DETROIT -- The Tigers opened their Hot Stove season with a pair of waiver claims as they try to accumulate young talent and add some undervalued players.Detroit claimed utility man Brandon Dixon off waivers from Cincinnati, as well as left-hander Jose Fernandez from Toronto. Both Dixon and Fernandez made their
DETROIT -- The Tigers opened their Hot Stove season with a pair of waiver claims as they try to accumulate young talent and add some undervalued players.
Detroit claimed utility man Brandon Dixon off waivers from Cincinnati, as well as left-hander Jose Fernandez from Toronto. Both Dixon and Fernandez made their Major League debuts earlier this year.
The moves bring the Tigers' 40-man roster to 38 players. They could clear more space in the coming weeks, with baseball's non-tender deadline for arbitration-eligible players on Nov. 30.
The 26-year-old Dixon played in 74 games for the Reds at six different defensive positions, in addition to two appearances as a pitcher. He played everywhere except catcher, shortstop and center field, showcasing much the same versatility the Tigers had with Niko Goodrum and Ronny Rodriguez this past season. If the Tigers use Goodrum to fill one of their middle-infield spots to open next season, Dixon could provide some depth.
Depending on how Dixon progresses at the plate, he could also provide some offense. Though the University of Arizona product batted just .178 (21-for-118) with 43 strikeouts for the Reds, he added five home runs, six doubles and 10 RBIs of production. He was a more dangerous batter at Triple-A Louisville, batting .346 (62-for-179) with 18 doubles, two triples, six homers, 23 RBIs and a .958 OPS.
The 25-year-old Fernandez gives the Tigers another lefty relief option, an area of their bullpen that had plenty of flux this past season. He was a September callup for the Blue Jays, allowing seven runs on 10 hits over 10 1/3 innings in 13 appearances while walking four and striking out six. He mixes a mid-90s fastball with a curveball and a slider that produced a 33 percent swing-and-miss rate in his September work.
Fernandez's call-up followed a strong Minor League campaign that included 65 strikeouts over 60 2/3 innings between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo. His rate of 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings over 195 career Minor League appearances is tempered by 4.0 walks per nine innings.
The Tigers were badly lacking for lefty relief depth this past season, going without one for a stretch near mid-season after Daniel Stumpf was optioned to Triple-A Toledo and Blaine Hardy was moved to the rotation. Fernandez could complement Stumpf, while also allowing Hardy to compete as a starter in Spring Training.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.