Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 11/20/12
The Ryan Raburn era in Detroit came to a quiet end Tuesday afternoon. In a press release announcing that the Tigers had added pitching prospects Melvin Mercedes and Bruce Rondon to the 40-man roster, along with shortstop Dixon Machado, there was a quiet mention that the Tigers had released Raburn. Raburn played seven seasons for the Tigers, playing six positions, but none of them very well. He made a habit of big second halves with the the bat, though, so he was expected to play a key role for the Tigers in 2012. It didn't happen, even after he was given the second-base job after Brandon Inge was released. Raburn finished the season on the sidelines, injured at the end of a year where he hit .171 with only one homer in 66 games, and was expected to leave the organization. He'll be replaced on the 40-man roster by Machado, a spectcular defensive shortstop who has never shown the slightest sign of being able to hit in the high minors, much less the majors. In four minor-league seasons, none above Single-A, he's a career .221 hitter with five homers in 356 games. This season, playing for Lakeland, he hit .195 with on-base percentages and slugging percentages under .300. Rondon, of course, is being groomed to be Detroit's closer. He played in the Futures Game this year in Kansas City and was named the Tigers' Minor League Pitcher of the Year, compiling a 1.53 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 53 innings between Lakeland, Erie and Toledo. With Jose Valverde gone, Rondon could be playing a key role in Detroit's bullpen as soon as April. Mercedes is another relief prospect, but one for down the road. At 22, he pitched well in relief for West Michigan, and will probably start this season in Lakeland.
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