Non Roster Invitee: Robinzon Diaz – Tigers

I struggled with this pick. Enrique Gonzalez, Robinzon Diaz and Jeff Larish all were options and alas I went with Diaz. Diaz spent some time with Pittsburgh last season and Alex Avila, who is on the 40-man roster, keeps hitting this spring a part of me thinks the Tigers may want to send him back to Triple-A to start the season instead of being Gerald Larid’s backup.

The biggest knocks against Avila are the biggest plus’ to Diaz making the roster. Avila who was drafted in 2008 (after the Tigers tried to draft him in 2005) has just 631 minor league at-bats. While he’s done well with a .280/.372/.424 line sitting him on the bench isn’t going to help him get any better this season. This is not a Jason Heyward situation as Heyward would be playing in the Braves outfield while Avila would be sitting behind Laird.

There’s no doubt the Tigers have Avila on the roster for the long haul but do they keep him on the roster out of spring training?

Diaz, 26, has 2523 plate appearances in 8 minor league seasons. He has no where near the upside of Avila but he’s always compiled a solid average and actually has a pretty good arm behind the plate.

If Laird goes into a prolonged slump it’s Avila who replaces him but if he needs a day off Diaz is the better bet.

Had Jeff Larish not been removed from the Tigers 40-man roster this winter then he’d be a great candidate to make the club but then he also wouldn’t be a non roster invitee so I couldn’t write about him. There’s a great chance he makes it back to the majors this season, it just might not be with Detroit.

Non-Roster Invitees
Pitchers B/T Ht Wt DOB
67 Phil Dumatrait R/L 6-2 205 07/12/81
62 Enrique Gonzalez R/R 5-10 225 07/14/82
64 Josh Rainwater R/R 6-2 220 04/09/85
70 Cody Satterwhite R/R 6-4 205 01/27/87
72 Robbie Weinhardt R/R 6-2 205 12/08/85
Catchers B/T Ht Wt DOB
66 Robinzon Diaz R/R 5-11 215 09/19/83
74 John Murrian R/R 6-2 215 06/15/88
71 Mike Rabelo S/R 6-1 200 01/17/80
75 Eric Roof L/R 6-5 185 11/15/86
63 Max St. Pierre R/R 6-0 175 04/17/80
Infielders B/T Ht Wt DOB
65 Kory Casto L/R 6-0 215 12/08/81
19 Jeff Larish L/R 6-2 200 10/11/82
73 Gustavo Nunez S/R 5-10 170 02/08/88