Tigers boost depth, sign 3 Minors pitchers

December 19th, 2018

DETROIT -- The Tigers continue to build pitching depth in their system as the offseason rolls along, signing Minor League contracts with right-handers and and lefty Nick Ramirez. Paredes and Smith also received non-roster invites to big league camp for Spring Training.
Both Paredes and Smith have Major League experience -- Paredes with the Angels over the past two seasons, and Smith with the Blue Jays in 2017. Paredes, who turns 24 in March, has yielded 25 runs on 46 hits over 40 2/3 big league innings with 13 walks and 32 strikeouts. The big Venezuelan owns a 93 mph fastball with a mid-80s slider and a low-80s changeup. He had a solid swing-and-miss rate with the slider, but he gave up a .370 average and .739 slugging percentage with the fastball, according to Statcast™, in his limited Major League work in '18.
Paredes struck out 35 batters over 42 1/3 innings at Triple-A Salt Lake this past season.
The 30-year-old Smith spent his 2018 campaign in the Nationals system at Triple-A Syracuse, where he posted a 4-5 record, a 3.93 ERA and 65 strikeouts over 55 innings out of the bullpen. He has struck out 9.8 batters per nine innings over his five-year Minor League career.
Smith's Major League work is limited to five innings over four games in the Blue Jays' bullpen in 2017. He allowed three runs on seven hits in that brief stretch with a walk and a strikeout.
Ramirez is an interesting addition; two years ago, the former fourth-round pick converted from first baseman to lefty reliever in the Brewers' system. The 29-year-old dominated Southern League hitters at Double-A Biloxi this past season, allowing just 17 hits over 30 2/3 innings with 13 walks, 33 strikeouts and an 8-0 record, but he struggled at Triple-A Colorado Springs with a 5.73 ERA and 44 hits over 37 2/3 innings.
If the Tigers can get Ramirez through the next level, they could have an intriguing lefty relief option after struggling to find southpaw help to complement and last season.