MLB Trade Rumors » » Detroit Tigers 2018-01-17T04:13:39Z 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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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Pursued Extension With Castellanos "To No Avail"]]> 2018-01-01T20:29:50Z 2018-01-01T20:26:27Z The Tigers pursued an extension with outfielder Nicholas Castellanos “to no avail” following the 2017 season,’s Jason Beck reports. The 25-year-old slugger (26 in March) posted a very solid .272/.320/.490 batting line in a breakout campaign at the plate and gave the Tigers room for further optimism; Castellanos ranked fifth in the Majors in hard-contact rate (among qualified hitters), and Statcast credited him for the 10th-highest number of barreled balls in MLB. He has a projected arbitration salary of $7.6MM, per MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz, and is still under club control for another two seasons. Defensive question marks abound with Castellanos, as he’s rated poorly both at third base and in right field, but there’s plenty of value in his bat. The inability to come to terms on an extension only furthers the chance that the rebuilding Tigers trade Castellanos before he reaches free agency.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Taking Inventory: Detroit Tigers]]> 2017-12-26T17:48:39Z 2017-12-26T17:46:34Z The Tigers have already dealt with a significant portion of their offseason business, dealing their most obvious trade candidate, Ian Kinsler, to the Angels during this month’s Winter Meetings. They’ve also filled some holes with affordable veterans, picking up Mike Fiers for the fifth spot in the rotation and adding Leonys Martin on a low-cost, one-year deal to fill center field.

    Still, the Detroit front office is hardly set to merely call it an offseason. The Tigers made clear with their trade of Kinsler and their summer trades of Justin Verlander, J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton, Justin Wilson and Alex Avila that they’re embarking on a full-scale teardown of the organization. Although those trades have strengthened a thin Tigers farm system, the team still has work to do as it builds up toward a top-of-the-line minor league system and a generally more sustainable avenue to contention than perennially shelling out $200MM+ payrolls.

    With Kinsler out of the picture, here’s a look at the remaining assets the Tigers could realistically market this winter…

    One-Year Rentals

    Jose Iglesias, SS ($5.6MM projected arbitration salary): A superlative defender at shortstop, Iglesias delivered solid offensive output in 2013-15 before his bat deteriorated in 2016-17. He’s batted just .255/.297/.353 across the past two seasons, but for a team in need of a defensive upgrade in the infield or on the bench, Iglesias would be a reasonably low-priced upgrade.

    Two Years of Control

    Nicholas Castellanos | Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    Nicholas Castellanos, OF/3B ($7.6MM projected arb salary): Castellanos’ overall .272/.320/.490  was above-average but not outstanding. However, the former top prospect ranked fifth in the Majors in hard-contact rate (among qualified hitters), and Statcast credited him for the 10th-highest number of barreled balls in all of Major League Baseball.

    Castellanos comes with significant defensive questions, as he’s been a staggering 64 runs below average in 4400 innings at third base (per Defensive Runs Saved) and eight runs below average in just 211 innings in the outfield. He’s not exactly cheap, but the batted-ball profile could make him intriguing to a team that believes he could improve with additional reps in the outfield.

    Alex Wilson, RHRP ($2.1MM projected arb salary): The 31-year-old righty is coming off the worst season of his career (4.50 ERA, 6.3 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 1.05 HR/9, 41.6 percent ground-ball rate), but he was a quality bullpen piece for the Red Sox and Tigers from 2014-16. During that time, Wilson logged a 2.47 ERA in 171 1/3 innings of work, albeit with a pedestrian 5.6 K/9 mark against a more encouraging 1.9 BB/9 clip. He’s no stranger to working multi-inning stints and represents an affordable middle relief option.

    Longer-Term Assets

    Michael Fulmer, SP (pre-arbitration): Fulmer, obviously, would command the largest return of anyone the Tigers could make available. The 2016 AL Rookie of the Year is controlled for another five full seasons and won’t reach arbitration until next winter, when he qualifies for Super Two status. Fulmer was carrying a 3.06 ERA and 3.24 FIP with 6.3 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 0.51 HR/9 and a 50.4 percent ground-ball rate through his first 123 2/3 innings this season before his production fell off a cliff. He ultimately underwent surgery to repair the ulnar nerve in his right arm in mid-September, bringing his sophomore season to a close.

    Michael Fulmer | Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    The Tigers could extract a king’s ransom for Fulmer, though some teams may be wary of paying top dollar (in terms of prospects) for a pitcher coming off elbow surgery without first seeing that he’s rebounded to an extent. There’s little urgency to trade Fulmer when he can be controlled for the next half decade, but the dearth of high-quality arms available on the trade market could motivate a club to put together a massive offer.

    Shane Greene, RHRP ($1.7MM projected arb salary, controlled through 2020): Greene showed plenty to like in his first full season as a reliever, averaging 9.7 K/9 with a 47.4 percent ground-ball rate and a heater that averaged 95 mph en route to a 2.66 ERA through 67 2/3 innings. However, he also posted just an 8.6 percent swinging-strike rate, averaged 4.5 walks per nine and allowed a huge 41.3 percent hard-contact rate. That’s not ideal for a late-inning reliever, of course, though Greene’s strong spin rate on his slider (which ranked 20th of 173 relievers who threw the pitch at least 100 times) could give teams optimism that there’s some untapped potential.

    James McCann, C ($2.3MM rojected arb salary, controlled through 2020): McCann won’t turn 28 until next summer, and he’s coming off the best offensive season of his career, having slashed .253/.318/.415 with a career-best 13 homers. He’s long had his share of struggles against righties, but the right-handed-hitting McCann has absolutely obliterated left-handed pitching in his career, as evidenced by a .287/.346/.538 batting line (including .298/.371/.558 in 2017). McCann has thrown out 37 percent of would-be base thieves in his career, though he drew poor marks from Baseball Prospectus for his pitch framing and blocking in 2017. (He was solid in both regards in 2016.) A contender in need of an upgrade behind the dish (e.g. the Nationals) could try to pry McCann away from the Tigers, as he almost certainly won’t be a part of the next competitive Detroit club.

    Mikie Mahtook, OF (pre-arbitration): The Tigers have only had Mahtook for one year, having successfully bought low on the former first-rounder last February in a trade with the Rays. The 28-year-old batted .276/.330/.457 through 379 trips to the plate with Detroit. Mahtook has played all three outfield spots, and while most metrics aren’t kind to him in center field, he’s drawn solid UZR marks in the corners (DRS doesn’t care for his glovework anywhere, while Statcast pegged him as a neutral defender in 2017). Detroit can hang onto him for another four years, so there’s no rush to move him. The return, at present, would probably be fairly minimal. However, another solid year — perhaps with greater playing time — could bolster intrigue.

    Miguel Cabrera, 1B/DH (six years, $192MM remaining): It’s almost unfathomable to envision a Cabrera trade on the heels of a .249/.329/.399 (92 OPS+) season when he’s owed a staggering average of $32MM over the next six seasons. The former MVP was diagnosed with a pair of herniated disks in his back in September and will play next season at the age of 35. If Cabrera were a free agent right now, he’d earn a mere fraction of that remaining commitment. No one would take on his contract — all of which may be moot, as he also has full no-trade protection.

    Salary Dump Candidates

    Jordan Zimmermann (three years, $74MM remaining; full no-trade clause), Victor Martinez (one year, $18MM remaining; full no-trade clause)

    The Tigers would love to shed either of these contracts, but it’s difficult to see any takers lining up — especially for Zimmermann. Detroit can hold out some hope that Zimmermann will rebound in 2018, which would position him as a more plausible trade candidate after the 2018 season, when his no-trade provision drops from all 29 other teams to a limited 10-team clause. That’s a lot to expect, though, considering his diminished velocity, strikeout rate and ground-ball rate (to say nothing of a skyrocketing home run rate).

    Martinez, meanwhile, just turned 39 years old and is coming off a season in which he hit just .255/.324/.372 and was limited to 435 plate appearances, in part due to a pair of DL stints for an irregular heartbeat. His value is at an all-time low, and he’s been mentioned as a speculative release candidate more than a potential trade piece.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Latest on Gerrit Cole]]> 2017-12-25T01:32:42Z 2017-12-25T01:31:14Z TODAY: Chance Adams and Miguel Andujar could be part of a hypothetical Yankees/Pirates trade for Cole, Kristie Ackert and Bill Madden of the New York Daily News report.  If those two prospects and Frazier are all included, that could mean the Pirates will also include Josh Harrison in the deal.  While the Yankees have also talked to the Diamondbacks about Patrick Corbin and the Tigers about Michael Fulmer, it seems as if Cole is New York’s preferred target of the three pitchers; Corbin is under control for just the 2018 season while Detroit is putting an enormous asking price on Fulmer’s services.

    SATURDAY: A trade of Gerrit Cole doesn’t appear to be imminent at this point, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports (via Twitter). Though it seemed at one point that talks between the Yankees and Pirates were picking up momentum, Crasnick says that multiple clubs have engaged with the Pirates since the winter meetings; the prospect of a Cole trade isn’t “Yankees or bust”.

    The Yankees don’t appear to have tunnel vision on a Cole deal, either. Though the Bronx Bombers are trying to net Pittsburgh’s prized right-hander with proposals centered around Clint FrazierBill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Bombers offered similar packages to the Rays and Tigers for Chris Archer and Michael Fulmer, respectively. From my perspective, it seems as though the Yankees may not be interested in Cole specifically, but rather could have a broader objective to move the 23-year-old Frazier in exchange for pitching help. Following the club’s acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton, it appears as though Frazier is destined to be a high-ceiling depth piece for the Yankees, whose outfield picture features Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Stanton, with Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury also on the roster.

