Detroit Tigers acquire Dillon Paulson in trade with Tampa Bay, make 2 noteworthy releases

Detroit Free Press

LAKELAND, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers completed a trade Friday with the Tampa Bay Rays for the second time in three days, acquiring first baseman Dillon Paulson in exchange for cash considerations.

Two days ago, they acquired outfielder Grant Witherspoon for cash. Witherspoon, 26, will begin the season in Double-A Erie.

Tigers assistant general manager Rob Metzler previously worked as the Rays’ senior director of amateur scouting.

Paulson, 25, returned from injury in August 2022 and played in the Florida Complex League and for High-A Bowling Green last season, hitting .224 with four home runs, 18 walks and 13 strikeouts in 24 games.

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He tore the ACL in his right knee in May 2021 while playing for Double-A Montgomery, limiting him to 15 games that season. It was his first season with the Rays following a three-team trade in December 2020 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies.

The Dodgers selected Paulson, a left-handed hitter, in the 13th round of the 2018 draft. He hasn’t been healthy for an entire season since 2019. That year, he hit .243 with 16 homers, 82 walks and 133 strikeouts in 117 games in the low minors. He seems likely to report to Erie.

Paulson’s addition comes after Quincy Nieporte, a 28-year-old who played first base for the SeaWolves last season and hit .270 with 31 homers across 123 games, underwent Tommy John surgery at the beginning of March.

Out the door

The Tigers released these minor leaguers: right-handers Francisco Jimenez, Jack Dellinger, Andy Santana, Nick Davila and Carlos Sanabria, left-hander Kris Anglin, infielders César Hernández, Frank Veliz and Carlos Irigoyen and outfielders Adonis Figuereo, Jimmy Mojica, Jesus Bolivar and Dylan Rosa.

Two of them — Anglin and Hernández — are noteworthy players.

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The Tigers, under former general manager Al Avila, acquired Anglin from the Atlanta Braves at the 2022 trade deadline in exchange for outfielder Robbie Grossman. The 21-year-old pitched 5⅓ innings in the organization.

Hernández, 32 and a 10-year MLB veteran, joined the Tigers on a minor-league contract in the offseason. The Tigers reassigned him to minor-league spring training before finalizing the Opening Day roster, then released him.

Hernández, a switch-hitter, quickly bounced back from getting cut by the Tigers, agreeing to a minor-league contract with the Seattle Mariners. He hit .248 with one home run, 45 walks and 114 strikeouts in 147 games with the Washington Nationals last season.

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

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