The Detroit Tigers continued their weekend roster shuffle on Sunday morning, announcing that righthander Michael Fulmer was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to June 3 with a right shoulder strain. Fulmer has been unavailable for the past few days, and remained sidelined while the Tigers protected a slim lead in the late innings of Saturday’s 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
To take Fulmer’s place on the active roster, the Tigers have purchased the contract of reliever Jason Foley. The 25-year-old righthander signed with the Tigers in 2016 after going undrafted out of Sacred Heart University, but put himself on the radar with a monster 2017 season at then-Single-A West Michigan, where he occasionally touched triple digits while striking out 36 hitters in 29 innings. He then missed the 2018 season due to Tommy John surgery, but came back with a solid performance for High-A Lakeland in 2019. This year, Foley has 10 strikeouts and four walks in 10 innings at Triple-A Toledo.
Foley’s calling card is a huge fastball that has reached as high as 101 miles per hour. His command has been iffy at times, but the high-octane heater and a decent package of secondary pitches have helped him rack up plenty of strikeouts in the minors. He has been on the periphery of our top prospects list for years now, just missing the top 30 in 2018, 2020, and 2021.
MLB Pipeline ranked Foley 27th on their preseason list, and had similar things to say about his arsenal.
Foley produces seemingly easy velocity from a three-quarter arm slot, his delivery exploding late. His four-seam fastball came back after surgery at nearly the same velocity, sitting at 97-99 mph. He added a two-seam fastball that sinks with mid- to upper-90s velocity. His slider has good movement in the mid-80s, but he still needs to control it better. He has a split-change in the upper-80s that still needs work but has potential as a swing-and-miss pitch.
To make room for Foley on the 40-man roster, the Tigers designated JaCoby Jones for assignment. The 29-year-old appeared to take a step forward at the plate in 2020, hitting .268/.333/.515 in 30 games, but has fallen off a cliff this year, with a .460 OPS in 105 plate appearances. Advanced metrics have been all over the place on his glove throughout his career, but no amount of defensive wizardry can make up for a 27 wRC+.
Should Jones clear waivers, he will be outrighted to Triple-A Toledo, where he can hopefully get back on track. However, with younger outfielders like Daz Cameron and Derek Hill both performing well this year — not to mention Riley Greene possibly forcing his own way up the ladder in the near future — the 29-year-old Jones is facing an uphill climb to get back into the Tigers’ somewhat crowded outfield picture.