Detroit Tigers – MLB Trade Rumors 2021-01-18T15:16:33Z WordPress Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 1/16/21]]> 2021-01-16T19:54:30Z 2021-01-16T19:54:30Z The latest minor moves from around the sport…

  • The Tigers announced that left-hander Robbie Ross, right-hander Andrew Moore, first baseman Aderlin Rodriguez and infielder Yariel Gonzalez have all been signed to minor league deals.  Ross is the most familiar name of the group, posting a 3.83 ERA over 321 2/3 innings as a workhorse member of the Rangers and Red Sox bullpens from 2012-16 (also starting 12 games with Texas in 2014).  After an injury-riddled 2017, however, Ross hasn’t returned to the majors, pitching in the White Sox farm system and then independent ball.  Moore is the only other member of the quartet with MLB experience, as he tossed 63 2/3 innings for the Mariners (posting a 5.51 ERA) over parts of the 2017 and 2019 seasons.
Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: 1/15/21]]> 2021-01-16T03:42:52Z 2021-01-15T16:51:22Z The deadline to exchange arbitration figures is today at 1pm ET. As of this morning, there were 125 arbitration-eligible players who’d yet to agree to terms on their contract for the upcoming 2021 season. Arbitration is muddier than ever before thanks to the shortened 2020 schedule, which most believe will lead to record number of arb hearings this winter. Be that as it may, it’s still reasonable to expect dozens of contractual agreements to filter in over the next couple of hours.

We’ll highlight some of the more high-profile cases in separate posts with more in-depth breakdowns, but the majority of today’s dealings will be smaller-scale increases that don’t radically alter a team’s payroll or a player’s trade candidacy. As such, we’ll just run through most of today’s agreements in this post.

I’ve embedded MLBTR’s 2021 Arbitration Tracker in the post (those in the mobile app or viewing on mobile web will want to turn their phones sideways). Our tracker can be sorted by team, by service time and/or by Super Two status, allowing users to check the status on whichever groups of players they like. You can also check out Matt Swartz’s projected arbitration salaries for this year’s class, and we’ll do a quick sentence on each player’s agreement at the bottom of this post as well, with the most recent agreements sitting atop the list.

Today’s Agreements (chronologically, newest to oldest)

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TC Zencka <![CDATA[Notable International Signings: 1/15/21]]> 2021-01-15T17:35:00Z 2021-01-15T15:43:43Z The 2020-21 international signing period is officially underway, and though this signing period is open until Dec. 15, 2021, many of the big names have already signed. Teams have long since lined up deals with newly eligible teenage players, so the news today largely represents confirmation of what was anticipated. Still, it’s a day of no small moment, particularly for the young men embarking upon professional careers.

Let’s round up some of the most notable signings of the day. Most of these agreements have been known for awhile, as both Baseball America’s Ben Badler (signings tracker; scouting links) and’s Jesse Sanchez (Twitter feed; rankings) have listed each club’s expected landing spot and approximate signing bonus on their rankings for months. You can find each team’s total bonus pool and other information on the process right here. Check the above links for further information and other signings. Despite today’s announcements, many of these deals won’t become official for even a couple of weeks, notes Sanchez. Here are a few key deals:

