The Tigers are now almost at the halfway point in the season. Though, they have been better than most had anticipated, sitting in second place in the American League Central, they still sit below even at 36-42. With their current record against the Indians sitting at 3-10 this season, there is little hope in catching up to the first-place Tribe.
With the Tigers now virtually out of the playoff hunt, it seems appropriate to now talk about unloading some remaining talent on their roster.
General manager Al Avila has unloaded a lot of talent in the past calendar year, including ace Justin Verlander, outfielders J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton, second baseman Ian Kinsler and catcher Alex Avila.
Tigers don’t have a supply of all-star talent left on their team, so don’t expect any blockbuster trades any time soon. However, there are still plenty of useful pieces left to aid playoff contending teams.
Francisco Liriano, SP
Just about every playoff contending team in the majors will be looking to add an arm or two at the trade deadline. The 34-year-old lefty is having his best season since 2015, where he ended up with a 3.38 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 186.2 innings. This year, Liriano is averaging just under six innings per start and has yet to allow more than five runs in a start this season. He owns a 3.94 ERA and 1.25 WHIP over 11 starts this season. On a one-year, $4 million contract, he’s about as low risk as they come for a middle-of-the-order starter.
Potential fits: Braves, Brewers, Pirates, Mariners, Athletics
Jordan Zimmermann, SP
Over Zimmermann’s first two seasons, he posted a 5.60 ERA and 1.48 WHIP over 265.1 innings. However, the 32-year-old righty finally seems like he is back on track after his first two seasons in Detroit didn’t go according to plan. Over his last seven starts, Zimmermann has a 2.90 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. He is also on pace to recording his best strikeout rate of his career (8.49 K/9).
Because Zimmermann lacks durability (three stints on the DL in three seasons) and is coming off back-to-back horrendous seasons, the Tigers are more than likely still going to have to eat a good portion of Zimmermann’s contract if they want to move him before July 31.
Best fits: Braves, Brewers, Yankees, Mariners, Phillies
Shane Greene, Closer
Recent playoffs have shown that having a shortage of bullpen arms will not get teams very deep into October. Though Greene was off to a slow start in April, he has a 2.80 ERA and has converted 15 of his 16 save opportunities since the start of May. Last year, Greene pitched to a 2.66 ERA and 1.24 WHIP while striking out 73 batters in 67.2 innings pitched.
Greene has major league experience in just about every pitching role imaginable and the 27-year-old is under team control through the 2020 season. He should draw plenty of interest from contending teams.
Potential fits: Nationals, Indians, Angels, Mariners, Phillies
Jose Iglesias, SS
After starting the season on a 2-for-35 skid, Iglesias has hit .307 since April 13. Along with being one of the top defenders at his position (he’s graded out as the second-best shortstop in baseball since 2017, according to Fangraphs), Iglesias would add plenty of value at a position that is often tough to fill.
Potential fits: Dodgers, Phillies, Diamondbacks, Red Sox
Leonys Martin, CF
Though Martin hasn’t been wreaking havoc on the basepaths (seven stolen bases) like many had hoped, he is on pace to put up his first ever 20-homer season and his highest batting average since his 2014 season.
Martin is also having a solid year with the leather, owning a .990 fielding percentage (fifth-highest among American League center fielders) and has recorded eight outfield assists (tied for most among all outfielders). Unfortunately for the Tigers, the market for outfielders isn’t necessarily booming right now. Still, Martin could draw plenty of interest for teams looking for some help in the outfield.
Potential fits: Braves, Phillies, Mariners, Angels
Matthew Boyd, SP
Boyd is having himself a nice breakout season. Prior to Sunday’s lapse where he let up six runs over three innings, Boyd had a 3.63 ERA and 1.15 WHIP along with a 7.26 K/9 over 79.1 innings pitched. Boyd makes just $562,000 this season and remains under team control in 2019. After that, he has three years of arbitration before he becomes a free agent.
Though it might be better in the long run to hold onto Boyd considering his team-friendly contract and top-of-the-rotation production thus far in the 2018 season (all while not turning 30 until February 2021), Boyd will likely draw plenty of interest from teams for those very reasons.
Potential fits: Phillies, Mariners, Yankees, Braves, Brewers