    In a brilliant piece for the New York Post, Joel Sherman points out that the Yankees can afford to be patient, as they did with Stanton this winter and Sonny Gray this summer. They’re not desperate for pitching right now, as their rotation is set to feature Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Gray, CC Sabathia and Jordan Montgomery. While each of those pitchers carries a question mark or two (or in Sherman’s words, “red flag possibilities”), the ballclub wouldn’t be chastised if it were to have these five in the rotation come Opening Day. Furthermore, top prospects Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield could reach the majors before long, with Adams being the more likely of the two to contribute in 2018.

    From the Pirates’ side, they don’t necessarily need another outfielder. However, it stands to reason that a trade of Cole could set off a domino effect that prompts Pittsburgh to sell off other pieces. As Brink states in a separate article (one that deals with the “what if” scenario of a Cole trade), trading the right-hander could act as “the first tug on the rope that raises the white flag on 2018.” In that case, they’d be highly likely to shop Andrew McCutchen, the 2013 NL MVP, and his hypothetical trade would mean that Frazier could suddenly become a useful piece.

    It’s unclear how serious the Pirates’ talks are with other potential suitors at this time, or even whether those clubs have made formal offers. Crasnick notes in his above tweet that a deal probably won’t come together before Christmas, but adds that trade talks could pick up again between then and New Year’s. It stands to reason that Pittsburgh could be patient for months, or even wait until the 2018 trade deadline to trade Cole (if they opt to move him at all). It will of course be far more evident how the Pirates’ playoff chances compare with those of the other NL Central clubs. However, there are plenty of reasons to move him now as well, including the high probability that clubs would be willing to pay more to have Cole for a full season, and the risk that the Yankees might acquire a different starter.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 12/21/17]]> 2017-12-21T17:58:26Z 2017-12-21T17:50:40Z We’ll cover the day’s minor moves in this post:

    • The Cubs have re-signed catcher Taylor Davis, MLBTR has learned. The 28-year-old was non-tendered after a season in which he received his first MLB call-up, staying long enough to pick up his first few base knocks but not to put down a meaningful track record. Davis strode to the Triple-A plate 406 times in 2017, producing a .297/.357/.429 batting line with six home runs. Notably, he continued to exhibit strong plate discipline and contact ability, striking out just 45 times while drawing 37 walks.

    Earlier Updates

    • Indians have agreed to a deal with right-hander Lisalverto Bonilla, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). The 27-year-old struggled badly in his ten MLB appearances last year with the Reds, working to a 8.10 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9 while serving up eight long balls in 36 2/3 innings. He did generate a useful 11.8% swinging-strike rate, though, and has typically drawn a fair number of grounders in the minors.
    • The Nationals reached a minor-league pact with righty Chris Smith, MLBTR’s Steve Adams tweets. He gets an invitation to participate on the majors side of camp next spring. Smith, 29, got a brief taste of the majors last year with the Blue Jays, showing a 93.9 mph average four-seamer. He spent most of the year at Triple-A, where he worked to a 5.40 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9, but Smith has recorded much higher strikeout rates in the upper minors in the past.
    • Lefty Hunter Cervenka was outrighted to Triple-A by the Marlins after clearing waivers. He had been removed from the 40-man roster recently as the organization continues to tweak its mix of MLB assets. Cervenka spent most of 2017 at the Triple-A level, where he pitched to a 4.58 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 5.9 BB/9. That hefty walk rate has long been a problem for Cervenka, who’ll soon turn 28.
    • The Tigers announced a series of minors signings today. Lefty Will Lamb, infielder Ronny Rodriguez, and outfielders Jason Krizan and Kenny Wilson are all joining the Detroit organization, with Krizan and Rodriguez also taking spring invites. Lamb, 27, has struggled to a 6.06 ERA in 120 1/3 career Triple-A frames, but owns a 2.28 ERA in 90 2/3 innings at the penultimate level of the minors. The 25-year-old Rodriguez brings some infield versatility and pop to the table; he hit .291/.324/.454 with 17 home runs in 483 plate appearances last year at the Indians’ top affiliate. Krizan, 28, will return for his eighth year in the Detroit system; in 2017, he hit .281/.351/.417 in 480 upper-minors plate appearances. Wilson, who’ll soon turn 28 as well, is a speed-and-defense type who has not yet hit enough to earn his way into the big leagues.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Preferred Mets' Kinsler Package To Angels]]> 2017-12-18T20:08:34Z 2017-12-18T20:08:34Z
  • The Tigers preferred the package of prospects that the Mets were willing to offer for Ian Kinsler to the package they received from the Angels, writes Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. However, Kinsler would only waive his no-trade clause to approve a trade to the Angels, forcing GM Al Avila’s hand. Though Avila could’ve waited, Fenech opines that the GM made the right call to act when there was a trade scenario on the table rather than to wait for something unforeseen to arise. Meanwhile, Kinsler tells Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register that Justin Upton has been recruiting him since being traded to the Angels in August, and the Halos’ success in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes caught his attention as well: “Making moves this winter to push for the next level … That motivates a player like me.”
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tigers Sign Ronny Rodriguez To Minor League Contract]]> 2017-12-17T00:17:10Z 2017-12-17T00:14:21Z
  • Utilityman Ronny Rodriguez announced on Instagram that he’s joining the Tigers on a minor league deal (h/t: Evan Woodbery of Rodriguez had spent his entire pro career with the division-rival Indians since signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2010. He never cracked the majors with the Tribe, though, instead topping out at Triple-A. The 25-year-old played at the minors’ highest level from 2016-17 and hit a respectable .274/.308/.427 in 971 PAs. Rodriguez has seen action at every position but pitcher, catcher and left field during his minor league career, as Woodbery notes.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Multiple Teams Interested In Fernando Rodney]]> 2017-12-14T12:00:51Z 2017-12-14T11:42:11Z 5:42am: The Rangers and Diamondbacks are also in the mix for Rodney, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports tweets.

    5:18am: It’s expected that the Tigers will meet with free agent reliever Fernando Rodney at some point, Jason Beck of reports. They’ll have at least some level of competition; Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press adds that the Twins are in the mix for Rodney as well. Interestingly, Berardino notes that Rodney also met with a Nippon Professional Baseball team, though it appears he’s taken that option off the table.

    Detroit has seen many a lead slip through their fingers in recent years due to bullpen implosions. While Rodney falls short of elite, he’d certainly provide an upgrade to the only bullpen in baseball that finished below replacement level this past season. While Shane Greene was somewhat of a bright spot, the Tigers don’t seem to have many stable relievers beyond him on the depth chart. The rebuilding Tigers probably won’t go after marquee free agent relievers like Greg Holland or Wade Davis, but Rodney would be a cost-effective target who could probably be had on a one-year deal. Detroit is plenty familiar with the right-hander, as he spent the first eight years of his MLB career with the organization.

    Likewise, the Twins’ bullpen finished in the bottom third in most of the important pitching categories. Unlike the Tigers, however, the Twins hope to contend next season and could therefore be more aggressive in pursuit of bullpen help. Just yesterday they were said to have made an offer to a free agent reliever, and one would assume they’re inquiring on plenty of others.

    Rodney will enter the 2018 season at 41 years of age. As Berardino notes in his tweet, he’s number three on the list of active saves leaders. Last season with the Diamondbacks, the righty saved 39 games, albeit with a 4.23 ERA. The scariest thing about putting Rodney on the mound is his tendency to issue free passes; the righty has walked a batter nearly every other inning on average over the past five years (4.44 BB/9).

    Since his MLB debut in 2002, Rodney has pitched for eight different major league clubs. Most of that time was spent with the Tigers, who originally signed him out of the Dominican Republic.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Al Avila: "I Had No Leverage" With Ian Kinsler]]> 2017-12-14T05:49:15Z 2017-12-14T05:49:15Z
  • Just-acquired Angels second baseman Ian Kinsler was only willing to waive his 10-team no-trade clause for them, Tigers general manager Al Avila told reporters. Avila added that he had talks with three other teams on Kinsler’s no-trade list Wednesday, noting that he “had no leverage” because of the second baseman’s limited NTC. The executive’s not upset with Kinsler, though, as he realizes the player was fully within his rights prevent certain deals from happening (all Twitter links via Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press and Evan Woodbery of
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Trade Chatter: Nats, Rays, Fulmer, Reds, Jays, Braves, Giants, Yelich, Phils]]> 2017-12-14T03:45:12Z 2017-12-14T03:44:39Z Looking to improve an already enviable rotation, the Nationals have Rays right-handers Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi on their radar, Jon Heyman of FanRag reports (via Twitter). Either would cost far less in terms of salary than free agent Jake Arrieta will, and Heyman notes that the Nats are unsure if they’d be able to afford Arrieta. Heyman also points to Diamondbacks righty Zack Greinke as a possibility for the Nats; however, he’s not exactly cheap, with $138.5MM coming his way through 2021.