  • Yoelqui Céspedes, OF, White Sox: The half-brother of outfielder Yoenis Céspedes, the Cuban outfielder joins a strong international tradition in Chicago with the White Sox, who currently field Cuban stars such as reigning AL MVP Jose Abreu, centerfielder Luis Robert, and third baseman Yoan Moncada. has Céspedes ranked as the top international prospect in this class thanks to being a “a five-tool player with above-average tools across the board.” Baseball America is slightly less bullish, putting him at No. 12 on their board, noting that the pandemic limited opportunities for scouting. The 23-year-old will be one of the older prospects from this class to sign, and though he has the ability to play center, Robert’s presence in Chicago means he is probably ticketed for right. The White Sox also signed Cuban hurler Norge Vera for $1.5MM. Vera came in at No. 15 on’s rankings. Fangraphs has Cespedes as Chicago’s new No. 25 ranked prospect, and Vera at No. 14.
  • Armando Cruz, SS, Nationals: Cruz officially joined the Nationals today for the most money the Nationals have ever paid out to single player during the international signing period, with The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli (via Twitter) pegging the final number at $3.9MM. BA writes in their scouting report, “He’s a defensive wizard with phenomenal hands and a strong arm, combining the ability to make acrobatic, highlight plays along with the internal clock and game savvy well beyond his years.” The Nationals signed 11 international players in total, notes Ghiroli.
  • Pedro Leon, OF, Astros: Houston will pay $4MM to add’s 7th-ranked international prospect to their system, per Sanchez. Baseball America has Leon as the top prospect of his class. Like Céspedes, the Cuban outfield is one of the older members of this class, but he brings plus speed, power, and the ability to stick in centerfield.
  • Manuel Beltre, SS, Blue Jays: The Blue Jays added perhaps the most advanced hitter of the class in Beltre. has Beltre as the No. 24 ranked prospect in the class, signing for $2.6MM, though Shi Davidi of (via Twitter) pegs the final number to be closer to $2.35MM. The Dominican shortstop could ultimately end up at second base, Sanchez writes, but he has arm enough to stay at short.
  • Pedro Pineda, OF, Athletics: MLB Insider Jon Heyman (via Twitter) has Pineda signing with Oakland for less than $4MM, but the sum isn’t likely to fall far below that threshold. Baseball America has Pineda as the No. 11 ranked prospect in this class, writing, “Pineda is a strong, athletic, physical center fielder with a loud tool set and a power/speed threat. He has excellent speed, a fast bat and the power potential to hit 25-plus home runs.”

Several other well-regarded prospects also secured bonuses of $2MM or more, with the specifics provided here by Sanchez:

  • Rays, $3MM, shortstop Carlos Colmenarez
  • Cubs, $3MM, shortstop, Cristian Hernandez
  • Pirates, $2.3MM, outfielder Shalin Polanco
  • Tigers, $2.95MM, shortstop Cristian Santana
  • Twins, $2.3MM, shortstop Danny De Andrada
  • Angels, $2MM, shortstop Denzer Guzman
  • Marlins, $3.5MM, shortstop Yiddi Cappe
Steve Adams <![CDATA[Corey Kluber, Steve Cishek, Anthony Swarzak Throw For Teams]]> 2021-01-14T20:08:26Z 2021-01-14T13:20:59Z Jan. 14: ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that Kluber’s market could come together rather quickly with one throwing session for teams in the books. He’s not expected to require a second showcase to further demonstrate his health.

Jan. 13: Free-agent right-hander Corey Kluber held a showcase for interested teams today, and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that relievers Anthony Swarzak and Steve Cishek both threw for teams as well. (All three are clients of Jet Sports Management, so it’s natural that they’d host the workout together.) As many as 25 teams were present, per The Atheltic’s Britt Ghiroli (Twitter link).

ESPN’s Jeff Passan notes that Kluber’s velocity topped out at 90 mph, though given where he is in the rehab process from last year’s injuries, it wasn’t expected that he’d be up to peak velocity just yet. Eric Cressey, whose strength and conditioning facility hosted the showcase, told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers yesterday that Kluber was at 87-89 mph in the prior session. Cressey suggested that Kluber is already ahead of many pitchers who’ve not yet ramped up their throwing to this point. Kluber averaged 92 mph on his heater back during his excellent 2018 campaign.

The full list of teams in attendance isn’t known, although given that this was an open look at a two-time Cy Young winner and a pair of relievers with considerable late-inning MLB experience, it’d be more notable to learn which few teams weren’t in attendance than to know which clubs were. Still, it’s at least worth noting that each of the Mets, YankeesNationals, Red Sox, Rays, Twins, Cubs, Rangers, Marlins, Tigers, Pirates, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks and Indians were all reported to be attending the showcase. Obviously, it’s not an all-encompassing list.

