Detroit Tigers: Sellers at the trade deadline? Not so fast

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It has been speculated that the Detroit Tigers will be sellers at this year’s trade deadline. With the team playing well, that might not be the case.

With the Detroit Tigers completing a sweep of the Minnesota Twins, they are now at 16-16 and within clear striking distance of a playoff spot. It has been speculated that the team will be sellers before Monday’s trade deadline, especially before this successful week against the Cubs and Twins.

However, with the team playing well, that might not be the case now. As of this writing, they’re just a game and a half behind the Blue Jays for the final AL Wild Card position. This five-game winning streak the Tigers are on has changed the complexity of this season and led us to wonder whether they, against all odds before the season started, could actually compete for a playoff berth.

Yet it could also be argued that the Tigers had to get red hot just to reach this spot and that to continue playing like this the rest of the season is unrealistic. The pessimist will also see a 16-team playoff field, with four rounds of playoffs, and argue that it’s not worth being buyers and going off-plan at this point of the rebuild just to try to get into the postseason tournament in a shortened 2020 season.

Yet even if the Tigers don’t make the playoffs this year, barring an absolute collapse the rest of the way, they’ll surpass everyone’s expectations. And for that reason alone, the Tigers should not start selling off pieces.

If things continue along this track and the young pitchers get some good experience the rest of the way, with an aggressive offseason, the Tigers could be contenders next year. And in order to do that, they need to continue with some positive momentum the rest of the way.

Sure, the way Jonathan Schoop has been hitting, he could bring back something decent in return. And given how controllable Spencer Turnbull is, he could bring back a huge haul in a trade with the right contender. Yet Turnbull also could be a key part of the future if he keeps trending in the right direction. And as for Schoop, perhaps they could bring him back next year.

This doesn’t mean the Tigers should be buyers, either. What I’d like to see is the team maybe look for a small addition or two to help this year without giving up any key young pieces as they look forward to 2021 and beyond.

Selling off would send the wrong message to the club, that this season doesn’t matter. For some teams, it doesn’t, but it does for the Tigers because they are trying to build positive momentum. Hopefully, they will hold with what they have and try to make this season worthwhile.

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