Carlos Guillen's Return Could Shift Ryan Raburn to Toledo

Matt SCorrespondent IJuly 22, 2009

KISSIMMEE, FL - MARCH 2: Ryan Raburn #68 of the Detroit Tigers misses the catch against the Houston Astros during a Spring Training game at Osceola County Stadium March 2, 2007 in Kissimmee, Florida. The Tigers won 13-8. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

As Carlos Guillen prepares for his return to the Detroit Tigers, the rest of the outfielders prepare for another round of musical lineup.

The rules are simple, when the DL stint ends, players scramble to fill a needed role. A one way trip out of town is awarded to the last guy standing.

It looks like Ryan Raburn may be that guy.

Curtis Granderson and Marcus Thames are both safe, of course, filling the respective roles of leadoff center fielder and power-hitting designated hitter.

The veteran Magglio Ordonez has been treading on thin ice for some time, but it doesn’t appear that the Tigers are ready to part ways with Magglio just yet. His grand slam last night paired with the .313 average he has posted against lefties gives hope that the right field platoon may succeed.

Josh Anderson has been struggling at the plate, and could be a potential victim. Josh has hit below .230 in the months of May, June, and July, but his speed is still valuable.

More importantly, Josh is out of minor league options.

Clete Thomas still has options remaining—he’s in his second option year—but he’s been one of the Tigers’ hottest hitters this month at .421. He’s also currently the left-handed half of the right field platoon, and left-handed bats have been hard for this team to come by.

That leaves Ryan Raburn.

Raburn is in his last option year, so he can still be sent freely to the minor leagues. It’s not that Raburn has played poorly, it’s just that he won’t fill a needed role once Guillen returns.

The Tigers simply don’t need another right-handed .260 hitter with average speed, average power, and average defensive ability.

I would be surprised if Raburn was down for good though. At some point, the Tigers will have to decided what to do with Magglio Ordonez.

If they opt to release him, Raburn would be a likely candidate to replace him.