Detroit Tigers – MLB Trade Rumors 2021-04-12T03:24:34Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Tigers Place Miguel Cabrera On 10-Day IL, Select Renato Nunez’s Contract]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=434041 2021-04-11T13:45:52Z 2021-04-11T13:08:28Z The Tigers have put veteran slugger Miguel Cabrera on the 10-day injured list due to a left biceps strain, the team announced.  Renato Nunez’s contract has been selected to take Cabrera’s spot on the active roster, and right-hander Julio Teheran was moved to the 60-day IL to open up room for Nunez on the 40-man roster.

As noted by MLB.com’s Jason Beck and a Twitter follower, the injury looks to have occurred during Cabrera’s plate appearance in the seventh inning of yesterday’s 11-3 Tigers loss to the Indians.  Cabrera remained in the game as a first baseman and was replaced for a pinch-hitter during his next at-bat, a substitution that seemed more like a nod to the blowout score than an indication Cabrera was hurt.

This isn’t the first time Cabrera has dealt with a left biceps injury, as a ruptured tendon back in June 2018 prematurely ended his 2018 campaign after just 38 games.  There isn’t yet any indication that this current problem is anywhere near as serious, however, and there isn’t yet any timeline on when Cabrera could be back in action.

Cabrera (who turns 38 in a week) has gotten off to a tough start, with only a .514 OPS through his first 27 plate appearances of 2021.  After working exclusively as a DH in 2020, Cabrera has more or less split his starts between first base and designated hitter this season.  Any time missed will delay Cabrera’s quest for two statistical milestones — he currently stands 131 hits shy of the 3000-hit club, and 12 home runs shy of the 500-homer club.  Cabrera’s ticket to Cooperstown is already all but punched, of course, though he would be only the seventh player in baseball history to reach both the 3000-hit and 500-homer plateaus, joining Henry Aaron, Willie Mays, Albert Pujols, Eddie Murray, Alex Rodriguez, and Rafael Palmeiro.

Nunez signed a minor league deal with Detroit back in February, and though he didn’t make the team out of Spring Training, Nunez chose to forego his opt-out clause and remain with the Tigers despite some minor league offers from other clubs.  He now might step into regular (and perhaps even everyday) work as the Tigers’ new first baseman with Cabrera on the shelf, though Nunez will also see some action at DH and perhaps at third base if Jeimer Candelario is shifted across the diamond to get some time at first base.

The Orioles released Nunez prior to the non-tender deadline rather than pay the 27-year-old a salary projected to fall somewhere between $2.1MM and $3.9MM.  Nunez has been a generally above-average hitter (105 wRC+, 106 OPS+) over the last three seasons, hitting .250/.316/.457 with 51 home runs over 1076 PA with the Rangers and Orioles.  Without much to offer in the way of OBP or fielding acumen at third base, however, Nunez was deemed expendable by the cost-cutting O’s.

Teheran was only placed on the 10-day IL yesterday with a right shoulder strain, and manager A.J. Hinch said that the veteran hurler would miss a significant amount of time while recovering, so the 60-day IL assignment isn’t any surprise.  Teheran signed a minor league deal with Detroit over the winter and locked in a guaranteed $3MM salary when he made the team.  Teheran suffered his shoulder problem just minutes before he was scheduled for his second start in a Tigers uniform.

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Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Tigers Place Julio Teheran On 10-Day Injured List With Shoulder Strain]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=433730 2021-04-11T01:47:09Z 2021-04-10T18:12:26Z 3:12PM: Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said that Fulmer would indeed be taking Teheran’s rotation spot, and that it seems like Teheran will miss significant time on the injured list.  (MLive.com’s Evan Woodbery was among those to report the news.)

11:51AM: The Tigers announced that righty Julio Teheran has been placed on the 10-day IL (retroactive to April 7) with a right shoulder strain.  Right-hander Alex Lange has been called up from the team’s taxi squad and is set to make his first Major League appearance.

