The Tigers have signed left-hander Chasen Shreve to a minor league deal with an invitation to major league Spring Training. Shreve, a client of CAA Sports, can make up to $2MM if he’s in the majors. That comes in the form of a salary of $1.25MM if he makes it to the majors, with several incentives available based on innings pitched. He will get another $75K for getting to 20, 30, 35 and 40 innings pitched, $100K for 45 and 50 innings and $125K at 55 and 60 innings.
Shreve, 32, has pitched in the past nine major league seasons, spending time with the Braves, Yankees, Cardinals, Mets and Pirates. For his career, he’s made 317 appearances with a 3.87 ERA, striking out a strong 25.6% of batters faced and getting grounders at a fairly average 41% clip. His 11.4% walk rate is on the high side, but he’s largely been able to work around that.
In 2022, he signed a minor league deal with the Mets and was selected to their Opening Day roster. Unfortunately, Shreve posted a 6.49 ERA in 25 games and was released by the club in July. There are reasons to suspect bad fortune played a significant role and that Chasen deserved much better. His 25.4% strikeout rate was still strong and his 8.8% walk rate was actually better than many of his other seasons. A low 62.9% strand rate probably helped push his ERA northwards, as did 20.7% of his fly balls going over the fence. The advanced metrics were much more fond of his work last year, including a 5.01 FIP, 3.68 xFIP and 3.42 SIERA.
It’s possible that this deal for Shreve was referenced by Detroit’s president of baseball operations Scott Harris this weekend. After the club traded Gregory Soto to the Phillies, Harris spoke to reporters and said the club was looking to bolster their left-handed relief options in the wake of that deal. “We are hard at work on” this new acquisition, Harris said. “It may not be a major league deal, but [it’s] someone we’re excited about.”
After the Soto deal, the club is fairly short on left-handed relievers. Eduardo Rodriguez, Tarik Skubal, Matthew Boyd and Joey Wentz will likely all be starting, leaving Tyler Alexander as the lone southpaw relief option. Even Alexander is more of a swingman, having started 42 of his 95 games thus far in his big league career. It makes plenty of sense that the Tigers would look to add a lefty reliever who has past success. The club isn’t seen as an especially likely contender in 2023 after they had such dismal results in 2022. If Shreve can make the team, he can provide a veteran stabilizing force in the ’pen while also potentially turning into a midseason trade candidate.
Robert Murray of FanSided first reported that Shreve and the Tigers were in agreement on a minor league deal that could see him earn $2MM in the majors. Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press added that the deal had been signed and also provided the specific breakdown of the financials.