Detroit Tigers: Buyers or sellers? Justin Verlander’s future? MCB staff discusses

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Jun 13, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder

Yoenis Cespedes

(52) at bat against the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Should the Tigers be buyers or sellers approaching the trading deadline? 

Steve: I firmly believe that the Tigers should be sellers at this point. But not sellers for a rebuilding 80-90 loss season next year, but retooling. They have a strong core yet and need to supplement with some younger talent that they have depleted in the farm system by constantly being buyers. Here’s the thing for me – Dombrowski has chosen to go for it the past four years and he really put the team on the field that had a viable chance to win a championship. Three of those four years lead us to an ALCS or higher and I want my GM to go for it. But I also want him to realize that sometimes going for just a wild card and losing in the first game and going home empty-handed is a stupid move. If you are going to put all your chips on the table in Price, Cespedes, Simon and others, then you better believe that the dealer doesn’t have twenty one under those cards. The dealer is going to win this year. Sell, retool and let’s go get em in 2016.

Zane: I think the Tigers should buy at the 2015 deadline. Firstly, I find it unlikely that Dombrowski will sell, so by that logic, it makes the most sense to make one last run at a title. Secondly, I find it equally hard to believe that this group of Tigers nets enough for a true rebuild, unless Detroit is willing to go the whole nine yards and trade away talent like J.D. Martinez. And lastly, I believe that with one more quality arm in the rotation such as Jeff Samardzija, and one or two more in the bullpen, such as J.J. Hoover, Detroit could make a run in a weak American League.

Matt P.: For Dave Dombrowski to “fix” this team and make them contenders this year, he would need to add two middle-tier starters, a lefty middle reliever and a set-up man. The Tigers do not have anything in their farm system that would net a package like that. Perhaps they could give up someone on the big league roster, much like they did last year to acquire David Price with Austin Jackson and Drew Smyly going off in return, but this team has so little depth that if you take away from a strength the team has right now (offense), the scales will probably tip back in the other direction.

I’ve been saying this for weeks, but the best course of action for the Tigers is to sell at the deadline. Trade as many pending free agents as possible including Price, Simon, Yoenis Cespedes, Joakim Soria, and Rajai Davis. The Tigers’ future may not be as bleak as we have predicted with the emergence of J.D. Martinez and Jose Iglesias to serve, along with Miggy, as cornerstones of a (hopefully) rejuvenated franchise in the coming years, but they could get some great prospects and young major leaguers for these guys. They could “retool” and not “rebuild,” especially with an impressive list of free agents this offseason throughout baseball.

Blair: If the team doesn’t roar out of the All-Star break, Dombrowski should listen keenly to offers for Price and others. That doesn’t imply a long-term rebuilding plan is necessary. Any talent received in return could be used to buttress a weak farm system and/or make the team more competitive in 2016.

Dave: They should be sellers. Detroit has not proven to me in the last month that they can contend for the World Series title. Now, I believe they still will buy because they sit only 3.5 games behind the second wild card spot. GM Dave Dombroski will likely go for it once again, but with so many expiring contracts, I believe it would be best to sell guys like David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Rajai Davis and regroup to fight another day.

Tom Z: If the Tigers think they have a remote chance at making the postseason, they will be buyers. They have a solid opportunity to make the postseason and should be buyers at the trade deadline. Their lineup has been productive since the beginning of June, even without Cabrera in the lineup. The problem has been their pitching and if they buy on starting pitching rentals, they can make one last run before the rebuild. The Tigers have pulled out deals in the past and can do it again at the trade deadline. A Scott Kazmir/Tyler Clippard combo from the Oakland A’s would be reasonable for the Tigers to acquire at the deadline.

Tom P: Sorry Tom Z. but the Tigers should be sellers. It’s true that they are only 3.5 games out of a Wild Card spot at this point but you have to look beyond that to the overall state of this team.

The Tigers organization isn’t rich with Major League prospects and can’t afford to package what they do have for an outside shot to make a postseason run this year. Right now it doesn’t look like David Price will be back and they could also lose Yoenis Cespedes in the offseason. Use them now to bring prospects with Major League potential into the system.

Miguel Cabrera will only be 33 at the start of next season and J.D. Martinez will be 28. Cabrera still has two to three years where he can still be expected to hit at an elite level. There’s no reason a rebuild needs to take three to five years. Those two form a strong core that could bring the Tigers right back to prominence in a year or two, provided some of those prospects they bring in are pitchers.

Matt S.: I am hoping sellers. As I just mentioned, I don’t think they have the pitching to win the World Series. I don’t want them to trade even more of an already depleted farm system just to lose in a one game playoff game. They need to get what they can for David Price, as he clearly does not want to be here after this season and the Tigers can’t afford him anyway.

Next: Can J.V. be saved?