Detroit Tigers – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-03-24T12:10:47Z Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Central Notes: Indians, Naquin, Refsnyder, Reds, Miley, Cabrera]]> 2018-03-23T02:39:14Z 2018-03-23T02:27:29Z Tyler Naquin and Rob Refsnyder are still competing for a potential spot on the Indians’ opening day roster, and Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal tweets that manager Terry Francona has explained some details to them. Francona reportedly told the two players that the spot won’t simply go to the guy who gets the most hits over the last week, and that roster construction could be the biggest factor. For instance, if Brandon Guyer and/or Michael Brantley aren’t ready in time for opening day, Naquin and Refsnyder would stand a better chance to make the club out of camp. Whether the club chooses to carry seven or eight relievers will also affect their fates. It’s worth noting that Tyler Naquin has multiple options remaining, while Rob Refsnyder is an out-of-options player.

More out of the midwest…

  • In a piece for The Athletic, Doug Gray details ten Reds prospects to keep an eye on for the coming season. The players in the article aren’t necessarily top prospects, but rather a group of under-the-radar players who Gray describes as “unheralded”. The list includes right-handers Nick Hanson and Ryan Hendrix, $10MM shortstop Jose Garcia, and Brandon Phillips’ cousin Montrell Marshall. Many of these players have significant upside and are worth the exploration by any Reds fan, or indeed any avid baseball follower.
  • Wade Miley’s opt-out date has been pushed back, Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports on Twitter. The southpaw seemed likely to make the Brewers’ rotation before suffering a torn groin that’s expected to keep him out two to four weeks. Miley could have opted out of his contract tomorrow after being informed that he wouldn’t make the opening day roster, but GM David Stearns apparently worked out a deal with his agent. Miley’s opt-out date has been extended until the point at which he’s able to start pitching again.
  • Two-time MVP Miguel Cabrera is stuck in “baseball purgatory”, says Scott Miller in an opinion piece for Bleacher Report. Miller describes Cabrera as “an island unto himself”, on a rebuilding Tigers team that will not likely be able to deal him and the $192MM remaining on his contract, particularly coming off the worst season of his career wherein he was plagued by back issues. For his part, Cabrera doesn’t seem to be focused on that aspect of his situation. “I’m here to play,” he says. “I’m not here to give my opinion of what’s going to happen. I’m here to do my job, to help win games and to help the process.” 
Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Franklin Perez Out Three Months With Strained Lat]]> 2018-03-20T00:28:29Z 2018-03-20T00:28:29Z Top Tigers prospect Franklin Perez has been diagnosed with a right lat strain, per a team announcement. Though he isn’t expected to require surgery, Perez is going to be sidelined for “a minimum of 12 weeks.”

Perez, 20, was the centerpiece of the major, last-second swap that sent Justin Verlander from Detroit to the eventual world-champion Astros. He’s widely considered the Tigers’ top prospect and one of the fifty or so most promising pre-MLB players in baseball.

Certainly, the near-term Detroit rotation won’t be any different as a result of this news. Despite his immense promise, Perez was not going to be on the major-league roster to open the season. And there’s no reason to expect that Perez’s anticipated timeline for MLB readiness will be drastically altered — let alone that this is an injury that could jeopardize his future.

Still, the timing of the injury means that Perez will at least lose something like half of the coming season. With the Tigers sure to take an ultra-cautious approach to his rehab, and the need for a full reset of his throwing program, Perez may be sidelined for quite some time.

It’s certainly possible, then, that Perez’s ultimate MLB debut will end up being pushed back somewhat owing to the lat problem, which the team says arose in a recent minor-league spring outing. Given that he reached the Double-A level in 2017, Perez might have profiled as a potential candidate for a promotion as soon as the middle of the coming season.

While it would be foolish to guess at when Perez might now first be considered for a first appearance at the game’s highest level, the situation is now different for the rebuilding Tigers. That may not entirely be a bad thing — perhaps the club won’t face a service-time quandary this time next year, for instance — though surely the preference would be for the club’s prized farmhand to have a full and healthy season of development.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mike Fiers Could Open Season On DL]]> 2018-03-19T19:29:14Z 2018-03-19T17:21:50Z
  • Tigers righty Mike Fiersback issues could force him to start the season on the disabled list, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press relays. If so, both Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd would make a Detroit rotation whose only sure bets at the moment are Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann and Francisco Liriano. The Tigers guaranteed Fiers $6MM over the winter with the hope that he’d grab a starting spot, but he hasn’t made a good case for himself this spring, having surrendered 12 earned runs on 10 hits and eight walks, with seven strikeouts, in 11 1/3 innings. Nevertheless, thanks to his veteran status, the Tigers are willing to give the 32-year-old Fiers “leeway,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. As such, if Fiers is healthy, he’ll be in their season-opening rotation.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tigers Not Considering Relief Role For Daniel Norris]]> 2018-03-18T04:42:57Z 2018-03-18T04:42:51Z
  • Whether he begins the season in the majors or at Triple-A, Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris will continue to work as a starter, general manager Al Avila informed Katie Strang of The Athletic (subscription required). “Right now, I would say, for me that’s not in his future,” Avila said when asked if Norris could fill a relief role. “Because we all believe he is a starting pitcher.” The 24-year-old Norris is competing for a job in a Tigers rotation mix that lacks certainty beyond Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann and Francisco Liriano. Mike Fiers, whom the Tigers signed in free agency with the idea that he’d occupy a starting spot, has “been bad” this spring, in part because he’s dealing with back issues, according to Avila.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Central Notes: Suarez, Mahle, Romano, Garrett, Kirby, Tigers]]> 2018-03-17T15:02:26Z 2018-03-17T15:02:26Z Mark Sheldon of posits that the Redsextension of Eugenio Suarez is a sign that the club is making an effort to keep a young core of players together for the foreseeable future, alongside potential future Hall-of-Famer Joey Votto. In the companion video, GM Dick Williams speaks highly of Suarez, particularly in regards to his defensive capabilities. “This is one of the premier defenders in the league,” says Williams. “At third base he’s established himself as one of the best young players in the league… he’s an offensive force, defensive force, leader in the clubhouse, say no more.” It’s interesting that Williams so specifically refers to Suarez as a third baseman, given the speculation that the former shortstop might slide back to his old position to make room for top prospect Nick Senzel. The GM’s comments seem to suggest the possibility that the destination of Senzel’s path to the majors isn’t the hot corner.

    More from some non-coastal ballclubs…

    • In other Reds news, the starting rotation picture is beginning to gain some clarity beyond Homer Bailey and Luis Castillo, who appear to be the only locks following injuries to Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan. Per a tweet from C. Trent Rosencrans of The Athletic, manager Bryan Price says that Sal Romano and Tyler Mahle “may have separated themselves from the pack a little bit” in the rotation competition. A piece by John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer contains quotes that line up with this tweet, perhaps also suggesting that lefty Amir Garrett is tabbed for a spot if Finnegan’s injury sidelines him to start the season. “With the way Romano and Mahle have thrown in camp, they’ve certainly put themselves in the lead,” Price said, via Fay’s article. “I think with the way Amir has thrown has created an opportunity to jump in there in the rotation and get a start against the Diamondbacks and get stretched out.”
    • Brewers prospect Nathan Kirby is finally healthy and determined to establish himself as a valuable pitcher, writes Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Rosiak describes Kirby as something of a “forgotten man” in Milwaukee’s system for the past two and a half years. The 24-year-old was drafted 40th overall by the organization back in 2015, but has since undergone two surgeries on his left elbow (a Tommy John operation and another for ulnar neuritis). Though Kirby ranked near the bottom on most Milwaukee prospect lists, he was a large part of the University of Virginia’s first College World Series title, and would seem to have the potential to rise through the Brewers’ farm system quickly if he can stay healthy this season.
    • Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press tweets that the Tigers remain on the lookout for veteran insurance for their starting rotation. The organization is reportedly concerned about the dependability of its starting rotation as a whole; their current options include Michael Fulmer, Francisco Liriano, Mike Fiers, Jordan Zimmerman, Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris. Alex Cobb tops the list of available free agent starters, while Scott Feldman, Trevor Cahill and Clay Buchholz are some other interesting arms that remain on the market.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Offseason In Review: Detroit Tigers]]> 2018-03-23T18:31:30Z 2018-03-16T23:41:41Z This is the latest entry in MLBTR’s 2017-18 Offseason In Review series.  Click here to read the other completed reviews from around the league.

    The rebuilding Tigers did much of their heavy lifting on the trade front last summer, when they shipped out Justin Upton, Justin Verlander, Justin Wilson and J.D. Martinez, leading to a relatively quiet winter for the team that holds the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft. GM Al Avila and his staff made a handful of small-scale free-agent pickups and one notable trade as they continue to look toward the future.

    Major League Signings

    Notable Minor League Signings

    Trades and Claims

    Notable Losses

    Needs Addressed

    The primary need for the Tigers over the past year-plus has simply been to build up a farm system that was depleted by years of aggressive “win-now” moves that left the minor league ranks perilously thin. In that same vein, paring back the big league payroll to clear room for future commitments has been paramount.