    More on the trade front:

    • The Tigers “will only entertain lopsided offers” for righty Michael Fulmer, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). A trade involving the highly coveted 24-year-old doesn’t look likely, then.
    • The Blue Jays are interested in Reds outfielders Billy Hamilton and Adam Duvall, per reports from Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (via Twitter) and Jays Journal. The Braves also have interest in the 29-year-old Duvall, tweets Heyman. Duvall, a 30-home run hitter in each of the previous two seasons, is controllable for the next four years. He won’t be arbitration eligible until next winter.
    • The Giants’ own interest in Hamilton continues, but Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that the chatter with the Reds has “faded significantly” of late. Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer adds on Twitter that the Giants are the most serious suitors for Hamilton, but they’re “at a bit of a standoff” with the Reds. San Francisco still has interest in free agent Jay Bruce, per Rosenthal, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that Bruce is the top name on San Francisco’s “wish list.” Still, the club has not made him an offer to this point.
    • It’s up in the air whether the Marlins will trade center fielder Christian Yelich. Either way, the Phillies will continue to monitor his availability, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia relays. Meanwhile, they’ve “been aggressive” in shopping shortstop Freddy Galvis, according to Salisbury, who adds (via Twitter) that the Angels “really liked” second baseman Cesar Hernandez before they acquired Ian Kinsler. The Halos didn’t want to meet the Phillies’ asking price for Hernandez, however.
    • The Red Sox asked about Marcell Ozuna before the Cardinals acquired him, but they did not have the sort of pitching assets the Marlins were for, Dombrowski told reporters including the Globe’s Peter Abraham (Twitter link.) The Indians also inquired about Ozuna, Paul Hoynes of writes.
    • In addition to Chase Headley, the Padres are dangling infielder Yangervis Solarte in chatter with rival organizations, Heyman reports on Twitter. Solarte, 30, is controllable for the next three years at affordable costs (a guaranteed $4MM in 2018 and then club options totaling $13.5MM for 2019-20).
    • The Blue Jays were another team with interest in Kinsler before Wednesday’s trade, Nicholson-Smith tweets. Toronto was on Kinsler’s 10-team no-trade list, so it’s unclear how open he’d have been to going there.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Angels Acquire Ian Kinsler]]> 2017-12-14T05:01:33Z 2017-12-14T02:45:34Z The Angels have acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Tigers for two prospects, right-hander Wilkel Hernandez and outfielder Troy Montgomery. Kinsler could have taken advantage of his 10-team no-trade clause to block the move, but he’ll instead make Anaheim the third destination of his major league career. The Angels will pay Kinsler’s entire $11MM salary in 2018, his last year of team control.

    [RELATED: Updated Angels Depth Chart]

    Ian Kinsler

    The Kinsler acquisition is the third major move of the offseason for the Angels, who missed the playoffs for the third straight year in 2017. General manager Billy Eppler has worked diligently this winter to bolster his team’s roster around the game’s top player, center fielder Mike Trout. The Halos previously kept left fielder Justin Upton from leaving via the open market and signed the No. 1 free agent of the offseason, two-way Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani, and they may be on the verge of landing a third baseman next.

    Kinsler is unlikely to make the type of impact Upton (his former Tigers teammate) or Ohtani will in 2018, during which he’ll turn 36. But he’ll nonetheless provide the Angels a steady option at the keystone to team with world-class shortstop Andrelton Simmons up the middle. Angels second basemen hit a putrid .207/.274/.318 in 2017, so finding outside help for the position was a must for Eppler this offseason. Kinsler’s lifetime output suggests he’ll serve as a sizable upgrade over the second basemen the Angels ran out last year.

    A longtime Ranger and Tiger, the right-handed Kinsler has combined to slash .273/.342/.447 with 234 home runs and 224 stolen bases across 7,484 plate appearances, and the four-time All-Star has also offered quality work in the field during his career (108 Defensive Runs Saved, 40.4 Ultimate Zone Rating). Kinsler’s offensive numbers went backward in 2017 as he hit a career-worst .236/.313/.412 in 613 PAs, but he still belted 22 homers and stole 14 bases. Further, his defensive prowess (6 DRS, 6.6 UZR) helped lead to a 2.4 fWAR. That also represents a career low, though it’s still a respectable figure, and the Angels would likely sign up for similar production in 2018 at Kinsler’s price tag.

    While the Tigers’ return for Kinsler doesn’t look significant, it’s still not a shock that they’ve moved on from him. They’re in the incipient stages of a major rebuild, making Kinsler a superfluous piece, and GM Al Avila revealed earlier this week that a deal involving the vet was likely to occur. Moving Kinsler leaves the Tigers with 38 players on their 40-man roster, giving them room to add a couple more via Thursday’s Rule 5 draft. Detroit has the first overall pick.

    Between Hernandez and Montgomery, the latter ranked higher on’s list of Angels prospects (No. 20 to Hernandez’s No. 24). The outlet notes that the 23-year-old Montgomery, an eighth-round pick in 2016, possesses “a very advanced approach at the plate,” “plus speed” and “above-average defense” at every outfield spot. The lefty-swinger divided last season among Single-A, High-A and Double-A, hitting .271/.358/.413 in 434 PAs.

    The 18-year-old Hernandez, who signed out of Venezuela for $125K in 2015, spent last season at the rookie level and pitched to a 2.28 ERA, with 8.8 K/9 against 4.4 BB/9, in 59 1/3 innings (17 appearances, 12 starts). The 6-foot-3 Hernandez is a promising hurler who can hit 95 mph at times, according to, though he needs work when it comes to repeating his delivery, throwing strikes and improving his breaking ball.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the Angels would acquire Kinsler, and he was first to report the trade had been finalized. Katie Strang of The Athletic reported the Tigers would get two prospects. Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reported the prospects involved. Jason Beck of reported the Angels would take on Kinsler’s salary.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Details On Ian Kinsler’s No-Trade Clause]]> 2017-12-13T19:10:39Z 2017-12-13T18:57:40Z 12:57pm: Sherman has now tweeted the full list, reporting that the Yankees, Dodgers, Athletics, Padres, Giants, Rays, and Blue Jays are also teams to which Kinsler can block a move.

    9:28am: It has long been anticipated that the Tigers will attempt to deal veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler, who’ll play for a reasonable $11MM salary. Indeed, the organization has made no secret of its intentions to hear offers to cash in one of its few clear trade assets.

    As in the past, though, Kinsler’s partial no-trade rights could become a factor. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Kinsler has the right to block deals to three teams that seem to be quite sensible matches on paper: the Mets, Angels, and Brewers.

    Indeed, the Halos may well be targeting Kinsler in particular. According to’s Jerry Crasnick, via Twitter, the Los Angeles organization has clear interest and may even be prioritizing Kinsler as it continues to search for an upgrade at second. At this point, there’s little clarity on how Kinsler will utilize his rights, though Sherman does note that he seems inclined to okay a deal to Los Angeles.

    Of course, it’s unlikely that Kinsler is thrilled at the prospect of spending the season with the rebuilding Tigers rather than suiting up for a contender. And he has seemingly expressed an interest in just that. There were past indications that Kinsler would seek to use his no-trade clause to gain contract inducements, though he also downplayed that consideration at the time.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Tigers, Rangers Not Making Progress In Fulmer Talks]]> 2017-12-13T05:47:42Z 2017-12-13T05:47:42Z
  • The Rangers are one of the teams known to have contacted the Tigers about Michael Fulmer, though Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Fress Press reports that the two sides haven’t gotten very far in negotiations.  Fulmer’s ability and years of team control make him an attractive target for any club, especially the pitching-needy Rangers, though the Tigers have naturally put a huge asking price on their young righty.
  • ]]>
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Tigers Interested In Fernando Rodney]]> 2017-12-13T03:12:03Z 2017-12-13T03:12:03Z
  • Fernando Rodney’s name has been increasingly mentioned in recent days, with the Mets and Tigers the latest teams to express interest in the veteran reliever, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets.  New York and Detroit join the previously-reported Twins, Diamondbacks and Rangers as candidates for Rodney’s services.  Rodney posted solid numbers as Arizona’s closer last season, and likely wouldn’t require a multi-year commitment given that he turns 41 in March.  Detroit could install him at closer with Shane Greene moving back to a setup role, and Rodney could also become a trade chip for the rebuilding Tigers at the deadline.  Rodney might not close with the Mets, but he would further augment a back-of-the-pen mix that includes Jeurys Familia, AJ Ramos and Jerry Blevins.
  • Francisco Rodriguez is hoping to keep pitching for his 17th big league season, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman writes.  After years as an effective closer, K-Rod suffered through a disastrous 2017 campaign that saw him post a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 IP for the Tigers.  He pitched in the Nationals’ farm system on a minor league deal before being released last July.
  • ]]>
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Tigers Notes: Kinsler, Second Base, Greene]]> 2017-12-12T23:06:40Z 2017-12-12T23:06:40Z
  • The Ian Kinsler trade talks have reached the point where the Tigers have exchanged names with interested teams, GM Al Avila told reporters (including Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press and’s Evan Woodbery).  Kinsler has been seen as one of the likeliest players to be dealt this offseason, and it seems like a trade could happen at any point.  The Mets, Brewers, and Angels are teams with reported recent interest in Kinsler’s services.  Should Kinsler be traded, Avila said the Tigers would likely sign a veteran “safety net” second baseman to compete with Dixon Machado in Spring Training, with Woodbery noting that such a veteran would probably be a minor league signing.
  • The Tigers are also getting some calls on Shane Greene, Avila said (hat tip to’s Jason Beck).  Greene’s first full-time season as a reliever delivered some good results, and he even recorded nine saves after stepping into the closer’s role in August.  While Greene would be another good trade chip for the rebuilding Tigers, Avila said the interest in Greene was “not to the point where we felt it [a trade] was a good thing to do.”
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Yankees Considering Michael Fulmer, Patrick Corbin In Trade Talks]]> 2017-12-12T15:42:48Z 2017-12-12T15:42:48Z The Yankees are among the teams with interest in Tigers righty Michael Fulmer, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). New York also has considered Diamondbacks lefty Patrick Corbin, per the report.

