Detroit Tigers – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-02-20T12:12:05Z WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Joey Wentz Dealing With Forearm Fatigue ]]> 2020-02-18T04:53:11Z 2020-02-18T04:53:11Z
  • Tigers left-hander Joey Wentz halted his live bullpen session Monday as a result of forearm soreness, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News writes. Wentz brushed it off as fatigue, though it could still be worth monitoring going forward. After all, Wentz is one of the most promising arms in the Tigers’ system. The 22-year-old joined the organization last July in a trade with the Braves centering on reliever Shane Greene. Wentz then finished the season in dominant fashion as a member of the Tigers’ Double-A team, with which he pitched to a 2.10 ERA and put up 13.0 K/9 against 1.4 BB/9 across 25 2/3 innings.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Cameron Maybin Discusses "Frustrating" Free Agent Stint]]> 2020-02-17T06:05:32Z 2020-02-17T03:59:47Z
  • While Abreu more or less sidestepped free agency entirely, the market wasn’t as kind to Cameron Maybin, who told the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky and other reporters that he received mostly minor league offers before finally landing a Major League deal from the Tigers.  Maybin rebounded from a pair of subpar years to hit .285/.364/.494 with 11 home runs over 269 PA with the Yankees last season, but still found the process of obtaining a guaranteed contract to be “frustrating….I thought it would be easier to get a big-league job.  I do feel like I’m a big-league talent, like I am big-league caliber.”  Still, Maybin is happy to be back in Detroit for his third stint as a Tiger, and is eager to serve as a veteran mentor to a young team and prove that his 2019 performance wasn’t a fluke.  Though Maybin turns 33 in April, “honestly, with my athleticism, I feel like I can play for another five years.  Especially with this swing change.”
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tigers Don’t Expect Further Additions]]> 2020-02-14T06:58:13Z 2020-02-14T06:58:13Z The Tigers have added a few modestly priced veteran free agents to a team that lost 114 games and easily finished last in the majors a season ago. At this point, Detroit’s not expecting any more acquisitions before the season, general manager Al Avila suggested Thursday (via Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic).

    “I would say so,” Avila said when asked if Detroit’s Wednesday signing of outfielder Cameron Maybin would be its last notable pickup.

    The Tigers have looked like speculative fits for outfielder Yasiel Puig, who’s still without a job, but it officially appears he’ll have to look elsewhere. Avila already shot down a potential Puig signing weeks ago. Now, between the reunion with the ex-Tiger Maybin and Avila’s comments, they can probably be scratched off Puig’s list of possible employers. They’re instead counting on Maybin, whom they reeled in for $1.5MM, to enjoy a second straight successful campaign and perhaps take on an everyday role, as Stavenhagen writes (subscription link).

    The 32-year-old Maybin has bounced around since the Tigers took him 10th overall in the 2005 draft, enduring his share of ups and downs along the way. He had to settle for minor league deals with the Giants and Indians before last season, but an April trade to the Yankees may have revived his career. Maybin was an unsung hero on an injury-riddled New York club, as a more fly ball-oriented approach helped him to a .285/.364/.494 with 11 home runs in 269 plate appearances.

    Maybin became the fifth veteran to join the Tigers on a one-year contract since last season ended. The club previously signed first baseman C.J. Cron, second baseman Jonathan Schoop, catcher Austin Romine and right-hander Ivan Nova. There may not be a world-beater in the bunch, but those stopgaps should at least make Detroit more competitive this season. And the team does have a few talented starters (some of whom aren’t yet in the majors but could be soon) who could combine to give the club a decent rotation. Matt Boyd, Spencer Turnbull and Daniel Norris are on hand at the MLB level; Michael Fulmer should make it back from Tommy John surgery in the summer; Nova’s an acceptable back-end innings-eater; and Casey Mize and Matt Manning are two of the top prospects in the game. With all of that said, the Tigers should be a tougher out in 2020.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Tigers Sign Cameron Maybin]]> 2020-02-12T19:23:53Z 2020-02-12T19:11:07Z 1:11pm: The Tigers have announced the deal. In order to open a spot on the 40-man roster, righty Michael Fulmer was placed on the 60-day injured list. It was reported a couple months back that Fulmer, the former AL Rookie of the Year, was expected to be out until July, so the 60-day IL placement shouldn’t come as a surprise.

