The New Year’s party is now in the past — and hopefully so are the hangovers — which means it is time to get back to the regular routine. For Detroit Tigers fans, that routine includes attempting to predict what will happen to their star pitcher, Matthew Boyd.
Three scenarios for Matthew Boyd
Cody Stavenhagen over at The Athletic takes a look at three possible scenarios for Boyd: trade, extend and hold. While fans have been playing this game for a while, the stakes are getting higher and higher as his services become more coveted by other teams.
In the trade scenario, general manager Al Avila has stated that trading Boyd is not a current priority. He had the following to say on the topic.
“Is it gonna make the Detroit Tigers better? And when I say better, not getting a prospect that’s in Low-A ball or rookie ball. It’s gonna have to really make sense. I’m not out there trying to sell Matt Boyd. We need Matt Boyd right now to be a good team. And that’s no different than any other player we have. … The only incentive to trade anybody right now is because we’re going to be better through that trade. And when I say better, more immediate, sooner than 10 years from now or something like that.”
The long and the short of his comment is that acquiring Boyd will necessitate a premium price tag, something that other organization may have balked at in the past. But one thing is clear, and that is that Avila has no interest in giving away his best pitcher.
The argument for extension is based on the fact that Boyd currently provides more value than his cost, and he also still has some headroom for improvement. So while the Tigers are not in a good position to hand out contract extension with the on-going rebuild, it could be a safe gamble to lock him up to cement the pitching staff until the crop of young prospects make it to the big leagues.
The last option is the most passive approach, but not necessarily the safest; however, it is the most likely at the moment. Boyd does not reach free agency until 2022, so in the interim the Tigers can continue this song and dance with him for another two years, being only on the hook for his arbitration increases.
At the end of the day, the Tigers need to extract value from Boyd by either trading or extending him. Sitting on their hands with their most valuable trade chip should not be an option at this point.
Two Tigers dominating the Dominican League
Tigers farmhands Gregory Soto and Jose Cisnero have been making waves in the Dominican Winter League, both dominating competition from out of the bullpen.
Soto, a 24-year-old prospect who was a starter until finding recent success as a reliever in 2019. So far for the Águilas Cibaeñas, he has notched three saves and allowed just one run in 11 innings pitched, striking out 14 and walking just four.
Cisnero was an offseason reclamation project from last year who performed well enough to get a second look. Pitching for the Leones del Escogido, he has struck out 16 to just two walks in nine innings of work so far.
The two relievers could be in serious contention for bullpen spots in Detroit this coming season if they can continue their success and translate it over into spring training.
Tigers New Year’s Resolutions
The Athletic published its New Year’s resolutions for all 30 MLB teams, and their entry for the Tigers is rather interesting. Under the heading “Get Casey Mize to the majors”, the author had the following to say.
The 2010s brought exhilaration, agony and then malaise to Tigers fans. The near-misses in the first half of the decade might have stung, but the recent years have only brought tanking teams and plummeting attendance. If there is hope on the horizon, it resides in the right arm of Mize, the No. 1 overall pick in 2018. Mize posted a 3.20 ERA in 15 Double-A starts in 2019, with 76 strikeouts in 78 2/3 innings. He is likely to begin the season in a Triple-A rotation that also should include right-hander Matt Manning. The arrival of Mize, plus Manning, in Detroit would at least provide cause for optimism amid the despair.
That assessment seems fair enough, though there really is no urgency to get Mize or Manning to Detroit before they are ready. Still, Tigers fans need something to celebrate, and the ascension of the organizations top prospect to the majors could be just what the doctor ordered.
MLB Pipeline’s break-out candidate
MLB Pipeline has prognosticated, as it is wont to do, on the Tigers’ next breakout player. Interestingly, they selected Parker Meadows as that player. The No. 12-ranked prospect in the system according to their metrics, the young Meadows has a lot to like, though he is still less than two years separated from high school.
The Tigers knew that Meadows — Rays outfielder Austin Meadows’ younger brother — would need time to develop when they selected the athletic prep outfielder in the second round of the 2017 Draft, and his .221/.296/.312 showing over 126 games at Class A West Michigan in his first full season only confirmed that assessment. However, the 6-foot-5, 205-pounder’s five-tool profile offers reason to be optimistic about his future, as all the raw qualities are in place for the 20-year-old to develop into an impact player.
A Meadows breakout would be a fabulous turn of events for the Tigers’ player development system and bring a much-needed bat to an organization that is lacking on offense.
Tigers’ best international signing of the decade
This entry is going to sting, so it will stay short and sweet. MLB.com has rated the best international prospect stories from all 30 major league teams, and their selection for the Tigers was none other than Eugenio Suarez.
Signed out of Venezuela in 2008, Suarez was ranked as the Tigers’ No. 7 prospect going into ‘14 — the same year that he had a nondescript debut in Detroit before joining the Reds via an offseason trade. He’s improved offensively in every season with Cincinnati, totaling 143 homers during his five years in the organization, including a career-high 49 homers this past season, which also marked his second straight 100-plus RBI, 4-plus WAR campaign.
Tigers fans have bemoaned the Alfredo Simon trade that sent Suarez to the Cincinnati Reds since the day it happened, and it seems like the pain just refuses to die.
- Introducing the Bless You Boys 2020 top 30 Tigers prospect rankings. After intense(ish) debate, our 2020 prospect rankings are here.
- Bless You Boys 2020 prospect rankings: 6 prospects that just missed our top 30 list. Here’s the group that fell just short of a place among our Top 30 prospects.
- Why Franklin Perez is not included in our top Tigers prospect rankings. Perez’s uncertain status makes him hard to place compared to others Tigers prospects.
- The Baseball 100: No. 87, Charlie Gehringer. A profile on the Tigers great from The Athletic.
Around the horn
Don Larsen, who threw only perfect World Series game, dies at 90. Top 25 Baseball Stories of the Decade — No. 5: Tanking epidemic. The All-Decade lineup from MLB Trade Rumors. New York Yankees reliever Domingo German is suspended for 81 games for a violation of MLB’s domestic violence policy. These were the five most improved farm systems (the Tigers were not one of them).