    Clearly, the Yanks are interested in finding a rotation upgrade, as the club was also linked yesterday to Pirates righty Gerrit Cole. Currently, the first four members of the staff seem set: Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, Sonny Gray, and Jordan Montgomery. But the fifth slot is much less settled.

    [RELATED: Yankees, TigersDiamondbacks Depth Charts]

    While the Bronx powerhouse is still committed to remaining under the luxury tax line for 2018, the club obviously sees some ways to fit high-quality hurlers into the payroll. Of course, GM Brian Cashman is also reportedly looking into moving some existing salary to open yet more space.

    Fulmer and Corbin each represent quite different assets. There’s some reason to believe that either could be made available, but for differing reasons.

    With regard to Fulmer, he’s one of the most intriguing young starters in baseball. The 24-year-old is on track to qualify for Super Two status next year but won’t be a free agent until 2023. And he has already turned in 323 2/3 innings of 3.45 ERA pitching in his first two MLB seasons. While offseason surgery to deal with a nerve issue in his elbow may give some pause, that particular procedure does not seem to come with significant future concern. Accordingly, the asking price is expected to be astronomical, even if the Tigers will hear out teams with interest.

    As for Corbin, the D-Backs are in a tight payroll situation that will present challenges as they seek to return to the postseason. GM Mike Hazen indicates yesterday that a “creative” approach will be required, as’s Steve Gilbert notes on Twitter. With Corbin projected by MLBTR to take home a $8.3MM payday via arbitration, he could be a useful trade piece, perhaps bringing back pieces that could fill other needs while also freeing up some spending money. The 28-year-old southpaw turned in a solid 2017 campaign, running up 189 2/3 innings of 4.03 ERA ball with 8.4 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. While Arizona would surely prefer to retain Corbin, they have four other strong rotation pieces on hand along with a few internal candidates to battle for a spot.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Have Inquired On Michael Fulmer, Marcell Ozuna]]> 2017-12-12T15:25:18Z 2017-12-12T15:25:18Z After missing on Shohei Ohtani, the Rangers are spreading a wide net in search of improvements. The latest word is that they have asked about two of the top potential trade assets on this winter’s market.

    Texas is one of several teams to have inquired on the availability of Tigers righty Michael Fulmer, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (via Twitter). Grant also discussed the possibility earlier, noting some of the many complications but also the fact that Detroit seems willing to entertain offers. The pre-arb righty is recovering from nerve transposition surgery but has an early-career track record that will support a massive asking price from the rebuilding Tigers.

    And while the club has alternatives on hand to play the outfield, the Rangers have also put out feelers with the Marlins regarding Marcell Ozuna, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Ozuna is projected by MLBTR to earn a hefty $10.9MM in his second-to-last trip through arbitration, but that’s still a bargain rate after his breakout 2017 campaign. For the cost-cutting Marlins, though, now may well be the time to move Ozuna — so long as the team can secure an appropriately significant return.

    Of course, it’s important to bear in mind that the Rangers have also been connected to a wide variety of others in recent days. On the pitching side, that includes free agents Yu Darvish (link) and Alex Cobb (link) as well as possible trade candidates Gerrit Cole (link) and Matt Harvey (link). And Texas is reportedly among the many teams still in on free agent first baseman Carlos Santana (link).

    The broader takeaway, then, seems to be that the Rangers are engaged in a broad effort to find a high-quality player or two to bolster their roster. With several areas susceptible of improvement, and also perhaps some flexibility with some existing pieces, it’s still possible to imagine the roster developing in any number of different ways.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tigers Unlikely To Extend Nicholas Castellanos]]> 2017-12-12T04:25:46Z 2017-12-12T04:25:46Z
  • The Tigers engaged in contract extension talks with outfielder/third baseman Nicholas Castellanos’ agent after the season, but they haven’t had any discussions since, general manager Al Avila told reporters Monday. It looks unlikely the two sides will reach an agreement, per Jason Beck of (Twitter link). As things stand, the soon-to-be 26-year-old Castellanos is controllable for just two more seasons. The former top prospect will make a projected $7.6MM in arbitration in 2018, when he’ll try for a third straight above-average offensive showing. Castellanos, who slugged a career-best 26 home runs last season, has batted .277/.325/.493 with 44 HRs in 1,112 plate appearances since 2016.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[FA Rumors: LoMo, Rox, Hunter, Mets, Kintzler, Brewers, O’s, Tigers, Jays]]> 2017-12-11T23:41:02Z 2017-12-11T23:41:02Z The latest free agent rumors…

    • Contrary to a report from Sunday, the Rockies haven’t had any discussions about signing first baseman Logan Morrison, per Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post (Twitter link).
    • Reliever Tommy Hunter has emerged as a “prime target” for the Mets in their search for bullpen help, according to Marc Carig of Newsday (on Twitter). The 31-year-old right-hander was quietly excellent over 58 2/3 innings with the Rays in 2017, recording a 2.61 ERA and putting up 9.82 K/9 against 2.15 BB/9.
    • Count the Diamondbacks among those interested in reliever Brandon Kintzler, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, who expects the former Twins closer to land a two-year deal. Kintzler suggested last month that his wife is rooting for him to sign with Arizona. The Twins continue to monitor him, and they’ve also checked in on almost every other available pitcher, chief baseball officer Derek Falvey revealed (Twitter link via Rhett Bollinger of
    • Brewers GM David Stearns said Monday that he’s likely to “cross paths” at the Winter Meetings with the agents for second baseman Neil Walker and reliever Anthony Swarzak, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. Walker and Swarzak ended last season with the Brewers after coming over in trades and performed quite well during their short stints in Milwaukee.
    • Although the Orioles badly need starters, they’re not inclined to dole out long deals. GM Dan Duquette suggested to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun and other reporters Monday that four- to five-year pacts for pitchers generally don’t work out well (Twitter link). On the other hand, Duquette hasn’t closed the door on re-signing righty Chris Tillman, who figures to be an affordable, short-term pickup after enduring a dreadful 2017 (Twitter link via Roch Kubatko of
    • As is the case with Baltimore, the Tigers are in the market for a starter who won’t require a long commitment, GM Al Avila informed reporters (via Evan Woodbery of, on Twitter). Detroit is open to reeling in another starter on a one-year deal to join the just-signed Mike Fiers.
    • The Blue Jays are engaging with multiple starters and relievers, GM Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet and other reporters Monday. They “will most likely add an infielder,” too, and are looking at outfielders, Atkins said (Twitter link).
    • The Rangers are considering signing catcher Rene Rivera, per Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). The righty-hitting Rivera, who was with the Mets and Cubs last year, batted .252/.305/.431 in 237 plate appearances. Behind the plate, he caught an excellent 38 percent of would-be base stealers (10 percent above the league average) and, as has been the case for most of his career, held his own as a framer.
    • Right-hander Jesse Chavez appears likely to sign this week, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes tweets. The 34-year-old Chavez spent last season with the Angels and posted an ugly 5.35 ERA across 138 innings and 38 appearances (21 starts), though he did log acceptable strikeout and walk rates (7.76 K/9, 2.93 BB/9).
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Trade Chatter: Machado, Phils, Yanks, Bucs, Cole, Ellsbury, Tigers, Brewers]]> 2017-12-12T21:23:43Z 2017-12-11T22:59:07Z Should the Orioles decide to trade superstar third baseman Manny Machado prior to 2018, his contract year, they could find a taker in Philadelphia. The Phillies are among “the more interested parties” in Machado, Roch Kubatko of reports. The Orioles have studied the Phillies’ farm system in the event of a deal, and they now “covet” right-hander Sixto Sanchez (Baseball America’s 61st-best prospect), per Kubatko. Second base prospect Scott Kingery and major league shortstop Freddy Galvis could also be involved in a potential trade, Kubatko writes. But a swap would require a 72-hour window for the Phillies to extend the 25-year-old Machado, according to Kubatko, and hammering out an agreement could be a tall order given that he’s so close to hitting the open market.

    More of the latest trade chatter:

    • The Yankees reportedly came away from talks with the Pirates with the impression that they won’t move righty Gerrit Cole. However, the Pirates are at least willing to listen to offers for Cole, per Buster Olney of ESPN (Twitter link). The Yankees and Bucs match up well for a potential Cole trade, sources tell Olney, who notes that Bombers general manager Brian Cashman and the Pirates’ Neal Huntington have swung plenty of deals in the past.
    • In the wake of the Giancarlo Stanton acquisition, the Yankees are loaded with outfielders. Although that seems to be bad news for Jacoby Ellsbury, who’s toward the bottom of the Yankees’ current outfield depth chart, he’s still “unlikely” to waive his no-trade clause, Mark Feinsand of tweets. The belief is that the Yankees would eat roughly half of the $68MM to jettison Ellsbury, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag, but it could be a moot point if he’s unwilling to go anywhere. And Cashman said Monday that Ellsbury “has a spot on the roster” and “will compete to take his job back,” Alex Speier of the Boston Globe relays (Twitter link). On the other hand, if the Yankees make 23-year-old outfielder Clint Frazier available, the Athletics would unquestionably have interest, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (via Twitter). However, the price to acquire Frazier would likely be too high, Slusser adds.
    • The Tigers expect to deal second baseman Ian Kinsler, GM Al Avila told Evan Woodbery of and other reporters (Twitter link). Meanwhile, they’ve gotten “mild inquiries” on arguably their most valuable trade chip – righty Michael Fulmer – but they’re not actively shopping him (via Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, on Twitter). “There are a handful of teams out there that have the players to do it, but we have not come close to those conversations,” Avila said of a potential Fulmer trade (Twitter link via Jason Beck of
    • While the Brewers are listening to offers for outfielder Domingo Santana, there’s not a lot of traction in trade talks, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweets. The Brewers want “an affordable impact starter” for Santana, Crasnick suggests. GM David Stearns told reporters Monday that “if we’re going to even consider trading someone who is such an important part of our team, we are going to expect a sizable return” (via Adam McCalvy of, on Twitter).
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Tigers Outright Victor Alcantara]]> 2017-12-11T19:43:24Z 2017-12-11T19:27:55Z Right-hander Victor Alcantara has been outrighted after clearing waivers, as Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reported on Twitter. That leaves the team with an open 40-man spot in advance of the Rule 5 draft later this week.

