Detroit Tigers: Milwaukee Brewers Trade Targets

Oct 5, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers vice president Al Avila prior to game three of the 2014 ALDS baseball playoff game against the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 5, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers vice president Al Avila prior to game three of the 2014 ALDS baseball playoff game against the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Tigers players have righted the ship after last year’s catastrophic season. With the trade deadline approaching, additions are needed. The Milwaukee Brewers would be ideal trade partners.

Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila could be in the market for new additions to the team as the trade deadline approaches. The Tigers have turned things around, but aren’t a perfect team by any stretch. Avila’s squad could do with a starting pitcher or two, an extra reliever and another bench bat.

One team that could potentially match up with the Tigers is the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brew Crew are mired in the National League Central cellar with a 37-47 record. Only the Cincinnati Reds sit between the Brewers and last place in the division.

Milwaukee has already started the process of becoming sellers by trading infielder Aaron Hill to the Red Sox for a pair of prospects.

Despite Hill being dealt, there are a number of other players on the Brewers’ roster that could appeal to the Tigers.

Players like Ryan BraunJonathan Lucroy and Jonathan Villar are probably out of Detroit’s price range in terms of the prospects the team would have to surrender. However, quality trade targets remain. Here are some options for Avila and company.

Will Smith, Relief Pitcher 

Initially thought to be Milwaukee’s closer this season, an injury kept Smith out for an extended period of time, opening the door for Jeremy Jeffress. Despite not being the closer, Smith has nonetheless excelled coming out of the Brewers bullpen.

over 17 appearances, spanning 14.2 innings, the 26–year-old has pitched to a 1.84 ERA. This success is nothing new for the reliever, who owns a 3.10 ERA and a 3.07 FIP since the start of 2013.

Smith is still relatively young, so Milwaukee might hang on to him, but there is definite upside for the Tigers in a strikeout reliever controllable through 2020. The former Royal would slot in nicely alongside the likes of Justin WIlson and Bruce Rondon in building a bridge to Francisco Rodriguez.

Jeremy Jeffress, Relief Pitcher

Another relatively young, controllable reliever with experience in the Kansas City system, Jeremy Jeffress could be the missing link in the Detroit bullpen. 

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Since taking over for Smith as the team’s closer, the right-hander has been excellent. He’s converted 23 saves while pitching to a 2.45 ERA in 36.2 innings pitched. The reliever’s strikeout numbers, just 6.4 per nine innings, aren’t outstanding, but the 28-year-old did strike out 8.6 batters per nine innings from 2010 to 2015.

Carlos Torres, Relief Pitcher

Continuing with the reliever trend is Carlos Torres. While he wouldn’t take up a late-inning role with the Tigers like Smith or Jeffress, the former Met would likely fill a similar role to that of Alex Wilson. In other words, he’d work the earlier innings while providing quality pitching.

What’s more, Torres, a 33-year-old reliever on a rebuilding team, could theoretically have a lower asking price than his teammates.

Junior Guerra, Starting Pitcher

While not a reliever, Junior Guerra could be an intruding, low-cost addition to the Tigers rotation. 

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Yes, the pitcher is 6-1 with a 2.93 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 76.3 innings pitched, but he had only appeared in three Major League games before April. Based on that, he may cost lest to acquire as opposed to if he had a long track record of success. At 31, the starter may not be part of Milwaukee’s rebuilding process.

It wouldn’t be a shock to see the Brewers cash in on a pitcher they only claimed off waivers in December. Guerra could fit at the back of Detroit’s rotation, or as a swingman.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Outfielder

Rounding out the list is outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis. The reality is that Detroit needs a better outfield option to pair with Steven Moya while J.D. Martinez recovers from injury. The Mike Aviles experiment simply hasn’t worked on both sides of the ball.

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While Nieuwenhuis’ .212 batting average is actually worse than Aviles’ .217 clip, the Milwaukee outfielder gets on base at a much higher rate (.320 compared to .272). What’s more, Nieuwenhuis has a history of being an above-average defender at all three outfield spots. Trading Tyler Collins and a low-level pitching prospect for the current Brewers outfielder could work for all parties.