LAKELAND, Fla. — Former Central Michigan Chippewa Zach McKinstry is headed back to the state. The Tigers acquired the left-handed hitter and versatile infielder from the Cubs on Monday in exchange for Minor League reliever Carlos Guzman.
The trade was part of a series of moves Monday that brought Detroit closer to finalizing its Opening Day roster ahead of Thursday’s season opener at Tampa Bay. In addition to the McKinstry deal, Detroit:
Tigers get: INF Zach McKinstry
Cubs get: Minor League RHP Carlos Guzman
The 27-year-old McKinstry has plenty of local connections, having been born in Toledo, Ohio. He went to high school in Fort Wayne, Ind., but he became an all-MAC player at CMU, where he shared team MVP honors in 2016. The Dodgers drafted him in the 33rd round that year, then brought him to the Majors as a versatile player in the infield and outfield in ’20 before trading him to the Cubs last summer. He played second base, third base, shortstop and some corner outfield.
McKinstry is a .208 hitter with a .652 OPS, 12 home runs and 43 RBIs in 121 career MLB games. He has ranked among the top 30 percent of Major Leaguers in sprint speed in each of the last two seasons, according to Statcast, along with boasting above-average arm strength.
McKinstry is out of Minor League options, so the Tigers are expected to carry him on their Opening Day roster.
The 24-year-old Guzman was not on MLB Pipeline’s Tigers prospect rankings but showed progress as a starter at High-A West Michigan, posting a 9-6 record with a 4.11 ERA, 34 walks and 90 strikeouts — while ending last season as a reliever at Double-A Erie.