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Tigers sign pitcher Travis Wood to minor-league deal

The lefty will be competing for a starter position in spring training

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The Tigers added a little more depth to their pitching roster on Monday with the acquisition of left-handed pitcher Travis Wood.

Wood, who was signed to a minor-league deal with a non-roster invitation to spring training next month, will be competing for a starter position throughout spring. If he doesn’t make the cut as a part of the Tigers starting rotation, he is no stranger to a bullpen role, and would be one of very few lefties available in relief.

Over the past eight years Wood has played for four teams, working primarily as a starter with the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs — with whom he was an All-Star in 2013 — then later as a relief pitcher with the Cubs and Kansas City Royals. Last season he also started 11 games for the San Diego Padres.

He is has a career ERA of 4.26, a WHIP is 1.316, and a FIP of 4.28. The best season of his career cam in 2016 when he worked as a reliever for the Cubs. In 77 games in managed a 2.95 ERA, 1.131 WHIP, and 4.54 FIP. Unfortunately his luck did not continue in 2017. He posted a 6.91 ERA with the Royals as a reliever, and a 6.71 ERA with the Padres as a starter.

The Tigers signing Wood to a minor-league deal puts them in a low-risk position to see what Wood has to offer as either a starter or a reliever. He has clearly had success in both roles in the past, and will have just turned 31 when spring training starts, meaning there’s a chance he still has something left in the tank. Since he’s not yet taking up space on the 40-man roster the Tigers have nothing to lose with the signing, and plenty to gain if Wood can prove himself to be a reliable middle-inning reliever, or even a decent fifth starter.

Better still, he won’t be eating into the Tigers payroll too considerably.

Baseball Reference projects Wood’s 2018 stats will be in the range of a 5.10 ERA, with improvement in his WHIP and SO/W. Wood will also be reunited with his Chicago Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio, with whom he had so much luck previously. Wood may not be headed to another All-Star Game, but for a team in need of pitching depth, Wood is a good get.