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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chance Ruffin the PTBNL in Fister-Pauley trade

The worst-kept secret in the world, Chance Ruffin was announced Wednesday as the player-to-be-named-later in the trade-deadline deal with Seattle for Doug Fister and David Pauley.

Of course, the Tigers also gave up a pair of rookies, OF Casper Wells and LHP Charlie Furbush, as well as minor-league 3B Francisco Martinez. Wells, in particular, has been hot since the July 30 trade, hitting .341 with five home runs and 12 RBI in 12 games, matching or exceeding his 64-game totals with the Tigers in both categories. Furbush is 2-1 in three starts with the Mariners, but has a 4.76 ERA and a WHIP of 1.294.

Ruffin — considered a potential closer down the road — had a two-appearance cup of coffee with the Tigers in late July, posting a 4.91 ERA in 3.2 innings. He was the second of two supplemental-round picks in last year's draft, and could not be named in a trade until he'd been in baseball for one full year. Tuesday was the anniversary of his signing.

When you consider the two players — minor league pitchers Cole Nelson and Lester Oliveros — given up for Delmon Young in Monday's waiver-trade with Minnesota, and the two Class A players — LHP Antonio Cruz and C Julio Rodriguez — sent to Kansas City for Wilson Betemit on July 20, and the Tigers have divested themselves of eight minor league prospects in the span of six weeks.

While Cruz, Rodriguez and Nelson were probably nothing more than organizational players, the other five were all among the organization's best youngsters. The preseason rankings of one website ( had the five all among Detroit's top 20 prospects — No. 5 (Martinez), No. 6 (Ruffin), No. 10 (Wells), No. 13 (Furbush) and No. 20 (Oliveros).

All but Martinez had at least one appearance in the majors this season.

You can look at that as a LOT to give up in 42 days, or you can look at it like the Tigers got a starting pitcher, a starting outfielder, a key reliever and a part-time infielder for the stretch drive in a pennant race. Depends on if you're glass half-full or glass half-empty.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t turned into two everyday players for the Tigers.

Despite the excitement when the Tigers traded for Betemit, he’s played in only 17 of 25 games since the deal. Don Kelly and Ryan Raburn have both started in that spot in the other games. Kelly was in the starting lineup at third for Wednesday's game.

Manager Jim Leyland said Wednesday that he felt Betemit — hitting .316 and slugging .474 as a Tiger — is a better player when only used as a part-time starter, rather than playing every day.

Brandon Inge, who was designated for assignment and sent to Toledo to work on his swing, has said it was promised that he’d return when the rosters expand on Sept. 1. Leyland said Wednesday that he was considering using Inge against left-handers in September.

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