Detroit Tigers – MLB Trade Rumors Fri, 20 Jul 2018 23:22:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Tigers Place Michael Fulmer On 10-Day DL Fri, 20 Jul 2018 21:32:12 +0000 The Tigers announced this afternoon that they have placed starter Michael Fulmer on the 10-day disabled list. He’s said to be dealing with a left oblique strain.

It’s a surprising placement, as Fulmer had seemingly been on track to remain in the rotation heading out of the All-Star break. Details on the injury are not yet available. Outfielder Victor Alcantara will take the open roster spot.

Of particular note, it’s now quite difficult to imagine Fulmer as a summer trade candidate. That may not have been in the cards regardless, but the possibility had at least been intriguing to consider. Fulmer was one of several quality, controllable starters who we rated among the 75 top trade deadline candidates.

Fulmer, 25, has continued to see his results deteriorate after a sterling rookie campaign. Through 112 frames in 2018, he carries a 4.50 ERA with 7.5 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 along with a 45.6% groundball rate. Still, Fulmer is throwing the same upper-nineties heat and getting the same range of swinging strikes (10.5%) as before. Though he has allowed more hard contact in prior seasons, Fulmer mostly seems like the same pitcher and would be of obvious interest to other organizations.

If there was any plausibility to a trade scenario, it came largely from the fact that this year’s starter rental market is not exactly loaded. Teams seeking quality starters, then, will surely at least inquire on pitchers of Fulmer’s ilk.

Affordability and future control make Fulmer an easy asset for the Tigers to hang onto, though perhaps he could appear in trade rumors again in the winter if he returns and throws well down the stretch. Fulmer is headed for arbitration at season’s end as a Super Two player. The absence will cost him in that process, though not significantly — if, at least, he’s able to return in reasonably short order.

Tigers Activate Leonys Martin Fri, 20 Jul 2018 20:48:35 +0000 The Tigers have activated outfielder Leonys Martin from the 10-day disabled list, per a club announcement. Fellow outfielder Mikie Mahtook has been optioned to open a roster spot.

Martin hit the shelf earlier this month with a hamstring strain. That was especially worrying given that the 30-year-old had already required one prior DL stint this year for a similar injury. Ultimately, though, he made it back in just over two weeks after receiving a bit of extra rest over the All-Star break.

That leaves some time left for Martin to show he’s at full health in advance of the trade deadline. Dealing Martin and other pending free agents sits atop the organization’s to-do list over the next ten days. As I explored earlier this summer, Martin has played his way into an interesting potential trade chip, though contenders will certainly want to be able to anticipate that he’ll be on the field.

To this point of the season, Martin carries a .257/.327/.431 batting line with nine home runs. That’s just over league-average production, which is rather appealing given that he’s also a quality up-the-middle defender and baserunner. With only $1.75MM in guaranteed salary this year and another season of arbitration control still remaining, Martin is affordable as well and even comes with some potential future value.

Latest On Tigers’ Trade Possibilities Fri, 20 Jul 2018 16:19:02 +0000 11:19am: The Braves have had interest in Fulmer in the past, and he’s still “on their radar,” Mark Bowman of tweets. Atlanta discussed Fulmer with Detroit over the winter, per Bowman, and the Braves also had reported interest in him last summer.

10:23am: With the Tigers gearing up to sell prior to the July 31 non-waiver deadline, most of their efforts are on trying to move pitchers Mike Fiers and Francisco Liriano and center fielder Leonys Martin, per Jerry Crasnick of While two of the team’s best players – right-hander Michael Fulmer and right fielder Nicholas Castellanos – have come up in trade rumors, Detroit’s not actively shopping the pair and it would take a lot to acquire either, Crasnick adds. That jibes with reports from last weekend.

Among Fiers, Liriano and Martin, Fiers could be the most valuable trade chip. Not only is the right-hander fairly priced ($6MM salary), but he comes with another year of arbitration eligibility. Of course, the former Brewer and Astro is also enjoying a respectable age-33 season, having pitched to a 3.70 ERA/4.67 FIP with 6.54 K/9 and 1.81 BB/9 in 104 2/3 innings. Notably, Fiers ranks 10th among qualified starters in BB/9 and 19th in infield fly rate (12.7 percent), the latter of which has helped to offset a paltry groundball percentage (38.8). On the other hand, Fiers’ strikeouts are down significantly from the eight-plus per nine he has recorded throughout his career, and the contact he has allowed suggests there has been luck on his side in terms of run prevention.

While the Tigers no doubt hope Fiers garners attention in a weak market for starters, it’s possible Liriano will emerge as a left-handed relief option for someone. After working out of the bullpen with the Astros late in 2017, Liriano has served exclusively as a starter this year. But the results have been poor, as the 34-year-old has posted a 4.67 ERA/5.31 FIP with 7.18 K/9 against a sky-high 5.13 BB/9 over 79 frames. Liriano’s struggles have come almost solely against right-handed hitters, who have teed off on him with a .266/.373/.458 line. If there’s a saving grace for Liriano, it’s that he has held same-handed batters to a comical .088/.200/.193 showing. Any team acquiring Liriano would be taking on a rental, one who’s owed the balance of a $4MM salary.

Martin, like Fiers, comes with another year of arbitration control, which should add to his appeal. He’s also cheap ($1.75MM salary) and has been productive at the plate this season, evidenced by a .257/.327/.431 line with nine home runs and seven stolen bases in 306 trips. On the defensive side, Martin has added to his history of well-regarded work in the field, having earned plus marks from DRS (one), Ultimate Zone Rating (7.1) and Outs Above Average (two).  The 30-year-old has endured two stints on the disabled list because of hip troubles, however, and has been on the shelf since July 1 (though he should return tonight). Martin also isn’t far removed from a dreadful 2017 in which he hit .172/.232/.281 in 138 plate appearances between the Mariners and Cubs.

Minor MLB Transactions: 7/18/18 Wed, 18 Jul 2018 15:40:40 +0000 Here are the latest minor moves from around the game, all via Matt Eddy of Baseball America unless otherwise noted:

  • A few right-handed hurlers with some MLB experience have found new homes. Casey Coleman has returned to the Cubs on a minors deal after opening the year in indy ball. He has appeared previously in parts of four MLB seasons and thrown 177 1/3 total frames at the game’s highest level, mostly for the Cubs. Coleman has a lifetime 5.72 ERA in the majors and hasn’t seen time there since 2014. Meanwhile, Mike Broadway will go to the Rays after being released by the Royals. The 31-year-old has struggled in the upper minors of late after making 25 appearances in the bigs with the Giants in 2015 and 2016.
  • Another righty, Jeff Ames, has been announced as the newest member of the Brewers organization. The 27-year-old was a sandwich-round selection in the 2011 draft but has yet to make it to the majors. He had worked to a 5.70 ERA with 12.9 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 over 23 2/3 Double-A innings this year in the Nationals organization.
  • Eddy lists a variety of players who were cut loose, none more prominent than infielder Alexi Amarista. The 29-year-old, a seven-year MLB veteran, had been with the Phillies but slashed just .238/.285/.288 in his 173 plate appearances at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Amarista has a lifetime 68 OPS+ in 702 games of MLB action, so the lack of offensive production is hardly a surprise. He’s obviously valued primarily for his glovework.
  • Also released were outfielder Rymer Liriano (Angels) and lefty Jairo Labourt (Tigers). Both were in the not-too-distant past considered intriguing enough players to make it into the majors and then bounce around a bit via waiver claims. Liriano had posted a robust .268/.343/.523 slash in his 65 games of action at Triple-A with the Halos organization. But he had not yet been given a shot at the big league level this year and will now go looking for a better opportunity elsewhere. The 24-year-old Labourt, on the other hand, only made it into five rookie ball games with the Chicago organization, recording 11 strikeouts over 5 2/3 one-hit innings but also issuing nine free passes and allowing six runs (three earned).
Latest On Michael Fulmer, Nicholas Castellanos Sat, 14 Jul 2018 13:53:47 +0000 With the Tigers (40-56) having dropped 19 of 23 to fall out of contention in the AL Central, they’re setting up as sellers as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches. And right-hander Michael Fulmer and right fielder Nicholas Castellanos, two above-average players who are under affordable team control past this season, stand out among the Tigers’ potential trade chips.

The 26-year-old Fulmer is the more valuable of the two, considering he’s a proven, in-his-prime starter who’s making a near-minimum salary this season and isn’t scheduled to become a free agent until after the 2022 campaign. Fulmer, who’s due to make his first trip through arbitration over the winter, has drawn wide interest in recent weeks, as his MLBTR page shows. As you’d expect, then, he’s not someone whom the Tigers are going to give up for an insignificant return. The belief is Detroit would want “an impact bat” back in order to deal Fulmer, according to Katie Strang of The Athletic (subscription required). Unsurprisingly, Strang suggests that hitter would need to be young – “within a year or two of reaching the major leagues,” Strang writes.

