The Detroit Tigers will shop Matthew Boyd this offseason. With first base and left-handed hitting as needs, could a Greg Bird swap work?
It’s going to be a relatively busy offseason for Detroit Tigers General Manager Al Avila. The team will no doubt look for ways to get younger and shed salary, while still maintaining the young core of prospects that they are hoping will lead them to the play-offs down the line.
Boyd in particular should draw a lot of interest on the trade market, after posting a 4.39 ERA with a career-high 8.40 K/9 and a tidy 2.69 BB/9. He is still under team control through 2022, and is expected to earn roughly $3.0M through arbitration.
Solid left-handed starters with that much team control don’t come around very often, and it definitely makes sense for Detroit to shop him around and see if they can get something good in return. While the team is mostly in need of prospects, they do have use for a first baseman, in order to allow Miguel Cabrera to be the full-time designated hitter. Enter Greg Bird.
Boyd for Bird?
The Yankees will be looking for starting pitching this offseason, and likely want a left-hander to replace J.A. Happ who is departing in free agency. Additionally, the team discovered a revelation in Luke Voit, who took over at first base in the last few months and hit 15 home runs with a .322 average. He is locked in as the team’s future first baseman, leaving the left-handed swinging Bird on the outside looking in.
Detroit needs to move Miguel Cabrera to full-time DH. He still has an exorbitant amount of money left on his contract, and in order to preserve his health as much as possible, they need to take his glove. However, right now they don’t have a lot of options to play at first base in his absence. John Hicks certainly could, but not if he’s catching regularly, which could happen if the team non-tenders James McCann.
In addition to first base, the team could use more left-handed hitting. Stewart hits left-handed, as do Niko Goodrum and Jeimer Candelario, who are both switch-hitters. However, adding a left-handed hitting first baseman would give the team a more balanced lineup, while allowing Miggy to play first.
Obviously, the concern with Bird is that while he was crazy overhyped coming up, he hasn’t been all that good…..or healthy. The health is hard to ignore, but there is definitely some good news about the hitting.
Bird has played in 176 games in the major leagues. He’s slashed a less-than-stellar .214/.302/.434, but he does have 31 home runs, 97 RBI and a nice 10.3% walk rate. Plus, his 39.9% hard-hit rate and 49.5% fly ball rate from 2018 only lead to 11.5% HR/FB rate, which doesn’t quite add up. Point is – the power is real.
Ultimately, a Boyd for Bird trade would give New York a cost-controlled rotation piece, while freeing up their first base position. It would allow Detroit to take on a high-risk, high-reward first baseman who could very easily be a huge part of their eventual return to the top of the AL Central.
There are a lot of options the Detroit Tigers have this offseason to help make the rebuild a quicker one. Taking a risk on a first baseman like Bird could make a huge difference for Detroit down the line.