Detroit Tigers – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-10-20T14:27:03Z WordPress Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Castellanos A Symbol Of Tigers' Season?]]> 2019-10-18T02:24:25Z 2019-10-18T02:24:25Z As BBWAA writers in Detroit prepare to vote on the “Tiger Of The Year” award, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reveals that his vote will go to a player who didn’t suit up for the Tigers after the trade deadline — Nicholas Castellanos.  A case could certainly be made that Castellanos was still the best performer on the woeful Tigers, though Fenech took something of a more symbolic stance, arguing that Castellanos “provided a fitting look at the front office’s failure to gain serious ground in their rebuilding process.”  After several months of fruitless attempts to move Castellanos, Detroit finally unloaded the slugger to the Cubs for two decent but unspectacular pitching prospects, only to see Castellanos start tearing the cover off the ball after arriving in Chicago.

“How did the Tigers not know this hitter was in there? And why does every player that leave Detroit improve?” Fenech asks, also wondering why the club didn’t make more of an effort to extend a player who openly desired to be a long-term piece for the Tigers.  Instead, the lack of progress on either a trade or an extension seemed to wear on Castellanos in the first half of the year, which didn’t help his trade value.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Tigers Announce Coaching Staff Changes]]> 2019-10-01T00:29:17Z 2019-10-01T00:29:17Z The Tigers announced their re-shaped 2020 coaching staff under returning manager Ron Gardenhire. It’ll feature Lloyd McClendon as bench coach, with the former skipper taking over for Steve Liddle.

Liddle, who’s the only member of the ’19 staff to depart, is retiring, as Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reported. Fortunately, there was a well-experienced replacement on hand in the form of McClendon, who had functioned as the hitting coach.

Also moving into a new role is Joe Vavra, who’ll step in to coach the bats. He’s also exceedingly experienced in his new role, having occupied the same spot for a lengthy stretch alongside Gardenhire with the Twins. Otherwise, Ramon Santiago and Dave Clark will flip-flop base coaching duties, with the former going to third and the latter moving over to first.

With that business taken care of, the Tigers do have one coaching opening to account for. Vavra had worked as quality control coach and it appears the team will seek someone to take on the same job title.

Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Willi Castro Earns Opportunity To Compete For Shortstop Job In 2020]]> 2019-09-29T16:09:53Z 2019-09-29T14:33:57Z
  • Another rookie who could be positioned for playing time on a rebuilding team is Tigers infielder Willi Castro. A September call-up, Castro hasn’t gotten off to an especially rousing start to his MLB career. He has, though, impressed manager Ron Gardenhire, who tells Chris McCosky of the Detroit News Castro will have a chance to compete for the Tigers’ shortstop job in spring training. The 22 year-old, whom Detroit acquired from Cleveland in 2018 for Leonys Martín, ranks as Detroit’s #11 prospect, per Baseball America. He hit a solid .301/.366/.467 this season in his first extended action in Triple-A.
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    George Miller <![CDATA[Latest On Tigers' Staff]]> 2019-09-28T22:21:38Z 2019-09-28T22:14:34Z Although Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire has indicated his desire to return to the club next season, the fate of his coaching staff may yet be up in the air, according to Evan Woodbery of MLive Media Group. With the season coming to a close, general manager Al Avila and company are apparently still faced with decisions regarding the status of the team’s staff, with announcements to come at season’s end. As The Athletic’s Cody Stavenhagen speculates, that certainly makes it seem like changes are coming, though of course any relevant announcements will have to wait. Gardenhire previously expressed his hope that his staff would remain intact for 2020, the final year of his contract. That group includes familiar faces like Rick Anderson and Steve Liddle, as well as Lloyd McClendon and Ramon Santiago. However, after such a dreadful year in all facets of the game, the front office will certainly look critically at the coaching.

