Detroit Tigers sign infielder Greg Garcia to minor-league deal with camp invite

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Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press
·3 min read
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The Detroit Tigers

signed infielder Greg Garcia to a minor-league contract, a source with knowledge of the agreement told the Free Press on Tuesday.

Included in the contract is an invitation to big-league spring training later this month. The source requested anonymity because the Tigers haven't announced the addition.

The teamcontinues to pursue minor-league deals during free agency. The goal is to boost organizational depth — and possibly find a surprise standout — without going over the budget.

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Garcia, 31, played 35 games for the San Diego Padres in 2020, hitting .200 with three doubles and 11 RBIs. In 2019, also with the Padres, he hit .248 with four homers and 31 RBIs in 134 games.

Jul 26, 2020; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres second baseman Greg Garcia (5) watches his RBI single during the eighth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 26, 2020; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres second baseman Greg Garcia (5) watches his RBI single during the eighth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

A left-handed hitter, Garcia has played 578 games across parts of seven seasons. He was previously with the St. Louis Cardinals (2014-18) and Padres (2019-20). The Padres non-tendered him in December, making him a free agent.

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Garcia has a career .245 batting average, 14 homers and 99 RBIs, with 166 walks to 270 strikeouts. His 14.2% walk-rate in 2019 — 53 walks in 372 plate appearances — was among the league's best.

By adding Garcia, Tigers manager AJ Hinch gets a boost in versatility. He has MLB experience at second base (190 games), third base (114), shortstop (81), first base (1) and left field (1).

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The Cardinals drafted Garcia in the seventh round of the 2010 draft from the University of Hawaii.

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report Feb. 17 to Lakeland, Florida, with the first full-team workout taking place Feb. 22. Games begin Feb. 26 against Southeastern University before the Grapefruit League schedule kicks off the next day.

The Tigers have now signed five players to minor-league contracts with invitations to spring training: Garcia, left-hander Derek Holland, right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, lefty Ian Krol and catcher Dustin Garneau.

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Zimm gets another chance

The Tigers were pleased to get right-hander Jordan Zimmermann's five-year, $110 million contract off the books at the conclusion of the 2020 season, but the 34-year-old isn't ready to call it quits.

Zimmermann signed a minor-league deal Tuesday with the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday and will be invited to spring training. He was born in Auburndale, Wisconsin, and attended the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

In five years for the Tigers, Zimmermann logged a 5.63 ERA, 1.441 WHIP, 368 strikeouts and 123 walks. He only pitched 5⅔ innings last season because of a forearm injury.

Zimmermann had a 3.32 ERA, 903 strikeouts and 221 walks through seven years (2009-15) for the Washington Nationals before signing his massive contract with the Tigers. He went to the All-Star Game in 2013 and 2014.

If Zimmermann breaks camp with the Brewers on the 26-man roster, expect him to serve as a reliever. Of his 277 career games, just two have come out of the bullpen.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers sign Greg Garcia to minor-league deal with camp invite