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.