    George Miller <![CDATA[Jeimer Candelario Running Out Of Chances?]]> 2019-09-21T22:43:54Z 2019-09-21T22:39:15Z
  • Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario may be playing himself out of the Tigers’ future plans, writes Chris McCosky of The Detroit News. Thought to be the third baseman of the future when he was acquired from Chicago in 2017, Candelario has taken steps backward this season, with his wRC+ plummeting to just 67. The organization hasn’t completely given up hope yet, though the 25-year-old is running out of chances to rediscover his swing if he’s to stay on a Major League roster as a corner infielder. He hopes that playing winter ball after the season—something he wasn’t able to do last year because of a wrist injury—will help him get on the right track.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Three Needs: Detroit Tigers]]> 2019-09-19T14:06:51Z 2019-09-19T14:06:51Z We’re bringing back our “Three Needs” series, in which we take a look at the chief issues to be addressed for clubs that have fallen out of contention. We started with the Mariners and will now turn to a Tigers club that is finishing out a brutal season …

    [Detroit Tigers Depth Chart]

    1. Work The Wire Aggressively

    We’re focused here on reasonably attainable goals in a given offseason, not just identifying the very worst parts of a bad roster. And truth be told, it’s a bit of a fool’s errand to look too closely at specific areas of need. The reality of the situation in Detroit is that the organization is about as devoid of present MLB talent as any in recent memory. When a team is this bad, it’s not hard to identify areas to get better. Rather than focusing primarily on filling gaps, the approach this winter should be to accumulate as much talent as possible.

    With the worst record in baseball, the Tigers not only have the first pick in next year’s draft (and in the upcoming Rule 5 draft), but top waiver priority from now until thirty days have elapsed in the 2020 campaign. That represents the first bite at the apple on any player who’s sent onto the wire. It’s a nifty benefit — if you’re willing and able to do the 40-man roster maneuvering needed to make it work.

    Any front office must take care to protect their own prospects and manage the 40-man. The Tigers are no different. But a willingness to be aggressive with marginal veterans can help create additional openings. Having already sunken this far, the club can’t worry too much about holding open roster spots for lower-ceiling talent.

    While GM Al Avila certainly has placed some claims since taking the helm — including a few quite recently — he’s nowhere near as apt to utilize that mechanism as, say, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. There are conceivable benefits to avoiding too much churn, particularly during the season. But working the waiver wire — both by claiming and in some cases attempting to outright previously claimed players — offers an intriguing path to securing the rights to interesting players and obtaining a first-hand look.

    2. Don’t Shy Away From Trading Matthew Boyd

    Hanging onto Matthew Boyd at the trade deadline may or may not have been wise. It’s impossible to pass judgment from the outside without knowing what was actually available in trade talks. Though it stinks for the Detroit organization that the 28-year-old has gone on to post a suboptimal second half, that doesn’t mean we should re-litigate the trade deadline call without further information.

    So, what now? It’s easy to presume that the Tigers have no choice but to hang onto Boyd and hope he shows better in the first half of 2019, creating a new deadline opportunity. And that may be the likeliest outcome. But the possibility of a deal shouldn’t be foreclosed in advance.

    It’s true, Boyd did take a step back over his past dozen starts. But he didn’t collapse. He has still averaged better than eleven strikeouts per nine in that span. While the walks and homers are up significantly, his physical skills don’t appear to have eroded. There’s no reason to believe he’s hurt. Most of the same things that made him so suddenly interesting remain in place, such as a 14.0% swinging-strike rate, 3.56 SIERA, and three years of affordable arbitration control.

    When contenders scan the free agent market for options, they’re not going to see that kind of upside — at least, for anything less than a whopping financial investment. Boyd won’t require that kind of commitment. The Detroit club shouldn’t settle for just anything, but ought to be shopping a talented pitcher who is rather unlikely to be in his prime and in a Tigers uniform when the team is next competitive.

    3. Consider A Multi-Year Free Agent Signing

    Wait, what?! Yeah, I’m advocating for selling off the team’s best remaining MLB asset and generally abandoning any thought of near-term contention. But that doesn’t mean the Tigers should be in pure tank mode. The point is that they ought to be looking for ways to maximize opportunities to add value to the organization. And that can include adding MLB players.

    The Tigers are three winters removed from a multi-year free-agent signing. You have to go way back to that 2015-16 offseason to find any big spending. There’s good reason for that, to be sure. But there are also reasons to consider the potential upside in exploring larger deals again.

    No, I’m not saying the Tigers should be signing the next Justin Upton or Jordan Zimmermann deal. But continuing to ink one-year, fill-in veterans makes for limited upside. After committing $15.5MM, the club wasn’t able to cash in any of its most recent one-year signings (Tyson Ross, Jordy Mercer, Matt Moore, Josh Harrison) because all of these veterans ended up being hurt. And I need not remind Tigers fans of the disappointing outcomes of the rental sales of J.D. Martinez and Nicholas Castellanos.

