The Detroit Tigers made a series of moves to get their roster in order.
It’s fall cleaning season in baseball, and the Detroit Tigers have been busy emptying their shelves. They began a little more than 24 hours ago with the announcement Daz Cameron had been claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles. The Tigers also noted that Josh Lester was outrighted to Triple-A Toledo.
Neither move was particularly surprising. The Tigers didn’t call up Cameron late last year, and then Scott Harris admitted the team was looking for right-handed hitting outfielders. Clearly the writing was on the wall.
Cameron, of course, is one of three players the Tigers received from Houston in the ill-fated Justin Verlander trade. He flashed of ability on both sides of the ball, but struggled with consistency, and leaves the Tigers with a .201 batting average and five home runs in 73 career MLB games. Lester’s case is a little more unfortunate. The Tigers drafted him in the 13th round in 2015, and he has been kicking around their minor-league system ever since. He’s been a productive power bat in the upper minors, but he went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in his only time with the Tigers.
Earlier today the Tigers made a slew of moves, beginning with a waiver claim of their own.
While not an earth-shattering move, claiming Andy Ibáñez gives us another window into the mind of Scott Harris. The Tigers want to make incremental upgrades whenever possible, and Ibáñez represents a potential improvement over Harold Castro. At his best, he controls the strike zone better, hits for more power, and plays better defense than Castro. Ibáñez had a rough 2022 season, but he posted a 106 wRC+ in 2021. That would have made him the 3rd best hitter on the Tigers last season.
Shortly after the Ibáñez announcement came news of the Tigers removing another six players from the 40-man roster.
The only mild surprises here were Jermaine Palacios, and Victor Reyes, who was somehow one of the longest-tenured players on the team. Luis Garcia will remain in the organization, but the rest of the released players can sign with any team they please. So far only Reyes has elected to do so. Palacios was added to the 40-man roster on October 11th and never played a game in the organization, so it was a bit odd to see him go. But perhaps they feel Ibáñez is an upgrade.
All of this player movement was necessary for the Tigers to clear room for their injured players.
And the Tigers definitely aren’t done making moves. They have until November 15th to add minor-leaguers to their 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. Over at the Tigers Minor League Report we projected them to add three to five players. And then there’s free agency, which just started a few hours ago.
Scott Harris said the Tigers were going to make a lot moves this offseason. What fans saw today is probably just the tip of the iceberg.