Detroit Tigers are hoping for big things from former first-rounder who was cut

The Detroit Tigers are hoping that Keston Hiura will be able to lock down a roster spot in Triple-A. The only thing standing in their way is an upward mobility clause.
Detroit Tigers first baseman Keston Hiura catches the ball against the Yankees during the first inning of a Spring Training contest.
Detroit Tigers first baseman Keston Hiura catches the ball against the Yankees during the first inning of a Spring Training contest. / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Detroit Tigers position player group is set. The team has made their final roster cuts in the position player group. Detroit's figured out which players they want to head into battle within the 2024 season. However, this also includes a couple of tough decisions.

One of those decisions was to keep Keston Hiura off the roster. While the Detroit Tigers do have Spencer Torkelson and Hiura was not on the 40-man, so the decision may not have been overly tough, Hiura did show some upside to the Tigers this spring. He looked good, and the Tigers hope they do not lose him.

He did not make the team's final roster, but there are some expectations that Hiura can lock down a role in Triple-A. Detroit wants him to be the team's starting first baseman at the Triple-A level, serving as quality depth within the Tigers organization.

Perhaps one of the things to note about Hiura and his contract is that he has an upward mobility clause. This clause is worked into his minor-league contract with Detroit, meaning that the Tigers must offer him to the other clubs around the league.

If another team gives him a roster spot, Detroit must make room on the active roster and call him up or trade him to the team that wants him. It's quite the spot for Detroit, but they're betting that he will be able to make it to Triple-A.

Detroit Tigers push Keston Hiura to minors; could they lose him?

It seems like a simple demotion to the minors, but having to offer him to other teams could allow another team to swoop in and take a chance on Hiura. But, if things go according to plan, he'll end up in the minors with the Tigers, carving out a role with the team's Triple-A squad in Toledo.

Hiura, a former first-rounder, had quite the spring for the Tigers. He slashed .323/.353/.613 over 31 at-bats was impressive. He had a double, a triple, and two home runs to his credit, driving in nine runs along the way. He walked twice and punched out eight times for the Tigers.

Frankly, he looked great. He handled the bat well, produced at the plate, and was able to hit his way into sticking around with the Tigers. He may not have made the active roster, but Detroit sees value in him and wants to keep him around, as long as his upward mobility does not stand in the way of that.

If everything goes according to plan, Hiura will have a chance to head to Triple-A and try to keep producing enough to force Detroit to bring him to the big leagues.