    12:51pm: There is a deal in place with a $1.5MM salary, per Chris McCosky of the Detroit News (Twitter links). He can tack on another $1.3MM via incentives, Heyman tweets.

    10:37am: The Tigers are nearing an agreement with veteran outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). Prospective contract terms aren’t yet known.

    This’ll be Maybin’s third stint with the Detroit organization, which selected him in the first round of the 2005 draft. He broke into the majors with the club in 2007 before being dealt to the Marlins as part of the Miguel Cabrera deal. Maybin returned for a productive single-season run in 2016.

    There have been ups and downs over the years, but Maybin makes his way back to the Motor City on the upswing. He was waiting and hoping with the Indians’ Triple-A affiliate last April when the injury-plagued Yankees came calling. Maybin ended up posting his best-ever season with the bat, slashing a hefty .285/.364/.494 with 11 home runs.

    Maybin isn’t especially likely to repeat quite that output; he turned in consecutive 86 OPS+ finishes in the prior two seasons and rarely produced at better than the league-average rate. But he did shows some real changes in his batted-ball profile to support the improvement. Maybin’s barrel percentage vaulted to 10.2% from a prior high of 4.1%; he increased his launch angle to 11.1 degrees from a previous peak of 7.5. He also posted a career-best 88.8 mph average exit velocity and personal-high 16.9% HR/FB rate.

    Even if there’s a step back offensively, Maybin figures to be a solid piece. He’s still fleet of foot, even if he won’t steal bases like he did in his youth, and capable of playing all three outfield positions. The Tigers certainly had a need for sturdy performers in an outfield unit that is filled with uncertainty. There’s also a good shot that Maybin will turn into a mid-season trade chip.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tigers Sign Chris Smith]]> 2020-02-08T03:52:59Z 2020-02-08T03:52:16Z
  • The Tigers have signed right-hander Chris Smith to a minor league contract, Robert Murray tweets. Smith was with the Tigers for a brief period last year, but he suffered an elbow injury in spring training and wound up needing Tommy John surgery. Detroit released him as a result, but he’s now back with the organization, and Murray notes that he should be ready to return by March or April. Now 31 years old, Smith has only thrown five major league innings (all with Toronto in 2017). The last time Smith pitched competitively, he threw 55 innings of 3.93 ERA/3.88 FIP ball with 10.64 K/9 and 3.44 BB/9 as a member of the Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate in 2018.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Tigers Re-Sign Jordy Mercer]]> 2020-01-30T22:33:23Z 2020-01-30T22:33:29Z 4:33PM: The Tigers have officially announced the signing.

    2:35PM: The Tigers have brought back veteran shortstop Jordy Mercer on a new contract, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link).  The deal is a minor league pact with an invitation to Detroit’s big league Spring Training camp, as per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (via Twitter).

    After signing a one-year, $5.25MM deal with the Tigers last winter, Mercer hit .270/.310/.438 over 271 plate appearances, despite missing much of the first half of the season with quad injuries.  That roughly matches the .256/.316/.383 slash line Mercer posted over the first 2996 PA of his career from 2012-18 as a member of the Pirates, and he’ll now head back to the Motor City as a depth option.

