Detroit Tigers – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-08-20T23:58:33Z WordPress Steve Adams <![CDATA[2017-18 Rule 5 Draft Update]]> 2018-08-20T16:16:26Z 2018-08-20T16:16:26Z At this point of the season, it’s reasonable to expect the remaining Rule 5 players who are on big league rosters to hold those spots for the remainder of the season. That doesn’t mean that each has necessarily impressed to the point where he’s viewed as a viable long-term option, but with rosters set to expand in a couple of weeks and this much time already invested in each player, the remaining prospects who are clinging to eligibility have likely secured themselves a look in 2019 — even if it means opening the season in the minors.

When I last checked in on this year’s Rule 5-ers back in June, there were nine players either on active MLB rosters or on the big league disabled list, with the rest of this year’s class having been returned to their original organizations. That number hasn’t changed, though the complexion of the list is a bit different, and there have been some encouraging strides among the bunch. Here’s how the class looks at present:

Active Big Leaguers

  • Victor Reyes, OF, Tigers (from D-backs): Reyes still isn’t hitting much, but the Tigers have given him much more time in the outfield as the season wears on. The 23-year-old played just nine complete games through the end of June, but since July 1, he’s logged 22 full games of action in addition to numerous partial appearances where he’s either been pinch-hit for or entered the game as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement. Reyes is hitting just .244/.279/.256 through 86 PAs in July and August, so he’s not impressing at the plate in spite of the recent uptick in playing time. He is 7-for-8 in stolen base attempts and has registered solid defensive marks in the outfield. It still seems likely that he’ll be ticketed for regular work in Triple-A next season once he can be optioned.
  • Brad Keller, RHP, Royals (from D-backs): As the Kansas City Star’s Maria Torres noted over the weekend, Keller has been a rare bright spot in a largely abysmal season for the Royals. Keller posted underwhelming numbers in Double-A last season and skipped Triple-A entirely, but the Royals deserve some credit for nabbing him anyway last December. In 100 1/3 innings this year, Keller has posted a terrific 3.32 ERA. And while his 6.0 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 marks are underwhelming, he’s notched a strong 54.8 percent ground-ball rate. It remains to be seen if Keller can sustain his minuscule 0.45 HR/9 rate, though he’s never averaged even a homer per nine frames in the minors. Fielding-independent pitching metrics are fairly spread out on him, due in no small part to that low homer rate, but if he can settle in even as a pitcher capable of delivering an ERA in the low 4.00s over a season’s worth of starts, that’d make him a very successful pick.
  • Burch Smith, RHP, Royals (from Rays, via trade w/ Mets): Kansas City hasn’t been as successful with Smith, whose ERA sits at an ugly 6.54 through 64 2/3 innings — mostly out of the bullpen. He’s averaged 8.6 K/9 against 4.5 BB/9, and in addition to issuing too many walks, he’s been far too homer-prone (1.95 HR/9). More than 18 percent of the fly-balls against Smith have left the yard — a troubling trend for a pitcher with just a 39.4 percent ground-ball rate. Smith barely pitched from 2014-17 due to injuries, including Tommy John surgery, so the Royals may not want to give up on him in spite of the poor results. At this point, they’ve come far enough along that it could make sense to keep him around and see how he fares in the upper minors next season. He’ll be 29 in April, but he has minor league options remaining.
  • Carlos Tocci, OF, Rangers (from Phillies, via trade w/ White Sox): Tocci has been the most seldom-used player in the Majors, functioning almost exclusively as a defensive replacement for much of the season. He’s appeared in 51 games and totaled just 103 plate appearances, but the Rangers have given him a slight increase in playing time in August. This month, he’s started nine games and shown a bit of promise in that tiny sample, hitting .300/.323/.367 in 33 plate appearances — albeit with nine punchouts and just one walk. Tocci is hitting .207/.255/.250 overall, though, and appears ticketed for minor league work in 2019 even if his glove has been solid in limited work to date.
  • Elieser Hernandez, RHP, Marlins (from Astros): Hernandez, who turned 23 back in May, made the jump from High-A to the Majors and, unsurprisingly, has posted less-than-stellar results. He’s tossed 56 2/3 innings for Miami, including five starts, while working to a 5.08 ERA with 6.2 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 1.27 HR/9 and an extremely low 26.3 percent ground-ball rate. Some struggles were to be expected given the considerable jump he faced, however, and it’d be fair to say he’s at least held his own, given that he skipped both Double-A and Triple-A. He should survive the season with the rebuilding Marlins, and he’ll likely be ticketed for upper-minors work in 2019.
  • Brett Graves, RHP, Marlins (from Athletics): Graves was on the DL back in June, having missed the first two-plus months of the season with an oblique injury. Since making his big league debut, he’s posted a 6.23 ERA with 10 strikeouts against seven walks (two intentional) and three hit batters in 17 1/3 innings. The 25-year-old has primarily been a starter in the minors but has been used out of the bullpen in Miami to this point. He’s displayed good ground-ball tendencies thus far (53.6 percent) and has yet to allow a homer. Though he missed notable time this year, Graves was activated early enough that he’ll accrue the requisite 90 days on the active roster to shed his Rule 5 status this season — provided he doesn’t incur an injury before rosters expand.

