Detroit Tigers – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-09-19T04:38:57Z WordPress Steve Adams <![CDATA[Michael Fulmer Diagnosed With Meniscus Tear]]> 2018-09-18T21:24:41Z 2018-09-18T21:24:05Z Sept. 18: Fulmer has been diagnosed with a torn meniscus, the team now tells reporters (Twitter links via Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press). He’ll undergo surgery if and when the diagnosis is confirmed by Dr. Andrews on Wednesday.

Sept. 17: Fulmer’s MRI revealed damage to his meniscus, manager Ron Gardenhire tells reporters (Twitter link via’s Jason Beck). The results of the test are currently being reviewed by Dr. James Andrews.

Sept. 16: Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer exited yesterday’s game after making just five pitches (and allowing two homers), and he’ll now undergo an MRI to further evaluate the right knee that forced him from that game, per Chris McCosky of the Detroit News (Twitter link). A return in 2018 seems like a long shot, McCosky adds. Manager Ron Gardenhire said after yesterday’s game that Fulmer initially tweaked the knee when trying to field a bunt (Twitter link from’s Evan Woodbery).

Fulmer, 25, has struggled through the least-productive season of his big league career so far in 2018, pitching to a 4.69 ERA over the course of what would be a career-low 132 1/3 innings. His strikeout percentage is right in line with his levels from the 2016 season that won him American League Rookie of the Year honors, and his 10.5 percent swinging-strike rate and 33.6 percent chase rate on out-of-zone pitches are both career-bests by a slight margin.

However, Fulmer’s walk rate has spiked this season, and he’s allowing home runs, line drives and hard contact at career-high rates. By measure of Statcast, the average exit velocity of a ball hit against Fulmer is up nearly three miles per hour from 2017 (85.6 mph in ’17, 88.3 mph in ’18), and he’s allowed a career-worst 19 home runs despite a career-low number of innings pitched and games started.

The injury to Fulmer is particularly notable given his status as a player who now perennially frequents the rumor circuit during periods of heightened trade activity. If the injury proves to be nothing more than inflammation, it’s unlikely that it’ll have any major impact on Fulmer’s appeal to pitching-hungry teams. If it’s more serious in nature, though, he’ll see a second consecutive season come to an end due to a notable health issue; Fulmer’s sophomore season in 2017 was cut short when he underwent ulnar nerve transposition surgery in his right arm. He also missed nearly a month of action due to an oblique strain earlier this summer.

Detroit will control Fulmer for another four years beyond the current season, though he’ll reach arbitration for the first time this winter as a Super Two player (meaning he’ll be arbitration-eligible four times, as opposed to the standard three, based on his service time to date). The rebuilding Tigers have dramatically improved their farm system and feature a number of high-upside rotation candidates atop their prospect rankings — Casey Mize, Franklin Perez, Beau Burrows, Alex Faedo, Matt Manning — so perhaps their rebuild could come together a bit more quickly than initially expected. However, it still seems like a long shot that they’ll be playing competitive baseball in 2019, so Fulmer figures to once again draw his fair share of trade interest from teams around the league this offseason. Fulmer may have had a down year in 2018, but young pitchers with multiple years of team control are still the most coveted assets on the trade market.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers To Retain Full Coaching Staff]]> 2018-09-18T05:33:17Z 2018-09-18T02:07:21Z
  • Tigers skipper Ron Gardenhire announced to reporters today that his entire coaching staff would return for the 2019 season (Twitter link via’s Evan Woodbery). That’ll include Rick Anderson returning as the full-time pitching coach — a position he assumed after the Tigers abruptly dismissed Chris Bosio earlier this season in the wake of allegedly racist remarks toward an employee. Anderson, who was Gardenhire’s pitching coach in Minnesota, had previously been the team’s bullpen coach. Lloyd McClendon (hitting), Phil Clark (asst. hitting), former Tigers player Ramon Santiago (first base), Dave Clark (third base), Steve Liddle (bench), A.J. Sager and Joe Vavra (quality control) round out the Detroit coaching staff. Their returns aren’t entirely surprising, as owner Chris Ilitch recently expressed his pleasure with the current direction of his team’s rebuilding efforts.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Select Pete Kozma, Transfer Jose Iglesias To 60-Day DL]]> 2018-09-14T17:54:11Z 2018-09-14T17:54:11Z The Tigers have selected the contract of veteran infielder Pete Kozma from Triple-A Toledo and created roster space by transferring Jose Iglesias from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL, per a club announcement.

