The Detroit Tigers still have trades to be made this season. We will post one potential trade per day until the August 31 deadline.
The Detroit Tigers have until August 31 to trade their players on expiring contracts. Thus far three players; Jose Iglesias, Francisco Liriano and Jordan Zimmermann, have passed through waivers. That means they are eligible to be dealt to any team.
With six days remaining until the deadline, we will be writing up a potential trade daily. So far we have looked at a potential deal to send Jose Iglesias to the Cardinals, and a deal sending Francisco Liriano to the Mariners. Now, we will look at Detroit’s third, but least tradable, player who has passed through waivers: RHP Jordan Zimmermann.
The Detroit Tigers send Jordan Zimmermann and $25M to the Chicago Cubs for Austin Filiere
Why the Cubs will do it
Yu Darvish is out for the season. Tyler Chatwood was just placed on the DL with hip soreness. Mike Montgomery is on the DL as well. The Cubs are hurting, badly, for starting pitching. There are a few other options they will likely explore first (Gio Gonzalez, for example, just passed through waivers) but if those don’t work out the team could turn their attention to Zimmermann.
Zimmermann is having his best season as a Tiger, with a 4.18 ERA and a 7.89 K/9. Even though he has two years and over $50 million left on his ill-fated contract, the Tigers may not have a better opportunity to deal the right-hander than right now. Of course, the money will still be a huge hurdle – and the Tigers won’t be able to move him without paying a large chunk of it.
The second biggest hurdle will be Zimmermann’s no trade clause. He could easily reject a trade to Chicago, which would make the whole point moot. However, he signed with Detroit to be close to his hometown in Wisconsin. Chicago would still give him that, and would be a much better team with playoff and World Series aspirations. It seems likely that Zimm could be convinced to waive his NTC for Chicago.
If the Cubs are desperate for pitching depth, this could be a trade that works for both sides. It’s a long-shot, but it’s worth looking into.
Why the Tigers will do it
Zimmermann’s contract is such a drain on this team. Plus, the younger arms are approaching big league ready, and Zimmermann will just be in the way if the Tigers don’t deal him before his contract is up. While he is pitching at a solid level, the team should do anything they can to move at least some of his contract. The return is less important, it’s more about clearing the roster spot for a younger prospect and shedding salary.
In this case, a flyer on a young kid who has performed well in the minors is worth asking for in exchange for Zimmermann and half his salary.
Austin Filiere was an eighth round pick in 2017 out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He hit .261 with a 14.7% walk rate last season, and is hitting .257 with a 10% rate this year. He has experience at first and third. His limited power likely caps his value as a bench bat, but if the Tigers can bring another corner infield prospect into their system, and rid themselves of Zimmermann and his contract, that’s a win.
A Zimmermann trade is the least likely deal to get done among Detroit’s three waiver players. However, he is a serviceable starting pitcher in a market where few remain, so it’s possible a deal gets done if enough hurdles are cleared.