Tigers sign Schierholtz, Kensing to minor-league deals

The Tigers completed their holiday shopping with some depth acquisitions Wednesday, announcing minor-league contracts with veteran outfielder Nate Schierholtz and right-handed reliever Logan Kensing. Both deals include invites to Major League camp.

The Tigers also announced minor-league deals to bring back former relief prospect Melvin Mercedes and veteran utility infielder Alberto Gonzalez. Right-hander Dustin Mollekin also agreed to a minor-league deal. None received invites to big-league camp.

None are big-name deals, but they’re the kind of depth the Tigers lacked last season. Schierholtz, who turns 32 in mid-February, was a rumored Tigers target in past seasons as a versatile left-handed hitter before heading to Japan.

Schierholtz hit 21 home runs with the Cubs in 2013 before batting .195 the next season between the Cubs and Nationals. He played this past season with the Hiroshima Carp of Japan’s Pacific League, batting .250 (58-for-232) with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs in 65 games.

Schierholtz is a .253 (529-for-2090) hitter in 799 career Major League games with 52 home runs and 228 RBIs. He also has 41 career outfield assists, nine of them in 87 games in right field in 2014.

Kensing, 32, pitched in 19 games for the Mariners this past season, allowing 10 runs on 12 hits over 15 1/3 innings with seven walks and 13 strikeouts. He made 19 more appearances for Triple-A Tacoma, allowing eight earned runs on 29 hits over 32 1/3 innings with 10 walks and 25 strikeouts.

For his career, Kensing has 177 Major League innings over 154 appearances, all but three of them in relief. He’s 10-10 with a 5.80 ERA, 96 walks and 157 strikeouts.

Mercedes, who turned 25 last month, pitched in one game for the Tigers in 2014 and ranked on MLB.com’s Tigers top 30 prospect list as recently as this past summer before becoming a minor-league free agent this offseason. He posted a 1-2 record and 4.95 ERA in 60 innings between Triple-A Toledo and Double-A Erie, walking 23 and striking out 52.

The 32-year-old Gonzalez, a veteran of seven Major League seasons, spent most of last season in Erie after joining the Tigers as a free agent last offseason. The native Venezuelan batted .283 (49-for-173) for the SeaWolves with 11 doubles, two home runs and 19 RBIs.

The 31-year-old Molleken has pitched for 12 seasons in the minors and two in Japan. He had one of his best seasons in 2015 as an Indians farmhand at Triple-A Columbus, going 5-3 with a 3.25 ERA in 40 relief appearances with 27 walks and 52 strikeouts.


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Still searching for a JD clone?

12 yrs minor league player and two 32 y.o. Has beens? And a bunch of minor leaguer’s that haven’t proved anything yet? Please explain to me what is this exercise for?

As I noted a few posts back, Avila seems to be looking for JD in most every transaction. But, I honestly don’t get the Aviles signing, like several other commenters. The guy is pretty much washed up. 5 years ago, I would have said he was a nice piece at the price. 5 years ago, I also would have called a Pelfrey signing a good deal. He was then a potential star. But,he has since been mostly an abject failure. Now, all I see with these guys is $10M plus lost per season. To me Leake would have been the much better singular signing at $16M per season.He is a younger, more consistent player with a higher upside than both Pelfrey and Aviles at this stage of their respective careers, combined.

As far as the recent other lower level signees, I get it. They can mostly provide at least short-term competent depth should the need arise. Since I have complained about that shortcoming in the past, I don’t see how I can now logically complain about transactions of that type now.

I am not big on the Aviles transaction either. A bench with Romine and Aviles seems remarkably weak considering it represents 50% of the supposed bench strength. Toss in Collins and there seems to be pretty much no clout to speak of at all.
I am a little concerned that Iglesias may be on the chopping block. That would be a shame as he is probably as ready to emerge as he has ever been in his playing career this year. Machado is not ready to step up to a regular role if that were to be the case. The lack of pop from the left side of the plate is going to haunt us. Firstly if it DOESN”T happen and secondly, if it DOES. Because if it is gong to cost us Iglesias then we have created another problem in its place.
I think that is the only way we get the LF piece we need. Illitch is not going to fork out the bucks, his inference otherwise notwithstanding.

It is called organizational depth. Every team is doing exactly the same:
They need to fill the roster of Toledo, Erie and four more teams.
DD did and does the same , Randy Smith did the same. It not an Avila´s thing.
Mercedes has been with the organization for awhile and there is no reason to allow him go away being a hard thrower with upside.
The exception being Schierholtz . He was a rumored traded target for years.

