Detroit Tigers president of baseball operations Scott Harris said Saturday — after trading closer Gregory Soto to the Philadelphia Phillies — that the organization was “hard at work” in search of another left-handed reliever.
On Monday, the Tigers struck a deal with lefty reliever Chasen Shreve.
The Tigers and Shreve agreed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to MLB spring training, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. He will earn $1.25 million if he makes the major leagues.
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Shreve, a nine-year MLB veteran, most recently pitched for the New York Mets. The 32-year-old logged a 6.49 ERA with 10 walks and 29 strikeouts over 26⅓ innings in 25 games last season. Right-handers hit .225 in 56 plate appearances against him, while left-handers hit .296 in 58 plate appearances.
Spanning his first 10 games last season, Shreve had a 1.54 ERA with two walks and 17 strikeouts in 11⅔ innings. He crumbled in his final 15 outings: 10.43 ERA with eight walks and 12 strikeouts in 14⅔ innings.
He threw three pitches last season: four-seam fastball (44.5%), splint finger (37.1%) and slider (18.4%). His fastball averaged 90.6 mph with an above-average spin rate. His splitter registered a 42.5% swing-and-miss rate; opponents hit .128 with 19 strikeouts against it.
Shreve fared much better for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2021, with a 3.20 ERA, 28 walks and 45 strikeouts over 56⅓ innings in 57 games.
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Assuming Shreve joins the Tigers, he can earn $75,000 each for 20, 30, 35 and 40 innings pitched, $100,000 each for 45 and 50 innings pitched, and $125,000 each for 55 and 60 innings pitched.
The Tigers, of course, need another left-hander in the bullpen. After trading Soto, Tyler Alexander is the only proven lefty reliever on the 40-man roster. (Keep in mind: Left-handed starter Joey Wentz could begin the season in the bullpen.)
Shreve should compete with fellow lefties Zach Logue and Sean Guenther — two other non-roster invitees — in spring training for a spot on the Opening Day roster. More relievers might join the mix before camp starts in mid-February.
Shreve owns a 3.87 ERA over 311⅓ innings in his MLB career, which includes time spent with the Atlanta Braves (2014), New York Yankees (2015-18), St. Louis Cardinals (2018-19), Mets (2020, 2022) and Pirates (2021).
He has a career 11.4% walk rate.
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