The Tigers today announced the signing of southpaw Brad Thomas, and that they traded Clay Rapada to the the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later. Furthermore, they outrighted Zach Simons.
Thomas pitched the last two years in Korea and Dave Dombrowski said in a statement he expects Thomas to contribute out of the bullpen at the big league level. Judging by this video it looks like Thomas has a fastball that sits 90-91mph and a breaking pitch that registers about 80mph.
Checking NPB Tracker it looks like Thomas was drawing interest from the Hansin Tigers. The Tigers have recently increased their presence in the pacific rim and last year it netted them Fu-Te Ni from Taiwan. Ni made the leap the to the big leagues and led the league in stranding runners out of the bullpen.
Rapada was acquired as the PTBNL in the deal that sent Craig Monroe to the Cubs. He never really found a place with the club and I was a little surprised to see him kept on the 40 man roster.
Simons was acquired in exchange for Jason Grilli. He put together a solid second half in 2008 leading to a spot on the 40 man roster. He followed that up with a solid season at Erie with 8.8 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 leading to a 2.82 ERA in 51 innings. He only allowed 1 homer at Erie.
I like the addition of Thomas as a low risk move. I don’t have huge expectations from a 32 year old pitcher with 23 innings of big league experience, but he’ll make the league minimum and if he doesn’t work, he doesn’t work.
Trading Rapada isn’t much of a surprise. His numbers at Toledo were quite good actually, but for some reason Leyland didn’t trust him.
I’m surprised to see Simons outrighted though. He had a solid season and the Tigers are reportedly shopping for bullpen help. I think that there is about to be another move where the Tigers acquire more players than they’re giving up (like a Jackson trade) or they’re planning to shop in the Rule 5 store on Thursday.