Detroit Tigers Sign Nate Schierholtz, Five Others, to Minor League Contracts


The Detroit Tigers signed Nate Schierholtz to a minor league contract. He could compete with Tyler Collins for a left field roster spot.

The Detroit Tigers announced on Wednesday that they had signed six players to minor league contracts. Usually these types of minor league press releases are of little value to the average fan, but included in the list of signees are a few former major league players. One of which, at least, could compete for a roster spot.

In case you don’t have your magnifying glass with you, the notable part of the announcement with the player names is as follows:

"The list of signed players includes righthanded pitchers Logan Kensing, Melvin Mercedes and Dustin Molleken, infielder Alberto Gonzalez, outfielder Nate Schierholtz, and infielder/outfielder Jordany Valdespin.Kensing and Schierholtz have each received an invitation to Major League spring training camp."

Schierholtz spent the 2015 season playing 65 games in Japan (where he hit .250/.298/.435), but he had played the previous six seasons in the major leagues and appeared in at least 100 games in each. A left-handed hitter with a solid defensive rating in the outfield (+6.7 UZR/150 for his career), Schierholtz will likely get an opportunity to win a roster spot in Spring Training. That would mean a position battle with presumed platoon starter Tyler Collins.

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Schierholtz is a below-average hitter overall, but carries a not-completely-terrible career 95 wRC+ versus right-handed pitching. Collins has a 102 wRC+ (in a smaller sample size) and also rates as at least average in the field, so he probably has the advantage.

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Kensing has also received an invitation to MLB camp, but he appears to offer little more than a chance to be a marginal ROOGY-type reliever. That might not be a bad thing to have around in the form of spare parts, however, considering the state of last year’s bullpen.