Broadly speaking, if Kluber is indeed at a point in his rehab that inspires confidence, one would imagine the market for him will be robust. The extent to which clubs are willing to bet on a guaranteed contract on the two-time Cy Young winner will vary, but he should easily command a big league deal with plenty of incentives on top of whatever base the highest bidder will commit.

Kluber may be something of a lottery ticket at this point, but few gambles come with such pronounced upside. From 2014-18, the right-hander was one of the game’s premier pitchers, working to a combined 2.85 ERA while striking out 28.5 percent of the hitters he faced against just a 5.2 percent walk rate. Only three of the 179 qualified starting pitchers in that time period — Chris Sale, Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer — topped Kluber’s 23.3 K-BB%.

Since that time, however, he’s been limited to 36 2/3 innings by a fractured forearm (sustained when he was hit by a line drive), an oblique strain and a teres major strain. Traded from Cleveland to Texas last winter, Kluber pitched just one inning for the Rangers in 2020.

While most of the focus is understandably on Kluber, the presence of Swarzak and Cishek is certainly notable as well. Both righties are looking for rebounds of their own. Swarzak signed with the Phillies last winter but was released at the end of summer camp and didn’t sign with another club. A two-year, $14MM deal he signed with the Mets prior to the 2018 season proved regrettable, as shoulder issues torpedoed both of those seasons. However, back in 2017 Swarzak tossed 77 1/3 frames with a 2.33 ERA with 91 punchouts against just 22 walks.

Cishek, meanwhile, rattled off four straight seasons with a sub-3.00 ERA from 2016-19, leading to a $6MM deal with the White Sox last winter. He didn’t last on Chicago’s South Side, however, as he was roughed up for a 5.40 ERA in just 20 innings. Cishek’s control has been trending in the wrong direction the past couple of seasons, but he missed bats at his typical levels and didn’t see a velocity dip in 2020.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitching Notes: Soria, Zimmermann, Sale, Price, LeBlanc]]> 2021-01-14T05:10:09Z 2021-01-14T05:10:09Z It seems veteran hurler Joakim Soria is drawing quite a lot of interest from the American League West.’s Jon Morosi tweets that the AngelsAstrosAthletics, and Rangers are all pursuing Soria to some degree. Of course, most teams could stand to add an experienced late-inning reliever coming off of a quality season, so it stands to reason that just about every club in a competitive division would give a look. Soria, 36, registered a strong 2.82 ERA last year in Oakland, though that’s hardly a determinative measure on its own for a reliever in a shortened season. The well-traveled hurler managed only a 9.6% swinging-strike rate, his lowest in quite some time, and suddenly shifted to being a heavy flyball pitcher (though he wasn’t punished with many home runs in the short sample).

More from the pitching market:

