With the July 31 trade deadline on the way and the Tigers well out of contention, they’re “open to moving virtually” all of their veteran players, Jon Morosi of MLB.com writes. Morosi names left-hander Matthew Boyd, closer Shane Greene and right fielder Nicholas Castellanos among potential trade pieces for the rebuilding Tigers.
Not only is Boyd the most appealing member of the above trio, but there is little question he’s Detroit’s MVP. After back-to-back seasons of roughly average production, the 28-year-old has performed like one of the majors’ premier starters in 2019. He owns a 3.08 ERA/2.91 FIP with a stunning 11.16 K/9 against 1.59 BB/9 through 14 starts and 84 2/3 innings. Adding to Boyd’s allure, he’s inexpensive right now ($2.6MM) and controllable for a while. Boyd’s in his first of four potential arbitration years.
While it would be difficult for the Tigers to move their fledgling ace, doing so would go a long way toward boosting a mediocre farm system. In a summer trade market that could also include the likes of Madison Bumgarner, Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, Boyd’s performance and affordable team control would make him the most desirable arm on the block. As you’d expect, though, Morosi notes it would take a Godfather offer for the Tigers to part with Boyd.
Unlike Boyd, Castellanos wouldn’t return any kind of haul. The 27-year-old is due for free agency after the season, for one, and isn’t cheap ($9.95MM). He’s also a defensively limited corner outfielder – something most executives frown on these days – and hasn’t gotten off to a compelling start at the plate this year. While Castellanos was a well above-average offensive player from 2016-18, he’s batting a so-so .263/.315/.454 (102 wRC+) with seven home runs in 273 trips to the plate this season. Even if Castellanos’ .325 weighted on-base average starts moving toward his .342 expected wOBA, it still wouldn’t do much for his trade value.
As with Castellanos, Greene’s a soon-to-be free agent who seems quite likely to leave Detroit in the coming weeks. As a $4MM hurler with plenty of late-game experience, the Tigers are sure to find a taker for the 30-year-old Greene. There’s added value with one more season of arbitration control, though Greene’s performance thus far may also cause his arb price tag to shoot up. In theory, Greene has upped his trade value as well with a tremendous 1.00 ERA, 9.67 K/9, 2.33 BB/9 and 19 saves on 20 tries in 27 innings. However, potential buyers are likely wary regression is around the corner.
Hitters have only posted a .182 batting average on balls in play against Greene, down 124 points from his career mark of .306; his 79.8 percent strand rate sits 11 percent above his lifetime figure; and there’s a sizable gap between his wOBA against (.212) and xwOBA (.280). Greene also comes with an inconsistent track record, having mustered an unspectacular 4.30 ERA/3.88 FIP in 178 innings out of the Tigers’ bullpen from 2016-18.
After Boyd, Castellanos and Greene, it’s not as easy to identify potentially on-the-block veteran Tigers. The team signed a pair of infielders, Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer, as well as two starters in Tyson Ross and Matt Moore to one-year deals last offseason. At the time, the Tigers were no doubt hoping those four would build their value leading up to the deadline. Instead, they’ve been either bad or injured (or both in some cases). Righty Michael Fulmer underwent Tommy John surgery before the season, further destroying his once-high trade value, while designated hitter Miguel Cabrera and injured righty Jordan Zimmermann remain immovable because of their declining performances and albatross contracts.