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Tigers place Jose Cisnero on waivers; claim another lefty reliever

It was a strange day on the waiver wire as the Angels flooded the market, while Scott Harris tried a different retread lefty reliever.

MLB: AUG 05 Rays at Tigers Photo by Allan Dranberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On a rather strange day in baseball, the Detroit Tigers made a couple of small roster moves. They placed veteran reliever Jose Cisnero on the waiver wire after he struggled badly in August. And with recent lefty addition Andrew Vasquez moved to the injured list with left calf tightness, they claimed lefty reliever Bennett Sousa off waiver from Milwaukee. Sousa was optioned to Toledo, and as a result, the Tigers 40-man roster is now full again pending the outcome for Cisnero. Quite likely he’ll be designated for assignment should no one claim him, but we’ll see how that plays out.

The Angels crowded out the waiver wire on Tuesday by placing Lucas Giolito, Matt Moore, Reynaldo Lopez, Randal Grichuk, and Hunter Renfroe all on waivers. After mortgaging just about everything left in an already bombed out farm system in a desperate, I may have used the term insane, bid at the final wild card spot in the American League. They weren’t close to begin with, and they’ve completely fallen on their face since. Shohei Ohtani’s torn UCL and Mike Trout’s inability to stay off the injured list have things looking extraordinarily bleak in Anaheim for the foreseeable future.

Flee, Shohei. Get the heck out of there for god’s sake.

Anyway, the 34-year-old Cisnero got off to a shaky start this season, but turned it around and pitched very well from late April until the end of July. He looked like a modest trade candidate at that point, but three rough outings in the final 10 days before the trade deadline ended that speculation, and he’s basically been bad all throughout the month of August.

In the great tradition of jinx articles, I’ll submit this piece I wrote about Cisnero’s impressive turnaround in early July. Ouch.

Cisnero was bound for free agency at year’s end, and was never likely part of Scott Harris’ future plans to begin with, but it is too bad to see his time with the Tigers end like this. Cisnero is a really good story of perseverance, coming back from Tommy John and several years in the wilderness before the Tigers saw him in winter ball and signed him prior to the 2019 season. If this is the end, Cisnero will finish his Tigers tenure with a 3.77 ERA/4.01 FIP across 200 13 innings of work. Solid journeyman fare, that.

As for Vasquez, he’s been rather terrible since the Tigers picked him up just over a week ago. Maybe the calf had something to do with it, but as Harris waiver claims go, this has been among the worst so far.

Bennett Sousa isn’t likely to do much better. He does throw harder, featuring a mid-90’s fastball and a pretty good slider, but he’s never been able to command either consistently at the big league level.

Sousa was drafted and came up through the White Sox system, with Milwaukee picking him up just this year. He’s always posted pretty great strikeout numbers at the Triple-A level, but his lack of command hasn’t allowed that to translate in the major leagues to date. He has a 9.00 ERA and a 5.87 FIP across just 23 major league innings.

All of which is to say that none of this is likely to be of any consequence. Here’s hoping the Tigers have some ideas to improve Sousa’s command, but I wouldn’t expect anything of note to come of the day’s work. Still, picking up pitchers the White Sox couldn’t help is sound policy.