    With that in mind, the Tigers surprised no one when they moved their top remaining trade chip: Ian Kinsler. A saturated market for second basemen and a sub-par 2017 season at the plate held down Kinsler’s value on the trade market, and his limited no-trade protection tied Avila’s hands. Detroit ultimately landed outfielder Troy Montgomery (ranked 26th among Tigers farmhands by and righty Wikel Hernandez in exchange for the veteran, shedding $12MM in 2018 payroll in the process.

    Turning to the 2018 roster, while it certainly wouldn’t behoove the Tigers to spend heavily on rotation upgrades in a season where they’re likely to be one of the league’s worst teams, Detroit unquestionably lacked starting depth. Jordan Zimmermann has struggled enormously in his first two seasons with the Tigers. Michael Fulmer was coming off ulnar nerve transposition surgery. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris have displayed flashes of potential but have not yet solidified themselves as long-term rotation cogs. Beyond that, the team’s options were thin.

    Affordable deals for Mike Fiers and Francisco Liriano give the Tigers a pair of veteran stopgaps who could potentially become trade assets themselves this summer. In Fiers’ case, if he thrives in Detroit, he’s also controllable for the 2019 season via arbitration, making him all the more logical a piece. It’s cliche to call Liriano mercurial at this point, but the lefty has long shown a wide variance of outcomes on a season to season basis, and if the Tigers can get him to harness his control, he could net a semi-interesting piece this summer. Adding that pair could mean that Norris begins the year in Triple-A, whereas the out-of-options Boyd is a lock to make the roster.

    The Tigers faced a similar dearth of outfield options and, accordingly, made a similarly low-cost stopgap acquisition in signing Leonys Martin to a one-year pact. Like Fiers, he’s controllable through the 2019 season via arbitration and could either emerge as a trade piece this summer or an affordable option over a two-year term. The fleet-footed veteran gives the Tigers an above-average defender in center field who can provide value on the bases even if his bat doesn’t bounce back to its 2013-14 and 2016 levels.

    Detroit was undoubtedly pleased with the contributions of John Hicks at backup catcher last year, but given his lack of a track record in the Majors they brought in veterans such as Derek Norris, Brayan Pena and Jarrod Saltalamacchia as minor league depth options. The need for a utility infielder led to a comparable blend of minor league signings in Alexi Amarista, Pete Kozma and Niko Goodrum.

    Questions Remaining

    The list of remaining questions for the Tigers, as one would expect in the early stages of a rebuild, is plentiful. At present, the team lacks clear long-term options at both middle-infield positions and all around the outfield. Detroit’s system, at least, is stacked with outfield prospects, including Daz Cameron, Derek Hill and Christin Stewart, among many others. The infield, however, is murkier. While there’s some hope that Dawel Lugo (acquired in the J.D. Martinez trade) and Isaac Paredes (Justin Wilson/Alex Avila trade) could hold down infield spots in the long term, neither is considered a elite prospect by national outlets. That, of course, hardly means they won’t establish themselves as regulars, but it’s worth noting that the vast majority of Detroit’s top-ranked prospects are pitchers and outfielders.

    That’s all the more problematic with Jose Iglesias in his final year of control and likely to be traded this summer. Dixon Machado has yet to prove his mettle in the Majors but will be handed the keys at second base. The lack of infield depth made the Tigers a logical suitor for someone like Neil Walker from my vantage point, as he’d have pushed Machado to a utility role (until Iglesias was traded at the very least) and could’ve emerged as a trade chip himself. Perhaps Walker wasn’t interested in signing with a rebuilding club, or perhaps the Tigers simply felt it better to give Machado everyday at-bats sooner rather than later. Regardless, their lack of infield depth seems fairly glaring.

    Perhaps, then, that’ll be a potential area of focus as the Tigers look to do some further summer shopping on the trade market. Offseason pickups such as Fiers, Liriano and Martin all figure to be widely available, as do Iglesias and corner outfielder Nicholas Castellanos, both of whom were shopped this offseason but ultimately remained with the club. (The Tigers also reportedly explored extension talks with Castellanos, but it doesn’t seem as if the sides gained much traction.)

    The larger question facing Detroit this summer will no doubt be whether the time is right to cash in on larger chips such as presumptive closer Shane Greene and, much more significantly, ace Michael Fulmer. While Fulmer in particular could be viewed as a building block, he’ll also likely be considered a difference-maker to contenders looking to bolster their rotations leading up to a postseason push.

    The Tigers will be marketing a whopping four and a half years of control over Fulmer, which could lead to franchise-altering offers of young talent for the 2016 Rookie of the Year. Detroit, no doubt, would only move him for an otherworldly return given the lack of urgency to market him, but teams figure to line up with enticing offers. Scoring a big return in what feels like an increasingly likely trade of Fulmer — be it this summer or at some later point in the next 18 months — could rapidly accelerate the rebuild for Al Avila & Co.

    Beyond that, this is largely a season where the Tigers will need to find out what they have in some key young pieces. Can Daniel Norris and Boyd cement themselves as big league starters? (And, if so, could they also be marketed this July or next winter? Norris actually has less team control remaining than Fulmer.) Can Jeimer Candelario establish himself as a starting-caliber third baseman? Is JaCoby Jones an everyday option in the outfield or more of a utility piece? It’s a critical year for several young pieces around the roster as the Tigers evaluate who will comprise the core of their next contending roster.


    The Tigers brought in several stopgap options, as one would typically expect from a rebuilding club, but they held off on cashing in on some of their more appealing chips in Michael Fulmer and Shane Greene. Both could find themselves on the market again this winter, along with a host of other names, as Detroit still looks to be years away from once again emerging as a perennial threat. While last year’s deadline deals were as much about shedding salary as they were acquiring talent, their July maneuverings will take a different tone this summer, as they’ll be marketing more affordable and (in some cases) controllable assets.

    Those deals, paired with the expiration of Victor Martinez’s contract following the 2018 season, should help push the Tigers’ rebuild to the next stage, though the ultimate progress of that rebuilding effort will be largely dependent on whether their young assets that’ve already reached the Majors can break out in 2018. The Tigers have done quite a bit of maintenance on their long-term payroll since embarking on this rebuild, and their farm is in much better shape, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.

    How do you grade the Tigers’ offseason efforts? (Link for app users.)

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Gardenhire On Fiers' Spring Struggles]]> 2018-03-16T14:16:06Z 2018-03-16T14:16:06Z
  • Right-hander Mike Fiers’ struggles this spring haven’t yet put his rotation spot in jeopardy, though Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire suggested that the 32-year-old offseason signee would be well-served to show some positive signs in the final weeks of camp (via Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press). “We’re planning on this guy being in,” Gardenhire said of Fiers, who has been torched for 12 runs (including four homers) in 11 1/3 frames this spring. “…But at the end of the day, when we get down to the end here, we have to make some decisions and we’re going to go with the guys that are getting it done and right now, he’s just gotta fight through it because he’s a veteran.” Gardenhire later added that Fiers’ veteran status will buy him a bit more leeway than the team’s younger arms. As Fenech notes, Fiers has been unequivocally outpitched by lefty Daniel Norris, but Norris has a minor league option remaining and could head to Triple-A to open the season.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[TIgers Weighing Roster Spot For Victor Reyes]]> 2018-03-15T21:17:51Z 2018-03-15T03:34:30Z
  • The Tigers are deliberating over the fate of Rule 5 pick Victor Reyes, as Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press writes. Skipper Ron Gardenhire says it’s “honestly a really big one” — decision, that is — for the rebuilding organization. It could come down to Reyes and fellow outfielder JaCoby Jones, who has had a strong spring but can still be optioned. Interestingly, Fenech says the Tigers tried and failed to get Reyes in the J.D. Martinez trade, despite the fact that he came available just months later via the Rule 5. Gardenhire discussed the matter at some length, noting that Reyes could be a functional player even though he’s clearly not quite as polished as would be hoped. “I know where we’re at as an organization,” said Gardenhire. “We’re talking about developing and all those things so I think I can use him.”
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Francisco Liriano Vying For Rotation Spot With Tigers]]> 2018-03-13T02:21:23Z 2018-03-13T00:32:51Z
  • Francisco Liriano has been vying for a job in either the Tigers’ bullpen or rotation, and Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press writes that it seems like he’s set to open the year as the team’s fifth starter. Manager Ron Gardenhire spoke confidently of Liriano’s ability to hold down one of those five spots. “As a veteran, experienced arm, I fully expect him to be in our rotation if he’s healthy and doing what he can do,” said Gardenhire. With Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, Mike Fiers, and the out-of-options Matt Boyd all seeming likely to hold down rotation spots as well, that could very well be a signal that southpaw Daniel Norris is ticketed for Triple-A Toledo to open the season.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Tigers Notes: Liriano, Draft]]> 2018-03-12T03:37:16Z 2018-03-12T03:00:17Z
  • Health permitting, Francisco Liriano has clinched a spot in the Tigers rotation, manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters (including’s Jason Beck).  Liriano worked exclusively out of the bullpen down the stretch for the Astros last season after struggling in 17 starts for the Blue Jays.  Now that he’s regained a foothold as a starter, however, Liriano will join Michael Fulmer in Detroit’s starting five with the other three spots to be contested between Jordan Zimmermann, Mike Fiers, Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd.  With Boyd out of options and Zimmermann and Fiers both under MLB contracts, Norris could be the odd man out, as he still has a minor league option remaining.
  • The Tigers are still scouting and evaluating several potential candidates for the first overall pick in June’s amateur draft, team director of amateur scouting Scott Pleis tells The Athletic’s Katie Strang (subscription required).  The process is still “wide open now,” Pleis said, and “after we get later into March and into April, we’ll have an idea — or narrow it down more, is what I should say.”  The interview contains lots of interesting tidbits about what Pleis and the Tigers value in a prospect, with a particular focus on the player’s makeup and character.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Al Avila: Tigers "Done" Adding Free Agents]]> 2018-03-11T17:41:46Z 2018-03-11T16:48:17Z
  • The rebuilding Tigers won’t be adding any more free agents prior to the season, according to general manager Al Avila. “No, we’re done for now,” Avila told Jon Morosi of MLB Network on Saturday. “We said we were going to try to sign two pitchers, and we signed two pitchers. As far as free agents, we’re done” (Twitter link). Unsurprisingly, it was a modest offseason for Detroit; aside from those two pitchers (Mike Fiers and Francisco Liriano), its only other guaranteed contract went to outfielder Leonys Martin. Those three will earn a combined $11.75MM in 2018.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[AL Central Notes: Escobar, Morrison, Robert, Merryweather, Mize]]> 2018-03-10T17:00:21Z 2018-03-10T17:00:21Z Alcides Escobar returns to the Royals with a not-so-lofty goal in sight, Rustin Dodd writes in a piece for The Athletic. Kansas City’s long-time shortstop wants to finish the season with an on-base percentage above .300 for the first time since the 2014 season. He says that he’s working on “taking a lot of pitches each at-bat” and trying to avoid swinging at bad pitches, both of which seem like obvious things to work on. Escobar owns a career OBP of just .294, and his .272 figure last year was the second-lowest among qualified MLB hitters (Rougned Odor’s .252 was the lowest, for those keeping track). That .272 mark for “Esky” was the result of drawing just 15 walks, his lowest full-season total ever.

