The Tigers announced they’ve claimed infielder Brendon Davis off waivers from the Angels. Detroit also selected righty Drew Carlton onto the big league club and placed Will Vest on the COVID-19 injured list. The Tigers had a prior vacancy on their 40-man roster, and Vest won’t count against that tally while he’s on the COVID list.
Davis, 24, hasn’t yet played in the majors. Los Angeles selected him onto the 40-man roster over the winter, as he’d have otherwise qualified for minor league free agency. That came on the heels of a breakout 2021 campaign in which the righty-hitting infielder posted a .290/.362/.561 cumulative line across a trio of minor league levels. Davis had arguably his best showing following a late-season bump to Triple-A, and that impressed the Angels enough they were willing to devote him an offseason 40-man roster spot.
Los Angeles assigned Davis back to Triple-A Salt Lake to open this year, and his results have fallen short of last year’s excellent showing. Through 159 plate appearances, he’s hitting .243/.333/.463 with six home runs in a hitter-friendly setting. That’s still decent production, and Davis has a strong combination of walks (11.3%) and strikeouts (19.5%). It’s not at the .333/.409/.641 level at which he debuted there last season, though, and the Angels tried to slip him through waivers to keep him in the organization without a roster spot.
Detroit jumped at the opportunity to add the former fifth-round pick, who was involved in the 2017 deadline deal that sent Yu Darvish from the Rangers to the Dodgers. Davis scuffled during his days in the Rangers’ farm system, but he’s improved dramatically since the Angels grabbed him in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft. He’s primarily a third baseman, but he also has experience in the middle infield and the corner outfield. He can be optioned for the next three seasons, so he offers the Tigers a versatile depth pickup.
Carlton returns to the majors after being outrighted off the roster at the end of last season. The 26-year-old made his first four big league appearances last September, allowing two runs with four walks and one strikeout in 3 2/3 innings. He’s off to a nice start with Triple-A Toledo, tossing 15 frames of 3.60 ERA ball with an excellent 30.2% strikeout rate and a strong 6.3% walk percentage. Carlton also has all three options remaining, so the Tigers can shuttle him between Detroit and the minors without again exposing him to waivers if they’re willing to keep him on the 40-man roster.