On the Major League Disabled List

  • Julian Fernandez, RHP, Giants (from Rockies): Fernandez underwent Tommy John surgery back in April. He’ll accrue MLB service time while spending the season on the 60-day disabled list and will retain his Rule 5 status heading into 2019, if the Giants wish to hang onto him all offseason.
  • Pedro Araujo, RHP, Orioles (from Cubs): Araujo is the last of three Orioles picks from the 2017 Rule 5 Draft remaining on the big league roster, but he’s been on the DL since June 11 due to an elbow sprain. When he was active, he showed plenty of ability to miss bats (13.9 percent swinging-strike rate, 9.3 K/9) but also averaged 5.8 walks and a staggering 2.89 homers per nine innings pitched. It’s not clear if he’ll return this season, but if he doesn’t, he’ll retain his Rule 5 eligibility into 2019. The Orioles won’t be able to option him until he spends 90 days on the active MLB roster, and he’s a bit more than two weeks shy of that right now.
  • Nick Burdi, RHP, Pirates (from Twins via trade w/ Phillies): The flame-throwing Burdi missed nearly all of 2016 due to injury and underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017, but he’s finally on the comeback trail in a new organization. Pittsburgh sent the former Louisville standout on a rehab assignment earlier this month, and he’s pitched seven innings with an 11-to-4 K/BB ratio across three levels so far. He’s yielded five earned runs in that time, though the Bucs likely aren’t focusing heavily on bottom-line results at this point of his recovery. Burdi will have to carry over his Rule 5 eligibility into the 2019 season if the Pirates wish to retain him, but he’s a highly intriguing bullpen piece who could be worth the investment. Burdi’s heater received 80 grades on the 20-80 scale prior to surgery, and he’s been touted as a potential big league closer since his college days.

Returned to Original Organization

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Al Avila Discusses Tigers' Rebuild]]> 2018-08-20T15:00:42Z 2018-08-20T15:00:42Z
  • Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press spoke with Tigers GM Al Avila about the team’s rebuilding process over the weekend. Though Avila has fully committed to a multi-year rebuild of the organization, he was not shy about expressing the difficulty he has in watching his club struggle — even if the results were largely expected. “This is why people try to avoid rebuilds,” said the GM. “Because the rebuilds are very, very tough on everybody’s mentality and psyche and they drive you crazy. I know it’s driven me crazy.” Still, Avila discussed the importance of finding reasons for optimism in the farm system and of the positive strides some prospects have made in 2018 as the team looks to the future. Fenech notes that a number of farmhands, Daz Cameron perhaps chief among them, have made encouraging strides in ’18. The interview is rife with quotes from Avila, who explained that the Tigers had little choice but to commit to a rebuild and vowed to fans that the ultimate payoff “will be worth it.”
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tigers Designate Zach McAllister For Assignment]]> 2018-08-19T03:23:41Z 2018-08-19T03:08:34Z The Tigers announced that they’ve designated right-hander Zach McAllister for assignment. To take his place, they plan on selecting fellow righty Jacob Turner’s contract from Triple-A Toledo prior to Sunday’s game against the Twins.

    It appears the marriage between the Tigers and McAllister will end up as a short-lived union, as the team just signed the 30-year-old on Aug. 10. In order to make room for the addition of McAllister, Detroit designated Turner, making Saturday’s move a reversal of that transaction.

