The Tigers have acquired right-hander Dario Agrazal from the Pirates in exchange for cash, the team announced. (Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reported the move, via Twitter, minutes before it was formally announced.) Agrazal was designated for assignment last week when Pittsburgh set its 40-man roster in advance of next month’s Rule 5 Draft. Detroit’s 40-man roster is now full.
Agrazal, 24, logged 73 1/3 innings with the Pirates in 2019 but struggled to a 4.91 ERA with 5.0 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 1.84 HR/9 and a 39.9 percent grounder rate. He’s typically demonstrated strong control and posted better ground-ball rates in the minors. Agrazal also has a minor league option remaining, so the Tigers will be able to shuttle him between Toledo and Detroit as rotation depth next season — so long as he survives the winter on the team’s 40-man roster.
The Tigers’ rotation is perilously thin at the moment, with Matthew Boyd, Jordan Zimmermann, Spencer Turnbull and Daniel Norris representing the likeliest options. Righty Michael Fulmer will be returning from Tommy John surgery as well, but he didn’t go under the knife until the end of March in 2019, meaning there’s no guarantee he’ll be back for Opening Day.
That said, the Tigers have a number of high-end pitching prospects looming on the horizon, led by 2018 No. 1 overall draft pick Casey Mize. Detroit also has Matt Manning, Alex Faedo, Beau Burrows, Tarik Skubal and Franklin Perez working through the upper minors, and it’d be both surprising and disappointing if that collection of arms didn’t produce a couple of MLB-caliber rotation pieces. The acquisition of Agrazal lessens any need to rush that group to the big leagues, though, and provides some additional depth in the event of injuries to the starters on which the Tigers currently expect to rely.
Further additions remain possible, of course; the Tigers added Tyson Ross and Matt Moore on perfectly reasonable, low-risk one-year pacts last offseason. Although neither move panned out, the logic behind each was apparent, and a similar pickup or two this winter wouldn’t be particularly surprising.