January 22nd, 2014

Red Sox DFA Villarreal to sign Grady Sizemore

The Tigers weren’t seriously involved on Grady Sizemore, who was looking for a Major League contract. Sizemore got it from the Red Sox, who designated former Tigers reliever Brayan Villarreal for assignment to make room.

Villarreal, of course, was a secondary piece of the three-team trade that brought Jose Iglesias to Detroit and sent Avisail Garcia to the White Sox. His Red Sox tenure in 2013 consisted of one batter, an ill-advised appearance August 20 in which he entered with a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning of a tie game and walked the only batter he faced.

Villarreal is out of minor-league options, so this might have been his fate eventually anyway. That said, he’s 26 years old with a healthy arm, a strong fastball and at least some track record of success in the big leagues from his midsummer stretch with the Tigers in 2012.

Does that mean he could end up back in Detroit? Well, most of the teams in the American League will have its chance to make a waiver claim on him before Detroit’s spot comes up, based on last year’s standings. Moreover, Villarreal would still be out of options, meaning the Tigers would have to try to get him through waivers to put him back at Triple-A Toledo unless he made the team out of Spring Training.

Villarreal made the Tigers’ Opening Day roster last year, but pitched in just seven games in April before being sent to Triple-A Toledo. He walked eight of the 28 batters he faced, gave up eight hits and struck out six.