    The move formally brings an end to Iglesais’ 2018 season and could very well mark the end of his time with the Tigers. The defensive standout is set to hit free agency after the 2018 season and may not factor into the mix for the rebuilding Tigers, though the team doesn’t have an heir-apparent waiting in the upper minors. Dixon Machado could perhaps get another shot, but he’s already been designated for assignment and outrighted off the 40-man roster this season — a move the organization surely wouldn’t have made if it held much belief that he could be a regular contributor for them in 2019 and beyond.

    Iglesias will have age on his side as he enters free agency, as he’ll turn 29 in January. His bat has tailed off since a pair of impressive seasons in 2013 and 2015 — he missed 2014 due to injury — but he remains a premium defender at short. In 464 plate appearances this season, he batted .269/.310/.389 which, paired with his strong glovework, made him worth a bit more than two wins above replacement (2.2 rWAR, 2.6 fWAR).

    Kozma, 30, spent 15 games with Detroit earlier this season and hit .175/.195/.300 through 41 plate appearances. The former Cardinals infielder hasn’t hit much in Toledo either, posting a dreadful .203/.260/.295 slash through 296 trips to the plate, but he’ll give the team a quality defensive presence off the bench for the final couple of weeks.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 9/13/18]]> 2018-09-13T19:39:07Z 2018-09-13T19:39:07Z Here are Thursday’s minor moves from around the game…

    • The Tigers announced that right-hander Johnny Barbato cleared waivers after being designated for assignment earlier this week. He’s been outrighted off the 40-man roster. Barbato, 26, tossed just 6 2/3 innings for the Tigers this season and was tagged for nine earned runs in that time. However, he also pitched to an outstanding 1.45 ERA with 37 strikeouts against just 10 walks in 37 1/3 innings of Triple-A ball. Barbato averages a bit better than 94 mph on his fastball and has averaged better than a strikeout per inning throughout his minor league career, but he’s struggled in parts of three MLB seasons with the Yankees, Pirates and Tigers.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Prospect Notes: Vlad, 2018 Draftees, Twins, Franco, Pitchers]]> 2018-09-13T16:54:45Z 2018-09-13T16:54:22Z With the season effectively over for all but a few teams, many front offices and fanbases alike are turning their sights toward the 2019 season and beyond as they hope for better days. With that in mind, here’s a look at some notes on some of the game’s top prospects from around the league…