    The 24-year-old Alcantara, who came to the organization in the Cameron Maybin swap, struggled in his first, limited MLB action in 2017. Alcantara spent most of the year in the upper minors, where he was utilized mostly as a reliever after spending the bulk of his career to that point as a starter. Over 74 2/3 innings at Double-A and Triple-A, he posted a 3.62 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 5.5 BB/9.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Tigers May Find Kinsler Deal At Winter Meetings]]> 2017-12-11T18:40:15Z 2017-12-11T18:24:40Z
  • All along, Tigers second bagger Ian Kinsler has seemed the likeliest player at his position to move. And it’s possible a deal could come together this week, GM Al Avila tells reporters including’s Jason Beck (Twitter link). It’s a “possibility,” but not a certainty, that something will get done, according to Avila.
  • ]]>
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Sports Science, Iglesias, Moylan, Rangers]]> 2017-12-11T12:51:12Z 2017-12-11T12:51:12Z Though baseball hasn’t publicly embraced sports science the way it has analytics, the Giants are looking towards that very field as a way to gain an advantage. A fascinating article by Ian MacMahan of The Athletic (subscription required and recommended) provides some insight into the goals of Geoff Head, San Francisco’s newly-promoted assistant director of player development. “Everybody in baseball is tired by August,” Head tells MacMahan. “But if we are a little less fatigued than our opponent, it gives us an advantage.” The field of sports science focuses heavily on factors such as hydration, nutrition, workload and sleep; experts attempt to put together a formula that will keep players performing at their optimal levels as often as possible. According to Dr. Glenn Fleisig, the main difference between sports science and analytics is that sports science focuses on the “physical and medical aspects of a player,” as opposed to gameplay-based statistics. Less than half of all MLB teams currently have a dedicated sports scientist on their staff, and heavier use of sports science data could lead to big improvements by baseball players. As MacMahan puts it, “no one hits a home run sitting in the dugout nursing lead-filled legs and a tight back.”

    • Evan Woodbery of provides some insight into the questions the Tigers face as the winter meetings commence. Most notably, Woodbery reports that there hasn’t been much buzz surrounding shortstop Jose Iglesias, who will become a free agent after the 2018 season. With no open spots on the 40-man roster, Iglesias is one player Detroit could consider moving in order to take advantage of having the first pick in baseball’s Rule 5 Draft this Thursday (As Woodbery points out, Ian Kinsler could also be on the move before then). Though Iglesias hit just .255/.288/.369 across 489 plate appearances last year, his excellent defense boosted his fWAR to 1.6. Because he’s projected to earn just $5.6MM in his final year of arbitration, there would seem to be some surplus value in his contract.
    • Reliever Peter Moylan is generating some interest, specifically from the Royals and Braves (hat tip to Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston). As Drellich notes, Moylan held opposing right-handed hitters to a .161/.244/.236 batting line in 2017 (and may have also provided the Royals with some intangible value thanks to his espresso skills). The 38-year-old Moylan has typically been excellent against righties over the course of his 11-year major league career; he’s posted a 2.22 ERA against them in 280 innings with the Braves, Dodgers and Royals.
    • Even after losing out on Shohei Ohtani, the Rangers may still elect to use a non-traditional rotation, Evan Grant of SportsDay writes. Texas has reportedly kept contact with Yu Darvish, who has pitched in a six-man rotation in Japan and prefers such a setup; that might be one item which could help entice him to return to Arlington. Grant mentions Cole Hamels, who is generally a stickler for routine, as someone who could present a roadblock to such a strategy. However, based on Hamels’ quotes in the piece, he’d be willing to consider it if the modification helped bring about a postseason berth. “I’d love to get to the postseason again and win a World Series. That’s what I want to do here,” said Hamels. “If we can be stronger and healthier, not as worn down, you have the advantage.”
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Jack Morris, Alan Trammell Voted Into Baseball Hall Of Fame]]> 2017-12-10T23:58:47Z 2017-12-10T23:36:41Z Jack Morris and Alan Trammell were both elected to the Baseball Hall Of Fame today, as announced on the MLB Network.  The two longtime Tigers greats were voted in via the HOF’s Modern Baseball Era Committee, who weighed the cases of Morris, Trammell and eight others who weren’t originally selected in the traditional writers’ vote.  (’s Barry M. Bloom has the details on the Modern Era Committee’s composition and process.)

    Both Morris and Trammell went the full 15 years on the Baseball Writers’ Association Of America ballot without getting the necessary 75% of the vote necessary for election.  Still, both players (as well as the others on the Modern Era Committee’s ballot) had their share of supporters who felt that the duo was long overdue to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

    Morris won 254 games over his 18-year career, with 14 of those seasons coming in Detroit.  While advanced metrics weren’t always keen on Morris’ work, he was a prototypical old-school workhorse, tossing complete games in 175 of his 527 career starts.  His most famous outing, in fact, was a complete game on the sport’s biggest stage — Morris tossed 10 shutout innings in Game Seven of the 1991 World Series to help lead the Twins to the championship.  That was one of four World Series rings Morris earned during his career, while posting a 3.90 ERA and 2478 strikeouts over his 3824 career innings.

    Trammell spent all 20 seasons of his career in Detroit, highlighted by his World Series MVP performance in the Tigers’ championship season in 1984.  Trammell hit .285/.352/.415 with 185 homers over 9376 career plate appearances, with six All-Star appearances, four Gold Gloves and three Silver Slugger Awards to his credit.  Despite this impressive resume, Trammell’s overall steady play may have actually led to his being underrated in comparison to star shortstops of his era (as recently argued by’s Joe Posnanski), hence his long wait for Cooperstown.

    The Modern Era Committee focused on names from 1970-87, with other candidates including union leader Marvin Miller and former star players Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Ted Simmons, and Luis Tiant.  Simmons came closest to induction, falling just a single vote shy of the 12-vote threshold.  Miller was the next-highest candidate, earning seven of 16 votes.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Mets Have Talked With Indians, Tigers About Trades For Second Baseman]]> 2017-12-10T18:46:43Z 2017-12-10T01:02:55Z 7:02pm: The Tigers’ efforts to trade Kinsler have “intensified” of late, Katie Strang of The Athletic reports (subscription required and recommended). Moving Kinsler will be a key area of focus for Detroit during the upcoming week, Strang adds, given that the team has a full 40-man roster with Thursday’s Rule 5 draft approaching. The Tigers are slated to pick first in the draft, and dealing Kinsler by then would give them room to select a player with that choice.

    9:31am: According to Marc Carig of Newsday, the Mets have had talks about significant potential trades for Ian Kinsler of the Tigers and Jason Kipnis of the Indians. The Mets may also use the winter meetings to explore a deal with the Pirates for Josh Harrison, says Carig.

    At this point, Carig clarifies, it seems as though the Mets have had much more dialogue with the Tigers regarding Kinsler; however there’s “some skepticism about a deal getting done there”.

    It’s certainly no surprise to hear that a team with a need at second base has inquired on Kinsler. The last-place Tigers endured a rough first half last season that culminated in a decision to tear down and rebuild. Veterans J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton and Justin Verlander were all traded to different contending teams, and Detroit ultimately finished the season with just 64 wins. With no serious ability to contend next season, MLBTR’s Jeff Todd already pointed out that Kinsler seems like a prime trade candidate.

    While Kinsler finished 2017 with his worst full season by fWAR (2.4), he’s a solid bounceback candidate for a Mets team with plans to push for a pennant in 2018. Kinsler hit just .236/.313/.412 this past season, but was seemingly held back by some terrible luck with BABIP (.244). At 35, he’s no sure bet to return to previous form, but considering he combined for 9.8 fWAR between 2015 and 2016, acquiring Kinsler could be well worth the risk for the Mets.

    The news about talks for Kipnis are perhaps a bit more surprising. There’s been some speculation about Kipnis as a trade candidate this offseason; he’s coming off a down offensive year during which he hit just .232/.291/.414 and missed significant time due to shoulder and hamstring injuries, and he seems to have been displaced at the keystone by teammate Jose Ramirez. However, Kipnis is one of the more significant faces in the Indians franchise, and he’s been one of their best offensive players overall for the past half-decade. To this point, there’s been no indication from Cleveland’s camp that they’d be willing to trade Kipnis at all; the fact that they’ve had talks with the Mets about him seems to imply that they’re at least willing to explore trade scenarios.

    Of course, there’s no real word as to the extent of the trade talks surrounding Kipnis. The report that the Mets have had more dialogue about Kinsler and that such a deal is met with skepticism seems to imply that negotiations for Kipnis are far from advanced. It could be that the Mets were simply doing their due diligence, and that the Indians were willing to listen. Regardless, Kipnis being available to any extent would add an interesting new twist to a second base market that no longer includes Dee Gordon.

