The Detroit Tigers offseason moves have begun, starting with a pair of waiver claims.
The two signings came Friday, with the Tigers claiming left-handed reliever Jose Fernandez from the Toronto Blue Jays, as well as infielder Brandon Dixon from the Cincinnati Reds, according to reports.
Fernandez was signed by the Blue Jays as an international free agent in 2012. He spent time in the Dominican Summer League with the Jays affiliate there, and has played at almost every level of the Blue Jays minor league system, though he only made his major league debut for the team this September. Though he did not dazzle at the big club level, with a 6.10 ERA over 13 games, his minor league numbers are promising. In 2018 he had a 2.97 ERA between Double and Triple-A.
While Fernandez is likely going to be headed to the minor leagues initially, the Tigers can certainly use some lefty bullpen depth, and will be keeping a close eye on his progress in Toledo.
Brandon Dixon — who now gives the Tigers a Dixon first name and a Dixon last name — was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the third round of the 2013 amateur draft. He made his way to the Reds as a part of the 2014 deal that sent Frankie Montas, Micah Johnson, and Trayce Thompson to the Dodgers (it was a three-team deal that also resulted in Todd Frazier heading to the White Sox).
Like Fernandez, Dixon made he major league debut this past May, and collected three hits for the Reds only two days after his call up. His major league line isn’t pretty, .178/.218/.356 over 124 plate appearances, but his minor league record in 2018 was outstanding. He hit .346/.389/.570, the best season he’s ever had in the minors, which suggests there might be something working for Dixon.
The Tigers could certainly use a skilled infielder, and Dixon has played both second and third (primarily second). He will also likely start the season in the minors.