We’re a little over a month from the MLB trade deadline, and while it’s pretty clear that the Detroit Tigers are going to be on the seller’s side of the market, who they actually move will be determined by the offers they receive. The major part of their teardown seems to be over, but the Tigers still have a few players who could prove valuable to a contender. There have been reports that the front office is looking to move (or at least fielding offers for) the trio of Nicholas Castellanos, Shane Greene, and Matthew Boyd.
Under his final year of team control, Castellanos makes the most sense to move, which will bring the former top prospect’s time with the organization that drafted him to a somewhat depressing conclusion. Drafted by the Tigers in 2010 with the 44th overall pick, he is coming off a career-year at the plate in 2018 where he hit .298/.354/.500 with 23 home runs and a 130 wRC+. He worked his way through the minors as a third baseman, but was then converted to an outfielder full time last season when it became clear that his defense on the hot corner would never be adequate. The organization has moved him around on defense in the past, from left field in 2013 while at Triple-A Toledo, then back to third in 2014 in Detroit once Miguel Cabrera shuttled back to first. As a right fielder in 2018, Castellanos struggled, but has recovered to be league average defensively this season.
They nearly made another switch, but Castellanos rejected a move to first base in order to focus on improving at one position. This was the latest development in a list of disagreements between the front office and Castellanos, much of which revolve around extension talks. Castellanos has been open lately about how the tension between him and the organization has weighed on him mentally this year. Given his subpar (for him) numbers offensively, Castellanos may not return as large of a prospect haul as fans hope.
Greene and Boyd, on the other hand, should bring back considerable returns. Greene will arguably be the top reliever on the market, given his 0.93 ERA and solid peripherals, and he has one more year left of team control. Boyd should also be the top starter on the market, but since his team control runs through 2022 and his performance has been raised so much, it’s fair to wonder if any team would make a trade worthwhile to the Tigers.
What will the Tigers actually do at the trade deadline?
My answer: I think the Tigers will end up trading all three of Castellanos, Greene, and Boyd, and fans will only be satisfied with the return for Greene. Castellanos has barely been above league average at the plate this year, but some team will take a flyer on him at the deadline. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see him go to a contender and start raking, as his future will be more or less decided after being dealt.
Relievers are always in demand, and opposing teams typically get stupid when they have the chance to trade for one who is putting together a near-perfect season. Remember the Justin Wilson trade? Netting Isaac Paredes and Jeimer Candelario was a serious haul at the time, especially when compared to what the Tigers received that same July for J.D. Martinez.
Finally, Boyd’s value is ridiculously high given his performance and cost control. The price should be set at one top-50 prospect, one top-100 prospect, and a couple other high ceiling wild-cards. If the Tigers don’t get that, there’s absolutely no reason to move him; Boyd is arbitration eligible through 2022. It seems like the organization is intent on moving him right now, though, and when you place all your poker cards on the table face up, it’s rather easy for the opponents to call your bluff.