Detroit Tigers – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-04-24T20:00:04Z WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[AL Pitching Injury Notes: Snell, Carrasco, Smyly, Estrada, Hardy]]> 2019-04-24T13:29:03Z 2019-04-24T13:29:03Z The Rays have decided to start ace lefty Blake Snell today after he bounced back quicker than expected from a minor toe fracture, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. There are some obvious risks to bringing him back before he’s ready, but the organization obviously feels that isn’t the case. The reigning American League Cy Young winner has been outstanding once again early in 2019, with a 2.16 ERA and 13.0 K/9 against 1.4 BB/9 over 25 frames.

More on the health front, focusing on some other AL hurlers:

  • Indians righty Carlos Carrasco departed his start yesterday early with some left knee discomfort and will undergo an MRI to make sure there isn’t an injury. It’s being billed as a precautionary measure, as’s Mandy Bell reports (via Twitter). The Indians will hope it comes back clean, as he’s a key part of the team’s plan to fend off challengers in the AL Central. Carrasco has had a few rough outings this year, but has also spun a pair of 12-strikeout gems and was getting the job done yesterday before tweaking the joint.
  • Rangers starter Drew Smyly was placed on the 10-day injured list yesterday with what the club described as mid-arm nerve tightness in his left arm. It seems the hope is that he’ll only miss a start or two; the placement was back-dated to April 20th. The 29-year-old Smyly hasn’t quite had the bounceback campaign he was hoping for to this point, with a 7.80 ERA, 19:10 K/BB ratio, and four home runs allowed through 15 innings over four starts. Right-handed Wei-Chieh Huang is up to take the open roster spot. He made his MLB debut earlier this season and has been throwing well at Double-A.
  • The Athletics sent righty Marco Estrada in for an “ablation procedure” on his balky back yesterday, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle was among those to cover (Twitter links). It seems he’ll be out through at least early May, though there isn’t a precise timeline just yet. The hope seems to be that this surgery will speed things up a bit. Meanwhile, the A’s hoping that reliever Lou Trivino will bounce back quickly after he was struck in the thumb by a baseball. He’s taking a few days but not slated to hit the injured list at the moment.
  • The Tigers announced yesterday that lefty Blaine Hardy was heading to the IL with a left forearm strain. Injuries to that area can be quite concerning for a pitcher, but there’s no real indication at this point of the outlook for the 32-year-old. After dabbling with the rotation in 2018, Hardy has been utilized in a multi-inning relief capacity thus far, throwing a dozen frames in eight appearances. Fellow southpaw Jose Fernandez takes his spot on the active roster.
TC Zencka <![CDATA[Tigers Assign Gregory Soto To High-A Lakeland]]> 2019-04-20T14:39:00Z 2019-04-20T14:37:42Z Tigers’ promising lefty Gregory Soto has been reinstated from the restricted list and assigned to High-A Lakeland, per the Tigers PR Department (via Twitter). Soto was added to the 40-man roster for protection in the Rule 5 draft back in 2017, so his reinstatement means the Tigers’ 40-man roster is now full. As Evan Woodbery of MLive Media Group notes (via Twitter), the Tigers can shift Matt Moore to the 60-day IL should they need to open a spot on the 40-man.

Soto, 24, is a power lefty with considerable promise, though he has yet to pitch above High-A. He was the Tigers’ organizational Pitcher of the Year in 2017 after going 12-2 with a 2.25 ERA between Single-A and Lakeland. Last season, Soto struggled to find the strike zone with consistency. He walked 5.56 batters per nine innings en route to an 8-8 season with a 4.45 ERA before being suspended for the first 20 games of 2019.

The reason for the suspension was left unspecified at the time, though the listed infraction denotes “conduct that is materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of Baseball,” in short, though as Woodbery pointed out, this particular case was not prompted by an arrest, domestic violence, drugs or gambling.

Upon his return, the hope would be for Soto to make significant strides towards reaching his presumptive ceiling and one day make the big league rotation, though it’s hard to overlook the fact that his profile mirrors those of many eventual relievers. For now, the Tigers are in a better position than some organizations might be to use a 40-man roster spot on a 24-year-old in High-A. Soto was listed as the Tigers’ 26th ranked prospect at the start of this season by both and Fangraphs.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Nicholas Castellanos Hires Boras Corporation]]> 2019-04-20T01:16:25Z 2019-04-20T01:11:48Z Tigers right fielder Nicholas Castellanos has hired the Boras Corporation to represent him moving forward, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports (Twitter link). The chance in representation comes just months before he’s slated to become a free agent for the first time.

