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The 2015 Detroit Tigers trade value rankings

If the Tigers were to put their entire 40-man roster on the trade block today, who would be the most valuable piece?

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Winter Meetings are long gone and the offseason is now officially over, but that doesn't mean that Dave Dombrowski and the Tigers are done trading. They're never done trading. However, the likelihood of them pulling off a deal during the first week of spring training is relatively low, so now seems like a good time to assess the trade value of the team's 40-man roster (since these rankings will have a decent shelf life). Which players would teams actually trade for? Which guys are we stuck with no matter what happens? Here are the trade value rankings for every player on the 40-man roster, in ascending order.


40. Joe Nathan

He's 40 years old, allowed a 4.81 ERA in 2014, and is due $10 million with a team option for 2016. Joe Nathan isn't going anywhere.

39. Alfredo Simon

It seems odd ranking a player that was acquired via trade three months ago this low, but Simon might not warrant a bag of baseballs in return if he continues to pitch like he did in the second half of 2014.

"So, Mr. Ilitch, how much money are you kicking in?"

38. Justin Verlander

One good season could change everything for Verlander, who spent most of 2014 struggling to make it through five or six innings of work. He still has five years and $140 million remaining on his contract (along with a vesting option for 2020), but that deal could look much more palatable if he bounces back in 2015.

37. Victor Martinez

Martinez's four year, $68 million deal was a necessary evil for the Tigers, but an evil nonetheless. Now that he has re-injured his left knee, putting his status for Opening Day in doubt, there won't be too many teams calling about the 36-year-old designated hitter.

Fourth outfielders aplenty

36. Wynton Bernard
35. Daniel Fields
34. Tyler Collins

Collins has a bit more value than Bernard or Fields given his proximity to the major leagues, but every club in baseball has a few of these guys bouncing around their 40-man roster. The biggest mystery here is whether Collins will make the Tigers' Opening Day roster in 2015 or fall victim to the minor league option he still retains (Andrew Romine and Hernan Perez are out of options).

Generic utility infielders

33. Dixon Machado
32. Andrew Romine
31. Hernan Perez

The true trade value of Romine and Perez will be put to the test this spring. While they are both working on playing new positions this spring -- Perez in the outfield, Romine at first base -- they will be redundant if they both make the Opening Day roster. The Tigers won't admit it, but expect Dombrowski to look for a trade partner for at least one of them in the next few weeks.

[Insert middle reliever here]

30. Jose Valdez
29. Chad Smith
28. Angel Nesbitt
27. Josh Zeid
26. Ian Krol
25. Alex Wilson
24. Blaine Hardy

Naturally, the biggest group of players on the 40-man roster are the relievers still on rookie contracts who haven't made an impact at the major league level yet. A breakout season from any one of these players increases their value ten-fold -- Wilson and Hardy got the higher rankings because they have shown flashes -- but none of these players has distanced themselves from the others.

Middle relievers who have gotten someone out before

23. Al Alburquerque
22. Tom Gorzelanny

Relievers are surprisingly valuable commodities on the trade market, especially in the middle of the season. The Tigers paid through the nose for Joakim Soria last season, and other teams will similarly bend over backwards to acquire another piece at the trade deadline every year. The Tigers likely won't be in the market to trade either of these guys in July -- assuming they're in the division hunt, that is -- but that doesn't mean a solid season won't make them more enticing to a contender.

Bryan Holaday

21. Bryan Holaday

Holaday is difficult to place on this list, so "right in the middle somewhere" seems correct. As the third catcher on the 40-man roster, Holaday is the kind of generic player that just about every team already has. Working in his favor are his cheap contract, bunting skills, and off-the-charts clubhouse presence.

Expiring contracts

20. Rajai Davis
19. Alex Avila

Davis and Avila are two players that will be far more valuable to the Tigers in 2015 than they would be to another team. This makes sense, given that the roster was constructed with them (partially) in mind. Both players will presumably fit into a platoon role this season, and with the Tigers contending for a division title it would be foolish for the team to trade them away. However, if the Tigers were rebuilding, both Davis and Avila would be prime candidates to get shipped out at some point before the trade deadline.

