The Detroit Tigers continued their early offseason roster purge on Friday, placing four more players on outright waivers. Those four were catcher Bryan Holaday, first baseman Efren Navarro, and pitchers Myles Jaye and Kyle Ryan, all of whom finished the 2017 season on the Tigers’ active roster.
This makes eight players that the Tigers have outrighted in the past two days. On Thursday, they placed pitcher Jeff Ferrell and outfielders Jim Adduci, Tyler Collins, and Alex Presley on outright waivers to clear roster space.
Earlier today, we tried to read between the lines on why Holaday and Navarro were still around late Thursday evening. The two seemed like obvious candidates to be outrighted, yet did not make the first round of cuts.
Of all the roster moves made on Thursday, one surprising omission was first baseman Efren Navarro. The 31-year-old first baseman seemed like an obvious candidate to get bumped off the 40-man roster. He is a capable defender, but is well below average as a hitter, especially at first base. Add in Bryan Holaday and John Hicks, who are somewhat redundant, and you have three players behind Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez who can play first base.
Turns out the “it’s still early” warning provided directly after the above paragraph rang true. Neither Holaday nor Navarro had much future with the organization, and their absence opens up two more valuable roster spots for a team heading into a full rebuild.
Holaday’s departure also solidifies John Hicks as the team’s backup catcher heading into next season, assuming they don’t sign a free agent this winter. With Grayson Greiner potentially joining the 40-man roster prior to the Rule 5 draft, it’s unlikely the Tigers would want to carry four catchers heading into 2018.
Both pitchers were also easy picks to be outrighted. While Jaye and Ryan have shown flashes of competence throughout their brief major league careers, neither player has a very high ceiling. Jaye finished the year with a 12.08 ERA in 12 2⁄3 innings, and that’s after he opened his career with 5 2⁄3 scoreless frames in relief. Ryan wasn’t much better, allowing five runs on nine hits in 5 2⁄3 innings at the major league level this year. Neither player has been outrighted before, so they will be sent to the minor leagues if they clear waivers.
The Tigers also announced that they were reinstating Victor Martinez from the 60-day disabled list, bringing their 40-man roster to a scant 31 players. Martinez missed the final month of the season following heart ablation surgery. He has not yet been cleared to return to action, but had to be reinstated on the 40-man roster nonetheless.