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Detroit Tigers: Best Trade Chips

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Aug 8, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers executive vice president and general manager Al Avila before the game against the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 8, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers executive vice president and general manager Al Avila before the game against the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila will soon go through his first trade deadline as the team’s general manager. Unlike last season, the Tigers are in a place to contend. Here are Avila’s best trade chips.

Detroit Tigers players have done a solid job of late to turn things around. After a streaky start, the team seems to be settling in. Entering Thursday, the Tigers sat in second place in the American League Central, only six games back of Cleveland. Detroit also began the day just a game and a half behind Boston for the final wild card spot.

With a roster loaded with large contracts and veteran players, the Tigers are likely to be buyers—if they make any moves—at baseball’s annual trade deadline.

Should Avila make any trades, he won’t have too much to work in terms of what he can offer other teams. Some of Detroit’s best young players are either with the team or too valuable to give up. These would include the likes Michael Fulmer, Daniel Norris, Steven Moya, Bruce Rondon, JaCoby Jones, Beau Burrows and Joe Jimenez.

From small additions to blockbuster deals, players added at the trade deadline can help a team significantly down the stretch and beyond. Regardless of what kind of move Avila might make, here are his best trade chips.

Any Catching Prospect

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Detroit is currently set for the foreseeable future with James McCann behind the dish. Offseason signing Jarrod Saltalamacchia has proved to be a solid backup. It is obviously still early, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him continue in the same capacity next season.

Additionally, Avila seems to have found a long-term deputy to McCann in 26-year-old John Hicks. A former fourth-round pick of the Mariners, Hicks hit a blistering .388 in Double-A after being claimed on waivers in April.

The backstop has continued to produce at Triple-A, hitting .268 with a .518 slugging percentage in 34 games for the Mud Hens. Hicks has also added 25 RBI, 21 runs scored, 10 doubles and six home runs.

The presence of the trio makes potentially makes just about any other catching prospect in the system expendable. Detroit has a trio of minor-league catchers in Kade Scivicque, Arvicent Perez and Grayson Grenier who could help Avila land an upgrade at the Major-League level.

Jairo Labourt

Jairo Labourt is a high-risk, high-reward kind of pitcher. He could stick in the rotation as a quality starter, or he could be shuffled to the bullpen.

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Detroit should probably hang on to him considering he may develop into a starting pitcher, but if the opportunity arises to add him into a larger deal to acquire a proven, front-line pitcher under team control, the Tigers shouldn’t think twice.

Matt Boyd

Unlike Michael Fulmer and Daniel Norris, Boyd hasn’t been able to stick in the rotation. While he’s done well at Triple-A, the former Toronto starter could be a centerpiece of a potential trade.

Packaging Boyd with some other prospects for someone like Jake Odorizzi would be particularly intriguing for the Tigers. Odorizzi is just a year older than Boyd and much more of a proven commodity in the Majors. What’s more, the Tampa Bay starter arguably has a higher ceiling than the Detroit prospect thanks to his ability to rack up strikeouts.

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Tyler Collins/Anthony Gose

Everybody needs a fourth outfielder right? A rebuilding team may be open to adding someone like Collins or Gose as part of a deal to see if they can make good on their potential. Collins would probably perform well in a hitter-oriented ballpark, while the speedy Gose could thrive somewhere like Petco Park.

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