Typically, players have three option seasons with one used each season during which the player spends at least 20 days on optional assignment in the minor leagues. A player is considered to be on optional assignment when on a club’s 40-man roster but sent to the minor leagues while not on a rehab assignment. Faedo, 28, was first added to Detroit’s 40-man roster back in November of 2020 and has been optioned to the minor leagues in each of the three seasons since, spending at least 20 days in the minor leagues each time. Under normal circumstances, that would leave Faedo out of options headed into the 2024 season, meaning the Tigers would either have to expose Faedo to waivers before attempting to return him to the minor leagues.
Occasionally, teams are granted a fourth option year on certain players, typically due to the player missing significant time with injury. MLB.com explains that players with less than five full professional seasons (defined as at least 90 days on a major or minor league active roster) are eligible for a fourth option year. That applies to Faedo, who underwent Tommy John surgery in December of 2020 and missed the entire 2021 season while rehabbing. Between his lost 2021 campaign and the cancelled minor league season in 2020, Faedo has just four full professional seasons under his belt in 2018, 2019, 2022, and 2023.
The news offers the Tigers considerable roster flexibility headed into the 2024 season. The club’s first-round pick in the 2017 draft, Faedo had the look of a potential back-end starter in 2023 with a 4.45 ERA and 4.85 FIP across 64 2/3 innings of work in the majors split between the rotation and bullpen. Faedo’s work out of the bullpen late in the season was particularly impressive, as the righty posted a 1.04 ERA with a 34.4% strikeout rate in September after moving to shorter appearances, maxing out around 40 pitches. Given Faedo’s strong numbers out of the bullpen and presumed lack of minor league options, the righty seemed poised to enter the 2024 season as a member of Detroit’s Opening Day bullpen.
While that’s certainly still an option, it’s possible the Tigers could take the opportunity to allow Faedo to continue attempting to develop as a starting pitcher in the minor leagues to open the season. Of course, even if Faedo makes the club’s Opening Day roster in 2024, the right-hander’s option eligibility figures to allow Detroit additional flexibility as they look to maneuver their bullpen throughout the season, particularly given the fact that arms such as Joey Wentz and Miguel Diaz will be out of options in 2024, restricting the Tigers’ ability to move them off the active roster while retaining them as members of the organization.