Kelly, Reed officially opt for free agency

As expected, Don Kelly and Evan Reed both declined their outright assignments to Triple-A Toledo and opted for free agency, according to the International League’s transactions page. Also as expected, both Kelly and Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski are leaving open the possibility of a return.

“It’s part of the business,” Kelly said earlier this week. “Door is open.”

The Tigers outrighted both of them to Triple-A Toledo last Friday, taking them off the 40-man roster. Both have enough minor-league time that they could decline the assignment and declare free agency, which is pretty much an automatic move. Both are now free to sign with any club immediately.

In Kelly’s case, he can explore his options on the market and then take another look at Detroit. If he were to re-sign, it would probably be on a minor-league deal with a non-roster invite to Spring Training, the same thing he and the Tigers did after the 2012 season. Detroit kept him on the roster after last season with a $1 million Major League contract that avoided arbitration. If Kelly were to sign a big-league deal this winter, he’d be up for arbitration again.

Also among the IL transactions, you’ll find that Jose Ortega and Justin Miller became free agents as well. Both were eligible after six minor-league seasons once they were left off the 40-man roster. Both hard-throwing right-handed relievers had a cup of coffee in Detroit before being outrighted to Toledo later in the season.


Evan, if I knew that 3rd was the best the Tigers could do next season, and that is a possibility, I’d be unloading some contracts. 3rd place is probably the worst finish I could think of. You win nothing and other teams draft ahead of you. But…. there’s always the chance of the division or wild card to entice the organization into further doubling down on expensive FA’s. And to fill the park. Is the window still open? It’s always a crap shoot. Right players, chemistry, no major injuries, etc.

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