Detroit Tigers and Oakland A’s: Natural Trade Partners

May 28, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias (1) hits a ground ball during the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports
May 28, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias (1) hits a ground ball during the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Tigers players have propelled the team to a winning record and a share of second place in the standings so far. However, upgrades are needed and the Oakland A’s could be the perfect trade partners.

Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila hasn’t really made any significant trades during the regular season so far. The Tigers nabbed potentially useful pitcher Chad Bell (1.94 ERA in 41.2 Triple-A innings this year) for Bobby Wilson, and Jose Valdez was recently dealt to the Angels, but both of those moves were obviously on the smaller scale in terms of trades.

The Tigers are in no way a perfect team, but Detroit has made use of its minor league depth to replenish the roster in the face of injuries and inconsistency. Michael Fulmer has been exceptional since joining the rotation, while Matt Boyd has also been a solid addition to the staff. In terms of position players, Steven Moya—when he was called up—provided a solid bench presence.

Despite the success of the trio, there have been some call ups that weren’t as impactful. Bobby Wilson only hit .154 during a brief, five-game stint, while Tyler Collins batting average for Detroit in 2016 sits at an uninspiring .100. 

More from Motor City Bengals

With the team trending in the right direction following a rough stretch, additions from outside the organization will likely be needed at some point if the Tigers are going to contend. As it stands, Detroit could use more pop off the bench, and some extra bullpen depth.

Collins, Wilson, Mike Aviles and Andrew Romine are all hitting below .200 this season, while the since-demoted Anthony Gose is batting just .209. Additionally, while a number of relievers have pitched well so far, depth is never a bad thing.

Enter the Oakland A’s.

Oakland is currently in the American League West cellar at 25-34. The Athletics are already 11 games back of the Texas Rangers and could conceivably trade off some of the team’s players.

Per usual, Oakland employs a number of quality relievers. Ryan Madson, Fernando Rodriguez, Ryan Dull, Sean Doolittle and John Axford would all be worthy additions to the Detroit bullpen, but Marc Rzepczynski may be the best fit.

The veteran left-hander is on an expiring contract, and with the A’s going nowhere, fast, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Rzepczynski moved. He’d give Brad Ausmus another left-handed option in relief—not to mention an effective one. The veteran has held left-handed batters to a .287 on-base percentage in his career.

In addition to Rzepczynski, two Oakland batters would be ideal fits in Detroit.

Third baseman Danny Valencia is off to an outstanding start at the plate, hitting .343 with nine home runs and 22 RBI in 39 games. At 31-years-old, he may not be part of a rebuilding Oakland’s long-term plans.

The former Blue Jay has seen time at third base, second base and first base, not to mention left field and right field. Having such a versatile player available off the bench would give the Tigers considerable flexibility when filling out the batting order, not to mention another pinch-hitting option to use with Jarrod Saltalamacchia.  

More from Detroit Tigers News

While not having the same success as Valencia at the plate this season, Chris Coghlan could have just as much of an impact with Detroit. The longtime Marlin has just a .219 on-base percentage this season, but he was extremely successful in 148 games for the Cubs last season.

During the 2015 season, Coghlan drove in 41 runs, swatted 25 doubles and six triples while adding 11 stolen bases. His on-base percentage was a sparkling .341. What’s more, the 30-year-old has considerable experience playing a number of positions across the diamond, including all three outfield spots, second base and third base. If the Tigers can get him on the cheap, he could pay serious dividends down the stretch should his numbers even closely resemble the ones that he posted in Chicago.

Next: Draft Needs

If the A’s decide to sell, the Detroit Tigers should pursue Marc Rzepczynski, Danny Valencia and Chris Coghlan. The potential additions of any of the three could pay off big time for the Tigers this season.