A final flurry of moves wrapped up the preseason for the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday. They finalized the Opening Day bullpen, set the rotation for the first turn, and made a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays to acquire outfielder Grant Witherspoon. They also place right-hander Beau Brieske on the injured list with upper arm discomfort, which is pretty vague. We’ll guess that refers to the shoulder, but it’s anyone’s guess at this point.
Witherspoon is a 26-year-old left-handed hitting outfielder who has yet to crack the Rays major league roster. He hit 17 home runs and stole 15 bases in 471 plate appearances combined between Double-A and Triple-A in Rays system last season. It’s hard to find much on his defensive ability as he was never a very notable prospect, but he has played a good amount of center field and the stolen bases lead one to assume he has some speed. He also has reasonably good plate discipline and seems to rack up his share of extra base hits.
The Rays will receive cash rather than players in the deal. Witherspoon will likely be assigned to Triple-A Toledo, but there’s no word yet to confirm that assumption.
Sources: The #Tigers have acquired outfielder Grant Witherspoon in a trade with the Rays.— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) March 29, 2023
Witherspoon, 26, hit .266 with 17 home runs, 45 walks and 112 strikeouts in 115 games with Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham last season.
Setting up the rotation
The Tigers have announced their first five starters for the season. This may be subject to change as they try to get the best matchups possible. This sets up Spencer Turnbull to start the home opener against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, April 6.
#Tigers starting rotation:— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) March 29, 2023
Thursday (TB): LHP Eduardo Rodriguez
Saturday (TB): RHP Spencer Turnbull
Sunday (TB): LHP Joey Wentz
Monday (HOU): LHP Matthew Boyd
Tuesday (HOU): RHP Matt Manning
Turnbull will start the home opener April 6 against the Red Sox at Comerica Park.
Finalizing the bullpen
The Tigers also set their bullpen up on Wednesday. The eight-man group to start the season is as follows.
RHP Alex Lange
RHP Jose Cisnero
RHP Jason Foley
LHP Tyler Alexander
RHP Trey Wingenter
RHP Garrett Hill
LHP Chasen Shreve
RHP Mason Englert
With Brieske out, Garrett Hill became a lock. Otherwise this is as predicted. The Tigers need to clear 40-man roster spots for Wingenter and Shreve. Rony Garcia accounts for one, as he cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Toledo today. With no clear idea about Brieske’s injury it’s hard to know how long he’ll be out, but if it’s serious and he’s headed to the 60-day IL that would take care of one spot. Zack Short seems like the most likely to be designated to make room otherwise. Left-handed reliever Tyler Holton is another possibility.
Really the only remaining decision seems to be the infield. We assume recently acquired infielder Zach McKinstry and utilityman Ryan Kreidler will get those two spots with Cesar Hernandez released. The Tigers haven’t made that official yet, however.
Rony Garcia off the 40-man. Should be another move coming https://t.co/IppWfsZyhc— Cody Stavenhagen (@CodyStavenhagen) March 29, 2023
#Tigers medical update: Beau Brieske has right upper arm discomfort. pic.twitter.com/ada8cWkdWj— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) March 29, 2023