    A roundup of some other news items out of the AL Central…

    • Recent Twins signee Logan Morrison reportedly suffered a right glute strain while running the bases on Wednesday, according to Rhett Bollinger of He was held out of Friday’s game, and is expected to miss today’s matchup as well. However, the injury isn’t considered serious. Minnesota brought the former Tampa Bay first baseman into the fold with a $6.5MM guarantee that includes a vesting option. He hit .246/.353/.516 last season with the Rays while smacking a career-high 38 home runs.
    • The White Sox are dealing with a more significant injury. Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribute tweets that farmhand Luis Robert has a moderate thumb sprain. Daryl Van Schouwen provides further details on the situation with his own tweet, adding that GM Rick Hahn expects the young outfielder to be immobilized in a cast for six weeks, and to be held out of game action for ten. Robert hit a phenomenal .310/.491/.536 in Rookie ball last season; Baseball Prospectus ranks him as the South Siders’ fifth best prospect, and number 55 overall.
    • Continuing with injury news, Indians prospect Julian Merryweather will officially undergo Tommy John surgery after recently being diagnosed with a UCL sprain in his throwing elbow, according to Jordan Bastian of The right-hander was a fifth-round pick by the Tribe during a 2014 draft in which the club also landed Bradley Zimmer, Triston McKenzie and Bobby Bradley. Merryweather had been solid at all levels of the minors before struggling to a 6.58 ERA across 16 starts at Triple-A Columbus last season, though his 3.89 xFIP suggests he dealt with some unfortunate homer/fly ball luck.
    • Auburn right-hander Casey Mize is “the name to watch” for the Tigers as we approach the 2018 June amateur draft, says Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. After skidding to a 68-94 record last season, Detroit owns the number one overall pick in the draft, and as Passan notes, the club loves big college arms. Mize threw a no-hitter last night and was throwing 96 MPH up through the ninth inning. Scouts in attendance say he was throwing a “filthy split” as well.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 3/9/18]]> 2018-03-10T03:51:27Z 2018-03-09T19:37:45Z Here are the day’s minor moves:

    • UPDATED: After previously indicating the Tigers had agreed with righty Donovan Hand on a minor-league deal, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston now tweets that the deal was only close to completion. Hand is still unsigned at this point. Now 31, he was a useful member of the Brewers staff in 2013 but hasn’t seen a significant MLB opportunity since. Hand pitched in the upper minors for the Mets last year, working to a 5.99 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 139 2/3 total frames.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Agree To Minor League Deal With Jarrod Saltalamacchia]]> 2018-03-09T15:25:42Z 2018-03-09T15:25:42Z The Tigers have agreed to a minor league contract with veteran catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, MLBTR has confirmed.’s Jason Beck first tweeted that Saltalamacchia showed up at the Tigers’ Spring Training facility. Saltalamacchia is represented by ACES.

    This will mark the second go-around with the Tigers for Saltalamacchia, as the switch-hitting veteran also spent the 2016 campaign in Detroit. Salty got off to a fast start in ’16, carrying an OPS north of .900 through the month of April and managing to keep that mark at a solid .776 through the end of June. However, his offensive output cratered from that point forth, as he hit just .128/.237/.231 in his final 139 plate appearances of the season.

    Last year, Saltalamacchia spent time in the Blue Jays organization, appearing in 10 big league games and 33 games in Triple-A while struggling mightily at each level (.515 OPS in Triple-A). Those struggles continued into a stint in the Mexican Winter League. He’d been working out at the free-agent Spring Training camp at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., prior to landing back with the Tigers.

    Detroit has plenty of catching depth on hand at present, with James McCann slated to start and John Hicks in line to be his primary backup. Derek Norris has also been competing for that job on a non-roster deal in Spring Training and has performed quite well at the plate in limited action thus far. Fellow veteran Brayan Pena is also in Tigers camp, giving them yet another option (and another former Tiger) who could serve as depth in Triple-A.

    It’s possible that one or both of Norris or Pena will ultimately land with another organization if he cannot crack the big league roster out of camp. In that instance, Saltalamacchia could occupy a spot in Triple-A Toledo to open the season. He could also simply use this opportunity with the Tigers as a means of giving other clubs a look at him for the next few weeks, at which point he, too, could land elsewhere.

    Rough as the 2016-17 seasons were for Saltalamacchia, the 32-year-old is not that far removed from a relatively productive five-year run during which he slashed .237/.309/.434 with 75 homers in 1966 plate appearances. While those numbers are hardly eye-catching, they did translate to a 101 OPS+, or roughly average production when factoring in league and home park. Relative to other catchers, in particular, Saltalamacchia was a more than viable offensive option during that stretch.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Release Travis Wood]]> 2018-03-08T13:52:24Z 2018-03-08T13:41:25Z The Tigers announced this morning that they’ve given lefty Travis Wood his unconditional release. Wood, 31, had been in camp on a minor league contract trying to make the big league pitching staff, but those hopes were dashed when he suffered a torn ACL while executing a rundown in his first start of the spring.

    Wood signed a two-year, $12MM deal with the Royals last offseason but struggled mightily in Kansas City and was traded to the Padres alongside Matt Strahm in the summer trade that netted the Royals Trevor Cahill, Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter. His fortunes didn’t turn in San Diego, though, and the Padres wound up releasing him this offseason despite the fact that the Royals are on the hook for the entirety of his 2018 salary. In all, Wood logged a disastrous 6.80 ERA and allowed 19 home runs in just 94 innings between the two teams in 2017.

    Grisly as those numbers were, the veteran lefty logged a tidy 2.95 ERA in 61 frames in 2016, and he was a generally useful arm in a five-year stint split between the Cubs’ rotation and bullpen, working to a cumulative 3.94 ERA through 691 1/3 innings from 2012-16 — including a 200-inning campaign for the Cubs in 2013.

    The ACL tear means that Wood will require surgical repair and miss the upcoming 2018 campaign, though he can likely find his way into big league camp with a club next spring once he’s recovered from the injury. SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweeted recently that if and when Wood was released, Detroit could potentially re-sign him to a new minor league pact.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[No Trade Interest In Miguel Cabrera]]> 2018-03-05T00:08:39Z 2018-03-05T00:08:39Z
  • Trade interest in Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera has been nonexistent, even though they’re “willing to assume some of the financial burden” of his contract, per Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Given that Cabrera owns one of the majors’ most onerous deals, doesn’t play a premium position and posted a shockingly poor 2017, his age-34 season, it’s no surprise he’s immovable. The future Hall of Famer is guaranteed a whopping $192MM through 2024, thanks to the eight-year, $248MM extension he signed in 2014. Cabrera was an MVP-caliber player when Detroit gave him that ill-fated pact, but he’s now coming off a season in which he batted a meager .249/.329/.399 with a noticeable power outage (16 home runs, .149 ISO) in 529 plate appearances.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Claim Jairo Labourt From Tigers]]> 2018-03-02T19:08:21Z 2018-03-02T19:06:25Z 1:06pm: The teams have announced the claim. Cincinnati transferred right-hander Rookie Davis to the 60-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list to clear space on the roster and has already optioned Labourt to minor league camp. Davis underwent hip surgery back in October.