    The hard-throwing McAllister appeared in three games and threw 3 1/3 innings as a Tiger, giving up a whopping eight earned runs on 10 hits despite racking up five strikeouts against no walks. McAllister also struggled to prevent runs across 41 2/3 frames with the AL Central rival Indians earlier this year, as he pitched to a 4.97 ERA with 7.3 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9, prompting the Tribe to release him Aug. 8.

    McAllister isn’t far removed from serving as a quality reliever, evidenced by his 2.99 ERA over 183 1/3 innings from 2015-17, but it appears this will go down as a season to forget for him. Turner, on the other hand, hasn’t experienced much success since debuting with the Tigers back in 2011, but they’ll give him a chance to make his second start of the season Sunday. The 27-year-old owns a 5.37 ERA with 5.76 K/9 against 3.51 BB/9 in 369 big league frames, and has allowed a comical 15 earned runs on 19 hits in just 6 2/3 innings between Detroit and Miami in 2018.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tigers Acquire Nolan Blackwood From Athletics]]> 2018-08-18T21:26:27Z 2018-08-18T20:48:13Z 4:24pm: Detroit hasn’t decided yet whether it’ll take the other PTBNL or cash to complete the trade, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets.

    3:48pm: The Tigers have acquired right-hander Nolan Blackwood from the Athletics, per an announcement from Detroit. Blackwood’s one of the two players to be named later in the teams’ Mike Fiers trade from earlier this month.

    The 23-year-old Blackwood had been with the A’s since they used a 14th-round pick on him in 2016. He ended up ascending to the Double-A level this year with Oakland, pitching to a 4.08 ERA/3.51 FIP with 8.15 K/9, 2.72 BB/9 and an excellent 62.5 percent groundball rate in 53 innings (39 appearances). Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of ranked Blackwood as the A’s 30th-best prospect prior to his departure from the organization, noting that the 6-foot-5 sidearmer has quality stuff, including a 91 to 93 mph fastball with “heavy sink,” and “tremendous deception.”

    Fiers, meanwhile, has been terrific for the A’s thus far, having thrown 11 1/3 innings of three-run ball with 13 strikeouts against zero walks in two starts since the surging AL West title contenders added him on Aug. 6. But with the Tigers in a rebuild and well out of contention, it didn’t make sense for them to keep the 33-year-old Fiers through the season. Now, at Fiers’ expense, Detroit has picked up at least one promising prospect in Blackwood. He’ll join a Tigers farm system that Baseball America ranks as the majors’ 14th-best group (subscription required).

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[John Hicks Likely Out For Remainder Of Season]]> 2018-08-18T05:38:58Z 2018-08-18T03:33:52Z
  • Tigers backstop John Hicks likely won’t make it back this year after requiring abdominal surgery, as Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press recently reported. That’s a disappointing turn for a player who has turned in a solid performance in a robust role this year. Hicks, who is nearing his 29th birthday, has hit within range of league average at the MLB level since landing in Detroit. While he has been miscast as a part-time first baseman, his offensive work is more than adequate for a time-sharing catcher.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Who Have Cleared Revocable Trade Waivers]]> 2018-08-20T13:46:01Z 2018-08-17T13:42:03Z It’s been somewhat quiet on this front in 2018, but we’ll use this post to keep track of the names of all of the players who’ve reportedly cleared revocable trade waivers. As is the case every year, there are a few things that should be re-emphasized before diving into names.

    First and foremost, the vast majority of Major League players will be placed on revocable trade waivers this month — many assuredly already have been — with most instances going unreported. By month’s end, there will likely be dozens of players who have cleared waivers without garnering any sort of headlines. It also bears repeating that players can still be traded in September, but Aug. 31 serves as the deadline for postseason eligibility, making it a sort of soft trade deadline. Deals of note are rarely consummated in September, though Juan Nicasio did change hands after Aug. 31 in 2017.

    Lastly, for those who aren’t familiar with the inner-workings of waiver trades or simply need a quick refresher, MLBTR published a full explanation of how August trades work to kick off the month. We’ll keep this post updated throughout the remainder of the month for those who wish to bookmark it.

    Onto the names…

    • Logan Forsythe, 2B, Twins (link): Forsythe, acquired in the Brian Dozier trade largely as a means of offsetting the duo’s identical $9MM salaries, wasn’t even a lock to stick around with Minnesota after being acquired, but he’s batted .361/.418/.426 through his first 67 PAs in Minnesota, helping to rebuild some stock after a miserable season in L.A. He won’t net the Twins much of anything in a trade if he’s moved, but the Twins might not mind simply shedding the remaining $2.1MM on his salary (as of Aug. 19).
    • Adam Jones, Orioles (link): Jones was reported to have cleared waivers on Aug. 16 and was owed $4.27MM of his $17MM salary at the time. While he’s eligible to be traded to any team, it’s entirely up to Jones whether he moves. The five-time All-Star has 10-and-5 rights (10 years of MLB service, the past five with one team), meaning he can veto any trade. Jones reportedly already exercised those rights rather than approving a trade to the Phillies. He’s hitting .285/.317/.438 as of this writing and is in the midst of a torrid hot streak, but he has family and charity reasons (among others) for wanting to remain in Baltimore.
    • Curtis Granderson, Blue Jays (link): Now 37 years of age, the Grandy Man isn’t the star that he once was, but he remains a reasonably productive bat against right-handed pitching. He’s playing the season on a one-year, $5MM deal and is still owed about $1.23MM of that salary as of this morning. While Granderson is largely limited to the outfield corners, he could be a useful bench piece for contending clubs down the stretch.
    • Francisco Liriano, Jose Iglesias & Jordan Zimmermann, Tigers (link): It was a 100 percent certainty that Zimmermann, still owed $55.9MM through 2020 (including the remainder of this year’s salary) would clear waivers. Even with improved results this season (4.36 ERA, 7.9 K/9, 1.6 BB/9 in 88 2/3 innings), there’s virtually no hope of the Tigers shedding that salary this month. It was less certain that rentals like Liriano or Iglesias would clear, however. Liriano’s ERA ballooned to 4.72 last night after he was roughed up by the Twins, but he’s held left-handed pitching to a terrible .141/.247/.239 slash through 81 plate appearances. With $984K still owed to him through the end of the year, he’d be a reasonably affordable lefty specialist for a contending team’s bullpen. As for Iglesias, it seems quite likely that he’ll be moved to a contender. He’s hitting a respectable, albeit unspectacular .264/.306/.389 while playing terrific defense at shortstop. He’s owed $1.54MM of his $6.275MM salary through season’s end.
    • Joe Mauer & Logan Morrison, Twins (link): Morrison won’t be going anywhere after having season-ending hip surgery last week, and it seems likely that the Twins will buy out his 2019 option after a disappointing all-around season. Mauer, like Jones, has the right to veto any trade and wouldn’t be in much demand anyhow. After a strong .305/.384/.417 slash in 2017, he’s posted a more pedestrian .272/.352/.358 line in 2018 — the final season of his eight-year, $184MM contract.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 8/13/18]]> 2018-08-13T17:52:52Z 2018-08-13T17:49:22Z Here are Monday’s minor moves from around the league…

    • The Tigers announced today that right-hander Jacob Turner cleared waivers and was assigned outright to Triple-A Toledo. Having been outrighted in the past, the prospect-turned-journeyman will have the ability to decline that assignment in favor of free agency if he is so inclined. The 27-year-old Turner was designated for assignment over the weekend when Detroit signed Zach McAllister. Turner pitched just one inning in his return to the Tigers and allowed a whopping five runs in that outing. He soaked up 39 innings for the Nationals last season but hasn’t topped that mark since the 2014 season. In 369 career innings at the big league level, Turner has a 5.37 ERA with 5.8 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 1.22 HR/9 and a 46.5 percent ground-ball rate.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Zach McAllister On Signing With Tigers]]> 2018-08-13T19:34:00Z 2018-08-13T01:38:02Z
  • Veteran reliever Zach McAllister chose to sign with the Tigers earlier this week not only because of the on-field opportunity they presented, but because they were “aggressive” in pursuing him, the righty tells Max Bultman of The Athletic (subscription required). Even though McAllister’s not under control past this season, the fact that Detroit put forth such an effort to add him suggests it could be open to retaining him beyond 2018, Bultman notes. In the meantime, McAllister, 30, will use the rest of the season to try to rebuild his once-solid stock after struggling this year with the Indians. If the hard-throwing McAllister succeeds and puts himself back on other teams’ radars heading into the winter, his tenure with the rebuilding Tigers could go down as a short-lived union.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Michael Fulmer Nearing Rehab Assignment]]> 2018-08-12T02:32:40Z 2018-08-12T01:07:10Z
  • Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer is closing in on a rehab assignment, per Jason Beck of Fulmer, out since July 20 with a left oblique strain, threw a 50-pitch bullpen session Saturday. Regardless of whether the 25-year-old returns in 2018, with the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline having passed, he no longer looks like a candidate to end up on the move this season. Fulmer had been popular in the rumor mill until hitting the DL, and if he comes back this year and performs well, he’ll surely be a target for teams over the winter.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[AL Central Notes: Martin, Santana, Perez]]> 2018-08-11T16:38:12Z 2018-08-11T16:38:12Z The Indians have not given much indication as to the medical issue that forced just-acquired outfielder Leonys Martin to the disabled list, but indications are that it’s a rather concerning health matter of some kind. As Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer writes, manager Terry Francona explained yesterday that Martin does not wish to publicize details of his situation at present, but the 30-year-old ballplayer is presently receiving treatment at the Cleveland Clinic. MLBTR joins those around the game in extending its best wishes to Martin and his family. We hope to see him back to full health as soon as possible.

