The Tigers have designated left-hander Daniel Stumpf for assignment, The Athletic’s Emily Waldon reports (Twitter link). Stumpf has already cleared waivers, and MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports that Stumpf will opt for free agency rather than accept an outright assignment to the Tigers’ minor league system.
Originally a Rule 5 Draft pick in 2016, Stumpf posted a 4.37 ERA, 8.4 K/9, and 2.13 K/BB over 105 innings out of the Tigers’ bullpen over the last three seasons. Stumpf’s 2019 performance (over 29 IP) came quite close to those numbers, putting him in line for a projected $800K salary for 2020 in his first trip through the arbitration process.
Despite that modest sum, the Tigers will still be moving on to create more room on their 40-man roster, Beck notes. He also observes that the incoming three-batter minimum rule (that will be instituted for the 2020 season) is a notable factor in Stumpf’s future effectiveness, which could be a story we see repeated for a number of specialist pitchers over the course of the offseason. While Stumpf hasn’t exactly been used solely as a lefty-only reliever over his career, he does have some wide career splits — left-handed batters have only a .687 OPS (in 229 PA) against Stumpf, while righty batters have crushed him to the tune of a .952 OPS (264 PA).