Detroit Tigers: Pat Light is Worth a Look
Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila has slowly started to make the team younger for a more sustainable future. Taking a flier on 25-year-old reliever Pat Light could help that process.
Detroit Tigers fans have seen the team gradually become younger this offseason.
Center fielder Cameron Maybin ended up being the only starter traded, but the team got significantly younger elsewhere.
The 29-year-old will see his former center field role go to one of Tyler Collins (26), JaCoby Jones (24) or Mikie Mahtook (27).
In addition to the current Los Angeles Angel of Anaheim, Casey McGehee (33) and Erick Aybar (32) look set to be replaced in part by 24-year-old infielder Dixon Machado.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a 31-year-old veteran, was replaced on the bench by Alex Avila.
While Avila is only slightly younger at 30, he seems likely to make way for either Grayson Greiner (24) or John Hicks (26) in the long run.
One area where there was little change was in the bullpen. Of the 23 players to pitch in a game for Detroit last season, only Bobby Parnell and Joe Mantiply moved on.
Much of this has to do with the Tigers returning the same core bullpen group. However, there’s still room for youth without damaging the squad’s playoff chances in 2017.
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Detroit likely won’t be replacing Francisco Rodriguez, Bruce Rondon and Justin Wilson, but there’s definite upside in taking a flier on a young arm to fill out the back end of the bullpen or provide depth.
One such player could be reliever Pat Light, who recently became available.
The Twins recently announced that the pitcher had been designated for assignment. Minnesota’s official Twitter account tweeted on Monday afternoon, “#MNTwins claim infielder Ehire Adrianza off waivers from the Brewers. To make room on the 40-man roster, Pat Light has been DFA’d.”
More on Light
A former first-round pick in 2012, Light’s Major League numbers don’t jump off the page.
In 16.2 innings split between Boston and Minnesota last season, the 6’5” right-hander pitched to a 11.34 ERA. He struck out 16, but allowed16 walks.
However, there’s more to the pitcher than his unsightly run-prevention stats.
The ex-Twin’s fastball flirts with triple digits, while his off-speed offerings show promise.
What’s more, Light was solid in the upper minors last season. In 38 frames of work for the Triple-A affiliates of the Red Sox and Twins, the pitcher turned in a 2.37 ERA.
He also struck out 9.9 batters per nine innings over the same span while notching nine saves.
Walks (4.5 per nine innings at Triple-A, 3.4 per nine innings in his career) are still somewhat of an issue, but the upside is there.
The Detroit Tigers don’t currently have any 40-man roster space, but that could change.
Detroit could conceivably move on from aging veterans Mike Pelfrey and Anibal Sanchez should the duo fail to crack the rotation. Elsewhere, 27-year-old Warwick Saupold could also be offloaded.
Whether Rule 5 draft pick Daniel Stumpf makes the roster remains to be seen.
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However, if the left-hander is returned to Kansas City, Detroit would have another open spot on the 40-man roster.