    • ESPN’s Keith Law named Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. his prospect of the year for a second consecutive season (subscription required), citing familiar questions about his long-term defensive capabilities but adding that there’s “zero question in my mind” that Guerrero is more than ready to thrive against Major League pitching at the moment. As for 2018 draftees, Cardinals third baseman Nolan Gorman and Royals lefty Daniel Lynch have been the two most impressive in his estimation. Gorman destroyed Appalachian League pitching and was promoted to full-season Class-A ball despite only having turned 18 in May. Lynch, a University of Virginia product, split his pro debut between those same two levels and pitched to a 1.58 ERA with a 61-to-8 K/BB ratio in 51 1/3 innings.
    • Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of took a longer-term look at prospects yesterday, attempting to forecast who will be the top-ranked prospects this time a year from now. With names like Guerrero, Eloy Jimenez, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Kyle Tucker all expected to graduate from prospect lists next year, Callis and Mayo tab Twins shortstop Royce Lewis, the No. 1 overall pick from 2017, as their pick to be the game’s top prospect a year from now. More encouraging for Twins fans is that 2016 first-rounder and outfielder Alex Kirilloff, who missed the 2017 season due to Tommy John surgery, lands third on the same list after hitting .348/.392/.578 between Class-A and Class-A Advanced in his return from that surgery.
    • Meanwhile, Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser writes that Rays shortstop Wander Franco has been tabbed as BA’s breakout prospect of 2018. (Franco also appears on the previously mentioned lists from Law and The 17-year-old Franco grew up living next to Indians superstar Jose Ramirez in the Dominican Republic and calls his childhood neighbor and friend his “idol” and greatest influence as a hitter. Glaser speaks to Franco about his relationship with Ramirez and his progress in 2018, and he also chats with Franco’s Appalachian League manager, Danny Sheaffer, about the young phenom’s strengths and upside. Franco was one of just two 17-year-olds playing in the Appy League this year but crushed older pitching to the tune of a .351/.418/.587 slash with 11 homers, 10 doubles and seven triples in 273 plate appearances.
    • Evaluating pitching prospects is among the most challenging endeavors for teams and online analysts alike. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs recently explored the pitfalls of attempting to do so, suggesting that many mainstream publications (his own past work at Fangraphs included) have leaned too heavily in favor of “power-over-feel” prospects and downplayed the potential significance of players cut from the Shane Bieber cloth — those who possess above-average command and stuff but perhaps not an overpowering arsenal of 60- or 70-grade offerings. McDaniel highlights Tigers righty Matt Manning, White Sox righty Dylan Cease and Rays lefty/first baseman Brendan McKay in examining the various elements that have contributed to this line of thinking in an interesting column that those who avidly follow prospects will want to check out in its entirety.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Tigers Owner Christopher Ilitch Expresses Optimism In Team’s Outlook]]> 2018-09-12T18:06:44Z 2018-09-12T18:06:44Z Addressing the media yesterday, Tigers owner Christopher Ilitch struck a notably optimistic tone regarding his organization’s outlook. Evan Woodbery of was among those to cover the chat; we’ll tick through a few items of particular note here.

    Needless to say, with a 59-86 record, the current roster is not up to snuff. But that doesn’t mean the current campaign hasn’t been productive in the estimation of the man who sits top the organizational hierarchy.

    As Ilitch put it, “I think this year has been a tremendous year of progress for the Detroit Tigers.” He credited the major-league club and its staff for producing “a fun team to watch,” even if it isn’t one that has won many games.

    Of course, that substandard record was widely anticipated entering the year. GM Al Avila has been tasked with building for the future, rather than prioritizing the present. The Opening Day payroll was down by about $75MM against its 2016-17 levels and stands to fall yet further in the seasons to come.

    The “tremendous” season cited by Ilitch, then, has less to do with the MLB showing than his take on the broader organizational overhaul efforts undertaken in this new era for the franchise. He explained:

    “I see how hard Al Avila and his staff worked to enhance our scouting, our analytics, our player development. Our goal is very clear: We are working to build a world-class organization that will compete for championships on a sustainable basis. And I’m very committed to providing all of the resources and assets that are necessary to accomplish that.”

    There’s little question that the Tigers have accumulated some intriguing young assets. The club’s farm is considered especially deep in pitching, led by recent first overall draft pick Casey Mize and including several other players added in recent drafts and trades.

    Just when and how the club will begin to turn the corner again toward contention remains to be seen, but continued progress from those young arms could perhaps force the matter in relatively short order. Of course, health and development remain risk factors. And gathering up a new position-player core will also represent a challenge.

    Eventually, we’ll find out whether Ilitch will spend to supplement the roster as lavishly as his father did, but it seems rather unlikely that the openness of his wallet will be tested full this coming offseason. Still, the club could consider some targeted free-agent spending, particularly if there’s good value to be had on a risky or more youthful player. And extensions could always be explored, though Nicholas Castellanos is the only realistic candidate who’ll be entering his walk year.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Tigers Select Matt Hall, Designate Johnny Barbato]]> 2018-09-11T16:11:27Z 2018-09-11T16:01:50Z The Tigers announced today that they have selected the contract of lefty Matt Hall. To create 40-man space, the organization designated right-hander Johnny Barbato.