Teheran was scheduled to start last night’s game against the Indians but developed tightness in his right triceps while warming up in the bullpen during the top of the first inning, leading to a very late scratch.  With Teheran’s injury now defined as a shoulder strain, it isn’t a good sign for a pitcher who has been very durable over his 11 Major League seasons.

After a rough 2020 with the Angels, Teheran signed a minor league deal with Detroit that became guaranteed (at a $3MM salary) once the Tigers added the veteran right-hander to their Opening Day roster.  His first start on April 3 was a successful one, as Teheran tossed five innings of one-run ball and picked up the win in the Tigers’ 5-2 victory over Cleveland.

Michael Fulmer now seems like the logical candidate to take Teheran’s spot in the rotation.  The 2016 AL Rookie Of The Year began the season as something of a swingman reliever as Fulmer continues to try and rebuild his career after multiple arm injuries.  Tommy John surgery shelved Fulmer for all of 2019, and he posted an 8.78 ERA over 27 2/3 innings in 2020.

Lange has spent much of his minor league career as a starter, but the Tigers have deployed him as a reliever since acquiring him from the Cubs as part of the Nick Castellanos trade in July 2019.  Lange was selected 30th overall by the Cubs in the 2017 draft, and the 25-year-old righty has a 4.54 ERA over 232 minor league innings.  He’ll be making the jump to the big leagues without any Triple-A experience, though Lange did pitch at Detroit’s alternate training site last season in lieu of any minor league ball.  MLB Pipeline ranks Lange 29th in their list of the Tigers’ top-30 prospects, with a couple of plus pitches — a 60-grade curveball, and a 55-grade fastball that hit the 97mph plateau this year at Spring Training.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Julio Teheran Scratched From Start]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=433414 2021-04-10T02:36:19Z 2021-04-10T02:36:19Z
  • The Tigers scratched righty Julio Teheran from his start Friday because of tightness in his triceps. The team replaced Teheran with lefty Derek Holland, who surrendered three earned runs in 2 2/3 frames in a loss to Cleveland. It’s unclear whether Teheran will miss any more time. The Tigers signed Teheran to a non-guaranteed deal in the wake of a terrible 2020 with the Angels, and after earning a roster spot with Detroit during the spring, he debuted with a five-inning, one-run performance in a win over Cleveland last Saturday.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Spencer Turnbull Returns To Tigers' Alternate Site]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=433341 2021-04-10T00:44:30Z 2021-04-09T22:22:18Z
  • In better news, Tigers right-hander Spencer Turnbull has returned to the team’s alternate site and could throw a simulated game this weekend, Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic reports. The Tigers have been without Turnbull since March 20 because of health and safety protocols. Turnbull piled up 56 2/3 innings for the Tigers last year and notched a 3.97 ERA with a 50 percent groundball rate.
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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[COVID Notes: 4/8/21]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=431847 2021-04-08T17:07:45Z 2021-04-08T17:07:45Z Some good news on the COVID front today…

    •  Tigers’ pitching coach Chris Fetter was cleared to rejoin the team, per the Athletic’s Cody Stavenhagen (via Twitter). Fetter tested positive for coronavirus at the end of March, and he’s been away from the team since. He will re-join the club for their upcoming series in Cleveland.
    • Spencer Turnbull is throwing and will soon move to the Tigers’ alternate site, tweets Stavenhagen. When he does return, the Tigers could consider moving to a six-man rotation. Turnbull developed a bit of a niche following this offseason as a guy with some breakout potential, but that was obviously tempered somewhat when news broke of his positive test on March 20th. The Tigers will be glad to welcome him back to the rotation.
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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Offseason In Review: Detroit Tigers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=427284 2021-04-08T16:37:13Z 2021-04-08T16:37:13Z It was another offseason of short-term veteran additions for the Detroit Tigers.