    Niko Goodrum is currently Detroit’s top choice at shortstop, though given Goodrum’s multi-positional versatility and the presence of both younger Willi Castro and now Mercer, the Tigers are arming themselves with some extra depth should they decide to again move Goodrum around the diamond.  The 33-year-old Mercer gives the Tigers more veteran experience in that regard, as Castro has only 30 MLB games under his belt.  Beyond just shortstop, Mercer could also back up elsewhere around the infield, as he has some experience as a first, second, and third baseman over his career.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tigers Sign Kennys Vargas To Minor League Deal]]> 2020-01-28T04:15:54Z 2020-01-28T04:15:54Z
  • First baseman Kennys Vargas has agreed to a minor league contract with the Tigers, Jason Beck of tweets. The deal does not include an invitation to major league spring training. The hulking Vargas will now join his second AL Central organization, having appeared in the majors with the Twins from 2014-17. He played for Ron Gardenhire, then the Twins’ manager and now the Tigers’ skipper, as a rookie. Vargas posted respectable offensive production at times in Minnesota, including in his first and third seasons, but owns a mediocre overall line of .252/.311/.437 with 35 home runs in 859 lifetime MLB plate appearances. The 29-year-old also hasn’t been great at the Triple-A level, where he has hit .244/.352/.436 and totaled 51 HRs over 1,297 PA, and he’s now coming off a rough 2019 campaign spent in Japan. As a member of the Chiba Lotte Marines, Vargas stumbled to a .179/.324/.274/ mark and managed just one homer in 102 trips to the plate.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Niko Goodrum Ready For Regular Shortstop Duty]]> 2020-01-26T05:59:09Z 2020-01-26T05:58:45Z
  • After playing seven different defensive positions in 2019, it looks like the TigersNiko Goodrum is going to focus only on shortstop for the foreseeable future, Chris McCosky of The Detroit News writes.  Goodrum came up in the minors as a shortstop, but he expanded his horizons in hopes that versatility would improve his chances of cracking the big leagues.  That strategy worked out pretty well for the 28-year-old, who’s coming off a solid pair of seasons after the Tigers signed him to a minor league deal more than two years ago.  While that versatility is still an asset, Detroit likes Goodrum best at shortstop at present, especially after an impressive defensive showing over 326 2/3 innings at short in 2019.  While it’s tricky to make a definitive judgement based on such a small sample size, Goodrum received high grades over a range of defensive metrics (+3 Defensive Runs Saved, +8.6 UZR/150, and +6 Outs Above Average).
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Free Agent Spending By Team: American League]]> 2020-01-25T01:22:17Z 2020-01-25T01:08:49Z As we covered earlier this week, almost all of the prominent free agents in this year’s class have already exited the board. Because of that, we’ll see more and more minor league signings and fewer and fewer major league deals in the weeks leading up to the start of the regular season. This has been an aggressive offseason in terms of spending, though. To this point, which teams have handed out the most guaranteed money via the open market? We’ll examine both leagues, but let’s begin with the AL (reminder: This exercise excludes trades, club options, extensions, waiver claims and Rule 5 selections)…

    Yankees: $336.5MM on two players (Gerrit Cole and Brett Gardner; top 50 MLBTR signings: two)

    Angels: $260.85MM on three players (Anthony Rendon, Julio Teheran and Jason Castro; top 50 signings: three)

    White Sox: $196.5MM on six players (Yasmani Grandal, Jose Abreu, Dallas Keuchel, Edwin Encarnacion, Steve Cishek and Gio Gonzalez; top 50 signings: five)

    Twins: $151.8MM on eight players (Josh Donaldson, Michael Pineda, Jake Odorizzi, Homer Bailey, Sergio Romo, Alex Avila, Rich Hill and Tyler Clippard; top 50 signings: four)

    Blue Jays: $114.35MM on four players (Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Shun Yamaguchi and Travis Shaw; top 50 signings: two)

    Rangers: $62.25MM on five players (Kyle Gibson, Jordan Lyles, Robinson Chirinos, Joely Rodriguez and Todd Frazier; top 50 signings: two)

    Tigers: $17.8MM on four players (C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop, Austin Romine and Ivan Nova; top 50 signings: one)

    Astros: $15.65MM on three players (Joe Smith, Martin Maldonado and Dustin Garneau; top 50 signings: zero)

    Rays: $12MM on one player (Yoshitomo Tsutsugo; top 50 signings: zero)

    Red Sox: $9.9MM on three players (Martin Perez, Jose Peraza and Kevin Plawecki; top 50 signings: zero)

