As tweeted by MLB Network reporter Jon Morosi, the Detroit Tigers may look to be big time sellers by the trade deadline if the team remains under .500 by the end of June.
This is not the first time the Tigers’ front office has entertained the thought of selling veterans. But this time, they may mean it.
Until fairly recently, the Tigers have been knocking on the door for a World Series since 2006. From 2011-2014, the Tigers owned the AL Central, taking the division four straight years. They also picked up an AL Pennant. But they could never quite win it all.
Trying to win a World Series for a decade comes at a price. There was a pattern the Tigers’ front office had to follow: spend every offseason buying veterans and every trade deadline dealing the farm system.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, money does not grow on trees, and neither do prospects. Some of the club’s most notable players, including Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Ian Kinsler are getting old.
Former Detroit greats including Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Rick Porcello have sailed off to different teams. Since 2014, all the Tigers have done is lose players they spent years trying to buy.
This boom-or-bust approach is ideal for winning a World Series, but it simply never happened. There was a time when the pieces were together. But that time has gone. The only thing left to do is sell veterans to rebuild in the future. It may not be the flashiest move, but it is the only way to break out of the sub .500 rut the Tigers have been stuck in for the past couple seasons.
Without further adieu, here are three players the Tigers should consider trading if Detroit does indeed sell this trade deadline.
The first name that should come to mind is JD Martinez. Martinez has been red hot since returning to action on May 12 from an injury. He currently bats .378 with seven home runs and is coming off an excellent 2016 campaign, where he hit .307.
However, Martinez’s contract expires at the end of 2017. Wherever he goes, he will get paid big-time. But chances are that Tigers’ GM Al Avila will have little desire to break an already-broken bank to resign Martinez. Since the Tigers will likely loose Martinez anyway, the perfect time to trade him and stock up on young talent is now.
Martinez is an excellent attribute to any team in desperate need of a right fielder or designated hitter. He has one of the most powerful bats in the MLB and is certainly on the radar of many teams looking to find that final piece of the puzzle.
The Tigers’ next best option to trade will likely be Victor Martinez. Martinez is set to become a free agent in 2019. The 38-year old designated hitter may look to retire after that.
Although Martinez has struggled a fair amount this year, he still has the reputation of being a power hitter and RBI machine. These attributes may make him desirable at the trade deadline.
Martinez does not field in his old age. He simply works as a DH. The Tigers are in need of players who have the elements of speed and defense. Martinez provides neither. This will likely make the Tigers feel less inclined to keep Martinez, and willing to give him up to a team in need of more pop in their lineup.
No Tiger fan wants to see this future Hall of Famer leave Detroit, but it may not be a bad idea. After all, this is not the same Miguel Cabrera that won the Triple Crown in 2012. He’s up to 34 years in age and seemingly struggles to do as much as swing a bat without sustaining an injury.
However, he still has one of the most dangerous bats in the game. Very few players in history will be as revered to the same level as Cabrera. With this reputation, there are bound to be teams willing to buy him for the right price.
With an eight-year $248 million monster deal that runs through 2023, Avila may look to save the big bucks by trading the two-time MVP.