Detroit Tigers need to use open 40-man roster spot to take fliers on players

Al Avila, Detroit Tigers (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Al Avila, Detroit Tigers (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila is operating with an open 40-man roster place. He and the rest of the front office should use the spot to take fliers on players.

Detroit Tigers outfielder Alex Presley is the perfect example of a player brought in as part of a minor transaction who ends up paying dividends.

The Tigers inked Presley to a minors last July, but he’s seen the bulk of his playing time with the team this year.

In said playing time, the veteran has been a pleasant surprise batting .333 with a .386 on-base percentage and a .430 slugging percentage.

Presley is also turning in a 122 wRC+, a .356 wOBA and a 1.2 BsR.

The left-handed hitting outfielder has also chipped in with 14 runs scored, 11 RBI, seven walks, six doubles, three stolen bases and a home run.

Detroit, who currently have an opening on the team’s 40-man roster, should be using the place to take fliers on players to try and find another player like Presley who can make an impact.

Recent examples

Useful players tend to hit the market all the time, just recently, reliever Danny Farquhar and utility man Rob Refsnyder recently hit the open market.

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Farquhar has notched at least 10.20 strikeouts per nine innings in three of the last five seasons, while Refsnyder can play first base, second base, third base and both corner outfield places.

There will likely be even more players who hit the open market in the coming weeks as teams clear room on their active rosters for trade deadline acquisitions.

Because of this, the Detroit Tigers should be using the last spot on the 40-man roster to find another diamond in the rough.

While it isn’t common, there have been a number of impact players who have changed teams in relatively minor deals.

Past examples

Detroit fans obviously remember watching J.D. Martinez go from signing a minors deal to becoming one of baseball’s elite sluggers.

Elsewhere, Jose Quintana was a member of the New York Mets and New York Mets organizations before signing with the White Sox prior to the 2012 campaign.

Two key members of the first place Houston Astros’ nucleus were acquired in waiver claims.

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Reliever Will Harris was snagged off waivers from the Diamondbacks, while starter Collin McHugh was claimed from another National League West franchise in Colorado.

Harris is striking out 10.13 batters per nine innings to go along with a 44.9 ground ball percentage and a 3.13 xFIP.

McHugh has made just two starts this year due to injury, has been key for the Astros in years past.

The right-handed starter finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting in  2014 before coming in eighth in the Cy Young balloting the next year.

Overall, McHugh as logged a WAR north of 3.0 each of the last three seasons coming into 2017. Not bad for a waiver claim.

If nothing else, the Detroit Tigers can also use the open space to find another depth piece. Al Avila did a solid job in the offseason finding quality pieces in Mikie Mahtook, Daniel Stumpf and Jim Adduci.

Perhaps Avila can use the currently-vacated 40-man slot to add another contributing player.

Next: Al Avila’s under-the-radar additions are paying off

Either way, the team should be utilizing the roster spot instead of letting it sit empty.