Normally, we here at Bless You Boys try to pump the breaks on rumor discussion and free agency dreams in October. While the 2018 season wasn’t exactly an exciting one for the Detroit Tigers, it’s still important to look back at the year that was before moving forward. Plus, the winter is a lot longer than you think. If we blow through everything in October, this place will be a ghost town from November to March.
People talk, though. This includes our staff, which got into a discussion about the starting rotation (both present and future) earlier today. It was sparked by an observation from the MLB playoffs as a whole; with so many teams going to the bullpen early, are there enough good starters to go around right now?
Instead of just yelling into own own echo chamber, we thought we would share our thoughts with you.
Brandon: I keep watching these [playoff] games thinking about how many teams see themselves as potential contenders next year, and how much pitching they are going to need this offseason. The Red Sox, Yankees, Nationals, Angels, Cubs, Dodgers, Phillies, Braves, Rockies, Brewers... they all need a top-shelf starter at minimum, and probably multiple good relievers.
Cameron: Good thing we have a ton of that to trade! Wait.
Brandon: The Tigers might be able to get someone to pay a nice price for Matthew Boyd, I suppose. Especially if they think they can tweak something a get a little more out of him. He has been durable, at least.
Patrick: We would be selling very low on Boyd or Michael Fulmer right now. They are better than they have pitched, I think.
Brandon: I don’t agree on Boyd. He’s a nice, fairly durable fourth or fifth starter in his prime. Every year he rips off a nice stretch and then disappears again. If priced as such, I’d be fine trading him.
Jeff: Holy crap, Baseball Savant added new things to their site.
Patrick: I see Boyd as a possible link to the Tigers’ next contender, along with Fulmer and Daniel Norris, whichever ones are healthy. I agree on what Boyd basically is, but I think he gets a bit better, and I don’t think teams give up much for that when they can get it on the free agent market for cash and no good prospects. I really have no interest in trading for more B-level prospects, and we’re not getting a top 100 prospect type for him.
Brandon: Then don’t trade him.
Patrick: The few times that Dave Dombrowski traded for prospects, I think he did it right: Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson, Norris, Fulmer, Boyd. These are guys who were just about to break in, or had just broke into the majors. It helps that he had a Curtis Granderson and a David Price to trade, but that’s what I’d be looking for. Getting a Dawel Lugo or Grayson Long doesn‘t get us any closer to contending, in my opinion.
Brandon: But Boyd should be worth a late top 100 prospect. The problem is that the market is truly unknowable at this point. Take a look at how many contenders need a lot of pitching. Look what’s available in free agency. There aren’t even enough back-end starters to go around, let alone one who has been durable, may have a bit of upside left, and has four cheap years of control left.
Cody: Boyd and Long, at the points they were acquired, are pretty dang comparable.
Brandon: Yes, no one wants a Dawel Lugo or Grayson Long for Boyd.
Rob: I wouldn’t mind a healthy Grayson Long-shaped pitcher. Maybe not as the primary get for Boyd, but a secondary piece.
Brandon: Sure. I mean, I’m not trying to trade anyone just for trading’s sake. But there is going to be a shortage of pitchers out there. Boyd is the one closest to his ceiling, and already in his prime years.
Patrick: Boyd should fetch more than Fiers did last summer, but obviously not as much as a healthy Fulmer would have. I think last year’s Fulmer gets you a couple top 100 prospects.
Brandon: I’m just interested in shopping him. Maybe Joe too [Ed.: Brandon is fired]. But I want a good middle infield prospect. It may not be doable... in which case, yup, hang on to all the pitching and see what happens.
Patrick: I think everyone has been shopped as Avila did his due diligence.
Brandon: I don’t. And, obviously you can see how the first half goes too. Maybe Boyd gets off to a hot start and you get a good prospect then. Yeah, you’re not going to pull Luis Urias, Carter Kieboom, or someone like that, but there a quite a few solid infield prospects with teams already set at shortstop or second base.
Patrick: That’s a good point. The Tigers were able to get Jeimer Candelario — a major league ready prospect — because the Cubs were all set at the corners. There should be more teams with surplus players like that, like the Red Sox and Dodgers’ outfields. The question is whether we have the horses to trade for them. It’s still sheer madness that we got more for Justin Wilson and Alex Avila than we got for J.D. Martinez.
Rob: That’s how the trade deadline works now, though. We’re having this entire discussion because teams have beefed up their bullpens and aren’t using starters in the playoffs the same way they did before. Boyd certainly isn’t a game-breaking starter, but he’s a guy who could be used in the right situation (especially after an Opener) and eat innings, both in the regular season and in the playoffs.
Brandon: Yeah, bullpen usage has definitely changed things. But we’re also seeing teams leaning on those guys too much during the season, then expecting to have multiple fresh, elite relievers at their best in the postseason. It isn’t necessarily working out that way. It should be interesting to see how those strategies affect the way they approach the offseason.