Eldred, Tigers parting ways, reportedly to Japan
UPDATE: The move is now official. Brad Eldred has been released, the Tigers announced Tuesday afternoon, so that he can sign with the Hiroshima Carp.
Neither the Tigers nor Brad Eldred are saying anything at this point, but it’s clear that he and the Tigers organization are about to part ways.
“There’s nothing really to report yet,” Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said, “but I think we’ll know something tomorrow.”
Eldred was a last-minute scratch from the Mud Hens lineup, but was not injured. After the game, he was shaking hands with teammates, who were wishing him good luck as they passed by his half-empty locker.
At the same time, a report out of Japan said the Hiroshima Carp were attempting to acquire Eldred, whose hot start made him the talk of baseball earlier this season. It could be a release and a signing, or it could be a sale of the contract.
At this point, though, neither Eldred nor the Tigers are confirming that’s where he’s going. But they’re strongly hinting at it.
“What’s going on is probably better for me and my family,” Eldred said. “That’s obviously the way I’m going to go.”
Meanwhile, there was a new face bringing his equipment into the Mud Hens locker room. That was Jeff Baisley, who played 62 games this season with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque, New Mexico, batting .284 with 15 doubles, eight homers and 41 RBIs in 62 games.
“He’ll be added tomorrow,” Nevin said.
Put it all together, and you can figure out what’s going down Tuesday.
“I don’t know if I’m allowed to say anything,” Eldred said. “I wish I could tell.”
Eldred made headlines with a torrid opening month in Toledo, batting .388 with 13 homers and 35 RBIs in 20 April games. That prompted the Tigers to purchase his contract April 27 after they released Brandon Inge. Manager Jim Leyland installed him as the designated hitter for three games against the Yankees, during which he went 2-for-13 with five strikeouts.
He was 3-for-16 with six strikeouts when the Tigers designated him for assignment the next Friday to make room for Delmon Young’s return from Major League Baseball’s restricted list. Eldred accepted the assignment rather than opt for free agency, which was his right.
Since then, Eldred has batted .263 (41-for-156) with 11 homers and 30 RBIs in 43 games, while striking out 52 times.
“It’s been great,” Eldred said. “I couldn’t really ask for a whole lot more — obviously, more opportunity, whatever you want to call it. But it kind of is what it is right now.”