    While there’s not much word yet on the Mets’ reported interest in Harrison, he’d also be an upgrade to their current depth chart. Harrison has been a solid infielder for the Pirates over the past four seasons, and is capable of playing in the outfield and at third base as well. The Pirates haven’t yet signaled whether or not they’re making a push for contention, but if they decide to rebuild instead, Harrison would be one of the more obvious trade candidates. The 30-year-old is guaranteed $11.5MM for the remainder of his contract, which includes salary for 2018 season as well as buyouts for 2019 and 2020. Harrison hit .272/.339/.432 across 542 plate appearances for Pittsburgh last season.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Tigers Sign Mike Fiers]]> 2017-12-08T18:55:06Z 2017-12-08T18:47:47Z The Tigers have filled the fifth spot in their 2018 rotation, announcing on Friday a one-year deal with free agent right-hander Mike Fiers. He’ll reportedly earn $6MM on the contract and will remain under Tigers control through 2019 as an arbitration-eligible player. Detroit’s 40-man roster is now full.

    Mike Fiers | Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    Detroit has long seemed to make sense as a landing spot for a bounceback starter or two, and Fiers clearly fits that description. The 32-year-old was recently non-tendered by the Astros, who were unwilling to commit to what MLBTR projected as a $5.7MM salary.

    That no other teams stepped in to trade for Fiers seemingly suggested that the rest of the market was equally unwilling to pay that price. Yet Fiers has evidently secured a guarantee that’s greater than the projection. Of course, it’s possible that the market moved a bit more than anyone anticipated. And it’s at least arguably preferable to have him at a fixed price rather than risking an arb hearing.

    It’s worth noting that Detroit will also pick up what’s essentially a team option at a floating price. Since Fiers is eligible for arbitration one more time, the organization will get to decide whether to tender him at the end of the 2018 season.

    [RELATED: Updated Tigers Depth Chart]

    Of course, that assumes that Fiers is not traded in the interim. If all goes as hoped, and he delivers strong results, perhaps he’ll end up being pursued by contending teams over the summer. (While the Tigers certainly could, in theory, be competitive themselves, that seems quite unlikely given the organization’s direction.)

    The 2017 season wasn’t kind to Fiers, who ran a 5.22 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 over 153 1/3 innings. While many of his peripheral numbers fell in their normal ranges, Fiers coughed up a hefty 1.88 dingers per nine.

    But he has shown more in the past, including a steady showing in 2015, when he put up 180 1/3 innings of 3.69 ERA ball and memorably threw a no-hitter. Fiers has also been healthy of late, taking the ball for at least 28 starts in each of the past three seasons, even if he doesn’t always work deep.

    Taking a chance on some kind of turnaround is easy enough for an organization that is entering a rebuilding phase and needs innings. As currently composed, the rotation would likely feature Fiers along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and lefties Matthew Boyd and Daniel Norris. It’s still possible to imagine the Tigers adding another arm to that mix, even if that just means bringing in some veterans on minor-league pacts to provide depth and spring competition.

    Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press first reported the two sides were close to a deal (via Twitter).’s Jerry Crasnick reported the agreement and terms (via Twitter).

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tigers Notes: FA Pitchers, Norris]]> 2017-12-08T02:51:34Z 2017-12-08T02:51:34Z The rebuilding Tigers are pursuing a pair of potential bounce-back starters, right-handers Chris Tillman and Mike Fiers, as well as Japanese closer Yoshihisa Hirano, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News tweets. On the other hand, they’re not after free agent starters Jason Vargas, Jeremy Hellickson or ex-Tiger Anibal Sanchez, according to McCosky. Detroit’s interest in Tillman has been known since last month, and he and Fiers look like strong candidates to sign one-year deals after enduring rough 2017 campaigns. Hirano also figures to land a short-term pact because of his age (34 in March), though he ran roughshod over hitters as a closer in Japan for most of the past decade. The Tigers join the Cardinals as the second team with reported interest in the righty.

    • Catcher Derek Norris, whom the Tigers signed to a minor league contract Tuesday, will earn a base salary of $1.2MM if he cracks their roster, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link). Norris could also rake in $300K in incentives.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Sign Leonys Martin To Major League Deal, Sign Derek Norris To Minors Pact]]> 2017-12-05T20:03:30Z 2017-12-05T19:39:08Z The Tigers announced that they’ve signed outfielder Leonys Martin to a one-year, Major League contract for the 2018 season. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (via Twitter) that he’ll earn a guaranteed $1.75MM with the opportunity to pick up another $1.1MM via incentives.

    Meanwhile, catcher Derek Norris, right-hander Enrique Burgos and outfielder Jim Adduci have signed minor league deals that contain invites to Spring Training, per the team. The Tigers also confirmed their previously reported minor league deal with first baseman Edwin Espinal.

    Martin, 30 next March, should have ample opportunity to pick up at-bats with the Tigers, who enter the offseason with a thin outfield mix. Mikie Mahtook, JaCoby Jones and Nicholas Castellanos currently sit atop the depth chart in Detroit, though Jones has yet to establish himself in the Majors while Castellanos is a trade candidate. Martin could supplant Jones, and at the very least the two will compete for regular at-bats during Spring Training this year.

    In Martin, the Tigers are adding a left-handed bat and a fleet-footed defender that can handle all three outfield spots. The former Rangers/Mariners outfielder hasn’t hit much in recent years, but Martin has consistently drawn top-notch reviews for his defensive work — most of which has come in center field. Defensive Runs Saved pegs him at +46 in nearly 4500 big league innings, while Ultimate Zone Rating has him at 30 runs better than average. Detroit outfielders, collectively, drew marks of -10 and -7 from DRS and UZR last season, so adding Martin to the mix should prove to be a significant boon, even if it comes at the expense of some offense.

    Martin’s struggles with the bat have indeed been pronounced over the past three seasons, during which time he’s twice posted an OPS south of .600. Overall, in his past 1024 MLB plate appearances, Martin has batted .228/.283/.345. At his best, Martin does show some pop, and he’s always a threat on the basepaths as well. Martin’s batted-ball profile has been increasingly fly-ball oriented in recent years, and while many in the league have had great success in that regard, it hasn’t worked out for him. Perhaps a return to a more ground-ball-based approach and some work to curtail his recent uptick in punchouts can at least return his bat to serviceable levels.

    As a bonus for the Tigers, Martin comes with just four years, 161 days of Major League service time, meaning if he does turn things around at all, he’ll be controllable through the 2019 season via arbitration. That could help both in making him a multi-year asset for a rebuilding Detroit club or by making him more appealing to potential trade suitors in the event of a bounceback.

    Norris, 29 in February, struggled to a .201/.258/.380 line in 198 plate appearances with the Rays last season. He hasn’t performed well at the plate since a solid run with the A’s and Padres in 2013-15, though he at one point in his career showed a penchant for drawing walks and the power to post double-digit homer totals. He’ll compete for a backup catching job, though with James McCann and John Hicks in the fold, it seems likelier that he’ll head to Triple-A to open the year.

    Norris was released by the Rays this past June, and his season formally came to a conclusion on Sept. 1 when commissioner Rob Manfred placed him on the restricted list for the final month of the year “based on the results of” an investigation into domestic violence allegations made by his former fiancee. Notably, it does not seem as though there were ever any criminal charges brought forth against Norris. He’s not facing any punishment from the league in 2018.

    The 27-year-old Burgos has shown the ability to miss bats at the big league level, averaging 10.8 K/9 in 68 1/3 innings across multiple stints with the D-backs, dating back to 2015. He’s averaged nearly 96 mph on his fastball but has also issued five walks per nine innings as a Major Leaguer. He’ll vie for a spot in an unsettled Tigers bullpen and, if he can eventually put things together, is controllable all the way through the 2022 season.

    Adduci, 32, returned from a strong stint in the Korea Baseball Organization this year and made his way to the Tigers’ big league roster, where he batted .241/.323/.398 in 93 PAs. Adduci has just 241 big league PAs, which have resulted in a .209/.283/.302 slash.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Avila On Tigers' Young Core, Kinsler, Iglesias]]> 2017-12-05T06:38:41Z 2017-12-05T05:31:41Z
  • Tigers GM Al Avila chatted recently with David Laurila of Fangraphs, who details their discussion. While the club is obviously settling in for some bumps, Avila says there’s “already a nucleus there for our future” on the current roster. While there are still quite a few more pieces to be added, the club’s top baseball decisionmaker suggests he is fairly high on several of the team’s controllable players who are at or near the majors. He also frankly acknowledged that the Tigers’ two middle infielders — Ian Kinsler and Jose Iglesias — could be on the move this offseason. “Whether they’re going to be with us this year or not, we’ll see,” he said of the two veterans, each of whom will reach the open market next winter. There’s more in that post from Avila as well as a few other execs from around the league.
  • ]]>
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Free Agent Profile: J.D. Martinez]]> 2017-12-05T01:44:10Z 2017-12-05T01:44:10Z Despite not accumulating enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title, J.D. Martinez hit the third-most home runs of any player in baseball. Make no mistake, he’ll be paid for his power this winter.


    Since his breakout season with the Tigers, Martinez has been an incredible power asset. Over the past four seasons, the outfielder is 10th in MLB with 128 homers, despite having the second-fewest plate appearances of any player in the top 20 in that category. During that time, Martinez trails only Mike Trout in slugging percentage. He also ranks within the top five in wOBA and wRC+ during that stretch, with an even .300 batting average and .362 OBP, so it’s not as if he’s an all-or-nothing presence at the plate.

