July 12, 2024

Tigers sign 4 pitchers to minor-league deals

The Detroit Tigers are bringing back three pitchers who were part of the club in 2023. The Tigers have agreed to minor-league deals with right-handed pitchers Brenan Hanifee, Freddy Pacheco, and Trey Wingenter. Only Wingenter’s deal has been officially announced. The signings were initially reported by the Detroit Free Press.

Additionally, the Tigers have signed right-hander Matt Merrill to a minor-league deal, according to the league transactions log. Merrill, 25, was drafted by the Houston Astros in 2017 but was released a year later. After regaining his amateur status, he played a couple of seasons of NAIA ball at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. Merrill then signed with the Washington Nationals organization, where he spent the last three seasons before becoming a minor-league free agent after the 2023 season. He is now assigned to Double-A Erie by the Tigers.

Reliever Trey Wingenter's long road back rewarded with extended stay

Wingenter, approaching 30 in April, made the Tigers’ Opening Day roster in 2023 after signing as a minor-league free agent. However, he faced injuries and moved between Toledo and Detroit after being activated from the injured list on July 9. Wingenter had a 5.82 ERA in 17 innings with the Tigers in 2023, with 22 strikeouts and seven walks. After being waived post-season and going unclaimed, he became a free agent.

Pacheco, turning 26 in April, earned a year of big-league service time without pitching in the big leagues. Claimed off waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals in March, he was diagnosed with a right elbow sprain in the spring and underwent Tommy John surgery in June. Pacheco is expected to be ready for real games by late 2024.

Hanifee, 25, signed a minor-league deal in December and received an invitation to spring training. Drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 2016, he returned to pitch in 2022 after the 2020 COVID season and Tommy John surgery interruptions. Hanifee had a solid season with Triple-A Toledo, posting a 4.38 ERA in 90 1/3 innings, with 82 strikeouts and 30 walks. After a brief stint on the injured list, he worked mostly out of the bullpen, recording a 3.38 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings. Hanifee made his MLB debut with the Tigers in September, but he was designated for assignment and non-tendered after the season.

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