On Thursday evening, the Tigers came to terms with outfielder Nomar Mazara on a one year, $1.75 million contract, according to a report from Jon Heyman of MLB Network. Mazara was a member of the Chicago White Sox last season, hitting .228/.295/.294 in 42 games.
Mazara was signed by the Texas Rangers as an international free agent in 2011, and rose to prominence as a top prospect by the time he made his major league debut in 2016. He was a stalwart of the Rangers’ lineup until last offseason, when Chicago swapped prospect Steele Walker for him. Mazara was never able to tap into his potential at the plate with Texas, always hitting just under major league average.
It’s tough to judge players based on their shortened 2020 campaigns, but the Tigers seem to be betting Mazara’s season was a fluke, because the wheels really fell off last year. His ability to make contact plummeted, and his power output fell off a cliff as well. It resulted in offensive production 33 percent below major league average, according to wRC+.
After seeing those numbers, this deal may seem like a bad one for the Tigers. So what does Mazara bring to the table?
For starters, it’s unlikely he’s lost the ability to hit for power altogether. His year with the White Sox produced the highest average exit velocity and hard hit percentages of his short career. Additionally, he’s only 25 years old, and only now is he reaching the point where most baseball players hit their peak athletically. The Tigers don’t have much in the way of power hitters on their roster, so this a cheap gamble for a player who can provide a different dimension to the mix.
As an added bonus to this contract, one also has to imagine that Mazara will be pitted in a camp battle against Christin Stewart. Like his new teammate, Stewart has largely failed to deliver on the promise he had a prospect and has struggled to give much more to his team than an occasional jolt of power. Some healthy competition never hurt anyone; bringing in a similar players and forcing one of them to earn the major league job will likely give Detroit the best shot at getting the best out of their roster.
Christin Stewart still has 3 option years, so there’s no urgency to part ways.
But Mazara, like Stewart, is a left-handed bat with some power who strikes out a lot and plays subpar defense in the corners.
Fair to say they’re not going to be on the roster together. https://t.co/bNinL3K0rO
— Evan Woodbery (@evanwoodbery) February 12, 2021
While signing Mazara comes as a bit of a surprise — the Tigers already have a surplus of mediocre outfielders — it’s fairly similar to other deals they have handed out this year. Like pitcher Jose Ureña and catcher Wilson Ramos, Mazara does not cost much and could well outplay the cost of his contract if things go well in Detroit. If things don’t click for him, though, cutting ties won’t cause any heartburn.
What do you think of the Tigers’ one year, $1.75 million contract with outfielder Nomar Mazara?
<ul><li> 39% <h6>I love it!</h6> (533 votes) </li> <li> 6% <h6>I hate it!</h6> (93 votes) </li> <li> 53% <h6>¯_(ツ)_/¯</h6> (707 votes) </li> </ul> 1333 votes total <a href="#poll-vote">Vote Now</a>