Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: Should they sell high on Mikie Mahtook?

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DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 15: Mikie Mahtook #15 of the Detroit Tigers singles to drive in Jeimer Candelario of the Detroit Tigers from third base to beat the Chicago White Sox 3-2 in the ninth inning at Comerica Park on September 15, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 15: Mikie Mahtook #15 of the Detroit Tigers singles to drive in Jeimer Candelario of the Detroit Tigers from third base to beat the Chicago White Sox 3-2 in the ninth inning at Comerica Park on September 15, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers
NEW YORK, NY – JULY 31: Mikie Mahtook #15 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates after he scored in the fourth inning against the New York Yankees on July 31, 2017 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Can the Detroit Tigers move Mahtook for a relatively premium return? Or at least significant pieces that can help the team in the future?

These two questions would probably be easy yeses from an answer standpoint if the free agent and trade markets were devoid of outfield options.

However, that’s not exactly the case.

The free agent market is littered with outfield bats, many of whom (J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton, Curtis Granderson, Austin Jackson—I can keep going—Rajai Davis and Cameron Maybin) used to play for Detroit.

There’s also plenty of other intriguing outfielders who aren’t former Tigers, from Michael Brantley and Lorenzo Cain to Melky Cabrera, Carlos Gonzalez and Jay Bruce.

Purely from a financial standpoint, other teams may find it more appealing to trade for Mahtook than overpay an aging player with a multi-year deal as said player begins to decline.

Per Spotrac, the outfielder has four years of controllability left and isn’t eligible until arbitration until after the 2018 campaign.

The trade market

Mahtook certainly wouldn’t draw the kind of prospect haul that other outfielders conceivably on the trade market would.

The likes of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Randal Grichuk hold more value than the Detroit outfielder based on their respective track records.

Still, in a similar vein to the free agent market, Mahtook could appeal to teams who aren’t willing to sacrifice the kind of prospect capital required to nab Yellich or Grichuk.

If Mahtook is shopped, the Tigers should market him as a center fielder to maximize any potential return.

His power and extra-base ability plays better in center field, where slugging players are less common.

Had Mahtook qualified from a plate appearances standpoint, he would have tied for eighth in the league among center fielders in ISO.

The seven players with a higher ISO number include Andrew McCutchen, Chris Taylor, Tommy Pham, George Springer, Granderson, Charlie Blackmon and some Anaheim player named Mike Trout. Might have heard of him.

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