Tigers release Parnell, McGehee, option Rondon
The Tigers’ bullpen competition thinned out by two relatively big names Monday. Right-hander Bobby Parnell, who faced a Tuesday deadline to be added to the 25-man roster, was granted his unconditional release, while Bruce Rondon was optioned to Triple-A Toledo.
Infielder Casey McGehee, who also faced a Tuesday deadline for a roster decision, was also granted his unconditional release. The moves reduce Detroit’s camp roster to 36 players with six days before the Opening Day roster deadline.
The moves also throw a twist into a bullpen competition thrown wide open by injuries. Both Parnell and Rondon were expected to be in competition for a spot, especially following injuries to Alex Wilson and Blaine Hardy. Instead, the relief ranks shape up to include Kyle Ryan, Buck Farmer, Logan Kensing, Lendy Castillo and potentially Shane Greene if he doesn’t win the fifth slot in the starting rotation.
Parnell and McGehee both signed minor-league deals with non-roster invites around the start of camp. Both have enough Major League service time to qualify for an opt-out and a retention bonus, allowing them to get a roster decision five days before the end of camp or a $100,000 retention bonus to stick around.
By getting their release, Parnell and McGehee can test the market for clubs that might have a role for them on Major League rosters. They could also sign back with the Tigers on minor-league deals.
Parnell gave up nine runs on 15 hits over 9 1/3 innings with eight walks and eight strikeouts, but five of those runs and five hits came in one-third of an inning against the Blue Jays last Tuesday. His stuff improved as camp went along, including a fastball that registered at 96 mph on the Joker Marchant Stadium during a scoreless inning with two strikeouts Sunday against the Astros.
Rondon had moments of dominance but an inconsistent spring, allowing 10 runs on 13 hits over 10 innings with 13 strikeouts and four walks. Nine of those runs came in three outings. He gave up two home runs in two-thirds of an inning on Sunday, ending a streak of four consecutive scoreless innings with a walk and six strikeouts.
The Tigers were hoping to keep McGehee at Triple-A Toledo as insurance in case of injury to Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez or Nick Castellanos. The former NL Comeback Player of the Year batted .316 (12-for-38) this spring with a home run, six RBIs, seven walks and four strikeouts.