    The Tigers’ payroll obligations are falling off a cliff, with nothing committed from this point forward aside from the sunk costs of Zimmermann and Miguel Cabrera (along with one more payout to Prince Fielder). With many organizations showing a reduced willingness to give the extra year, there could be some opportunity to draw interesting free agents to Detroit. That could open the door to a class of players the Tigers wouldn’t otherwise have access to while also increasing the potential return that could be realized in a trade if things go well. Plus, spreading the risk of injuries over multiple seasons isn’t without its merit. With free payroll to work with, the Tigers should have greater risk appetite and at least pursue some bold strategies.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Claim Marcos Diplan]]> 2019-09-16T18:29:54Z 2019-09-16T18:29:14Z The Tigers announced Monday that they’ve claimed right-hander Marcos Diplan off waivers from the Twins. In order to make room on the 40-man roster, Detroit placed left-handed reliever Daniel Stumpf on the 60-day injured list due to a left elbow strain.

    Minnesota picked up Diplan in a minor July swap with the Brewers, sending cash to Milwaukee after Diplan had been designated for assignment. The 22-year-old righty never pitched in a big league game with the Twins before being designated for assignment himself this past weekend when Minnesota added hard-throwing prospect Jorge Alcala to its MLB roster.

    Diplan, in fact, has never pitched at the big league level or even progressed beyond Double-A. He appeared in 38 games between the Double-A affiliates for the Twins and Brewers, totaling 68 2/3 innings of 4.85 ERA ball with 9.6 K/9 against 5.8 BB/9. Diplan was ranked among the Brewers’ 10 to 20 best prospects back in 2017 but has seen his stock dip in recent seasons. As Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen wrote back in ’17, he has an above-average fastball that runs up to 95 mph and a pair of inconsistent but at-times above-average secondary pitches in his changeup and slider.

    Control has clearly been an ongoing issue for Diplan, who has averaged nearly five walks per nine innings pitched in his professional career. He has a minor league option remaining beyond the current season, however, and given the total lack of certainty in the Detroit bullpen, there’ll be ample opportunities for him in 2020 if he sticks on the 40-man roster over the course of the offseason.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Notes: E-Jax, Reyes, Norris, Castro, Minor League Staff]]> 2019-09-16T17:03:52Z 2019-09-16T17:03:52Z Edwin Jackson’s on-field performance in his second stint with the Tigers hasn’t given fans much to cheer about — 8.58 ERA in 35 2/3 innings — but catcher Grayson Greiner called Jackson’s experience “invaluable,” when talking with’s Jason Beck about the veteran right-hander’s role as a mentor. And while one would expect teammates to voice support for Jackson, Beck adds that a member of the opposing dugout also heaped praise onto Jackson. Orioles skipper Brandon Hyde called Jackson “one of my top five teammates I’ve ever been around” — a reference to the pair’s days together with the Cubs. “He’s a total pro and a class act, and there’s a reason why he’s been around so long and people want to have him around and always give him an opportunity, because he’s such a great guy,” said Hyde.

    Whether that makes Jackson worthy of a roster spot on a rebuilding team when his struggles on the mound have been so pronounced is another debate — one the Tigers will surely have internally this winter. Beck notes that Detroit could have interest in re-signing Jackson to a minor league contract. Doing so would at least bring him to Spring Training with the team’s young players and could give them a veteran to bridge the gap to promising pitching prospects like Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Tarik Skubal and others — if he makes the roster.

