According to hearsay purveyed by the MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the Tigers have been indicating to interested teams that they will be seeking an “established young MLB star” in any potential deal involving starter Matthew Boyd (Twitter link).
As Heyman points out, Boyd does figure to be one of the better arms available in what he terms a “seller’s market.” With twenty teams currently sitting in playoff position or within 5.5 games of a Wild Card berth, it stands to reason that only a few clubs will be looking to enter liquidation mode with more than two months still to play in 2019. Detroit GM Al Avila may be trying to play this situation to his advantage–today marks the second time in fewer than thirty days that we have heard reports from Detroit indicating a sky-high internal valuation of the admittedly sturdy Boyd.
Back in June, MLB.com’s Jason Beck conveyed that the Tigers were seeking a package in return for Boyd similar to the one the White Sox received in the 2017 Jose Quintana trade – a deal that saw the Cubs part with Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease, and two other prospects in exchange for a decidedly unsexy middle-of-the-rotation arm.
Many will question whether Detroit is justified in asking for the moon in exchange for Boyd. Since exiting his June 14th start against the Twins–an outing that saw him throw seven innings of three-run ball–Boyd has seen his season ERA jump from 3.08 to 4.13 across six poor showings. Put another way, Boyd has not thrown a quality start in nearly five weeks, and it is hard to imagine a team sacrificing foundational pieces for a player going through that kind of rough patch.
Still, the lefty is under contract for an affordable $2.6MM this year, and offers three more seasons of arbitration control as a former Super Two qualifier. Plus, his 4.13 ERA across 120 innings isn’t half as impressive as his sterling K/BB ratio or FIP numbers (6.67 and 3.56, respectively, in case you were wondering). Though pinpointing what, exactly, constitutes an “established young MLB star” is a worthwhile debate in itself, it seems safe to say the Tigers won’t be parting lightly with their widely coveted top starter.