The Detroit Tigers continued to trim the roster ahead of Opening Day, releasing corner infielder Casey McGehee and reliever Bobby Parnell, while optioning Bruce Rondon to Triple-A.
It seems that two of the more intriguing names in camp with the Detroit Tigers will not be making the team. According to a tweet from MLive.com’s Chris Iott, the Tigers “give Casey McGehee and Bobby Parnell unconditional release.” The Tigers official Twitter account later confirmed the moves in a tweet.
Both signed minor league deals with Detroit hoping to latch on at the Major League level. Additionally, both were looking to rebound from disappointing recent seasons.
McGehee hit a mere .198 with a .274 slugging percentage in a 2015 season that saw him split time between the San Francisco Giants and Miami Marlins. In addition to the low batting average, the corner infielder only managed 21 runs scored, 20 RBI, 12 doubles and two home runs in 109 games played. This was a far cry from 2014, when the 33-year-old hit .287 with the Marlins. During the 2014 season, McGehee also drove in 76 runs while collecting 177 hits, 29 of which were doubles.
He was one of the better offensive performers for Detroit this spring, posting a .294 batting average, two doubles, a home run, six RBI and an enviable seven walks. The former Marlin only struck out four times.
McGehee was never going to challenge Miguel Cabrera or Nick Castellanos for a starting spot—few will—but he could have provided depth at both corner infield positions. Given his past offensive production, he would have been an intriguing pinch-hitting option. It seems that the Tigers have opted to go with Andrew Romine and Mike Aviles as the utility infielders.
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While McGehee may have been blocked at a number of positions by starters, Parnell had a better shot at making the team at first given the open bullpen spots. However, the former New York Mets reliever couldn’t make the most of the opportunity.
Parnell initially got off to a solid start in Spring Training, posting a 2.45 ERA in his first seven appearances in a Detroit uniform. However, things went downhill in two ugly appearances against the Blue Jays. In two appearances that only totaled a single innings, the American League East club scored seven runs on six hits and two walks against Parnell. The reliever would rebound by striking out two in an inning of work against the Houston Astros, but it ultimately wasn’t enough.
While he did strike out a total of eight batters in 9.1 innings pitched, the former Met also walked eight hitters. Opposing teams hit .395 off the right hander.
A fire-balling reliever with a world of potential, Rondon couldn’t quite put it all together. He pitched to a 9.00 ERA in 10 innings pitched, allowing 13 hits, 10 runs, three homers and four walks. Opposing batters hit .310 off Rondon. To the 25-year-old’s credit, he did strikeout out 13 batters this spring. Given the uncertainty in the bullpen (and his potential), it wouldn’t be a shock to see Rondon pitch with the Tigers this season.
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