With the Yankees among teams interested in Fulmer, one of their young outfielders, Clint Frazier, could perhaps be part of a trade between them and the Tigers. Frazier, 23, has the potential to serve as a quality major league hitter, though playing time has been hard to come by in New York because of a crowded outfield which features the established quartet of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner. Thanks to their presences, Frazier has totaled just 40 MLB plate appearances this year after racking up 142 a year ago. Further, with the possible exception of Gardner – who has a team option for 2019 – all of those players figure to start again for the Yankees next season. As such, the Yankees could cash in Frazier for a much-needed rotation upgrade – perhaps in the form of Fulmer.

The Tigers, for their part, are interested in both Frazier and teammate Tyler Wade, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. The 23-year-old Wade is versatile enough to play several positions, having lined up in the middle infield, at third base and at all three outfield spots in the minors. However, as with Frazier, there’s no clear path to playing time in New York for Wade – who has collected 114 big league PAs since 2017. In addition to their slew of capable outfielders, the Yankees have a set middle infield (second baseman Gleyber Torres and shortstop Didi Gregorius) and a potential long-term third baseman in Miguel Andujar (though he could be a trade chip if the Yankees upgrade at the hot corner with Manny Machado). That wealth of talent may help influence the Yankees to trade Wade, who was their 15th-ranked farmhand at Baseball America after last season.

Even though Frazier and Wade have piqued the Tigers’ interest, there’s no indication trade talks between them and the Yankees have gotten serious. In fact, New York hasn’t gone past the point of inquiring about Fulmer, per Marc Carig of The Athletic, who echoes Strang in noting the Tigers have placed a “high” asking price on him.

Castellanos, meanwhile, is “available,” Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. An above-average hitter since 2016, the 26-year-old Castellanos is now enjoying a career season in which he has slashed an outstanding .306/.362/.523 with 15 home runs in 401 PAs. But despite that strong output – which, per FanGraphs’ wRC+ metric, has been 39 percent better than league average – there’s only “mild” interest in Castellanos, Strang writes. Teams are wary of Castellanos’ defensive shortcomings, Strang continues, after he struggled at third from 2014-17 and has been subpar across nearly 800 innings this year in right. In first extensive stint as an outfielder, Castellanos has posted a minus-5.2 Ultimate Zone Rating, minus-13 Defensive Runs Saved and a league-worst minus-16 Outs Above Average mark.

Despite his defensive questions, Castellanos could emerge as a major offensive piece for a contender if such a team acquires him in the next couple weeks. At $6.05MM, his 2018 salary doesn’t break the bank, and he still has another year of arbitration eligibility remaining. The Tigers reportedly had interest in handing him a contract extension after last season. No deal has come together, though, and thanks in part to that, Castellanos may be in the final weeks of his Detroit tenure.

Tigers Release Junichi Tazawa Mon, 09 Jul 2018 22:39:04 +0000 The Tigers have released veteran reliever Junichi Tazawa, per the International League transactions page (h/t Chris Cotillo of, on Twitter). Also cut from the club’s Triple-A roster was fellow righty Mark Montgomery.

Tazawa, 32, signed with the Detroit organization in early June after he was cut loose by the Marlins. Unfortunately, his rough showing with the Fish followed him into the upper minors. In 7 2/3 innings for Toledo, Tazawa allowed eight earned runs while recording ten strikeouts against five walks.

It still seems reasonable to expect that the veteran will catch on somewhere on a minors deal. He has had plenty of success in the majors and the Marlins are on the hook for his $7MM salary (less the pro-rated minimum if he makes it back to the majors). But Tazawa has looked like a shell of his former self since making an ill-fated match with Miami. His velocity and swinging-strike rates are well off his prime levels.

As for Montgomery, the 27-year-old has long waited in vain for a MLB opportunity. In parts of six seasons at the highest level of the minors, he has thrown 182 1/3 innings of 2.71 ERA ball with 10.5 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9.

Poll: Worst Use Of A Roster Spot Mon, 09 Jul 2018 00:37:06 +0000 In today’s game of baseball, the 25th spot on each team’s active roster is arguably more valuable than it’s ever been. Managers are turning to their bullpens sooner than ever before, platoon situations have become commonplace, and defensive replacements and pinch runners remain a vital part of strategy late in close games. Most teams manipulate their rosters with painstaking attention to detail in order to maximize the balance of value and efficiency that each spot on the active roster yields.

That’s why dead weight on a roster can be damaging to a team in many ways. In essence, three major league clubs have committed to operating with 24 active roster spots so far during the 2018 season. Those teams are the Tigers, Red Sox and Angels, and their commitment to players who aren’t providing value (and aren’t likely to provide any this season) have not only cost them wins, but also but a strain on their teammates. Let’s explore these situations in depth…

Victor Reyes, Tigers- The number one overall pick in this past offseason’s Rule 5 Draft, Reyes must remain on Detroit’s active roster for the entire 2018 season or be offered back to the Diamondbacks. Prior to the season, he’d never played about Double-A, and ranked as the Tigers’ #25 overall prospect according to Baseball America. The biggest knocks on his game have always been his lack of power and his tendency to swing at bad pitches, which are fair concerns but fairly easy to stomach considering his speed, corner outfield defense and great contact skills.

That said, it’s painfully clear to everyone in baseball that Reyes doesn’t belong in the majors even a little bit, at least not right now. On the year, he’s hit just .241 with a nightmarish .547 OPS. Sure, it’s commonplace for Rule 5 draftees to struggle in the majors. But the difference here is that the Tigers are barely even giving Reyes a chance to work his issues out. While the young outfielder has appeared in 47 games, 16 of those have solely been as a pinch runner. In fact, Reyes has only been given 68 plate appearances, and he’s simultaneously been an offensive black hole and a defensive liability, according to Fangraphs. Those factors have led to a -0.5 fWAR figure that’s shockingly poor for someone with so little playing time. Speaking of playing time, it’s tough to expect him to develop properly if he’s getting such inconsistent opportunities, and with the way the Tigers are utilizing him it seems almost as though they’re willing to punt this year of his development entirely and wait to option him to the minors next year when the Rule 5 restrictions no longer apply.

The trade-off is that they’ll be able to add an upside contact player to their farm system if they can simply roster him at all times during a year when they’re not trying to win anyway. But even amidst a clear rebuilding phase, that roster spot could be used to give playing time to other young players who can actually be used; some of the talent they have at Triple-A at least deserve a look. Keeping an extra arm in the bullpen could also help prevent injury or exhaustion for a relief corps that’s been forced to shoulder a workload within the top 50th percentile in MLB. Sure, the whole point is that they get to keep Reyes if they hold onto him all year, but there’s a chance he’ll never develop into a useful player anyway. Is it worth the trouble if he hasn’t shown much promise yet?

Blake Swihart, Red Sox- We’ve discussed Swihart at length here on MLBTR, and while the roster around him has changed a bit, the situation has largely remained the same: Swihart’s presence on the roster is negatively impacting Boston’s contention for the AL East crown. The former top prospect’s star has dimmed dramatically since his MLB debut in 2015, and he’s only managed to scrape together enough offensive output to post a .185/.250/.210 batting line. Much like Reyes, Swihart has hardly been given any real playing time; he’s amassed just 88 plate appearances and 110 defensive innings.

Even with top backstop Christian Vazquez’ recent placement on the DL due to a fractured pinky, there’s no indication that Swihart’s benchwarming role with change any time soon. Although he came up through the Sox’ system as a catcher, he’s only appeared behind the plate a grand total of fifteen times in the past two seasons. This puts his team in quite a complicated predicament right now. On the surface, one might think the injury to Vazquez would force them to play Swihart more often. That would finally give the former top prospect one last chance to break through and prove he can stick behind the plate in the majors. However, there’s been no indication to this point that Swihart will actually receive that opportunity. The problem is that if Boston decides to acquire another catcher, they’re openly admitting to other teams that they don’t think Swihart deserves any opportunity to catch in the majors, even as a backup. That wouldn’t be a huge issue in a vacuum, but the Red Sox have been trying to trade Swihart in order to reap some value out of him, and giving up assets to acquire a backup catcher could theoretically expose their selling points on Swihart as pure bluff.

Regardless all the speculation and theory in the above paragraphs, it’s remarkably clear that Swihart is in the majors for one reason and one reason only: he’s out of minor-league options, and the Red Sox aren’t likely to sneak him through waivers with so many teams in full teardown mode. So they must either think that Swihart still retains some sort of high-ceiling potential, or that some other team will trade them something of value based on his top prospect pedigree. That might seem like a reasonable way to operate a ballclub at first glance; it’s certainly important to wring value from any place in which it can be found, after all. But problem in this situation is that the Sox are locked in a tight AL East race with the Yankees, and with each passing day he’s putting a drain on their ability to compete. To date, Swihart has been worth half a win below replacement level, and that’s in the meager playing time detailed above. If the club cuts bait later in the season, the choice to retain him for this long could be looked at as a glaring roster management error on the part of the part of Dave Dombrowski and the front office.

Albert Pujols, Angels- It’s no secret that Pujols’ contract is currently one of the worst in baseball, and perhaps among the worst contracts given out in baseball history. To date, he’s been paid about $130MM to provide about 6.4 fWAR to the Angels. That includes a -1.9 fWAR mark in 2017, and (like the other two players in this poll) half a win below replacement so far in 2018. By more traditional statistics, Pujols is hitting just .243/.281/.393 on the season, with a 4.5% walk rate that would be a career low. He’s played 400 rough innings at first base, is rated poorly on the basepaths, and continues to be one of the more shift-prone players in all of baseball.

