Detroit Tigers in winter leagues: Two outfielders joining Manny Ramirez in Australia

Detroit Free Press

Evan Petzold
| Detroit Free Press

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Of the 19 Detroit Tigers participating in winter leagues this offseason, four are currently playing: third baseman Isaac Paredes and right-handers Drew Carlton, Dario Gardea and Emmanuel Quinones.

A slew of players with major-league experience will soon join them, including third baseman Jeimer Candelario, shortstop Sergio Alcantara, outfielder Daz Cameron and relievers Jose Cisnero and Gregory Soto.

[ Where Tigers’ Daz Cameron, Isaac Paredes, 17 others are playing in offseason ]

The Sydney Blue Sox in the Australian Baseball League start their season Dec. 17, meaning three Tigers will then start their offseason competitions: outfielder Cam Gibson (the son of former Tiger and two-time World Series champion Kirk Gibson), outfielder Jacob Robson and right-hander Joe Navilhon.

Robson, 25, hit .267 with nine homers and 52 RBIs in 112 games for Triple-A Toledo in 2019, but he hasn’t made the majors. Neither has Gibson, a 26-year-old who had a .235 batting average, nine homers and 51 RBIs in 117 games for Double-A Erie.

They’ll be joined by 48-year-old Manny Ramirez with the Blue Sox this season. Ramirez, a 12-time MLB All-Star, signed a one-year contract with the ballclub in late August. He hasn’t played since the 2017 season for the Kochi Fighting Dogs in an independent league on the island of Shikoku in Japan.

[ Why Tigers’ prospect who ‘can do everything’ believes he can be Detroit’s Manny Ramirez ]

Ramirez last competed in MLB in 2011 for the Tampa Bay Rays. He won the World Series in 2004 and 2007 with the Boston Red Sox.

Ramirez’s agent, Hector Zepeda, confirmed on Twitter that Ramirez is currently quarantining in Australia for two weeks while preparing for the season, where he will mentor the young players. 

While Ramirez, Robson and Gibson wait to take the field in Australia, the Mexican Pacific Winter League, where Paredes is playing, and the Dominican Winter League are underway.

[ Tigers’ Paredes tearing up Mexican Pacific Winter League, hits grand slam ]

Through nine games, Paredes is 11-for-29 (.379) with one homer, 10 RBIs, 11 walks (three intentional walks) and five strikeouts for Venados de Mazatlán. Also, he has three stolen bases, a .537 on-base percentage and a .586 slugging percentage.

Gardea and Quinones, both age 21, are in the Mexican Pacific Winter League, too. They play for Charros de Jalisco.

Appearing in seven games (one start), Gardea owns a 12.38 ERA, 13 strikeouts and eight walks, giving up 15 hits and one home run in eight innings. Quinones only has two games and 3⅓ innings of experience so far, but he hasn’t been much better, with a 10.80 ERA, two strikeouts and two walks.

Carlton possesses a 3.38 ERA in three games across 2⅔ innings for Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Winter League. He has one strikeout and no walks.

Many of the Tigers, including Candelario, aren’t scheduled to start playing in their respective offseason leagues until December.

[ Detroit prospect Roberto Campos energized by family, hitting ]

In the Dominican Winter League, expect Carlton, Alcantara, Candelario, Cisnero, Soto and right-hander Gerson Moreno. The Venezuelan Winter League will include catcher Eliezer Alfonzo, outfielder Esney Chacon, righty Adolfo Bauza, left-hander Rodolfo Fajardo and right-hander Jesus Rodriguez.

Cameron and righty Angel Reyes are slated to join the Puerto Rican Winter League.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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