The Tigers have added a few modestly priced veteran free agents to a team that lost 114 games and easily finished last in the majors a season ago. At this point, Detroit’s not expecting any more acquisitions before the season, general manager Al Avila suggested Thursday (via Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic).
The Tigers have looked like speculative fits for outfielder Yasiel Puig, who’s still without a job, but it officially appears he’ll have to look elsewhere. Avila already shot down a potential Puig signing weeks ago. Now, between the reunion with the ex-Tiger Maybin and Avila’s comments, they can probably be scratched off Puig’s list of possible employers. They’re instead counting on Maybin, whom they reeled in for $1.5MM, to enjoy a second straight successful campaign and perhaps take on an everyday role, as Stavenhagen writes (subscription link).
The 32-year-old Maybin has bounced around since the Tigers took him 10th overall in the 2005 draft, enduring his share of ups and downs along the way. He had to settle for minor league deals with the Giants and Indians before last season, but an April trade to the Yankees may have revived his career. Maybin was an unsung hero on an injury-riddled New York club, as a more fly ball-oriented approach helped him to a .285/.364/.494 with 11 home runs in 269 plate appearances.
Maybin became the fifth veteran to join the Tigers on a one-year contract since last season ended. The club previously signed first baseman C.J. Cron, second baseman Jonathan Schoop, catcher Austin Romine and right-hander Ivan Nova. There may not be a world-beater in the bunch, but those stopgaps should at least make Detroit more competitive this season. And the team does have a few talented starters (some of whom aren’t yet in the majors but could be soon) who could combine to give the club a decent rotation. Matt Boyd, Spencer Turnbull and Daniel Norris are on hand at the MLB level; Michael Fulmer should make it back from Tommy John surgery in the summer; Nova’s an acceptable back-end innings-eater; and Casey Mize and Matt Manning are two of the top prospects in the game. With all of that said, the Tigers should be a tougher out in 2020.