Detroit Tigers agree to deals with power bat Renato Nunez, veteran infielder Greg Garcia

Nunez, Garcia receive invitations to major league spring training

Renato Nunez (left) and Greg Garcia (right).
Renato Nunez (left) and Greg Garcia (right). (2020 Getty Images)

DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers have agreed to minor league deals with free agent power bat Renato Nunez and veteran utility infielder Greg Garcia.

READ: 5 possible Detroit Tigers starting lineups that include 3 new free agent signings

Both players will get invitations to major league spring training, but there’s no guarantee they will make the roster.

Renato Nunez

Nunez, 26, is the more interesting of the two pick-ups, as he hit 31 home runs in 151 games in 2019 and 12 home runs in 52 games during the shortened 2020 campaign.

In those two seasons combined, Nunez .247/.314/.469, which is good for a .783 OPS. He clubbed 43 home runs and 34 doubles while drawing 61 walks and striking out 207 times in 203 games.

While he was primarily a designated hitter in 2019, Nunez was most commonly at first base when he did get a chance in the field. He played 28 of 52 games at first base last year.

Renato Nunez #39 of the Baltimore Orioles at bat against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 08, 2020 in New York City. (2020 Getty Images)

He’s not considered a strong defender or a plus base runner, but Nunez has undeniable power in his bat. This gives the Tigers another option at first base if they prefer to move Jeimer Candelario back to his better position at third.

Last season, Candelario was off to a strong defensive start at the hot corner before the Tigers moved him to first base to replace an injured C.J. Cron.

If Nunez plays first and bumps Candelario back to third base, the Tigers could complete their infield with Willi Castro at shortstop and Jonathan Schoop at second base.

Castro is also a candidate to play third base, or even second base if Schoop is moved to another infield position on a part-time basis.

Niko Goodrum, who started last season as the team’s primary shortstop, shouldn’t be forgotten, either. He had a difficult 2020, but could easily regain favor with the new coaching staff due to his defensive versatility.

Greg Garcia

The Tigers have plenty of younger options who could fill the utility infielder role, so hopefully the addition of Garcia is simply an organizational depth move.

Garcia, 31, posted a .529 OPS in 35 games with the San Diego Padres last season. He’s an average defender who can play any infield position and maybe even a corner outfield spot in a pinch.

Garcia owns a career .354 on-base percentage, but his hit tools have limited him to a career .693 OPS.

Greg Garcia #5 of the San Diego Padres bats against the San Diego Padres in the top of the 10th inning at Oracle Park on July 30, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (2020 Getty Images)

About the Author:

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.