The Tigers announced that left-handed reliever Blaine Hardy has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Toledo. The move gives Detroit one open spot on its 40-man roster.
Hardy debuted as a Tiger back in 2014 and has since amassed 159 1/3 frames of 3.62 ERA/3.74 FIP pitching with 7.57 K/9, 3.78 BB/9 and a 42.1 percent groundball rate. While that’s a useful career line, the 31-year-old hurt his stock last season with a dreadful campaign in which he logged a 5.94 ERA/5.38 FIP in 33 1/3 frames. With 7.56 K/9 and 3.51 BB/9, Hardy’s strikeout and walk numbers were normal, but his grounder percentage plummeted to 33.0. That helped lead to a personal-worst 1.89 home runs allowed per nine, a massive increase over Hardy’s career figure (0.68).
Thanks to a shoulder impingement, Hardy wasn’t able to make a case for a roster spot in Detroit this spring. He ended up appearing in just one of the Tigers’ exhibition games before they cut him from their 40-man roster. Because of both that injury and his woeful 2017, no one claimed Hardy, even though he’s cheap ($795K), controllable through 2021 and has a minor league option remaining. Hardy’s 2018 salary would have become guaranteed in two days, making this move all the more painful for him, Evan Woodbery of MLive.com notes.