    12:54pm: The Reds have claimed left-hander Jairo Labourt off waivers from the Tigers, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports (via Twitter). The Tigers designated Labourt for assignment earlier this week to clear a roster spot for Francisco Liriano.

    Labourt, 24 next week, made his big league debut with Detroit last season, appearing in six games and allowing three runs with four strikeouts against seven walks in six innings. Initially acquired from the Blue Jays in the trade that sent David Price to Toronto, Labourt posted excellent numbers in Class-A Advanced and in Double-A last season before stumbling when he reached Triple-A. He tossed 22 innings with the Tigers’ Toledo affiliate, and while his 2.45 ERA was strong he also issued 23 walks in those 22 frames.

    Control has long been an issue for Labourt, who has averaged 5.1 walks per nine innings pitched over the course of seven minor league seasons. But, he’s a fairly hard-throwing southpaw with a fastball sitting around 93 mph who averaged a career-best 10.7 K/9 in the minors this past season. The Tigers organization used Labourt exclusively as a reliever last year, though he’s made 87 starts in the minors as well. He’ll add another interesting young arm to a collection of unproven but promising pitchers in Cincinnati as he looks to hone his control and carve out a spot in the Majors. Labourt does have an option remaining as well, so he needn’t be exposed to waivers if he doesn’t break camp in the Reds’ bullpen.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Travis Wood Diagnosed With Torn ACL]]> 2018-03-02T15:56:40Z 2018-03-02T14:16:00Z The Tigers announced this morning that veteran left-hander Travis Wood, who is in camp on a minor league deal and competing for a roster spot, has been diagnosed with a torn ACL and medial meniscus in his left knee. Wood suffered the injury yesterday when executing a rundown in his Tigers debut. He’s weighing surgical options at present, per’s Jason Beck (Twitter link).

    The 31-year-old Wood inked a two-year, $12MM contract with the Royals last winter but struggled enormously both in Kansas City and in San Diego in 2017, working to an overall 6.80 ERA with 6.2 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 and a 1.8 HR/9 mark in 94 innings. He’s still owed $6.5MM in 2018, but the Royals agreed to pay the entirety of that sum when he was traded to San Diego, so the Tigers aren’t on the hook for any of that salary. Considerable as his ’17 struggles were, Wood totaled 161 2/3 innings with a 3.51 ERA, 9.2 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and 1.1 HR/9 between nine starts and 122 relief appearances for the Cubs from 2015-16.

    The injury takes him out of the equation for a roster spot in Detroit, though, and could very well end his 2018 season entirely before it truly begins. The Tigers currently have Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann and Mike Fiers in their rotation, with Alex Wilson, Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd and Francisco Liriano vying for the two remaining spots. The bullpen is even murkier, with Shane Greene locked in as the club’s closer but little certainty beyond that point. Wilson would return to the ’pen if he doesn’t win a rotation spot, and he’s likely to be joined by Daniel Stumpf and Joe Jimenez, though there’s a fairly wide-open competition for multiple relief jobs in Detroit.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Travis Wood Suffers Knee Sprain In Tigers Debut]]> 2018-03-01T20:00:45Z 2018-03-01T19:58:20Z The Tigers announced that lefty Travis Wood, who is in camp as a non-roster invitee, left his debut with a sprained left knee today. Wood suffered the injury in a rundown and, per’s Evan Woodbery, was “writhing on the ground” before eventually managing to limp off the field (Twitter link). Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press tweets that Wood was on crutches in the clubhouse following the injury. Wood, who was released by the Padres this offseason, was in competition either for a rotation or bullpen spot, though today’s injury certainly doesn’t bode well for his chances of doing so. More information on his status figures to be available after the game.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Francisco Liriano Discusses Signing With Tigers]]> 2018-02-25T05:04:18Z 2018-02-25T05:04:18Z
  • Familiarity with the Tigers’ coaching staff and an opportunity to start helped lead lefty Francisco Liriano to sign with the club, he told Evan Woodbery of and other reporters on Friday. The 34-year-old Liriano is now reunited with Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire, whom he played under as a Twin from 2005-12. “I feel playing for Gardy makes it easier for me, and also having the opportunity to start here,” said Liriano, who, for the first time in his career, is coming off a season in which he totaled more relief appearances (20) than starts (18). After working to a 5.66 ERA/4.64 FIP across a combined 97 frames with Toronto and Houston in 2017, Liriano will attempt to revive his career on a $4MM salary in Detroit.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[AL Central Notes: Santiago, Merritt, Liriano, Aybar]]> 2018-02-24T22:47:58Z 2018-02-24T22:47:58Z Hector Santiago, who came back to the White Sox this offseason on a minor-league deal, has come up with a strategy to combat the  fastball decline that often comes with aging, James Fegan of The Athletic writes. The southpaw plans to bring back the screwball he threw in his days as a rookie. “I have not gone a day this offseason or in spring training where I have not thrown a screwball,” he said. “I’ve thrown a screwball in both my BPs and my only bullpen. It’s almost taken over my changeup. Lot of people say it’s gone, but nah, I just substituted my changeup for my screwball and I throw a lot more screwballs than changeup.” Notably, his arm motion for the screwball is similar to that of his changeup, which could help with deception in his delivery as he uses both to play off his fastball. Fegan notes that Santiago could be at the “top of the heap” of the White Sox’ MiLB free agent arms, if he can return to health and effectiveness.

    A few other small items out of the AL Central…

    • Much has been made of the fact that young Indians lefty (and 2016 postseason hero) Ryan Merritt is out of options and faces an uphill battle to make the club’s rotation out of spring training. But the 26-year-old isn’t focused on that right now, writes’s Jordan Bastian. “I’m really not going to get caught up in what’s going to happen a month from now,” he said. “I can control today. And, when I show up tomorrow, I can control what I do that day.” Merritt has a career 1.74 ERA (albeit in just 20 2/3 major league innings), but is most famous for starting Game 5 of the 2016 ALCS for the Indians, allowing zero runs across his 4 1/3 innings against the Blue Jays. Cleveland would go on to win that game, punching their ticket to the World Series.
    • New Tigers lefty Francisco Liriano will compete for a spot in the club’s rotation during spring training, GM Al Avila says (via Jason Beck of However, if he’s unable to make the club in that capacity, he’s willing to pitch out of the bullpen. It’s possible that the 34-year-old’s best days are behind him, as he’s posted consecutive seasons with an ERA north of 4.60. Even as a reliever with the Astros last season, he posted a 4.40 ERA down the stretch with nearly as many walks as strikeouts. Still, if he can show some flashes of his peak performance with the Pirates from 2013-2015, he’d represent a solid option for a Tigers club that is largely devoid of secure rotation options outside of Michael Fulmer.
    • Erick Aybar recently signed with the Twins, but Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press tweets that the infielder had received interest from the Reds and Rangers as well. He reportedly chose the Twins because he liked their opportunity best. In a later tweet, Berardino reports that Aybar will make his spring training debut on Monday (though Aybar told manager Paul Molitor that he was ready to play in today’s matchup).
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Tigers Designate Jairo Labourt]]> 2018-02-23T22:56:40Z 2018-02-23T22:56:40Z The Tigers have designated lefty Jairo Labourt for assignment, per a team announcement. His roster spot will go to just-signed southpaw Francisco Liriano.

    Labourt, who’ll soon reach his 24th birthday, reached the majors briefly for the first time in 2017. That was quite an achievement in and of itself, as he had never pitched above the High-A level entering the season.

    Moving to the pen on a full-time basis seemed to unlock some potential for Labourt, who posted intriguing K:BB numbers at High-A and Double-A before ascending to the highest level of the minors. While he recorded a 2.45 ERA in 22 frames at Triple-A, though, he also recorded more walks than strikeouts — a less-than-promising development that continued in his six MLB innings.

    With such a mixed bag in 2017, it’s far from clear whether other organizations will decide it’s worth occupying a roster spot to gain control over Labourt. He did show a 93 mph fastball in the majors, but went to his slider on two-thirds of his deliveries in his short time at the game’s highest level. Given the walk tallies and a pedestrian 7.2% swinging-strike rate, it seems quite a lot of refinement is still needed.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Tigers To Sign Louis Coleman]]> 2018-02-23T22:42:09Z 2018-02-23T22:42:09Z The Tigers have agreed to terms on a minors deal with righty Louis Coleman, according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). Additional terms of the accord are not yet known.

    Coleman, 31, has spent parts of six seasons in the majors, most recently in 2016 with the Dodgers. Though he struggled in his 48 frames with Los Angeles, Coleman was at least able to show again that he could stay healthy after missing the bulk of 2015. He posted velocity and swinging-strike (12.4%) figures in line with his career norms, but ended the year with a 4.69 ERA and 8.4 K/9 against 4.5 BB/9.

