On Monday, in the midst of a wild start to the week across MLB, the Detroit Tigers made a few roster moves of their own, the most notable being a DFA of utility infielder Nick Maton, who mostly filled in at third to sometimes game-losing effect in 2023.
Maton came over from the Phillies at the beginning of that year, coming off of promising 34 major league appearances when he hit .250/.341/.514. Clearly, that didn't translate in Detroit, because his batting average dipped over 80 points and his slugging fell over 200 in 2023.
If Maton had cleared waivers, he would've gone back to Triple-A in Toledo and might've had another shot at rehabilitating and coming back to the Tigers in the late season. Instead, they seem to have closed the book on the Nick Maton experiment. Going the exact way of fellow Tigers DFA'er Tyler Nevin, Maton was traded to the Orioles in exchange for cash.
Nick Maton goes the way of Tyler Nevin, traded to the Orioles in exchange for cash
Maton and Nevin actually had very similar stories with the Tigers last year, though Maton did see more playing time. They were both brought in as stopgaps for third base or the middle infield as needed, but they were always sort of head-scratching acquisitions in the first place. Nevin especially; he's been up and down from the minors since 2021, after only breaking into the majors following six years in the Rockies' system.
They both had similarly yikes-inducing batting lines with the Tigers, hit toward the bottom of the order, and had strikeout rates that made them look like easy pickings for opposing pitchers. They were the product of a clumsy Tigers attempt to create depth that just fell short.
It's unclear how much use the Orioles will have for them, with Gunnar Henderson reliably at third and No. 1 prospect Jackson Holliday expected to make his big debut at shortstop this season. Second base is a bit of a different story; Jordan Westburg is expected to get just a little more than half of the starts there, so maybe they'll give Maton and Nevin a couple of test drives there. More likely is a trip back down to Triple-A for both of them when the season starts.
The Tigers, meanwhile, will have Colt Keith at second and some combination of Matt Vierling, Zach McKinstry, and Andy Ibáñez at third. Letting go of two more players who threw more confusion into the third base situation is only a good thing.