Open Thread: Talking Tigers offseason moves

Bless You Boys

Well, the Tigers made a little move today, claiming former Milwaukee Brewers catching prospect Mario Feliciano. Beyond that, you can probably expect a very quiet two weeks into the new year. It’s shaping up to a very quiet offseason overall in the first place.Scott Harris will be off for his wedding and honeymoon, and from Christmas to New Year’s is typically the least active time of the offseason to begin with.

So it’s open thread time, but we’ll discuss Feliciano briefly first.

Feliciano is still only 24 years old, and catchers generally take more time to develop than other position players, so there may be a little utility in picking him up. As recently as 2019, Feliciano was a fairly well regarded prospect ranked in top five of the Brewers’ system who launched 19 home runs in 119 games at the High-A level. His defensive abilities were extremely raw but expected to improve. Always a free swinger, Feliciano did pack good raw power and enough feel for the barrel to get to most of it, despite a generally mediocre approach.

Coming out of the COVID year in 2020, Feliciano dealt with another injury plagued season in 2021 and struggled with a somewhat aggressive assignment to the Triple-A level as a 22-year-old. Still, with only 40 games played it was difficult to gauge how much more projection remained.

Feliciano’s 2022 campaign at the Triple-A level only reinforced the notion that his progressed has stalled out well short of major league caliber. While he made plenty of contact, striking out just 16.7 percent of the time, the young catcher did very little damage and remains a free swinger who chases a lot and doesn’t walk much. Injuries have hampered much needed improvement defensively, and while he finally made some progress in that regard in 2022, he’s still a liability behind the plate in terms of his receiving. He does have a solid arm, and perhaps if he can put the injury bug behind him for a solid year further defensive progress is possible. Still, at this point he’s a total flyer even as 1B/DH profile, and presumably will function as catching depth at Toledo and little more.

We’ve already seen Harris claim and release a catcher from the waiver wire this offseason, so potentially Feliciano won’t even make it to camp with the Tigers. The new President of Baseball Ops clearly sees value in making claims and having a chance to gather intel on and from these players. The sheer volume of catch and release involved makes it difficult to assess which claimed players they really like and see a future with, and which are just part of their new leadership’s sifting process.

Illustrating the point is OF Bligh Madris, who was recently claimed by the Tigers, but designated for assignment today to make room for Feliciano. None of this really qualifies as news worth analyzing, but hey we had to write something long enough to publish a new open thread.

As always, we thank you for your support and for all the quality baseball discussion and fanposts generated by our readers. On behalf of the whole staff, we wish you all a lovely holiday season.

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