Castellanos, 27, was previously represented by SportsMeter, making the switch an interesting one. SportsMeter and the Boras Corporation are the two agencies representing the game’s top two unsigned free agents in Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel, respectively. Boras Corp is obviously among the game’s largest agencies and has a longer track record, though both outfits in this equation had some misses this offseason. In addition to the fact that Keuchel remains unsigned, both Martin Maldonado and Gio Gonzalez have left Boras Corp in the past month due to apparent unhappiness with their own open-market experiences.

[RELATED: MLBTR Agency Database]

That said, there are certainly some parallels between Castellanos and another prominent Boras client: J.D. Martinez. Beyond the fact that both have patrolled right field at Comerica Park, each is a defensively challenged slugger. Bat-only players have not been in particularly high demand of late, so a relatively limited market is to be expected. Castellanos can’t match Martinez’s track record at the plate, but he will have age on his side; the former will be selling his services beginning with his age-28 season, whereas the latter didn’t become a free agent until he’d already turned 30. That’s not to say that anyone should expect a $100MM+ contract for Castellanos in free agency, but the fact that the Boras Corporation has successfully brokered a sizable contract for a player with a similar skill set quite likely held some appeal in this case.

There is still nearly a full season left for Castellanos to demonstrate some improvements in his glovework. The DRS grading system has smiled upon his efforts thus far, though UZR remains unmoved. If he can prove himself to be even a palatable performer in right field, the slate of potential suitors might expand appreciably. Clubs with interest in the bat will surely have their scouts take a close look to see whether — and for how long — Castellanos can be trusted on the outfield grass.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Put Christin Stewart On Injured List]]> 2019-04-18T16:53:09Z 2019-04-18T16:53:09Z
  • Tigers outfielder Christin Stewart landed on the injured list Thursday thanks to a right quad strain, per a club announcement. Infielder/outfielder Brandon Dixon is up from Triple-A Toledo to take his spot on the roster. The 25-year-old Stewart’s bid for an everyday spot in Detroit’s long-term lineup is off to a decent start, as he’s batting .246/.346/.465 through 136 plate appearances dating back to his late-2018 debut. Stewart has drawn a free pass in 12.5 percent of his trips to the plate and smacked five homers, six doubles and two triples in his limited experience, showing off the patience and power that make him an intriguing prospect. He’s unlikely to provide much in the way of defensive value, but he has the makings of a bat-first corner outfielder or designated hitter moving forward.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Matt Moore To Miss Remainder Of Season After Knee Surgery]]> 2019-04-17T20:00:43Z 2019-04-17T19:29:47Z Tigers lefty Matt Moore is slated to miss the remainder of the 2019 season, the club told reporters including’s Jason Beck (Twitter link). While the procedure was known, the prognosis comes as quite a surprise.

    It had been expected that Moore wouldn’t be sidelined for more than six weeks or so, as he was slated only to undergo a common procedure to address a meniscus tear. The reason for the change in the outlook isn’t yet known, but something obviously didn’t go as anticipated.

    This news represents poor fortune all around. The Detroit organization will come away with little to show for the $2.5MM it invested in Moore last winter. And Moore won’t get a full shot to boost his value before reentering the market.

    The 29-year-old southpaw did turn in two scoreless outings, compiling nine strikeouts against one walk over ten frames, before going down with what seemed to be a minor injury. That included a promising jump to a 14.5% swinging-strike rate, so it’s at least conceivable that some teams will have seen enough to make an investment in the still-youthful hurler based only upon that limited showing.

    Moore follows Michael Fulmer in suffering a season-ending injury. It seems the Tigers will now have little choice but to give a full run to Daniel Norris, who is facing something of a make or break year. Other depth options include Ryan Carpenter and Matt Hall. The club may at some point also take a look at some of its lauded young pitching prospects who don’t yet have 40-man roster spots.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Matt Moore To Undergo Knee Surgery]]> 2019-04-15T17:17:35Z 2019-04-14T15:02:27Z Tigers left-hander Matt Moore will undergo surgery on his injured right knee Wednesday, Jason Beck of reports. It’s unclear how much time Moore will miss, though he’s hoping to sit out just four to six weeks, per Beck.

    Moore, who damaged his meniscus April 7, had been rehabbing in hopes of avoiding surgery. However, the 29-year-old “did not feel improvement,” Beck notes. Moore had gotten off to a marvelous start prior to the injury, as he tossed 10 innings of scoreless, three-hit ball with nine strikeouts, one walk and a 59.1 percent groundball rate. It was an especially encouraging run considering Moore scuffled over the past few years with the Rays, Giants and Rangers. As a result, the former elite prospect had to settle for a $2.5MM deal with rebuilding Detroit in the offseason.