    Athletics: $7.5MM on one player (Jake Diekman; top 50 signings: zero)

    Royals: $6.95MM on two players (Alex Gordon and Maikel Franco; top 50 signings: zero)

    Indians: $6.25MM on one player (Cesar Hernandez; top 50 signings: zero)

    Orioles: $3MM on one player (Jose Iglesias; top 50 signings: zero)

    Mariners: $2.95MM on two players (Kendall Graveman and Carl Edwards Jr.; top 50 signings: zero)

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tigers Notes: Boyd, Fulmer]]> 2020-01-24T06:03:12Z 2020-01-24T06:03:12Z
  • The Tigers and left-hander Matthew Boyd avoided arbitration with a one-year, $5.3MM agreement earlier this month. There was then speculation that the two sides would work out a long-term pact (at least one that would buy out Boyd’s three arb-eligible seasons), but the soon-to-be 29-year-old told Jason Beck of and other reporters Thursday that no talks have occurred. “No, but that would be cool,” said Boyd, who went to add that his goal is “to win a championship here.” Boyd may be the Tigers’ most valuable trade chip, and he has been the subject of rumors for several months now, but the club wasn’t aggressively shopping him as of December’s Winter Meetings.
  • More on the Tigers’ rotation from Beck, who passes along an update on righty Michael Fulmer’s status as he continues to recover from the Tommy John surgery he underwent last March. The former AL Rookie of the Year is progressing well, as Beck writes that Fulmer’s “pain-free” and scheduled to begin throwing from 120 feet off flat ground next week. However, manager Ron Gardenhire noted Fulmer’s not slated to return to a major league mound until “deep into the summer.” The Tigers set a 15- to 16-month recovery timetable for Fulmer when he went under the knife, so he should be back sometime in June or July if all goes according to plan.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Avila: Tigers Could Still Add An Outfielder]]> 2020-01-23T18:29:36Z 2020-01-23T18:29:36Z The Tigers haven’t exactly been aggressive in free agency this winter, but they’ve still added a handful of veterans, including C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop, Ivan Nova and Austin Romine. They’ve yet to make an addition in the outfield, but general manager Al Avila said Thursday on the Tigers Caravan that doing so is a possibility (Twitter link via Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press). Asked about Yasiel Puig, however, Avila indicated that the longtime Dodger is “not a priority” for the Detroit organization.

    It stands to reason that after failing to come to terms on an extension with Nicholas Castellanos, who’s now seeking a lucrative multi-year deal in free agency, he won’t be a fit for the Tigers, either. That said, the market isn’t totally devoid of interesting options. Kevin Pillar, Steven Souza Jr. and Domingo Santana are among the yet-unsigned names who’ve had some recent success. Then again,’s Jason Beck suggests that the organization might prefer a left-handed bat for some lineup balance, and the market for lefty hitters is a bit more sparse. Jarrod Dyson is available, and if the Tigers want to dial up a reunion tour, familiar names like Curtis Granderson and Matthew Joyce are still free agents.

    For the rebuilding Tigers, though, spending on an outfielder probably isn’t a priority in the way that Schoop and Cron were, as they do have a handful of somewhat intriguing options in house already. The team’s 2017 Rule 5 pick, Victor Reyes, brushed off a terrible rookie season (as many Rule 5ers endure) to deliver a .304/.336/.431 slash in 292 plate appearances. Much of that was BABIP-driven, but it’s understandable that they’re interested in getting a longer look at a player they selected with the No. 1 pick in the aforementioned Rule 5 Draft.

    Detroit also picked up outfielder Travis Demeritte in the trade that sent Shane Greene to Atlanta. He struggled mightily in his first 186 MLB plate appearances, but he also posted a monster season in Triple-A and only turned 25 at the end of the season. Former No. 34 overall pick Christin Stewart struggled in his own look in the Majors this year but has a solid track record in Triple-A himself and was impressive in a 2018 cup of coffee. In center, JaCoby Jones shook off a terrible start to the season to hit .258/.335/.483 in his final 70 games. Detroit also has prospect Daz Cameron in the wings at Triple-A, although he’ll need to bounce back from an ugly 2019 effort to get a look in the big leagues.

