The Tigers announced Wednesday that they’ve signed right-handers Eduardo Paredes and Chris Smith to minor league pacts with invitations to Major League Spring Training. Lefty Nick Ramirez, too, has been added on a minors pact, though he won’t be in big league camp, it seems.
Despite seeing big league action with the Angels in both 2017 and 2018, Paredes is still just 23 years of age and won’t turn 24 until March. The righty showed a bit of promise in 22 1/3 innings with the Halos in 2017 but was bludgeoned to the tune of a 6.87 ERA in 18 1/3 innings in the 2018 campaign. In all, Paredes has a 5.53 ERA with 7.1 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 1.55 HR/9 and a 44.1 percent ground-ball rate in 40 2/3 frames as a big leaguer. His average fastball has sat at a solid but unspectacular 93.3 mph over his two MLB campaigns, and he’s posted below-average marks in terms of swinging-strike rate and opponents’ chase rate.
Paredes has had a fair bit of success in the upper minors, however, and he moved quickly through the lower minor league ranks while posting gaudy strikeout totals along the way. Given his relative youth, there’s perhaps still some hope that he could yet develop into a usable reliever at the MLB level. A rebuilding club like the Tigers should be able to provide him ample opportunity, should he earn a roster spot in camp or force his way onto the MLB roster with a strong Triple-A showing.
The 30-year-old Smith has just five big league innings under his belt, all of which came with the Blue Jays back in 2017. He spent the 2018 campaign with the Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate and pitched fairly well, notching a 3.93 ERA with 10.6 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 1.15 HR/9 and a 32.2 percent grounder rate. All but one of Smith’s 189 appearances in the minors has been a relief outing, and he’s generally shown an ability to register more than a strikeout per inning with solid control. Like Paredes, his fastball sits 93-94 mph, and a slider is his go-to secondary offering.
As for Ramirez, the 29-year-old is a first baseman turned pitcher who has had success on the mound at the Double-A level but struggled in Triple-A. The former Brewers farmhand has a pristine 1.48 ERA with 7.3 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9 in 109 innings of Double-A work, but Triple-A batters have handled him with ease. In 38 innings at the minors’ top level, Ramirez has a 5.66 ERA with more walks allowed (21) than strikeouts recorded (18). Of course, he’s still rather new to pitching at the professional level, and much of those 38 innings came in the hitters’ paradise that is the Pacific Coast League — specifically in hitter-friendly Colorado Springs.