The Tigers passed on Rafael Soriano last winter and decided to go in-house at closer, eventually settling on Joaquin Benoit, but they are prepared to look to free agency to fill the role this offseason.
Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that “mutual interest” has developed between the Tigers and Joe Nathan. After declining his $9.5 million option with the Rangers earlier this month, Nathan is said to have the Tigers “high on his wish list.”
Nathan turns 39 later this month, but he’s back to near-vintage form after his Tommy John surgery in 2010, posting a 2.09 ERA over the past two seasons while going 80-for-86 in save chances. He stands a good chance to receive the multi-year contract he’s looking for, with Detroit as an obvious fit.
The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.
Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.
The Yankees have activated shortstop Didi Gregorius from the 10-day disabled list, the club announced on Friday. Infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment to clear roster space.
Gregorius, 27, suffered a strained right shoulder while playing in the World Baseball Classic last month. He’s in Friday’s starting lineup, batting sixth against the Orioles.
Last season, Gregorius hit .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI in 597 plate appearances.