    Obviously, if the Tigers were aiming to contend in 2020, this group wouldn’t be close to sufficient, but that’s not the organization’s aim. There’s surely some merit to bringing in a more experienced option in the spirit of competitiveness, though, and the Tigers have shown a past willingness to do so (e.g. Cron, Schoop, Tyson Ross, Josh Harrison, Matt Moore) while some other rebuilding clubs more staunchly eschew adding any free agents of note. Whether that leads to a deal can’t be known, but Avila at the very least noted that the team is “talking to some agents” (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Cody Stavenhagen), suggesting that the open market is a likelier path to an addition than the trade market.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Tigers Sign Hector Santiago]]> 2020-01-22T19:33:40Z 2020-01-22T16:47:51Z The Tigers have announced a minor-league deal with lefty Hector Santiago. He’ll receive an invitation to participate in MLB Spring Training.

    Santiago had some rather productive campaigns earlier in his career. But at 32 years of age, he has settled into the existence of a journeying southpaw swingman.

    Over the past three years, Santiago has transitioned from membership in a 5-man rotation to long relief duties. He carries only a 5.20 ERA in the 206 innings he has thrown during that span. Santiago has struck out 8.5 batters per nine over that time but has also handed out excessive numbers of walks (4.9 per nine) and home runs (1.7).

    It’s tough to imagine Santiago having much of a shot at the Detroit rotation in camp. But he could challenge for a bullpen role or otherwise slot into the Triple-A staff to provide depth.

    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Jorge Bonifacio Has Good Chance At Breaking Camp With Tigers]]> 2020-01-20T00:40:05Z 2020-01-20T00:32:54Z
  • Jorge Bonifacio stands a good shot at earning a spot in the Tigers’ corner outfield mix, observes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News. Bonifacio, who’ll be in camp on a minor-league deal, has struggled in recent seasons with the division-rival Royals. That said, he’s still just 26 years old and showed some promise in an extended run in 2017 with Kansas City. McCosky breaks down further position battles in the piece, which could be of interest to Tigers’ fans.
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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Red Sox Acquire Matt Hall]]> 2020-01-17T21:17:32Z 2020-01-17T20:27:26Z The Red Sox have acquired left-hander Matt Hall from the Tigers, per a team announcement from Detroit. Minor league catcher Jhon Nuñez is headed to Detroit in return. Hall had been designated for assignment when the Tigers signed Iván Nova. Boston’s 40-man roster was already full, so another move is forthcoming.

    Hall, 26, has a 9.48 ERA in 31.1 MLB innings. That belies the swing-and-miss stuff he’s demonstrated, both in the majors and high minors. In a pair of Triple-A seasons, working mostly as a starter, Hall has racked up 10.3 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9. Hall’s 23.9% career MLB strikeout rate isn’t quite at that level, but it is still slightly better than average. Most encouragingly, the 26-year-old has 96th percentile curveball spin, per Statcast. He comes with two option years, so he’ll give Boston some flexible left-handed depth, both for the rotation and the bullpen.

    Nuñez, 25, re-signed with Boston on a minor-league deal in November. He’s spent all seven of his pro seasons in their farm since signing as an international free agent from the Dominican Republic in 2012. Nuñez had a career-best showing at Double-A Portland in 2019, hitting .280/.333/.412 in 233 plate appearances. That dwarfs his cumulative .254/.325/.345 line in the minors. He’ll be with the Tigers as a non-roster invitee in MLB spring training, the team announced.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Checking In On Last Season’s Worst Rotations]]> 2020-01-15T12:26:52Z 2020-01-15T06:44:12Z We checked in last week on what, if anything, the five lowest-scoring offenses of 2019 have done to improve themselves this winter. Let’s now take a look at whether any of the five starting rotations that posted the highest ERAs last year have gotten better this offseason. Free agency won’t offer much in the way of help at this point, so for the most part, what you see here is probably what you’ll get..

