The hot stove is heating up. Finally.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Detroit Tigers announced they had signed outfielder Leonys Martin to a major league contract. The contract is worth $1.75 million for one year, according to Bob Nightengale. Additionally, the Tigers extended minor league contracts to right-handed pitcher Enrique Burgos, catcher Derek Norris, first baseman Edwin Espinal, and existing Tigers outfielder Jim Adduci. Along with the minor league contracts, all four players received an invitation to major league spring training in February.
Leonys Martin had been discussed as a good fit for the Tigers earlier this year when the Seattle Mariners designated him for assignment in April. He ultimately remained in the Mariners system, and was later traded to the Chicago Cubs. Martin had a less than optimal season between the Mariners and Cubs, hitting only .172/.232/.281 in 49 games. His defense, however, was much more promising, with +8 defensive runs saved (DRS) and a UZR of 2.6 between the two teams.
His career numbers show that last season may have been a fluke, as he has hit .247/.300/.360 over seven MLB seasons. Martin will likely form an outfield platoon, as he has played in all three outfield positions, but most frequently center field.
The four minor league deals the Tigers signed fill a variety of needs.
Enrique Burgos, a 27-year-old right handed pitcher, most recently played with the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Triple-A Reno team, as well as the Atlanta Braves’ Triple-A Gwinnett team. He has limited major league time under his belt, but in 73 games has an ERA of 5.27.
Edwin Espinal, a 23-year-old first baseman, divided his time between the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Double-A and Triple-A teams. He won the 2017 Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove award, managing to make it through the entire season without committing a single error. His minor league batting average is .279.
Jim Adduci is no stranger to Tigers fans, as he spent several stints with the major league team this past season. He hit .241/.323/.398 in 29 games. Adduci previously played for the Texas Rangers. His career MLB average is .209/.283/.398. If he sees any major league time next season, it will be in relief of the outfield.