    During the 2017 season, Martinez took his power to a new level. Across 489 plate appearances between the Tigers and the Diamondbacks, Martinez posted a whopping .690 slugging percentage, which would have led all of baseball by a full 59 points if he’d made enough trips to the plate to qualify for the slugging title. The power numbers he puts up are incredibly impressive and will motivate many teams to inquire on him.

    It’s not just his power numbers that stick out, however. Those figures are just one by-product of Martinez’ true greatest strength: quality of contact. His whopping 49% hard contact rate led all of baseball last season, and only Aaron Judge had more barrels per plate appearance.  His 208-foot average batted ball distance ranked 10th among hitters with at least 250 batted ball events. His 90.8 MPH average exit velocity ranked 12th, while his 97.2 MPH average exit velocity on fly balls ranked 6th.


    Though Martinez’ power is absolutely elite, he comes with a slew of weaknesses that hurt his value and build in a frightening amount of risk. It all starts with his health; Martinez has missed significant time with injuries in each of the past two seasons. In fact, the outfielder has only qualified for the batting title once in his career; teams will certainly be somewhat skeptical about his ability to produce at his 2017 clip over a full season in 2018, let alone in future years as he ages.

    One can’t completely ignore defense, either, and Martinez is a downright liability in the field. Fangraphs rated him the seventh-worst defensive player in baseball in 2017. His Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games was -14.8; that figure was the worst among all MLB outfielders. Defensive Runs Saved paints a slightly better picture, but his -5 DRS still ties him for 40th place out of 56 qualifying outfielders. If Martinez was even average defensively, he’d no doubt be one of the top ten most valuable players in baseball. As it stands, however, he’s outside the top 40 in WAR among hitters alone across a three-year sample size.

    There’s also plenty of swing-and-miss in Martinez’ game, although it may not be a chief concern in today’s environment. His 26.2% strikeout rate was the 41st-highest among 216 MLB players with at least 400 plate appearances last year. Part of this stems from his 71.2% contact rate, which put him in the bottom eighth of baseball players in that category. It’s worth noting that Martinez improved his walk rate dramatically this year as well; his 10.8% walk rate put him in the 30th percentile. All told, high strikeout totals aren’t entirely uncommon for power hitters, but Martinez does have some of the poorest plate discipline among the elite power threats in the game. If we isolate the top 30 players in slugging percentage this past season, Martinez has the 6th-highest strikeout rate and 12th-lowest walk rate in that group.

    The mediocre plate discipline is probably worth the trade-off for his avalanche of extra base hits, but it’s tough to know whether his swing will age well. Martinez and agent Scott Boras are reportedly seeking a contract above $200MM. While few in the industry think he’ll come close to that figure, the MLBTR team predicts he’ll earn something in the range of $150MM. If a win is worth roughly $9MM on the free agent market, one would think Martinez will need to provide somewhere close to 14 wins for his new team over the life of that contract, factoring in some inflation. Over the last century, only a handful of players have produced 14 WAR or more for their entire careers with a strikeout rate above 25% and a walk rate below 11%. Those players are Chris Davis, Ryan Howard, David Ross, Colby Rasmus and Melvin Upton Jr. None of them stands out as being particularly productive beyond his age 30 season. Of course, the game is trending in more of a strikeout-heavy direction these days, so perhaps that stat shouldn’t be observed with too much gravity.

    Those readers interested in “clutch” hitters should know that Martinez hasn’t been good in high leverage situations. Since his breakout began at the start of the 2014 season, Martinez ranks dead last among 289 qualifying hitters with a -4.30 clutch rating via Fangraphs.


    With the number 611 overall pick in the 2009 draft (20th round), the Houston Astros selected Martinez out of Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He ascended quickly through the minor leagues, making his professional debut just two years later, performing as a roughly average major leaguer in half a season’s worth of at-bats. Things didn’t go well for Martinez across the next two seasons, however. He posted a .245/.295/.376 batting line from 2012-2013 and was ultimately released by Houston.

    Although his career seemed all but over after being cut by a then-cellar-dwelling Astros team, the Tigers nabbed Martinez, who had spend the offseason overhauling his swing. Early into the 2014 season, it became clear that Detroit had picked up a completely different player than the sub-replacement level outfielder who had struggled with the Astros. Martinez went on to put together a .318/.358/.553 slash line en route to 4.0 WAR and a 154 wRC+ that year, and has produced fantastic offensive numbers ever since.


    As a right-handed power hitter, Martinez would be a welcome asset to the middle of any MLB team’s batting order. However, his price tag will put him firmly out of reach for the majority of teams in smaller markets. Furthermore, the length of the contract he’ll command might give pause to NL teams, who could be concerned that his already-poor defense will decline further with age. While that certainly doesn’t eliminate NL clubs, it does mean that AL clubs (who could play him at DH in the latter years of the contract) might be willing to offer a longer deal. As MLBTR has already noted in our Top 50 Free Agents With Predictions article, the Red Sox are a very good fit. The piece also mentions the Cardinals and Giants as suitors. I’d add the Yankees and Rangers to that list as well, though both would likely need to do some creative financial work to make it possible. Perhaps a few other surprise bidders could emerge.

    Expected Contract

    The $200MM+ contract Boras is seeking for Martinez isn’t realistic. MLBTR’s initial projection of $150MM over six years is more plausible. However, it’s become evident by now that teams are willing to be patient and wait out the free agent market. Going into last offseason, Yoenis Cespedes had a similar four-year WAR output, was just a year older, and had fewer health questions; he signed a four-year, $110MM contract. Based on that, it might be safer to predict a five-year deal for Martinez. I’m going to forecast exactly that, at a $135MM guarantee.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mariners, Giants, Padres, Rangers, Cubs, Angels Among Teams To Meet With Shohei Ohtani]]> 2017-12-04T05:40:13Z 2017-12-04T05:40:33Z 11:40pm: The Angels are indeed one of the finalists, as per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter).

    10:39pm: The Angels are thought by “multiple sources” to be one of the finalists, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan tweets.  The Tigers are out of the running, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.

    8:59pm: The Rangers and Cubs will both meet with Ohtani, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports (Twitter link), and they’re also the only two non-West Coast teams who appear to still be alive in the candidate process.  The Rangers, Grant notes, have yet to comment on their status one way or the other.

    7:22pm: The Nationals won’t be receiving a meeting, the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes reports (Twitter link).

    6:58pm: The Braves are out,’s Jerry Crasnick reports (via Twitter).

    6:50pm: The Padres will receive a meeting with Ohtani, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter links).  The Dodgers are also thought to still be active in the Ohtani sweepstakes though Heyman doesn’t have confirmation; regardless, the Dodgers aren’t thought to be favorites to land Ohtani.

    6:38pm: The Rays, Cardinals and White Sox are out, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (all Twitter links).

    6:15pm: The Diamondbacks won’t receive a meeting, Ken Rosenthal tweets.

    6:12pm: The Blue Jays, Pirates, and Brewers are all out, as respectively reported by’s Shi Davidi,’s Adam Berry, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt (all Twitter links).

    5:48pm: The Mets are also out, as per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).

    5:38pm: Ohtani’s list is “heavy” on West Coast teams, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, though the Cubs may still be involved.  Not every west-based team is included, however, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that the A’s aren’t involved.

    5:28pm: The Red Sox are also out of the running, president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.  The Twins also won’t be getting a meeting with Ohtani, Heyman tweets.

    5:16pm: The Giants and Mariners are among the teams that will receive meetings with Shohei Ohtani and his representatives next week, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports (Twitter link).  It isn’t known who the other finalists are in the Ohtani sweepstakes, though the Yankees are one of the teams that didn’t make the cut, as Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters (including’s Brendan Kuty and’s Bryan Hoch).

    According to Cashman, Ohtani seems to be leaning towards West Coast teams in smaller markets.  This ties to a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman saying that Ohtani’s reps are informing teams that the two-way star would prefer to play in a smaller market.

    The news adds another fascinating layer to the Ohtani sweepstakes, which was already one of the more intriguing free agent pursuits in recent memory.  Given the seeming lack of immediate financial motive that inspired Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball, it opened the door for every team in baseball (regardless of market or payroll size) to make a push for the 23-year-old.  There had been speculation that Ohtani might look to avoid playing in a larger market, so this apparent confirmation creates a realistic possibility that he will land with a team that wouldn’t normally be considered a favorite to land such a coveted free agent.

    Of course, San Francisco isn’t exactly a small market, though Ohtani wouldn’t necessarily be the center of attention on a club with such established stars as Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner (and maybe even Giancarlo Stanton in the near future).  Playing for an NL team, however, would force Ohtani into a pinch-hitting or even a part-time outfield role for the at-bats he seeks in his attempt to be a two-way player in the big leagues.  The Mariners do have such a DH spot available (in a timeshare with Nelson Cruz), and were considered to be a contender for Ohtani given their long history of Japanese players.

