The Detroit Tigers are adding depth on the fringes.
While Detroit Tigers fans eagerly await news of the next BIG move, the club has been working to fill in some of its depth issues on the mound. We first heard about a signing on Saturday night, and Rogelio mentioned it in his notes piece yesterday, but this morning the Detroit Tigers PR Twitter account broke news of two other additions:
These moves won’t exactly scratch that Carlos Correa itch for Tigers fans, but they do matter. Every team brings in veteran non-roster invitees each spring, and many of them eventually make the roster.
A handful of players from last year’s crop of NRIs played for the Tigers in 2021, and sometimes non-roster invitees stick around for a while. Niko Goodrum spent four seasons with the Tigers after being a non-roster invitee to 2018 camp, and José Cisnero has been one of Detroit’s most reliable relievers since coming to 2019 camp as an NRI.
Let’s take a closer look at these additions to camp to see what they offer the 2022 Detroit Tigers.
Detroit Tigers Non-Roster Invitee – RHP Miguel Diaz
Miguel Diaz was originally signed by the Milwaukee Brewers as an international free agent in 2011. The Twins took him first overall in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft, and then traded him to the San Diego Padres (the Padres tried something that year). Diaz had never pitched above high-A, so the shellacking (41.2 IP, 7.34 ERA) he took in the majors in 2017 was understandable. He spent most of the next two seasons back in the minors, but posted a solid 3.64 ERA over 42 innings for the Padres last year.
Diaz was mostly a sinker/slider pitcher early in his career, though he would use three other pitches at time. Last year he threw almost exclusively four-seam fastballs and changeups. Neither pitch misses a ton of bats, but Diaz’s heater sits at 94 MPH, will hit 97, and can get swings-and-misses up in the zone, while his changeup features plus horizontal movement and ideal velocity separation. Diaz doesn’t have great command, and home runs have been an issue, but his stuff gives him a shot to make the team.
Detroit Tigers Non-Roster Invitee – RHP Drew Hutchison
Tigers fans may recognize Drew Hutchison’s name, as he threw 21.1 innings for Detroit over nine outings toward the end of the 2022 season. A native of Lakeland, Florida, Hutchison has been a member of nine different organizations and seen parts of six seasons in the big leagues. He was a non-roster invitee for the Tigers last year, too, and spent most of the season pitching for Triple-A Toledo.
Drew Hutchison has a starter’s arsenal with average control, but all of his pitches are below-average by MLB standards, which leads him to nibble around the edges of the plate and post higher-than-ideal walk totals. It’s unlikely he makes the team out of spring training, but he could return to Toledo to begin the year and once again be called upon in an emergency.
Detroit Tigers Non-Roster Invitee – RHP Ramón Rosso
Ramón Rosso has taken a unique path to the Majors. He was pitching professionally in Spain when the Dodgers signed him in 2015, at the relatively advanced age of 19. But he was released the next year, and the Phillies inked him to a contract, apparently at the behest of former Tigers pitcher Luis Marte.
Rosso worked as a starter and made his way through Philadelphia’s organization fairly quickly, but he transitioned into relief in 2020 and made his MLB debut in that role in July. He spent most of 2021 in Triple-A, but did see action in seven games for the Phillies. He struggled to a 5.53 in the Dominican Winter League, but the Tigers must be intrigued by his arm.
Rosso’s fastball sits around 95MPH with occasional cutting action, and he can touch as high as 98 with above-average spin, but his long arm action and below-average extension make the pitch play down a bit. He also throws a mid-80s slider that will occasionally flash as an above-average offering, but it was hit hard last year, while his rarely used upper-80s changeup shows potential. He seems unlikely to win an Opening Day gig with the Tigers, but it wouldn’t surprise us if he’s pitching in Detroit later this year.