For the right deal, nobody on Detroit Tigers roster should feel safe from being traded

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Tigers made a bold declaration before the season: The rebuild is over!

Only there was a teensy-weensy problem with that.

It was blatantly wrong. The rebuild was clearly not over. Making that claim was a colossal mistake, a terrible miscalculation and remains an ongoing embarrassment.

It was like pulling a half-baked cake out of the oven and calling it good.

This club has to face that reality. It has to face the fact that it is still in the building phase, not through words and loud declarations but through its actions.

And I believe that is what we will see at Tuesday’s trade deadline.

Tigers manager A.J. Hinch hinted as much on Wednesday on “The Stoney & Jansen with Heather Show” on WXYT-FM (97.1).

“I would expect things to change,” HInch said on the program. “I don’t know what’s gonna come to fruition. Trades are really hard to come by and pull off but we can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again.”

This season has been crushed by a crazy rash of injuries mixed with a wildly under-performing roster.

Who is to blame?

It starts with general manager Al Avila and goes to Hinch and the players.

“We haven’t won enough and we put ourselves in a position where teams will come calling after your guys,” Hinch said on 97.1. “We don’t have the team that we expected. We have not played well enough to earn the right to add to this team and subsequently we get talked about in the media about guys getting traded away and that sucks.”

It might suck.

But it’s a fair, honest assessment of the state of this team.

Is this a rebuild on top of a rebuild, or the start of another rebuild? It doesn’t matter what you call it. All that matters is that realization should drive what happens next.

Which brings us to Tuesday’s trade deadline.

The Tigers should have two main goals for the deadline and the rest of the season:

  1. Acquire as much talent as possible — yes, by that I mean getting as many bats as possible — even if that means trading away pieces like Tarik Skubal or Gregory Soto.
  2. Clear out space to bring up some more youngsters and give them as many opportunities as possible.

Skubal on the move?

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the Tigers are shopping darn near everybody, including Skubal. The Tigers “gave us a blanket that just about everyone is available,” one official told Rosenthal.

The Tigers aren’t being forced to make trades. The Tigers are in control. So it makes sense to put just about everybody on the trading block, just to see what might pop.

If you get a king’s ransom for Skubal — and that’s what they must demand because he’s such a young, talented pitcher — you trade him.

If you don’t get that — and they probably won’t — you pull him back.

This is a big-boy business. That’s how it works.

The same goes for Soto. He holds tremendous value.

This organization is pitcher heavy and offensively challenged. If they can flip some of these arms into bats, they should do it.

This time to maximize value.

Spell relief, T-R-A-D-E

All of the Tigers relievers should be on the block.

If the Tigers have an opportunity to trade one of them, Wednesday’s victory against the Padres was a fantastic showcase.

Joe Jimenez: 0.2 innings, 0 runs, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts;

Andrew Chaffin: 1.1 innings, 0 earned runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts;

Michael Fulmer: 1 inning, 0 earned runs, 0 strikeouts.

Yes, they all know they are potential trade bait.

“Obviously it crosses my mind,” Chaffin told reporters Wednesday. “I’m a lefty reliever. We’re always up for auction.”

Fulmer handled the uncertainty with his typical class, knowing this might have been the last time he pitches in Comerica Park. “With everything going on, if that was the last appearance at home, then I’m very appreciative,” Fulmer told reporters. “If it’s not, then I’ll see everybody next week.”

I like Fulmer tremendously on a personal level. He’s a great guy and a joy to cover. But he is one of the most likely candidates to be traded.

Will they get a king’s ransom for him? Of course not. He’s in a different situation. He would be a rental player.

But you can get something for him.

Just like how the Tigers traded Daniel Norris for Reese Olson last year.

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Avila traded an expiring contract for somebody who will probably be pitching in Toledo by the end of this year and in Detroit in 2023.

That was highway robbery.

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Other potential names on the block

The Tigers don’t have much value in their position players but they should bend over backward trying to trade Robbie Grossman and Jeimer Candelario.

Grossman doesn’t seem likely. There isn’t a huge market for a guy hitting .205 with no power.

After an ugly first half, Candelario might have improved his stock over the last few days.

Monday: 3-for-4 with two home runs and 2 RBI;

Tuesday: 2 for 5 with a homer, double and 3 RBI;

Wednesday: 3-for-4 with a double and 2 RBI.

“Really tough first half and tried to give him a mental blow,” Hinch told reporters. “He worked all through the break trying to find the rhythm, find his timing, find his production.”

And yes, he’s found it.

Let’s see if some smart, savvy front office has seen the return of the “Candy Man” and is willing to trade for him.

Who should be on the untouchable list?

Considering his age, years of experience and upside, I’d say Riley Greene.

And that’s about it.

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Contact Jeff Seidel: jseidel@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @seideljeff.

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