    Hall, 24, was a sixth-round pick in the 2015 draft, meaning he’d have been eligible for the Rule 5 draft this winter had he not gone onto the MLB roster. Instead, he’ll get a taste of the big leagues before perhaps competing for a job in camp.

    Certainly, Hall has had an excellent season thus far in the upper minors. He opened the year in a relief capacity despite generally succeeding in the rotation in the lower minors. But Hall has thrown well enough overall that he worked as a starter upon rising to Triple-A. All told, he has recorded 114 1/3 innings of 2.13 ERA ball on the year, with 10.6 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9.

    Barbato was also a sixth-round pick and has typically been quite effective in the upper minors. He spent most of the year turning in good numbers at Triple-A, with a 1.45 ERA in 37 1/3 innings. Unfortunately, that has not yet translated to the major-league level thus far.

    Though Barbato’s MLB opportunities have been limited over the past three seasons, that’s due largely to the outcomes. In his seven MLB relief appearances this year with Detriot, he coughed up nine earned runs on 11 hits (including three home runs) while allowing five walks and managing only a pair of strikeouts.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Tigers Select Christin Stewart, Jarrod Saltalamacchia]]> 2018-09-09T14:56:28Z 2018-09-09T14:37:45Z The Tigers announced that they have selected the contracts of outfielder Christin Stewart and veteran catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia from Triple-A Toledo.  Right-hander Zac Reininger was also called up from Triple-A.  To make room for Saltalamacchia on the 40-man roster, righty Artie Lewicki was shifted to the 60-day disabled list.

    Stewart was taken 34th overall in the 2015 draft, selected by the Tigers with the compensation pick they received when Max Scherzer left the club to sign with the Nationals in free agency.  Now 24 years old, Stewart will get his first chance to display his power bat at the big league level, after swatting 93 homers and posting a .503 slugging percentage over 1930 plate appearances in the minors.  (His minor league slash line also includes a .262 average and .363 OBP.)  After topping the 131-strikeout plateau in his previous two seasons, Stewart displayed increased plate discipline in his first taste of Triple-A ball this season, with just 108 whiffs against 67 walks over 532 PA for Toledo.

    Stewart’s bat is his calling card, as he is considered to be a below-average corner outfielder whose future may be as a designated hitter.  This is obviously a limit on his potential, though his scouting report on (which ranks Stewart as the sixth-best prospect in Detroit’s system) notes that Stewart has displayed a strong work ethic in trying to improve himself as a defender.  Baseball America also ranked Stewart fifth in their midseason list of the ten best Tigers prospects.

    Saltalamacchia signed a minor league deal with the Tigers last March and now looks on track to appear in his 12th Major League season, though he may not get a ton of playing time with James McCann and rookie Grayson Greiner ahead of him on the depth chart.  Saltalamacchia previously played for Detroit in the 2016 season, appearing in 92 games for the club.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Tigers Release Josh Smoker]]> 2018-09-07T02:33:32Z 2018-09-07T02:33:32Z The Tigers announced tonight that they have released lefty Josh Smoker. That leaves the club with an open 40-man roster spot.

    Smoker, 29, only made one appearance with the Tigers after being claimed off waivers over the summer. The former first-round pick made a notable comeback just to reach the majors, but hasn’t found much success. In parts of three seasons, he carries a 5.35 ERA with 11.1 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 and a hefty 1.8 HR/9.

    That said, the southpaw has produced swinging strikes at a strong 11.6% rate in that span, helping to support the healthy K rate. And he has had a nice showing at Triple-A this year. In his 45 1/3 innings, split between both organizations, he has produced a 3.38 ERA with 9.9 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Claim Dustin Peterson From Braves]]> 2018-09-07T17:23:36Z 2018-09-06T19:06:49Z The Tigers announced Thursday that they’ve claimed outfielder Dustin Peterson off waivers from the Braves. In order to open a roster spot for Peterson, who was designated for assignment by Atlanta recently, Detroit transferred John Hicks from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list. Peterson has been optioned and will not join the Tigers’ big league roster at this time.