    It came as no surprise when Coleman settled for a minor-league agreement with the Reds last winter, but it also seemed reasonable to expect he could earn his way back to the majors. After all, prior to landing with the Dodgers, Coleman owned a lifetime 3.20 ERA through 177 1/3 MLB frames.

    As it turned out, though, Coleman failed to crack the Reds’ dreadful pen and also could not earn a shot upon signing with the Diamondbacks in the middle of the 2017 campaign. But he did rack up quality innings at Triple-A through the year, ended with 64 frames of 2.25 ERA pitching over fifty outings. Coleman averaged a solid 10.8 K/9 on the year, though he also surrendered 4.5 BB/9, reflecting a longstanding propensity to hand out a few too many free passes.

    Now, Coleman will join the mix at Tigers camp in hopes of earning a spot in the pecking order — if not a MLB job out of camp. The organization is not exactly loaded with sure things in the relief corps. Unsurprisingly, the Tigers have brought in a few non-roster players already, including pitchers such as Travis Wood and Enrique Burgos, to boost the depth and provide competition this spring.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Sign Francisco Liriano]]> 2018-02-24T04:04:42Z 2018-02-23T21:08:46Z 3:08pm: Liriano is officially a member of the Tigers.

    12:44pm: The Tigers have agreed to a one-year, $4MM contract with lefty Francisco Liriano, reports FanRag’s Robert Murray (Twitter link). The deal also contains another $1MM in available incentives tied to significant awards, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. Murray had recently tweeted that the market for Liriano, a client of the Legacy Agency, was picking up some steam.

    Liriano, 34, enjoyed a resurgence as a key member of the Pirates from 2013-15, somewhat quietly reestablishing himself as a considerably above-average big league starter.

    Francisco Liriano | Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    The past two seasons, though, have been another story. Liriano has bounced from Pittsburgh to Toronto to Houston, working to a combined 5.05 ERA through 260 innings as the control issues that hounded him earlier in his career resurfaced (4.8 BB/9, 1.3 HR/9). Accordingly, Liriano’s swinging-strike rate dropped to 11.4 percent in 2016 and 9.6 in 2017 — the worst marks of his career.

    Liriano still averages better than 92 mph on his fastball and can induce grounders at an average or better rate. He also held lefties to a fairly feeble .247/.300/.355 slash last season, though one would typically prefer to see a bit more dominance against same-handed opponents when considering a pitcher as a left-handed specialist. It’s not clear at this time whether he’ll function as a starter or a reliever with his new club, though in his run with the Astros last season, he worked exclusively out of the bullpen.

    At present, though, the Tigers certainly seem like a team that could use some rotation depth. Ace Michael Fulmer is coming off surgery to re-position the ulnar nerve in his pitching arm, while Jordan Zimmermann battled neck and back injuries in what was a dismal overall season in his second year with Detroit.

    Young lefties Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd have yet to cement themselves as quality big league options, even though each has flashed potential on more than one occasion. And righty Mike Fiers, signed earlier this winter to be the fifth starter, is coming off a poor season himself, which led to a non-tender from the Astros. Longtime setup man Alex Wilson is being stretched out as a potential starter this spring as well, and veteran non-roster invitee Travis Wood could also vie for a starting spot.

    If Liriano is used in relief, he’ll join Blaine Hardy and Daniel Stumpf as southpaws in a bullpen, where Wood could also compete for a spot. The current composition of the Tigers’ bullpen is thin beyond closer Shane Greene, to put things delicately. Jason Martinez of MLBTR and Roster Resource currently projects Wilson (assuming he doesn’t start), Drew VerHagen, Hardy, Stumpf, Joe Jimenez and Buck Farmer to round out the relief corps behind Greene. Johnny Barbato, Zac Reininger and Jairo Labourt are all 40-man options in Triple-A, while Wood, Enrique Burgos and Victor Alcantara headline the non-roster invitees competing for jobs this spring.

    Liriano is a known commodity for much of the Tigers coaching staff, as first-year Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire served as his skipper from 2005-12 with the Twins. Tigers bullpen coach Rick Anderson was Liriano’s pitching coach during his Twins days, while bench coach Steve Liddle and quality control coach Joe Vavra were also on Gardenhire’s staff when Liriano was with Minnesota.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Chris Tillman Threw For Tigers On Saturday]]> 2018-02-18T22:51:13Z 2018-02-18T22:51:13Z The Tigers remain on the lookout for a starter, which could lead to a Chris Tillman signing, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. Tillman threw for the Tigers on Saturday, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun adds (via Twitter). Both Heyman and Encina note that Tillman is deciding among three teams and likely to sign within the next day or two, and they agree that a return to the Orioles is a legitimate possibility.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Tigers Prospect Bryan Garcia To Undergo Tommy John Surgery]]> 2018-02-15T03:01:07Z 2018-02-15T03:01:07Z
  • Tigers right-handed relief prospect Bryan Garcia has suffered a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow, the team announced (hat tip to’s Jason Beck).  Dr. James Andrews will perform the procedure.  Garcia was a sixth-round pick for Detroit in the 2016 draft and was making a rapid rise through the organization, pitching at four different levels in 2017 including 13 1/3 innings at Triple-A Toledo.  Over 73 2/3 pro innings, Garcia posted an impressive 2.20 ERA, 12.2 K/9 and a 4.00 K/BB rate.  Unfortunately, the 22-year-old now faces a recovery period of 12-15 months.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Will Reportedly Attend Lincecum Showcase]]> 2018-02-14T05:02:07Z 2018-02-14T04:55:29Z
  • More than 10 teams are set to attend Tim Lincecum’s showcase on Thursday, it seems. Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, Rhett Bollinger of and Roch Kubatko of respectively report that the Tigers, Twins and Orioles will have scouts in attendance (all Twitter links). Heyman adds another handful of clubs, listing the Rangers, Phillies, Dodgers, YankeesRed Sox, Brewers, Padres and Braves as attendees (links to Twitter for the last three), in addition to the previously reported Giants. If anything, it’s perhaps more notable which clubs have elected not to attend the showcase, as there’s no real downside to at least taking a look and the showcase is shaping up to be reasonably well-attended. To that end, the New York Post’s Kevin Kernan wrote over the weekend that the Mets aren’t planning to have a scout in attendance.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Van Hekken, Free Agent Spending, Rockies]]> 2018-02-03T23:10:12Z 2018-02-03T22:41:00Z 38-year-old former Tigers starter Andy Van Hekken is attempting to earn a job with an MLB club, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press writes. Anyone calling it a comeback attempt should note this bit of context: Van Hekken hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2002 and only has five career starts at that level. Still, the Holland native is reportedly training back in his home county, and a late-thirties push for MLB has been in his plans for a while. “I’ve been thinking about it over the last few years,” he said. “I always wanted to come back and give it another try to get back to the big leagues and see if I could do it. I would love an opportunity and hopefully there will be one.” As Fenech aptly points out, Van Hekken’s timing couldn’t be worse… there are well over a hundred free agents who have yet to sign during what has been a phenomenally slow hot stove season. The left-hander is best known for throwing a complete game shutout against the Indians in his major league debut. He’s mixed a high-80’s fastball with a forkball to great success in Korea during the past half-decade or so, posting solid ground ball and strikeout rates.