    Here are some other recent notes from the American League Central:

    • Twins righty Ervin Santana had some choice words for the front office after his start last night, as Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press reports. Santana suggested that the organizational higher-ups have given up on the team despite the fact that the players are still “not giving upon” on the season. “They took our pieces away, and it’s difficult to play without our good pieces,” said the veteran hurler. It’s hard to argue with his characterization, of course, as the Twins have dealt away multiple quality veterans. Frankly, though, that has seemed an advisable course given the roster’s struggles in advance of the trade deadline. Santana himself could end up on the move, though he has struggled through four starts since returning from a lengthy stint on the disabled list.
    • Katie Strang of The Athletic took a worthwhile look at Tigers prospect Franklin Perez in a subscription piece. His injury-riddled campaign has impacted the team’s broader rebuilding efforts, as it has robbed one of the organization’s most promising players of a key season. While it’s never good to hear of lat and shoulder issues in a pitcher, the Detroit front office remains bullish on Perez. Fortunately, too, the organization is relatively rich in quality pitching prospects. Strang explains that the hope is to get him back to full health over the offseason, then launch him at Double-A to open the year. The post includes a lengthy chat with Astros international guru Oz Ocampo, who explains that Perez was “pretty much a finished product” from the time he entered the Houston system. Perez, of course, headlined the return in last August’s Justin Verlander swap.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Tigers Sign Zach McAllister, Designate Jacob Turner]]> 2018-08-10T20:05:11Z 2018-08-10T19:32:33Z The Tigers announced today that they have signed a MLB pact with righty Zach McAllister. To create roster space, the club designated fellow right-hander Jacob Turner.

    McAllister just wrapped up a lengthy tenure with the Indians, who released him after designating him for assignment. Now he’ll head to the division-rival Tigers to finish out the year before reaching free agency at season’s end.

    The 30-year-old hurler has overseen declines in both his peripherals and his results this season. McAllister provided the Indians with 183 1/3 innings of 2.99 ERA ball from 2015-17, but his fortunes have turned. Through 41 2/3 frames in 2018, he has coughed up seven long balls and is allowing 4.97 earned runs per nine with 7.3 K/9 versus 2.2 BB/9.

    Turner, of course, is a former first-rounder turned journeyman who found his way back to Detroit recently. He was shelled in a recent start, lasting only one inning. In eighty frames this year, he carries a 4.50 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Bumgarner, Strasburg, Correa, Happ]]> 2018-08-10T12:37:51Z 2018-08-10T00:14:06Z Kerry Crowley of The Mercury News boldly calls Madison Bumgarner’s contract situation the Giants’ “elephant in the room”. Crowley wonders whether Bumgarner must be traded in order to spark a rebuild for the club, who failed to make any significant moves at the trade deadline and now sit at 57-58 on the season after struggling to the league’s worst record last year (tied with the Tigers, of course). Whether the club ultimately decides to “rebuild or remodel”, Bumgarner’s the only player on the roster whose contract might warrant teams forking over a significant prospect return; something an aging Giants team could certainly use. Crowley describes Bumgarner’s future as “uncertain” in the amidst a mediocre team with a gargantuan payroll.