    Colorado Rockies (5.87 ERA/5.31 FIP; current depth chart)

    • Assembling a competent starting staff has regularly been a problem for the Rockies, who are stuck playing half their games at the unkind confines of Coors Field. It was a different story in 2018, the year the Rockies boasted a high-end starting staff, but things took a sharp turn for the worse last season. Aside from German Marquez and Jon Gray, who continued their strong production, no one from the Rockies’ rotation performed well. Kyle Freeland suffered through a disastrous campaign after posting a Cy Young-caliber 2018, while Antonio Senzatela, Peter Lambert, Jeff Hoffman, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Tim Melville, Tyler Anderson, Chad Bettis and Rico Garcia combined for woeful numbers across a combined 83 starts. So what have the Rockies done since to address their starting group? Nothing of note. It seems they’ll count on a bunch of their holdovers to turn in better showings, though their staff will take a big hit in the event they deal Gray (a potential trade candidate) before the season.

    Los Angeles Angels (5.64 ERA/5.41 FIP; current depth chart)

    • The Angels’ rotation suffered a terrible blow in the fall of 2018 when Shohei Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery, costing him all of last season, and then tragedy struck last July when Tyler Skaggs passed away. Considering the circumstances, it’s not surprising the Angels’ staff reeled last season. Nevertheless, adding reinforcements was clearly in order for this winter. The problem is that the Angels still haven’t found a way to acquire a proven front-of-the-rotation type, which many expected to them to get when the winter began. Ohtani’s back, which is a major plus. Meanwhile, the acquisitions of innings-eaters Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran should help matters, but they’re not going to frighten opposing offenses. The Angels figure to keep trying to better their rotation in the coming months, though the open market has dried up and teams seemingly aren’t champing at the bit to move big-time starters via trade now.

    Baltimore Orioles (5.57 ERA/5.72 FIP; current depth chart)

    • Bundy, who led the O’s rotation in innings last season, is now gone. 2019 success story John Means remains in place, and Alex Cobb will be back in the wake of injuries that limited him to three starts. Those two aside, there’s little in the way of established starters for rebuilding Baltimore, though it wouldn’t be surprising to see the club try to find a cheap starter(s) in free agency before the season begins. The team did make an interesting move when it used the second pick of the Rule 5 Draft on 25-year-old righty Brandon Bailey, whom Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs calls a “spin rate monster.”

    Detroit Tigers (5.51 ERA/4.66 FIP; current depth chart)

    • Detroit’s rotation mix actually looks pretty promising, though it’s possible the team will weaken the mix by trading Matthew Boyd before the season. As of now, he’s back at the helm of a group that also got respectable performances from Spencer Turnbull and Daniel Norris last year. Stud prospects Casey Mize and Matt Manning are gaining on the majors, meanwhile, and Michael Fulmer should factor back in sometime this year after Tommy John surgery kept him away in 2019. Furthermore, the Tigers just signed the durable Ivan Nova to a cheap contract to serve as their resident back-end innings-eater. Jordan Zimmerman, arguably the weakest link in the chain, is also the most expensive. Mercifully for the Tigers, he’s finally entering the last season of what has been an albatross contract for the club.

    Pittsburgh Pirates (5.19 ERA/4.78 FIP; current depth chart)

    • The Pirates, already without staff leader Jameson Taillon for most of last season, suffered a horrid blow when he underwent a TJ procedure in August. He won’t be part of the 2020 staff as a result, leaving holdovers Chris Archer, Joe Musgrove and Trevor Williams at the helm of an uninspiring-looking bunch. Barring a trade, the hope is that the once-terrific Archer will put a nightmarish first year and a half as a Pirate behind him. Archer was markedly better as last season progressed, so there does seem to be some hope for a full-season bounce-back effort. The unit will include some speculative candidates in Tommy John rehabber Chad Kuhl and talented 23-year-old Mitch Keller, who struggled as a rookie but remains a premium pitching prospect.

    The original version of this post mistakenly indicated that Kuhl underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019. His procedure occurred in September of 2018.