Iglesias was mentioned at City Bengals as being on the trading block after the Aviles was hired. Nobody else has said anything. Yes, Aviles had to do with him. Since 2011, Iglesias has not played a full season. He is injury prone and is not point on denying the facts. If he remain s with the team, they need two IF backups. If he were on the trade block, then there was no need for Aviles. Why two? because Castellanos will never be a good defensive 3b and you need a late inning replacement for close games and full games started by Pelfrey or Greene.
Even if Iglesias BA was pure luck. He bats with a rolled newspaper. And he is more flashy than effective

From the link, ICYMI:”Joining the Mets on a minors deal is first baseman/outfielder Marc Krauss, per another Eddy tweet, along with pitchers Buddy Carlyle and Duane Below”

BTW: right side link. Mercedes is the 28th best prospect in the system

that #28 ranking of Mercedes is dubious at best…and at worst, an indictment of the state of the Tigers’ farm system. doubt he’ll be on BB America’s top 30 list when it comes out.

# 28 among Tigers prospects . He still has more upside than Robertson. Surprised about Baez being so low .Only Fulmer will make the BB America top 100

These are depth acquisitions, as Jason says in the first sentence. No explanation required.

Yep, I really don’t think many fans believe otherwise. But, who knows how things will turn out? Avila has shown the ability to find gold.

Dan, I too hope Iggy is not on the block. When I watch top plays on MLBTV, he seems to always be flashing some leather. True, he doesn’t have much pop. But he has other offensive tools that could conceivably be developed and polished with more regular playing time. As far as injuries go, no question Iggy has experienced them. AND, so have V-Mart and Miggy. If Iggy were to go down again, MiLB inventory or Romine could fill his spot as well, if not better, than Aviles. Nick’s spot could also be covered in the late innings by MiLB inventory in the event Romine ended up being used regularly at SS.

teams can’t fill all their AA and AAA roster spots with prospects. career minor leaguers are needed to field a team, and some of them do break thru to MLB.

The #Tigers appear to be sitting back waiting for Yoenis Cespedes, whose price may be dropping.

there are probably several teams out there waiting for Cespedes’ demands to drop. Murphy reportedly has deal now with Nats.

As expected, for a AVV below the QO

Rosenthal :”Teams value low first-round picks between $5M and $8M. So No. 17 pick – which #Nationals will forfeit for Murphy – could be worth ~$10M.”
The Tigers pick is worth near to 15 MM.

Yeah. I realize the Tigers are nuanced in going after QO FAs, but the beauty of guys like Price, Cespedes and Leake is they have/had a zero cost worth for picks. A big part of why they have been favorites as far as acquisitions go for me.

The Tigers´ top pick is guaranteed. They forfeited the second round pick for Zimmermann. They would forfeit the third round for another FA with a QO attached

The last place was rewarded with 15 MM

Yes. That is what nuanced means. Google translation strikes again!

Again, insulting me. You need to improve e your reading comprehension levels
You read want you want to read.

And Merry Christmas.

You took that all wrong. I was trying to help you understand. Have a Merry Christmas anyway.

Warm enough in mid Michigan to play a baseball game today. Merry Christmas!

I would love to see Cespedes wearing the English D again!

Oh boy I hear a lot of talk on the Tigers WAITING until August for a POSSIBLE left-fielder with a power bat. Perhaps they don’t completely understand that 15 games WITHOUT a power left-hand bat is enough to define you as a seller at the deadline rather than a buyer.

Sorry–I meant 105 games! (Not 15). 105 games takes you thru July. Why hobble along for almost 2/3 of the season to realize you need to upgrade significantly in left? To me late season acquistions are best used for surprises such as injury replacement, not as a season beginning strategy.

Now we know why the Yankees let Justin Wilson go. They just picked up Chapman for four less than top notch prospects. They now have two smokin’ southpaws at the back end of their bullpen. Gluttons.

Two reasons why not to give up on Steven Moya because of his high strikeout rate:
Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.
These guys will take him under their wing and he can only improve because of it.

Dan, seems you’ve been tooting Moya’s horn for years now against the back drop of constant skepticism from others related to his high K rate. If indeed the Tiger’s are holding out for him to become our regular LF, I for one would love to see you proven right on that front. Seems like indeed he’s gonna get his opportunity at some point this coming season.

That’s all true. Somehow he just “looks” like a major league star. He is athletic, big, strong and can run a bit. Good defense and Trumbull Avenue power.

Yeah Moya looks good. I hope he wins the job and give a full season in the Show. Does anybody really care how many times Trout goes down swinging? Happy New Year from SW Michigan. Go Tigers, 2016!

I’m sure they are excited to give the older gents another try. Do they not have enough prospects to cultivate?
We are getting close to a 50/50 ratio on 30+. I have not seen this stradegin 55 years in the MLB . Learn something new everyday. Can we do a deal with Pete Rose and maybe Al Kaline?

I think everyone would rather have the farm full of young exciting prospects that are full of potential. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to grow on trees and we seem to be low on them. Apparently the powers in charge have decided we need ball players. Being able to field a full team is better than fielding an incomplete team. And even if there is literally no chance these extras contribute to the major league team, maybe they can help develop the younger prospects. Or allow the powers to be to put the younger prospects in a position to succeed and develop.

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