While the rest of the baseball world waits with bated breath over the potential of a blockbuster Gerrit Cole trade, the Detroit Tigers have quietly gone about their business. Detroit has signed left-handed pitcher James Russell to a minor league contract, according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. Russell will presumably receive an invite to spring training as well.
The 32-year-old Russell last appeared in the major leagues in 2016 with the Philadelphia Phillies. He made seven appearances with the Phils that season, allowing nine runs on nine hits in 4 1⁄3 innings. For his career, Russell has a 4.09 ERA and 4.28 FIP in 334 2⁄3 total innings.
Why this matters: For a team searching far and wide for cheap bullpen help, Russell is another dart to throw at their board. He hasn’t performed all that well at the major league level, but is left-handed and almost throws 90 miles per hour. He adds depth to a bullpen that will probably log a lot of innings in 2018.
More importantly, the news of his signing kept the BYB staff entertained for a few minutes. Here are a small sample of our reactions to the deal.
“This is so underwhelming.”
“He has a dumbass beard.”
“Started last year for the Yucatan Lions (!) and Texas AirHogs (!!)”
“Can we call him Nipsey?”
“I wonder how many players have been an AirHog and an IronPig?”
So thank you, Mr. Russell, for distracting us on this January 10, 2018. May you provide many more entertaining diversions throughout the upcoming season, and get some outs along the way.