    More on a few interesting items from around MLB this evening…

    • The Nationals received some welcome news on Stephen Strasburg today, as the right-hander reportedly “felt good” after tossing a 42-pitch bullpen session. According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, he’s likely to throw another one tomorrow and could potentially embark upon a rehab assignment soon thereafter. He’s been on the DL since June 26th with a cervical nerve impingement, but on the bright side he was cleared of any structural damage in his shoulder shortly thereafter.
    • The Astros appear to be even closer to getting a valuable asset back on the field, as Carlos Correa was spotted at Minute Maid Park today, with Christian Boutwell of among those eye witnesses. Though he was inactive for today’s game, the former Rookie of the Year shortstop believes he could be back on the field as soon as tomorrow. Correa’s having a down season by his standards, hitting .268/.352/.480 with a slightly-bloated 24.4% strikeout rate.
    • The Yankees, for their part, already got a notable player back from the DL. J.A. Happ was activated today, filling the roster spot left vacant after they optioned Chance Adams to Triple-A last night. Happ’s been on the DL with hand, foot and mouth disease for the past week plus, but will return to the rotation and attempt to provide the value the Bombers envisioned when they traded Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney in order to obtain him. Happ’s posted a 4.05 ERA through 21 starts
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tigers Acquire Nick Tepesch From Blue Jays]]> 2018-08-09T01:13:27Z 2018-08-09T01:12:11Z The Tigers have acquired right-hander Nick Tepesch from the Blue Jays for cash considerations, Evan Woodbery of reports on Twitter. Tepesch will head to Double-A Erie with his new organization, Woodbery adds.

    Tepesch, now 29, is best known for his run with the Rangers from 2013-14. He turned in 42 appearances (39 starts) and 219 innings of 4.56 ERA/4.66 FIP pitching in that span, notching a career-best 126 frames in 2014. Tepesch walked just 2.92 hitters per nine in his Texas tenure, but he only managed a 5.42 K/9 along the way, thus limiting his effectiveness.

    Since his time with the Rangers ended in 2016, Tepesch has been a member of a few other organizations, but he hasn’t seen significant big league action over the past couple years. Tepesch has spent this year exclusively in the minors, combining for 89 1/3 innings with the Blue Jays’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates. He struggled at both levels with Toronto, especially as a member of its Triple-A team in Buffalo, where he put up a lofty 7.90 ERA with 4.39 K/9 and 2.85 BB/9 in 41 frames.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Poll: Which Of These Tigers Is Most Likely To Be Traded?]]> 2018-08-08T03:55:07Z 2018-08-08T03:55:53Z 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.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Jose Iglesias, Francisco Liriano, Jordan Zimmermann Clear Trade Waivers]]> 2018-08-07T18:31:17Z 2018-08-07T18:10:52Z Three prominent Tigers players have cleared revocable trade waivers, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free-Press. Infielder Jose Iglesias, lefty Francisco Liriano, and righty Jordan Zimmermann can all now be traded freely for the rest of the season.

    Of course, deals need to be struck by the end of the month for any player to have postseason eligibility with a new organization. And any preexisting limitations — such as Zimmermann’s no-trade rights — remain in full force.

    Of these players, the former two seem to be likely trade candidates. Both are pending free agents earning reasonably significant money. Iglesias, 28, is playing on a $6.275MM salary, while the 34-year-old Liriano is owed a total of $4MM.

    Teams interested in upgrading their infield defense will surely consider Iglesias, who’s among the game’s best fielders at short. He’s also producing at a respectable rate at the plate for a defender of his quality, with a 88 wRC+ for the season. Liriano, meanwhile, likely won’t be pursued as a starter, as metrics don’t really support his 4.37 ERA. That said, he has handcuffed lefty hitters this year and it certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s stretched out.

    As for Zimmermann, he’s earning $24MM this year and $50MM total for the following two seasons. That’s a big chunk of change. Plus, Zimmermann has full no-trade rights during the present campaign. (They’ll revert to partial rights at season’s end.)

    While similar roadblocks did not stop the club from dealing franchise cornerstone Justin Verlander last August, Zimmermann hasn’t pitched well enough to force the issue in the manner of his former teammate. The 32-year-old Zimmermann has certainly fared better this year than at any prior point in his tenure with the Tigers, with a 4.31 ERA over 77 1/3 innings and improved mix of 8.5 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9. But he has also had some health concerns and still likely won’t be valued at anything close to his remaining contract. Plus, there’s still no reason to believe he’d be interested in waiving his no-trade protection, as geography played a role in bringing him to Detroit in the first place.