|November 26||3:00 PM|
- CARRERA ELECTS FREE AGENCY, MILB SIGNINGS
Claimed Josh Zeid (RHP) off waivers from Houston and added to Detroit’s 40-man roster
Designated Ezequiel Carrera (OF) for assignment, outrighted to Toledo. Carrera elected free agency
Signed Jefry Marte (3B) to a minor league contract
Signed Tim Melville (RHP) to a minor league contract
Signed Omar Duran (LHP) to a minor league contract
Signed Xavier Avery (OF) to a minor league contract
After claiming Josh Zeid off waivers, the Tigers had to let someone go from the 40-man, and elected to drop Carrera, who filled in as center fielder last summer after the trade of Austin Jackson, but was not likely to be a long-term solution. Rather than accepting his assignment to Toledo, Carrera chose to become a free agent and it’s unlikely he’ll return to the organization, especially after the acquisition of Anthony Gose earlier this offseason.
Zeid has a live arm, with a fastball that averaged 95 MPH according to Pitch Info last season, along with a slider that got a swing and miss 20% of the time, but struggled on the mound when it came to results, yielding a 6.97 ERA in 23 appearances. He did average nearly 8 strikeouts per nine innings though, and with an xFIP of 3.87, could be a useful reliever for the club.
Many of the minor league signings made are mostly depth plays for the organization, as is typical this time of year. Marte comes to the Tigers via the Athletics, where he hit for a solid average and posted a good walk rate, but has shown limited power in games despite flashing much more in BP. Melville was highly regarded in the Royals system once upon a time, but injuries and a lack of control derailed his career. Duran was a strikeout machine for the A’s in A-ball and Double-A, but has had even more extreme issues with his control. Avery made his big league debut back in 2012 with the Orioles, but got shipped to the Mariners in 2013 and hasn’t returned to the MLB-level since, but did have a solid year for the Mariners in Triple-A last season.
|November 20||10:00 AM|
- NESBITT, MACHADO ADDED TO 40-MAN ROSTER
With the 40-man roster deadline on Thursday to identify who to protect in advance of the Rule 5 draft, the Tigers elected to protect only two players; Nesbitt and Machado. Both were logical additions that were identified in TigsTown’s Rule 5 preview Wednesday as needing to be protected.
While a handful of players could have also garnered consideration, the glaring omission is righty Edgar de la Rosa, who has showcased a live arm while mostly working as a starter. He’s 24 years old with only A-ball experience, so the risk of exposing him in the Rule 5 Draft is likely limited, but as a bonafide prospect with an impressive arm, it’s somewhat of a gamble on the part of the Tigers.
|November 17||12:00 PM|
- AVILA’S OPTION PICKED UP
Exercised option on Alex Avila (C ) for one-year, $5.4 million
This move shouldn’t come as a surprise to many, as despite some fan outcry, is still solid offensively and very good defensively, in addition to being highly valued for his work with the pitching staff. That, coupled with the limited number of alternatives available, and the high price free agents like Russell Martin are commanding, a deal like this is a relative bargain for the club. The risk remains the long-term health of Avila, as he’s battled a variety of injuries over the past few years, and more recently, has had issues with head trauma and concussions, which could put his career in jeopardy.
|November 14||12:00 PM|
- TIGERS RE-SIGN HANRAHAN AND MARTINEZ
Re-signed Victor Martinez (DH) to a four-year, $68 million deal
Re-signed Jack Hanrahan (RHP) to a one-year minor league contract valued at $1 million, with Major League incentives valued at $2.5 million
The news of the Martinez deal broke earlier in the week, but was made official on Friday. The deal makes Martinez the largest contract ever given to a designated hitter in history, with the average annual value of the deal sitting at $17 million. Owner Mike Ilitch made a rare public appearance at the signing press conference, reinforcing his desire to win now and putting his money where his mouth is in the process. The deal will obviously help keep the Tigers competitive in 2015, but presents major risks at the back end of the deal, when V-Mart will be 39 years old.
The Tigers also made their first move to the bullpen, but it wasn’t a blockbuster, simply bringing back Hanrahan on a minor league contract. The club liked what they saw out of Hanrahan when they signed him last May and hoped he could contribute down the stretch, but his recovery from Tommy John surgery didn’t go as smoothly as planned, and he was eventually shut down before ever making a big league appearance. The Tigers are optimistic that with several more months of rest and recovery, he’ll be ready to compete for a bullpen job in spring training. The risk here becomes that he still might not be, and might not ever be, and can’t fully be counted on to fill a role just yet.
|November 13||12:00 PM|
- TIGERS TRADE TRAVIS FOR ANTHONY GOSE
Traded Devon Travis (2B) to Toronto for Anthony Gose (OF)
As noted in the trade recap, while this deal received major headlines along the lines of the Tigers trading their top prospect for a starting center fielder, that might be pushing things on both sides. Gose is still very limited offensively, while TigsTown continues Travis someone in the neighborhood of the top ten, not a top prospect. But, it still provides the Tigers with a good defensive option for center and potentially a platoon option. While Gose has a career .633 OPS, he has been much more effective against right-handers, which has been primarily how the Jays used him in three years of sharing time.
|October 31||3:00 PM|
- DIRKS LOST TO WAIVERS, SORIA OPTION PICKED UP
Extended qualifying offers to Victor Martinez (DH) and Max Scherzer (RHP)
Outrighted Don Kelly (UT) to Toledo
Outrighted Evan Reed (RHP) to Toledo
Placed Andy Dirks (OF) on irrevocable waivers; claimed by Toronto Blue Jays
Placed Pat McCoy (LHP) on irrevocable waivers; claimed by Baltimore Orioles
Purchased the contract of Wynton Bernard (OF) from West Michigan and placed on Detroit’s 40-man roster
Released Manuel Joseph (OF/SS)
Many of the moves announced on Friday were of a housekeeping nature; opening up roster spots and preparing for free agency. The decision to extend qualifying offers to Scherzer and Martinez also comes as no surprise, as the Tigers hope to retain both players, and if they don’t, will receive draft pick compensation in return. The various other moves leave the 40-man roster sitting at 36 active players, before any additional Rule 5 Draft protection decisions are made.
The decision to place Dirks on waivers though is a surprise, after he entered 2014 with the expectation of being a most days starter in the outfield. Instead, he battled more injuries, a continuing hurdle for him, and likely the reason the Tigers elected to move on, as they simply couldn’t rely on him to be healthy for a 162-game season.
The second surprise move was the decision to add Bernard to the 40-man roster. Bernard would basically have qualified as a journeyman minor leaguer entering the spring, when he was signed in an open tryout. TigsTown was the first to point out how impressive he looked in spring camp, and that he’d likely be a major contributor to the Whitecaps, though no one could have predicted by would be crowned Midwest League MVP. Still, to protect a player on the 40-man indicates a belief that he could contribute to the big league club soon, and that would seem to be a stretch for a player like him.
Finally, not publicized with the rest of the moves, but the Tigers elected to release Joseph, who was named the DSL Tigers Player of the Year by the TigsTown this summer. Joseph excelled at the plate and was one of the best players in the DSL, but the Tigers made the decision to let him go due to some off the field concerns.