Yesterday, the Tigers called up Wilkin Ramirez and made him a Major League leadoff hitter for one day. After the game, he was returned to Toledo along with Dusty Ryan. Catcher Alex Avila and pitcher Chris Lambert will be taking their places on the roster. Avila will also need to be added to the 40 man roster, although Billfer points out that they probably won't need to use an option. The talented but inexperienced Avila (drafted just last year) has had a very encouraging season for AA Erie posting a .806 OPS up to this point. He has not, however, hit well as of late with just a .673 OPS over the past four weeks.
The addition of Lambert is no surprise as everyone knew the Tigers would not go with 11 pitchers for long. The Avila move was totally unexpected though. I believe Avila and second baseman Scott Sizemore are the two best prospects in the system but I was not expecting Avila to be in the Majors until next year at the earliest.
I'm not sure how much Avila will be playing. Is he just being called up to replace Ryan as a backup to play once or twice a week? Or will they give the left-handed hitter more of a chance to try to spark the offense? If it's the former, then I'm not sure why they didn't just stick with Ryan rather than use up a 40 man roster spot which may become more valuable after the season. If it's the latter, then I think the expectations are unrealistic. I see it as a desperation move similar to the Cameron Maybin callup two years ago. Other Tigers bloggers seem to agree with that assessment:
Mack Avenue Tigers
Detroit Tigers Weblog
Fire Jim Leyland
On the other hand, posters at my favorite fan forum are divided on the issue: