Tigers claim Josh Zeid off waivers from Astros
The Tigers’ search for bullpen help led them to the waiver wire on the day teams have to set their 40-man rosters and protect prospects from the Rule 5 Draft. Detroit claimed 27-year-old right-hander Josh Zeid from the Astros, who tried to sneak him off their roster after he missed the final two months of the season for surgery on both feet.
He’s not a big-name addition by any stretch, but he’s the kind of pitcher on the rebound the Tigers have turned into bullpen depth in years past.
Zeid, acquired by Houston three years ago in the Hunter Pence trade, had a nice rookie season in 2013 before struggling through this year. Working mostly middle relief, he gave up 16 earned runs on 30 hits over 20 2/3 innings, covering 23 appearances, with seven walks and 18 strikeouts. Most of that damage came in a month-long stretch from the end of June through July, in which he gave up 10 earned runs on 14 hits — three of them home runs — over 6 2/3 innings.
Zeid went on the disabled list after that with lingering injuries that led to surgeries on both of his feet, keeping him out of the rest of the season. He’s expected to be ready for Spring Training.
When he’s healthy, he’s a power pitcher with a mid-90s fastball, slider and a splitter he developed with the help of former Tigers pitcher and ex-Astros pitching coach Doug Brocail.
The Tigers didn’t need to go far for a scouting report on Zeid. He played in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers two years ago for Team Israel, a team managed by Brad Ausmus.
With Zeid added to an already full roster, somebody had to go. That fell on outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, who went from part-time center fielder in August to late-game defensive replacement and pinch-runner by season’s end. Any question about whether he was expendable was answered when the Tigers traded for Anthony Gose, another speedy center fielder who bats left-handed but with more consistent defensive prowess.