    Major League Signings

    Trades and Claims

    Notable Minor League Signings

    Extensions

    None

    Notable Losses

    On January 18, 2016, the Tigers inked Justin Upton to a six-year, $132.75MM free agent contract. The first overall pick of the 2005 draft was a three-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger Award winner. He was MLBTR’s fourth-ranked free agent of the 2015-16 free agent class. Entering his age-28 season, he was coming off a 4.2 bWAR campaign in his only year with the Padres. In short, he was a get.

    Upton wouldn’t stay long, however. He was gone by mid-2017, traded to the Angels, who re-worked his contract to avoid an opt-out clause Upton could have triggered after 2017. Had he stayed in Detroit to complete that deal, Upton would be entering the final year of that contract this season.

    Somewhat amazingly, Tigers GM Al Avila – who took over the August before the Upton offseason – had not signed a single free agent to a multi-year deal since Upton. The nearly-five-year drought ended this offseason. Come on down, Robbie Grossman. The former A’s left fielder signed a whopping two-year, $10MM deal to achieve this important landmark in the Tigers’ rebuild. Make no mistake, it is an important landmark.

    Detroit has yet to really pull themselves from the rebuild that started back in 2017. Signing Grossman isn’t exactly analogous to the intent-to-contend contacts we’ve seen in the past for Jayson Werth, Jason Heyward, or even George Springer this winter, but the Grossman deal does represent an important signal that the Tigers believe the time is coming when they will be ready to contend again.

    The time is right, considering the arrival of much-touted pitching prospects like Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, and soon, Matt Manning. For now, however, those youngsters haven’t shown to be impact contributors in the Majors. Their careers are just beginning, however.

    As for Grossman , he’s flown under the radar as a productive hitter over the past five seasons. He was particularly good over 192 plate appearances last year for the A’s. He slashed .241/.344/.482, good for a 127 wRC+. He does just enough in almost every facet of the game, including with the glove. He walks at an above-average rate, avoids strikeouts at an above-average rate, he runs better than most, and he fields his position well enough. He doesn’t hit for a ton of power, and he’s not really elite at any one thing.

    For the Tigers, the Grossman deal – as well as the rest of their offense – wasn’t so much about capturing upside, however. The ceiling on their roster rises or falls with the fortunes of their young players: Mize, Skubal, Willi Castro, Akil Baddoo, Gregory Soto, Bryan Garcia, and eventually, Manning, Isaac Paredes, Spencer Torkelson, Daz Cameron, Riley Greene, and others. Grossman represents a desire to raise the floor for this team and prevent the sort of disastrous season that might slow their organizational momentum.

    So, too, does the return of Jonathan Schoop on a one-year, $4.5MM deal. Schoop hit .278/.324/.475 in 177 plate appearances last season, a solid 114 wRC+. He’s better defensively than you might think, given his power profile at the plate. He was worth 4 outs above average in 2020, trailing only Adam Frazier and Nicky Lopez among second baseman. He also added the ability to play first and third during spring training.

    Wilson Ramos has long been thought of as a bat-first catcher, but the Tigers feel good enough about his ability to usher this young staff into the Majors to sign him to an affordable one-year deal. Jake Rogers hopes to claim the position in the long-term, but they can take their time with the 26-year-old with the veteran Ramos on hand.

    Similarly, Jose Ureña and Julio Teheran hope to keep the Tigers’ young arms from overwork. Teheran somewhat surprisingly won his rotation spot while on a minor league deal this spring. He showed some promise, if not to return to the guy he was in Atlanta, at least to post better numbers than in 2020. He was an unmitigated disaster for the Angels with a 10.50 ERA/6.19 SIERA over 31 1/3 innings. Over nine starts, he made it as deep as five innings exactly two times, particularly struggling to keep the ball in the yard. He served up 12 home runs while only striking out 20 hitters.

    Ureña made five starts in 2020 with a 5.40 ERA, but he was made largely expendable by a strong stable of young rotation candidates in Miami. How long he stays in Detroit’s rotation will be dependent on a number of factors, including how he fares early in the season.

