As the trade deadline approaches, the Tigers have discussed dealing veteran players for pieces capable of helping them both now and in the future, reports FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (video link). Regardless of whether they’re in the playoff hunt around the deadline, the Tigers could move impending free agent right fielder J.D. Martinez, says Rosenthal, who notes that the new qualifying offer system will make it difficult for them to keep the slugger through the season if they’re not going to re-sign him. Should the Tigers retain Martinez through 2017, stay above the luxury-tax threshold and issue him a qualifying offer after the season, they’d only get back a pick after the fourth round if he rejects the QO and signs elsewhere.
More from Rosenthal:
- Athletics right-hander Sonny Gray would be a perfect fit for the Dodgers, suggests Rosenthal, though he adds that they’re not convinced they’ll need to acquire another starting pitcher this summer. The Dodgers are loaded with rotation depth, of course, and their starters entered Saturday ranked fourth in the majors in ERA and first in FIP. Their bullpen has been similarly successful (third and first in those categories), but some members of the organization believe adding a left-handed reliever is a much bigger priority than picking up another starter, per Rosenthal.
- Even though White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu could serve as a mentor to fellow Cubans Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert, they’re not necessarily inclined to keep Abreu, relays Rosenthal. This summer might not prove to be the right time for Chicago to trade him, however, as fellow first baseman Eric Hosmer (Royals) and Yonder Alonso (Athletics) are likely to end up on the block, thereby weakening Abreu’s market.
- The Rays (26-26, plus-24 run differential) are unlikely to buy at the deadline if they’re still in contention, according to Rosenthal. The low-payroll club instead plans to rely on in-house reinforcements, including soon-to-return injured players in shortstop Matt Duffy, catcher Wilson Ramos and reliever Brad Boxberger. The Rays also expect one or more of their top Triple-A arms to make an impact out of their bullpen down the stretch. Tampa Bay has well-regarded pitching prospects in Brent Honeywell and Jose De Leon at the highest level of the minors. Both righties rank among Baseball America’s 40 best prospects.