The Tigers have granted infielder Alexi Amarista his unconditional release, the team’s PR account has tweeted. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, Amarista had said just yesterday that he’d wait until the end of camp before “weighing his options”, but something seems to have changed in the past 24 hours or so. The 28-year-old had signed a minors deal with Detroit late in January.
Amarista finished the 2017 season on the Rockies’ roster, with whom he hit just .238/.269/.351 across 176 plate appearances. While he filled in at many different positions around the diamond, defensive metrics rated him poorly at each one of them. Overall, fWAR, bWAR and WARP agree that he played about a win below replacement level, which is notable considering he accrued under a third of a season’s worth of plate appearances. As such, the club decided to pay him a $150K buyout rather than pick up his $2.5MM option.
The decision for a rebuilding Detroit club to release Amarista doesn’t come as much of a surprise. It’s likely that said decision was influenced by the desire to keep number one overall Rule 5 pick Victor Reyes on the 25-man roster. The club would also probably like to give Niko Goodrum and JaCoby Jones a chance to prove themselves at the major league level.
Amarista owns just a .231/.275/.323 slash line across career 1,901 plate appearances with the Angels, Padres and Rockies. While his bat obviously doesn’t provide any value, his ability to play both middle infield positions (in addition to third base and the outfield) has kept him working at the MLB level since his 2011 debut.