    Peterson, who’ll turn 24 this coming Monday, received an exceptionally brief promotion to the Majors this season, making just two plate appearances before being sent back to Triple-A Gwinnett. A second-round pick of the Padres back in the 2013 draft, he joined the Braves organization alongside Max Fried, Jace Peterson and Mallex Smith in the 2014 Justin Upton blockbuster.

    A former third baseman, Peterson moved to the outfield on a full-time basis back in 2015. He’s appeared at all three spots in the time since, though he’s best suited for corner work and has spent the bulk of his time in left field over the past two seasons. Peterson doesn’t strike out at an alarming rate (career 22 percent in Triple-A) but also isn’t overly proficient in terms of drawing walks (7.2 percent in Triple-A). He’s hit for a decent average but shown more gap power than over-the-fence pop in the upper minors, as evidenced by a .260/.321/.368 slash with a dozen homers and 40 doubles in 788 plate appearances.

    While some scouting reports have previously pegged Peterson for average to slightly above-average raw power, he’s yet to tap into that in the upper levels of the Braves’ system. That said, he still ranked 15th among Braves farmhands on the latest midseason update from Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of, so it’s a bit surprising to see him change hands on a mere waiver claim. Peterson has a pair of minor league options left beyond the current season, so the Tigers can afford to be patient with him in the future, should he stick on the 40-man roster into the 2019 season.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[September Call-Ups: 9/1/18]]> 2018-09-01T22:38:55Z 2018-09-01T21:24:34Z A few call-ups were announced yesterday, but we’re likely to see far more prospect promotions and even contract selections take place today as rosters expand. We’ll use this post to keep track of those moves…

    • The Marlins selected the contract of righty starter Jeff Brigham today; he’ll be among those playing in the majors for the first time ever. Brigham’s solid 3.44 ERA in Triple-A this season is muddied a bit by his 4.45 FIP, but he’s maintained solid ratios. Brigham’s 8.25 K/9 and brilliant 2.24 BB/9 give him a solid 3.69 K/BB ratio that probably looks quite nice to a Marlins club that’s hurting for serviceable major league starters. Miami has also recalled right-handers Sandy Alcantara and Nick Wittgren along with catcher Chad Wallach.
    • The Athletics selected several contracts today, including that of catching prospect Beau Taylor. The lefty-hitting backstop has never played in the majors, but he’s done well for himself at the Triple-A level this season by drawing walks in 14% of his plate appearances while hitting .248. He’s even chipped in a pair of stolen bases. The biggest knock on Taylor is his lack of power; the 28-year-old owns a sub-.100 ISO and has never hit more than eight homers in a given season. Other contracts selected by the Astros today include those of lefty Dean Kiekhefer and righties Chris Hatcher and Liam Hendriks. The A’s recalled lefty Daniel Coulombe and shortstop Franklin Barreto as well.  
    • The Indians selected the contract of right-hander Jon Edwards today, who hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2015. The 30-year-old Edwards has done well for himself in the Tribe’s minor league system in 2018, though, racking up 56 strikeouts in just 39 1/3 innings while pitching to a 3.64 ERA. Though he’s exhibited extreme control issues in the past, his 2.70 BB/9 in 30 innings with Triple-A Columbus suggests there’s a possibility he’s put those problems behind him. The Tribe promoted catcher Eric Haase to the majors alongside him.


