter, Raburn has more power, Santiago is a switch hitter, and Worth is very young (25).

    Unless the Tigers have apprehensions about eating the remaining $6 million on Inge's contract, there really is no reason for him to make the club.

Duane Below

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    What a turn of events this could be.

    Below, once the front-runner for the final spot in the rotation, could be the one pitcher left without a chair when the music stops.

    Below could still be in contention for the fifth spot, but it appears that it is down to Andy Oliver and Drew Smyly, with Oliver the favorite.

    Below still could be a candidate for the bullpen, especially as a long reliever, but it appears that the Tigers may be set with lefty relievers now that Daniel Schlereth is finally showing his promise.

    As of right now, Below has the lowest ERA amongst Tigers still in camp, not good when you see that people he might be competing with have a full four or even five runs lower in theirs.

    Below likely will be dropped after this Sunday's start against New York, in my opinion.