Detroit has released outfielder Brennan Boesch, who averaged 127 games and 496 plate appearances per season for the Tigers during the past three years.
Back in January the Tigers and Boesch avoided arbitration with a one-year, $2.3 million deal, but by releasing him now Detroit is only on the book for one-sixth of that salary. So he gets $383,000 and hits the open market as a 28-year-old free agent and the Tigers save $1.9 million on a player who fell out of their plans by hitting just .240 with 12 homers and a .659 OPS in 132 games last season.
Boesch was a quality regular in 2011, but his 2010 and 2012 production suggest he’s better suited as a part-time corner outfielder. He should have no trouble landing another big-league roster spot, but may have to fight for playing time. Meanwhile, the Tigers are going with another left-handed hitter, Andy Dirks, as their primary left fielder.
We welcomed “Mason Saunders” into our lives on Sunday, thanks to The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan. Mason Saunders is the alias of Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner when he competes in rodeos, something he’s done as recently as December (when he was still a free agent).
Given that one of Bumgarner’s other extracurricular activities, riding dirt bikes, resulted in a serious injury, many have been wondering how the Diamondbacks would react to the news that the lefty they inked to a five-year contract two months ago is roping steers in his spare time. It seems like the Diamondbacks just accept that that’s who Bumgarner is.
On Tuesday, Baggarly and Buchanan answered some frequently asked questions about the whole Bumgarner-rodeo thing. They mentioned that former Giants manager Bruce Bochy, in a radio interview on KNBR, slipped in that Bumgarner also hunts bears in his off-time. Bochy said, “You think, ‘Madison, you’re looking at signing your biggest contract ever to set yourself up for life and you’re going to risk it on the rodeo?’ But he’s got confidence. I mean there’s some stories I do know that he probably wouldn’t want me to share, with him bear hunting, and the tight situations he’s gotten himself into.”
As Baggarly and Buchanan explained, when Bumgarner — I mean, Saunders — is roping steers, he’s not taking much of a risk. They wrote, “The header and heeler don’t chase the steer around the ring. Each trial is more or less a one-shot deal and it’s over in less than 10 seconds. If the header or heeler misses on the first attempt, then no time is recorded.” Bumgarner has also said he ropes with his non-pitching hand. Hunting bears is an entirely different level of risk, one would imagine. That being said, no one seemed to be surprised that Bumgarner moonlights as a serious rodeo competitor. That’s likely also the case that he, as Bochy puts it, goes “mano a mano” against bears.