For the past few Novembers, Detroit Tigers fans may have grown accustomed to how it is rather quiet when it comes to roster moves. While the Tucker Barnhart trade last year was early in the off-season last year, for the most part, it has been relatively ho-hum. However, on Friday, a few names that Tigers fans have seen through the rebuild are now free agents.
Jeimer Candelario, Harold and Willi Castro were the among the names on the 40-man roster who the Tigers declined to tender contracts for on Friday.That brings the roster down to 38. Miguel Diaz, who Detroit picked up from San Diego, pitched a majority of the season in Toledo before getting a cup of coffee with the Tigers. Funkhouser was already designated for assignment on Tuesday, as he missed all of 2022 with a right shoulder injury.
Time to move on
For Jeimer Candelario, he is just a season removed from leading the league in doubles in 2021 and hitting a slash line of .271/.351/.443 with an OPS+ of 121. After having walking around an 8.6% clip for his career, this season, his walk rate dropped to 6%, the lowest of his career, while putting up a -0.1 fWAR. There was a sharp drop-off in other statcast stats that is perhaps why Detroit decided to move on. He was set to make $7 million dollars.
The question is now who will play third? Currently, on the 40-man roster, Andre Lipcius and Ryan Kreidler have been regulars at third, but it could be the case that Detroit could go after a free agent. Brandon Drury, who is right-handed, posted a 2.6 WAR with the Reds and the Padres last season. He hit 28 home runs last season in a career year but as Kiley McDaniel of ESPN said, teams see him more or less than a utility player and on the wrong side of 30. He is seeking a contract for three years for $33 million. However, that would give the Tigers an entire infield of right-handed hitters, so that has a possibility of not being a good fit.
While Edwin Ríos was non-tendered by the Dodgers on Friday and is a left-hitting 3rd baseman with power, he has been limited due to injuries if you were thinking of ideas off the top of your head. One free agent to consider is Jace Peterson. He is known more for his glove, as he posted a seven outs above average, which was good for sixth in the league in 2022. He can also play the outfield and second base.
Alexander and Meadows have come to agreements
As far as who is staying, Tyler Alexander and Austin Meadows both came to an agreement. Alexander is set to make $1.6 million dollars and Meadows, $4 million.
Castro, who has been with the organization since 2011, hit .271 however, produced a -0.4 fWAR and, along with Willi, had a hard time drawing walks and hitting for power. These decisions perhaps may be hard to swallow for some Tigers fans. Jeimer no doubt could still help out another team. But honestly, the roster needs a refresh, makeover, whatever you want to call it. The stats speak for themselves in 2022. There will be more changes to come, but where and when is the next question. The next Tigers third baseman could come via trade. But has Scott Harris has indicated, every position they will look for ways to get better.
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