    It’s not yet known who will slide into the Tigers’ rotation during Moore’s absence, though southpaws Daniel Norris and Blaine Hardy may be the most likely candidates on their 25-man roster. Two Triple-A starters, Ryan Carpenter and Matt Hall, are also members of Detroit’s 40-man. To this point, the Tigers have only needed five starters, including Moore. Not only did he give them tremendous production before going on the IL, but Matthew Boyd has pitched like a breakout star, while Jordan Zimmermann, Tyson Ross and Spencer Turnbull have served as fine complements. Their performances have helped make up for the loss of righty Michael Fulmer, who won’t pitch this year after undergoing Tommy John surgery last month, and have been instrumental in the Tigers’ 8-6 start.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tigers Place Jordy Mercer On Injured List]]> 2019-04-14T12:19:22Z 2019-04-14T12:12:15Z SUNDAY: The Tigers will recall Rodriguez to replace Mercer, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.

    SATURDAY: The Tigers will place shortstop Jordy Mercer on the 10-day injured list because of a right quad strain, the team announced. They’ll make a corresponding move Sunday, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News tweets.

    This injury continues a rough start to the season for Mercer, a longtime Pirate who joined the Tigers for a guaranteed $5.25MM in free agency. While the 32-year-old has never posed much of a threat with the bat, Mercer’s .233/.298/.326 line in 47 plate appearances this season looks underwhelming even by his standards. Offensive shortcomings aside, Mercer has managed to carve out a useful major league career, having totaled anywhere from 1.0 to 2.0 fWAR in five different seasons.

    With Mercer heading to the shelf, it’s unclear which Tiger will receive the bulk of the work at shortstop in his absence. Gordon Beckham replaced him in Saturday’s game, though he’s not the most confidence-inspiring option. The team also has utilityman Niko Goodrum, who started 10 games at short in 2018, with 40-man middle infield possibilities Ronny Rodriguez, Dawel Lugo and Willi Castro in Triple-A Toledo. The Tigers do have a 40-man opening, though, leading McCosky to note that they could select veteran Pete Kozma from their top minor league affiliate.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Outright Mikie Mahtook To Triple-A]]> 2019-04-13T17:20:22Z 2019-04-13T17:19:10Z TODAY: Mahtook cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A, the Tigers announced.

    THURSDAY: The Tigers announced this morning that they’ve designated outfielder Mikie Mahtook for assignment. His spot on the 25-man roster will go to fellow outfielder JaCoby Jones, who has been reinstated after opening the season on the injured list due to a shoulder sprain.

    Mahtook, 29, had a promising first year with the Tigers in 2017 after being acquired in a minor trade with the Rays in the preceding offseason. The 2011 first-round pick slashed .276/.330/.457 with a dozen homers in 379 plate appearances and gave the organization some hope that he could be a useful pieces for years to come, given the amount of club control he had remaining.

    Unfortunately, Mahtook’s production cratered in 2018 as his strikeout rate soared north of 26 percent while the .324 BABIP he turned in a year prior cratered to a career-low .238. Mahtook saw his hard-contact and line-drive rates both decline, while he hit infield pop-ups at a career-worst clip as well.

    Things haven’t gone better for Mahtook in the early stages of the 2019 campaign, either. He’s hitless through 25 plate appearances, including 11 strikeouts, and a recent misplay in center field turned a routine Eric Stamets single into a little league homer.

    Detroit will have a week to either trade Mahtook or run him through outright waivers, at which point he’d remain under organizational control should the team wish to assign him to a minor league affiliate. Mahtook has never been previously outrighted and doesn’t have the requisite three years of big league service to reject an outright assignment, so electing free agency wouldn’t be an option for him.

    Mahtook’s DFA means that Jones can be penciled in for everyday at-bats in center field, while former Padres and Braves prospect Dustin Peterson, whom Detroit claimed off waivers last September, will stick on the big league roster as the primary reserve outfielder for the time being. That’ll leave Detroit without a true backup center fielder; Peterson and utilityman Niko Goodrum are the only players on the big league roster with experience at the position, though that pair has combined for just 331 innings of work at the position (nearly all in the minor leagues). It’s possible that another move is coming to add a more natural backup, but for now Jones, who hit .207/.266/.364 in 467 PAs last season, appears ticketed for a heavy workload.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Matt Moore Dealing With Meniscus Injury]]> 2019-04-09T20:04:24Z 2019-04-09T18:28:26Z
  • The Tigers and lefty Matt Moore are hopeful that he won’t need to undergo surgery after being diagnosed with a meniscus injury, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News was among those to report. Damage to the joint was diagnosed after Moore experienced some issues in his last outing. While a procedure on the meniscus wouldn’t likely be season-ending, it would make for a fairly lengthy absence. With rather mild symptoms, Moore suggests he’s optimistic he can instead rehab briefly and then pitch through the injury.
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    Ty Bradley <![CDATA[Tigers Place Matt Moore On 10-Day IL]]> 2019-04-07T14:45:57Z 2019-04-07T14:44:33Z SUNDAY: Moore may need surgery, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News tweets. For now, the team has activated right-hander Drew VerHagen from the IL to take Moore’s roster spot.

