Why these 2 Tigers pitchers could be on the move

Detroit Tigers

This story was excerpted from Jason Beck’s Tigers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Comerica Park could well be the center of the baseball world for trade speculation and interest for the next few days. A large of that spotlight will focus on Shohei Ohtani, who will not pitch for the Angels in the three-game series but will hit. But it’s also where Eduardo Rodriguez and Michael Lorenzen will make what could be their final starts as Tigers.

While the current expectation is that Ohtani stays put, the same cannot be said of Rodriguez and Lorenzen for several reasons:

• President of baseball operations Scott Harris, heading into his first Deadline running the Tigers, has a track record of being aggressive and creative in making deals, evidenced last winter.

• This year is expected to be a seller’s market for starting pitchers, especially with several contenders who have built rosters around talented young hitters.

• The Tigers continue to show signs of improvement but remain on the outskirts of contention, while the Twins show signs of pulling away in the AL Central.

• Neither Rodriguez nor Lorenzen are under contract for the long term. Rodriguez has three more seasons and $49 million left on his contract, but the potential for a far better deal on the open market makes it a reasonable expectation for him to exercise his opt-out clause.

The challenge for Harris, given the Tigers’ improvement this season: Can he be a seller at the Aug. 1 Deadline while helping the team’s chances to contend next year, not just a few years down the road?

That requires trading either for Major Leaguers – something not easy to do in-season – or advanced-level prospects, something Harris was able to do last winter in trading relievers Joe Jiménez and Gregory Soto. Several teams expected to pursue starting pitching this week – including the Rays, Orioles, Reds and Rangers – have deep farm systems that can afford to give up a hitting prospect or two without hurting their long-term plans.

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