If you’ve been watching the Detroit Tigers spring training games, you’ve probably noticed a young player named Thomas Field seems to show up in every game. Who is this mystery player? Where did he come from? What will his role be in the regular season?
First of all, Thomas “Tommy” Field is a middle infielder and third baseman who was originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2008 out of Texas State University in San Marcos, TX. He attended Midway High School in Waco, Texas. He debuted in the MLB in September 2011 and lost his rookie status in 2015. In his short time in the MLB he has played in a total of 47 games, but for three teams – the Rockies, Los Angeles Angels, and the Texas Rangers. During his time with those teams, he amassed a slash of .214/.264/.274 with two home runs and 5 RBIs.
Field earned his free agency and the Tigers signed him in December 2015. It was a quiet signing that was not reported in the news. Despite the silence regarding his signing, Field has made several appearances in Lakeland and the rest of the Grapefruit League.
Field has played in more spring training games than any other Tiger in the 2016 season. He has played in 16 games and has 22 at-bats. His slash in spring training is rather unremarkable: .182/.308/.364 with an OPS or .671. He has hit one home run, walked three times, and struck out six times.
Despite the ho-hum numbers in spring training, Field had positive numbers in his last minor league assignment in the Pacific Coast League with the Triple-A Round Rock Express in Round Rock, Texas. There, he batted .247, hit 14 home runs, and 44 RBIs in 103 games.
Field turned 29 in February. As a utility player on a team filled with veteran utility players, Field’s chances of playing at Comerica Park on a regular basis are slim, but he continues to play like he wants a spot. He is a strong defensive player who makes very few errors, in his 139 innings in the major leagues, he has made a total of 3 errors – one at shortstop and two at second base. Compare that to Andrew Romine, who made four errors in his 212 innings at shortstop last year alone.
During his many years in baseball, Field has played all over the country. He has played in Washington, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, Indiana, and Texas. He will most likely add Toledo, Ohio to his list of home fields.
In the baseball world, Tommy Field is considered a journeyman. The 29-year-old fills in when he is needed and then teams send him off – or DFA him, like the Rangers did last year. It is a way of life for some players to move around the league, making low wages and playing anywhere they can. According to Chris McCosky from The Detroit News, Field said: “I love the game of baseball. I don’t see myself doing anything other than baseball. That’s what my passion is. My family is behind me, whatever decisions I make. And right now, this is where I need to be.”