With the news that the Tigers have released randon Inge, the club has also announced that they have purchased the contract of Brad Eldred from Toledo. Eldred is a 31-year-old, 6-foot-6, 270-pound, right-handed hitter, who has spent the majority of his career as a first baseman or designated hitter, with a little time in the outfield. Eldred’s professional baseball career includes 11 seasons, most of which were spent in the minor leagues, with three brief adventures into the major leagues totaling 282 plate appearances.
Eldred was drafted by the Pirates in the June, 2002, draft, and spent five seasons in the Pittsburgh organization. Since his release by the Pirates following the 2007 season, being out of minor league options, the journeyman slugger has spent time in the organizations of the White Sox, Nationals, Rockies, and Giants. The Tigers signed him to a minor-league contract in January, 2012, with the idea that he would provide some minor league organizational depth. He was not given an invitation to spring training with the major league club.
Eldred’s major league numbers show a slash line of .199 avg / .251 obp / .419 slg / .670 OPS, with 15 homers. Most of his time in the majors came with the Pirates in 2005 when he logged over 200 plate appearances, hitting a dozen homers and batting .221. He was briefly back up with Pittsburgh in 2007 and again with the Rockies in 2010, but never for more than a few games.
More recently, Eldred has posted an OPS of .800 or better in each of the past five seasons. He has been absolutely crushing the ball this season, with a line of.388/ .444/ .1.013/ 1.457 with 13 homers and 35 RBI in 90 plate appearances for triple A Toledo. His eleven seasons in the minor leagues, eight of them at the triple A level, show a slash line of .268 .336 .547 .883, with 240 homers and 730 RBI.
Tony Paul of the Detroit News recently wrote about Eldred and quoted the slugger:
"What you wanna do, at this point in your career for sure, is do some things to get people to take notice," Eldred, 31, said on his cell phone Wednesday afternoon from Columbus, Ohio, where he hit his latest homer, in the Mud Hens' 6-4 victory over the Clippers. "And hopefully, they like what you're doing."
The Toledo Blade's John Wagner wrote about Eldred in his blog on Thursday:
The IL lists 15 different hitting categories; of those 15, how many does Brad Eldred lead? Eldred currently leaders (or is tied for the lead) in EIGHT: home runs (13), RBIs (35), hits (31), doubles (tied, with nine), slugging percentage (1.013), extra-base hits (23), runs scored (23) and total bases (81). Whew.
Mlive's Chris Iott quoted Eldred's Toledo teammate Thad Weber:
Holy cow," Weber said. "I can't even believe it. … When I was down there obviously he was doing good things. He's just taken it to the next level. That's great for him."
"He hit another one today, right?" Weber said, referring to Eldred's latest home run. "Is 'locked in' even the right words for what he's doing right now? It's pretty unbelievable. He's a great guy, a great clubhouse guy. He's definitely put in his time. I'd love to see him get another chance."
Eldred is a classic power hitter, likely to be primarily a DH for the Tigers, who have struggled offensively in recent times. Clearly, they are looking for a hot bat to insert into the lineup. Tigers’ designated hitters have hit just .174 / .205 / .232 / .437 this season, with no home runs and just 13 RBI through the first 18 games of the season.
Eldred is originally from Ft. LauderdalPlayer profile: Brad Eldred red hot in Toledo, but can he continue that in Detroit?e, Florida, and lives in Coconut Creek, FL with his wife, Cindy.