With the book officially closed on the 2017 season, the Detroit Tigers announced several roster moves this afternoon which clear out many spots on the 40-man roster. The team announced that super-utility man Andrew Romine was claimed by the Seattle Mariners. They also announced the outrighting right-handed pitcher Jeff Ferrell, and outfielders Jim Adduci, Tyler Collins, and Alex Presley. Lastly, they formally announced the previously mentioned decline of Anibal Sanchez’s 2018 option. This leaves their 40-man roster at 34.
Most missed by fans will be Andrew Romine, who was acquired in 2014 in a trade with the Los Angeles Angels for lefty Jose Alvarez as a candidate to replace then-injured shortstop Jose Iglesias, who would miss the entire 2014 season with double-stress fractures in his shins. Romine would only appear in 94 games that year (his lowest number of games in his career as a Tiger), but he did get most starts at shortstop that year. After that he settled into the super-utility role, working around the infield and expanding his repertoire in 2016 to include all three outfield positions. As the Tigers’ season went into the tank this past year, he etched his name in history, becoming the second Tiger ever to play all nine positions in a single game, and the fifth ever in major league history to accomplish that feat.
History aside, he was set to make approximately $1.9 million in arbitration this year, and with Dixon Machado out of options and not arbitration eligible, this was an understandable move to cut minor costs and free up roster space.
Also departing the team are a trio of reserve outfielders in Collins, Presley, and Adduci. Collins will live in infamy with may Tigers fans after his crude outburst on the field in 2016 earned him a demotion to Toledo, and his up-and-down play with the club never allowed himself to endear himself to fans in a good way. Presley was retained on a minor league deal from last year having gotten a bit of time in 2016 with the Tigers and enjoyed a nice breakout in 2017, though largely thanks to unsustainable BABIP numbers and line drive percentage. Given a looming arbitration raise to $1.1 million in 2018, fluke-ish numbers were not enough to convince the Tigers to reinvest in the journeyman outfielder. Adduci was an early lightning-in-a-bottle call-up from Toledo after signing a minor league deal with the Tigers, but an injury cut his breakout campaign short after 2 years in the Korean Leagues, and he was not able to recapture the early season magic upon his return. All three players will be free agents but could sign again with the Tigers, likely on minor league deals if both parties decide to do so.
Jeff Ferrell was a Tigers farmhand seemingly forever since being drafted in the 26th round in 2010. He earned his big-league debut in 2015, but missed nearly all of 2016 with a shoulder injury, before returning to health this year and getting another call-up in August. He appeared in only 11 games before taking a scary line drive to the side of his head, which ended his season.
The Tigers now have six open spots on the 40-man roster to add any players ahead of the Rule 5 draft or make claims in the meantime.