    SATURDAY: Per a team release, the Tigers will place lefty Matt Moore on the 10-day IL after the lefty sprained his right knee in the middle of today’s outing against the Royals. A corresponding roster move will come tomorrow, per the team.

    Moore, 29, signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal with Detroit in the offseason after successive brutal campaigns with the Giants and Rangers. The former #1 overall prospect in the league – whom Baseball Prospectus famously ranked over Mike Trout and Bryce Harper on their 2012 list – hasn’t much been the same after a 2014 Tommy John surgery. His velocity, which ranged in the 95-96 MPH area in his first two seasons, quickly fell to around 92, and the lefty’s never possessed the requisite command and/or secondary offerings to make up for it.

    Still, he’d looked sharp in first two early-season outings before the knee sprain today, so it’s a tough blow for the Tiger reclamation project. Per manager Ron Gardenhire, lefty Daniel Norris will assume Moore’s rotation spot in the interim.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Grayson Long Announces Retirement]]> 2019-04-04T13:57:14Z 2019-04-04T13:57:14Z
  • Tigers right-hander Grayson Long announced on Twitter that, due to “continuous injury,” he’s hanging up the spikes and returning to college to finish his degree at Texas A&M. Detroit acquired Long, now 24 years old, in the 2017 trade that sent Justin Upton to the Angels. The 2015 third-round pick didn’t pitch in 2018 as he recovered from thoracic outlet surgery — a procedure that has become increasingly common among professional pitchers in recent years but comes with a middling success rate, at best. Long showed plenty of potential in his last healthy season, tossing 137 2/3 innings of 3.01 ERA ball with averages of 8.4 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and 0.6 HR/9 in 137 2/3 innings of Double-A ball.
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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Health Notes: Frazier, Lowrie, Perez, Cobb, Folty, Gausman, Minter]]> 2019-03-30T21:33:36Z 2019-03-30T21:34:13Z Some injury updates from around the game . . .

    Latest News

    • Braves righty Mike Foltynewicz, shelf-ridden to began the year, threw 63 pitches in a minor-league game Friday, tweets the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien, who notes that the righty could be activated as soon as April 9. A healthy return for the sudden ace would break up the Braves’ rockpile of young rotation arms, a group that currently includes rookies Kyle Wright, Bryse Wilson, and second-year man Max Fried, who was curiously deployed in Opening-Day relief.
    • More good news on the Atlanta rotation front comes from’s Mark Bowman, who tweets that righty Kevin Gausman threw 90 pitches in a minor-league game today and reported no ill effects. Gausman’s slated to take the ball April 5 against Miami as he looks to reprise his inning-eating ways for the fourth consecutive year. The Braves, then, won’t have long to settle on an early-season rotation mix, and top prospect Mike Soroka’s eventual presence will only further complicate matters.
    • O’Brien also tweets that the Braves could have late-inning presence A.J. Minter back as soon as Thursday. Minter, 25, threw just 58 carer minor-league innings before a scintillating 2017 debut. He doubled down last season, establishing himself as one of the National League’s top relievers after a 1.4 fWAR performance in just 61 1/3 IP. He’ll be leaned on heavily at the back end of a thin Atlanta ’pen in the early stages of 2019.

