Detroit Tigers: Steve Pearce is an Ideal Trade Target
Detroit Tigers starters have been largely excellent this season, but the team’s bench has been up and down. Tampa Bay’s Steve Pearce could be the bench cog the Tigers have been missing.
Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus hasn’t gotten perfect production out his bench. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Tyler Collins, Andrew Romine and Mike Aviles have all had their moments. However, all four sport batting averages under .210. Additionally, Salty is the only one of the group with an on-base percentage over .300.
Romine and Aviles—and Collins to an extent—have provided great defensive flexibility for the Tigers, but their offense has clearly been lacking.
One player who could provide an offensive upgrade while still bringing defensive flexibility is Steve Pearce. The 10-year veteran is currently in his first season in Tampa Bay after spending three years in Baltimore. The versatile player has experienced a bit of a career resurgence since 2013, when he joined the O’s.
From 2013 to 2016, Pearce has hit .270, averaging 33 RBI and 26 extra-base hits in 74 games per season. The veteran has been particularly effective in 57 games for the Rays in 2016.
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Pearce’s .313 batting average would be a career high should he be able to maintain it. His .386 on-base percentage will also register as a personal best if he can keep it up over the rest of the season.
What’s more, the former Pirate has also chipped in with 29 RBI, 11 doubles, 10 home runs and a triple. He’s only struck out 37 times, compared to 23 walks.
Currently on an expiring contract, the 33-year-old is the ideal bench cog. Not only would he provide some much-needed pop off the bench, but Pearce is every bit as versatile a defender as Aviles or Romine.
Over the course of his career, the current Ray has logged time at first base, third base and second base as well as in right field and left field.
Pearce could provide Ausmus with all sorts of defensive flexibility late in games while still bringing a quality bat. What’s more right-handed hitter could help fill in for J.D. Martinez in right field until the slugger is cleared to play.
Tampa Bay could use some outfield depth, so perhaps Wynton Bernard or Anthony Gose could make sense. Detroit would obviously need to add more to the potential deal.
Sending a mid-level prospect like Dominic Ficociello, Arvicent Perez, Grayson Greiner or Josh Turley could work for both parties seeing as Pearce is on an expiring contract.
Given that the Rays are mired in last place in the American League East at 38-61, the Detroit Tigers could also take on the expiring contract of Logan Morrison or Desmond Jennings in the deal to make the transaction more appealing for Tampa Bay if the Rays are looking to shed salary.