With Halloween less than a week away and the World Series balance tipping heavily toward the Boston Red Sox through two games, the 2018 season is nearing its end. Though teams have farmhands scattered from Arizona to the Dominican Republic to Venezuela playing short-season fall or winter ball, October is typically quiet in terms of roster moves and transactions.
That quiet period is just about over, and the offseason work is about to begin. In anticipation, the Detroit Tigers announced numerous roster moves on Wednesday.
The biggest news was that the Arizona Diamondbacks claimed righthander Artie Lewicki off waivers. Lewicki threw 38 2⁄3 innings for the Tigers with a 4.89 ERA and 4.12 FIP in 2018 after spending the first half of the season at the Triple-A level. He went on the disabled list in mid-August with an elbow injury, which ultimately required his second Tommy John procedure. The 26-year-old will miss all of the 2019 season.
Typically, a relatively unknown young starter without a pedigree would go unsigned and likely return to the Tigers or reach free agency in Lewicki’s situation. It’s a bit curious that the Diamondbacks decided to pick him up. They certainly lack pitching depth in their farm system, but Lewicki will be a completely unproven back end starter heading into his age-28 season on his current timetable. It’s possible the D’Backs are simply hoping to push him through waivers themselves. For the Tigers, the landscape of their 40-man roster is going to see a real overhaul by the time Lewicki returns to the mound, so this is no real loss.
The Tigers also announced that shortstop Pete Kozma, outfielder Jim Adduci, infielder Harold Castro, and righthander Louis Coleman were all outrighted to the minor leagues after they went unclaimed on waivers. They still have decisions remaining on ancillary players like Ronny Rodriguez, and have Miguel Cabrera, Michael Fulmer, and John Hicks all currently on the 60-day disabled list. There are also some high profile prospects like righthander Franklin Perez and center fielder Derek Hill who will require protection or else be exposed to the Rule 5 draft in December.
The Tigers currently have 36 players on their 40-man roster, which you can find here. Keep in mind that Francisco Liriano, Jose Iglesias, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Victor Martinez will become free agents after the World Series is decided.