Gee, wouldn't it be fun, and hopefully lucrative, to be hired as the new wheeling dealing GM of the Tigers! Imagine what excitement and thrills would await as you contact and are contacted by other GMs. There are 29 other GMs trying to do just what you do, and obviously, trying to swindle you in the process.
Ok, ok, maybe swindle is too strong a word, but hey, I'm sure if they thought they could get the better of you in a deal, each and everyone of them would. Al Avila has his hands full trying to figure out what to do best to make this team a contender again, while the other 29 sharks circle. So Al, give me a call, I'll be happy to be your trading representative, ok?
I think we're on the right track, yet, I'm anxious to see the team come together. There isn't a clear cut shortstop that will take command of the team in two or three years. Perhaps one will develop from the farm system, but if so they aren't currently being placed among the top 100 prospects by Baseball America.
I'd like to try to remedy this. I think I know of one that might be available!
Before I get into who that might be, how about if I review what we have to offer in a deal. Some decisions should be made only after we carefully consider who is and who isn't likely to be a piece of the future.
Let's start reviewing what we might deal, by looking at our pitchers:
SP Matt Boyd has one more season of salary arbitration, then he will be an unrestricted free agent in 2023. He's perhaps the current ace that is passing the torch to Casey Mize. Should the Tigers consider signing him to a longer term contract or not? He's been pretty healthy up to this year. He's been pretty darn good too, for the most part. Yet, he fell to injury this year and you have to wonder if that bode well for the future? I think other teams still think highly of him, but maybe not as quite the ace he was two years ago. Yet, just maybe, he'd still bring good solid value.
P Michael Fulmer is similarly situated. He has one more team commitment year left until he will reach free agency. He's had a bit more injury history, and has been out again recently. He has proven to be a good pitcher when healthy and has adjusted well to a bullpen role. How much do the Tigers need him now versus what value could he bring? I think if the right deal can be made, he should be considered available.
P Buck Farmer also has just one more year until free agency, after this year. He's had some problems this year, and was even waived earlier in the year. It seems that he wasn't pursued by other teams, so he isn't likely to be a hot trade commodity, but maybe he'd still be of some value in a package deal.
P Daniel Norris is a free agent next season. Where does he best fit? How much will he likely command in the market? Do other teams view him as a possible solution? This isn't a high value offering unfortunately for us to collect on.
P Wily Peralta, Julio Teheran, Jose Urena, Derek Holland, and Erasmo Ramirez were signed just for this year. There was probably the hope that one or more might become valuable trade chips. There was perhaps the hope one or more might prove to be a diamond in the rough for even longer term with the Tigers. However, for the most part these are veterans that aren't coveted beyond being, at best, inning eaters. Not much trade bait there.
Fielding players fall into two groups. One that is viewed for the long term, another that has a more limited shelf life. Let's focus on the latter, as what might of interest to a trading partner:
Infielder Jonathan Schoop has been mentioned in articles already as a trade candidate. He also has potential as a player that might retain for the future. He's had a productive year as a fielder and hitter, as well as a positive influence on the younger players. He's also a very reasonably priced player for the past two seasons. In my opinion, the Tigers probably wouldn't realize enough value trading him over retaining him on the season.
Outfielder Robbie Grossman has been a solid contributor to the improved Tigers this year. He signed a two year contract before this season, so he's under the Tigers' control for next year. Although he has been the only full time constant in the outfield this year, this is where the Tigers have the most minor league talent in the wings too. A .227 or so BA doesn't make Grossman seem like a huge trade attraction, but his overall OBP of about .370 should be appealing. It still just may not be enough to warrant a team having special interest.
Longer term players or prospects might be intriguing to some teams. Of course, the Tigers would probably like to peddle for value older players that they haven't totally given up on, but that they don't likely see as being front and center in their plans. Christin Stewart and JaCoby Jones are those prime examples. Whether another team would have sufficient interest to want either player is unlikely, but a case might be made that an exchange of another team's similarly positioned players might make sense. Sometimes a change of scenery is just the ticket.
One deal I might explore is with the San Diego Padres. AJ Abrams, a AA shortstop, ranked in the top 10 as a prospect has to be appealing. He's also a bit superfluous with Tatis, Machado, Croneworth, and recently acquired Frazier, not to mention Hosmer being available to man the their current infield.
Getting Abrams might be possible if the Tigers were willing to send Boyd to the Padres. Would a package deal be required? I'd explore it, if I were the new wheeling dealing GM.