Whatever direction the Detroit Tigers decide to go with their left-handed reliever corps, Brad Thomas will no longer be a part of that process.
The Tigers announced on Thursday that Thomas had been outrighted to Triple-A Toledo after clearing waivers. Thomas was activated from the 15-day disabled list, where he’d been since May 21, and now has 72 hours to decide whether to accept the assignment to Toledo or refuse it and become a free agent. (He has $400,000 remaining on the one-year contract he signed with Detroit before this season.)
With three lefties already in the bullpen — David Purcey, Adam Wilk and the newly returned Phil Coke — in addition to Charlie Furbush and Daniel Schlereth also being available for call-up, it was pretty apparent that there wasn’t a spot available for Thomas anymore.
FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reported that the Tigers were trying to trade Thomas, but it’s difficult to imagine that there was much of a market for him. Thomas compiled a 9.00 ERA in 12 appearances this season, with 17 hits and six walks allowed in 11 innings. Worst of all, lefty batters were hitting .400 (with a 1.030 OPS) against him.
He posted far better numbers last season, allowing a .252 batting average versus lefties and a 3.89 ERA. But between his performance this season, and elbow problems that put him on the DL, Thomas didn’t have much value to offer.
Thomas had been on a rehab assignment with the Mud Hens, but once again encountered setbacks with his elbow that required him to return to Detroit and be examined by team doctors. Major league rules dictate that a pitcher’s rehab assignment can last only 30 days, and that limit had been reached. That probably forced the Tigers’ hand a bit, though their decision seemed inevitable.
If Thomas’ career with the Tigers is over, his final numbers were a 6-3 record and 4.59 ERA in 61 appearances. (That includes two spot starts.)