TODAY: The Tigers announced that they have requested release waivers on Shreve.
AUGUST 11: The Tigers announced they’ve designated veteran reliever Chasen Shreve for assignment. The move clears a spot in the big league bullpen for Will Vest, who has been reinstated from the 15-day injured list. Detroit’s 40-man roster count drops to 39.
As first reported by Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free-Press (on Twitter), Shreve has already gone unclaimed on waivers. Whether by rejection of an outright assignment or a release, he’s highly likely to become a free agent.
Shreve signed a minor league pact with Detroit over the offseason. The well-travelled southpaw cracked the Opening Day roster and would go on to make 47 appearances. While he posted only a 4.79 ERA through 41 1/3 innings, he had solid underlying marks.
The 33-year-old fanned an average 23.3% of opponents against a lower than average 6.7% walk rate. He kept the ball on the ground at a 46.8% clip and induced swinging strikes on an above-average 12.6% of his offerings. While it seemed that’d lead Detroit to trade him at the deadline, they apparently didn’t find sufficient interest to make a deal. Once the deadline passed, the non-competitive Tigers have decided to move on from Shreve entirely. He was an impending free agent, and the Tigers clearly felt the marginal dip in their bullpen quality over the season’s final seven weeks is a worthwhile trade-off for getting more reps to controllable arms.
Detroit is paying Shreve a $1.25MM salary. Just under $350K is yet to be paid out. Because Shreve was unclaimed on waivers, the Tigers will remain responsible for that sum. The organization could pull in some moderate savings from the release, however. Shreve had already unlocked $300K in innings-based incentives. He’d have triggered an additional $100K at reaching 45 and 50 innings, respectively (with $125K available at 55 and 60 frames). That’ll no longer be in play.
Once he officially returns to free agency, Shreve can pursue other opportunities. The incentives wouldn’t be available on any new contract, though perhaps he’ll find an immediate spot in a contending club’s bullpen. Another team would only owe Shreve the prorated amount of the $720K minimum for time spent on the MLB roster through season’s end. If he signs elsewhere by the end of the month, he’d be eligible for postseason play with his next team.