The Tigers announced that they’ve signed 12 players to minor league contracts (full list here), including veteran shortstop Pete Kozma and infielder Harold Castro — each of whom was outrighted off the 40-man roster and became a free agent two weeks ago. That pair will be invited to Major League Spring Training, as will former Astros right-hander Jose Cisnero.
Kozma, a former Cardinals shortstop, had two stints with the Tigers this season but hit just .217/.236/.348 in 73 trips to the plate. His Triple-A stats weren’t an improvement (.203/.260/.295), though the defensive specialist has always been primarily known for his glovework. He’s still just 30 years of age and won’t turn 31 until after Opening Day next April.
Castro will turn 25 at the end of the month and made a very brief MLB debut this past season, going 3-for-10 in limited action as a September call-up. He once ranked among the organization’s top 30 prospects, per Baseball America, but that was back in 2014, and he’s done little at the plate in recent seasons. He split the 2018 season between Double-A and Triple-A, hitting a combined .265/.283/.319 in 367 plate appearances.
Cisnero is exactly one year younger than Kozma and hasn’t appeared in the Majors since the 2014 season with Houston. He broke into the Majors as a 24-year-old in 2013 and showed a bit of promise, pitching to a 4.12 ERA with 8.5 K/9, 4.5 BB/9 and 1.03 HR/9 in 43 2/3 innings as a rookie. Elbow issues torched his 2014 season, though, and he’s only pitched 5 1/3 innings of affiliated ball since that season ended. He’s pitched exclusively in the Mexican League and in Winter Ball since that time — also all in limited fashion. He’s off to a strong start in the 2018-19 Dominican Winter League, having yielded three earned runs on four hits and four walks with 11 strikeouts through 10 1/3 innings of relief.