Even as rumors grew that the Tigers would be sellers, Bless You Boys learned from a source near the team that the plan, as it stood that moment, was to "buy, buy, buy" and go "all in." Now ESPN's Jayson Stark hears, too, the Tigers are not ready to sell, casting doubt on the initial report by USA Today's Bob Nightengale.
"Hold that 'seller' talk on the #Tigers," Stark wrote on Twitter. "Teams talking to them say they won't make up their mind on Price, Cespedes, etc. until after Sunday."
You can make an argument that selling is in the best interest for the Tigers, if they do it right. This is an idea we floated as Bless You Boys more than a month ago. On the other hand, a baseball decision that makes sense isn't necessarily a decision made in a vacuum. The Tigers have other considerations, from attendance to television ratings to the desires of an aging owner to bring a World Series title to Detroit.
Grant Brisbee noted at SB Nation today:
The best-case scenario for buying is a dream you can touch. The best-case scenario for selling is a trailer for a movie you're not sure you'll ever see.
There could be a lot more bad baseball between now and the deadline, which would make the choice obvious. If there's any ambiguity, though, you should have a good idea of which direction the Tigers will head. The best-case scenarios of both sides give you an idea why. If the Tigers are close, they're going for it.
This decision could be fluid, and MLB.com's Jason Beck reported that the Tigers will gather their top executives in St. Petersburg next week during the Rays series to come to a final decision (again casting doubt on Nightengale's report that a decision was made).
If the decision to sell was made, likely the sale would begin with starting pitcher David Price, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, whose contracts are set to expires after this year. Catcher Alex Avila and reliever Joakim Soria may be in that boat as well.
A decision to buy could involve multiple players coming from the same team, as Detroit desperately needs pitching to go with a strong offense that can nearly score at will and still lose 11-9. A team like San Diego or Cincinnati (even if it involved Mike Leake rather than Johnny Cueto) could make sense.
In any case, the important thing to remember is the more you hear national writers report on the Tigers, until they give you a concrete trade that is going down -- rather than rumors of buying or selling, whether or not individual players are mentioned -- believe it when you see it. Dave Dombrowski and company seldom operate in sunlight. A sale is far from certain at this point.