The Tigers announced Friday that infielder Niko Goodrum went unclaimed on outright waivers and has elected free agency. Detroit also passed righty Nivaldo Rodriguez and outfielder Jacob Robson through waivers unclaimed, though they’ll both remain with the organization after being outrighted to Triple-A. (Unlike Goodrum, they did not have the service time needed to reject an outright assignment and elect free agency.)
Additionally, the Tigers selected the contracts of righty Angel De Jesus and infielder Kody Clemens. Both are now on the 40-man roster and thus protected from this offseason’s Rule 5 Draft.
Goodrum, 29, looked like a minor league free-agent steal a few years ago when he signed in Detroit and hit .245/.315/.432 with 16 homers and a dozen steals while playing every position other than catcher, center field and pitcher. He matched those solid 2018 numbers in near-identical fashion in 2019, improving his glovework at shortstop in the process and looking like at least a useful utility piece — if not a possible everyday shortstop.
Unfortunately for both Goodrum and the Tigers, the switch-hitter’s bat tumbled in 2020 and wasn’t able to recover this past season. Over the past two years, Goodrum has managed just a .203/.282/.350 batting line, while his strikeout rate has skyrocketed from 28% to 34.9%. Goodrum can still play all over the diamond and still has a decent blend of power and speed, but his mounting issues making contact and a projected $2.9MM arbitration salary prompted Detroit to effectively non-tender him.
Joining the 40-man roster are the power-armed De Jesus and the 25-year-old Clemens — the son of seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens. De Jesus, 24, split the 2021 season between Double-A and Triple-A, compiling a 3.34 ERA with a big 29.1% strikeout rate in 64 innings (primarily out of the bullpen). De Jesus kept the ball on the ground at an above-average rate as well, though his 13.5% walk rate is obviously somewhat problematic.
Clemens is the more highly regarded of today’s additions, ranking between 18th and 26th among Tigers prospects at MLB.com, Baseball America and FanGraphs. He played in 97 games (413 plate appearances) and logged a .247/.312/.466 output with 18 homers, 15 doubles and six triples. He’s primarily been a second baseman, though some scouting reports peg him as more of an offensive-minded utility player — assuming he can continue to improve his contact skills.
The 24-year-old Rodriguez was claimed off waivers out of the Astros organization back in August, and while he fared well in 7 1/3 MLB frames, that wasn’t the case in Triple-A: 5.37 ERA, 44-to-28 K/BB ratio in 62 innings. Robson, 26, was an eighth-round pick by the Tigers in 2016. He went hitless in seven at-bats during his MLB debut this year and posted a .259/.385/.389 batting line in 78 Triple-A games.
It was nice to be winning the off-season, if only for a little while.
Why? The teams that have won offseasons lately haven’t faired very well when the regular season concludes. See Padres for recent example.
All the fans think teams improve by free agency when 99% of the improvement comes from young players within the organization already.
I think I know you
Even more comes from veterans that improve their games.
Robson and Rodriguez have decent minors numbers. kinda surprised both cleared.
I prefer the Tigers keep Niko Goodrum over those two, however.
You’d look great in Seattle Teal as our super utility guy. Come to Butthead
I wanted to say something about how he is very similar to dmo without the pop…but come to butthead?
Headline should read *MLB The Show BR God* Niko Goodrum elects free agency
this has giants written all over it, if they whiff on Taylor
Bearded Texas Hulk
I hope the Rangers get him
Correa on da way!
I didn’t follow the Tigers this year, but wasn’t Goodrum one of their primary SS? From the West Coast, this does look like they’re making room for a FA SS. Correa would appear to be a favorite.
Goodrum spent a lot time at SS, but wasn’t good. Wasn’t bad either. My biggest gripe was how few double plays got turned. This was also a problem when he played 2B. I think he can perform, at best, average at SS. His bat has potential, but he needs to reinvent himself at the plate.
And, roughly half the year, Zac Short was the SS, but he ended up being demoted because he couldn’t hit after his first few weeks in the bigs.
Niko Goodrum just doesn’t defend well enough to be an everyday middle IF. He’s a good player overall and won’t need to look very long for work. He plays everywhere, is very fast and has good power.
I think he’s passable at 2B. Trouble is, his bat doesn’t justify it.
Doesn’t field well enough? Two years ago he was a gold glove finalist at SS! Probably because they put him there and let him play. He can play everywhere, and that became his undoing with the Tigers. Hope they can sign him back at a lesser amount.
Which shows how little that actually means. He played 32 games at SS that year.
Personally I like Good Rum
He will be in Toledo in 2022
Chris Taylor 2.0 for the dodgers
Clemens deserves MLB playing time.
Goodrum is replaceable for the Tigers…his numbers tumbled the last 2 years.
Just because Roger is giving us $320 million to sign Correa haha
Why does Clemens “deserve” playing time? His minor league numbers are weak! Doesn’t hit for average, doesn’t hit for power, doesn’t steal bases, doesn’t get on base at a high rate, not an above average fielder. Looks like the next Dawel Lugo.
If Goodrum can hit .203 so can Kody
I’m not a Clemens fan but he does have some power. He hit 18 HRs last year.
He knows Correa coming
Oh yeah, it’s all coming together
It’s no secret that they are signing a SS, so yeah. He’s reading the writing on the wall.
Angel De Jesus is a very holy name.
For Love of the Game
Goodrum made $2.1 mill. last year and would have likely been due some small raise in arbitration. Someone else will sign him for quite a bit less, more in line with a zero WAR but upside due to speed, versatility, and some power.
I agree. He is decent (at best) as a utility infielder. His bat regressed tremendously though. He’s a good lottery ticket for a team that needs an infielder because I believe he will bounce back at the plate with a change of scenery (and coach).
Goodrum being sent packing isn’t a surprise. His bat cratered the past two seasons and it actually affected his fielding as well. He’ll get a shot somewhere to see if he can turn it around. The Twins let him go and the Tigers nabbed him and he had a couple of decent seasons to start. That is enough to get him his shot. But he was not worth his arb number and the Tigers have plenty of utility type players to replace him.
Great move by the Tigers as Nico is a strikeout machine. Wish him good luck elsewhere but happy it’s not in Detroit
Dang, sort of thought Robson could be a Frank Catalanatto-type bat for the Tigers if all things worked out.
Does Kody have the same love of steroids his dad did?