It’s no secret that the Detroit Tigers are going to be major sellers around the time of the MLB trade deadline, but what they are hoping for in return is still not totally clear.
With the MLB trade deadline barely over a week away, it seems as if players such as Matthew Boyd, Shane Greene, and Nicholas Castellanos‘ days with the Detroit Tigers are numbered. As at least two or maybe even all three of those players and possibly more are expected to be moved before the deadline, what the Tigers and GM Al Avila are looking for in return still seems a bit unclear.
The biggest trade chip the Detroit Tigers have is starting pitcher Matthew Boyd. The lefty has had an incredible year on the mound with an American League-leading K/BB ratio of 6.67 and an incredible 12.0 K/9. Boyd is certainly where the Tigers can get the highest return, seeing that he is not set to hit free agency until after 2022, but some fans fear that Avila is holding too high of a price for the 28-year-old.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Detroit seems to be seeking an established, young MLB star in return for Boyd, rather than top prospects. There were rumors about a month ago that the Tigers asked the New York Yankees for All-Star second baseman Gleyber Torres in return for Boyd, a ridiculous proposal on Avila’s part if it turns out to be true.
A better target for the Detroit Tigers when hunting for a deal for Boyd could be Houston Astros star prospect Kyle Tucker. We all know that Avila missed out on nabbing Tucker in the Justin Verlander trade in 2017, but the OF prospect now has a small amount of big-league experience under his belt. Though not an established young star, Tucker has the potential to become one, and if the Astros are serious about making another World Series run, then they may just be willing to give him up.
The Tigers’ best chance to land a youngster with plenty of major league experience, though I would hesitate to call him a star, could be making a deal with the Chicago Cubs which includes OF Ian Happ. With rumors popping up on Sunday making it appear as if the Cubs are seriously interested in Nicholas Castellanos, then Detroit could certainly push to get Happ in return.
Happ has spent all of 2019 in Triple-A so far after spending nearly a full season with the Cubs in the major leagues last year. The 24-year-old is hitting just .236 with Triple-A Iowa this year but also has 52 RBI and 16 homers. A talented switch-hitter, Happ mashed 24 home runs for the Cubs in his first big-league season in 2017, so he has proven his abilities at the plate in the big leagues.
From my perspective, asking for an established young star seems like too high of a price, and Avila’s aggressiveness could ruin any chances of a blockbuster trade for the Detroit Tigers at the deadline. A top prospect like Tucker or a guy with major league experience but not a “star” like Ian Happ could be the best places to look, but it still seems like a mystery as to how things will really shake out.