The Tigers are closing in on a deal with free-agent outfielder Nomar Mazara, Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic reports. It’s a major league contract that will pay Mazara $1.75MM plus incentives, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
Mazara was a much-ballyhooed prospect in his younger days, as he entered the pro ranks with a whopping $5MM bonus from the Rangers when he signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2011. He topped out as Baseball America’s No. 21 overall prospect in 2016, when he debuted in the majors and played his age-21 season. Mazara got off to a nice start then relative to age, hitting .266/.320/.419 with 20 home runs in 568 plate appearances, but hasn’t progressed much since then.
From 2017-19 as a Ranger, Mazara hit .259/.320/.440 with 59 homers and just 1.2 fWAR across 1,621 trips to the plate. The Rangers decided to part with Mazara after the last of those seasons, sending him to the White Sox for outfield prospect Steele Walker prior to 2020.
Chicago was obviously hoping the proverbial light bulb would go on for Mazara in its uniform, but that didn’t happen. He wound up slashing a disastrous .228/.295/.294 with a single HR and a microscopic .066 isolated power number in 149 PA. The White Sox saw enough and elected to non-tender Mazara in lieu of paying him a projected $5MM-plus in arbitration in 2021.
Mazara is still only 25, so the Tigers will follow the division-rival White Sox in hoping he’ll be able to tap into his potential sometime soon. The left-handed-hitting Mazara has typically had a terrible time against same-handed pitchers, though he has offered league-average offense versus righties. He could at least emerge in Detroit as a platoon partner for fellow corner outfielder Victor Reyes, who has had trouble against righties during his career.