Update (3/8/16): The Tigers have signed right-handed pitcher Lucas Harrell to a minor league contract. Harrell last pitched for the Houston Astros, appearing in three games during the 2014 season. He posted a 4.81 ERA and 4.49 FIP in four seasons with the Astros, including an 11-11 record and 3.76 ERA in 193 2/3 innings in 2012. Harrell was 10-11 with a 4.93 ERA in 171 2/3 innings for the LG Twins of the Korean Baseball Organization in 2015.
Update (2/23/16): The Tigers have signed infielder Casey McGehee to a minor league contract, per MLB Network's Jon Heyman. MLB.com's Jason Beck reports that McGehee is in Lakeland for a physical, where will likely join the major league club for spring training. McGehee hit just .198/.264/.274 for two teams in 2015 after a breakout 2014 season in which he hit .287/.355/.357 with 76 RBI for the Miami Marlins.
Update (2/18/16): The Tigers have signed right-handed reliever Bobby Parnell to a minor league contract. Parnell pitched for the New York Mets from 2008 to 2015, but was at his best as a full-time reliever from 2010 to 2013. He rose through the ranks to become the Mets' closer in 2013, saving 22 games in 26 chances. He posted a 2.79 ERA and 3.01 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 213 innings during that four-year span.
Parnell underwent Tommy John surgery in April 2014 and missed 14 months of action. When he returned to the mound in June 2015, he posted eight consecutive scoreless outings before struggling with his command for long stretches. He ended the 2015 season with 17 walks to just 13 strikeouts in 24 innings with the Mets. His 6.38 ERA and 1.96 WHIP were both career-worsts.
Parnell initially struggled to recover his fastball velocity in his return from injury, but his mid-90s heat started to reappear down the stretch in 2015. Pitch command is also typically sluggish to return after Tommy John surgery, so the Tigers are hoping Parnell can regain his prior form at some point during spring training. At just 31 years old, Parnell is a comeback candidate who we identified as a potential signing earlier this year.
Update (2/2/16): The Tigers have signed Cuban infielder Leonard Laffita and Dominican right-handed pitcher Willy Paredes to minor league contracts. Laffita is a 24-year-old who signed for $250,000, according to Baseball America's Ben Badler. Paredes, 27, pitched in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization last season.
Badler on Laffita:
A 6-foot-1, 200-pound righthanded hitter, Laffita spent the 2015 season with Laguna of the Mexican League, where he hit .280/.345/.360 with three walks and six strikeouts in 23 games. He has good bat speed and hand-eye coordination, but he’s a free-swinger whose plate discipline will have to improve. He also committed eight errors at shortstop and will almost certainly move to another position. He projecdts better in center field or possibly second base.
The final ripples of the Justin Upton signing are complete. On Wednesday, the Detroit Tigers announced that they traded first baseman Jefry Marte to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for infield prospect Kody Eaves.
Original post (1/30/16): Marte, who made his major league debut in 2015, was designated for assignment last week to make room for Upton on the 40-man roster. He showed solid versatility, playing both first and third base, but struggled at the plate, hitting .213/.284/.413 in 33 games. He enjoyed an impressive season at Triple-A Toledo prior to his call-up, batting .275/.341/.487 with 15 home runs in 399 plate appearances.
Eaves was drafted out of high school in the 16th round of the 2012 amateur draft. He has hit .262/.314/.399 in 373 games across four minor league seasons, including a .694 OPS in 575 plate appearances at Advanced-A Inland Empire in 2015. He has some decent power, with 21 home runs in the past two seasons, and has stolen 20 bases in each of the past three seasons. His approach at the plate needs work, as evident by 45 walks and 150 strikeouts in 2015.
Eaves will likely report to Double-A Erie in 2016, but his major league upside is limited.