Lefty reliever will get shot at filling bullpen need
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Tigers will leave baseball's Winter Meetings with a left-handed reliever after all. It's just not quite the kind of deal anyone expected.
Though the Tigers didn't directly select anyone in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, they used the Brewers to move up high enough to take some lefty relief help. Milwaukee drafted Cubs farmhand Edward Campusano, then dealt him to Detroit for cash. He'll be the first Rule 5 pick in Tigers camp since 2004, and he'll have the chance to be the first impact Rule 5 pitcher for Detroit since it stocked its bullpen with Wilfredo Ledezma, Matt Roney and Chris Spurling in 2003.
"We feel he's definitely a guy that can compete for a bullpen job in Spring Training," assistant general manager Al Avila said.
The 24-year-old Campusano split the 2006 season between low Class A Peoria and Double-A West Tenn, posting a combined 2-1 record and 1.46 ERA with 25 saves in 44 games. He struck out 71 batters over 55 1/3 innings while holding opposing batters to a .188 average.
It was his first full season of work after pitching no more than 23 games in each of his first three professional seasons, none of them above low-A ball. He has a lanky 6-foot-4 frame, similar to Ledezma, but relies more on movement with a sharp slider and changeup to go with a low-90s mph fastball.
He was intriguing enough, Tigers officials said, that they might have selected him even had they added a Major League lefty reliever during these meetings. Had he not been available, Dombrowski said, they would not have made a selection. They had an agreement with the Brewers to move up in the draft, knowing that Campusano had been receiving some attention and would likely have been taken by the time Detroit's own selection had come up.
"We feel he's got good makeup," Avila said, "and he's a competitor on the field. A lot of things added up, and we liked him. From the scouting reports, he can get righties and lefties out."
The same rules apply as if the Tigers had selected Campusano themselves in the Rule 5 Draft. He must remain on Detroit's 25-man roster or the disabled list for the entire 2007 season, or else be offered back to the Cubs for $25,000.
"We wouldn't have taken him unless we thought he has a chance to help the club," president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "We liked him. He's got good stuff."
Most likely, he'll be the lone move the Tigers make at these Winter Meetings. Though the Tigers continued talks with clubs Wednesday night, including reported interest from the Orioles in outfielder Marcus Thames, no trades came about. Most teams will have their officials leave town Thursday afternoon, while the Tigers plan to spend the rest of the day in meetings on organizational hitting before returning to Detroit on Friday.
The Tigers lost one Minor Leaguer in the Rule 5 process. Christhian Martinez, a right-handed pitcher who topped out this past season at Class A Lakeland, was selected by the Marlins in the Double-A phase of the Draft.
http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/NASApp/ml ... p&c_id=det