Cutting someone for a spot
The Detroit Tigers have a handful of players on their 40-man roster that could safely be removed without much risk of losing them. Left-hander Ryan Carpenter sticks out as the most prominent, after a disastrous 7.25 ERA in six appearances (five starts) for the Tigers last year. He was bad at Triple-A as well, with a 2-8 record and a 5.07 ERA.
At this point, the 28-year-old Carpenter does not look like anything more than a AAAA pitcher who can be called up in a desperate pinch. I seriously doubt anyone would choose to add Carpenter to their 40-man if he was waived, meaning he could come back to Toledo next season. And if he is claimed, well Detroit isn’t losing anything that isn’t replaceable.
A few other options include infielder Brandon Dixon and left-hander Jose Fernandez, who Detroit claimed earlier this offseason. Plus, outfielders Mike Gerber and Victor Reyes are options as well, although Detroit is probably more inclined to hold onto them.
Another option is to non-tender someone who is arb-eligible. The only real candidate Detroit has for non-tender is catcher James McCann, who is expected to command roughly $3.5M in arbitration. Coming off an ugly 2018 season, McCann is probably not a part of Detroit’s future. They’ll certainly try to trade him if possible, but a non-tender might make sense to clear a roster spot and give John Hicks and Grayson Greiner a shot at the catching duties in 2019.