The difference between Pujols and the other players on this list is that there’s virtually no hope that the former MVP can ever provide value to his team again. He’s 38 years old and has exhibited a steady decline in each of the past four seasons. In his prime, Pujols was not only a power god, but also enjoyed ten consecutive seasons with a walk total that exceeded his strikeouts. And while he still avoids strikeouts at an impressive rate for the current MLB climate, the walks have practically disappeared in recent seasons.

It’s clear that Pujols is only holding onto his roster spot by virtue of his past performance (and the respect he deserves for it), and the amount of money he’s being paid. But is that a wise way for a franchise to operate? The Angels entered the season as a hopeful contender, and while they’re surely disappointed to be sitting at a mere 45-45, they’ve still got at least an outside shot of a Wild Card berth. Holding onto Pujols isn’t going to help them make up the 11.5 games they’d need to over the season’s final two and a half months. There are plenty of better ways the Angels could use his spot on the roster, and even the average first baseman at Triple-A would be a better bet to improve the team.

Each of these players has cost his club half a win across half a season. There’s certainly nothing bad to be said about any of them as people, but for baseball purposes in a vacuum, which one is the worst use of a valuable roster spot on the whole? (Poll link for app users)

Tigers Outright Dixon Machado Sun, 08 Jul 2018 19:05:11 +0000
  • Tigers infielder Dixon Machado has cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Toledo, per an announcement from Detroit. Machado had the right to elect free agency instead, but he’ll remain with the Tigers, who designated him on July 4. Although the 26-year-old opened the season as the Tigers’ starting second baseman, he lost his grip on both that job and his roster spot after hitting just .206/.263/.290 in 233 plate appearances.
  • ]]>
    Latest On Shane Greene, Leonys Martin Sun, 08 Jul 2018 03:39:38 +0000
  • The strained right shoulder that sent Tigers closer Shane Greene to the DL this past Monday isn’t a serious injury, per Jason Beck of Greene has inflammation and bursitis – no structural damage – and could return next weekend, Beck relays. The news regarding teammate Leonys Martin, who went on the DL when Greene did, isn’t as promising. The center fielder’s strained left hamstring will keep him out through the break. But should Martin return before the July 31 non-waiver deadline, he figures to draw trade interest. The same goes for Greene.
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    Tigers Designate Dixon Machado For Assignment Thu, 05 Jul 2018 02:05:43 +0000 The Tigers announced a series of roster moves, including the news that infielder Dixon Machado has been designated for assignment.  The 40-man roster spot will be filled by right-hander Victor Alcantara, whose contract will be selected from Triple-A before tomorrow’s game.  Right-hander Warwick Saupold has also been optioned to Triple-A, with infielder Ronny Rodriguez headed up to the big league club.

    Machado began the season as Detroit’s everyday second baseman, as the rebuilding team sought to give the 26-year-old a long look at the position with Ian Kinsler dealt to the Angels.  He produced passable defensive grades but the bigger issue was Machado’s lack of hitting, as he managed only a .206/.263/.290 slash line and one home run over 233 plate appearances.  The bat has never really been Machado’s calling card (he had just a .640 career OPS over 3329 PA in the minors), though the Tigers couldn’t ignore such a dire performance for much longer, especially with Niko Goodrum increasingly taking over regular duty at second base.

    If the out-of-options Machado isn’t claimed or traded during his DFA period, he could still leave the organization as a free agent, as’s Evan Woodbury tweets.  Machado was outrighted off the roster back in 2013, so he would have the option of choosing free agency rather than accept an outright assignment to Triple-A.

    Alcantara will join the Tigers’ Major League roster for the first time this season.  The 25-year-old righty made his big league debut in 2017, posting an 8.59 ERA over 7 1/3 relief innings out of Detroit’s bullpen.  He was outrighted off the 40-man in the offseason, though regained some stature within the organization with a 2.68 ERA, 8.4 K/9, and a 7.33 K/BB rate over 47 innings at Triple-A Toledo this season.

    Dodgers Interested In Michael Fulmer Tue, 03 Jul 2018 18:52:12 +0000 The Dodgers have been oft-linked to Manny Machado in recent weeks, but Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that the team is also “aggressively” pursuing Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer. Just how receptive the Tigers are to trade offers for their top starter remains unclear.

    Certainly, Detroit will have to at least entertain offers on virtually any player on the roster, as the organization’s rebuild is still in its early stages. But the Tigers are in a more difficult spot with Fulmer, whose 2017 season ended due to ulnar nerve transposition surgery in his right arm. Thus far in 2018, Fulmer hasn’t been nearly as good as he was in his 2016 Rookie of the Year season or for the vast majority of the 2017 season before a series of awful starts leading up to that surgical procedure.

    Through 94 1/3 innings in 2018, Fulmer is sitting on a 4.20 ERA with 7.6 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 1.05 HR/9 and a 46.3 percent ground-ball rate. More troubling than his bottom-line numbers, though, is the quality of contact he’s allowed. Both Fangraphs and Statcast indicate that Fulmer’s hard-contact rate has soared by 10 percent this season. The average exit velocity of a ball put in play against Fulmer has leaped from 85.6 mph in 2017 to 88.8 mph in 2018.

    There are certainly positives surrounding Fulmer’s season as well, of course. His average fastball velocity of 95.8 mph is right in line with his pre-surgery levels. His strikeout percentage (20.4), swinging-strike rate (10.3 percent) and chase rate (34.2 percent) are all either at or above his career-high levels. Fulmer looks to be in good health, and if he can sharpen his pitch location a bit, there’s reason to believe he can take some significant strides forward.

    For the Tigers, though, that all boils down to the fact that Fulmer’s value simply isn’t at its peak at the moment. And given that he’s under club control for another four and a half seasons, there’s no need to rush into a trade unless the Dodgers (or any other club) bowl them over with a package from which they can’t walk away. Conversely, it’s tougher for an interested party to make that type of offer when there’s some uncertainty surrounding the pitcher’s current performance level.

    Tigers Select Jim Adduci Mon, 02 Jul 2018 20:28:59 +0000 The Tigers announced following today’s game that first baseman/outfielder Jim Adduci will have his contract selected from Triple-A Toledo. Young catcher Grayson Greiner is being optioned to Toledo in his place, and the Tigers are shifting Miguel Cabrera from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL in order to open up a roster spot. Cabrera underwent season-ending surgery on a ruptured biceps tendon earlier this summer.

    Adduci, 33, will return for a second stint with the Tigers after hitting .241/.323/.398 with a homer, six doubles and two triples for them through 93 plate appearances last season. That marked the first MLB action for Adduci since 2014 with the Rangers, as he spent the 2015-16 seasons enjoying a productive run with the Lotte Giants of the Korea Baseball Organization.

    This season, Adduci turned in one of the most productive Triple-A campaigns of his six-year career at that level. Through 296 plate appearances, he’s hitting .309/.358/.474 with seven homers, 22 doubles, a triple and eight steals (in nine tries). He’ll give the Tigers a left-handed option both in the outfield and at first base, which could give John Hicks some additional opportunities to get back behind the dish — especially with Greiner being optioned to Toledo.

    Notable International Prospect Signings Mon, 02 Jul 2018 16:12:59 +0000 With the 2018-19 international signing period kicking off today, there will be dozens of six- and seven-figure bonuses handed out to teenage prospects, primarily out of Latin America, filtering in throughout the day today. Many of these have been in the works for quite some time, as is reflected by the fact that most of the top players’ destinations and signing bonuses have been previously reported/projected (and by the fact that the top agreements will all be reported in one swift avalanche today).

    We’ll keep track of the notable National League signings here and the notable American League signings in a separate post. Note that you can read up on each of these players with the dedicated international coverage available from Ben Badler of Baseball America (subscription required), Jesse Sanchez of and Kiley McDaniel & Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs, each of whom has scouting info on the top echelon of international amateurs. Badler is also tracking the all of the signings from all 30 teams.

    Onto some of the more notable signings…

    Read more

    Tigers Place Shane Greene, Leonys Martin On Disabled List Mon, 02 Jul 2018 15:00:47 +0000 10:00am: Beck tweets that Joe Jimenez will serve as the Tigers’ closer while Greene is out.

    9:42am: The Tigers placed a pair of notable trade chips on the 10-day disabled list, per a club announcement. Closer Shane Greene is going on the shelf due to a strained right shoulder, while center fielder Leonys Martin is dealing with a strained left hamstring. In a pair of corresponding moves, Detroit has reinstated lefty Daniel Stumpf from the 10-day DL and recalled outfielder Mikie Mahtook from Triple-A Toledo.

    It’s not immediately clear how long the 29-year-old Greene will be expected to miss. There’d been no previous word of a shoulder issue for Greene, making this morning’s announcement something of a surprise. If he proves to be out for anything longer than a month, that’d mostly eliminate the chances of Greene being moved this summer, as he’s unlikely to clear trade waivers next month given his affordable salary and remaining two years of club control.