  • After wrapping up a greatly disappointing tenure with the Tigers, Jordan Zimmermann is taking quite a different free agent journey than his first one. It’s fair to wonder whether he’d consider retiring, but the 34-year-old tells’s Jason Beck (Twitter link) that he’s instead preparing for another campaign. Zimmermann is sure to draw interest, but not on a guaranteed big-league pact. He has largely been ineffective since coming to Detroit five seasons back and is now also recovering from a forearm injury.
  • The Red Sox could soon get a good sense of the return timeline for star lefty Chris Sale. Per MassLive’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter), Sale is expected to throw from a mound at some point in the next two weeks or so — if all goes as planned. It’s promising that he’s already nearing that milestone, having undergone his Tommy John procedure at the end of March of 2020. It is hard to imagine that Sale will be ready for the start of the season, but perhaps he could resume competitive pitching relatively early in the 2021 campaign.
  • Also on his way back is Sale’s former teammate David Price. He posted a video on Twitter showing that he’s hard at work preparing for the upcoming season. The Dodgers will surely be interested to see how the ball is coming out of the once-great lefty’s hand after a long respite. Price, who was acquired in a blockbuster nearly one year ago, has yet to take the ball with his new team. He opted out of the 2020 season.
  • Teams looking for a spot starter and long reliever will soon have another option to consider. Southpaw Wade LeBlanc is still plugging away despite suffering a tough elbow injury last year. Per’s Jon Morosi (Twitter link), LeBlanc is in good enough form that he’s now preparing for a showcase. LeBlanc posted a resurgent 2018 season but has struggled more recently, so he’s sure to land a non-guaranteed deal when he does sign.
Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Expected To Attend Corey Kluber's Showcase]]> 2021-01-13T02:54:21Z 2021-01-13T02:19:39Z
  • The Tigers are expected to be among the teams on hand for free-agent right-hander Corey Kluber’s showcase in Florida on Wednesday, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News tweets. It figures to be a well-attended event to watch Kluber, a two-time American League Cy Young winner in Cleveland who endured injury-plagued years in 2019 and ’20. A fractured forearm limited the longtime workhorse to 35 2/3 innings in his last season as a member of the Indians, and then he threw just one frame last year as a Ranger while battling shoulder issues. Still, the 34-year-old looks to carry plenty of appeal as a buy-low candidate. In Detroit’s case, the 34-year-old could help improve a rotation that received dismal production from Matthew Boyd and Michael Fulmer last season, perhaps while mentoring much younger hurlers such as Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tigers, Michael Fulmer Avoid Arbitration]]> 2021-01-13T00:09:53Z 2021-01-12T23:57:01Z The Tigers have avoided arbitration with right-hander Michael Fulmer, per a team announcement. He’ll earn $3.1MM in 2021, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. That sum falls in line with MLBTR’s projection of $2.8MM to $3.2MM.

    This agreement comes in the wake of a nightmarish season for Fulmer, who managed an 8.78 ERA/5.58 SIERA over 27 2/3 innings in his first action since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2019. The 27-year-old also posted personal worsts in average fastball velocity (93.1 mph, down from 95-plus in prior seasons), strikeout percentage (14.7), walk percentage (8.8), groundball rate (8.8) and home runs per nine (2.6).

    Last season was the second straight rocky campaign for Fulmer, who logged subpar production by his previous standards during an injury-limited campaign in 2018. Before that, he was one of the game’s most coveted young starters from 2016-17, as he took home AL Rookie of the Year honors in his debut and continued recording quality numbers as a sophomore.

    Fulmer frequently came up in trade talks with teams seeking a controllable and high-end starter during his first couple years, but the Tigers never found an offer to their liking. Now, with Fulmer’s trade value at an all-time low, the Tigers are left to hope that he will bounce back to respectability in 2021 – his second-last year of arbitration eligibility.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Pirates Claim Troy Stokes Jr., Designate Nik Turley]]> 2021-01-12T21:05:36Z 2021-01-12T20:47:50Z The Pirates announced that outfielder Troy Stokes Jr. has been claimed off waivers from the Tigers.  Stokes was designated for assignment by Detroit earlier this week.  To create roster space, Pittsburgh has designated left-hander Nik Turley for assignment.

    The Tigers claimed Stokes off waivers from the Brewers in September 2019, and the outfielder will end his Detroit tenure without suiting up a single time for any team in the organization, thanks to the cancellation of the minor league season and a broken hamate bone in July that ended his 2020 campaign before it even began.

    Stokes has yet to appear in a Major League game, but he should get some opportunity on a rebuilding Pirates team.  Stokes has hit .250/.351/.414 over 2355 plate appearances in Milwaukee’s farm system, with an impressive 129-for-159 record in stealing bases.  While he has experience at all three outfield positions, the large majority of Stokes’ playing time has come as a left fielder.

