Detroit Tigers: Building Ideal Jonathan Lucroy Trade
The Other Pieces/ Prospects: Tyler Alexander, Jairo Labourt, Austin Kubitza and Steven Moya. Milwaukee also sends reliever Will Smith to Detroit.
The Detroit Tigers need to build for the future while also staying in contention at present. That means that the organization probably shouldn’t deal young arms like Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd, Joe Jimenez or Beau Burrows.
Position players like JaCoby Jones, Christin Stewart, Derek Hill, Michael Gerber, Jose Azocar and Dixon Machado should also be off limits in any trade discussions.
That doesn’t leave the deepest pool of prospects from which to get a deal done, but Detroit’s system isn’t without promising players.
Of the pitching prospects listed in the hypothetical trade, Alexander is perhaps the best bet to reach the Major Leagues. The left-hander profiles as a mid-rotation arm, and has pitched to a 2.27 ERA in 95.1 innings for Lakeland this season. However, despite the promising stats, he isn’t essential to the Tigers’ future.
By the time he reaches the big leagues, Justin Verlander and Jordan Zimmermann will both likely still be under contract with Detroit, as will Michael Fulmer. The rest of the rotation could be comprised of some combination of Norris, Boyd and Burrows.
This is all without mentioning recent draft picks Matt Manning and Kyle Funkhouser. Manning has the look of a future ace, while Funkhouser profiles as a second or third starter.
Labourt and Kubitza could both make it to the big leagues as either starting pitchers or relievers. Labourt has considerable upside, but also is prone to a high number of walks and runs allowed.
Additionally, Moya gives the Brewers a potential successor to Ryan Braun in the outfield and as a hitter in the middle of the Milwaukee lineup. The young outfielder has a chance to eclipse the 30 home run mark in the Majors, but his defensive shortcomings are holding him back.
What’s more, Moya could very well be blocked in Motown should J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton stick around for the long haul.
Rounding out the hypothetical transaction is Will Smith. The reliever has pitched to a 3.28 ERA, a 3.02 FIP and a 2.77 SIERA since joining the Brewers in 2014. He’s also struck out 11.8 batters per nine innings over that span, and has a respectable 3.72 ERA this season.
The left-hander, who (per Spotrac) is controllable through 2019, would slot in alongside the likes of Shane Greene, Justin Wilson and Bruce Rondon in giving manager Brad Ausmus another setup option.
Next: Steve Pearce an Ideal Trade Target for Detroit Tigers
With the Brewers in rebuilding mode, they may not have a need for a 27-year-old reliever like Smith. Moving him could open up more innings for young relievers like Corey Knebel and prospects like Josh Hader and Jorge Lopez.