    More out of the Motor City…

    • Positive strides made by the trio of Victor Reyes, Daniel Norris and Harold Castro late in the 2019 season have most likely solidified their place on the 2020 roster, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News writes. Reyes, 25 next month, looked wholly overwhelmed as a Rule 5 pick in 2018, but he’s delivered a .299/.333/.415 slash line with a pair of homers, 14 doubles, three triples and six steals in 237 plate appearances since being recalled in 2019 — all while playing above-average defense in center. The Tigers began limiting Norris to three-inning outings last month, and he’s responded with a 3.86 ERA and a 21-to-7 K/BB ratio in 21 innings of work. He’s still been far too homer-prone in that time, but it’s an encouraging step forward for the former top prospect, who’ll likely command only a modest raise on this year’s $1.2MM salary in arbitration this winter. As for Castro, the 25-year-old has hit at a .305/.320/.399 clip in 333 plate appearances, although his paltry 2.7 percent walk rate and a .383 average on balls in play call into question the sustainability of that production.
    • Lynn Henning of the Detroit News reports that the Tigers have fired six minor league coaches, including Double-A hitting coach Brian Harper and minor league field coordinator Bill Dancy. The Tigers are still deciding the fate of Triple-A manager Doug Mientkiewicz, who is currently under contract through the 2020 season. Double-A skipper Mike Rabelo could be a potential replacement option for Mientkiewicz if Detroit opts not to bring him back, Henning adds.
    Dylan A. Chase <![CDATA[Cabrera Pulled Due To Chronic Knee Issue]]> 2019-09-15T04:02:46Z 2019-09-15T03:55:21Z The Tigers pulled out an 8-4 victory today over the equally troubled Orioles, but the win didn’t come without a fair share of bummer news. Baseball legend Miguel Cabrera was lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh inning, and the club announced after the game that the former Triple Crown winner is dealing with right knee soreness; as veteran reporter Chris McCosky of the Detroit News was quick to note, Cabrera has been dealing with chronic pain in that knee all season (link).

    George Miller <![CDATA[Ron Gardenhire Discusses Future With Tigers]]> 2019-09-15T01:12:25Z 2019-09-15T01:12:25Z On Saturday, Chris McCosky of The Detroit News published an interesting story regarding the ongoing contract situation of Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire. As McCosky points out, both Tigers owner Christopher Illitch and GM Al Avila have been complimentary of Gardenhire’s influence on Detroit’s young roster, and the veteran manager has himself indicated that he expects to return in 2020 to execute the third and final season of his current managerial contract. There may be one thing standing in the way of that goal: the status of Gardenhire’s staff.

    When he joined the Tigers before the 2018 season, Gardenhire brought with him a number of familiar faces from his time managing the Twins: pitching coach Rick Anderson, bench coach Steve Liddle, and quality control coach Joe Vavra all worked with Gardenhire in Minnesota. The rest of the Tigers’ staff—a group that includes Lloyd McClendon and Ramon Santiago, among others—has evidently earned Gardenhire’s trust and respect, and he may now look at those coaches as an invaluable part of his working process.

    If the 61-year-old will indeed continue to shepherd the Tigers toward eventual contention, it seems like the retention of his current staff is something of a non-starter. “I want to talk about my coaches more than anything else. I defend those guys no matter what happens here,” Gardenhire told McCosky. “That would be hard for me to take–if anything happens to my coaches. Those are the conversations we’re going to have.”

    For the time being, the possibility of an extension beyond 2020 seems to be the last thing on Gardenhire’s mind. That conversation will happen in due time, assuming there is mutual interest. Avila inked a “multi-year” contract extension earlier this season, which will keep him in Detroit for an as-yet-unreported length of time.

    “It’s always up to the boss and Al has said I want you back; I don’t have to worry about that,” Gardenhire said Saturday. “Now we’ll have to have a conversation on the rest of it. Not about an extension; I don’t (care) about that. That’s to be determined.”

    For his managerial career, Gardenhire holds an 1175-1240 record, including playoff berths in six of the thirteen years he spent in Minnesota. Since joining the Tigers, though, it’s been a different story: in nearly two full seasons in Detroit, Gardy’s teams have managed just a .347 winning percentage as the club has jettisoned productive veterans like Mike Fiers and Nicholas Castellanos from the active roster in pursuit of a prospect-oriented setup.

