Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila should consider signing recently-released infielder Jose Miguel Fernandez to add middle-infield depth.
The Detroit Tigers have entered a full rebuild.
That means they can afford to give opportunities to players that other teams cast aside.
One such player is Cuban infielder Jose Miguel Fernandez.
According to the Texas League’s transaction page, the Los Angeles Dodgers recently released Fernandez from the team’s Double-A affiliate.
The 29-year-old then signed with the Dodgers in January on a minor league contract with a $200,000 signing bonus, per Spotrac.
Fernandez performed well, hitting .306/.366/.498 with 16 home runs and a 142 wRC+ in 369 plate appearances for the Double-A Tulsa Drillers.
He posted a very low 8.9% strikeout rate and a solid 6.5% walk rate. An injury cut Fernandez’s season short on July 29.
While 29 may seem a bit old for a rebuilding team, there are plenty of compelling reasons the Tigers should consider signing Fernandez.
The first and arguably most important reason is affordability.
Fernandez is a minor league free agent with no Major League service time.
Ideally, the Tigers would be able to sign him to a deal for the Major League minimum as well, which according to Forbes is $545,000 dollars.
For a team trying to cut costs, signing an infielder for the league minimum who has a good chance to contribute to the ball club is a win-win.
Fernandez has spent the majority of his career playing second base, a position the Tigers are lacking depth at.
If Detroit deals veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler they will have few internal options who could replace him.
Dixon Machado is the only other player on the roster who has experience at the keystone, and he is more suited for a utility role.
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The Tigers have a few infield prospects in their system, but none of them are ready to take a spot on the 25-man roster.
He played 29 games at third base and 13 games at second base last season for Detroit’s Double-A affiliate.
Isaac Paredes could be a regular second baseman someday, but he is 18 and not nearly ready for the Major Leagues.
Fernandez could slot in as the primary second baseman if Kinsler is traded. He started 58 games at second base between Double-A and Triple-A last season.
He also provides positional flexibility after seeing time at first base, third base and left field in 2017.
Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila will be looking for affordable ways to make this team better now and in the future.
Fernandez fits that need and could fill a variety of roles for the Tigers going forward.
He will be sought out by many teams after his strong season last year. If the Tigers can convince him to come to Detroit, he could be a big contributor for the team right away.