    Some other items from around the league as we inch closer to spring training…

    • Have fans been conditioned to accept half-hearted attempts at contention? Travis Sawchik attempts to answer this question in a piece for Fangraphs. Sawchik writes that while it’s typically for business owners to take great care in running their businesses efficiently and at a profit, baseball is not a typical business. Fans invest in ballclubs both emotionally and fiscally (with their taxes), so owners have a civic duty to put a competitive product on the field. He references former Tigers owner Mike Illitch, who at times spent irrationally on his club. He even kept a General Motors advertisement above the center field batter’s eye when the company could no longer afford it, in similar spirit of upholding the city’s identity. Sawchik then turns his focus to Nutting, who has gutted the club’s core to slash payroll by $20MM this season without paying for a single free agent. Sawchik suspects that the club could cover its current payroll without selling a single ticket, and points out its $50MM BAMtech payment from Disney (that also hasn’t been reinvested in the team). He posits that fans have been trained to accept the “small-market” excuse for not spending as a reality, when in fact it may not entirely explain a given club’s low payroll.
    • The Rockies have built a contending club in part by betting on its youthful rotation, Daniel Cramer of writes. Back in spring training of 2016, GM Jeff Bridich apparently told young right-hander Jeff Hoffman that the club wasn’t seeking any veteran upgrades. Fast forward to today, and the organization hopes to build on a “blossoming pitching culture with the potential for sustained success”. Cramer describes Colorado’s blueprint for pitchers as “a power arm supplemented with a mental confidence to pitch at Coors Field.” For their part, a group consisting of German Marquez, Kyle Freeland, Tyler Chatwood, Jon Gray, Jeff Hoffman, Antonio Senzatela, Tyler Anderson and Chad Bettis combined for 11.8 fWAR last season (good for 11th in the majors), and that entire group minus Chatwood is set to return for 2018.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Greene Confident He'll Be Tigers' Closer]]> 2018-02-01T05:24:28Z 2018-02-01T05:02:24Z
  • Shane Greene expects to be the Tigers’ closer in 2017, writes George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press“I feel like I’m the closer and I’ve earned that job and it’s my job to lose,” said the 29-year-old Greene, who pitched to a 2.66 ERA with 9.7 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, 0.8 HR/9 and a 47.4 percent ground-ball rate in 67 2/3 innings for Detroit in 2017.  New pitching coach Chris Bosio spoke positively of Greene’s stuff and makeup, and Sipple notes that the team’s decision to allow setup man Alex Wilson to compete for a starting job this spring only enhances Greene’s grip on the ninth inning. Speculatively, young Joe Jimenez will eventually be the biggest on-paper threat to Greene’s chances, but he was torched for a 12.32 ERA in 19 innings last year. Jimenez, though, turned 23 just two weeks ago and has a career 1.56 ERA with 13.0 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in the minors. He’ll need to prove himself in the Majors, though he could find himself in high-leverage situations sooner rather than later if he’s able to do so early in the year.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Sign Travis Wood To Minor League Deal]]> 2018-01-29T20:32:05Z 2018-01-29T20:24:30Z The Tigers announced Monday that they’ve signed left-hander Travis Wood to a minor league contract and invited him to Major League Spring Training. Wood was released by the Padres earlier this offseason. He’s represented by Frontline.

    Wood, 30, signed a two-year, $12MM contract with the Royals last winter but struggled enormously both in Kansas City and in San Diego this past season. The former Cubs lefty posted an ERA north of 6.70 with both teams last year, working to an overall 6.80 ERA with 6.2 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 and a 1.8 HR/9 mark in 94 innings. He’s still owed $6.5MM in 2018, but the Royals agreed to pay the entirety of that sum when he was traded to San Diego, so Wood represents a lottery ticket for a Tigers staff that could use him in either the rotation or bullpen if he shows signs of returning to form in Spring Training.

    Brutal as his 2017 campaign was, it wasn’t that long ago that Wood was an effective big league arm. From 2015-16, Wood totaled 161 2/3 innings with a 3.51 ERA, 9.2 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and 1.1 HR/9 between nine starts and 122 relief appearances for the Cubs. Overall, he logged a 3.94 ERA in just shy of 700 innings in parts of five seasons in Chicago. For a Tigers club that is short on depth in both the rotation and the bullpen, Wood is a reasonable enough roll of the dice.

    The Tigers’ rotation currently projects to contain Michael Fulmer, Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd, Jordan Zimmermann and Mike Fiers, though Wood could certainly seize a spot in the event of an injury or some early struggles from the yet-unproven Norris and Boyd. In the bullpen, manager Ron Gardenhire has lefties Daniel Stumpf, Blaine Hardy and Jairo Labourt to choose from, but Wood can certainly push that trio for innings if he shows well in Grapefruit League play.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Alex Wilson To Stretch Out As Starting Pitcher]]> 2018-01-27T15:44:39Z 2018-01-27T15:43:58Z
  • Alex Wilson will stretch out as a starter in the Tigers’ spring camp, the right-hander tells Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.  Just one of Wilson’s 231 MLB appearances has come as a starting pitcher, and even that was a three-inning emergency outing in 2015.  Still, Wilson has been a durable multi-inning reliever and feels a transition is possible.  As McCosky notes, it’s essentially “a no-risk experiment” for the Tigers since Wilson can always return to his previous bullpen role if the rotation move doesn’t pan out.  Wilson posted a 2.47 ERA over 171 1/3 IP from 2014-16, though an inflated homer rate boosted his ERA to 4.50 over 60 frames last season.  The righty also said that he is fully recovered from a broken right leg suffered last September.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Avila On Free Agency, TIgers' Rebuild]]> 2018-01-25T19:54:03Z 2018-01-25T19:53:12Z
  • Tigers GM Al Avila said this week that his team could still make some additions to the 40-man roster,’s Jason Beck writes. The GM didn’t cite a specific area of need, indicating that he could have room to add a starter, a position player or a reliever. What’s clear, though, is that the Tigers don’t plan on making any kind of move that would come with long-term ramifications. “I’m not trying to come across as saying we’re going to try to pick up a pitcher here, a pitcher there and it’s going to make us so much better that we have a chance to win a championship,” Avila stated. “At this point, we might try to pick up a player here or there to, quite frankly, get us through the season, and hopefully have a guy have a bounceback and be able to make a trade later on and acquire a younger player, a piece here, a piece there, to make ourselves better little by little.” Comments like that, of course, make the MLBPA and agents alike bristle, as they’re the type of non-competitive remarks that have often been cited as a reason for the historically slow free-agent market. The Tigers have spent a bit of cash this offseason, signing Leonys Martin and Mike Fiers to Major League deals, but they won’t come anywhere near their previous levels of spending as they embark on what figures to be a lengthy rebuilding effort.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 1/23/18]]> 2018-01-23T20:27:35Z 2018-01-23T18:59:02Z We’ll track the day’s minor moves in this post:

    • Outfielder Jacob May was outrighted by the White Sox after clearing waivers, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports. Likewise, Angels lefty Nate Smith is headed for Triple-A via outright. Both were designated for assignment recently.
    • Infielder Ty Kelly is returning to the Mets, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). The 29-year-old first reached the bigs in New York and also spent time in the majors last year with the Phillies. He has hit well at times in the upper minors but has yet to translate that to the majors in limited opportunities.
    • The Tigers have purchased the contract of lefty Caleb Thielbar from the St. Paul Saints, per an announcement from the indy ball club. Soon to turn 31, Thielbar hasn’t seen the majors since 2015. In 98 2/3 total innings at the game’s highest level, though, he has pitched to a 2.74 ERA with 7.2 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9. He was released by the Marlins just before the start of the 2017 season after competing for a job in camp.
    • Righty Carlos Frias is re-joining the Indians on a minors pact, the club announced. The 28-year-old, who has not seen substantial MLB time since 2015, stumbled to an 8.05 ERA with an ugly 21:22 K/BB ratio at Triple-A last year with the Cleveland organization.
    • The Angels have re-signed lefty John Lamb, Cotillo tweets. Once a well-regarded prospect, the 27-year-old saw his career derailed by back issues. He did throw 139 innings at Triple-A last year with the Halos organization, though he managed only a 5.44 ERA with 5.2 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9.
    • Reliever Bryan Harper has re-joined the Nationals on a minor-league deal with a spring invite, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports on Twitter. Bryce’s older brother has never been seen as a major asset, but he’s an accomplished minor-league reliever. He missed all of 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but has allowed less than three earned runs per nine in over a hundred frames in the upper minors.
    • Outfielder Matt Lipka is joining the Giants organization on a minor-league deal, Cotillo also tweets. A first-round pick in the 2010 draft, Lipka has not yet shown that he can hand the bat in the upper minors. He posted a .754 OPS in 370 plate appearances last year at the High-A level, but limped to a .160/.216/.223 slash over his 102 trips to the plate at Double-A.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Tigers To Sign Alexi Amarista]]> 2018-01-23T17:31:14Z 2018-01-23T17:17:35Z The Tigers have reached a minor-league deal with veteran infielder Alexi Amarista, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free-Press (Twitter links). He’ll receive an invitation to participate in MLB camp.

    Amarista, 28, spent the 2017 season with the Rockies. The Colorado organization declined a $2.5MM club option for the coming season, preferring instead to pay him a $150K buyout.

    There’s little to love about Amarista’s offensive profile. He has never hit much, but his output has not even kept pace with the standard he set earlier in his career, when he was a heavily used player with the Padres. Over the past three seasons, Amarista owns a marginal .225/.268/.301 slash line with six home runs and 15 steals over 683 plate appearances.

    Clearly, the work with the bat does not explain Amarista’s appeal. Rather, it lies in his defensive versatility. Amarista has spent most of his career playing the middle infield, especially short, and also has significant time at thrid base and across the outfield (including in center).

    For Detroit, Amarista represents some much-needed veteran depth. He could challenge for a reserve role in camp along with fellow non-roster invitee Pete Kozma. Yet more opportunity could open up if the Tigers end up dealing shortstop Jose Iglesias.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers, Jose Iglesias Avoid Arbitration]]> 2018-01-17T23:57:54Z 2018-01-17T23:57:54Z The Tigers announced that they’ve agreed to a one-year deal with shortstop Jose Iglesias for the 2018 season, thus avoiding arbitration. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, though Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Iglesias will earn $6.275MM on the deal (Twitter link). That rather handily tops the $5.6MM projected arbitration salary from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz. Iglesias is represented by Magnus Sports.