    Greene is in his first full season as the Tigers’ closer and has handled himself well for the most part, though he’d given up a total of three runs over his past three appearances (perhaps being negatively impacted by his shoulder along the way). Overall, he’s posted a 4.03 ERA with 10.0 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 1.66 HR/9 and a 43.4 percent ground-ball rate. While he’s clearly been too homer-prone so far in 2018, Greene’s 19.1 K-BB% is the best of his career, and his fastball velocity has held steady just a hair shy of 95 mph.

    However, as’s Jason Beck tweets, manager Ron Gardenhire told the media today that Greene revealed yesterday that his shoulder has been bothering him for “awhile.” Gardenhire notes that Greene’s velocity dropped substantially Sunday — as does appear to be the case — prompting the DL placement. He’ll visit a doctor for further evaluation in the coming days.

    As for Martin, word that he was DL-bound broke yesterday after he exited Sunday’s game early. As Beck writes, Martin has been playing through hamstring discomfort since a DL stint back in May. After exiting yesterday’s game in too much pain to continue playing, Martin essentially “asked us to put him on the DL,” manager Ron Gardenhire told Beck and other reporters. Martin says his hope is to return to the club in 10 days, though given the proximity of the All-Star break, perhaps the Tigers will hold him out a bit longer in order to afford him with a few days of extra rest.

    Tigers Notes: Martin, V-Mart Sun, 01 Jul 2018 21:52:25 +0000
  • Tigers center fielder Leonys Martin is headed to the 10-day disabled list, Jason Beck of tweets. Martin departed Detroit’s game on Sunday with a left hamstring cramp – a similar injury to the one that sent him to the DL in early May. Hamstring troubles aside, Martin has been a solid contributor for the Tigers this year, having hit .257/.327/.431 with nine home runs and 2.2 fWAR over 303 plate appearances. The 30-year-old looks like a logical trade candidate as a result, as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd wrote this week, but that’s up in the air given Martin’s health issues.
  • Although 39-year-old Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez is struggling, the fact that this may be his last season means manager Ron Gardenhire will continue to give him opportunities (via Evan Woodbery of “We all know what’s going on with him. It’s the last year of his contract,” Gardenhire said. “Right now he feels really good, he’s feeling great, so we’re letting him play. We’ll get him more breaks as we go along. But like I said, if this is his swan song, or whatever you want to call it, I’m going to make sure he gets as many opportunities as he needs here as we go along. Hopefully he’ll keep having quality at-bats.” While Martinez has been an offensive standout for most of his career, he’s now in the throes of his third subpar season in the past four years, having batted a meager .238/.293/.321 with the majors’ fifth-worst ISO (.083) in 290 trips to the plate. He’s in the final season of a four-year, $68MM deal.
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    Latest On Michael Fulmer Sat, 30 Jun 2018 14:18:22 +0000
  • Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer is drawing a lot of interest from not just contenders like the Phillies, Dodgers and Yankees, but also from rebuilding teams like the Padres.  Clearly Fulmer would be a fit for a lot of teams considering both his ability and his years of control; he isn’t arbitration-eligible until this winter, and he has four years of arbitration coming as a Super Two player.  Fancred Sports’ Jon Heyman wrote earlier this week that it could be unlikely that Fulmer is actually dealt, as Detroit has naturally put a big price tag on the righty in trade talks.  San Diego is deep in prospects, however, so the Friars could be one of the few teams who wouldn’t immediately balk at the Tigers’ demands.

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    Tigers Fire Pitching Coach Chris Bosio Fri, 29 Jun 2018 19:39:58 +0000 FRIDAY: Sources that spoke with Ken Rosenthal and Katie Strang of The Athletic painted quite a different picture than did Bosio. Whereas Bosio asserted that he was making a comment to others that was overheard and taken out of context by a team employee, this new report indicates that a racial epithet was directed from Bosio to the employee. Multiple sources specifically disputed Bosio’s account of what occurred, per The Athletic.

    THURSDAY: Bosio has given his version of events to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, asserting that the situation arose from a misunderstanding and claiming he was unfairly dismissed. Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press provides additional information regarding a key aspect of Bosio’s account (see here and here).

    Avila again declined to go into specifics, but generally disputed that the team was wrong to react as it did. “We know what we did, and why we did it,” he said, “and we’ll see where it goes from there. The action we took was appropriate. There were things involved. But I can’t comment any further.”

    WEDNESDAY, 3:02pm: Rick Anderson will move from bullpen coach to pitching coach for the remainder of the season, Avila says (via Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, on Twitter).

    2:49pm: The Tigers announced today that they have fired pitching coach Chris Bosio. Per a club announcement, the decision was due to “insensitive comments.” The full statement reads as follows:

    “Effective immediately, the Detroit Tigers have terminated the contract of pitching coach Chris Bosio for his insensitive comments that violated Club policy and his Uniform Employee Contract. The organization holds all of our personnel to the highest standards of personal conduct both on and off the field. We have zero tolerance for this type of behavior. The Club will have no further comment on this matter.”

    It is not entirely apparent at this time precisely what led to the termination, but general manager Al Avila tells reporters that the comments in question were made by Bosio to a team employee (Twitter link via’s Jason Beck).

    Bosio was in his first year with the organization after spending five seasons in the same role with the Cubs. The 55-year-old pitched in the majors for eleven years, from 1986 through 1996.

    Trade Candidate: Leonys Martin Wed, 27 Jun 2018 13:59:00 +0000 Teams in a rebuilding posture still frequently invest in some veterans, with part of the rationale being that those players can turn into trade assets in the middle of the season. For the Tigers, the most visible offseason spending took place in the rotation, with the club pouring $10MM into starting pitching (Mike Fiers and Francisco Liriano).

    Detroit made just one other winter investment of consequence: a $1.75MM promise to center fielder Leonys Martin. (The deal also includes $1.25MM in available incentives, topping out at 500 plate appearances.) The club needed a solid piece in the outfield and got a 30-year-old who has generally been a useful big leaguer but had trouble holding onto a MLB roster spot last year. Needless to say, it wasn’t a highlight of the offseason.

    Thus far, however, Martin has been one of the fifty or so most valuable position players in baseball. There are certainly some limits to his appeal, but he also looks to be quite a useful potential trade piece for the Tigers.

    Notably, Martin was dealt to a contender in the middle of 2017 despite his struggles last year at the MLB level. He’s an up-the-middle defender who has always been an outstanding baserunner, which explains why the Cubs picked him up and ended up putting him on their postseason roster.

    Now, the profile is much more interesting. Through 291 plate appearances, Martin carries a .261/.333/.444 batting line with nine home runs and seven stolen bases. His output includes a 9.3% walk rate that’s easily the best rate of his career. Martin is posting a personal-high .184 isolated slugging mark, and has done so without increasing his strikeout rate (at 22.3%, it’s almost exactly at his career mean).

    That’s not exactly world-beating offensive work, but it’s above-average output from a player who is best known for his defensive and baserunning skills. UZR is more bullish on his work in center this year than is DRS, but Martin has long drawn positive (or even outstanding) grades on the outfield grass. He’s also still receiving high marks on the bases, another area he has thrived traditionally.

    All things considered, if the work at the plate seems sustainable, Martin could be a notable piece for the right team. Is it?

    Martin’s advancing walk rate is certainly promising. And it’s quite interesting to note that the power seems to be coming from a notable change. Entering the year, Martin had a career launch angle of just 9.4 degrees. Thus far in 2018? It stands at 17.1 degrees, which has helped drive a newly robust power output. Better still, Statcast measures indicate that Martin has actually struck the ball even better than the results suggest. He owns a .334 wOBA but is credited with an eye-popping .384 xwOBA. Martin has a career hard-hit rate of 27.6% but is sitting at 40.1% at present.

    So, what’s the catch? The biggest knock on Martin, beyond the need to discount his new profile somewhat based upon his prior track record, is the fact that he still doesn’t hit lefties. He’s delivering some pop (.190 ISO) so far in 2018, but carries a meager 55 wRC+ against southpaws. The spread is much wider this year than it has been historically, but he has long been more effective when hitting with the platoon advantage.

    Teams likely won’t go wild for Martin, then. But the still-developing trade market doesn’t figure to have loads of quality outfield options available. And Martin is not only affordable but controllable for 2019. His struggles last year left him just shy of reaching a new service-year threshold; he had 4.161 years entering the current campaign. That leaves one year of arbitration still to go, though his representatives will argue that the salary ought to build off of a prior high-point (he earned $4.85MM in 2017) rather than his 2018 earnings.

    Of course, that extra season leaves the Tigers with some options, too. The club might prefer to hold onto Martin, who’d be a useful piece for an organization that has received somewhat better-than-expected results from its roster this year. Or, he could be dealt over the winter. The Tigers’ plans aren’t really clear just yet; the point, though, is that there are options and some leverage here for GM Al Avila.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Tigers Agree To Over-Slot Bonus With Second-Rounder Parker Meadows Tue, 26 Jun 2018 18:54:06 +0000 The Tigers have agreed to a $2.5MM bonus with second-round selection Parker Meadows, according to’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). His agreement had been signaled by his former high-school team as well as his older brother — Pirates outfielder Austin Meadows.