    The Yankees also have had several significant Japanese players on their past and current rosters, and were widely seen as one of the major favorites for Ohtani’s services from a financial (in terms of available international bonus money) and positional (openings at DH and in the rotation) standpoint, not to mention their international fame and their young core of talent ready to make a World Series push.  With Ohtani now out of the picture, the Yankees could move to signing more pitching depth — a reunion with C.C. Sabathia has been widely speculated as a possibility — or a veteran bat to serve as designated hitter, if the club doesn’t just rotate its DH days to find plate appearances for everyone on the current roster.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Exploring Low-Cost Pitching Options For The Tigers]]> 2017-12-04T04:03:48Z 2017-12-04T04:03:48Z
  • The Tigers figure to add multiple starting pitchers this winter, though as The Athletic’s Katie Strang notes, those arms will come in the form of inexpensive MLB and minor league signings and possibly a Rule 5 Draft pick.  Names like Clay Buchholz, Drew Smyly or Nick Burdi could fit, though the latter two are recovering from Tommy John surgery and could be tough fits on the 40-man roster.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[AL Central Notes: Twins, Tigers, Abreu]]> 2017-12-02T22:45:06Z 2017-12-02T18:21:22Z Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweeted today that while the Twins remain “engaged and interested” in regards to a few big name free agent pitchers, there’s no indication yet that they are “in heavily” on anyone. While that can change quickly, Wolfson acknowledges that the trade market is also a very real possibility. It would seem that Minnesota is in a position to take their time in exploring all possible options. It makes plenty of sense to wonder whether the Twins might wait to see where Shohei Ohtani signs before making any significant pitching acquisitions. The market for pitching is likely to hold fast until the two-way Japanese sensation picks a landing spot, and on the off-chance that he chooses Minnesota, they might be able to focus their resources on other areas of the roster. A particularly weak bullpen comes to mind as another area the Twins will need to improve upon if they expect to contend again in 2018.

    More notes out of the American League’s central division…

    • While the Tigers probably won’t be serious pursuers of big name free agents this offseason, Katie Strang of The Athletic provides a short list of potential bargain buys for a depleted Detroit rotation. Strang notes that Michael Fulmer is coming off elbow surgery, while veteran Jordan Zimmerman has spent the offseason overhauling his delivery in hopes to return to form after a disastrous 2017 season. Beyond them, Matthew Boyd and Daniel Norris aren’t sure bets to hold down rotation spots. Chris Tillman, Miles Mikolas and Clay Buchholz are some interesting names Strang suggests as options for the Tigers to explore. While none are particularly exciting, they all have some upside as comeback players and could eat innings for Detroit in 2018.
    • Although the Red Sox are players for White Sox slugger Jose AbreuScott Lauber of ESPN notes that the south siders are reportedly asking for “an arm and a leg” in exchange for their first baseman. Boston might not have the prospects necessary to swing a deal; the White Sox were able to land huge hauls for Chris Sale and Adam Eaton last offseason and might be holding out for a similar return for Abreu. The Cuban native has put up a .301/.359/.524 batting line for his four-year major league career. His slugging percentage and 124 home runs both rank 13th in the majors during that span, while his 410 RBI rank 5th. MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk recently detailed the trade market for Abreu.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Quick Hits: MiLB Market, Tigers, Non-Tenders, Ohtani]]> 2017-12-02T22:44:17Z 2017-12-02T16:52:50Z It’s no secret that the market for MLB players has been shockingly cold to date. Ironically, the fact that there are so few stories has become one of the biggest stories of the offseason. But what has perhaps gone somewhat overlooked is the slow crawl of the minor league free agent market. In a piece for Baseball America, Matt Eddy details the frigid minor league market to date. He notes that nearly five times as many minor league free agents had signed contracts by this point last offseason, and quotes an agent describing the “trickle-down” effect of the slow major league free agent market. “Teams are (emphasizing) ‘delay, delay, delay,’ hoping for players to get desperate and start signing lower deals.” says one agent via Eddy. This tactic to drive down the asking prices of MLB free agents could end up reducing the eventual contracts of MiLB free agents as well. While the worst-case scenario for major leaguers is a smaller guarantee, the fear for minor league free agents is that they might not end up with a team at all if they wait too long to sign.

    More from around baseball…

    • Emily Waldon of The Athletic points out that Detroit has just one available spot on the 40-man roster, along with the first pick in the Rule 5 Draft. It will certainly be a valuable pick, and with the rebuilding Tigers not expected to contend this year, they should easily be able to keep their selection on their big league roster throughout the 2018 season. Waldon also provides some notes on former Tigers who are now with new organizations, as well as a few interesting minor leaguers who are making impressions in winter ball. It’s great material for Detroit fans who are looking for some storylines to follow during a rebuilding season.
    • With the non-tender deadline yesterday, many new names were added to the free agent pool. Mark Feinsand of lists six players he thinks are likely to draw significant interest from major league clubs. Feinsand provides some helpful details on those players, including the likes of Matt Adams and Drew Smyly. It’s helpful for anyone looking speculate on how the non-tender free agents could potentially impact the free agent market.
    • With the posting of Shohei Ohtani recently becoming official, ESPN’s Keith Law reveals some secondhand info he’s compiled from scouts who have seen the Japanese phenom play. Although Ohtani is able to reach the 100 MPH threshold, most scouts say the velocity of his fastball plays down a bit due to lack of movement. Many scouts also express skepticism about his ability to hit in the major leagues, citing concerns over his capabilities to both shorten his swing enough to cover the inner third of the plate and develop a “real” two-strike approach. There also seems to be some concerns about his durability and how he’ll deal with the fatigue of both pitching and hitting throughout a full season.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[2017 Non-Tenders]]> 2017-12-02T07:43:50Z 2017-12-02T01:10:38Z The deadline to tender 2018 contracts to players is tonight at 8pm EST. We’ll keep track of the day’s non-tenders in this post (all referenced arbitration projections courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz) …

    • The Giants non-tendered righty Albert Suarez, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. Suarez, 28, was not yet eligible for arbitration.
    • Righty Tom Koehler and infielder Ryan Goins are heading to the open market after being non-tendered by the Blue Jays, per a team announcement.
    • The Rays announced that lefty Xavier Cedeno has been non-tendered, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.
    • The Cubs non-tendered catcher Taylor Davis, per a team announcement. He was not yet eligible for arbitration.
    • Four Rangers players have not been tendered contracts, per a club announcement. Righties Chi Chi Gonzalez, A.J. Griffin, and Nick Martinez have been cut loose along with infielder Hanser Alberto. Griffin ($3.0MM projection) and Martinez ($2.0MM) were both noted as non-tender candidates by MLBTR. The other two players were not yet eligible for arbitration. Gonzalez was a former first-round pick who had struggled of late and underwent Tommy John surgery in July.
    • The Diamondbacks have also non-tendered lefty T.J. McFarland, who had projected at a $1.0MM salary.
    • The Reds non-tendered lefty Kyle Crockett, a pre-arb lefty who was only recently claimed on waivers, per a club announcement.
    • Per a club announcement, the Brewers have non-tendered veteran righty Jared Hughes. He will end up being the only 40-man player not to receive a contract from Milwaukee. Hughes had projected at a $2.2MM arbitration value. The 32-year-old is a master at inducing grounders and has turned in repeatedly excellent results. He also averaged a career-best 93.9 mph on his sinker in 2017.
    • The Mariners have non-tendered lefty Drew Smyly and righty Shae Simmons, per a club announcement. While the former was expected, due to Smyly’s Tommy John surgery, the latter rates as something of a surprise given his cheap $700K projection. Of course, it’s possible the club is not optimistic of his chances of bouncing back from arm troubles.
    • The White Sox will not tender a contract to reliever Jake Petricka, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). He had projected to take home $1.1MM in his second trip through the arb process. Also non-tendered, per a club announcement, were righties Zach Putnam and Al Alburquerque as well as infielder Alan Hanson.
    • It seems that righty Bruce Rondon will wind up his tenure with the Tigers, as the organization is set to non-tender him, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free-Press (via Twitter). Rondon was long viewed as a potential late-inning arm for the Tigers, but had some notable run-ins with the organization, struggled with control, and never consistently produced at the MLB level. Though he projected to earn just $1.2MM, Rondon will be allowed to find a new organization. He will turn 26 later this month.
    • The Diamondbacks will non-tender righty J.J. Hoover, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). Hoover projected at just $1.6MM, but Arizona is watching every penny as it seeks to return to the postseason with a tight payroll situation. The 30-year-old turned in 41 1/3 innings of 3.92 ERA ball in 2017 with 11.8 K/9 but also 5.7 BB/9 on the year.
    • The Royals announced that they have non-tendered outfielder Terrance Gore. Though Gore was not eligible for arbitration, teams occasionally utilize today’s deadline to prune their 40-man rosters. Gore had quite an interesting run with Kansas City, scarcely playing at all during the regular season and then appearing as a speed-and-defense asset in the team’s two storied postseason runs. Now, though the fleet-footed 26-year-old is out of options. With an upper minors OPS that hovers just over .600, Gore just was not going to break camp with the club. It seems reasonable to think there’s a chance he’ll return to the organization on a minors deal, though Gore will also have a shot at exploring the broader market.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Tigers Weighing Arbitration Decisions On Bruce Rondon, Alex Wilson]]> 2017-12-01T07:33:39Z 2017-12-01T07:30:01Z
  • Speaking of pen pieces at risk, the Tigers landed two players on our list: righties Bruce Rondon ($1.2MM projection) and Alex Wilson ($2.1MM). Evan Woodberry of tweets that both are indeed potential non-tender candidates for Detroit, but both are not necessarily going to be cut loose. In Woodberry’s estimation, the volatile Rondon is somewhat likely to be cut loose after allowing 19 earned runs in his 15 2/3 MLB innings in 2017. Though he continued to show swing-and-miss stuff, and posted a 2.70 ERA in his 36 2/3 frames at Triple-A, Rondon struggled to limit the free passes. As for the 31-year-old Wilson, it’s something of the opposite scenario for Woodberry. He says that he expects Wilson will be tendered despite a middling 4.50 ERA in his most recent season. The veteran did post similar K/BB figures to those that allowed him to generate better results in prior campaigns.
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