The Tigers are the latest known major league team affected by the coronavirus. Speaking to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free-Press and other reporters Wednesday, general manager Al Avila revealed that two people in the organization – one player and one staff member – have tested positive for the illness. Neither individual has recovered yet, but the player was not working out at the team’s spring facility in Lakeland, Fla., when he contracted it. Meanwhile, as a prostate cancer survivor, manager Ron Gardenhire is at higher risk than most of coming down with COVID-19. Gardenhire admitted he’s “uneasy” about a season during a pandemic, but he’s confident MLB will do its best to keep everyone safe, per Fenech.
More out of Detroit…
- The Tigers have signed supplemental second-round pick Daniel Cabrera for $1.2MM, above his slot value of $1,102,700, Jim Callis of MLB.com tweets. The former Louisiana State outfielder was the 62nd overall choice. His deal leaves slugger Spencer Torkelson, the first overall selection, as the only Detroit pick who hasn’t signed yet. The Tigers can pay Torkelson $7,775,700 without exceeding their $13,325,700 bonus pool and $8,441,985 without losing future picks, Callis notes. The slot value of the No. 1 pick is $8,415,300.
- Right-hander Michael Fulmer has made enough progress in his recovery from March 2019 Tommy John surgery that he should be ready to return to the mound when spring training resumes, according to Avila (via Evan Woodbery of MLive.com). However, the Tigers aren’t going to rush the 27-year-old Fulmer back into game action. “Once we get there and we see him and see him and he starts working out we’ll just figure out what we can do and how we can do it,” Gardenhire said. “Game situations are so much different than practice.” The former American League Rookie of the Year (2016) was once among the most prized young hurlers in the game, but along with injuries, a decline in performance has damaged his stock over the past couple years. In 2018, the last time he pitched, Fulmer logged a career-worst 4.69 ERA/4.52 FIP over 132 1/3 innings.
- Gardenhire confirmed that standout Tigers pitching prospects Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Tarik Skubal and Alex Faedo will be on their 60-man taxi squad, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News relays. “They are going to be part of this,” said Gardenhire, but that doesn’t mean any will make his major league debut this year, as Avila acknowledged that ” it might be more difficult to get them that experience” during such a short season. Regardless, being on the 60-man roster will at least give those who may not yet be ready for the majors to play intrasquad games and continue to develop in a year that probably won’t have a minor league season.