    That payday goes well above the $1,625,500 slot allocation that came with the 44th overall selection. It’ll keep Meadows from attending Clemson University and instead add to the Detroit draft haul. Top overall pick Casey Mize officially joined the organization yesterday. Some savings from his signing (still a record under the new draft system) will help cover today’s deal.

    Meadows is not seen as being quite as talented as his brother, but is certainly no slouch as a prospect. It seems the big knock on him is a hitch in his swing mechanics. But perhaps there’s some upside to unlock if that can be sorted. Otherwise, Meadows possesses good speed, arm strength, and defensive chops in center.

    Clearly, the Tigers think they can develop Meadows into enough of a hitter to make good on his other tools. The Detroit farm system’s best assets are pitchers, so Meadows could take up an important spot in the organization’s future thinking if he progresses.

    With this agreement, the Tigers have locked up all of their selections from the first ten rounds of the draft.

    Tigers Sign Casey Mize Mon, 25 Jun 2018 17:30:59 +0000 The Tigers announced today that they’ve signed No. 1 overall pick Casey Mize. He’ll be introduced today at a press conference. Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports (via Twitter) that the former Auburn ace received a $7.5MM signing bonus. That’s a new record bonus for the current draft structure, though it still checks in south of the full slot value of $8,096,300. Mize was advised by and is now represented by the Bledsoe Agency.

    Mize, 21, was the consensus top talent in the 2018 draft class. He topped pre-draft rankings from Baseball America,, Fangraphs and ESPN, and virtually every mock draft leading up to the draft itself had projected that the Tigers would select him. He’ll instantly become one of the game’s top pitching prospects (and top overall prospects) and will give the Tigers a potential fast-moving, high-end pitching talent to add to their minor league ranks.

    In his junior season at Auburn, Mize pitched to a 3.30 ERA with a ridiculous 156-to-16 K/BB ratio in 114 2/3 innings of work. He works with a fastball that reaches 97 mph but sits more in the 93-95 mph range and draws exceptional reviews for his ability to command that pitch as well as a splitter that both and Baseball America rate as a 70-grade pitch (on the 20-80 scale). Mize also began throwing a cut fastball this year — another pitch that has quickly earned plus ratings — and throws a slider as well.

    The rebuilding Tigers have begun to amass an impressive collection of arms that could be in the Majors by 2019 and certainly by early 2020. Detroit has selected a pitcher with its top pick in each of the past four drafts, and those arms — Alex Faedo (2017), Matt Manning (2016) and Beau Burrows (2015) — are widely ranked as the organization’s Nos. 2-4 prospects. Their top prospect, prior to signing Mize, is right-hander Franklin Perez — another highly touted arm whom the Tigers acquired from the Astros as the centerpiece to last summer’s Justin Verlander blockbuster. With Mize now joining that quartet, and Michael Fulmer and Matthew Boyd controlled for four years beyond the current season, the Tigers have the makings of an impressive up-and-coming pitching staff on which their fans and front office can dream.

    Mariners Once Explored JD Martinez/Matt Boyd Trade Mon, 25 Jun 2018 03:37:43 +0000
  • Left-hander Matthew Boyd “is one of the Tigers’ most coveted players in trade talks,”’s Jon Paul Morosi writes.  Even after a rough outing against Cleveland today, Boyd still has solid overall numbers this season, with a 4.15 ERA and 7.54 K/9 through 82 1/3 innings.  Advanced metrics aren’t nearly as high on Boyd’s work, however, so Detroit could explore a trade when Boyd is at his peak value, even though he is just 27 and isn’t eligible for arbitration until this winter.  Morosi speculates that the Mariners could target Boyd based on their past attempt to trade for him in the 2016-17 offseason, when GM Jerry Dipoto offered Taijuan Walker and prospects to the Tigers for Boyd and J.D. Martinez.
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    Fenech On Tigers' Trade Candidates Sun, 24 Jun 2018 01:33:10 +0000
  • While Tigers general manager Al Avila revealed last week that he’d listen to trade offers for both right-hander Michael Fulmer and right fielder Nicholas Castellanos, either would be difficult to acquire, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press relays. The Tigers want “premium” returns for both, writes Fenech, who regards left-hander Francisco Liriano, closer Shane Greene, shortstop Jose Iglesias and outfielder Leonys Martin as Tigers who are more likely to end up on the move by the July 31 non-waiver deadline. Greene would generate the most interest of the four, Fenech suggests, as a quality reliever who’s cheap ($1.95MM salary) and under control via arbitration through 2020. The 29-year-old righty has pitched to a 3.57 ERA with 10.19 K/9, 2.55 BB/9 and 19 saves in 22 tries this season.
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    Tigers Sign Josh Thole To Minor-League Deal Sat, 23 Jun 2018 16:15:57 +0000 The Tigers have signed catcher Josh Thole to a minor-league deal and assigned him to Double-A Erie, per the SeaWolves’ Twitter account.

    Thole, 31, is perhaps best known as the personal catcher for Cy Young-winnings knuckleballer R.A. Dickey during some of his best seasons. The relationship between the two was strong enough to facilitate the addition of Thole into the December 2012 trade that sent Dickey from the Mets to the Blue Jays; the backstop ended up appearing in 102 games for Toronto in the two years following that swap.

    The veteran Thole has certainly never been known for his bat. He last appeared in the majors during the 2016 season, when he hit just .169/.254/.220 across 136 plate appearances. For his MLB career, Thole sports a wRC+ of just 73, in part due to a slugging percentage that barely tops .300.

    To be fair, though, Thole’s never been valued for his bat. Despite these laughable offensive numbers, Fangraphs’ WAR formula rates Thole as an above-replacement-level player for his lifetime due to solid defensive numbers. Thole’s also shown an aptitude for catching knuckleballs during his career, which is no simple feat.

    Brayan Pena Retires Tue, 19 Jun 2018 13:29:07 +0000 Veteran backstop Brayan Pena is hanging up his spikes after a dozen seasons in the majors, with Pena tweeting confirmation. George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press recently reported on Twitter that Pena will manage a Gulf Coast League team for the Tigers.

    Pena, 36, carved out a lengthy MLB career despite never producing much at the plate at the game’s highest level. Over 1950 total plate appearances, he produced a collective .259/.299/.351 slash line with 23 home runs.

    It probably helped that Pena hits from both sides of the plate, something of a rare commodity for a backstop. He was particularly useful as a lefty bat, meaning he made for a solid platoon option for most regular catchers. And teams obviously believed in him behind the dish.

    Pena broke into the majors back in 2005, kicking off a four-year run with the Braves during which he never once took fifty plate appearances in a given season. He was a more regular presence during a four-year run with the Royals, who picked him up via waiver claim, but saw his offensive productivity decline in each year in Kansas City.

    After a nice bounceback season with the Tigers, Pena secured a two-year deal with the Reds heading into the 2014 season. He ended up receiving semi-regular playing time there due to injuries to other players, appearing in 223 games and producing a .263/.313/.339 slash. That showing led the Cardinals to give Pena a two-year, $5MM deal in the 2015-16 offseason, but he appeared in only nine games in 2016 due to a knee injury and was released after the season.

    Pena had joined the Tigers organization in hopes of receiving a chance to continue playing, but primarily in order to work with the team’s young players, as Evan Woodberry of reported this spring. With no real prospects of playing his way back to the majors in Detroit or elsewhere, it seems, the long-time receiver will turn his attention fully to the next phase of his baseball life. MLBTR wishes Pena the best of luck with his new career path.

    Tigers Would Consider Trading Castellanos, Fulmer Mon, 18 Jun 2018 02:11:13 +0000 While the Tigers’ 36-37 record looks underwhelming, they’ve no doubt exceeded expectations so far after finishing last in the majors in 2017. But even though the team sits just 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Indians in the AL Central, general manager Al Avila isn’t adjusting his immediate or long-term plans, he explained to Jason Beck of and other reporters Sunday. Perhaps of greater intrigue, Avila’s not ready to say whether he aims to keep either right fielder Nicholas Castellanos or right-hander Michael Fulmer for the long haul. While Avila noted that “I don’t have a mandate to trade anyone,” he added that “our intent here is to be open-minded, and if somebody offers us something that quite frankly makes us better as we move forward, then we have to really seriously consider that.”

    The Tigers failed in their attempts to extend Castellanos last winter, and the 26-year-old has since hit at a career-best pace with a .310/.353/.502 line in 306 plate appearances. He’s in his second-last year of arbitration control, while Fulmer is in his final pre-arb season and isn’t scheduled to become a free agent until after the 2022 campaign. The 25-year-old is now in the midst of his third straight effective season, although it hasn’t been impressive as the previous two, as he has recorded a 4.13 ERA/4.08 FIP through 80 2/3 innings.