    Derek Holland came out of spring training with real positivity about his re-captured velocity and ability to be a difference-maker for the Tigers out of the pen. Truth be told, he’s a low-cost gamble for the Tigers, who will need a plethora of bullpen arms to survive the 162-game season and protect their young arms. Holland may have some worldly wisdom to impart, himself having once been a promising rotation arm on a World Series team. He flashed some of that promise as a member of the Giants’ rotation in 2018, but it’s been a rough couple of seasons since then.

    The same can be said for Nomar Mazara, who overlapped with Holland in Texas during the 2016 season. There was legitimate hope that a change of scenery might have prompted a breakout with the White Sox in 2020, but a complete lack of power tanked those expectations. He hit just .228/.295/.294 across 149 plate appearances with a meager .066 ISO. There’s little reason to expect Mazara’s power to have completely evaporated, so the Tigers will give him another chance to “come into his own” as their everyday right fielder. If nothing else, he doesn’t even turn 26 until late April, so a breakout isn’t inconceivable. The track record is hard to ignore, however. If he’s able to muster a wRC+ north of 100, it will be the first time in his career he’s able to do so.

    Baddoo rounds out their offseason additions. Taken in the Rule 5 draft from the Twins, the speedy outfielder had a mere 29 games in High-A to his name before this season. He has shown a good approach and a bit of pop in the little minor league action he saw with Minnesota, but he should have an opportunity to play in Detroit.

    It would seem unlikely that the 22-year-old would stick on the roster the whole season, but then he launched a home run on the first Major League pitch he saw. He hit a grand slam the next day and a walk-off single the day after that. Suddenly, there’s a bit of excitement around the Silver Spring native. Through four games, he rocks a comical .455/.455/1.182 triple slash line. One of these days, Baddoo will play a Major League game and fail to register a hit, but it hasn’t happened yet. The hype train has left the station and room is running out on the bandwagon.

    None of these moves are meant to move in the needle like, say, Upton back in the day. But with this grab bag of veterans, the Tigers hope to foster a more competitive atmosphere, a structural foundation to allow the kids the space to grow at their own speed. This team is not likely to compete this season, they’re more-or-less the unanimous pick to finish last in the AL Central, but it’s arguable that even a month or two of competitive play could prove beneficial to the youth on the roster. Best case, young players like Mize and Skubal take off, and the rest of the roster is capable enough to give some legs to the Tigers as a first half surprise team. Alternatively, any of these veterans might be flipped at the deadline, and none weigh heavy on the long-term ledger  – not even Grossman.

    How would you grade the Tigers’ offseason? (Link to poll for Trade Rumors iOS/Android app users)

     

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tigers Outright Christian Stewart]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=429122 2021-04-07T02:59:03Z 2021-04-07T02:59:03Z
  • The Tigers outrighted Christin Stewart to their alternate site after he cleared waivers, per a team announcement. The club designated the 27-year-old outfielder for assignment last week. Stewart appeared in the majors in each of the previous three seasons, during which he combined for a .225/.300/.376 line with 15 home runs in 587 plate appearances.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Designate Christin Stewart For Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=424488 2021-04-01T13:17:08Z 2021-04-01T12:59:03Z The Tigers announced Thursday morning that they’ve designated outfielder Christin Stewart for assignment in order to open a spot on the 40-man roster for lefty Derek Holland, whose contract has been formally selected. Detroit also placed right-hander Rony Garcia on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to March 29, with an abdominal strain.

    Stewart, 27, was the No. 34 overall pick in the 2015 draft and was considered one of Detroit’s most promising farmhands for the first few years of his pro career. He mashed his way through the team’s minor league system and at one point carried the potential to be a bat-first option in left field, but his big league production simply hasn’t lined up with his minor league numbers. Stewart has appeared in 157 games for the Tigers over the past three seasons but posted a combined .225/.300/.376 batting line in 586 plate appearances.

