3:51pm: Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press adds some context to the surprising release of Moreno (Twitter link). The 22-year-old is set to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, GM Al Avila revealed today.
Avila added that placing Moreno on release waivers was the best way to get him off the 40-man roster while ensuring a chance to retain him via a new minor league deal (Twitter link via MLB.com’s Jason Beck). A player claimed off release waivers can reject the assignment to a new club in favor of free agency, whereas a player claimed from outright waivers would not (unless he had previously been outrighted or has three-plus years of MLB experience — neither of which applies to Moreno). The Tigers are interested in bringing Moreno back to the organization if he reaches the open market, per Avila.
2:35pm: The Tigers announced that they have released righty Gerson Moreno. That clears a 40-man roster spot, leaving the team with one opening.
Moreno, 22, was given a roster spot last fall to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. He had struggled at the Double-A level but found some success in the Arizona Fall League.
Entering the current season, Moreno graded among Detroit’s more notable prospects (see, e.g., MLB.com, Fangraphs) owing to his big fastball and reasonably promising (albeit still-inconsistent) secondary offerings. Thus far in 2018, Moreno’s return to the penultimate level of the minors has gone poorly. Through 17 innings, he carries a 5.29 ERA with 11.1 K/9 and 7.4 BB/9. Given the promise he showed heading into the season, it registers as at least some degree of surprise that the Tigers would simply cut him loose based on a handful of Double-A innings — no matter how discouraging they may have been.
Detroit also announced, as it had indicated previously, that lefties Francisco Liriano (hamstring strain) and Daniel Stumpf (ulnar nerve irritation) are each headed to the 10-day DL. Two relievers — righty Johnny Barbato and southpaw Ryan Carpenter — have been recalled to replace them on the active roster. At this time, it’s still not known how long Liriano and Stumpf are expected to be sidelined.