    Tigers Considering Six-Man Rotation Sun, 17 Jun 2018 18:57:22 +0000
  • The Tigers are considering deploying a six-man rotation, as manager Ron Gardenhire hinted to’s Evan Woodbery and other reporters.  With Blaine Hardy pitching well, Detroit wants to find a way to keep him in the rotation when Francisco Liriano makes his expected return from the DL this week, plus the other starters could benefit from the lesser workload.  “We’ve got some guys in there that could probably use extra days, take innings off our load.  We started thinking we could probably do this.  Not saying we’re going to, but we could,” Gardenhire said.
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    Tigers Notes: Castellanos, Miggy Fri, 15 Jun 2018 13:36:53 +0000
  • The Tigers have no plans to move Nicholas Castellanos in the wake of Miguel Cabrera’s season-ending injury, manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters this week (Twitter link via Jason Beck of Castellanos ranks among the game’s worst defenders in the outfield according to each of Defensive Runs Saved (-11), Ultimate Zone Rating (-2) and Statcast’s Outs Above Average (-10). However, the Tigers organization remains committed to improving Castellanos’ work in right, it seems. “Castellanos is our right fielder,” Gardenhire said. “We’re trying to make him a right fielder and he’s still working at it, and he’s working really hard.”
  • Looking further at Cabrera’s injury, Evan Woodbery of reports that the future Hall of Famer is expected to be able to return to baseball activities in about six months, which should leave him with ample time to prepare for Spring Training. He’ll begin his rehab work in Detroit, rather than at the team’s spring complex in Florida, which will allow him to be closer to his teammates. Cabrera is taking the injury as well as can be expected, Tigers trainer Doug Teter tells Woodbery. In a second column, however, Woodbery writes that the organization and its fans may need to concede that their former iron man, who averaged 155 games per season and made 11 All-Star teams from 2004-16, is beginning to break down and enter a decline over the final few years of his career. There’s no escaping his albatross contract, though Woodbery rightly notes that it’s also not likely to serve as a major hindrance to the club anytime soon. The Tigers are well south of the luxury tax, and given their rebuilding status, they’re not likely to spend aggressively in the next couple of winters anyhow.
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    Miguel Cabrera To Undergo Season-Ending Surgery On Ruptured Biceps Tendon Wed, 13 Jun 2018 03:06:56 +0000 The Tigers received brutal news on Tuesday, as first baseman Miguel Cabrera was diagnosed with a ruptured tendon in his left biceps that will require season-ending surgery to repair, manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters after tonight’s game (Twitter link via’s Evan Woodbery). He’d previously left tonight’s game against the Twins to undergo an MRI after injuring his arm on a swing (video link) and had since been seen leaving the clubhouse with his arm in a brace.

    Cabrera, 35, had gotten off to a nice rebound start to his 2018 season after a career-worst season in 2017. While his power had yet to return, he was batting .301/.394/.451 with three homers and 11 doubles through 155 trips to the plate. Cabrera had already missed nearly a month of the season due to a hamstring strain but had gotten on base at a .362 clip in 11 games since returning. Now, it seems that the rebuilding Tigers will be without one of the best hitters of the generation until the 2019 season.

    While Detroit has gotten off to a better start than most anticipated, at 31-37, the organization likely didn’t have any delusions of contending for a postseason spot. But the team certainly will miss the presence of Cabrera in the lineup, and his injury will come as an unequivocal blow to the team’s spirits over the season’s final four months.

    The greater question for the Tigers, and one that can’t be answered in the short-term, is what type of effect the mounting pile of injuries that Cabrera has endured in recent seasons will have on him in 2019 and beyond. Cabrera played through a pair of herniated disks in his back last season and, unsurprisingly, struggled immensely (by his own standards, anyway; his overall output was actually that of a roughly league-average hitter).

    Between the herniated disks, last month’s hamstring strain and a minor groin strain earlier in the 2017 season, the long-durable Cabrera — he averaged 155 games per year from 2004-16 — has begun to show increasing signs of wear and tear. For a player who’ll turn 36 next April and is still owed an otherworldly $162MM from 2019-23 — his age-36 through age-40 seasons — that sudden decrease in durability and productivity is alarming. It’s not clear if the Tigers have insurance on Cabrera’s contract, though typically a team will take out a policy on a contract of this magnitude, in which case the Tigers could stand to be reimbursed for at least a portion of Cabrera’s $30MM salary in 2018.

    [Related: Detroit Tigers depth chart]

    In the short-term, the Tigers will likely turn to John Hicks and Niko Goodrum to log most of the at-bats at first base in Cabrera’s absence. Each saw significant action there in Cabrera’s earlier absence, with Hicks picking up 248 innings and Goodrum logging 92 innings at the position.

    The Tigers don’t have a first base prospect who’s knocking on the door in Triple-A or Double-A, though 24-year-old minor league signee Edwin Espinal is getting on base at a .374 clip in Triple-A and has displayed strong K/BB tendencies despite a lack of power (.104 ISO). Speculatively speaking, perhaps the club could give Nicholas Castellanos a look at the position, as he’s once again turning in dismal defensive ratings for his work in right field. Alternatively, if the Tigers front office is keen on adding a low-cost veteran to the mix, both Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez were cut loose by the Red Sox and Mets recently and have yet to sign with a new organization.

    Miguel Cabrera Undergoing MRI To Evaluate Biceps Injury Wed, 13 Jun 2018 00:39:51 +0000
  • The Tigers announced that Miguel Cabrera left tonight’s game against the Twins with a biceps tendon strain. He’s undergoing an MRI to evaluate the extent of the damage, per the announcement. The 35-year-old Cabrera has had a bounceback season at the plate in terms of his average and on-base percentage, but he’s hit just three homers in 155 plate appearances and hasn’t shown much power. Cabrera is hitting .301/.394/.451 on the season overall and has already missed nearly a month of the season due to a strained hamstring.
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    Zimmermann Feels Ready To Return Tue, 12 Jun 2018 20:53:25 +0000
  • Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann says he’s ready to return to the majors after his latest minor-league start, as Peter Wallner of reports. Zimmermann has been out for just over a month with a shoulder impingement, but he says he “feel[s] strong” and has now worked up to 89 pitches in his third rehab outing. As we noted upon his DL placement, Zimmermann has continued to post mediocre results but had at least boasted much/improved strikeout and walk numbers (9.2 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9). The Tigers are still milling around in an uninspiring AL Central race, though the odds of true contention this year remain long. Zimmermann’s hefty salary commitment and full no-trade protection — it converts to partial protection after the season — make him a difficult trade candidate, though a swap at some point can’t be ruled out entirely.
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    2017-18 Rule 5 Draft Update Mon, 11 Jun 2018 16:14:00 +0000 When we last checked in on this year’s crop of Rule 5 players, there were a combined 11 players — six on active rosters and five on the Major League disabled list — still with their new organizations. That number has fallen to nine, with six players (albeit a different mix) still active in the Majors, plus another three hanging around on the DL. The number could shrink again in the near future, as several of the remaining Rule 5-ers are seldom used pieces, and at least two teams will soon likely have to make a call.

    Active Big Leaguers

    • Victor Reyes, OF, Tigers (from D-backs): Reyes has received only 38 plate appearances since our last Rule 5 roundup, hitting .211/.211/.342 in that span. He’s picked up a pair of triples and a double, his first extra-base hits in the Majors, but is hitting just .196/.196/.304 on the season as a whole. The Tigers barely use Reyes, outside of pinch-running and late-game defensive switches, but the longer they commit to hanging onto him, the less likely it becomes that they return him to Arizona. At this point, they’ve played more than a third of the season with an effective 24-man roster, so they seem likely to see this through.
    • Brad Keller, RHP, Royals (from D-backs, via trade w/ Reds): The 22-year-old Keller hasn’t picked up many strikeouts (5.9 K/9) and hasn’t displayed elite control (3.3 BB/9), but he’s sporting a 57.9 percent ground-ball rate in 35 innings for Kansas City — including three starts. He boasts a 2.31 ERA thus far in 2018, though his 0.26 HR/9 mark and 82.2 percent strand rate seem poised to regress. Nonetheless, he’s performed well enough to date that there’s no reason for the Royals to consider cutting ties.
    • Burch Smith, RHP, Royals (from Rays, via trade w/ Mets): Smith, on the other hand, is a more complicated case for GM Dayton Moore and his staff. The 28-year-old is currently lugging a 6.49 ERA to the mound with him after surrendering 10 runs in his past 7 1/3 innings. Smith has racked up 28 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings, but he’s also issued 18 walks and hit two batters. Beyond that, seven of the 26 hits he’s allowed with Kansas City have cleared the fence.
    • Pedro Araujo, RHP, Orioles (from Cubs): Araujo was one of four players in Spring Training with the Orioles who came with Rule 5 status, but he’s the last to remain on their MLB roster. (Anthony Santander, who missed much of last season due to injury, fulfilled his Rule 5 requirements last monthM and was optioned to Triple-A.) Araujo was torched for four runs last night, including a pair of homers, and he now has a 7.71 ERA in 28 innings with the O’s. That’s not exactly a surprise considering the fact that he skipped both Double-A and Triple-A, and to his credit, Araujo has punched out 29 hitters in his 28 frames (albeit against 18 walks and two hit batters). Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun wrote this morning that Araujo’s roster spot could be in jeopardy with Zach Britton coming off the disabled list.
    • Carlos Tocci, OF, Rangers (from Phillies, via trade w/ White Sox): Texas stashed Tocci, 22, on the disabled list with a hip contusion for more than a month and rode his rehabilitation window as long as possible. Since being activated on June 2, Tocci hasn’t logged a single plate appearance. The Rangers’ season looks to be lost, so they may as well hang onto Tocci if they believe he has any shot at a future in the organization. He’s just 2-for-25 in 14 games this season and has struggled in Triple-A, but Tocci was productive for the Phillies’ Double-A club last season and hit well in Double-A during last month’s rehab assignment, too.
    • Elieser Hernandez, RHP, Marlins (from Astros): Hernandez has allowed just 10 earned runs through 23 innings for a 3.91 ERA, but he’s also picked up just 10 strikeouts and yielded five homers. Hernandez, 23, has shown strong control (four walks), but he looks quite hittable through his brief run with Miami so far. As with each team listed in this section, though, they can certainly afford to hang onto him.

