The rebuilding Tigers are pursuing a pair of potential bounce-back starters, right-handers Chris Tillman and Mike Fiers, as well as Japanese closer Yoshihisa Hirano, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News tweets. On the other hand, they’re not after free agent starters Jason Vargas, Jeremy Hellickson or ex-Tiger Anibal Sanchez, according to McCosky. Detroit’s interest in Tillman has been known since last month, and he and Fiers look like strong candidates to sign one-year deals after enduring rough 2017 campaigns. Hirano also figures to land a short-term pact because of his age (34 in March), though he ran roughshod over hitters as a closer in Japan for most of the past decade. The Tigers join the Cardinals as the second team with reported interest in the righty.
More on Detroit and two of its American League Central rivals:
- Although the Twins voided their contract with Dominican shortstop prospect Jelfry Marte last month after he failed a physical, they still “have a shot” to re-sign the 16-year-old, according to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press (on Twitter). Marte’s next deal will unsurprisingly come with a lesser bonus than the $3MM the Twins had given him, relays Berardino, who adds that there are “no hard feelings” between the player and the team. The Twins made two trades on Wednesday that reduced their remaining international bonus pool space for 2017-18, but they still have $1.25MM available, Berardino notes.
- If the Indians don’t re-sign free agent first baseman Carlos Santana and outfielder Jay Bruce, the recently non-tendered Matt Adams could make sense as a first base/designated hitter option, Paul Hoynes of cleveland.com observes. Adams and Edwin Encarnacion would share the two positions, suggests Hoynes, who lists several other non-tendered players (Terrance Gore, Drew Smyly, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Jared Hughes, Hector Rondon and Bruce Rondon) as possible buy-low targets for the Indians.
- The Twins have hired Pete Maki as their minor league pitching coordinator, Aaron Fitt of D1Baseball.com reports (on Twitter). Maki had been on Duke University’s staff since July 2015, serving as its pitching coach for two seasons. Duke had a combined four pitchers come off the board in the previous two drafts, the highest being fifth-rounder Bailey Clark (Cubs, No. 164) in 2016.
- Catcher Derek Norris, whom the Tigers signed to a minor league contract Tuesday, will earn a base salary of $1.2MM if he cracks their roster, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link). Norris could also rake in $300K in incentives.