    • The Mariners have selected the contract of Justin Grimm among their September moves, whom they signed to a minor league contract on July 25th. Grimm’s been plagued by shoulder and back issues all season and struggled to a cataclysmic 13.50 ERA in 12 2/3 innings for the Royals earlier this season, which led to his release early on in the summer. With the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate, though, he’s put up a pristine 1.64 ERA and an even more impressive 13.91 K/9 mark. In addition to Grimm, Seattle also selected the contract of Kristopher Negron, and recalled right-handers Chasen Bradford and Ryan Cook, lefty James Pazos, catcher David Freitas.
    • The Nationals have selected the contract of right-hander Austen Williams, who’ll be getting his first MLB cup of coffee this September. He’s been quite impressive in the upper minors this season, including a 0.55 ERA in 16 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level. That’s backed up by excellent peripherals, including 20 strikeouts against just four walks. Williams had pitched exclusively as a starter until this season, and it appears a transition to a relief role has catapulted him to a status as an incredibly intriguing talent. The Nats also recalled catcher Pedro Severino to fill in while Wieters is dealing with a hip/groin injury (per Jamal Collier of
    • The White Sox promoted Caleb Frare to get his first taste of the bigs; as James Fegan of The Athletic points out, he needed to be added to the 40-man roster in order to be protected from the coming winter’s Rule 5 Draft. They’ve good reason to do so, as the lefty reliever has thrived with the organization ever since being acquired from the Yankees a month ago in exchange for $1.5MM in international bonus pool funds. He’s put up fantastic numbers in 12 2/3 innings at Triple-A Charlotte, including a 0.71 ERA and 13.50 K/9. Aaron Bummer will join him as the other White Sox player to receive a September promotion so far.
    • The Royals have selected the contract of catcher Meibrys Viloria to account for the hole left by Drew Butera, who was traded to the Rockies yesterday. Fascinatingly, Kansas City decided to promote the 21-year-old Columbia native even though he’s never played above the High-A level. He’s done just fine there, though, batting .260/.342/.360 in 407 plate appearances over the course of 2018. Viriola is expected to maje his MLB debut as early as this week while mainstay catcher Salvador Perez deals with a sprained thumb.
    • After a short stay in the minors, righty reliever Ray Black is back up with the Giants. He’s had a poor showing in the majors so far, allowing ten earned runs in 15 1/3 innings. He did manage to strike out 22 batters in that span, though, and owns a 2.11 FIP in 25 2/3 innings at Triple-A this season. His blistering 16.13 K/9 at that level perhaps speaks to his potential even more.
    • The Cardinals recalled catcher Carson Kelly today, who’s widely considered to be the club’s catcher of the future once Yadier Molina’s contract is complete. However, he’s yet to prove his worth at the major-league level, as evidenced by his .150/.216/.187 batting line across 118 MLB plate appearances. The Redbirds have also called up lefty Tyler Webb and righty Daniel Poncedeleon.
    • The Phillies have opted to recall outfielder Aaron Altherr, who’d largely been a fixture in the club’s major-league outfield for the past two seasons prior to a late-July demotion. While his 13.3% walk rate so far this season was downright fantastic, that was about the only aspect of Altherr’s performance to be happy about; he was striking out at a 32.7% clip while hitting just .171 and slugging just .305. Philadelphia also added outfielder Dylan Cozens and righty reliever Yacksel Rios to their active roster.
    • The Yankees are set to give right-hander Stephen Tarpley his first taste of major-league action after selecting his contract earlier today. Tarpley is quite an interesting arm-he’s been utilized as a multi-inning reliever at two levels of the minors this year, and to great effect. Most recently, he’s pitched to a 2.65 ERA and 10.06 K/9 across 17 appearances spanning 34 innings at Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Infielder Tyler Wade and right-hander Luis Cessa will also join the MLB club as rosters expand.
    • The Mets will give righty Eric Hanhold his first taste of major-league action, MLBTR has learned. Acquired in the 2017 trade that sent Neil Walker to the Brewers, Hanhold has apparently been quite unlucky to own his 7.11 ERA at Triple-A this season. Rather, his 3.43 FIP in 19 innings at that level produces some level of optimism that he can serve as a quality reliever in the majors. A .429 BABIP and 2.86 K/BB ratio further strengthen that case.
    • The Reds are set to give shortstop prospect Blake Trahan a September call-up, as C. Trent Rosencrans of The Athletic was among those to tweet. Trahan came to the Reds by way of the club’s third-round draft pick back in 2015. He did not rank amongst MLB Pipeline’s top 30 Reds prospects in the publication’s most recent rankings, though Fangraphs ranks him 24th in that regard thanks to a 55 speed tool and a 60-grade arm. He’s also likely to be a league-average shortstop. That’s about all there is to like about Trahan at present, as he’s only hit .245/.327/.302 at the minors’ highest level.
    • The Reds have also recalled Lucas Sims, who arrived in Cincinnati just prior to the non-waiver trade deadline as part of the package in exchange for sending Adam Duvall to Atlanta. Sims owns a 5.96 ERA and 7.15 K/9 in a Braves uniform, but his minors track record indicates he might have better days yet to come; the righty has managed to strike out at least ten batters per nine innings at every level of the minors post-Rookie ball, and has a sub-4.00 MiLB ERA in each of the past two seasons.
    • The Twins will promote right-hander Zach Littell, according to Darren Wolfson of KSTP. Littell has but 3 1/3 innings of MLB experience, during which time he allowed seven earned runs with one strikeout en route to a demotion. His 3.57 ERA at Triple-A this season is far more palatable, albeit unspectacular.
    • The Twins also announced that they’ve selected the contract of left-hander Andrew Vasquez, who’ll be receiving his first cup of coffee after pitching to a sub-1.50 ERA out of minor-league bullpens across the past three seasons combined. They’ve also selected catcher Chris Gimenez in addition to recalling outfielder Johnny Field and right-hander Tyler Duffey.
    • The Red Sox have officially recalled five players, including first base/outfield type Sam Travis. After serving as a somewhat serviceable piece in 2017 (.263/.325/.342 batting line), Travis has struggled in limited major-league action this year to the tune of a 45 wRC+ and -0.1 fWAR. Boston has also promoted left-handers Bobby Poyner and Robby Scott, as well as right-hander William Cuevas and infielder Tzu-Wei Lin.
    • The Tigers have recalled right-hander Sandy Baez from Double-A Erie, per a club announcement. Baez made his major-league debut back on June 4th, entering the game in relief during a double-header. He didn’t allow any runs in 4 1/3 innings, though he did walk three batters in that appearance. Aside from that, Baez has never pitched above Double-A, and owns a troublesome 5.64 ERA there on the 2018 season, in part due to command issues.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Yankees Activate Gary Sanchez]]> 2018-09-01T17:10:19Z 2018-09-01T16:56:31Z The Yankees have activated catcher Gary Sanchez from the disabled list. While it’s commonplace for clubs to activate players from the 10-day disabled list on September 1st even if they aren’t entirely ready (due to roster expansion), he’s also in today’s starting lineup against the Tigers.