    Turley tossed 21 2/3 innings for the Pirates in 2020, posting a 4.98 ERA, 21.7 K%, and 9.8 K-BB%.  Turley’s only previous MLB experience consisted of 17 2/3 innings with the 2017 Twins, but his career was interrupted by an 80-game PED suspension and then elbow problems.  Turley started 139 of 176 games during his minor league career, posting a 3.43 ERA over 787 2/3 innings mostly in the Yankees’ farm system, but also seeing time with the Red Sox, Giants, and Twins.

    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Tigers Hope To Add Another Free Agent Pitcher]]> 2021-01-10T15:20:02Z 2021-01-08T20:54:46Z
  • The Tigers are hoping to sign another free agent pitcher, general manager Al Avila told reporters (including Evan Woodbery of MLive). Detroit already added former Marlins right-hander José Ureña on a one-year deal this offseason. Ureña joins fellow rebound hopefuls Matt Boyd and Michael Fulmer in a rotation mix that also includes Spencer Turnbull and a handful of very highly-regarded pitching prospects. That wouldn’t make the rotation a seeming area of need for the Tigers on paper. However, with a projected significant increase between 2020 and 2021 in the number of innings teams will need, the Tigers are looking to stockpile pitching depth. Avila noted the organization is considering adopting a six-man rotation at points next season to help shoulder heightened workloads.
  • ]]>
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Tigers Sign Miguel Del Pozo To Minors Deal]]> 2021-01-07T20:00:59Z 2021-01-07T20:00:59Z The Tigers announced that left-hander Miguel Del Pozo has been signed to a minor league contract.  Del Pozo chose to become a free agent following the season, after he was outrighted off the Pirates’ roster during the summer.

    Del Pozo has been hit hard over his 13 career MLB innings, with a total 12.46 ERA from 9 1/3 innings with the Angels in 2019 and then 3 2/3 frames for Pittsburgh last season.  Del Pozo has more walks (13) than strikeouts (13) as a big leaguer, an extreme version of control issues he displayed early in his pro career, though he has seemingly gotten his walks under control as he rose up the minor league ladder.

    Over 386 1/3 career innings in the Angels, Rangers, and Marlins farm systems, Del Pozo posted a 4.28 ERA, 25.8 K%, and 10.2% walk rate.  He has worked almost exclusively as a reliever throughout his career, and he joins Locke St. John and Ian Krol as left-handed minor league signing for Detroit within the last month.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tigers Outright Eric Haase]]> 2021-01-07T00:25:05Z 2021-01-07T00:25:05Z The Tigers announced that they have outrighted catcher Eric Haase, who cleared waivers after the team designated him for assignment last month.

    Haase is coming off his first season with Detroit, which acquired him from AL Central rival Cleveland last January. However, he only took 19 plate appearances and collected three hits (all singles) during his 2020 Detroit debut.

    Last year’s offensive struggles weren’t anything new for Haase, who has posted an ugly .122/.170/.184 line with one home run across 53 PA since he first made it to the majors in 2018. To his credit, the 28-year-old does own a far more impressive .232/.302/.479 mark with 49 HRs over 886 trips to the plate in Triple-A.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tigers Explored Deals With Nomar Mazara, Adam Duvall]]> 2021-01-06T17:42:14Z 2021-01-06T15:51:19Z
  • The Tigers signed Robbie Grossman on Tuesday, but fellow outfielders Adam Duvall and Nomar Mazara were on their radar before then, Jason Beck of tweets. Both Duvall and Mazara became available when their respective teams (Braves, White Sox) non-tendered them last month. Neither player performed as well as Grossman did in 2020, however. Grossman’s tool aren’t flashy, but he’s a smart player who takes what he’s given. He owns a .359 OBP across the last six seasons, a skill he flashed again last season with a solid 10.9 percent walk rate. He also avoids mistakes in the field: as Beck points out, Grossman’s 231-game active errorless streak ranks second among outfielders. It should be noted, Grossman’s total package brings a decidedly different skill set from either Duvall or Mazara, both of whom are known more for their power.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tigers Sign Robbie Grossman]]> 2021-01-06T04:59:41Z 2021-01-06T04:59:25Z 6:42pm: The Tigers have announced the signing.

