As reported late Saturday by FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi, the Tigers have agreed to a minor league contract with super utilityman Kevin Russo.
The 28-year-old was drafted by the Yankees in 2006 and has spent the past six seasons at various levels of their minor league system. He got a short cup of coffee in the big leagues in 2010, batting .184 with a .245 on-base percentage in 54 plate appearances.
Russo, a New York native, hit .284/.358/.351 with zero home runs and 15 stolen bases in 101 games this past summer at Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre. He’s capable of playing second and third base, and can handle all three outfield spots, which makes him a decently valuable piece of organizational depth.
Russo’s deal includes an invite to spring training, though he’s doubtful to crack the Opening Day roster.
Despite losing Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock to free agency, then trading Jean Segura to the Phillies and Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals, the Diamondbacks insist they’re not entering a rebuilding mode, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.
Most likely, this is just the D-Backs saving face publicly given how much contention there has been between ownership and the players’ union over teams aggressively not competing. The D-Backs aren’t expected to be in the running for any of the bigger-name free agents, so it’s going to be very tough to replace the production lost from Corbin, Pollock, Segura, and Goldschmidt. The smart money is still on expecting the D-Backs to continue trading away players like Robbie Ray and David Peralta. Greinke might stay, but only because of his contract, which still has three years and $95.5 million remaining.