LAS VEGAS — The Detroit Tigers have reached one of three important dates.
On Thursday, the Tigers were required to reinstate players from the 60-day injured list and return them to the 40-man roster. Next week, the Tigers must add minor leaguers to the 40-man roster on Tuesday to protect them from the Rule 5 draft, then the non-tender deadline is Friday.
“Those decisions are really tough, especially for me,” Scott Harris, president of baseball operations, said Tuesday at the general manager meetings. “I don’t know these players as well as most presidents know their players. I’m relying on a lot of people that have been here for a while.”
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The Tigers entered the offseason with 10 players on the 60-day injured list: Beau Brieske, Kyle Funkhouser, Rony García, Sean Guenther, Matt Manning, Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Spencer Turnbull, Jake Rogers and Austin Meadows. All 10 were reinstated to the 40-man roster.
To do that, the Tigers were forced to make a multitude of cuts. Six players were dropped from the 40-man roster, cleared waivers and outrighted to Triple-A Toledo: right-handers Luis Castillo, Bryan Garcia and Elvin Rodriguez, infielders Luis Garcia and Jermaine Palacios and outfielder Victor Reyes.
The most notable is Reyes. He earned $1.4 million in 2021 and would have been arbitration eligible for a second time this offseason, rejected the outright assignment to Toledo and elected free agency, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
He was projected for $2.2 million in salary arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors.
The 28-year-old switch-hitter, acquired by the Tigers in the 2017 Rule 5 draft, could reject the minor-league assignment because he has more than three years of MLB service time. He hit .264 with 49 walks and 287 strikeouts over 394 games over five seasons.
Bryan Garcia can reject the assignment to Toledo and opt for free agency, too, because he has been previously outrighted in his career. He pitched in 76 Tigers games over four seasons. They selected him in the sixth round of the 2016 draft.
Castillo, Rodriguez and Palacios can become minor-league free agents, while Luis Garcia — a 22-year-old former top prospect who doesn’t qualify for minors free agency — will remain with the organization.
The Tigers’ 40-man roster is currently at 40 players. The Tigers will need to clear additional space Tuesday to protect players from the Rule 5 draft.
On Wednesday, the Tigers cleared two spots on the 40-man roster: Outfielder Daz Cameron — who played 73 MLB games in parts of three seasons — was claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles, and infielder Josh Lester cleared waivers and was outrighted to Toledo.
Tigers’ 40-man roster
Pitchers (21): Tyler Alexander, Beau Brieske, José Cisnero, Angel De Jesus, Miguel Díaz, Alex Faedo, Jason Foley, Kyle Funkhouser, Rony García, Sean Guenther, Garrett Hill, Joe Jiménez, Alex Lange, Matt Manning, Casey Mize, Eduardo Rodriguez, Tarik Skubal, Gregory Soto, Spencer Turnbull, Will Vest, Joey Wentz.
Catchers (3): Eric Haase, Michael Papierski, Jake Rogers.
Infielders (11): Javier Báez, Miguel Cabrera, Jeimer Candelario, Harold Castro, Kody Clemens, Brendon Davis, Andy Ibáñez, Ryan Kreidler, Jonathan Schoop, Zack Short, Spencer Torkelson.
Outfielders (5): Akil Baddoo, Kerry Carpenter, Willi Castro, Riley Greene, Austin Meadows.