    Despite having huge raw power, Stewart’s exit velocities (career 86.7 mph) and hard-hit rates (32.2 percent) have never been particularly impressive. He’s probably been a bit less strikeout-prone than some feared when he punched out in 26 percent of his Double-A plate appearances, striking out at a 24.9 percent clip in the big leagues against an 8.3 percent walk rate.

    Stewart still has three minor league options remaining, so it seems as though he ultimately just fell out of favor with the club’s decision-makers after his lack of production since his 2018 debut. The Tigers inked Robbie Grossman (two years, $10MM) and Nomar Mazara (one year, $1.75MM) over the winter and took an intriguing outfielder, Akil Baddoo, from the division-rival Twins in the Rule 5 Draft. Baddoo had a monster Spring Training showing, and Detroit also has JaCoby Jones and Victor Reyes (another former Rule 5 pick) ticketed for the Opening Day roster. Meanwhile, Daz Cameron and Derek Hill, another pair of former top picks with better defensive skill sets, will open the year at the team’s alternate site.

    The Tigers have a week to trade Stewart or attempt to pass him through outright waivers. His raw power and trio of minor league options could pique the interest of another club with a need for some outfield depth. Stewart’s glove has long been considered to be poor, but he carries a career .264/.366/.501 batting line and 98 home runs in just over 2000 minor league plate appearances.

    As for the veteran Holland, it was announced earlier in the week that he’d made team’s Opening Day roster. Those who didn’t track the lefty’s Spring Training may be surprised due to Holland’s struggles in 2019-20, but there was no way the Tigers were leaving him off the roster after he tossed 9 1/3 shutout innings with just six hits and one walk against a whopping 16 strikeouts during camp.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers To Play Miguel Cabrera At First Base]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=421853 2021-03-31T03:38:40Z 2021-03-31T03:38:40Z The Tigers will open the season with Miguel Cabrera lined up at first base, manager A.J. Hinch told reporters this morning (Twitter link via Jason Beck of MLB.com). “I think he gives us the best chance to win at first base,” Hinch said of the soon-to-be 38-year-old. Cabrera didn’t play in the field at all in 2020, serving as a designated hitter for the Tigers on 56 occasions. He did see some action there in 2019 before sustaining a season-ending biceps injury, but Cabrera hasn’t logged even 300 innings in a season at first base since the 2017 campaign. It’s not a permanent arrangement, but playing Cabrera in the field from time to time allows an outfielder to move to DH on occasion and makes it easier for the Tigers to carry Rule 5 pick Akil Baddoo on the Opening Day roster.

    • Renato Nuñez will remain with the Tigers and head to the alternate training site to begin the 2021 season even after being informed that he didn’t make the Opening Day roster, writes Evan Woodbery of MLive.com. Hinch called the decision “great news for us” and said he expects Nuñez to eventually be up with the big league club. Nuñez, 27 on Sunday, slugged 43 homers with the Orioles from 2019-20 but didn’t exactly force his way onto Detroit’s roster with a spring they couldn’t ignore. In 13 games and 32 plate appearances, he slashed .194/.219/.355 with a homer and a dozen strikeouts (37.5 percent).
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[COVID Notes: 3/30/21]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=422253 2021-03-30T18:41:59Z 2021-03-30T18:41:59Z The latest on coronavirus-related situations around the sport…

