With the MLB trade deadline rapidly approaching, ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle gives four Detroit Tigers players as possible solutions for contenders
The losing skid has reached nine straight and despite Detroit Tigers GM Al Avila stating that the goal was for the club to make the playoffs this year, in a 60-game season, such streaks can easily squander those hopes. Still, Detroit will need to decide on whether the club wants to add and improve the club or continue to trade major league assets for prospects.
ESPN has taken the stance that the Detroit Tigers would opt for the latter–and in doing so, has listed four Detroit Tigers options for contenders that are in need ($). Of course, deadline deals will prove difficult this off season. Any trade will need to be from the 60-man player pools, rentals will be with their respective clubs for less time, playoffs are expanded which dilute chances, and there are many teams who have not decided on whether they will add or subtract over the next week and a half.
Add to that the allegations that teams are losing dollars and deals become even more scarce. With those disclaimers in mind, these are the Detroit Tigers players whom Doolittle believes could help facilitate a need for another club:
Frankly, I do not understand why the Detroit Tigers would trade Boyd in August. His contract remains inexpensive and they would be better off to try to get him straightened out than sell at perhaps his lowest value in his career. Boyd’s ERA remains sky-high at 9.64 and his xERA, Barrel Percentage, and xSLG percentages are all at the 10th percentile of the league or lower according to Statcast. If this were a couple of years down the road, I would understand his name in the mix more since his value would be relatively low regardless; but I have to imagine just a year ago that Avila turned down much higher offers than anything they would receive now.
This may also make sense if the Tigers were littered with pitching prospects, but with prospects Tarik Skubal and Casey Mize both just making their debuts with Matt Manning, Franklin Perez, and Alex Faedo all still in Toledo, it would be a risk to make a trade not knowing what would be available to replace him. I have to believe fellow starter Spencer Turnbull would have significantly more demand, but Turnbull was omitted from the list.
Joe would likely be another sell low candidate. While he does have control on his side, his exit velocity number is in the 7th percentile in baseball, suggesting he gets hit hard often–a tough sell for someone who is likely to be marketed as a late-inning option for clubs contending.
Like the first player listed, this is another case in which ESPN may have had the position group correct, but the player wrong. I would venture to guess Gregory Soto would be much more sought-after than Jimenez in the event the Detroit Tigers decide to pull back this season.
According to the article, teams with a reliever need include the Diamondbacks, Cubs, and Padres.
Both Jonathan Schoop and CJ Cron were signed around the same time from the same club; leaving the home run record-setting Minnesota Twins for a flight to DTW. The Detroit Tigers have needed a second baseman ever since they traded away Ian Kinsler and Schoop has provided both a steady hand defensively and some much-needed power to the lineup.
Schoop was signed to a one-year deal, so any return for the right-handed hitter would be minimal. Due to our poor performance in rental-type deals (JD Martinez, Justin Upton, Mike Fiers), I tend to be soured on the idea of trading 40 games of a legitimate MLB player for a lottery ticket, but if the franchise has no intention of competing this season or bringing Schoop back in 2021, getting anything for Schoop may not be the worst idea.
Possible fits include the Rockies, Athletics, and Rangers.
Perhaps the most underrated trade candidate, JaCoby Jones has proved offensively he has enough ability with the bat to be an ever day option in center field, slashing .277/.347/.615 so far this season. Jones has always been athletic enough to play in the field defensively, but the question was always whether he would hit enough to find his way into the lineup every day.
Because the success with Jones is so closely linked to the swing changes he made, it is understandable why teams might feel more comfortable with him showing the same beyond this season as opposed to a subpar guy who had a hot streak. Jones is Detroit’s best hitter and it is not particularly close, so a trade of Jones would surely signify a punt on the 2020 season. Jones is under team control for two more years after 2020.
Teams with a need include the Orioles and Rockies.
Any of these players getting traded would certainly signal a sell to fans, which would be a strange move juxtaposed against the aforementioned Avila comments regarding the playoffs. However, a nine-game losing streak may cause the club to change course and prepare for 2021. Doolittle admitted that some of the inclusions of players are whispers in the industry while others are just him connecting dots, so it will be fascinating to see Detroit’s course of action, or lack thereof, as the deadline approaches.
Deals will be a challenge to piece together, but look for clubs to get creative over the next week and a half in making sure both the performance capital as well as the financial capital will line up well enough to make their club better either in the short-term or down the road. For the Detroit Tigers, that decision remains to be made.