Detroit Tigers pitchers Bryan Garcia, Elvin Rodríguez among minor-league free agents

Detroit Free Press

In July 2017, the Detroit Tigers traded slugger J.D. Martinez, a two-month rental, to the Arizona Diamondbacks for then-prospects Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcántara and Jose King.

Those three players combined to play 123 games and were worth minus-1.1 fWAR for the Tigers in the big leagues. The last remaining member of the Martinez trade has departed from the Tigers’ organization: King became a minor-league free agent Thursday with 24 other players.

King, an infielder who turns 24 in January, spent nearly the entire 2022 season with High-A West Michigan. He batted .244 with a .279 on-base percentage and four home runs in 59 games.

ROSTER CHANGES: Tigers outfielder Victor Reyes among six players cut from 40-man roster

VERLANDER TRADE: Tigers’ Daz Cameron, from 2017 Justin Verlander trade, claimed off waivers by Orioles

Here’s the full list of minors free agents: right-handed pitchers Bryan Garcia, Zac Houston, Elvin Rodríguez, Bubba Derby, Gerson Moreno, Markus Solbach, Cody Sedlock, J.T. Hintzen, Luis Castillo, Shea Spitzbarth, Nick Vincent, Nolan Blackwood, Joe Navilhon, Daniel Ponce de Leon and Tim Holdgrafer; left-handed pitchers Sam Howard and Luis Camilo; catchers Fraudy Rodriguez, Michael De La Cruz and Chris Rabago; infielders King, Josh Lester, Jermaine Palacios Palacios and Jamie Westbrook; and outfielder Victor Reyes.

Aside from Reyes, the most notable minor-league free agent is Garcia. He pitched 76 games for the Tigers over parts of four seasons, serving as the closer in the 2020 season. The 27-year-old logged a 7.55 ERA in 2021 and seemed unlikely to return to the big leagues with the Tigers.

In 2022, however, the Tigers needed a starting pitcher at the end of the season due to several injuries to members of the rotation. Garcia, who reinvented himself as a starter in the middle of the season, stepped up and started four games, with a 3.54 ERA, 10 walks and 17 strikeouts in 20⅓ innings.

Rodríguez pitched seven games (five starts) for the Tigers last season, posting a 10.62 ERA with 15 walks and 25 strikeouts in 29⅔ innings. The 24-year-old had a 4.98 ERA with 36 walks and 91 strikeouts in 99⅓ innings for Triple-A Toledo.

Castillo, 27, also pitched in the majors. He tossed 3⅔ scoreless innings with four strikeouts in three relief appearances.

ADDING IN OCTOBER: Tigers claim utility player Jermaine Palacios, cut righty Drew Hutchison

Palacios, a multi-positional infielder, played 30 games for the Minnesota Twins last season, hitting .143 with two home runs, four walks and 27 strikeouts. The Tigers claimed the 26-year-old off waivers from the Twins in October.

The Tigers removed Reyes from the 40-man roster Thursday. He rejected an outright assignment to Triple-A Toledo, thus becoming a free agent. The 28-year-old hit .264 with 49 walks and 287 strikeouts over 394 games in parts of five MLB seasons.

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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