The Tigers announced Thursday that they’ve granted right-hander Alex Wilson his release. He’d been in Spring Training as a non-roster invitee to camp prior to the league’s shutdown.
Wilson, 33, had a successful stint with the Tigers from 2015-18 when he racked up 264 2/3 innings of relief and pitched to a 3.20 ERA/3.87 FIP with 5.9 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and a 46.4 percent ground-ball rate. He opened the 2019 season with the Brewers and struggled greatly, though, allowing more than a run per inning in 11 1/3 frames before being cut loose.
Back in May, Wilson spoke to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News about the uncertainty he was feeling as a veteran non-roster player in limbo. Wilson, who was working on reinventing himself as a side-armer, said at the the time he hoped expanded rosters and the organization’s familiarity with him would position him well for a bullpen job. Today’s announcement makes clear that the rebuilding Tigers didn’t feel that to be the case. With myriad younger options available, the Tigers could simply use expanded rosters as a means of evaluating less-experienced options who could be part of the club’s long-term outlook.
While MLB’s transactions freeze won’t lift until tomorrow, it’s worth clarifying that said freeze only applies to the Major League roster. We’ve seen teams throughout the game cut a number of minor leaguers and non-roster invitees over the past month, and Wilson becomes the latest in that long line of names.
However, by granting Wilson his release now, the Tigers will give him a bit of extra time to gauge interest from other clubs in hopes of finding a new club with which he can spend a rebooted Spring Training. Teams are required to submit to the league a 60-name list of players who can participate in their restarted training camps by Sunday, although those lists aren’t concrete and are subject to change pending transactions.