Finding a catcher is the Tigers’ No. 1 priority this offseason, according to general manager Al Avila, who also named first base, corner outfield, the rotation and perhaps the middle infield as other areas of interest for the rebuilding club (via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News). Behind the plate, the belief is that Jason Castro – one of the best catchers remaining on the open market – is at the top of the Tigers’ list, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. The defensively adept Castro is coming off a quality all-around season as a member of one of the Tigers’ division rivals, the Twins, with whom he batted .232/.332/.435 and swatted 13 home runs over 275 plate appearances. Thanks in part to his 2019 showing, MLBTR forecasts a two-year, $10MM payday in free agency for Castro, 32. On paper, he’d be a marked upgrade over the catcher trio of Grayson Greiner–John Hicks–Jake Rogers trio the Tigers mostly relied on last season.
More from the Motor City…
- Utilityman Niko Goodrum, likely the Tigers’ most valuable position player of 2019, has drawn quite a bit of trade interest from elsewhere, Avila revealed (link via McCosky). It’s unclear, though, how open the Tigers are to trading the 27-year-old switch-hitter, who’s the in-house favorite to start at shortstop for them next season. Goodrum saw time at short and six other positions in 2019, when he slashed .248/.322/.421 with 12 home runs, a dozen steals and 1.9 fWAR in 472 trips to the plate. He’s not eligible to reach arbitration until after next season.
- Detroit may not have a more obvious trade chip than 28-year-old left-hander Matthew Boyd, who’s been the subject of rumors for several months. Boyd’s still arbitration-eligible for another three years, though, and as of now, the Tigers aren’t “actively” looking to deal him, McCosky tweets. At the same time, the Tigers haven’t initiated extension talks with Boyd. However, Boyd’s agent, Scott Boras, has plenty of other matters to focus on at the moment.
- The Tigers are among those who have shown interest in Japanese free-agent outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, but it doesn’t appear he’ll end up wind up in Detroit. Avila suggested Monday that the Tigers are unlikely to make a serious run at Tsutsugo.