    Groin injuries have limited the young Sanchez to just 279 plate appearances on the year. The first occurrence of this injury came on June 25th, when the 25-year-old hit the disabled list with a grade one strain. Though he was activated on July 19th, he succumbed to the injury again just five days later after a game in which he seemed unable to hustle down the first base line much to the consternation of the Bombers’ fan base.

    Even while on the field, Sanchez certainly hasn’t shown his best work so far this year. While his 14 homers have certainly been a positive, a .188 batting average and .283 on-base certainly aren’t what the Yankees had imagined seeing from him after a .278/.345/.531 sophomore season in 2017.

    To be fair, though, a shockingly low .194 BABIP has suppressed his offensive performance considerably, and that seems unlikely to continue to such an extreme. Additionally, his .303 wOBA is a far cry from the .361 xwOBA accredited to him by Statcast for his contact quality and launch angle. The Yankees will surely be hoping his luck will turn around as they prepare for a postseason berth that seems likely to begin with a one-game Wild Card playoff.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Place Jose Iglesias On Disabled List]]> 2018-08-30T19:36:13Z 2018-08-30T19:36:13Z The Tigers announced that they’ve placed shortstop Jose Iglesias on the 10-day disabled list due to a lower abdominal strain and recalled infielder Dawel Lugo from Triple-A Toledo in his place.

