The Tigers have placed reliever Mark Lowe on unconditional release waivers, reports Jason Beck of MLB.com (Twitter link). The right-hander is due a $5.5MM salary this year, so he’ll likely clear waivers and become a free agent.
Lowe had to compete for a roster spot with Detroit this spring, which wasn’t the outcome the team envisioned when it inked him to a two-year, $11MM guarantee in December 2015. But Lowe then endured a disastrous 2016, when his average fastball velocity dropped from 95.5 mph in 2015 to 92.4 mph. Thanks in part to his less effective heater, Lowe registered a 7.11 ERA in 49 1/3 innings and saw his home run-to-fly ball ratio go from 8.9 percent in 2015 to 17.9 percent last season. Lowe also experienced a significant drop in swinging-strike rate (14.1 percent in 2015 to 10 percent) and nearly doubled his walk rate (1.96 per nine to 3.83).
Lowe was excellent two seasons ago with Seattle and Toronto, where he combined for career bests in ERA (1.96) and K/9 (9.98) across 55 frames, which led to his Detroit payday. The 33-year-old hasn’t been particularly consistent during his career, however, as he has posted subpar production in several campaigns. All told, though, Lowe’s output has been passable – despite having recorded a below-average ground-ball rate (39.8 percent), he has combined for a 4.22 ERA, 8.21 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 385 2/3 innings with six teams.