Detroit Tigers: With Astros coming to town, are they a potential trade partner?
By Luke Sloan
After splitting a four-game series with the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis last weekend, the Detroit Tigers will return home after a quick one-city road trip to take on the high-powered Houston Astros.
This upcoming series is nowhere near short of intrigue, as the Astros boast a deep, talented lineup and an impressive pitching staff. But perhaps the return of Justin Verlander to the Comerica Park mound for the second time will steal the show for Detroit Tigers fans.
One thing’s for sure, Verlander’s return since pitching in Detroit for the first time as a visitor last season will be much more positively received than Brad Ausmus’ homecoming during the last homestand. Nevertheless, this series contains more intrigue than what could potentially meet the eye. Beyond individual players or pitching matchups, these two teams could potentially match up as trade partners later in the summer.
The Tigers won’t ask for the likes of Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, or George Springer in a potential deal. The Astros do, however, posses a number of highly-coveted young players sure to grab the attention of Al Avila.
Before we get to who the Tigers may target, we have to check the pulse on potential Tigers players the Astros could eye in pursuit of another World Series title. It’s worth noting Houston has never shied away from a deadline deal that boosts the club in the past few seasons.
In fact, the Tigers and Astros struck a deal that propelled a championship just recently in 2016, when Houston shipped prospects Franklin Perez, Daz Cameron, and Jake Rogers to Detroit for the right-handed ace Verlander.
The Astros got their title shortly after the deal, while Detroit Tigers fans have seen some serious potential in the team’s prospect return. After a successful deal for both sides was completed already, who says they can’t ring each other’s phones again?
Houston could see some possible upgrades in the opposite dugout these next few days, as breakout lefty Matt Boyd would fit well next to Verlander atop the Astros rotation, Shane Greene could further bolster an above-average bullpen, and Nicholas Castellanos may be viewed as a quality platoon option.
Who would the Tigers focus in on for a potential trade? It’s no false rumor that the team still desperately lacks impact bats in the minor leagues, but luckily for Detroit, the Astros possess a number of high-end hitting prospects.
Outfielders Kyle Tucker (No. 7 overall prospect in baseball) and Yordan Alvarez (No. 38), could potentially intrigue the Tigers. Another option could potentially be shortstop Freudis Nova, the Astros No. 6 prospect.
Houston’s 40-man roster could also contain interesting option, such as outfielder Myles Straw and former top prospect Derek Fisher. If the team decides it wants a pitcher as part of a trade package, the Astros certainly aren’t short of prospect pitching depth either.
Boyd, Greene, and Castellanos could be traded as an individual to Houston, or a package deal with multiple players could be built. Either way, the Tigers would most likely receive an impressive prospect haul in any potential deal.
Over these next few days as we watch these two teams battle, don’t just watch the competition on a surface level, keep in mind that these two teams have the potential to do much more together than just match up on the field.
Would you like to see the Tigers try and strike a deal with Houston at some point this season? Feel free to let us know in the comments section down below.