    Iglesias, 28, is entering his final year of team control and will be a free agent next winter. He’s coming off his worst season at the plate, having batted just .255/.288/.369 as Detroit’s primary shortstop in 2017. That continued a troubling trend for Iglesias at the plate; the defensive standout batted .302/.348/.377 from 2013-15 (he missed the 2014 season due to injury), but has seen his bat deteriorate considerably since Opening Day 2016. Since that time, he’s logged a combined .255/.297/.353 slash.

    As can be seen in MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker, Iglesias had filed for a $6.8MM salary, while the Tigers countered at $5.6MM. The two sides, then, settled just north of the $6.2MM midpoint. With Iglesias’ case resolved, the Tigers will avoid an arbitration hearing entirely in 2018, as they’ve now come to terms with all of their eligible players.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Tigers Open To Dealing Nicholas Castellanos]]> 2018-01-16T18:04:53Z 2018-01-16T17:12:36Z
  • The Tigers remain open to dealing Nicholas Castellanos this winter, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. Castellanos is slated to earn $6.05MM in his second-to-last season of arbitration eligibility — a campaign in which he’s expected to undergo a full-time move to right field. Previously, we’ve heard that the 25-year-old had drawn some interest after he and the team failed to see eye to eye on an extension. That said, GM Al Avila has made clear the Tigers are not committed to trading Castellanos, whose glove hasn’t kept pace with his otherwise promising bat.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 1/12/18]]> 2018-01-13T04:29:29Z 2018-01-13T04:29:29Z The Braves released Adonis Garcia recently to allow him to move to the KBO, and the full set of transactions is now in the books. The 32-year-old third baseman has inked a $800K deal with the LG Twins, as Dan Kurtz of notes on Twitter. He played in the majors in each of the past three seasons but clearly was not a part of Atlanta’s plans for 2018.

    Let’s catch up on a few minor moves from around the game, all courtesy of SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (links to Twitter) …

    • Righty Tyler Cloyd will join the Marlins on a minors pact. Now thirty years off age, Cloyd has made just a single MLB appearance since wrapping up his time with the Phillies in 2013. He spent most of 2017 pitching at Triple-A in the Mariners organization, where he worked to a 5.67 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 60 1/3 innings. While the output hasn’t been very encouraging of late, Cloyd could have a chance to push for an important place on the Miami depth chart. The rebuilding club is sure to have some pitching opportunities in the season to come.
    • The Nationals added right-hander Justin Miller as well as slugger Balbino Fuenmayor on minor-league deals. Miller, 30 has seen 88 1/3 total MLB innings, spread over the 2014-16 campaigns, with a composite 4.99 ERA. He has shown some swing and miss ability at times, though. Last year, he pitched to a 5.48 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 in 46 frames in the PCL. The 28-year-old Fuenmayor, meanwhile, played in Mexico last year after his once-prodigious upper-minors power output fizzled in 2016. He hit well in Mexico and has continued to rake in Venezuelan winter action.
    • Southpaw James Russell is headed to the Tigers organization on a non-roster arrangement. Whether he’ll receive a camp invite isn’t known in this case (or the others). The 32-year-old is long removed from his days as a solid bullpen presence. He last appeared in the majors, rather briefly, in 2016. Though he only threw 31 professional innings last year, all in the Mexican League, they were in a starting role. He worked to a 2.03 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Unresolved 2018 Arbitration Cases]]> 2018-01-13T03:05:53Z 2018-01-13T00:02:01Z We’ve covered a whole lot of arbitration deals today, many of them reached before today’s deadline to exchange filing figures. Some other agreements have come together after team and player submitted their numbers. It’s still possible, of course, that these situations will be resolved before an arbitration hearing becomes necessary. (At this point, we seem to lack full clarity on teams’ approaches to negotiations after the filing deadline. And most organizations make exceptions for multi-year deals even if they have a file-and-trial stance.)

    Some situations could even be dealt with in short order. As things stand, though, these unresolved arbitration cases could turn into significant hearings. (As always, MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration projections can be found here; you will also want to reference MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration tracker.)

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: American League]]> 2018-01-13T05:52:28Z 2018-01-12T21:00:23Z The deadline for MLB teams to exchange salary arbitration figures with their arbitration-eligible players is today at 1pm ET. As such, there will be a veritable flood of arb agreements piling up in the next few hours — especially in light of a more universal approach to the “file and trial” method for teams. (That is to say, those teams will no longer negotiate one-year deals after arb figures are exchanged and will instead head to a hearing with those players, barring an agreemenr on a multi-year deal.)

    Note that you can keep an eye on all of today’s deals using MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker, which can be filtered to show only the results of the team you follow and is also sortable by service time and dollar value of the agreement. All projections that are referenced come from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz’s annual compilation of projected arbitration salarie

    American League West

    • The Astros and Evan Gattis agreed to a $6.7MM deal for 2018, per FanRag’s Robert Murray (Twitter link). A free agent next season, Gattis lands within $100K of his $6.6MM projection. The club also has deals (for values unknown) with starters Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr., and Brad Peacock, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
    • The Rangers agreed to a $1.05MM deal with infielder Jurickson Profar, tweets Murray. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, meanwhile, tweets that lefty Jake Diekman landed a $2.7125MM deal and righty Keone Kela will earn $1.2MM. Profar had been projected at $1.1MM and is controllable another three seasons. Diekman, a free agent next winter, was projected at $2.8MM. And Kela, still controlled for three more years, matched his $1.2MM projection on the dot.
    • The Athletics and closer Blake Treinen agreed to a $2.15MM deal for next year, tweets Murray. The A’s can control Treinen for another three years. He was projected at $2.3MM. Shortstop Marcus Semien has settled for $3.125MM, Heyman tweets; his $3.2MM projection was nearly spot-on. Oakland has announced that it has avoided arbitration with Liam Hendriks and Josh Phegley as well, but their salaries have yet to be reported.
    • The Angels have a one-year, $7.3MM agreement in place with right-hander Garrett Richards, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). Richards, a free agent next offseason, tops his $7MM projection by a margin of $300K. The Halos have also avoided arb with first baseman C.J. Cron ($2.3MM) and left-hander Tyler Skaggs ($1.875MM), tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Cron’s total falls a ways shy of his $2.8MM projection, while Skaggs comes in just $25K south of his $1.9MM projection. Both are controllable through the 2020 season. Lastly, Murray tweets that Matt Shoemaker agreed to a $4.125MM deal. He’s controlled through 2020 and projected at $4.4MM. Fletcher also tweets that the club has agreed with righty J.C. Ramirez ($1.9MM salary vs. $2.6MM projection) and lefty Jose Alvarez ($1.05MM salary vs. $1.1MM projection). Finally, righty Cam Bedrosian has agreed at $1.1MM, Flecher tweets, which represents a payday close to his projection of $1.2MM.
    • Left-hander James Paxton will earn $4.9MM with the Mariners in 2018, tweets Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. Murray tweets that the Mariners and David Phelps agreed to a $5.55MM deal. Paxton, controlled through 2020, projected to earn $5.6MM, while Phelps was pegged at $5.8MM. He’s a free agent next winter. Righty Erasmo Ramirez took a $4.2MM deal,’s Greg Johns reports. That’s half a million shy of what the model suggested. Fellow right-hander Nick Vincent also has an agreement, but the terms aren’t yet known.

    American League Central

    • New lefty Luis Avilan has agreed to a $2.45MM deal with the White Sox, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reports via Twitter. The recent trade acquisition came with a projected $2.3MM price tag. Fellow southpaw Carlos Rodon will receive $2.3MM, a bit of a bump over the $2MM he projected to receive. Also, utilityman Leury Garcia gets $1.175MM, which is just $25K short of his projected value.
    • The Royals and righty Nate Karns agreed to a $1.375MM deal for 2018, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports (on Twitter). That lands within $25K of his $1.4MM projection for the coming season. Kansas City controls Karns through 2020. Meanwhile,’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports (via Twitter) that Kelvin Herrera will earn $7.9375MM in 2018, landing a bit shy of his $8.3MM projection. Herrera is a free agent next winter.
    • The Indians have a $5MM agreement with righty Danny Salazar,’s Jordan Bastian tweets. He had projected to earn just $200K more, this falls right in line with expectations. Cleveland also agreed with Lonnie Chisenhall on a $5.5875MM deal, tweets Nightengale. The third baseman-turned-outfielder, who was projected to earn $5.8MM, will be a free agent following the 2018 season.
    • Trevor May has a $650K agreement with the Twins for the 2018 season, according to Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. May, who missed the entire season due to Tommy John surgery (and did some writing for MLBTR during his rehab process), had been projected at $600K. The Twins also agreed to a $1MM deal with infielder Ehire Adrianza, per La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune. Meanwhile, righty Ryan Pressly has agreed to a $1.6MM deal, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Both deals are identical matches with their projections. Adrianza has three years of team control remaining, while Pressly has two. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that outfielder Robbie Grossman settled at $2MM, leaving him $400K shy of his projection. Grossman is controlled for another three seasons.
    • Tigers third baseman/outfielder Nick Castellanos will earn $6.05MM, per Heyman (via Twitter). He had projected at a much heftier $7.6MM in his second-to-last season of arb eligibility.’s Jason Beck reports (Twitter links) that the Tigers and right-handed reliever Alex Wilson settled at $1.925MM, while fellow righty Shane Greene will earn $1.95MM. Wilson was projected to earn $2.1MM, while Greene was at $1.7MM. Wilson is controlled through 2019, while Greene is under control through 2020.

