The Tigers announced Monday that they’ve signed left-hander Travis Wood to a minor league contract and invited him to Major League Spring Training. Wood was released by the Padres earlier this offseason. He’s represented by Frontline.
Wood, 30, signed a two-year, $12MM contract with the Royals last winter but struggled enormously both in Kansas City and in San Diego this past season. The former Cubs lefty posted an ERA north of 6.70 with both teams last year, working to an overall 6.80 ERA with 6.2 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 and a 1.8 HR/9 mark in 94 innings. He’s still owed $6.5MM in 2018, but the Royals agreed to pay the entirety of that sum when he was traded to San Diego, so Wood represents a lottery ticket for a Tigers staff that could use him in either the rotation or bullpen if he shows signs of returning to form in Spring Training.
Brutal as his 2017 campaign was, it wasn’t that long ago that Wood was an effective big league arm. From 2015-16, Wood totaled 161 2/3 innings with a 3.51 ERA, 9.2 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and 1.1 HR/9 between nine starts and 122 relief appearances for the Cubs. Overall, he logged a 3.94 ERA in just shy of 700 innings in parts of five seasons in Chicago. For a Tigers club that is short on depth in both the rotation and the bullpen, Wood is a reasonable enough roll of the dice.
The Tigers’ rotation currently projects to contain Michael Fulmer, Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd, Jordan Zimmermann and Mike Fiers, though Wood could certainly seize a spot in the event of an injury or some early struggles from the yet-unproven Norris and Boyd. In the bullpen, manager Ron Gardenhire has lefties Daniel Stumpf, Blaine Hardy and Jairo Labourt to choose from, but Wood can certainly push that trio for innings if he shows well in Grapefruit League play.