    On the Disabled List

    • Julian Fernandez, RHP, Giants (from Rockies): Fernandez underwent Tommy John surgery back in April. He’ll accrue MLB service time while spending the season on the 60-day disabled list and will retain his Rule 5 status heading into 2019, if the Giants wish to hang onto him all offseason.
    • Nick Burdi, RHP, Pirates (from Twins via trade w/ Phillies): The Pirates picked up Burdi knowing he’d miss much of the 2018 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and he’s yet to throw in the minors. That said, Burdi is a former supplemental-round pick who was selected toward the top of the draft thanks to an 80-grade heater that regularly touches triple digits. If he can get healthy enough to pitch this season, the Bucs will have a free look at a tantalizing power arm.
    • Brett Graves, RHP, Marlins (from Athletics): The Marlins placed Graves on the 60-day disabled list with an oblique strain back on Opening Day, so he’s yet to pitch in the Majors. He has, however, recovered to the point where he’s begun pitching on a minor league rehab assignment. The results haven’t been pretty. Graves has a 6.23 ERA with a 16-to-7 K/BB ratio and four hit batters in 17 1/3 innings between Class-A Advanced and Double-A. He’s also nearing the end of his 30-day rehab window. His first rehab appearance came back on May 17, so the Marlins have less than a week to determine whether to bring Graves up to the Majors or run him through waivers and offer him back to Oakland.

    Returned to Original Organization

    Tigers Sign Jacob Turner, Hunter Cervenka Thu, 07 Jun 2018 23:28:34 +0000 6:28pm: The Tigers have now formally announced the signings.

    6:22pm: The Tigers have signed right-hander Jacob Turner to a minor league deal, as first noted on Roster Roundup (Twitter link). Evan Woodberry of writes that he’s likely headed for Triple-A Toledo and adds that the Tigers have also picked up left-handed reliever Hunter Cervenka on a minor league pact.

    Now 27 years of age, Turner was once the ninth overall pick in the draft by the Tigers (2009) but has yet to cement himself in the big leagues. He went from Detroit to Miami in the trade that sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Tigers, but he’s never made more than 20 starts or topped 118 innings in any big league season.

    Since being cut loose by the Marlins in 2014, Turner spent time with the Cubs, White Sox and Nationals before returning to the Miami organization to open the 2018 season. He was released after tossing just 5 2/3 innings in the Majors and 21 2/3 frames in Triple-A, though. Now, after a second stint with Miami, he’s back for a second stint in the Tigers organization, where he’ll serve as rotation depth in the upper minors. Turner owns an unsightly 5.26 ERA with 5.8 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9 in 368 big league innings, but he has a more palatable 4.27 ERA and slightly better K/BB numbers in a near-identical sample of 358 Triple-A innings.

    As for Cervenka, the former Marlins and Braves lefty has a 4.69 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 48 MLB innings, but he’s also issued 36 walks and hit three batters in that time. That’s been the norm for the 28-year-old throughout the upper minors as well, where he’s averaged nearly 11 punchouts per nine innings pitched but also averaged more than six walks in that time. Cervenka had been with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League prior to his signing, and to his credit, he dominated the indy scene. In 17 2/3 innings, Cervenka allowed three runs on nine hits with a 21-to-2 K/BB ratio.

    Tigers Select Casey Mize With First Overall Draft Pick Mon, 04 Jun 2018 23:11:32 +0000 The Tigers have selected right-hander Casey Mize with the first overall pick of the 2018 Rule 4 amateur draft. The 21-year-old hurler just wrapped up his junior year at Auburn University.

    Mize was not even drafted out of high school, so it has been a meteoric rise over his three years in college. Then again, he hasn’t exactly needed to streak up the draft boards over the months leading up to the draft. Instead, Mize planted himself at the top early on and has remained a clear consensus 1-1 option ever since.

    Now a polished starter who’s said to possess three swing-and-miss offerings, Mize just turned in a massive season for Auburn. In 16 outings, he threw 109 2/3 innings of 2.95 ERA ball, racking up a whopping 151 strikeouts while issuing only a dozen walks.

    The expectation is that Mize will move quickly through the Detroit farm. He’s certainly an interesting addition to a system that features several promising starters among its best-graded prospects. If all goes as hoped, perhaps the rebuilding organization won’t have to wait long for the arrival of a wave of pitching talent at the MLB level.

    Tigers Re-Sign Gerson Moreno, Outright Pete Kozma Mon, 04 Jun 2018 17:42:08 +0000 The Tigers announced today that they’ve re-signed right-hander Gerson Moreno to a minor league contract and sent Pete Kozma outright to Triple-A after he cleared waivers.

    Detroit released the 22-year-old Moreno last week to open a spot on the 40-man roster, and it was later revealed by GM Al Avila that the promising young pitching prospect required Tommy John surgery. By releasing him, Detroit was able to create a needed 40-man vacancy but keep him in the organization. Both and Fangraphs ranked him among the organization’s top 30 prospects entering the season, with Eric Longenhagen calling him a potential setup man whose fastball can touch 99 mph. Moreno has averaged better than 11 strikeouts per nine innings over the past two seasons, but he struggled to a 5.29 ERA and averaged 7.4 walks per nine innings in 2018 before undergoing season-ending surgery.

    Kozma, meanwhile, was designated for assignment last week when the Tigers activated Miguel Cabrera from the disabled list. He’d been serving in a utility role for Detroit, but the Tigers have since called up 26-year-old Ronny Rodriguez, who’d been hitting quite well in Triple-A Toledo and can fill that same utility role on their roster. The 30-year-old Kozma hit .175/.195/.300 in 41 plate appearances for the Tigers this season before being cut from the 40-man roster. He has the ability to reject the outright assignment in favor of free agency, though Detroit’s announcement gave no indication that the former Cardinals shortstop has any plans to do so.

    Tigers Sign Junichi Tazawa To Minor League Deal Mon, 04 Jun 2018 15:41:21 +0000 The Tigers have agreed to a minor league contract with veteran reliever Junichi Tazawa, per a club announcement. (The move was first noted on Twitter by Roster Roundup.) The righty was released by the Marlins after being designated for assignment last month.

    Tazawa, who’ll turn 32 later this week, signed what proved to be an ill-fated two-year, $12MM deal with Miami in the 2016-17 offseason. The former Red Sox setup man struggled enough with the Fish that he couldn’t hold his roster spot through the life of that deal, however. After posting a 5.69 ERA in 55 1/3 innings last season, he opened the 2018 campaign by allowing 20 earned runs in 20 inning of work.

    After averaging better than a strikeout per inning with the Red Sox from 2009-16, Tazawa’s strikeout numbers fell off sharply in 2017. He posted a 6.2 K/9 mark and 16 percent overall strikeout rate — each the lowest full-season levels of his MLB career. His strikeouts returned in 2018 — 24 in 20 innings — but he also issued 13 walks and served up six homers with the Marlins. Beyond that, his average fastball velocity sat at a career-low 91.5 mph, and his swinging-strike rate (7.8 percent) and chase rate (28.4 percent) were also career-worsts.

    Despite Tazawa’s considerable struggles over the past two seasons, adding him to their Triple-A ranks is a no-risk proposition for the Tigers. The balance of his $7MM salary for the 2018 season will be paid out by the Marlins, so Detroit will only be on the hook for the pro-rated league minimum for any time he spends at the big league level. (That sum would subsequently be subtracted from what the Marlins owe Tazawa.) If he’s able to rebound to any extent, he’ll step up to the big league level to help out a Tigers bullpen that currently ranks 25th in the Majors with a 4.66 ERA.

    Tigers To Select Drew VerHagen’s Contract Sun, 03 Jun 2018 20:48:54 +0000 The Tigers will select right-hander Drew VerHagen’s contract prior to their doubleheader against the Yankees on Monday, Evan Woodbery of tweets. VerHagen will start the first of those games, while the team will option reliever Johnny Barbato in a corresponding move.

    The 27-year-old VerHagen is headed back to Detroit’s 40- and 25-man rosters just over a month after the team outrighted him on April 27. VerHagen had thrown 10 innings of seven-run ball at that point, contributing to the 5.04 ERA he has posted across 94 2/3 innings with the Tigers since his 2014 debut.