    Today’s trip to the disabled list all but definitively rules out a trade of Iglesias, who otherwise made sense as a logical addition for a contender looking to bolster its infield defense. The 28-year-old Iglesias is a free agent at season’s end, so the Tigers now stand to lose him without any form of compensation. That’s not necessarily for a lack of effort on their part, however; Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press wrote today that the Tigers have had their shortstop on the trade block “for the better part of two seasons” and simply haven’t matched up with another club.

    Iglesias has never been a huge threat at the plate, but this season’s .269/.310/.389 slash line was at least an improvement over his 2016-17 results. Iglesias’ calling card has long been his glovework and baserunning, anyhow, though defensive metrics are more split on his level of excellence. Defensive Runs Saved pegs Iglesias at a quality +7 mark over the past three seasons, for instance, while Ultimate Zone Rating pegs him as an elite defender (+29.2 runs above average). Iglesias has also swiped 15 bags in 21 tries this season and has generally graded out as an above-average baserunner.

    As Fenech notes in his previously mentioned piece, it’s at least possible that the Tigers will look to bring the defensive stalwart back to Detroit. The organization doesn’t have an heir apparent at shortstop with the possible exception of Dixon Machado, though the fact that he was designated for assignment and outrighted off the 40-man roster earlier this season is all the indication one needs to glean that he’s viewed at best as a possible option rather than a definitive successor.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers’ Artie Lewicki To Undergo Tommy John Surgery]]> 2018-08-23T15:47:11Z 2018-08-23T15:47:11Z Tigers right-hander Artie Lewicki will undergo Tommy John surgery next week, manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters this morning (Twitter link via Evan Woodbery of The timing of the surgery makes it likely that the right-hander will miss all of the 2019 season. This will be the second Tommy John surgery of Lewicki’s young career, as MLBlcom’s Jason Beck notes (on Twitter), giving the organization all the more reason to employ a more conservative approach to his rehab.

    Lewicki, 26, has a strong track record in Triple-A but has not yet had that success carry over to the big league level. He’s given the Tigers 38 1/3 innings in the Majors this season, recording a 4.89 ERA with 7.0 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 0.93 HR/9 and a 40.3 percent ground-ball rate along the way. He posted a 2.03 ERA with terrific K/BB numbers in Triple-A last season, though, and owns an overall 3.79 ERA with 8.5 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 in 92 2/3 innings at the top minor league level.

    The injury to Lewicki seems likely to cost him his 40-man roster spot in the offseason, though it’s common in these instances for a player to be retained after clearing outright waivers and remain with the organization to continue his rehab work the following season.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Zach McAllister Elects Free Agency]]> 2018-08-21T22:05:51Z 2018-08-21T22:05:51Z The Tigers announced Tuesday that right-hander Zach McAllister has cleared waivers and elected free agency after being designated for assignment over the weekend. He’s free to sign with any team for the pro-rated league minimum for the remainder of the year, with the Indians on the hook for the bulk of his $2.45MM salary.

    McAllister, 30, was with the Tigers for all of eight days before being designated for assignment for the second time this season. The longtime Cleveland setup man was hammered for eight earned runs on the strength of 10 hits (one homer) in three appearances with the Tigers. In total, he tossed just 3 1/3 innings in a Detroit uniform, though he did collect five strikeouts without issuing a walk.

    While the 2018 season has been a disaster for McAllister (6.20 ERA in 45 innings), he was a quality bullpen piece for the Indians over the past three seasons. From 2015-17, he pitched to a pristine 2.99 ERA with 10.0 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9 through 183 1/3 innings of work. To his credit, McAllister is still averaging a healthy 95.3 mph on his fastball in 2018, and his swinging-strike rate (9.7 percent) and chase rate on pitches out of the strike zone (31.3 percent) are both improved from recent seasons — particularly the latter, which is easily a career-best.

    McAllister now has more than six years of big league service after crossing that threshold earlier this summer, meaning any team that signs him will merely be in control of him for the final few weeks of the season. His performance hasn’t been worthy of a spot on a postseason roster anyhow, but if he hooks on with another club prior to Sept. 1, he’d be eligible for the playoffs with his new team, should he be able to demonstrably right the ship over the season’s final five weeks.