Tigers News: Ian Kinsler’s option, additional safety netting, minor leagues and more

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MLB: Detroit Tigers at Philadelphia Phillies
Mar 29, 2015; Clearwater, FL, USA; A general view of a Detroit Tigers hat, glove and sunglasses in the dugout against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a lot of stories revolving around the Detroit Tigers so we are going to help you get caught up on some of the more notable ones.

IAN KINSLER VESTS INTO 2018

Entering Tuesday’s game against the Kansas City royals, second baseman Ian Kinsler was just two plate appearances away from vesting into the 2018 season.

Kinsler recorded four official at-bats in the Tigers’ 2-1 loss on Tuesday, meaning he is now under contract for next season and will carry a base salary of $11 million.

However, his immediate future with the Tigers still remains uncertain entering this offseason. The 35-year-old Kinsler has seen a number of veterans be traded away this year as the team begins what could be a lengthy rebuild. The team’s recipient for the Heart and Hustle Award in 2017 has expressed interest in sticking around for the foreseeable future and serving as a mentor role to the younger Tigers coming up.

Kinsler himself was the subject of trade talks in July and August, having reportedly been claimed off waivers last month, but he’s been one of few mainstays among the swirling trade winds. Still, while he is open to sticking around, he knows that he and general manager Al Avila will be talking about his future at length at season’s end.

MORE SAFETY NETTING IN 2018

In some noteworthy off-the-field news, the team announced on Tuesday that they have plans to extend safety netting at Comerica Park for the 2018 season.

The Tigers are one of several teams to either announce formal plans or at least discuss the topic this offseason. As of this season, 11 of the 30 clubs in Major League Baseball had installed additional safety netting. This announcement comes in response to a young female fan being struck with a line drive foul ball at Yankee Stadium recently.

“Ballpark operations is developing a plan whereas netting would be extended in time for the 2018 season,” the statement said. “We’ll have more to share on this, at another point in time.”

While there is no plan drawn up yet, it figures to extend the netting further down the lines to the other end of the dugouts. Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City and Target Field in Minneapolis, the two stadiums where Detroit is playing to finish the 2017 season, are two of the aforementioned 11 clubs who have previously extended protective netting in their respective ballparks.

MINOR LEAGUE HARDWARE

On Wednesday, the club also announced their player and pitcher of the year in the minor leagues.

This is the second consecutive season being named the Tigers’ minor league player of the year for outfielder Christin Stewart. The former first-round pick’s numbers are just about on par with those of last season. Stewart’s 28 home runs paced the Eastern League (Double-A) and his 86 runs batted in were good for third in the league.

The team’s No. 7 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, is likely to start the 2018 season at Triple-A Toledo after spending the last year plus with Double-A Erie. Don’t be surprised if he makes his major league debut next season.

22-year-old Gregory Soto is a prime example of how deep the Tigers are in pitching down in the bushes. Soto this season made 23 starts this season — 18 with Low Class-A West Michigan and 5 with High Class-A Lakeland. The 2.25 ERA this season, brings his career ERA to a tick below 3.00.

Like Stewart, Soto saw his prospect star status dim down some following all the mid-season trades Detroit made. Still, the team’s No. 13 prospect will likely take a reasonable jump come next season in that department. He’s one of eight pitchers for the Tigers among their top 15 prospects.

PROMINENT SIGNING

Additionally in the minors, the Tigers announced the signing of 17-year-old Pedro Martinez Jr… yes, the very son of that Hall of Fame pitcher, Pedro Martinez.

Unlike his father, the younger Martinez and newest member of the Tigers’ organization is an everyday player in the field, hitting from the right side. He has openly said that he “doesn’t really like pitching,” and among his bigger baseball idols, aside from his Hall of Fame dad, is elder Pedro’s former teammate in Boston, Manny Ramirez.

Martinez Jr. becomes just the latest young gun of a former big leaguer to find his foot hole in the minors and begin the path that their respective dads took years before. In Pipeline’s latest rankings of international prospects, he did not rank among the top 30, however.

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