Cheap #5 starters

18. Drew VerHagen
17. Kyle Ryan
16. Kyle Lobstein
15. Buck Farmer

They're young, cost-controlled, and probably won't provide much more than league average production over the course of their careers. There is value in that, but not enough to pry away a major piece from another club.

Pieces with actual value

14. Anthony Gose
13. Joakim Soria
12. Ian Kinsler

Gose, Soria, and Kinsler all rank in this area for different reasons, but their flaws hold them back from moving into the top 10. Gose is young and has potential, but repeated failures at the big league level have taken some of the prospect shine off his résumé. Soria is coming off an injury that limited him down the stretch in 2014, but still holds plenty of the value that warranted two of the Tigers' top prospects in last season's trade. Kinsler still holds trade value while he remains productive on the field, but given the aging curves of middle infielders, the $46 million left on his contract (plus another $7 million if his 2018 team option is picked up) could quickly turn ugly.

11. Steven Moya
10. James McCann

Moya and McCann aren't top prospects, but could be the centerpiece of a deal with the right trade partner. The Tigers have taken a particular interest in holding onto Moya, who likely garnered some interest this offseason. However, unless the Tigers are blown away by an offer for either player, they may just be better off holding onto their few cheap assets.

9. Miguel Cabrera

Cabrera's placement on this list is tough because of the sheer magnitude of his contract. Few teams will be able to afford the $262 million he is guaranteed over the next nine seasons, and fewer still will want to take on that burden. However, the teams that could shoulder that contract would be getting one of the best hitters of this generation. After all, it's not often that a hitter gets compared to Hank Aaron on a daily basis.

8. Jose Iglesias
7. Bruce Rondon

Iglesias and Rondon are young, cheap, and talented. However, neither player has seen MLB action since 2013 due to injury. If teams were interested in trading for either of them -- and both have near-All-Star potential when healthy -- they would want to see if they can stay on the field first.

6. Yoenis Cespedes

You can look at Cespedes' numbers and ask why someone would want to pay for one season of a player with a career .316 on-base percentage, but then you remember that the Tigers did just that earlier this offseason. Cespedes still has more than enough talent to offset his flaws, and will likely be worth three wins (or more) for the Tigers in 2015.

5. Shane Greene

If Greene proves that his 2014 season wasn't a mirage, he could shoot straight to the top of this list next year. He made the Tigers look foolish in a pair of starts against them and flashed the kind of stuff that made teammates take notice.

4. J.D. Martinez

Some teams may still be a bit skeptical of Martinez -- after all, he was a minor league free agent last year -- but a breakout season like he had in 2014 probably resulted in a few phone calls to Dave Dombrowski's office this offseason. Time will tell if the Tigers were wise to hang onto the 27-year-old outfielder, but another solid season could turn him into one of the hottest commodities in baseball.

3. David Price

The Tampa Bay Rays' return for Price seemed a bit underwhelming, but the ace left-hander could still bring in a couple of useful pieces if dealt sometime during the 2015 season. An apt comparison would be Jon Lester, who was traded for Yoenis Cespedes last July with just two months remaining on his contract. The Tigers will likely benefit more from Price's production and the compensation draft pick than any return on a trade, but that doesn't make him any less valuable on the open market.

2. Anibal Sanchez

Starting pitchers are pulling in crazy money on the open market these days, making it all the more impressive that Dave Dombrowski was able to sign Sanchez at a paltry $16 million per season. There are some concerns -- he turns 31 on Friday and missed time with a shoulder injury last season -- but his contract only runs through his age 33 season with a team option tacked onto the end.

1. Nick Castellanos

With the extreme value being placed on prospects these days, Castellanos, in my eyes, is by far the Tigers' most valuable trade asset. He was ranked among the top 50 prospects in baseball last spring, and only increased his value in 2014 by proving that he can hit major league pitching. Better yet, Castellanos is still incredibly young (he turns 23 next week) and has five years of club control remaining before free agency.