    3:40pm: The two sides have a deal for two years and $10MM, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets. Grossman could make up to $500K per year in performance bonuses, per Stavenhagen.

    3:39pm: The Tigers are closing in on a two-year, $10MM agreement with free-agent outfielder Robbie Grossman, Cody Stavenhagen and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic report. The pact will also include performance bonuses for Grossman, a Lagardere Sports client.

    Detroit will be the fourth team for Grossman, a sixth-round pick in 2008 who has played in the bigs with the Astros, Twins and Athletics. Grossman played a small portion of his career in Houston under then-manager A.J. Hinch, who is now the Tigers’ skipper.

    Grossman and Hinch will now reunite, and the 31-year-old switch-hitter will bring a lifetime batting line of .252/.350/.380 with 50 home runs and 37 stolen bases in 2,748 plate appearances to his new team. While Grossman has been a roughly league-average offensive player throughout his career, he hasn’t graded out as well in the outfield, where he has combined for minus-19 Defensive Runs Saved and a minus-18.9 Ultimate Zone Rating among all three positions.

    Last season may have been a career offensive year for Grossman, who batted .241/.341/.482 (126 wRC+), hit eight homers and stole eight bases across 192 PA to conclude his A’s tenure. The majority of Grossman’s season was spent in left field, where the Tigers mostly deployed Christin Stewart in 2020. But Stewart and primary right fielder Daz Cameron had rough years, leaving the Tigers with a need in the corners. The hope is that Grossman will provide it, and his track record of getting on base suggests he’ll improve an offense that posted the league’s third-worst OBP (.303) last season.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tigers Designate Troy Stokes Jr.]]> 2021-01-06T01:01:57Z 2021-01-06T00:51:54Z The Tigers have designated outfielder Troy Stokes Jr. for assignment, Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic reports. The move creates 40-man roster space for outfielder Robbie Grossman, whom the Tigers signed Tuesday.

    Stokes was a 2014 fourth-round pick of the Brewers who stuck with the organization until it lost him on waivers to the Tigers in September 2019. He ended his career in the Brewers’ minor league system as a .250/.351/.411 hitter with 57 home runs and 129 stolen bases over 2,355 plate appearances. Stokes made his Triple-A debut in 2019 and batted .233/.341/.385 with nine homers and 14 steals in 381 PA. He still has two minor league options remaining.

    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Tigers Sign Locke St. John To Minor-League Contract]]> 2021-01-04T15:15:06Z 2021-01-04T15:15:06Z The Tigers have signed five players to minor-league deals, per a team announcement. Of the group, only left-hander Locke St. John has prior major league experience. St. John (28 later this month) began his pro career as a 32nd-round pick of the Detroit organization but didn’t make it to the majors as a Tiger.

    Instead, St. John was selected by the Rangers in the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 draft after the 2017 season. After a year and a half progressing through their minor-league system, St. John got to the big leagues with Texas in 2019. Across 6.2 MLB innings spanning seven relief appearances, he allowed four runs, struck out five and issued four walks. He was outrighted off the Rangers’ 40-man roster last winter.

    St. John has struggled with walks in recent seasons but also posted fairly strong strikeout rates in his time in the high minors. He’ll add some depth to a Tiger organization that features Tyler AlexanderDaniel Norris and Gregory Soto as lefty bullpen pieces on the 40-man.

    In addition to St. John, the Tigers announced deals with infielder Isrrael de la Cruz and right-handers A.J. LadwigHenry Martinez and Zac Shepherd.