9:24am: The Tigers formally announced the moves. Manning goes directly to the 60-day injured list in order to open a spot on the 40-man roster for Diaz, although that’s a technicality, as he can be activated as soon as the season is over. The 60-day minimum does not carry over into next season. Carpenter, meanwhile, heads to the 10-day injured list with a lumbar strain, also ending his 2022 campaign.
9:12am: The Tigers have selected the contract of righty Miguel Diaz and will place both right-hander Matt Manning and outfielder Kerry Carpenter on the injured list, tweets Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press. Kody Clemens has been recalled from Triple-A Toledo alongside Diaz, filling the extra spot on the roster. Manning reported some arm fatigue and tightness in his forearm last night, and while manager A.J. Hinch stated that the team doesn’t believe there’s a serious injury at play, they’ll shut him down for the remainder of the season out of caution (via The Athletic’s Cody Stavenhagen, on Twitter).
Manning, 24, is the only of the Tigers’ vaunted rotation trio to avoid undergoing surgery this season, though he still missed a substantial portion of the season due to shoulder troubles. Assuming this is indeed a minor arm issue, though, he can be penciled in for Spring Training readiness, which can’t necessarily be said for either Casey Mize (Tommy John surgery in June) or Tarik Skubal (flexor tendon surgery in August). Detroit staked considerable hopes in that trio, and with good reason. Each of the three has impressed on the mound when healthy, but as is so often the case with pitching prospects, injuries have altered the calculus.
Manning’s season will draw to a close with just 63 Major League innings and another 20 1/3 Triple-A frames from a rehab assignment. He was sharp when on the mound, however, giving the Tigers a 3.43 ERA with an 18.3% strikeout rate, a 7.2% walk rate and a 40.1% ground-ball rate. Manning took considerable steps forward from last year’s ugly debut (5.80 ERA in 85 1/3 innings), recording improvements in strikeout rate, walk rate, swinging-strike rate and chase rate on pitches off the plate — all while yielding a much lighter average exit velocity. Injury concerns notwithstanding, there are ultimately quite a few positive takeaways from his second big league season.
Diaz, 27, will get a late look after working 65 innings out of the bullpen in Toledo and pitching to a 4.29 ERA with a 24.2% strikeout rate, 10.5% walk rate and a hefty 52.3% grounder rate. The right-hander spent the 2017-21 seasons in the Padres organization, dating back to his time as a Rule 5 pick out of the Brewers system in 2016.
San Diego selected Diaz directly out of A-ball and carried him on the roster all season in 2017. The lack of upper-minors seasoning showed, as Diaz was rocked for a 7.34 ERA through 41 2/3 innings as a seldom-used, low-leverage bullpen option. He pitched 42 innings with the Friars just last season, however, logging a much-improved 3.64 ERA with a sharp 26.2% strikeout rate but a bloated 11% walk rate.
Carpenter’s back injury will end a meteoric rise through the system for the former 19th-round pick (2019). After a nondescript run in Double-A last year, Carpenter — who never ranked among the organization’s best prospects — belted 30 home runs and posted OPS marks north of 1.000 in a combined 400 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A before ascending to the Majors.
Carpenter swatted another six round-trippers and hit .252/.310/.485 in 113 plate appearances at the MLB level, firmly inserting himself into the mix for an outfield spot in 2023 and beyond. He won’t get the opportunity to end that storybook season on his own terms, but his rise is one of very few bright spots in an otherwise largely catastrophic Tigers season.