Detroit Tigers sign RHP Wily Peralta to minors deal with spring training invite

Detroit Free Press

Evan Petzold | Detroit Free Press

LAKELAND, Fla — The Detroit Tigers have signed veteran right-hander Wily Peralta to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training, a source with knowledge of the agreement told the Free Press on Thursday night.

The 31-year-old will compete for a job in the starting rotation but could shift to the bullpen, the source said. The source requested anonymity because the deal is not yet official.

Peralta won’t join Detroit’s spring training activities immediately. He needs to sort out details regarding his work visa, get a COVID-19 test to travel into the U.S. and then go through virus screening and quarantine in Lakeland.

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Pitchers and catchers reported to camp Wednesday, with the first full-team workout scheduled for Monday. Grapefruit League games begin Feb. 28.

The contract between Peralta and the Tigers, as first reported by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, is for $1.5 million if the righty makes the majors, with up to $300,000 in incentives.

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This offseason, Peralta pitched eight relief appearances for Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican Winter League. He had a 3.52 ERA with seven strikeouts and six walks across 7⅔ innings.

His bench coach in the Dominican Republic was Brayan Pena, also a manager in the Tigers’ farm system for High-A West Michigan. With Pena’s recommendation, as well as scouts in the DR, Peralta earned another chance in the majors.

“We’re definitely looking for more pitching as we speak,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said Tuesday, on the eve of spring training. “Whether it be a major-league contract or a minor-league with a (spring training invite), I’m not really sure. But we’re definitely looking. … I think one more starter would be ideal.”

[ Tigers pitchers, catchers report to Lakeland: ‘The bar is high’ ]

Peralta hasn’t pitched in MLB since 2019 for the Kansas City Royals. And he hasn’t started a game since May 14, 2017, for the Milwaukee Brewers. In his eight-year career, Peralta has suited up for the Brewers (2012-17) and Royals (2018-19).

In 2019, the 6-foot-1 righty pitched 42 games, logging a 5.80 ERA, 24 strikeouts and 19 walks in 40⅓ innings. The year before, in 2018, he finished with a 3.67 ERA, 35 strikeouts and 23 walks in 37 games (34⅓ innings).

Peralta’s best season came in 2014 for the Brewers: a 3.53 ERA, 1.304 WHIP, 154 strikeouts and 61 walks in 198⅔ innings across 32 starts. That year, he won 17 games.

The Tigers have now signed seven players to minor-league contracts with invitations to spring training: Peralta, first baseman Renato Nunez, infielder Greg Garcia, left-hander Derek Holland, right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, lefty Ian Krol and catcher Dustin Garneau.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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