Tigers re-sign Jordan Lennerton to minor-league deal
For three years, Jordan Lennerton was a sweet-hitting first baseman in the Tigers farm system who had the misfortune of playing the same position as Prince Fielder and (then last year) Miguel Cabrera. With a chance to hit the open market this winter, Lennerton opted to come back.
I welcome 2015 with open arms! I am excited for the great things to come and the amazing opportunities with…. The Detroit Tigers!! #NYE15
— Jordan Lennerton (@oppo_jack_lenny) December 31, 2014
A source confirmed Monday that Lennerton has re-signed with the Tigers, inking a minor-league deal. No word on whether he’ll be in big-league camp, though he was there last year.
Lennerton was an All-Star in the Eastern League in 2012 and the International League in 2013, and was a Futures Game participant in 2013 after a scorching first half for Triple-A Toledo. He made it to big league camp this past spring, but with Cabrera and Victor Martinez both healthy, Lennerton was an early camp cut. Back in Toledo, he got off to a slow start and didn’t recover until it was too late to salvage his season stats.
For the year, Lennerton batted .249 (102-for-410) with 26 doubles, 10 home runs, 53 RBIs, 73 walks and 114 strikeouts. He actually had more walks than hits for more than half the season. After 70 games, he had 42 walks, 42 hits, a .184 batting average and a .313 on-base percentage. He went on a tear down the stretch, batting .337 with a .973 OPS over the final two months, to get his numbers back to respectable. He has spent the last couple months playing winter ball in Puerto Rico, batting .227 (25-for-110) with a home run, 13 RBIs, 13 walks and 31 strikeouts through Dec. 30.
Lennerton is a two-time Minor League Gold Glove winner at first base. He played 121 games and had 1127 total chances there last year without committing an error.
It’s unclear what Lennerton’s return means for Aaron Westlake, who hit 15 home runs for Erie last year but with a .236 average and .689 OPS. More interesting is the impact on the upside. Cabrera has a follow-up exam scheduled later this month on his surgically repaired foot and ankle. That should give a better idea on Cabrera’s timetable for a return. Detroit has Victor Martinez back and capable of playing first base, but it’s doubtful the team would want him in the field every day at age 36 if Cabrera had to miss any significant stretch. J.D. Martinez has a couple of games at first base in the minor leagues, but none since 2009.