After years of trading away top prospects, the Detroit Tigers new front office is taking a different approach to deals. While the emphasis is still win now, Al Avila is not looking to mortgage the future.
It is never too early to start looking at trade possibilities for the Detroit Tigers. With the team sitting in second place in a tightly contested division, many believe the AL Central is up for the taking. After a losing skid in May many of us would like to forget the Tigers are playing much better and might be only one piece away from getting over the hump that is the Indians, White Sox and Royals.
The MLB Trade Deadline is still a few weeks away but trading season started early this year. Other teams around the league are upgrading earlier than before and the Tigers may want to move quickly.
In years past the Dave Dombrowski regime had a steadfast philosophy. The Tigers were constantly drafting players with upside who would rising through the ranks of the minor leagues quickly and be dealt for major league talent within a few years of joining the Tigers organization.
Although there wasn’t a World Series title as a result, the system made the Tigers very competitive for many years. Now the Tigers are working under a different general manager and, after selling major league talent last season in an attempt to get younger, the philosophy has changed.
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When speaking to reporters Wednesday at U.S. Cellular field, general manager Al Avila said he has ruled out trading Michael Fulmer, Matt Boyd, Shane Greene and Daniel Norris. While some of those names may come to a surprise to no one, Avila claims he will be reluctant to deal any young talent. While the Tigers do still have needs it appears this could be the roster they move forward with, barring any minor tweaks.
It is obvious the Tigers pitching staff is in need of an upgrade. What was believed to be an area of great depth before the season started is begging to show its true colors. All of the depth that was in the minor leagues has been tapped due to poor performances by some major league veterans.
The rotation has three locks and two question marks currently. Justin Verlander, Jordan Zimmermann and Michael Fulmer have been great. Matt Boyd and Mike Pelfrey have been all right lately but they are in no way locks to stay in the rotation should an affordable upgrade present itself. Adding a piece to the rotation could be seen as addition by subtraction, forcing either Boyd or Pelfrey to the bullpen where the could find more success.
The bullpen is in need as well. If Mark Lowe can get back on track things will not look so bad but if he continues to struggle the Tigers will need to address the issue.
Francisco Rodriguez, Shane Greene and Justin Wilson have been the lone bright spots lately with players such as Lowe, Alex Wilson and Blaine Hardy not pulling their weight. The issue with adding to the bullpen is affordability. Every year teams are looking for that lock down reliever and the Tigers unwillingness to deal away the farm could cause them to be priced out.
After last night’s unfortunate injury to J.D. Martinez now may not be the best time to deal an outfielder, but come trade deadline time they could become trade chips. While their trade value may not be substantial their experience and potential is what might be incising to teams. Many have forgotten about Dixon Machado, but he is still down in Triple-A and is blocked from the Tigers roster, making him a trade candidate.
If this is the final roster that continues on past the August 1 trade deadline Detroit Tigers fans may feel weary about the teams chances. The White Sox have already made a deal and it is only a matter of time before the Indians and Royals try to bolster their lineups and pitching staffs. The Tigers roster is no slouch but without an adding an arm it may be difficult to make a playoff push in 2016.