Tigers Claim TJ Hopkins, Designate Kolton Ingram

MLB Trade Rumors

The Tigers announced that they have claimed outfielder TJ Hopkins off waivers from the Giants. In a corresponding move, left-hander Kolton Ingram has been designated for assignment.

Hopkins, 27, had spent his entire career with the Reds until a few months ago but has been riding the roster carousel a bit lately. Cincy designated him for assignment in December and then flipped him to the Giants for cash. He stuck on the Giants’ roster for about two months before getting bumped off last week. After a week in DFA limbo, he’s now landed with the Tigers.

The right-handed hitter made his major league debut last year but it wasn’t especially strong. He hit just .171/.227/.171 for the year, though in a tiny sample of 44 plate appearances. His work in Triple-A was much more encouraging. He drew a walk in 14% of his 393 plate appearances and also launched 16 home runs. His .308/.411/.514 batting line translated to a wRC+ of 134, indicating he was 34% better than the league average.

Hopkins has mostly played left field in his career but has seen decent amounts of playing time at all three outfield spots. The Tigers have an outfield/designated hitter mix that skews left-handed, as each of Parker Meadows, Riley Greene, Kerry Carpenter and Akil Baddoo hit from that side. The club acquired Mark Canha to give them a bit of right-handed ballast but Hopkins will provide them with a depth option. He still has two option years and can be kept in Triple-A until he forces his way back to the big leagues or an opening appears.

As for Ingram, 27, he also made a small-sample debut in the majors last year, tossing 5 1/3 innings for the Angels. He allowed five earned runs in that time, striking out seven batters but also giving out five walks. He spent most of the year on the farm, splitting his time between Double-A and Triple-A. Between those two levels, he combined for 64 innings with a 2.81 ERA. His 31.1% strikeout rate is eye-catching but his 13.1% walk rate concerning.

The Halos designated him for assignment when they signed Aaron Hicks and the Tigers grabbed him off waivers in the first week of February, though he’s now been bumped off the roster a couple of weeks later. The Tigers will have one week to trade Ingram or pass him through waivers. Left-handed relief is always in demand and he still has a couple of option years, so he could be attractive to any club looking to bolster its bullen depth. If he were to pass through waivers unclaimed, he would stick with the Tigers in a non-roster capacity.

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