Matthew Boyd elevated his stock considerably with a strong start to the season and a heavier reliance on four-seamers and sliders, and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic recently took a look at whether the Tigers might be open to trading the 28-year-old lefty. While the rebuilding Detroit club likely isn’t in a position to wholly refuse offers on virtually anyone on the roster, the Tigers do have a preference if they’re to move Boyd, Rosenthal reports. Given the glut of young pitching in the upper minors, the team’s ideal trade package for Boyd would center around a controllable young hitter with substantial upside. The Tigers needn’t feel compelled to move Boyd either this summer or even in the 2019-20 offseason, as he’s still controlled for another three seasons, but his improvements thus far appear more legitimate than many early-season, small-sample success stories. It’s easy to imagine that he’s already more appealing to other clubs than he was a month ago, and even if the Tigers ultimately hang onto him, Boyd will surely be one of the most sought-after arms in the game this summer if he maintains his early output.
Here’s more from the American League Central…
- Right-hander Casey Mize, the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft, tossed a no-hitter in his Double-A debut following a midweek promotion, but the Tigers aren’t planning to accelerate his timeline to the Major Leagues based on that dominant effort, per Chris McCosky of the Detroit News. “[General manager Al Avila] has told me, ’Don’t even look at them,'” manager Ron Gardenhire tells McCosky of Mize and fellow top pitching prospects Matt Manning and Alex Faedo. “So, I am happy they’re doing well, but they are not in my thoughts.” Both Avila and assistant GM David Chadd were present to watch Mize’s one-walk, no-hitter live and will watch Faedo an Manning this week as well. However, McCosky notes that the pair isn’t getting live looks at those young arms with an eye toward a near-term promotion. Faedo has just 89 innings above A-ball, while Manning has just 39 1/3.
- The Indians left themselves little margin for error this past offseason and are now paying the price, writes Zack Meisel of The Athletic (subscription required). Cleveland pinned its hopes on a dominant rotation but is already down Mike Clevinger and Corey Kluber. While the former is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a teres major strain, he can’t be activated until June 7 given his placement on the 60-day injured list, and there’s no timeline yet for the latter. As far as in-house alternatives, Adam Plutko is still working his way back from a forearm issue, leaving Jefry Rodriguez as the de facto fourth starter and a collection of question marks behind him in the fifth slot. Chih-Wei Hu and non-roster journeyman Asher Wojciechowski are perhaps the likeliest fifth options for an Indians club that currently faces a three-game deficit in the division.
- Although Tommy John surgery is “on the table” as an option for injured White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon, his health won’t impact top prospect Dylan Cease’s timeline to the big leagues, general manager Rick Hahn told reporters Thursday (link via LaMond Pope of the Chicago Tribune). “[N]o one is going to be promoted to Chicago simply because there’s a need in Chicago,” said Hahn, stressing that Cease or any other prospect will only be promoted when the player’s development dictates a promotion. “(Cease’s) timeline is not in any way affected by anything that happens with Carlos. It’s only going to be affected by what happens with (Cease).” The 23-year-old Cease, who entered the year as a consensus Top 50 prospect in the game, has done a good job making an early case for a big league debut. Through 24 1/3 innings at Triple-A, he’s pitched to a 3.33 ERA with a 30-to-7 K/BB ratio and a 55.1 percent ground-ball rate.