    TC Zencka <![CDATA[CEO Christopher Ilitch Speaks To Reporters]]> 2019-09-14T14:49:32Z 2019-09-14T14:39:02Z
  • Tigers President and CEO Christopher Ilitch spoke with reporters yesterday about the direction of the franchise, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. Generally speaking, Ilitch didn’t provide any groundbreaking news. He appeared content with the speed of Detroit’s rebuild while focusing on continued progress as the organization’s only present mandate. Of course, he couldn’t say much to praise the Tigers’ current performance level without seeming disingenuous, and there would be little point in publicly denigrating a team that could well be on its way to a second top overall pick in three years. The primary takeaway seems to be an overall lack of urgency at the big league level – good news for prospect truthers, frustrating for those with hopes of seeing a competitive on-field product at Comerica Park in 2020. It seems there will be at least one more season of slow-and-steady as they continue to flesh out an increasingly well-regarded farm system.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Niko Goodrum Not Ruling Out 2019 Return]]> 2019-09-11T05:54:10Z 2019-09-11T05:54:10Z
  • Tigers utilityman Niko Goodrum is reportedly unlikely to return this season, though he hasn’t given up on a potential late-season comeback, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News tweets. Goodrum hasn’t played in nearly three weeks thanks to an adductor strain, which has taken away a much-needed bright spot for the struggling Tigers. The uber-versatile 27-year-old has slashed .248/.322/.421 with 12 home runs, a dozen steals and 1.9 fWAR across 472 plate appearances.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Tigers Claim Troy Stokes]]> 2019-09-03T18:13:58Z 2019-09-03T18:07:17Z The Tigers have claimed outfielder Troy Stokes Jr. off waivers from the Brewers, per a club announcement. To create 40-man space, the Detroit organization released lefty Ryan Carpenter.

    Stokes has at times been considered a solid prospect, but lost his 40-man spot recently. He has managed only a .233/.341/.385 batting line this year in 381 plate appearances at Triple-A.

    Carpenter, who just turned 29, has been on the injured list but obviously wasn’t in the Tigers’ future plans. He has struggled to an 8.57 ERA in 63 career MLB frames.

    Dylan A. Chase <![CDATA[Christin Stewart Among Slew Of Tigers Call-Ups]]> 2019-09-02T23:11:58Z 2019-09-02T22:59:36Z Several new faces will be joining the Tigers on a flight to Kansas City this evening, as MLive’s Evan Woodbery was among those to report that outfielder Christin Stewart, third baseman Jeimer Candelario, pitcher Tyler Alexander, catcher Grayson Greiner, pitcher Zac Reininger, and pitcher Daniel Stumpf will be called up to the big club in short order (Twitter link).

    It would be an exercise in tedium to review the records of each player joining the Detroit dugout this week, so individual focus will instead be paid to Stewart, a player that prior to the season ranked as the team’s sixth-best prospect according to Fangraphs. Cited as being in possession of raw power and a solid batting eye, the Tennessee alum has been nonetheless seen as a work in progress, at best, on the outfield grass.

    The 25-year-old was handed a substantial crack at playing time for the rebuilding Tigers this season but failed to make an impact in 327 at-bats. His .239/.321/.393 output was disappointing considering the outfielder’s solid output with Triple-A Toledo in 2018, a campaign that saw Stewart hitting .264/.364/.480 (138 wRC+) in 522 at-bats with the Mud Hens. He has been with Toledo for the entirety of this August following his demotion at the end of July.

    Dylan A. Chase <![CDATA[Tigers Minor Leaguer Chace Numata Passes Away At 27]]> 2019-09-02T22:11:35Z 2019-09-02T22:07:41Z According to a statement from the organization, Tigers Double-A catcher Chace Numata has passed away from injuries sustained in a skateboarding accident on Friday. Numata was 27 years of age.

    Numata was a switch-hitting catcher from Pearl City, Hawaii who originally broke into pro ball as a 14th round pick of the Phillies organization in 2010. A veteran of ten professional seasons, Numata appeared with the Phillies, Yankees, and Tigers organizations in his career. In 2019, Numata’s first with the Detroit organization, the backstop received his first opportunity in Triple-A baseball, while spending the majority of the season with the club’s Double-A affiliate in Erie.

    A statement from the Tigers organizations regarding Numata’s untimely death reads as follows:

    “The Detroit Tigers are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Chace Numata, who was a catcher for our Double-A affiliate in Erie. Though this was his first year with our organization, Chace was beloved by many from our Major League club through all levels of our player development system. He had an engaging personality that quickly established him as a leader on and off the field, and his presence will be forever remembered in our organization and beyond. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, teammates, and coaches.”

    MLBTR offers condolences to Numata’s family and all those affected by his passing.