Earlier today, we learned that three prominent Detroit Tigers (Jose Iglesias, Francisco Liriano and Jordan Zimmerman) have cleared trade waivers, meaning that each is eligible to be traded at any time during the remainder of the season. For any of the three to be eligible for postseason play, he would need to be shipped off to another team before the end of the month.
Each of the three aforementioned players have varying levels of value in relation to their respective salaries for 2018 (and money owed beyond this season). However, it’s not hard to imagine any of the three as a plausible trade candidate; there are certainly plenty of contending teams who could use a shortstop or a starting pitcher. The Tigers would likely have to eat some of the remaining salary owed to any of these three players in the event an agreement is struck with a contending team, but I want to explore the plausibility of each player being dealt, not his overall contract value.
Jose Iglesias, SS- The bulk of Iglesias’ value is locked up in his defensive capabilities. Though he’s hit just .276/.306/.391 over the course of the 2018 season (a batting line that’s not too far off from his career averages), Iglesias owns a Fangraphs defensive rating of 13.7 due in part to the accrual of four Defensive Runs Saved and an Ultimate Zone Rating of 8.9 to this point on the year. That, combined with a below-average wRC+ of 88, has earned him a 2.2 fWAR mark- the highest of any player on this list. Infielders with Iglesias’ defensive capabilities are in short supply, so it’s easy to imagine there would be more than one suitor for the 28-year-old should the Tigers pay down some of his $6.3MM arbitration salary.
Francisco Liriano, LHP- Liriano’s served as a starter for the bulk of his career, and although he’s been largely unspectacular over the course of his 13-season MLB career, he’s shown flashes of brilliance. Most notably, Liriano put up a 3.26 ERA across the 2013-2015 seasons while with the Pirates, notching 9.58 K/9 against 3.78 BB/9 while managing a 52% ground ball rate. While it seems likely that those days are behind him, Liriano could still prove a useful asset to a contending team should he figure out how to regain some semblance of control (he’s walked more than five batters per nine innings on the season). It could be tough to find a taker, considering he owns a 4.37 ERA in 17 starts on the season that seems lucky when compared to his 5.23 FIP, but it’s worth mentioning that the Astros acquired him down the stretch last season in order to utilize him as a reliever, and there’s more than one team that might benefit from adding a lefty to its bullpen.
Jordan Zimmerman, RHP- Zimmerman’s case is the most curious of these three, particularly considering the massive amount of money he’s owed beyond 2018 ($50MM) and the fact that he has a full no-trade clause as part of his contract with the Tigers. Still, after a pair of horrific seasons since signing with Detroit and an equally-rough start to the 2018 season, Zimmerman’s returned to some semblance of usefulness. In eight starts after coming off the disabled list on June 16th, the righty’s managed to compile 41 strikeouts against a stingy seven walks. The result has been a reasonable 3.91 ERA across 46 innings, and he’s lasted at least five innings in all but one of his eight contests. A pitcher of that caliber would certainly be useful to a number of contending teams looking for a fourth starter in October. The tricky part of any negotiation would be deciding upon exactly how much of Zimmerman’s remaining salary ought to be paid down, and that’s without even considering what it might take to convince him to waive his no-trade clause after he chose to sign with the Tigers in part due to Detroit’s geographic location.
It’s no certainty that any of these three will be dealt. But it’s not an impossibility that all three could be moved prior to August 31st, either. Who do you think is most likely to be on the move this season? Here’s a link to the poll for those using the app.