    • The Astros announced that Myles Straw, Abraham Toro, and Garrett Stubbs have rejoined the team after clearing COVID-19 protocols.  (MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart was among those to report the news.)  The trio were absent for contract-tracing purposes in the wake of another positive test within Houston’s camp.
    • Matt Barnes’ positive COVID-19 test over the weekend was determined to be a false positive or a non-infectious positive, and the reliever has been cleared to return to Red Sox camp.  Barnes tested negative several times before being allowed to rejoin the team, and with only a few days of action missed, Barnes tells Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe and other reporters that he is ready for Opening Day.
    • Tigers pitching coach Chris Fetter tested positive for COVID-19, manager A.J. Hinch told reporters (including MLB.com’s Jason Beck) yesterday.  Other coaches are out of camp while contact tracing and further tests are administered, though it appears to be somewhat precautionary, as Hinch said that “no one else — player, staff — has been impacted or affected by this.”  The Tigers have yet to decide who will act as on the on-field pitching coach while Fetter is quarantined.  Fetter is entering his first season with the organization after previously working as the University of Michigan’s pitching coach.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[COVID Notes: 3/28/21]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=419776 2021-03-28T14:36:49Z 2021-03-28T14:35:55Z The latest coronavirus situations to monitor around baseball…

    Latest Updates

    • Right-hander Spencer Turnbull will miss at least the Tigers’ first few series of the year, manager A.J. Hinch told MLB.com’s Jason Beck and other reporters.  Turnbull has been away from Spring Training camp since March 20 due to healthy and safety protocols, and the club placed him on the COVID injured list earlier this week.  Back on March 20, Hinch made the point to note that Turnbull wasn’t in violation of any team rules himself, so it’s possible Turnbull just needs some extra time to ramp up after pitching only nine Grapefruit League innings.

    Earlier Today

    • Utilityman Abraham Toro and catcher/outfielder Garrett Stubbs are away from camp due to health and safety protocols, Astros manager Dusty Baker told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart (Twitter link) and other reporters.  The Houston Chronicle’s Chandler Rome reported yesterday that a player in the Astros’ camp is a presumed positive COVID-19 case, and that at least three players (presumably Toro, Stubbs, and Myles Straw) were quarantined for contact tracing purposes.  Baker hopes to have the players back in camp within the next one or two days.
    • Eight members of the Red Sox organization are away from camp for contact-tracing purposes in the wake of Matt Barnes’ positive COVID-19 test, manager Alex Cora told reporters (including The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey and The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier).  Four of the eight-person group are automatically in isolation due to being close contacts with Barnes, though Cora didn’t specify how many of the eight were players.  Assuming negative tests, any players included within the eight-person group would likely be ready to play Thursday on Opening Day.
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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Renato Nunez Won’t Make Tigers’ Opening Day Roster]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=419181 2021-03-27T18:37:44Z 2021-03-27T18:37:44Z The Tigers informed corner infielder Renato Núñez he won’t make the Opening Day roster, Cody Stavenhagen of the Athletic was among those to note. Núñez has been in camp as a non-roster invitee. The 26-year-old has the ability to opt out of his minor-league contract if he’d like to explore other opportunities.

    The Orioles non-tendered Núñez over the offseason, a move that surprised some onlookers because he hit a team-leading 43 home runs between 2019-20. When considering Núñez’s on-base and defensive shortcomings, though, it wasn’t particularly shocking. That he couldn’t find a major-league contract on the open market is further affirmation teams have increasingly devalued this type of player in recent seasons.

    Still, Núñez would certainly attract interest if he exercises his opt-out clause. He is coming off a year with a strong .256/.324/.492 slash line. There should be no shortage of teams that would like to add him to the organization, even if only on another minor-league deal.

    In other Tigers’ roster news, manager A.J. Hinch announced that Rule 5 pick Akil Baddoo will make the Opening Day roster. Selected out of the Twins’ organization, Baddoo has yet to play above High-A but is now in line to make his major league debut. He’ll need to stick on the active roster (or MLB injured list) all season if the Tigers want to retain his rights long-term.

    Joe Jiménez, meanwhile, will not be on the active roster to start the year. The Tigers announced they’ve optioned the right-hander to the alternate training site. Jiménez is a formerly well-regarded relief prospect, but he hasn’t found consistent success at the major league level. Last season, he pitched to a 7.15 ERA/4.10 SIERA over 22.2 innings.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tigers Release Greg Garcia]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=418172 2021-03-26T21:26:05Z 2021-03-26T21:25:13Z MARCH 26: The Tigers announced that they have granted Garcia his unconditional release.