    Earlier Updates

    • Todd Frazier is almost ready to begin a rehab assignment as he recovers from a strained oblique, per Newsday’s Tim Healey (via Twitter). The Mets third baseman is set to return to game action in the minor leagues within the next couple of days, putting him on track to make his 2019 debut before the end of April. Infielder Jed Lowrie is less far along. As he rehabs from a sprained left knee, Lowrie is traveling with the team, and though the Mets haven’t put a timetable on his return, he was seen this morning taking grounders at third, per Deesha Thosar of the NY Daily News (via Twitter). In the meantime, Jeff McNeil got the start at third base on Opening Day alongside Amed Rosario, Robinson Cano and Pete Alonso in the infield. Today’s lineup will feature McNeil getting the start in left while J.D. Davis gets a turn at third. Let’s check in on some other health-related issues from around the league…
    • The centerpiece of the Justin Verlander trade has been shut down for 4-6 weeks with shoulder tendonitis, per Chris McCosky of The Detroit News. Franklin Perez is the Tigers #4 ranked prospect according to Baseball America, #6 by Baseball Prospectus, and #5 by Fangraphs, while has the hard-throwing righty the highest at #3. Separate instances of a lat strain and shoulder soreness limited his 2018 to only 7 appearances between two levels, topping out with a 7.94 ERA across four starts for High-A Lakeland – where he hoped to return to start 2019. The 21-year-old Venezuelan boasts a power heater that consistently reached 98 mph when he could stay on the field this spring, but health is the focus for Perez for the time being. Perez is one of three right-handers who make up the core of Detroit’s farm, along with Matt Manning and 2018’s #1 overall draft pick Casey Mize.
    • There are no lingering issues with the groin injury that put Alex Cobb on the shelf to start the year. After throwing five innings in a minor league game yesterday, he is in line to start the Orioles’ home opener next Thursday, per Roch Kubatko of (via Twitter). Nate Karns will make his Orioles debut on the bump today, and while there’s no strict pitch count, don’t expect Karns to make it much further than the second or third inning, per The Athletic’s Dan Connolly (via Twitter). Karns will play the role of Opener today, with Jimmy Yacabonis expected to see significant work as well.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Health Notes: Kershaw, Perez, Johnson]]> 2019-03-30T02:12:52Z 2019-03-30T02:12:52Z Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw may not be all that far from returning to the MLB mound, but he has a few more steps to take. As Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports on Twitter, the star hurler could soon be cleared for a minor-league rehab assignment — if he’s able to complete a live BP session tomorrow without incident. Supposing things go well and Kershaw is ready to resume competitive action next week, he’ll still need to build up his pitch count before returning to the Dodgers roster. It’s not yet clear how many rehab starts he’d need before being activated.

    More health notes from around the game …

    • The Tigers announced Friday that pitching prospect Franklin Perez will miss the first four to six weeks of the season due to tendinitis in his right shoulder. He’ll rehab at the team’s spring facility in Lakeland, Fla. for the time being. The shoulder tendinitis is the latest health-related setback for 21-year-old, who also missed most of the 2018 campaign with lat and shoulder issues. Perez, who threw just 19 1/3 innings last seasons, was one of the key pieces Detroit received from the Astros in the 2017 blockbuster that sent Justin Verlander to Houston. Considered at the time of that deal to be one of baseball’s premier minor league arms, Perez has seen his prospect star dim as injuries have prevented him from taking the hill. Fortunately for the Tigers, he’s still quite young and has ample time to develop, but the ongoing arm issues are a troubling trend.
    • There’s an even tougher diagnosis for Marlins prospect Osiris Johnson, as Wells Dusenbery of the Sun Sentinel reports on Twitter. The youngster appears to be sidelined for all of the 2019 season after undergoing surgery for a right tibial stress fracture. Taken in the second round of last year’s draft, the shortstop is considered a high-risk, high-upside talent. He turned in good results at the Rookie level but stumbled in a late promotion to the Class A level. This was to be an important year of development for Johnson, who only turned 18 last October.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Name Spencer Turnbull To Rotation]]> 2019-03-27T16:31:40Z 2019-03-27T14:21:59Z
  • The Tigers have informed righty Spencer Turnbull that he’ll be in the rotation to begin the season, as Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. He took that job over lefty Daniel Norris, who’ll open the year in the bullpen. Norris will work in a long capacity, with the goal being to keep him stretched out in case a starting spot comes open. Turnbull, 26, earned the nod with an excellent spring showing: 15 frames of 1.80 ERA pitching with 15 strikeouts and just a pair of walks. The former second-round pick reached the big leagues briefly last year, but spent most of his ’18 season at Double-A. He pitched to a 4.47 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 98 2/3 innings over 19 starts at the penultimate level of the minors.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[JaCoby Jones To IL With Shoulder Injury]]> 2019-03-24T23:50:59Z 2019-03-24T23:49:02Z
  • JaCoby Jones will start the season on the IL after suffering a left shoulder sprain while diving for a ball on Saturday.  Speaking with media (including Chris McCosky of the Detroit News), Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire hinted at a rough 2-3 week timeline for Jones’ recovery, though Gardenhire’s estimate seemed speculative.  Jones and Mikie Mahtook were slated to share center field duties for the Tigers, though Niko Goodrum will now see some time in center with Jones out, plus outfielder Dustin Peterson could now factor into Detroit’s Opening Day plans.
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