Nicknamed "Little Ninja," Alexi Amarista signed with the Rockies prior to 2017 essentially at the request of manager Bud Black, who had managed Amarista during their time in San Diego. However, this reunion wasn't enough to make him relevant in most fantasy formats. His batting average was abysmal (.238), his power was absent (.113 ISO) and his playing time was sporadic. Thankfully, expectations for him heading into the season weren't high, but this performance was still disappointing, especially given half his games were in Colorado. One bright spot heading into 2018 is that he actually hit better on the road last season. Amarista signed a minor-league deal with the Tigers and will fight for a utility role in camp, but it's tough to expect much fantasy production from him.
Amarista signed a minor-league deal with the Tigers on Tuesday which includes an invitation to spring training, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. The 28-year-old utility man hit .238/.269/.351 in 176 plate appearances for the Rockies last season, not far off his career line of .231/.275/.323. He has now been a below-replacement-level player according to fWAR for five of his seven career seasons, but by joining one of the weakest teams in the league, he has a chance to earn some major-league playing time. He received starts at six different positions for Colorado last year and that versatility could grant him a spot on the end of the Tigers' bench.
Amarista had his $2.5 million 2018 option declined by the Rockies, Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports. Amarista will receive a $150,000 buyout and will become a free agent. The 28-year-old had a disappointing .238 batting average, to go with three home runs and 19 RBI in 96 games last season.
Amarista concluded the regular season with a .238/.269/.351 slash line. The 28-year-old never carved out a huge role for the Rockies, as he remained a mere bench piece even when injuries struck Colorado's regulars. His positional versatility is a boon to his real-life value, but his fantasy value is severely capped while he's limited to infrequent pinch-hit appearances. He also wasn't afforded many chances to run in 2017, as he attempted just one stolen base all year.
Amarista went 1-for-3 with a solo home run during Wednesday's win over Cleveland. Amarista's positional flexibility has provided him an opportunity to carve out a utility role, but he's still not receiving consistent starts. Additionally, his .248/.275/.380 slash line isn't moving the fantasy needle in most settings. Amarista is definitely worth considering as a low-priced flier in daily contests when he's in the starting lineup for home games, though.
Amarista has a .145/.190/.200 slash line in 59 plate appearances since the start of June. Amarista was slashing .338/.348/.480 through the first two months of the season, but has since fallen off considerably. The regression isn't altogether surprising given the 28-year-old's subpar career numbers at the plate. Versatility remains Amarista's greatest asset by far, as he has seen time at every position besides first base, pitcher, and catcher this season.