As they continue to explore various trade scenarios regarding their most appealing veteran players, the Tigers are attempting to package multiple trade chips, according to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. It’s part of a bid to draw top-end prospect talent to Detroit this summer.
The concept of a package deal isn’t a new one. On occasion, it’s even pulled off — such as with this memorable swap we recently looked back on — though most such ideas tend to end up on the cutting-room floor.
In this case, the Detroit organization has three chief attractions to dangle. Outfielder Nicholas Castellanos is the most obvious trade piece as a pending free agent, but he’s not going to draw a franchise-altering return on his own. Reliever Shane Greene has thrown well at the right time and has another season of control remaining, though rivals surely value him somewhere in the realm of the mid-point between this year’s 1.22 ERA and last year’s 5.12 mark.
Much as the Tigers might like to turn Castellanos and Greene into a significant prospect haul, they’re likely aware that even two quality MLB pieces such as those won’t induce hesitant contenders to part with premium prospects. With the purpose in mind “to access the highest tier of available prospects,” as Morosi characterizes it, the Tigers are at least opening the door to package arrangements involving the third and most valuable major trade chip: starter Matthew Boyd.
In this day and age, it’s as hard as ever to pry top prospects free via trade. But controllable, high-quality starting pitching is an increasingly rare asset in its own right. The Tigers’ best hope of getting big-time new talent is surely to line something up for Boyd and his three remaining seasons of arbitration control. While the southpaw hasn’t quite maintained his hot start in terms of results, he can shoulder a workload and carries appealing peripherals (including a 14.0% swinging-strike rate).
Boyd is the sort of pitcher that might get a contender to pay a price it’d rather not, though his breakout is still fresh and there are surely questions as to its sustainability. Adding in another much-needed piece could help move the ball, no doubt, but it’s questionable whether the Tigers’ other top trade chips are valuable enough secondary pieces to do so. There’s an argument to be made that Castellanos is the top rental bat available as a young and established slugger, but he’s not particularly cheap and there are alternatives. Greene seems likelier to tip the scales as a late-inning reliever with another season of control, but he’s going to be due a big raise (from his $4MM current salary) and has a rather uneven overall track record.