    While VerHagen hasn’t produced in the majors, the hard thrower has been downright dominant with Triple-A Toledo this season. Over six starts and 27 1/3 innings, VerHagen has pitched to a 1.32 ERA with 13.5 K/9, 2.63 BB/9 and a 48.1 percent groundball rate. Those numbers are substantially better than the production he registered last year in 97 1/3 innings at the minors’ highest level (4.90 ERA, 6.38 K/9, 3.98 BB/9, 44.5 grounder percentage).

    Tigers Activate Miguel Cabrera, Designate Pete Kozma Fri, 01 Jun 2018 20:54:27 +0000 The Tigers have activated star slugger Miguel Cabrera from the 10-day DL, as Jason Beck of reports on Twitter. Detroit designated infielder Pete Kozma for assignment to clear a roster spot.

    A hamstring injury had shelved Cabrera since early this month. He’ll look to pick up where he left off. Through his first 108 plate appearances of the year, the veteran posted a .323/.407/.516 slash.

    The 30-year-old Kozma had appeared at short, second, and third in his 15 games of action this year. He managed just seven hits and a walk in 41 plate appearances. The light-hitting utilityman owns a career .212/.277/.286 slash in 781 trips to the plate at the MLB level.

    In other roster news, the club recalled righty Zac Reininger. He’ll take the place of lefty Ryan Carpenter, who hit the DL yesterday.

    Tigers Select Ronny Rodriguez Thu, 31 May 2018 04:12:05 +0000 The Tigers announced after Wednesday evening’s game that they’ve selected the contract of infielder Ronny Rodriguez from Triple-A Toledo and optioned catcher Grayson Greiner back to Triple-A in his place. The move gives the Tigers a full 40-man roster.

    It’ll be the first call to the Majors for the 26-year-old Rodriguez, who signed a minor league deal with Detroit this offseason after previously spending his entire professional career with the Indians organization. The versatile Rodriguez posted a sound .291/.324/.454 slash in 483 plate appearances with Triple-A Columbus last year in his final season with the Cleveland organization, and he’s off to an even better start in his new environs, batting .302/.327/.484 with six homers, 13 doubles, a pair of triples and eight stolen bases (albeit in 13 attempts).

    Rodriguez has been primarily a shortstop and third baseman this season with the MudHens, but he’ll bring at least 585 innings of experience at all four infield positions to the Tigers’ roster. He’s also spent more than 300 innings in the outfield over the past three seasons, including 139 innings of work in center field. The right-handed hitter won’t walk much but also hasn’t had much of an issue with strikeouts during his time in Triple-A.

    Tigers Release Gerson Moreno, Announce Pitching Roster Moves Wed, 30 May 2018 20:51:53 +0000 3:51pm: Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press adds some context to the surprising release of Moreno (Twitter link). The 22-year-old is set to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, GM Al Avila revealed today.

    Avila added that placing Moreno on release waivers was the best way to get him off the 40-man roster while ensuring a chance to retain him via a new minor league deal (Twitter link via’s Jason Beck). A player claimed off release waivers can reject the assignment to a new club in favor of free agency, whereas a player claimed from outright waivers would not (unless he had previously been outrighted or has three-plus years of MLB experience — neither of which applies to Moreno). The Tigers are interested in bringing Moreno back to the organization if he reaches the open market, per Avila.

    2:35pm: The Tigers announced that they have released righty Gerson Moreno. That clears a 40-man roster spot, leaving the team with one opening.

    Moreno, 22, was given a roster spot last fall to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. He had struggled at the Double-A level but found some success in the Arizona Fall League.

    Entering the current season, Moreno graded among Detroit’s more notable prospects (see, e.g.,, Fangraphs) owing to his big fastball and reasonably promising (albeit still-inconsistent) secondary offerings. Thus far in 2018, Moreno’s return to the penultimate level of the minors has gone poorly. Through 17 innings, he carries a 5.29 ERA with 11.1 K/9 and 7.4 BB/9. Given the promise he showed heading into the season, it registers as at least some degree of surprise that the Tigers would simply cut him loose based on a handful of Double-A innings — no matter how discouraging they may have been.

    Detroit also announced, as it had indicated previously, that lefties Francisco Liriano (hamstring strain) and Daniel Stumpf (ulnar nerve irritation) are each headed to the 10-day DL. Two relievers — righty Johnny Barbato and southpaw Ryan Carpenter — have been recalled to replace them on the active roster. At this time, it’s still not known how long Liriano and Stumpf are expected to be sidelined.

    Tigers Place Liriano, Stumpf On Disabled List Wed, 30 May 2018 03:57:46 +0000
  • Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters tonight that the team has placed left-handers Francisco Liriano and Daniel Stumpf on the disabled list due to a right hamstring strain and ulnar nerve irritation, respectively (Twitter links via Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press). It’s not clear exactly how long either is expected to miss, though the move will send one of the team’s top trade chips shelf (Liriano) while leaving Gardenhire without a left-handed option in the bullpen. Ryan Carpenter is coming up to join the team’s rotation for the time being, per’s Jason Beck (on Twitter), while right-hander Johnny Barbato will be added to the bullpen.
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    Miguel Cabrera Could Return Monday Sun, 27 May 2018 16:02:49 +0000
  • Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera could come off the disabled list as early as Monday, Evan Woodbery of tweets. The 35-year-old has missed upward of three weeks with a hamstring strain, which derailed an excellent start to his season. Cabrera put together a .323/.407/.516 line in 108 plate appearances before landing on the shelf.
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    Latest On Miguel Cabrera's Recovery Sun, 27 May 2018 01:01:04 +0000
  • Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera is making progress as he works back from a hamstring strain, as Evan Woodbery of details, but a return date for the future Hall of Famer is still unclear. Cabrera hasn’t played since May 3, before which he seemed to be in the midst of a bounce-back campaign. After posting an uncharacteristically pedestrian 2017, Cabrera opened this year – his age 35-season – with a .323/.407/.516 line in 108 PAs. Fortunately for Detroit, first base fill-ins John Hicks and Niko Goodrum have fared respectably in Cabrera’s stead.
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    Tigers' Minor League Free Agent Pickups Performing Well Fri, 25 May 2018 02:06:14 +0000
  • The Tigers did well in finding bargain minor league free agents in an offseason in which the front office was limited by budgetary restrictions, writes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News. McCosky notes that AGM David Chadd, in particular (with help from the scouting and analytics staffs), was tasked with identifying some six-year minor league free agent pickups, leading to acquisitions of players like right-hander Louis Coleman and infielder Niko Goodrum, each of whom has contributed in the Majors so far. As the 32-year-old Coleman explains to McCosky, he was uncertain he’d even get a chance to play this offseason after receiving little interest, and he ultimately had to earn a spot on the Triple-A roster after signing a minor league deal that didn’t have an invite to big league camp. Coleman allowed just four runs with a 15-to-5 K/BB ratio and eight saves in Triple-A before being added to the big league roster, and he’s since turned in seven shutout innings in the big leagues. Goodrum, meanwhile, isn’t getting on base much (.308) but has shown unexpected pop and filled in around the diamond at multiple positions. While the success of each player has come in a small sample of work, they, along with a slate of veterans in Triple-A Toledo, are ably holding down roster spots and performing fairly well while the organization’s younger players progress toward the system’s upper levels and, eventually, the Major Leagues.
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    Tigers Injury Updates: Candelario, Boyd Wed, 23 May 2018 02:51:38 +0000
  • Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario is slated to begin a minor league rehab assignment tomorrow, manager Ron Gardenhire told the Detroit Free Press’ Anthony Fenech (Twitter link) and other reporters.  The young third baseman was posting some big numbers (five homers, .272/.359/.497 in 167 PA) before being sidelined with tendinitis in his left wrist.  Candelario’s was placed on the DL on May 14, so it seems like he won’t miss much or maybe even any time beyond the 10-day minimum absence.
  • In more troubling injury news for the Tigers, southpaw Matthew Boyd was forced to leave his start after four innings tonight due to what the club described as an oblique spasm.  This is a lesser injury than a strain, though obviously Detroit wasn’t taking any chances with the young left-hander.  Boyd has delivered some good results with a 3.12 ERA over 52 innings, though advanced metrics indicate some batted-ball luck (.248 BABIP) and Boyd isn’t generating many grounders (32.9% ground ball rate) or strikeouts (7.1 K/9).
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    Tigers Sign Kevin Chapman, Release Jairo Labourt Wed, 23 May 2018 01:23:44 +0000
  • The Tigers announced the purchase of left-hander Kevin Chapman’s contract from the independent Atlantic League’s New Britain Bees.  Chapman has been assigned to Triple-A.  The southpaw posted a 4.09 ERA over 55 relief innings for the Astros in 2013-16, and spent last season in the Braves’ and Twins’ farm systems.  The Tigers are short on left-handed relievers both in the majors and upper minors, so there seems to be an opportunity for Chapman to earn a spot back to the big leagues.
  • Southpaw Jairo Labourt has been released by the Tigers, as Evan Woodberry of covers on Twitter. Despite being a popular waiver wire target over the offseason, the 24-year-old lefty has not been in good enough form even to join an affiliate to this point. The Tigers originally acquired him in the 2015 David Price swap.
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