Tigers Sign Sam Clay To Minor League Deal

MLB Trade Rumors

The Tigers have signed left-hander Sam Clay to a minor league deal, according to his transactions tracker at MLB.com. He had signed a minors deal with the Diamondbacks in the offseason but was released, per the tracker.

Clay, 30 in June, has a bit of major league experience on his ledger to this point in his career. A Twins draftee, he never got the call to the big leagues with them, reaching free agency after 2020. The Nationals then signed him to a major league deal and put him into 58 games in 2021. He didn’t rack up a ton of strikeouts, just 15.9% of batters faced, but he got ground balls at an excellent 60.1% rate. The lefty posted a 5.60 ERA that year but might have deserved better, given his .342 batting average on balls in play and 65.4% strand rate, which were both on the unfortunate side of average. His 4.61 FIP and 4.42 SIERA were each about a full run better than his ERA.

Clay spent most of 2022 in the minors and eventually went to the Phillies and Mets in July with a couple of waiver claims in a span of a week. The Mets would later outright him off the roster in August. Amid all of that bouncing around, he tossed just 5 1/3 innings in the majors with a 8.44 ERA. But in 43 Triple-A innings, he had a much more palatable 3.56 ERA, getting grounders on almost two thirds of balls in play and striking out 24.1% of opponents.

Clay returned to the open market this winter and signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks. He wasn’t terribly effective in four spring outings and was released but will now join the Tigers. Per the transactions tracker, he’s been assigned to the FCL Tigers and will presumably get back into game shape after a layoff of about a month, at which point he’ll likely head to Triple-A Toledo. The Tigers have three lefties in the big league bullpen in Tyler Holton, Tyler Alexander and Chasen Shreve but Alexander currently has a 5.28 ERA on the year and Shreve a 7.84. Clay will give them a non-roster option to potentially turn to in the not-too-distant future.

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