    MARCH 25: Veteran infielder Greg Garcia will not make the Tigers’ season-opening roster, Evan Woodbery of MLive.com was among those to report. It’s unclear whether Garcia, who signed a minor league contract with an opt-out clause in the offseason, will remain with the organization.

    A Cardinal and Padre from 2014-20, Garcia carries quite a bit of experience in the middle infield and at third base. The Tigers are slated to start Jonathan Schoop at second base, Willi Castro at shortstop and Jeimer Candelario at the hot corner, but Garcia could eventually factor in as a backup at those positions if he does stay with the club. Along with providing defensive versatility, the 31-year-old has batted a respectable .245/.354/.339 in 1,303 major league plate appearances.

    In other Tigers news, manager AJ Hinch announced Thursday that catcher Grayson Greiner has made the roster as Wilson Ramos backup, Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic relays. Non-roster invitees Dustin Garneau and Eric Haase will remain with the team until the end of the spring, but it’s unknown whether they’ll stick around beyond then.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Announce Decisions On Pitching Staff]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=418740 2021-03-26T14:44:31Z 2021-03-26T14:44:31Z Former No. 1 overall pick Casey Mize has made the Tigers’ Opening Day rotation, manager A.J. Hinch announced this morning (Twitter links via Evan Woodbery of MLive.com). Hinch also revealed that former AL Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer will begin the season in the bullpen, where he’ll be joined by veteran lefty Derek Holland — a non-roster invitee to camp who has made the Opening Day squad. Detroit will need to make a corresponding 40-man roster move once Holland’s contract is formally selected, though that has not yet occurred.

    Mize, 23, didn’t have a great spring but was sharper in his most recent outing, holding the Blue Jays to a pair of runs on five hits and no walks with nine strikeouts through four innings. Overall, he’s been tagged for 13 runs in 14 frames during Grapefruit League play, but he’s also punched out an impressive 21 hitters in that time.

    Mize made his big league debut in 2020 and looked sharp at times but generally struggled to work deep into games. He held opponents to a tepid .228/.302/.358 batting line the first time through the order but saw those numbers leap to .235/.361/.510 upon turning a lineup over for the second time. It was a small sample, just seven starts, and Mize certainly has the pedigree to pitch at or near the top of a big league rotation. In addition to a strong NCAA track record, the former Auburn ace carries a 2.71 ERA, a 24.8 percent strikeout rate and a tiny 5.4 percent walk rate through 123 minor league innings. He skipped Triple-A entirely due to the canceled minor league season in 2020, but he’ll be given the opportunity to prove to the Tigers that he needn’t ever throw a pitch with their Toledo affiliate.

    Mize joins Matthew Boyd, Jose Urena, Julio Teheran and Tarik Skubal in a rotation that looks quite different than it did early in the 2020 season. Righty Spencer Turnbull figures to eventually join the mix in some capacity, but he’s been in Covid-19 protocol since early this week.

    Fulmer, too, could eventually work his way back into the rotation picture. The righty has undergone a pair of arm surgeries — ulnar nerve transposition and Tommy John — since being named AL Rookie of the Year back in 2016. He struggled mightily this spring, but Hinch gave him a vote of confidence Friday, calling Fulmer a “big league pitcher” (via Woodbery) and noting that optioning him to Triple-A was not a consideration. He’ll work in a multi-inning role, so he could perhaps slide into the rotation when injuries and/or struggles from the other starters necessitate. The Tigers still control Fulmer through the 2022 season.

