The Tigers added to their pitching depth Thursday by agreeing to terms with veteran reliever Wily Peralta to a Minor League contract with an invite to Major League Spring Training, according to a source.
The 31-year-old Peralta will make $1.5 million if he makes the Major League roster, with another $300,000 possible in incentives, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, who first reported the agreement. The team has not confirmed the deal.
The move comes two days after general manager Al Avila said he and his front office are still on the lookout for pitching depth to help cover innings in the jump from last year’s 58-game season to a full 162-game schedule.
“We’re definitely looking for more pitching as we speak,” Avila said Tuesday. “Whether it be a Major League contract or a Minor League [deal] with an [invitation to Spring Training], I’m not really sure, but we’re definitely looking for more pitching. … I think at least one more starter would be ideal.”
Peralta doesn’t fill the starting void, though Detroit still has room to address that. Peralta does provide some experience in a generally young bullpen.
Though Peralta didn’t pitch in the big leagues last year, he has eight Major League seasons to his credit, including 2018-19 in the Royals' bullpen. He shared the team lead with 14 saves in '18 to go with a 3.67 ERA and 35 strikeouts over 34 1/3 innings. With a chance to build on that in '19, however, Peralta struggled to a 5.80 ERA and seven home runs allowed over 40 1/3 innings.
Peralta pitched this offseason with Gigantes in the Dominican Winter League, allowing three unearned runs on seven hits over 7 2/3 innings with six walks and seven strikeouts.
Tigers lose another player on waivers
Peralta’s deal emerged shortly after the Tigers lost another reliever to waivers. The Red Sox claimed sidearming right-hander John Schreiber, who had been designated for assignment last week to open a spot on the 40-man roster for newly signed outfielder Nomar Mazara.
Schreiber became the fifth Tiger to be claimed off waivers since December, joining fellow reliever Anthony Castro (Blue Jays), infielder Sergio Alcántara (Cubs) and outfielders Troy Stokes Jr. (Pirates) and Travis Demeritte (Braves). Castro, Stokes and Alcántara have since been designated for assignment again, with Castro and Stokes clearing waivers.
None of the players who were waived were expected to be critical parts to the Tigers' season. However, Schreiber had a chance to be part of Detroit’s relief depth, having pitched in 15 games last season and 13 games in 2019. The Michigan native began last season with 8 1/3 scoreless innings on three hits over his first seven appearances, stranding all five inherited runners, before allowing multiple runs in half of his final eight outings.
Schreiber also has multiple Minor League options remaining. With that in mind, the Red Sox, who had an early position in the waiver order, made a claim.
Most of the moves involved the Tigers creating roster space for free-agent signings. In that sense, the Tigers’ signing of first baseman Renato Núñez to a Minor League contract earlier this month, rather than a Major League deal, might have spared them another loss.
The roster will not be an issue for the Tigers if they make any more signings. With Spring Training underway, teams can now place injured players on the 60-day injured list, freeing up 40-man roster spots. That could come in handy for Detroit if it gets a chance to sign an established pitcher to a Major League contract.
Updates on missing pitchers
Reliever Gregory Soto and starter José Ureña have arrived in the United States after visa issues from the Dominican Republic delayed their arrival to camp, manager A.J. Hinch said Thursday. The two are on their way to Lakeland, Fla., where they’ll go through intake testing and isolation before joining camp.
Pitching prospect Franklin Perez is in Lakeland, but his clearance to join camp was delayed another day on Thursday.
“Not health-related, just simply process-related,” Hinch said.
The winter storms that have hit the country this week have caused some delays in the intake-testing process, since tests are shipped out for analysis. The key for Perez, who has battled injuries for much of his three-year tenure in the Tigers' system since arriving in the Justin Verlander trade in 2017, is that he’s healthy and ready to pitch when he’s cleared.