Tigers cut ties with Goodrum, add Clemens

November 19th, 2021

DETROIT -- ’s Tigers tenure is over after four seasons. The team dropped the switch-hitting shortstop/superutility player from its 40-man roster on Friday as part of a series of moves to clear space for prospects who needed to be added ahead of the Rule 5 Draft.

Goodrum, one of the brighter spots in the early stages of the Tigers' rebuild, was outrighted off the 40-man roster and cleared waivers. He had enough service time in the Major Leagues to reject an outright assignment to Triple-A Toledo and become a free agent instead. He’s immediately free to sign with any club.

Also taken off the Tigers’ 40-man roster were outfielder Jacob Robson and right-hander Nivaldo Rodriguez. Both were outrighted to Toledo, where they spent the bulk of their 2021 seasons.

The moves cleared spots for infielder and right-handed reliever to be added to the 40-man roster. The Tigers left one spot open.

The Goodrum move wasn’t a surprise. Though the 29-year-old was on Detroit's roster for all of the past four seasons, his future seemed elsewhere, with the Tigers looking to add a shortstop and already deep in utility infielders. Goodrum was also eligible for arbitration coming off a season during which he slashed .214/.292/.359 in 90 games with an 82 OPS+ and a 0.0 bWAR.

Goodrum played a central role in helping the Tigers through their rebuild. On the field, his versatility, athleticism and willingness to play anywhere gave former manager Ron Gardenhire and current manager A.J. Hinch a boost through shortened rosters and thin lineups. Goodrum posted a .247 average and a .745 OPS with 28 home runs and 98 RBIs in 2018-19 combined while playing everywhere but pitcher and catcher.

Off the field, Goodrum made a point to make an impact in the community. His efforts to donate and personally distribute bottled water to Flint residents and students in Detroit schools helped shine a light on a clean water crisis and set an example.

Which prospects were added?
The Rule 5 Draft each December allows teams to add young talent by plucking prospects who aren’t on other organizations’ 40-man rosters. Players first signed at age 18 or younger must be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons or become eligible to be drafted. Players signed at age 19 or older must be protected within four seasons. Clubs pay $100,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn't stay on the 26-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000.

For this year, that means an international prospect or high school Draft pick signed in 2017 -- assuming he was 18 or younger as of June 8 that year -- would be eligible. A college player taken in the 2018 Draft is in the same position.

Here’s a closer look at the two players added:

Kody Clemens, IF (No. 18 in Tigers prospect rankings)
Though Clemens is a .247 hitter in four Minor League seasons, he produced career bests with 18 home runs and a .778 OPS in 2021 at Triple-A Toledo. While he worked primarily as a second baseman, as he has for his entire pro career, he showed versatility in Toledo, including 20 starts in right field and another at first base. That could eventually punch his ticket to Detroit as a superutility player.

Angel De Jesus, RHP (unranked)
De Jesus was a late riser in the Tigers' system who didn’t pitch above Class A ball until the 2021 season. When he did, his high-strikeout and low-hit totals continued. The 24-year-old fanned 80 batters and allowed 38 hits over 64 2/3 innings with a 3.34 ERA and six saves in 44 games between Toledo and Double-A Erie. While his fastball reaches the upper-90s, he adds deception with a slightly funky delivery. As the Tigers try to build their bullpen around homegrown players, De Jesus could be the next to arrive sometime in 2022.

Which prospects were left off?
Among those eligible players who weren’t added to the roster were right-handed starter Paul Richan, No. 25 among Tigers prospects per MLB Pipeline. The former Cubs Draft pick, acquired in the Nick Castellanos trade in 2019, made just eight starts in 2021 -- all at Double-A -- before going on the injured list in June with a right shoulder strain.

Also left off were right-handers Logan Shore, Garrett Hill, Chavez Fernander and Will Vest. Hill could attract interest in the Rule 5 Draft thanks to his showing in the Arizona Fall League, where he allowed just three runs over 13 2/3 innings with 21 strikeouts. Vest was selected by the Mariners during last year’s Rule 5 Draft and made 32 appearances for Seattle before he was returned to the Tigers and finished the season with the Mud Hens.