    American League East

    • The Yankees have knocked out some of their biggest arb cases, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). Shortstop Didi Gregorius receives $8.25MM and righty Sonny Gray checks in at $6.5MM. The former had projected to earn $9.0MM while the algorithm was just $100K high on the latter.Backstop Austin Romine will earn $1.1MM, Heyman also tweets, which is also $100K below the projection. Righty Adam Warren and the Yankees have a $3.315MM deal, per Murray (Twitter link). This is Warren’s final season of eligibility before hitting the open market next winter. He’d been projected at $3.1MM. Meanwhile, fellow right-hander Dellin Betances has agreed to a $5.1MM deal, per’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). That’s just $100K more than Betances had sought last year, when he took his case to a hearing that he ultimately lost. But it’s quite a bit more than the $4.4MM he projected to receive after a subpar season in which he played at a $3MM salary.
    • The Red Sox have agreed to pay $8.5MM to southpaw Drew Pomeranz, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). That’s short of the $9.1MM that had been projected after Pomeranz turned in a productive 2017 season. Boston and Jackie Bradley Jr. settled at $6.1MM, tweets Murray. That’s a bit north of the $5.9MM at which he’d been projected for the upcoming season. Bradley Jr., a Super Two player, has another three seasons of club control remaining. Nightengale tweets that righty Joe Kelly ($3.6MM projection) agreed to a $3.825MM deal. He’ll be a free agent next winter. Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez ($2.375MM salary vs. $2.7MM projection) and righty Brandon Workman ($835K salary vs. $900K projection) are two other Sox hurlers that have agreed to terms, Speier reports (Twitter links). On the position player side, catcher Sandy Leon falls a bit under his projection $1.95MM (via Speier, on Twitter) while utilityman Brock Holt just beats expectations at $2.225MM (per’s Jerry Crasnick, on Twitter). The team also agreed with shortstop Xander Bogaerts for $7.05MM, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston tweets, which comes in a bit shy of his $7.6MM projection. Boston also announced agreement with backstop Christian Vazquez, who’ll earn $1.425MM, per’s Ian Browne (via Twitter). That’s just under the projection of $1.5MM.
    • The Blue Jays and righty Aaron Sanchez agreed to a $2.7MM deal for 2018, according to Nightengale (Twitter link). That crushes his $1.9MM projection, which was likely suppressed due Sanchez’s lack of innings (just 36) in 2017. He’s under Jays control through 2020. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, meanwhile, tweets that second baseman Devon Travis will make $1.45MM next year, falling a bit shy of his $1.7MM forecast. Other Toronto players agreeing to terms include Kevin Pillar ($3.25MM vs. $4.0MM projection) and Dominic Leone ($1.085MM vs. $1.2MM projection),’s Gregor Chisholm tweets.
    • The Rays and closer Alex Colome settled at $5.3M, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (on Twitter). He’d been projected at $5.5MM and is controllable for three more years. They also settled at $5.95MM with outfielder/DH Corey Dickerson ($6.4MM projection) and $4.5MM with infielder Brad Miller ($4.4MM projection), per Murray (all Twitter links). Steven Souza, according to Murray will earn $3.55MM, placing him right in line with his $3.6MM projection. Dickerson and Miller are controlled through 2019. Souza is controlled through 2020.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Tigers Avoid Arbitration With James McCann]]> 2018-01-12T05:20:00Z 2018-01-12T05:12:47Z
  • The Tigers and catcher James McCann have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $2.375MM salary for the 2018 season, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (on Twtter). McCann, who had a projected salary of $2.3MM, hit .253/.318/.415 with a career-high 13 homers and a 30 percent caught-stealing rate behind the dish in 2017. The Tigers announced the signing shortly thereafter.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Tigers Claim Johnny Barbato]]> 2018-01-11T19:33:03Z 2018-01-11T19:26:53Z The Tigers have claimed righty Johnny Barbato off waivers from the Pirates, the teams announced and Robert Murray of Fan Rag first tweeted. He was designated recently by Pittsburgh when the club claimed fellow righty Shane Carle.

    Barbato, 25, saw 28 2/3 innings of action in 2017, managing a 4.08 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 5.7 BB/9. Needless to say, that walk tally will need to go down if Barbato hopes to succeed in the majors. He has never shown major control issues in the minors, though, and he did demonstrate a 94+ mph fastball and average (for a reliever) 11.3% swinging-strike rate.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Tigers To Sign Brayan Pena]]> 2018-01-09T00:38:44Z 2018-01-09T00:38:44Z The Tigers have agreed to a minors deal with veteran catcher Brayan Pena, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (via Twitter). It is not known at this time whether he’ll receive an invitation to MLB Spring Training, though that certainly seems likely.

    As things stand, Detroit seems fairly likely to enter the season with John Hicks backing up James McCann behind the dish. But the organization now has a pair of veterans that could push for a job in camp, with Pena joining Derek Norris as non-roster options. (As regards Norris, those interested in learning more about the team’s somewhat controversial decision to sign him will want to read this piece from Katie Strang of The Athletic.)

    As for Pena, he’ll be looking to break back into the majors after a 2017 season in which he failed to earn any MLB time for the first time since his debut year of 2005. Pena spent last season at Triple-A with the Royals organization, where he hit .274/.308/.298 in just 134 plate appearances.

    Previously, though, Pena enjoyed a rather lengthy history in the majors. After functioning as a fairly heavily utilized reserve for a few seasons with the Royals and Tigers — the latter of which received one of his best overall seasons in 2013 — Pena signed a two-year deal with the Reds. He ended up receiving extensive action in 2014-15 in Cincinnati, but managed only a .263/.313/.339 batting line there and has not received meaningful MLB time since.

    In 1,950 total trips to the plate in his career, he has turned in a .259/.299/.351 batting line with 23 home runs. That’s not an immense amount of offensive output, to be sure, but he has obviously long been valued as a steady contributor in a backup role and will at least represent an important depth piece for the Tigers.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Al Avila Discusses Jose Iglesias, Nicholas Castellanos, James McCann]]> 2018-01-07T05:31:53Z 2018-01-07T05:31:53Z
  • Earlier this week, Tigers general manager Al Avila discussed the futures of shortstop Jose Iglesias, third baseman/outfielder Nicholas Castellanos and catcher James McCann with Dan Dickerson and Pat Caputo on 97.1’s The Ticket (via Katie Strang of The Athletic; subscription required and strongly recommended). Avila expects Iglesias to be the Tigers’ Opening Day shortstop, but he acknowledged that the 28-year-old’s time with the franchise is likely to conclude in the near future. Iglesias “may well be traded at the trade deadline, if not sooner, depending on the needs that teams have out there for a shortstop,” said Avila. Strang goes on to break down potential replacements within the organization for Iglesias, who’s in his last year of arbitration eligibility (he’ll make a projected $5.6MM). Castellanos is in his penultimate year of arb control, meanwhile, and he’ll collect around $7.6MM. Although the Tigers have come up short in extending Castellanos, “he might be a guy that we stick with,” commented Avila, who noted that the soon-to-be 26-year-old’s stock would increase “quite a bit” if he were to make a successful transition to the outfield.  McCann is under control for the next three years, but Avila suggested that he could be a trade candidate, per Strang. (In case you missed it, MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently examined Iglesias, Castellanos, McCann and the rest of Detroit’s potential trade chips.)
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Teams Have Inquired About Nicholas Castellanos]]> 2018-01-07T02:07:36Z 2018-01-07T02:06:12Z
  • The rebuilding Tigers have gotten inquiries about third baseman/outfielder Nicholas Castellanos from “a few teams,” Cafardo writes. Castellanos is under control for the next two years, including at a projected $7.6MM in 2018. The Tigers tried earlier this offseason to lock him up for the long haul with an extension, but those talks didn’t lead to a deal. Castellanos, who will turn 26 in March, was a bright spot for Detroit’s offense last season. Not only did he slash .272/.320/.490 with 26 home runs in 665 PAs, but Castellanos was something of a Statcast darling, evidenced by a .366 xwoBA (compared to a .347 wOBA) and the majors’ 10th-most barrels.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Agree To Minors Deal With Pete Kozma]]> 2018-01-06T05:53:20Z 2018-01-06T02:53:11Z
  • The Tigers have agreed to a minor league deal with former Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma, reports SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (on Twitter). Kozma, 30 in April, split the 2017 season between the Rangers and Yankees organizations and logged 51 plate appearances in the Majors, though he batted just .111/.200/.178 in that small sample. Long considered an excellent defender with a light bat, Kozma is a career .215/.282/.285 hitter in parts of six MLB seasons but also comes with a career +11 Defensive Runs Saved mark and +9 Ultimate Zone Rating in 1450 innings at shortstop.
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