Wilkin Ramirez looks up after being caught stealing during a recent game against Buffalo. Ramirez's contract was designated for assignment by the Tigers on Wednesday (Brian Calloway photo)

He had all the tools and was highly regarded by many in the Tigers organization.

Wilkin Ramirez was one of those five-tool prospects who could do it all. He could hit for power, he had the speed. The tremendous amount of talent the 24-year old outfielder had resulted in two appearances in the Futures game – signifying that Ramirez is a star in the making.

Yet somehow, Ramirez still hasn’t been able to put up the numbers to match his raw potential.

This seemed to  be a make-or-break season for Ramirez, who spent some time in the bigs last season and made some positive things happen.

With Ramirez not producing numbers the Tigers would have liked, he was designated for assignment on Wednesday to make room for Jhonny Peralta, who was acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Indians.

With that, the Tigers have 10 days to decide what to do with Ramirez. He could get traded, released or placed on waivers. He likely will become one of the first players ever to play in a Futures game and then get designated for assignment that same month.

The appearance in the Futures Game likely has been the high in what has been a disappointing season for Ramirez. The season started with him getting demoted in a sense to Double-A Erie. Ramirez spent the 2009 season in Triple-A Toledo only to take a step backwards. The Tigers organization likely did that so Ramirez would get daily playing time and not have to rotate in a crowded Toledo outfield that featured Clete Thomas, Ryan Strieby, Jeff Frazier and Casper Wells.

Between stops at Erie and Toledo this season, Wilkin Ramirez was hitting .230 with 19 HRs, 56 RBIs and 144 strikeouts in 97 games. (B. Calloway photo)

Ramirez was hitting .241 with 15 homers and 42 RBIs when he was promoted back to Triple-A Toledo in June. Prior to getting DFA’d on Wednesday, Ramirez was batting .216 with four homers and 14 RBIs in 41 games with the Mud Hens. Not numbers you would expect from one of your elite prospects.

Between Erie and Toledo, Ramirez was hitting a combined .230 with 19 homers and 56 RBIs this season. Some alarming numbers include 144 strikeouts in 97 games and 12 stolen bases in 20 attempts (At Erie he stole five bases and was caught six times).

Cutting down on Ks was something Ramirez needed to do. With the down numbers across the board this season (Ramirez hit .258 with 17 HRs 51 RBIs and 33 steals while striking out 143 times in113 games last year at Toledo), it appears Ramirez has fallen out of favor with the Tigers. It’s unfortunate because Ramirez is still young. He could get it together in another couple of years and be the player the Tigers thought he was at one point of time. It appears he has run out of time with the organization.


Looking at the 40-man roster, the Tigers other options of players to DFA were the following:

Casper Wells – OF (Batting .207 with 15 HRs and 33 RBIs in 82 games; also has 86 strikeouts at Toledo)

Clete Thomas – OF (Hit .183 in 21 games with Toledo, out for the year with injury)

Ryan Strieby – OF (Hitting .243 with 15 doubles and 10 HRs and 48 RBIs in 73 games at Toledo)

Audy Ciriaco – SS/3B (hitting .241 with 9 HRs in 61 games at Double-A before promotion to Toledo)

Brent Dlugach -SS (hitting .267 with 38 RBIs and 20 doubles; has 21 errors)

Alfredo Figaro – P (9-6 with 3.91 ERA at Toledo, just named IL Pitcher of the Week)

Fu-Te Ni – P (lefty reliever has 9.72 ERA in nine games since being sent down to Toledo)

Daniel Schlerth – P  (Lefty was acquired in offseason trade from D’Backs; has 47 Ks in 40 innings and a 2.38 ERA out of the bullpen)

Bobby Seay / Zach Miner – P (Injured relief pitchers)

Jacob Turner / Andrew Oliver – P (Prized pitching prospects. Not a chance they would have been DFA’d)

Note that this was probably made more difficult because of the injuries to Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen. That forced the Tigers to put Will Rhymes and Jeff Larish on the 40-man roster and eliminate Casey Fien and Billy Buckner.

I think Ni and Thomas also could have been a viable options to DFA.