    As for Holland, he’ll give Hinch a third lefty alongside Gregory Soto and Daniel Norris. The 34-year-old has overwhelmingly earned his roster spot this spring, rattling off eight scoreless innings while allowing just five hits and a walk against 13 strikeouts. Holland has struggled with the Pirates, Giants and Cubs across the past two seasons, but he turned in 171 1/3 innings of 3.57 ERA ball for San Francisco as recently as 2018. He’s worked mostly as a starter in his 12-year big league career but has come out of the bullpen 80 times at the MLB level, so a relief role is hardly unfamiliar territory for him.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Select Julio Teheran’s Contract]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=417133 2021-03-24T13:34:11Z 2021-03-24T13:08:41Z The Tigers have informed veteran righty Julio Teheran that he will make their Opening Day roster, manager A.J. Hinch announced to reporters Wednesday (Twitter links via Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press). Teheran had a March 22 opt-out date in his contract that he triggered two days ago, giving the club 48 hours to make the move. He’ll now be guaranteed a $3MM salary with up to $1MM available via additional incentives. In a corresponding roster move, the Tigers announced that righty Spencer Turnbull has been placed on the injured list. No reason was given, but he’s been away from the rest of the club since Saturday due to Covid-19 protocols.

    Detroit also informed left-hander Tarik Skubal that he’s made the big league rotation. Meanwhile, veteran righty Erasmo Ramirez and lefty Ian Krol did not make the club but will stick with the team. Ramirez has more than six years of service time and finished out the 2020 season on a 40-man roster, making him an Article XX(B) free agent under the collective bargaining agreement and thus entitling him to a $100K retention bonus for remaining with the Tigers rather than taking the release opportunity afforded to him by that status.

    Teheran, 30, has had an outstanding spring with the Tigers, holding opponents to three runs on just six hits and one walk with 15 strikeouts over the course of 11 innings. More encouragingly, he’s shown improved velocity this spring, with both Petzold and The Athletic’s Cody Stavenhagen indicating that he came out of the gates hitting 92.8 and 92.9 mph — just a year after Statcast pegged his average four-seamer at 89.2 mph and his average sinker at 88.7 mph.

    Last year was a particularly dismal season for Teheran. In his first season away from his original organization, the Braves, Teheran missed the early portion of the year due to a positive Covid-19 diagnosis and attempted to build up his pitch count in a big league setting but never looked like himself. He was clobbered for a disastrous 10.05 ERA (5.99 SIERA) with a career-low 13.4 percent strikeout rate against an elevated 10.7 percent walk rate.

    Prior to 2020, Teheran had been a durable workhorse in Atlanta. He may not have developed into the ace-caliber starter that many expected based on his former top prospect status — his 2014 season came close — but from 2013-19 Teheran combined for a 3.64 ERA over the life over 1334 innings. He averaged 32 starts per season along the way, landing on the injured list only twice: a two-week stretch due to a minor lat strain in 2016 and a 10-day stint for a thumb contusion in 2018.

    Teheran now steps into the Tigers’ rotation alongside Matthew Boyd, Jose Urena and the up-and-coming Skubal, who ranked as one of the game’s top 50 prospects prior to making his MLB debut in 2020. The 24-year-old Skubal was tagged for a 5.63 ERA last season, but only in a small sample of 32 innings. He battled some control issues a bit in his most recent spring start but has held opponents to a pair of runs on eight hits and eight walks with 15 strikeouts in 12 Grapefruit League innings. Obviously, he’ll need to command the strike zone more effectively during the season, but Skubal has encouraged the club enough to further audition for a long-term rotation spot.

    Turnbull was likely ticketed for a rotation spot himself, but there’s no timeline for his return to the club. In the meantime, the Tigers can look to former No. 1 overall pick Casey Mize or former Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer. The latter worked out of the bullpen in his most recent outing and has generally struggled this spring, but he still hopes to return to form as a starter after undergoing Tommy John surgery late in 2018, missing 2019 and struggling in 2020. Mize has also struggled, however, so the Tigers could look elsewhere within the organization to piece things together until Turnbull is deemed eligible to return. Both Daniel Norris and Tyler Alexander have experience starting at the MLB level.

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