Edwin Jackson’s on-field performance in his second stint with the Tigers hasn’t given fans much to cheer about — 8.58 ERA in 35 2/3 innings — but catcher Grayson Greiner called Jackson’s experience “invaluable,” when talking with MLB.com’s Jason Beck about the veteran right-hander’s role as a mentor. And while one would expect teammates to voice support for Jackson, Beck adds that a member of the opposing dugout also heaped praise onto Jackson. Orioles skipper Brandon Hyde called Jackson “one of my top five teammates I’ve ever been around” — a reference to the pair’s days together with the Cubs. “He’s a total pro and a class act, and there’s a reason why he’s been around so long and people want to have him around and always give him an opportunity, because he’s such a great guy,” said Hyde.
Whether that makes Jackson worthy of a roster spot on a rebuilding team when his struggles on the mound have been so pronounced is another debate — one the Tigers will surely have internally this winter. Beck notes that Detroit could have interest in re-signing Jackson to a minor league contract. Doing so would at least bring him to Spring Training with the team’s young players and could give them a veteran to bridge the gap to promising pitching prospects like Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Tarik Skubal and others — if he makes the roster.
More out of the Motor City…
- Positive strides made by the trio of Victor Reyes, Daniel Norris and Harold Castro late in the 2019 season have most likely solidified their place on the 2020 roster, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News writes. Reyes, 25 next month, looked wholly overwhelmed as a Rule 5 pick in 2018, but he’s delivered a .299/.333/.415 slash line with a pair of homers, 14 doubles, three triples and six steals in 237 plate appearances since being recalled in 2019 — all while playing above-average defense in center. The Tigers began limiting Norris to three-inning outings last month, and he’s responded with a 3.86 ERA and a 21-to-7 K/BB ratio in 21 innings of work. He’s still been far too homer-prone in that time, but it’s an encouraging step forward for the former top prospect, who’ll likely command only a modest raise on this year’s $1.2MM salary in arbitration this winter. As for Castro, the 25-year-old has hit at a .305/.320/.399 clip in 333 plate appearances, although his paltry 2.7 percent walk rate and a .383 average on balls in play call into question the sustainability of that production.
- Lynn Henning of the Detroit News reports that the Tigers have fired six minor league coaches, including Double-A hitting coach Brian Harper and minor league field coordinator Bill Dancy. The Tigers are still deciding the fate of Triple-A manager Doug Mientkiewicz, who is currently under contract through the 2020 season. Double-A skipper Mike Rabelo could be a potential replacement option for Mientkiewicz if Detroit opts not to bring him back, Henning adds.